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The Great Automation Run | Chapter 16 and final results!


#484

Team Angus - Chapter Ten

Team Angus - Chapter 9
GAR - Chapter 10
Team Angus Bio

The highway proved to be the right choice. Whoever organised the Erin attack had either run out of goons or had chosen to regroup to strike back later on in the race. The way was now clear to get on with the business of winning the race. This was much easier said than done, however, as we had been rejoined by the Chevalier!

Team Chevalier

They’d managed to get ahead of us using a different path and they were punching hard for the horizon. Immediately a red mist descended and it was Bushranger, no Chevalier, no Bushranger!!! NO!!! The Chev is in front!!! We must have traded places (and paint :blush:) at least a hundred times; a constant to and fro of angry V8’s vying for the lead.

All of a sudden, as a small gap appeared between us around a sweeping left-hander, a dark blue shape slipped between us like Steve Bradbury winning gold at the olympics. The unassuming coupe gracefully held an elegant drift as it made full use of the gap available, never touching either of us, then straightened for the next bend and disappeared over the yump of the next section of road.

Catherine Erin the Scarlet!

I resolved to chase after our new quarry but, somewhat embarrassingly, the bushranger had drained her fuel tank dry! Fortuitously the Chev had also run out of fuel so we kept our distance from Team Chev (other than a couple of sheepish grins from Ben and an unblinking stare session from sooty) , filled the car from the spare fuel containers and… watched as the Chev guys finished first and roared off.

I was emotionally gutted and physically exhausted by now so we let Valerie drive. I sat in the back and rested my eyes for a bit while Valerie drove to a place where we could patch up the body damage and where she also could procure some items for us to use if the goons showed up again. We arrived at a rural property where Valerie drove to an old garage to the rear of the main house. She parked the Bushranger and entered the garage by a side door while Ben broke out the race tape and patched up the spoilers. Valerie emerged with a duffel bag and some bottles of Coke, handed out the Cokes (labels towards the camera) and let us in on what was in the bag… An AK74SU and spare magazines plus a couple of Soviet era Marakovs!!!

She handed each of us a Marakov and a couple of mags, slung the AK about her chest, shouldered the duffel bag then gave the keys for the car to Ben. We loaded into the car, once we’d enjoyed our icy cold beverages, then set off to rejoin the race; Ben was now driving, Valerie was riding shotgun and I was snoozing in the rear. Just as we were exiting the property, Valerie indicated for Ben to stop then she rolled down her window, whistled loudly then waited; Sooty leapt through the window and plonked himself onto a stack of spare clothes in the back of the cabin and curled up, fast asleep. We then roared off, rejoined the race, then found ourselves being waved through the Italian border, hard on the tail of our perennial rivals, Team Chevalier…

TO BE CONTINUED


#485

I have been meaning to write but with exams around the corner and bad luck at work, it’s been hard enough to get anything of anything done. I’m betting that Anna didn’t even notice the whole mafia business unfolding behind her, running a very lonely race and a (losing) battle mostly for her sanity (as reflected by the increasingly dishevelled state of her cabin) as she’s been trying to run at 100% for the entire time to chase down the estimated four or five cars that overtook her while she was trying to repair the broken front splitter from her airborne shenanigans. If she heard gunshots she’d probably assume it was backfire from a nearby car.

But now the Bonham’s just barely in her sights, and even if the Devil were driving that wagon, she’s going to chase it down.


#486

so Valerie is actually a Soviet spy?


#487

Maybe, maybe not. Depends on where the story goes I guess… But I’m probably going to go with ex-spy since she has the skills to mass murder a bunch of organised crime dudes for killing her brother. :cowboy_hat_face:


#488

As Teuvo was filling up the car, Jorma thought that he could dig up his portable cassette player again. He reached under his seat and dragged the player out into the daylight, popped in a cassette and pressed play.

As Teuvo got back into the car, he was pleasantly surprised that he finally could hear something else than the growl of the engines and gunshots. Without saying anything he started up the car and pulled away from the gas station.

As the car blasted down the highway, Jorma asked: “Can we stop while we’re in Monaco? I’ve always wanted to drive the F1 circuit there.” “Sorry to disappoint you lad, but we’re not even going through Monaco. We’ll take the highway that goes past it. It’s way faster,” Teuvo argued. “Oh, okay then. We’re in a race after all,” Jorma said, sounding seemingly disappointed.

