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Mossback
12-15-2012, 09:18 PM
I finally got around to heading over to Deal's Gap AKA Tail of the Dragon today. Eleven miles of non-stop curves with a 30 mph speed limit that you're hard pressed to maintain a lot of the time. Yeah...it's that good. I gotta tell you....this little Abarth kicks booty. I kept the ECU in semi-mode and it seemed perfect. I never noticed the ECU flashing and I was pushing it....alot. Of course, you don't have time to pay much attention to the instrument panel because you're looking ahead to negotiate the next curve. They just keep coming...one after the other. This little car inspires confidence and begs to carve through corners. December seems to be a pretty time to go as I only saw 4 motorcycles and 3 other cars having a go which was surprising for a Saturday. When I say "having a go", I mean they were there for the same reason I was. A beautiful blue Infiniti G35/37 coupe, a black corvette and a black Audi either A4 or A6. There were a couple of pickups here and there, locals I guess and a group of bear hunters parked along the side of the road waiting for their hounds to sound but otherwise, I just about had the whole Dragon for myself. I did see one Tenn. Sheriff car but even he didn't have his radar on. I waved each time we passed each other...he didn't respond. Boys and girls, do yourselves a favor if you're within driving distance of Robbinsville, NC....GO. Just stay on your side of the road and don't let your enthusiasm override your skill level. I promise you, you won't regret it.

Felnus
12-15-2012, 10:09 PM
<---------The 500 was made for the Dragon. I managed to get down there three or four times this year. We need to have a big group of us there at some point next year.

I also recommend the Cherohala Skyway if you are around Robbinsville. Probably not this time of year though.

Tweak
12-15-2012, 10:22 PM
318 turns in 11 miles... a place I have wanted to go for a long time yet haven't made it, someday I am hopeful to get the Abarth and the Vette up there for a run. The "speed suggestion" sucks though. Hopefully when I do make it it'll be with a group of fellow enthusiasts.

Robert Nixon
12-16-2012, 12:15 AM
I've been reading about the Dragon, plan to go some time.

stealthy1ss
12-16-2012, 01:01 AM
I was there at the end of October and it was a ton of fun. Everyone should also go try out devils triangle. It's not as busy but a touch more technical.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqFrmTkXMgY

EliRider
12-16-2012, 04:12 AM
thanks for sharing.
beautiful road and country.

Jjm4life
12-16-2012, 04:14 AM
Did the 2400 mile round trip in my lotus last June. Amazing roads around there. One of my friends totaled his car that day. Went off the side of the mountain.

stealthy1ss
12-16-2012, 06:37 PM
The same day that I was there a brand new Mustang Cobra went off the road and tore off the front bumper.

Tweak
12-16-2012, 09:36 PM
Did the 2400 mile round trip in my lotus last June. Amazing roads around there. One of my friends totaled his car that day. Went off the side of the mountain.

As much as I like to drive hard I could see it but I have no plans to be that hard core if/when I make it. :D

Felnus
12-17-2012, 12:44 AM
As much as I like to drive hard I could see it but I have no plans to be that hard core if/when I make it. :D

Sometimes you don't plan for it but it happens anyway. If you do go off the road, try to park in between the trees like this guy did.

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c31/MTBman1127/FOTD%2008/th_DSCN2348.jpg (http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c31/MTBman1127/FOTD%2008/DSCN2348.mp4)

Oh, there are several photographers camped out on the roadside so chances are when you wipe out it will be on film.

http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/ThumbPage.aspx?e=4226920&g=0HH600X703

Tweak
12-17-2012, 12:46 AM
Sometimes you don't plan for it but it happens anyway. If you do go off the road, try to park in between the trees like this guy did.

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c31/MTBman1127/FOTD%2008/th_DSCN2348.jpg (http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c31/MTBman1127/FOTD%2008/DSCN2348.mp4)

Well no one plans to have an accident, but what I mean is I will dial it back a bit for the sake of safety, one can hope it will help. :D

Felnus
12-17-2012, 01:07 AM
Well no one plans to have an accident, but what I mean is I will dial it back a bit for the sake of safety, one can hope it will help. :D

One of the good things about the 500, the ESC would have stopped this accident before it happened. And if not, you can always add to the collection:

4544

Jjm4life
12-17-2012, 03:18 AM
Traction control won't stop you from going off the road.

Driving within your limits will.

Felnus
12-17-2012, 07:50 AM
Traction control won't stop you from going off the road.

Driving within your limits will.

