I took on the fastest man on the Dragon with a 458 Speciale

Re-shared from Road & Track, text and images by Hollis Bennet

The unmistakable pops and raps of a Mazda rotary interrupt the whip-poor-will’s haunting call. It’s past dusk on a sticky June day, and across the valley, the fleeting light outlines the mountain. The road over there is a half-mile away, cut into the hillside, hidden by a lush coating of sugar maples and hemlocks. > Except for the unseen whip-poor-will and an army of chirping crickets, I’m alone, standing on the same road. A few hours ago, this section of U.S. Route 129, alternately known as the Tail of the Dragon (or simply the Dragon), was clogged with Harleys and gawking tourists. But now it’s empty, to the wildlife and the man in the Mazda. > His headlights break through the trees every few seconds. He’s driving hard, big downshift blips, each upshift coming at what sounds like redline. I’m listening for a mistake, a break in the engine’s sweep or the screech of a sliding tire, hoping he’s not as good as the locals claim. > After all, I came here to beat him. Read More…


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