While it’s a known fact that Ocean City and this year’s H2Oi event didn’t really get along, I didn’t expect to have an encounter with the law so quickly after arriving in town following an 1,100km road trip in a Ford Mustang rat rod.

For 2018, The official H2Oi event was moved to Atlantic City and many of the purists and enthusiasts headed that way as the organizers had hoped they would. But as expected, it didn’t stop people heading to OC for an unsanctioned few days of partying.

Anticipating this, Ocean City Police were absolutely everywhere. State troopers, the county sheriff’s office, and many other law enforcement agencies from surrounding areas were also brought in for support.

Last year, Kyle Scaife – AKA MustangKyle – didn’t want to risk getting impounded, so he kept the cruising to a minimum. During the times he did venture down the strip, he didn’t run into any issues with the law.

Keiron Berndt - First Tickets of h2oi 2018 - Speedhunters

This year, it didn’t take long to find ourselves lit up by the blueberries and cherries of the local sheriff’s office. After arriving in town and getting settled in to our condo, we drove over to the local Walmart to pick up some groceries and take a tour of the area.

Keiron Berndt - First Tickets of h2oi 2018 - Speedhunters

After a quick chat with some fellow car folk in the parking lot, we headed out to Starbucks to grab something that would warm our damp bodies up. As we pulled into the lot, we immediately spotted two empty sheriff’s department Suburbans parked outside. It was hard to tell if the deputies had noticed our arrival, but they were definitely intrigued when they came back out of Starbucks with their coffees.

Keiron Berndt - First Tickets of h2oi 2018 - Speedhunters

One of the officers remained in the parking lot on his computer while the other left. Kyle was a little nervous; his car was street-legal by Ontario standards, but who knew how it would fare out here. We clambered back into the Mustang’s cold wet seats, fired it up, and headed back onto the highway. So far, so good.

Keiron Berndt - First Tickets of h2oi 2018 - Speedhunters

But we weren’t in the clear quite yet. It turned out that the deputy who had left Starbucks before us was waiting on the shoulder of the highway a few hundred meters down the road.

Keiron Berndt - First Tickets of h2oi 2018 - Speedhunters

He followed us into town and then lit us up. Kyle pulled into a liquor store parking lot and another three patrol cars pulled up behind us. Kyle chuckled; four cops versus a rat rod that was barely street legal – it wasn’t going to be an easy battle to win.

Keiron Berndt - First Tickets of h2oi 2018 - Speedhunters

After what felt like a torturously long few minutes, the deputy that pulled us over approached the window. I hid my camera and kept my hands still in plain sight.

“You know why I pulled you boys over?” he asked. Kyle answered right away saying it was because he flipped his lights on only after he pulled onto the road (Kyle doesn’t start his car with his lights on due to a weak alternator). But that was only one of the reasons. The deputy then cited numerous violations and issues he had spotted with the Mustang before heading back to his car with Kyle’s registration and license.

Keiron Berndt - First Tickets of h2oi 2018 - Speedhunters

It could have been much worse: Kyle received a grand total of five warnings and was threatened multiple times that his car could be impounded. The first warning was just an excuse to pull us over due to Kyle turning on his lights after entering the roadway. The deputy also claimed that the rear taillights did not have reflectors in them (his lifted Suburban’s lights missed the entire rear of the car and the reflectors), but after Kyle challenged it the officer went and checked them with his flashlight and admitted that they did in fact reflect – but he still gave us a warning anyway. The next warning was because of what the deputy claimed to be modified and unsafe suspension, even though it was stock ride height and perfectly safe. Having no side mirrors is something that can’t be contested, but the final warning for headlights not being 24 inches from the ground is absolute shite.

We were allowed to go with our five warnings in hand and told very sternly that if the Mustang was seen on the road in Ocean City again the outcome would not be good. In the end, both Kyle and I were thankful that we didn’t get arrested or have the car ticketed or towed.

It’s the simple joys of H2Oi…

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