When I woke up on Saturday morning, I had no idea that in a matter of hours, I would be flying along a dirt track at 100kmh, swinging around corners as cars only centimetres from my door jostled for position.
But that's exactly what happened as I spent what turned out to be a glorious day in the sun, down at the local track on Dawson St for a Whangārei Speedway Club meet.
Now, as I've said once before, in an opinion piece after the Rally of Whangārei this year , cars are not much more than a way to get from A to B for me.
Nevertheless, as a good Kiwi boy hailing from a Central Hawke's Bay farm, I can appreciate a vehicle when it's got a bit of grunt and that was certainly the case at the speedway on Saturday.
While there was some early morning rain which threatened to cancel the meet, the track was deemed safe to use and it actually turned into a stunning day. Arriving at 10.30am, 2-1/2 hours before racing was set to start, the excitement and anticipation was obvious as the first few vans and utes rolled in, cars strapped to trailers as the pre-race checks began.
The fuel fumes were unmistakable in the air, calling me back to days of motorbike trail rides as the carpark filled with drivers and their wagons. Classic rock music tunes blast out via a couple of loudspeakers around the track, complementing the constant and ever-growing rumble of car engines.
I walk over to my ride. It's a 1999 Toyota Altezza but has all the signs of being recently done up. That's when I meet the man in which I place a startling amount of trust, Rex Roycroft.
Known as the 'Commodore King' and a winner of multiple national titles, Rex, 73, is a quiet man and I have to hear from someone nearby that he's known as a bit of legend as a former sidecar swinger and motorsport veteran.
He points out about three or four cars coming off their trailers which he's previously owned and sold on to other people in the speedway community. You get the sense, as you see the smiles and laughs during preparation, speedway is much more than a sport to these people.
After a comprehensive driver briefing, health and safety messages, and getting kitted up with overalls, gloves, a helmet and a neck protector, I'm strapped in alongside Rex and we line up behind the other cars in the first of three Production Saloon 'show me the money' races.
As we sit in the car feeling the vibrations, Rex casually mentions Saturday was only the second time he had taken the car out on the track and he was looking forward to seeing how it would hold up.
I just had a last-minute check of my safety straps.
Going into it beforehand, I didn't have much of an idea about what speed we'd be travelling at but after a couple of laps round the track and the starting flag came out, Rex floored it, topping 100kmh going into the first corner.
It's fair to say my stomach had dropped out somewhere from my body as we swung around that first corner, sliding alongside other cars which were just inches away, before streaking off up the next straight.
After a good start, unfortunately Rex was sidelined with a flat tyre which was complimented by a decent prang on the bumper and a fairly sizable hole torn through the metal of the passenger door.
Immediately, I could feel effects of the adrenaline that had been coursing through me and I couldn't wait to get out there again. But it wasn't until Rex's wife Didi Muncaster-Wright, a national champion in her own right, told me to hop in the driver's side for the next race.
Driving a car I'd never driven with others on the track was quite daunting. Thankfully there was only one other driver to contend with and she was much quicker than I was so there was never any need to worry about bumper to bumper action.
Having control of the steering wheel as you put your foot to the floor, flying around that dirt track was one of the greatest feelings I've ever experienced. While there were a few wobbly corners, sliding around the bend only to shoot out on to the straight is something more commonly associated with virtual arcade games rather than reality.
And it didn't end with one race. Ross and Sharyn Campbell in the neighbouring car were all too happy for a relative stranger to take their 1999 Holden Commodore out for a spin.
It was these kinds of offers that showed how tight-knit this speedway community was and while there was still plenty of competition, you felt a real sense of family at the speedway.
After all the racing and excitement, everyone gathered to celebrate the day with a festive prizegiving. We know all sports are based on community values but when it comes to speedway, you can truly appreciate the work done by countless volunteers and the time and passion put into these cars.
Thanks have to go to Rex, Didi, Sharyn and Ross for treating me like one of the family.
I know they would be the first to say speedway can attract some characters but for this reporter, it restores your faith in humanity when you experience people treating strangers with such kindness and patience.
While I might not be able to spare the cash necessary to get a vehicle of my own on the track, if you're looking for me on November 23, the date of the club's next meet, you might want to look at the speedway track.