Soon after the men reached the Italian border and saw two guards: one letting everyone into Italy and the other one seemingly unconscious. “Man, these Italians have some lenient bosses. If I was that drunk when I went to work, I would’ve been fired!” Teuvo joked. He stepped on the gas as he smelled trouble and the men started to make their way over to the Alps.


#489

En route to Monaco, Walter felt the confidence building up inside him. Having just escaped from the mob, he set about closing the gap on the opposition. The twisty coastal roads leading to the principality were an ideal place to utilize the Guardsman’s maneuverability. Then he realized he wouldn’t actually be entering it, much to his disappointment - but there would be many other opportunities to show off his inner Schumacher or McRae. Besides, he would be in Italy very soon, and the roads there presented their own set of challenges.

He remarked to himself, “Who needs Monaco when you’ve got a whole continent to drive through?” before making plans for the next leg. By now it was obvious that being a tortoise in a field of hares wasn’t going to work in the long term, but he was enjoying the drive anyway. This was, after all, a shakedown run for a proposed track-ready Guardsman, and if all went well, it would be very likely that the higher-ups at WMD would greenlight such a variant. With that in mind, he continued driving at his usual fast pace, which was just as well, since a few other rivals were closing in on him - and quickly.


#490

The Scagliati roared down the highway, screaming headlong along the French coast toward Italy. As Christoforo thtreaded the 330 down the highway, approaching Nice, Pasquale made a quick phone call to an old friend of his.

"Vincenzo, my friend! It’s Pasquale, come stai?"

“Very good, very good!” the voice on the other end of the phone said, in typical animated fashion, “How’s my old battalion mate doing? You’re still with that darling Luisa?”

“27 years this July…you and Maria should make the trip to Mirano to celebrate with us!” Pasquale replied.

“I will have to check my schedule…this new position doesn’t give me much time to get away, you can imagine! So, what’s on your mind, old man?” Vincenzo asked.

“Well my friend,” Pasquale started, “I need a favour of you…a big one…”

The phone went quiet for a moment; Pasquale could almost hear his friend shifting in his chair on the other end of the line. “Is this in relation to this race you and your young friend are in? I just got off the phone with my counterpart in Paris about that…you’re alright? Hell of a thing to happen. Can you tell me anything about what happened?”

“Yes, we are fine, but a little shook up.” Pasquale replied, feeling the emotion of the last couple hours well up a bit. “Listen…the leaders are an hour away from the border, and we’re about an hour back from them…can you keep the heat off of us if you can? At very least, tell your reggimenti to turn a blind eye? We’re just cutting the corner through Lombardia and will be out of your hair in a moment. And yes, I will tell you everything I know once we get back home.”

The man on the other end of the phone sighed, “You know you’re asking me to do something illegal, Zocca?”

“How is it any different than when I covered for your little escapade in Sardinia all those years ago?” Pasquale replied.

“Well for one, I wasn’t a Comandante in the Carabineri back then, for starters…”

“…and if I didn’t cover your ass, you never would have been either, with a mark like that on your service record! Come on…you DO owe me at least the courtesy of consideration!”

Vincenzo sighed again, pausing; “I guess I do owe you that much. I will consider your request…but we’re even after this, my friend!”

“Thank you, Vincenzo…I appreciate it! And call us if you decide to come out in August…the Amarone was particularly good last year!”

“How could I pass up an offer like that!” Vincenzo said with a laugh. “Be careful, my friend…”

“Thanks…and thank you!” Pasquale said as the cell phone chirped, the call ended. “Well, that might buy us some slack, I hope!”

Christoforo scowled for a moment; “I thought you said the Amarone was bad last year!”

“Well…” Pasquale replied, laughing a little bit, Christoforo cracking a smile as the border approached…


#491

Chapter 11: Dolce Vita.


Autostrada dei Fiori, Italy, 17:43. 8th of October 1995. 3820km to Athens.
The google maps route can be seen here.


(Musical suggestion by @CadillacDave!)

