Aug 1 2009
Your Wheels Or Mine?
by Dick Pascoe
Cheriton Raconteur & Blogger
Here's a tale of "don't mess with the best"!
Pete left work at his usual time and headed for the car park to pick up his old mark one Ford Mondeo. He’d had the car for a couple of years and whilst it wasn’t the best car ever made it was good enough for him. It only had to last another three years, after all he was almost 62 years old and when he retired he would be able to afford a nice new car. This one would have to last until then.
His work at the Insurance house was boring, he had done the same job for almost forty years and could do most of it standing on his head, but the thoughts of just over three years to go brought another smile to his face. His world tour waited for him and the three years would now fly by as he carefully planned his route around the countries he had always wanted to see.
As he pulled out of the car park he drove along his usual route home which took him around a block of flats just off the main road. As was often the case a group of young men were parked in the lay-by next to a small car park, sat astride their 125cc machines tweaking the throttles as they tried to look the part of hard boy racers. The mock leathers, big crash helmets and the big boots made them look like real ‘hard’ types. The only thing that spoilt the scenario was the sound of their bikes, they all sounded like electric sewing machines at full throttle.
As Pete drove past them one dropped his bike into gear and raced him to the corner. The biker slipped past the Mondeo causing Pete to swerve slightly to avoid a collision. The big finger from the biker said it all, old guy in Ford Mondeo equals slow driver.
Pete ignored the biker and continued home to his dinner and a warm place by the fire and an evening of TV with his wife. That evening he explained all about it to his wife who only said, ‘these lads nowadays, they never show any respect’.
The next night as he drove along the road the same biker pulled out behind him and tried the same trick again, forcing Pete to pull the car to the side to avoid a collision. This time Pete drove around the block and tried to have a quiet word with the lad and tell him how dangerous his driving was. Of course all he got was abuse and then all four of them pulled out and tried the same trick forcing him to take avoiding action to stop hitting one of them.
The lads thought this was great fun and each evening as Pete drove past they shouted at him, calling him names, mostly unprintable and none flattering.
One Friday evening a week or so later Pete stopped his car before the lay-by and walked over to see the lads. As he approached the insults started such as ‘look out gang, he comes granddad’ but he said nothing until he got right up next to the leader, the one that had started all the ‘fun’.
He looked long and hard at the lad and walked around the small bike. After a few moments without another word being spoken he asked if they were up to a challenge. Grins all round of course, ‘lets have a bet’ Pete said, ‘my wheels against yours’.
Of course there had to be a stake and eventually the sum of £20 was agreed. The lads didn’t actually have any money but they thought that anything the old guy offered was bound to be to their benefit.
Pete offered a race, his wheels against theirs from the lay-by to the café 5 miles out of town and back again. It was a fairly busy road but wide and usually didn’t have too much traffic.
Pete explained that he had to be home shortly as his dinner would be on the table but agreed to meet the four lads at 2pm the next Saturday afternoon in the lay-by.
Next Saturday the sun shone through the clouds and the temperature quickly climbed, a great day for the open road. By 1.45 the four lads were in the lay-by engines revving away and each shouting out how they would spend their share of the £20. Their views ranged from 10 minutes to half an hour on the time difference between them on their bikes and ‘Granddad’ in his battered car.
Several cars went past but none was the elderly Mondeo. Time crept up and passed the 2pm meeting time. As they looked around one of the lads spotted a great looking bike parked just over the road in the car park. While they waited they all walked over to have a look. It was a thousand cc Triumph Sprint ST, bright red and it looked fast, very fast.
Low slung with a wrap around fairing that gave the bike a sleek look that made it seem as if was just itching to get up to the magic ‘ton’ or more. The gang leader knew all about the bike, it was what he planned to buy when he had enough money, it ‘would do over 150 MPH’ he said. The new three cylinder engine would do zero to 60mph in under 3 seconds and it pulled like a train!
Each of the lads walked around it, each one drooling a little and dreaming of taking this monster out for a spin. After a few minutes a voice behind them got their attention.
Pete stood there, in full race leathers, helmet in hand, ‘sorry I’m late lads – had to go to the shop’ ‘So – these are my wheel, who’s ready for this race?’