I took a friend from New Zealand who was visiting with us one late night in March of this year, not long after I received my WRX, on a drive across Sydney. I noticed a police paddy waggon on the other side of the lights as we were returning to William St after filling up at Woolloomooloo’s Harry’s Cafe de Wheels. The police turned on their flashing lights and were looking at me with big eyes. They didn’t appear to know what they wanted me to do, so I gave them a clear indication that I was going to pull over, and as soon as I did, their car pulled up just a few metres behind me.
I was approached by a man ocifer (haha) who hesitantly requested my driver’s licence. He noticed the infant seats in the back of the car as I was taking it out. He told me that a stolen white WRX like mine had been seen driving about town full of crazy youths who were hurling golf balls at other vehicles, pedestrians, and other objects. He seemed visibly relieved as he said this.
He questioned me on my travel path, identity, residence, and a zillion other things. Sydney police were frequently pulling over WRXs at the time because there weren’t many on the road and thefts were happening all the time. I was used to getting stopped at the time, but the subsequent inclusion of a factory immobiliser as standard appears to have changed things. But receiving my third degree was a brand-new experience.
A golf ball then abruptly struck the road behind the paddy waggon, bounced over us, and continued down the road. Then came another. then another
They’re here! was the only thought that crossed my head.
A second white WRX with a young man standing up through the sun roof sped into the junction behind us. Before he hurled a handful of golf balls at us, he yelled out a sophisticated stream of expletives and something to the effect of “I’ve got drugs!” I said witty things like, “Can I leave now?” as we all dove for cover.
The stolen car’s driver stepped on the gas, and the WRX accelerated up toward the bridge and tunnel. My licence was thrown back at me by the policeman, who then sped off to his vehicle.
The policewoman waiting in the paddy waggon must have been talking on the radio since a
Highway patrol car came barreling through seconds later while the paddy waggon was joining the chase by making an illegal u-turn and driving up the wrong side of the Eastern Distributor to the lights.
Thankful that none of the golf balls hit my friend or my brand-new Rex, we headed for coffee and a debriefing after the game. We made the decision to cross the bridge before returning home so he could view North Sydney. A police car travelling the other way executed a frantic u-turn and chased after us as we were travelling along the bridge. That really is unusual. I made my way slowly across North Sydney before stopping to see what all the excitement was about.
The police waited until I was immediately out of the car because they were so anxious that they wouldn’t approach. I informed them that I was the vehicle that had earlier been stopped as they drew closer. Relieved once more, the officers struck up a conversation and revealed that the stolen automobile had been used in a bag robbery prior to the start of the golf ball games. The policeman had earlier seen us in East Sydney with the paddy waggon. He was the chase vehicle that made an attempt to catch the WRX in the tunnel. (They had come from Epping just for the occasion!)
The Golf Ball Bandits, in my opinion, were never apprehended.
What made my night, however, was leaning against my car with three large Highway Patrol
Commodores parked all around me blocking Miller Street with blue strobes flashing as the
policemen gushed about how awesome the WRXs were, asking me all about mine, and expressing how they were “beautiful to watch” as they cornered and powered away while being chased and how they had no hope of catching them. My purchase received a lot of praise from my pal. If you can picture the scene, it’s a really good value for me.
But as we made our way home, we were still a little shocked by the amount of drama we had
encountered in a little trip around the neighbourhood, and even more so by the odd disloyalty of the police officers. They lost all sense of who they were and how inappropriate it was for them to share their opinions in such a direct manner. I believe that’s when I understood that this was no ordinary vehicle.