The Hamptons Police have released stats revealing the mid-season state of play in their annual summertime Road Rage Rally, the season-long competition that rewards many different sub-specialties of bad driving.
Spokesman Larry Hirsch says that in releasing information about the current frontrunners, the department hopes to stimulate a greater competitive spirit within the home team. “These results show that many of the events are dominated by out-of-state drivers,” he explains. “But there’s time remaining, and we feel that it’s only fair our local drivers know that they still have a chance to show what they can or can’t do.”
A quick overview of current Road Rage Rally event leaders bears out Hirsch’s assessment. Leading the pack in “Failure to Stop – Expert Class” is Bruce Gaines of St. Augustine, Florida, who blew through 168 stop signs or stoplights through July 31. “Mr. Gaines has taken advantage of the new stop signs on Madison Street in Sag Harbor,” Hirsch says. “They’re quite close together, so he can rack up the violations very efficiently. It’s proven to be a very cunning strategy.”
Gaines’s closest competition is Sergio Ponti of Weehawken, New Jersey at 123 failures to stop. “Any local drivers will have their work cut out for them trying to catch up with those kinds of numbers,” Hirsch adds.
Similarly daunting numbers show up in the “Ignoring Pedestrians” judged event, where returning champion Wayne Rogers of Fairfield, Connecticut had racked up a commanding 76-point lead as of July 31.
“This is a judged event, because it’s a question of degree, and our judges award points based on the level of the challenge,” Hirsch says. “It’s one thing to drive past a single pedestrian standing on the corner waiting to enter the crosswalk—let’s face it, it doesn’t take a daredevil to do that. Where Rogers excels is in the high-point skill of continuing to drive straight into crosswalks even when pedestrians are already halfway across the street, scattering men, women and children in all directions. Rogers knows when to hit all of the downtown areas at peak foot traffic times, and basically owns this event.”
Where the competition is still wide open, Hirsch points out, is in the “Forbidden Maneuvers – Free Style” judged event, where a creative rule-breaker has the chance to wow the judges with a death-defying move they haven’t seen before. “Right now the frontrunner is Lee Nelson of Sarasota, Florida, who executed a U-turn in the traffic lanes against fast-moving cars in both directions on County Road 39,” Hirsch says. “That’s a pretty high bar, I know, but I hope that we have some folks on the home team with enough artistry to take that on.”
The Road Rage Rally extends through Labor Day weekend.