The slightly narrow Autostrada hugged the mountains around it. The cars blazed past the houses on the sides of the mountains…entering a light fog. Those who had anti fog lights switched them on; those who didn’t were in a pickle. All of them would have to be more and more careful by the impredictability of the weather. What made the whole experience even scarier, was that the racers were now going downhill.

The racers would be pushing their luck with any move at all. The first and bravest move was the Blood Eagle’s: he throttled back, making the Dolphine think the traffic was on the right side; as soon as the black coupé switched lanes, the classic pushed onwards, taking the place.

The mountainous highway entered a section of tunnels. The drivers had to dance around the traffic once again, at speeds that were more than dangerous. It was then when those drivers who had a police scanner could hear the following dialogue, in Italian:

“The French police received an order from the Spanish police to stop a group of highly modified cars from crossing the borders, but it seems like no highway connecting us to Germany, Belgium or Italy have reported such a group crossing them.”

“They must have gone northbound. They were pretty hasty, so if they kept going towards Italy they’d have reached the border by now.”

Some of the racers reacted by getting slightly nervous; others couldn’t help but relax or smile as they heard the police were being misleaded. As the tunnels followed each other, the outdoors sections of the road started switching from mountains to coast. During these quick sections, the Interval overtook the NRZ once again without thinking it twice. A clean pass.

The downhill racing had taken quite a few kilometres already, and the brakes were starting to show some fade. Unable to brake just enough, the Evo RC hugged the guardrail, scrapping its paint, but luckily not losing control nor too much time. The Bonham driver saw this through his mirror, in the distance, and realized the pesky rally car was getting closer and closer. The kilometres went on and on, still downhill. This was starting to become a nightmare for all of the drivers, who feared for their brakes. Some of the racers started using techniques such as engine braking to reduce wear on their discs and drums.

The nightmare eventually ended at San Nicolò, where the road become an uphill path once again. In this segment, the Bushranger overtook the Chevallier once again, in their unending battle, and got closer to the Scarlet again. The fog cleared out as they got further into the mountains once again, with their next destination being Milano. Not too much time later, the city was finally visible. This signaled they were halfway through Italy, but it also meant something else: going through the city could get them back on the sights of the police.

To be continued.




#492

Team Angus - Chapter Eleven

Team Angus - Chapter 10
GAR - Chapter 11
Team Angus Bio

The road leading through the mountains on the French/Italian border was narrow and winding. This meant that Ben, now driving the Bushranger, had to limit his speed due to poor visibility and lack of room to manoeuvre. Ben’s workload was further compounded by the sudden onset of a light fog, which reduced our visual range even further. To keep the iconic look of the Bushranger intact for the movie we hadn’t installed any extra fog or driving lights which was coming back to bite us, hard!

I would have been unaware of most of this stretch except that, in order to conserve the brakes due to the downward descent, Ben was using compression braking which filled the cabin with lots of growling and crackling from the engine and exhaust and whining from the diff and gearbox. Upon waking I was confronted with a surreal scene; a murky haze punctuated feebly by a cone of dull white, with glowing red eyes appearing out of the blanketing darkness to streak by us, some occasionally howling their shrill disapproval via their horn.

Ben was a portrait of concentration, revealing an economy of movement not seen before, no effort wasted in the focus to drive as fast as possible down this road. Valerie, in contrast, looks like an ancient greek statue; her pale face frozen in a half grimace, fear etched in every line, body rigidly held. No sound or movement is allowed to escape her form; it could distract Ben leading to our inevitable demise! Sooty, in contrast, was showing her typical feline disdain for anything other than her own needs; she was wedged in a convenient spot where she could groom herself with only an occasional brace against the car body…

After what seemed an eternity we reached the bottom of the mountain and powered through San Nicolo, thankfully with no Mafia or Police interference, then headed back up into the mountains. Much to our relief, the fog had cleared so Ben was able to pour on the throttle and we made up for the time lost having to drive in the fog without fog-lamps!

As we headed up the road, a familiar set of tail-lights appeared. It was that damned Chevalier! Realising that they hadn’t seen us yet, Ben held back, waiting for a yump. When the Chev disappeared over the hill, Ben floored the accelerator and the momentum gained was used to ambush the Chev; we rushed past, Valerie and I waving, and pulled ahead and into the lead!