Traction control maybe not but stability control will. I've had something similar happen in my 500 and the ESC braking individual wheels caught the back coming around and stopped it I could even start cranking in opposite lock on the steering wheel.

jguerdat
12-17-2012, 08:26 AM
A couple of quotes:

"...certain owners had discovered inappropriate vehicle rotation at the point of disappearing talent..."

and

"Cockiness is that feeling you have just before you know better."

jguerdat
12-17-2012, 08:32 AM
Traction control won't stop you from going off the road.


Traction control maybe not but stability control will. I've had something similar happen in my 500 and the ESC braking individual wheels caught the back coming around and stopped it I could even start cranking in opposite lock on the steering wheel.

Neither one will. Physics sucks. Go past the limits of adhesion or simply do the wrong thing will put you off the road. Staying within appropriate bounds increases your chances exponentially. Take it the track or autocross and find out safely exactly how little you know about car control. I've been autocrossing for ~40 years and still haven't mastered everything, not to mention how the car will handle at the limit above 70.

Felnus
12-17-2012, 11:33 PM
Neither one will. Physics sucks. Go past the limits of adhesion or simply do the wrong thing will put you off the road. Staying within appropriate bounds increases your chances exponentially. Take it the track or autocross and find out safely exactly how little you know about car control. I've been autocrossing for ~40 years and still haven't mastered everything, not to mention how the car will handle at the limit above 70.

*sigh* In my particular case, I was driving to work just after a heavy thunderstorm. I topped a hill and started down the other side into a curve when I noticed that the thunderstorm had flushed a mass of pea gravel, sand and goo roughly the same color as the wet asphalt across the road. I hit it and the back end broke traction and headed for the guard rail. Before I could react, the ESC snapped the 500 back into line and I continued on my merry way. So yes ESC did keep me from hitting the guard rail in that case. I don't ever push it in the rain. I hydroplaned and spun a 1966 Mustang around three and half times, went backwards over a 50 foot embankment and landed in a hayfield when I was 19. I walked away without a scratch. I figure that was my one free pass.

So please do not assume that I wildly hoon it up on public roads. Or that I advocate doing so. In fact, in the Mustang I was doing 10 UNDER the posted speed limit. Sadly I should have been going slower.

Vaejovis carolinanus aka lowconabarth
12-17-2012, 11:45 PM
We have come a long way since the Ford Falcon, with bias ply tires. I remember, I just learned how to work the 3 on the tree, and shifted on a wet railroad track. Wee. I sure am glad we have this ESC feature.The Tail of the Dragon is in the future for me, I just don't know when.

italytn
12-18-2012, 12:21 AM
I'm wondering if esc can contribute to oversteer. Recently took a turn in my sport that is on my normal route, 90 degree left hander with a drop off at the apex. Usually I stay on the throttle, car drifts predictably through the turn, no drama. This particular day I was caught out by cold tires. Instead of a drift I'm assuming the esc kicked in, weight transfered to the front resulting in what I would call drop throttle oversteer. Oops. The Abarth doesn't seem as prone to this behavior I suppose because of ttc?

Felnus
12-18-2012, 12:28 AM
This is one of my favorite Dragon videos, posted by Darryl "Killboy" Cannon, of his drive to work each morning. A couple of points:

The road was closed at the overlook due to a rockslide.

Darryl is illustrating the "local line" well. You'll notice that he is hugging the white outside lane marker consistently and not trying to apex the curves. This is a very good idea as you can't see what is coming the other way in a lot of the curves, whether it is a sport bike leaned over with the rider's head where the double yellow would be, or another car not following the "local line" or a semi-truck using a lane and a half.

Finally, the Le Mans start just cracks me up.


http://youtu.be/OJ1Icofgqx8

jguerdat
12-18-2012, 08:07 AM
So please do not assume that I wildly hoon it up on public roads. Or that I advocate doing so. In fact, in the Mustang I was doing 10 UNDER the posted speed limit. Sadly I should have been going slower.

Oh, no, I wasn't trying to imply you were doing things on the street that you shouldn't. Not at all! The comments about track and autocross were intended simply to suggest learning where the limits are safely. I've been caught out on the street myself and can fully understand how the electronics can help pull your ass back from the edge. Sorry it came across differently...

Felnus
12-18-2012, 03:43 PM
No worries. It can be difficult to determine tone in print. I agree, pushing your car to the limit is much more enjoyable on a track where you don't have to worry about a ticket and a safety crew is there in case you really screw up.