Quick. That’s how my day went. I woke up late, so I quickly had to grab my dusty-trusty laptop, not enough clothes and rush to the airport. The rickshaw driver could sense my urgency and drove at speeds unheard of in a three-wheeled contraption. 35kmph. Thanking him under my breath, I ran towards my terminal. Once I boarded, the Boeing 737 quickly got me to Kochi at an average cruising speed of 840kmph. At the airport, I was received by a Merc C 220 CDI. Its 400Nm of torque was adequate to thrust me back in the seat and beautifully cut through the winding roads to Idukki. You must be noticing a pattern, and you’re right. Welcome to the Pete’s Festival of Speed.
This fascination with ‘speed’ began when humans invented the wheel. Even before that, speed thrilled them, but since there was no invention or agency that could make them “go fast”, all they could do was marvel at fast-flying birds and animals, or the speed at which they could throw something through the air. And that’s still the case in a country such as India, where there’s a lack of these fabled beings known as supercars. But Peter Chacko, the man behind Pete’s Automotive Products, realised people want to catch a glimpse of performance cars up close and decided to get supercar owners together for a public show. This is Pete’s Festival of Speed, formerly known as Pete’s Super Sunday.
Now let me paint a picture for you. We were brought into this magnificent resort on the top of a hill near Idukki. As soon as we entered this piece of land amongst the clouds, there they were. More than 20 such beings screaming, unleashing all their fury with thunderous vengeance. These man-made machines were having an argument with god himself. And winning. As a result, there I was, fogging up the rear window of the Merc with my heavy breathing. “This must be heaven,” I thought. But that thought soon broke as talking to the owners dragged me back to my tenth grade geography class. Why? All they could talk about was maps.
The plan was to rise before the break of dawn next day and rush to CIAL Convention Centre some 80 odd kilometres away. You can imagine the crowd these cars brought in. Roaring V10 Lambos, whistling turbos of the AMG, Mustang V8s grunting. In no way could our C 220 keep up with these exotics. When we finally reached our venue, the crowds were already pooling through the gates with their phone cameras out. The first half of our day was occupied with an exhibition of these supercars while a number of live rock concerts ran laterally. Superbike owners too got the chance to exhibit their motorcycles. The second half saw a sandstorm brewed up by autocross events and motocross practice sessions outside the venue. All in all, an eventful day. Because fast cars, fast bikes, and people living life in the fast lane; that’s Pete’s Festival of Speed for you.