We were able to extend our lead by a few minutes over the Chev, which pleased us greatly, then we saw something glinting further ahead; Valerie spotted a metallic blue wedge at a point where the mountain allowed us to see a longer distance than usual. It was that Erin that passed us just before we left France! Seeing our next target re-invigorated us all; maybe we could win this thing after all!

TO BE CONTINUED


#493

Marcus sat back in the XR-3, relaxing as he held the wheel with one hand, and lazily smoked a cigarette with the other. He had the radio on, despite not being able to hear it all that clearly over the growling rumble resonating from under the hood and down the length of the car, but it helped him relax. The fog was no real issue for his piercing green foglights and glowing neon tubes, and so he didn’t mind. In fact, this dense fog had him even more relaxed than ever.

“Fucking helicopter can’t see us in this shit. Cops’ll only see us when they’re about to drive right up our asses, and the Mafia has to be able to see to actually hit shit with their heaters. Yeah, there’s likely some dunces who didn’t pack a pair of fog-lights, or didn’t install some rally off-roading lights, and they’re shittin’ bricks right about now, but they’ll be easy road-blocks to drive around.” Marcus said. At this point, he’d grabbed the little micro-cassette recorder from the center console and had been recording the events up to this stage, in hopes that once everything was all said and done, he could have his ‘stupid younger brother’ write it all down, compile it into a book, and get it published. That way, his younger brother wouldn’t feel the call of the streets as much, as he could see it already in his choice of video games. Anything to deal with cars or racing, Cody was into it.

“You know, driving this road reminds me of that time you brought the Hot Wheels track to the hotel room.” Marcus said, grinning. “Mom was so pissed when you broke the window and that the only thing you cared about was that your Twin Mill ended up in the pool. I knew then that you were going to be into cars. Then you got that go-cart when you were a little older and it was pretty much confirmed. I’ve said it before, I don’t want you racing, it’s dangerous and there’s a lot of crazy people out here in this world. And the cops are relentless. You street race, you spend a lot of your days looking over your shoulder, jumping at every siren. And when the cops do finally catch you, and they will, they put you away for a long time. Been thinking about that a lot lately. Wouldn’t be my first time in jail, that happened when I was 15 and got busted stealing the neighbor’s car. Won’t be my last time in jail, either. Just hoping that when that day comes, that the police come knocking on my door, that you don’t have to see it, Cody.”

Marcus used the XR-3’s big engine to slow down as he cruised down the mountain at speed, the big triple barking and backfiring and banging as it dumped unburned fuel into a screaming hot exhaust manifold. And as soon as he was down the mountain, it was back up the mountain again. He took the opportunity to change the tape in the recorder, wrote “Racer’s Diary, Part 11” on the tape he’d taken out, and placed it neatly in the suitcase sitting on the passenger seat. He then peeled the plastic wrapper off of another tape and popped it into the recorder, ready for the next stage, and the next bit of history.


#494

As the road fogged up, Cindy turned her lights on. The popups triumphantly protruded from the body, and were only complemented by the fog lights. “Such an underrated feature.” Cindy remarked as she saw other racers without them struggle to see. It was around then that the scanner started squawking with intel relevant to the racers for the first time in a couple days. “Well, my Italian isn’t the best, but it looks like we’re in the clear for now. I just wonder for how much longer.”

The prolonged downhill slope kept Cindy from contemplating too much, but the Thunderbolt’s low curb weight and strong vented discs kept it at a safe speed for the entire duration, with Cindy just opting to coast down some larger hills to save a bit of fuel. After all, you never know when you’ll need it most. But that went out the window with the elevation climbing again, and with it, the revs from the 3.3 behind her. And just over the hill, another city. “This could be the calm before the storm.” Cindy’s stomach knotted up as the racers drew closer to the city limits. The 3.3 roared as she dropped down a gear in preparation for a quick pull through it.


