The Great Race.
Daughter Kirri, home from Wellington for xmas, guvmint bureaucrat that she is, decided to organise some entertainment for Xmas day down on the back paddock:
Initially it was just to be a race between the old’s mobility scooter and our ride-on lawn mower, but entry was soon opened to include a tractor, another lawn mower, Chris’ derelict “Pushme” motorcycle, a replica of the first ever motor car, a bicycle and, wait for it, a gas turbine powered kite buggy.
By the form card, the tractor had 65hp, gt buggy 60hp, motorcycle 15hp, lawmowers 14.5hp(but of the BS* type), Benz 3/4hp, and the mobility scooter 1/2hp.
A substantial crowd had gathered by mid afternoon but the start was long delayed when the 1886 replica Benz wouldn’t start (no spark and a stuck exhaust valve). These problems were eventually overcome and there is no truth at all to the suggestion that this delay on the Benz team’s part was just an attempt to further confuse and befuddle the opposition by causing them to hang around longer in the ‘refreshment area’.
Generally though, the organisation was muddled, with a start that was chaotic to say the least and no clear consensus, amongst spectators and competitors, even after the event, as to whether there had actually been one race or two or what the course had been.
Nor was crowd control perfect, with very young and very old persons wandering amongst entrants even during racing, and disruption by rowdies encamped beside the track.
In the start, or in one of the starts, a lawnmower beat the gun and rather than calling a false start, other vehicles were then sent off in pursuit.
Accounts vary, but what has since been identified by some as the second race was much longer- around the bottom paddock. Stewards are not able to confirm that all competitors have yet been accounted for.
Calls for the Rover gas turbine powered buggy to be disqualified because it’s jet stream and noise (120dB +) were deliberately used to confuse and retard competitors (and spectators) to it’s rear, failed when the protest committee couldn’t hear the protest on account of having become deaf.
In another incident, one competitor abandoned his Massey Ferguson tractor (with front end loader) part way through the race and then made a strong finish on an old bicycle.
Who won who lost?
Um ah- see the photos and make your own judgement- or cheat and read them below**.
*BS means Briggs and Stratton in this context- rather a useful coincidence don’t you think.
** Results: The Benz (with William Datlen, youngest competitor at 11 years on the tiller) acquitted itself well but lost marginally on acceleration and cornering, The mobility scooter, (helmed by Bob Lynn, the oldest competitor at 89), won:-by competitive straight line speed, clearly superior cornering and cunning strategy. The gt buggy was clearly last on the day, having barely sufficient thrust to surmount even indiscernable slopes and requiring the occasional help from an ever attendant pusher. The theory wonks say adding a nozzle and water injection will increase it’s thrust by 20 times or more- that is acceleration will then be 0.75g independent of speed (within reason), but I’m not so sure, then I’ll have to fit brakes or take the alternative offer of featuring in next year’s Darwin awards.
A happy and prosperous new year to you all.
Ashburton Dec 29 ‘03.
What’s new this month?
Well having to stay here and work through the festive season for one thing.
I can remember when I was the one who went away for water based recreation every xmas break leaving the less adventurous types here to hold the fort.