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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Helmet Stogie Killed!

In the early heydays of slotcar racing I knew a guy who owned a raceway. It was the late 60's/early 70's and we were all hippies. Get the picture?

Anyway, we would stay late after closing, light up a big stogie (which could be interpreted as a cigar, guys.....Just the disclaimer), put our feet up and race until we were stupid. Well, we were stupid from the stogies, but you get the idea. Eventually he would hand me a big stogie and say "Put this in your helmet for later.

It was the running joke until I started entering the races as "Helmet Stogie." I even painted the name on the car and painted a little, errrrrrr, stogie on the guy's helmet (yeah, I used to be able to see that well). Of course, the car was sponsored by zig zag.

And I went through several cars but I always found a way to jam "Helmet" into the next cockpit. The top of his helmet was all scarred up from the times he slid on his lid, but that just gave him character. He won tons and tons of races for me. The track owner would announce the races on the PA system and it was always "there goes Helmet Stoooooooooooooogie!"

Helmet Straps In for The Final Time

So, we were having our once a month track cleaning race. The buildup of tire traction "glue" would get pretty heavy after a month, so we would just throw a bucket of mineral spirits down on the track and have a race. The mineral spirits would dissolve the glue and the sponge sponge tires would soak it all up. By the time it dried, the track was spotless. No glue was allowed during the race, so with the wet track and no glue, it was almost like racing in the rain. The cars would slide around like mad and throw up big rooster tails and there would be a mist over the track. It was just beyond cool. It stunk, but no one cared.

So I am out front, but not pulling away. My car seemed a little down on power because even in the slippery conditions, I was having no trouble spinning the wheels coming off the corners. Once the track started drying off a little though, the other cars were putting the power to the road much better......and they begin closing in.

That's when the little electric motor blew up. The smoke started to pour out and it slowed noticeably.

Now remember that we had been out there the better part of an hour and the cars were soaked with mineral spirits inside the body and all over the chassis. Something in the motor shorted, and, well.... mineral spirits is flammable.

So my car bursts into flames.

I am so shocked that I just keep driving it around and watching it burn, while it also set the track on fire behind it. My buddy screams at me to stop as he is chasing the thing around with a fire extinguisher, powder flying about while people thrashed about in a panic to find the door. Everyone dropped whatever they were doing and a mad panic ensued as people where climbing over top of one other and clawing each other's eyes out in the blind panic to get to the door. Well, everyone but me, that is.

Helmet Stogie raced while Rome burned.

Of course, my friend stayed and fought off the inferno with his handy fire extinguisher. It was the dry powder type, so most of the shop (and the rest of the guys) got hosed down as well as us. We are standing there all covered in powder as the cloud settled around us, with everyone gathering around my burned out racer. A couple of other guys got their cars singed too, so I was not the most popular guy around. It would have been a good time to make a run for it.

I finally get a look at my car, suitably melted and the driver is completely toasted. His suit was all black and his helmet is melted completely flat.

My buddy screams "Oh my God!!!! HELMET STOGIE IS DEAD!!! Oh my God!!!!!!!"

And after that, my driver was Hunge De LaMoose, but he was never as good as Helmet. We won a few races here and there, but the magic died the day Helmet melted.

Long live Helmet Stogie!

But, not so fast.........

While most of the world thought he was gone, Helmet resurfaced a few years later in Cozumel under the alias of SCGT on-line racing ace "Hunge De LaMoose" (see interview later on this page).  Hunge (Helmet) was getting ready to retire from racing (he'de been killed enough), so when I contacted him about flying one of our electric 3D planes, he was quite anxious to work with us again.

Helmet (Hunge) had gone to Cozumel because it was the last known place on earth that had a Mattel Vac-U-Form, which as a plastic man, he needed to get himself popped back into shape and on the road to recovery. Vac-U-Forum treatments are extremely excruciating and many a lesser man has squealed like a bitch getting roasted and blown into shape in one of those things. Well, that and Helmet (Hunge) squealed like a bitch too.

Of course the pain drove Helmet (Hunge) to drinking, and then the drugs,  gambling and girls, with no way out.  We offered him a chance to come home, and maybe even get burnt to a crisp again, which was too much  of a challenge for Helmet (Hunge) to pass up.

For awhile, it was like old times again.  We would test plane after plane and shoot video after video, with Helmet only occasionally getting killed, for our own amusement, of course.

However, it did not take long for Helmet's old pattern of rebellious behavior to rear it's ugly heard again. We just could not get him to listen to us and pull the power back going into blenders. The thrill was just too much for him to resist, and blenders began to feature longer and longer full throttle, straight down dives into the torturing contortion of violent maneuvering.

And then one day, Helmet pushed it a little bit too far.......

Helmet is currently chillin' in the refrigerator until we can get the Matel Vac-U-Form repaired, and then we will throw him in there, pop him back into shape and give him a haircut. Right now he looks like some sort of dope smoking hippy, but then again, he is on the mend.

Helmet is looking forward to recovering in time to celebrate Christmas in Cozumel with other dead celebrities like his old pal Evel Kinevil.