#495

Finally, a little writing:

1 & 2: Prologue
3: Prologue
4: Prologue
5: Malaga - Granada
5b: Malaga - Granada
5c: Granada - Alicante


Chapter 6: Italy

Life was winding road. Road in rain and shine, road covered in snow. Four tyres gripping, slipping, aching hands pulling at the wheel, on the gear knob, and legs pistoning at the pedals. Anna’s body and its parts had long gone numb, mere extensions of the fatigued parts of her trusty steed as it blew and snorted and groaned and roared its path to legend. Sweat was caked to her face, to her collar, gluing her suit to her shoulders, her breasts, her thighs. But worst of all was her mind, having lost track of all time in amidst the constant cacophony of road noise and white static, and competing voices demanding she drive faster, that she pace herself. And all the while, the aft of the cabin was becoming more and more cluttered with the empty cans and bottles of her rations.

France had come and gone, it seemed, in a flurry of white, four passed cars and a fusillade of what sounded like rather loud backfires. And at the border to Italy, she had spotted the green Bonham, the devil itself, in the queue some minutes ahead of her, and her spirits soared. Her Evo RC had kept pace. The lead was within striking distance.

A quick look at the map revealed twisting coastal roads followed by a long straight highway making a beeline to the next checkpoint in Milan. She knew the Bonham had the speed advantage. So it would have to be in the curves that she made her move.

As the coastal views and the villages streaked by, Anna could feel her sense of urgency rising further. The Bonham was still not in sight and through the smoother curves and medium to high speed bends her auto locker made controlling the car more difficult. Still, she allowed herself the indulgence of cracking the window slat to listen to the V12 whine and exhaust crackle and pop through the tunnels. But as the Evo slingshot into the mountain roads, it was back on mission.

Several dozen turns later and some minutes of a vague sense of abdominal urgency that Anna was studiously ignoring, she saw the familiar flash of bright green, garish against the rustic palette of rural Italy. Some turns ahead still, it flitted in and out of view, tantalisingly close yet still dancing beyond reach. Anna grit her teeth, pushing the Evo’s nose harder into each corner, braking later, shifting down earlier and revving higher. And in that moment Anna pushed too far. The front tyres slid and the steering went light, and the guardrail rushed to meet her. Swearing, Anna jabbed the brakes again, sawing the wheel back, and the wheels bit, but too late. Sparks flew as the quarterpanel scraped along the guardrail with a metallic shriek. The vibrations shook Anna but she held on for dear life, praying the tyres didn’t shred again. Then the corner was over and the car veered back to the road, seemingly little the worse for wear save the paintwork. But she was still in the race.

The abdominal urgency was back with a vengeance now. It wasn’t far to Milan, where she would presumably have to refuel the car and… empty herself. Beyond that, there was still more than half the race left. If she was to catch the leader, it would only happen in good time, and with everything in one piece.


#496

Chapter 7

I’m just going to act like nothing happened here, except for the stuff that did happen.

Chapter 8,9
Sumgit literally has no idea why he was being fired at. There might be someone a touch dodgy in this race. Maybe he was caught up in a revolution. Could have even been a turf war. Whatever the reason was, he realised it was not where he wanted to be. The best way to not be here… go faster. He was so smart! Before he could execute his plan, he’d need to pass the Tsu. Easier said than done. With the black cars following them both, and random gunfire, there was a risk of… oh shit! What was that? dragging plastic could be heard over some of the road irregularities. He’d have to find somewhere “safer” to look into it. Better get to pedalling.


#497

Team Marx

Lenin:okay, good, the police are being misled, they think we went north.

Marx: yeah, the orders from the spanish police won’t really help them any.

Lenin: indeed so. and what a downhill, right?

Marx: yeah, glad our brakes held up in that.

Lenin: you can say that again.

Marx: well anyway, there’s a city coming up, we gotta decide what to do here soon.

Lenin: we could try to avoid it, but it’d add too much time for what it’s worth.

Marx: you never know though, you know what’ll happen if we’re caught.

Lenin: we’ll see when we get there…


#498

Chapter 12: When shit hits the fan…


Milan, Italy, 19:07. 8th of October 1995. 3552 km to Athens.
The google maps route can be seen here.


(Musical suggestion by @titleguy1!)

The racers tried to keep a low profile as they entered Milan. Respecting the traffic laws as they navigated the city, they found the police presence rather…lacking. And the few police cars they encountered seemed not to care about the racers. Had they finally lost the police? Nah, it was being way too easy.

