Brian was never one to shrink from a challenge, so when he say the advertisement for applications for a cross country race he was quick to send in his entry form.
The rules seemed clear enough, contestants were to build a a cross country vehicle which could operate in all weather conditions. Apart from a maximum and minimum weight allowance there was little else that was dictated.
The route was a little more of a concern. The vehicle would need to cross hills, water, and a long arid stretch as well. An all on a single tank of fuel.
Brian looked at the information sheets that were sent to him, and worked out the horsepower, and general design that would be necessary.
Siting at his desk he designed a frame that was largely made of tubing, and a small rigid enclosure to act as a cockpit. Though he favoured aluminium for this final feature, he noted that his design was still a bit heavy, he would need to lower the weight in order to maximise his fuel capacity. Fiberglass seemed the obvious solution, and he set to work.
He finished his machine with three days to go, and ran it through some trials, before taking to the garage area near the starting line.
It was a bright sunny day when the eleven participants lined up there vehicles for the start. The average cost per vehicle had worked out at about ten thousand, which seemed a good investment when gauged against the one hundred thousand first prize.
Little did Brian know the catastrophe that awaited him that day. The first several miles were a joy, he had taken second position, and his cross county machine was handling the dirt and gravel roads well. Then came the swampy area, and he dropped to third, but he was sure he could make up for it when he got to the hills.
As the racers began to climb from the water meadows into the foot hills, the capriciousness of the weather became evident. The wind began to blow and Brian’s cockpit became like a sail, causing the the little vehicle to make jumps and and hard landings. Then in with a fulgurant hop, Brian’s machine began to flip and leaving the hillside, his vehicle landed upside down in the bough of a tree with a mighty crunch.
If the weather was capricious, even more so his fortune. His life savings were in that tree.
12. Fulgurant– flashing like lightning