From there Helmet hopes to celebrate New Year's with another old friend Niki Lauda at Lauda's home in Ibiza. Many people think Helmet and Lauda could be twin brothers.  

If he can live long enough, Helmet has landed a plum movie role in the remake of "Ghost Rider." We'll do out best to kill him again a few more times before then.

The Helmet Stogie Archive
After years of apparently being dead, Helmet Stogie was anything but. In 2006, he reappeared under the alias of hard drinking and hard driving SCGT racer "Hunge De LaMoose." The following interview with Hunge is from the December 2006 issue of SCGT News:

SCGT News: Hunge, how is the new car coming?

Hunge: We initially had a few issues with cube errors, but you get that with every new car. What I have found inexcusable is corrupt data in the .mas files, but that is a supplier problem. We switched to Digital Dynamic Douche Data systems and the problem is gone. Everything runs pretty smoothly. I recommend a digital enema for everyone.

SCGT News: And the SCGT championship?

Hunge: Well, we dropped out of three straight races with .mas errors, so we probably don't deserve a shot, but we did win the last one in a pretty big way. I don't want to wish any bad luck on anyone, but we are going to need a couple of guys to self-destruct if we are going to have a shot. If a few people would burst into flames, that wouldn't hurt us much either.

SCGT News: Are you really Helmet Stogie?

Hunge: It has been a great life. The things I have seen and the people I have loved. I can't be dishonest anymore because that is just no good. I am sick of running around denying it.

Yes. I am Helmet Stogie.

I was hurt pretty badly, melted flat, actually. But as a flat piece of plastic, it was easy for them to just throw me in the old Mattell Vac-U-Form and pop me back into shape. I was just lucky there wasn't a hole burned through me or I would have had to go through styrene grafts. Those are not very nice. The swirling paint job on my helmet is just the old design all melted together.

SCGT News: Then why hide for so long and come back under an alias?

Hunge: There were a lot of reasons, but mostly the IRS was busting my balls about some back taxes. I am a plastic man. How do I owe them anything? I just went to Cozumel for seven years and spent the money on booze and "professional women." And do you know something? I don't need racing one little bit. I just need some more money so I can go to Cayman and run through all the pros there.

SCGT news: And the paternity scandal?

Hunge: Once again, I am a plastic man. But you will have to be more specific. There are a lot more than just one.

Who's your daddy?

SCGT News: And the drugging and drunken brawling?

Hunge: It's been seven years. The statute of limitations has expired on everything, except maybe flushing cherry bombs down the toilet on the 10th floor of the Cozumel Hilton. If you cut the fuses to different lengths, they go off at different times and blow the walls out on different floors. One fat lady got blown off the john and got her head stuck in the bathroom wall, but outside of that, no one ever got hurt. Hey, the booze, drugs, gambling and girls were great, but you can't live without a little sport.

SCGT news: Do you like co-driving with your little brother, Joe Stogie?

Hunge: No. He is a lot faster than me and makes me look like shit. But then again, he has never been melted flat either. Don't worry. Doc will kill him off soon enough.

SCGT news: How did the unfortunate loss of teammate Pierre LaPoone' affect you and the rest of the team?

Hunge: He's still dead, so it is too early to say. He is French so I suspect no one will notice or even care if they do.

SCGT News: How long do you plan to stay involved in driving these cars? Can you get a few more years out of your career?

Hunge: It is hard to say because Doc Austin's pilots and drivers get killed off pretty regularly. If he needs a good laugh, he will burn up a Frenchman or two. Good thing I am Canadian, aye?

SCGT News: You have faced speed and fire and death. What has been the hardest thing you have had to deal with?

Hunge: Right now, my biggest problem is you.

Now kiss off.......... and take the monkey with you!  
Doc Austin speaks out about the tragic accident which destroyed his new Yak and killed Helmet Stogie again: 
Extreme Aviation News: How did the tragic accident happen?

Dr. Austin: Helmet is on drugs again. We keep telling him but he never listens, so when he gets killed we just have a good laugh and zap him with the Vac-U-Form. You ought to hear that little guy scream! He always squeals like a little bitch!.

Extreme Aviation News: How is the team taking it?

Dr. Austin: Everyone is dragging their ass, but that is nothing new. I can't afford to get anyone who will actually work.

We still have a development program going on the new flying motorhome, so everyone is pretending they are working on that while they are busy wanking off. It has some aerodynamic issues but it's nothing we can't solve as long as we are willing to kill Helmet a few more times.

Extreme Aviation News: What kind of leadership skills are you calling upon to pull the team together after the loss of previous pilot Pierre laPoone?

Dr. Austin: LaPoone is dead? When did that happen?

Extreme Aviation News: The last Russian Thunder crash.

Dr. Austin: Oh, yeah, serves him right for wrecking my Yak. That was a nice plane. Pierre's behind the egg salad in the 'fridge. I can't wait to put him in the Vac-U-Form and hear him squeal like a little bitch!
 Hahahaha. What a putz!

Extreme Aviation News: People are bursting into flames all around you and you don't seem to see any of this as a problem?

Dr. Austin: I've got to meet T-time after my three martini lunch, so right now my biggest problem is blowing you off and getting out on the course.

Kiss off and take the monkey with you.