CHAPTER THREE: Car journalist meets car enthusiast!
As soon as the second race of the night was announced, both Mike and Gavin got into their cars. They drove them to the starting line, stopped them and got out. They then walked towards each other and shook hands.
“Name’s Mike Conelly”. - Said the owner of the SHX 86, as he shook the journalist’s hand. “Gavin Anderson” - replied the journalist.
“Alright racers, let’s get racin’!”. After hearing the organizer’s words, both drivers got into their cars. As soon as they engines were started, the exhaust tone war prior to the race was fought. Mike’s 1.6 inline 4 screamed his way to 9000rpm, while Gavin’s 3.3L V6 growled deeply.
“We’re going to start the countdown! Nine, eight, seven…!”. As they organizer counted down, both pressed their clutches and engaged first gear. “Four, three, two, one…!”. Both drivers started releasing the clutch slowly, and revved their engines.
(As always, race’s theme!)
“GO!”. -As soon as the organizer yelled this, both drivers released their clutch pedals completely, and the cars launched. Both drivers launched pretty hard, but the massive power produced by Gavin’s Berlose gave him the upper hand at the first straight. He couldn’t believe it - was he really leading the race?
However Mike did not fall behind. He lined up his car with Gavin’s and drafted to avoid falling behind. Both drivers braked and entered the first corner. Both cars threatened their drivers to oversteer, but they managed to prevent that from happening and got out of the corner as fast as they could. As they approached the second corner, the same thing happened: it looked like both drivers still had to get the hang of their cars.
They approached the first hairpin. As they did so, the started downshifting. However, when blipping the gas, Gavin underrevved the engine and made his wheels spin, inducing some oversteer he had to fight. Mike took advantage of his rival’s error and closed the gap generated on the long straight. However as Gavin drifted the corner, Mike found himself unable to overtake and forced to drift too.
Both of them got out of the hairpin and accelerated as soon as their cars were stable again. During this first high speed section, Gavin could have left Mike behind, but he didn’t do so, trying to save his tyres; he limited himself to drive fast enough not to be overtaken by the SHX.
They got to the second hairpin. Gavin decided to grip his way through this corner to avoid wearing the tyres, and Mike did the same thing. As soon as they got out of the hairpin, the first fast section started. Gavin floored his throttle, hoping that it would be enough to leave Mike behind; of course, the gap widened, but the race was nowhere near finished. Mike kept up, struggling but finally keeping up before the third hairpin.
During the third and fourth hairpins, Mike didn’t have much of a chance to overtake Gavin: he either had more grip or blocked his attempts by drifting.
As soon as they exited the fourth hairpin, Gavin started accelerating again, but didn’t floor it: he wanted to widen the gap without losing too much tire grip. Mike could keep up this time, and tried to use the following corner to overtake Gavin. However, he braked too late, forcing him to use a slower line and losing some valuable time.
The situation remained the same up to the fifth hairpin: the pressure on both drivers started building up: Gavin found himself looking through the rear view mirror often and Mike started attempting more desperate attempts to overtake. When both racers entered the fifth hairpin, Gavin made a big mistake: he braked too soon, allowing Mike to get on the inside of the road. When both racers exited the turn, Gavin floored it, making his wheels spin for a short time; fortunately for him, the car did not spin out and he could recover his first place.
After this last fast section, the road would get a lot more technical. Gavin widened the gap during this section, but not by much: Mike managed to keep up by drafting as much as he could. Both gripped their way through the sixth corner, and pushed their way through the medium speed corners leading up to the five consecutive hairpins.
When they entered the five hairpins, Gavin found himself being constantly harrassed by Mike’s constant overtaking attemps; Mike, on the other hand, knew he would have to overtake him soon or else the race would be over. It did not take long before they left the fifth consecutive hairpin.
In front of them, there was the final hairpin of the course. Both had preserved their tires pretty well. It was time for both to give the race their all. Gavin gripped the corner, whereas Mike decided to drift it to try and push on the outside.
They got out of the last hairpin and entered the last short straight. Both Gavin and Mike floored it this time; however, this time, Mike started struggling to keep up even if he drafted the Berlose. “Am I falling behind? This can’t be happening!” - Thought Mike, whose SHX screamed as it approached the redline. They entered the final corners.
On the finishing line, the engines started to be audible. People heard the tires squealing through the corners, a fight being fought between two drivers taken to their limits. As the engines were heard closer and closer, everybody held their breath: the cars would appear any second now.
The Erin Berlose appeared first, with the SHX following it a couple of seconds behind; Gavin’s car crossed the finishing line first and, a couple of seconds later, the SHX followed it. Race was over.
Back at the summit, all of the racers were starting to pack up and go. The organizer reminded everyone that the following day, races would start at 22:00PM as usual. Mike and Gavin shook hands and went back to their respective accomodation places.
To be continued.