Batteries are the future, allegedly. Cars, robots, children’s toys, adult toys, all of them battery powered and all of them useless when their batteries are flat. Traffic will descend into chaos, robots will fail, children will go back to playing make-believe and grown-ups will go back to shagging each other instead of anatomically-shaped bits of brightly coloured plastic. Welcome to the future.
So, you might be asking, what’s that got to do with this week’s racing? Well, it’s pretty simple. The clubroom clock’s battery was flat and as a consequence we were treated to a taste of that future. Minus the shagging, before you ask.
Molesey’s racing, whilst always competitive, isn’t renowned for its heats starting promptly, so with the clock’s hands stationary and not acting as an ever-present reminder for drivers to hurry up and get on with it, racing started and finished later than ever.
When it did eventually start, the racing itself went reasonably smoothly, Julian a few seconds ahead of Lee for most of the race, Simon third and the rest fighting over the scraps. It was the marshalling that was chaos.
Quite why a stalled clock should have such an effect is a mystery, but it did. Worst affected were the youngest: Dexter and the Tomster. Dexter was marshalling the first corner and the big banked bend and, as is the habit of those with short legs and arms, whenever someone crashed at the first corner he’d recover their car and reslot it on the banking rather than back at the corner where it had crashed, thereby shortening the lap for the crashed driver. Usually the marshal will wait a few seconds before reslotting the car, but not this week with Dexter and the stopped clock. Reslotting was almost instant and several drivers came close to setting their fastest lap by crashing at the first corner.
At half-distance, Julian led Lee by 1.8 seconds. Simon, David, Chris and Terry were spread out in the midfield, the only other close battle being between the Tomster and Neil for seventh place, the Tomster just two tenths ahead.
The Tomster’s driving was fast, but his marshalling was as slow as the stopped clock, earning him a kindly rebuke from Lee halfway through Heat 4 when Lee crashed and the Tomster took what Lee considered to be an age to reslot him: “You absolute penis.” Nice one Lee. Short, concise and easily understood. Perfect.
So to Heat 5. Lee went into the heat trailing Julian by 4.6 seconds courtesy of the Tomster’s penis episode, with Neil trailing the Tomster by 1.28 in their battle for seventh. Whether it was because of the stopped clock or simply because the race was running so far behind schedule that everyone was falling asleep, everything was about to be turned upside down. Julian crashed, was marshalled slowly by someone (your correspondent was too busy driving to notice who the tardy marshal was. A lucky escape there, Tom) and lost the best part of a lap to Lee, meaning that Lee was now two seconds clear at the head of the race. Neil crashed too and lost a lap to the Tomster, so by the end of the heat, that was pretty much it, the race now so spread out that nothing changed in the final heat. Lee took the win, Julian second, Simon third. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief that, at 11.06pm, the race was finally over and they could head off home to bed.
Batteries? Terrible things. God help us when we reach the future.