The only thing mildly interesting is that a semitruck had joined them. But depriving it of any importance, the racers continued their path out of the city. As soon as they got up to speed again, the first overtake that took place was the Chevallier once again claiming its position from the Bushranger, sharing paint in the proccess.

The racers soon rejoined the highways again. The long, not too windy highways allowed the F219+35 to stretch its wings, overtaking the Fatalita at the same time. The day was slowly getting cloudier and cloudier as the racers approached the border with Switzerland. As soon as they arrived, the cars queued up again. The border agent was about to start inspecting the cars when an alarm sounded: a bomb threat. Taking advantage of the distraction and chaos that soon formed, the green Bonham smashed the barrier, getting into Switzerland, and followed by the rest of the racers…and a bunch of patrol cars.

The racers punched it once again, quickly getting away from the patrol cars. However, more and more patrol cars were starting to flood the highway. Taking advantage of the chaos, the Blood Eagle overtook the Dolphine, leaving it behind through sheer power. The Alps highway was quickly becoming more and more twisty, making the F219 have to hold itself back a little bit, but not lose the positions in the process. Despite the pressure from the pursuit, the landscapes were nothing short of gorgeous.

And then…the policemen opened fire. Armed this time, they opened fire against those they recognized as the race leaders, puncturing their tyres. Both the Bonham and the EVO RC spun out, forced to stop, praying for the pursuit to be too heated for the policemen to stop so they could change their tyres. And exactly that happened, with the Cannonnero taking the lead and distracting the policemen, allowing both cars to conduct their repairs.

In the meantime, both the Borhs and the Maesima were on an overtaking spree, taking places like madmen, ultimately leading to a dogfight between the two cars. The racers picked this from their police scanners (if they had one):

(Special rule!: if you don’t pass a drivability check to see if the drivers reacts in time, the roadblock will make you lose time as you have to dodge police cars and racers alike.)

Policewoman: “We can’t let them get to the German border! Prepare a roadblock!”

Policeman: “Yes ma’am! Set up a roadblock, now!”

The roadblock was there, with no possibility to avoid it now. The racers started pouring in, through the only possible exit; lots of them had to slow down, losing some valuable time there. Then, the backpack saw the semitruck from earlier launch forward, overtaking them, and smashing into the next roadblock placed in front of the border, which had been evacuated, creating an opening. The racers crossed the border without hesitating, smashing the barriers again. “Bundesrepublik Deutschland”, read the first sign they saw. With the policemen getting stuck behind them, the racers sighed relieved, until they picked the next piece from the scanners:

Policewoman: “Seems like we can’t stop them no matter what. Will have to warn Brussels. We need an Euroorder for this to become a priority.”

Policeman: “Yes ma’am.”

Still thinking about this lines, those who had a police scanner at least, the racers arrived at Stuttgart, avoiding the city through the highway.

To be continued.


Times spreadsheet:


Off: exams and life have been pretty busy. I’ll try to finish this any possible way now :sob:


#499

Oh for fuck’s sake :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Every time I claw may way back towards the lead… I should have just gone fucking cheese because drivability was clearly useless.

Edit: on the plus side I can probably channel this into the writing… Good for drama.


#500

Team Angus - Chapter Twelve

Team Bio
Team Angus - Chapter 11
GAR - Chapter 12

Upon entering Italy we were surprised at the lack of a police presence. Our run to Milan was uneventful; the Erin was nowhere to be seen and Ben decided to back off to save fuel. When we arrived at Milan Ben chose to stick to the speed limits and keep a low profile so as not to draw any unwanted attention, either from the police or the Mafia. As we drove through the streets it became clear that there was no police to be seen anywhere; none on foot, cycling or parked outside restaurants etc.

V: “This doesn’t feel right. Where are the cops? This car stands out like dog’s balls and there’s no way the Italian police haven’t got our descriptions by now… We leave this city via the back streets or else we’ll not be leaving at all”.

Ben and I agreed with this assessment so Valerie proceeded to guide us via the backstreets. Milan was a picturesque city and it’s back-roads had been in place since before cars so the roads were tight, twisty and harsh on suspension. This is why our old foes, the Chevallier, were able to surprise us!

S: “Watch out Ben, that truck’s reversing out of that driveway!”

B: “I see it … What the hell!!!”

The Chevallier pulls alongside, panel-work scraping ours, then hauls ass for the rapidly narrowing gap between the truck and the buildings.

B: “Bastards are running us into the truck!!!”

V: " Want me to shoot them?"

S: " No!!! We’ll get disqualified if we purposefully assault another team! We gotta play this above-board! Gun it Ben!"

B: “I’m trying, I’m giving it all she’s got!!!”

However, luck wasn’t on our side. We’d been caught flat-footed and the Chev managed to pull ahead (because we backed off!!!) and we scraped past the truck behind them, in hot pursuit. But we were unable to get close enough for another chance to pass the Chev, so we exited Milan a place down and nothing but a few scrapes and bruises to show for our efforts, not to mention we still saw no sign of the police…

The highway towards Switzerland was a quiet one; not much traffic and no competitors within easy reach. When we reached the Swiss border we lined up behind the Chev, hoping to get the jump on them when the border opened. All of a sudden, everything happened at once! A siren went off somewhere and the guards ran inside their little bunker, a number of Swiss police cars appeared and the Lime green Bonham rammed the gate, closely followed by the rest of us.
The police cars gave chase and were soon mixed up amongst the racers, but they seemed to be trying to reach the front of the pack. Once we hit the Swiss highways the original police cars lost momentum and fell back but they were more than remedied by the ones that appeared from the on-ramps.

Then the cops opened fire.

The highway was converted into a warzone with broken and shot-up police cars littering the street. The police were clearly targeting the leaders as we were left unmolested by a number of latecomer cops racing to join the action. Then we came upon the roadblock just as a semi trailer smashed through the assembled police cars; cars and people pushed out of the way, creating the opening we needed. Ben expertly threaded the Bushranger through the gap and we were home free!!!

As we sped onwards to, and around, Stuttgart. We couldn’t help but think what madness has this race got in store for us next!?!?

TO BE CONTINUED


#501

Team Marx

Lenin: Holy… That was intense.

Marx: Indeed so, if it weren’t for that semi truck we would b shot to death.

Lenin: and you really know what they’d do with us given it’s 1995

Marx: I couldn’t even imagine where they’d begin.

Lenin: At least the other armed teams are being careful not to shoot at us.

Marx: we really should have brought a gun… oh Goooooooood…

GOD: if you think i’m giving you a gun forget about it.

Marx: really…

GOD: Really.

Marx: well you’re the one torturing us with this race, so at least make sure we don’t get killed before the end of it.

GOD: If anything, i’ll kill you guys myself before any of their bullets will.

Lenin: I’m not sure if that’s relieving or threatening.

GOD: well figure it out.

Marx: throws middle finger up to the sky


#502

As Walter continued his relentless journey towards Athens, he realized that his lightly modified Guardsman would have trouble keeping up on the wide-open freeways outside Milan, but he persevered. At least this was an easy stretch of road, but the Alpine passes in Switzerland were anything but. Fortunately, his car was drivable enough to make it out of this section unscathed. However, the increased police presence was more of a hazard this time.

Despite everything, Walter was enjoying the breathtaking alpine vistas, but no sooner had he taken in the view than he heard reports of gunfire at a roadblock. Apparently it was the result of police action against street racers… but he was so far back that he was not as much of a threat as the front-runners. By the time he encountered another roadblock, he was relieved to find it in pieces, penetrated by those in front of him. He soon made it to Stuttgart - but even though he had been driving for several thousand kilometers, there was still a long way to go…

And so, filled with renewed resolve, he pressed on along the Autobahn, knowing that his superiors were following his every move.


#503

Cindy turned out to be right as she sped off following the strange truck driver ramming them past border security. “2nd save by a mysterious stranger thus far. Maybe this race isn’t as hidden as I thought. Especially if that damn helicopter keeps finding us…” The 3.3 roared as she downshifted to pass a mess of stunned cops.

Over the scanner, she could hear chatter about alerting border agents across the EU. “I knew it. And I don’t know how many more times we’re gonna get lucky like that.” She hits the next button on the radio as she chugs her 4th cup of coffee that day.