Page 23 of Dave Adventure - Episode 2
Scroll to Monday, June 8 to read this tale from the beginning of Episode 1.
Scroll to Wednesday, August 5 to pick it up at the start of Episode 2.
When the starting lights emerged from a recess within the corner tower, extending out over the track, Dave felt a rush of excitement such as he'd never known. Although he sat at pole position in a dinky little amateur race that mattered to gamblers more than anyone, he'd also taken a first step up a ladder whose top he could neither see, nor fathom. He wanted to do well. He needed to do well, if only to learn where the next step might lead. He couldn't fall off the rungs. He dared not. Nor could he let that evil-ass Crank bust things out from under him. It'd be a hard fall, and he'd rather face whatever this track and its denizen of gamblers might want to dish out after they lost their crooked bundle because they bet the wrong way while trying to cheat people.
He heard a brief horn blast as the first red light blinked on. Again for the second, and then the third light. A long blast launched the drivers as all three lights flipped to green.
Dave pressed the pedal to the carpeted floorboard.
He wanted to clear the first turn while retaining his lead, maybe put some breathing room between himself and the Series J.
Instead of some expert display of wheel handling, he came in a little too fast, and had to skirt the edge of the track on an arc too wide to stay in front. He knew it halfway through the turn. Series J, a better AC for handling, would pass him almost straight off the starting line.
It got worse. The wily amateur, twice his age, slammed sideways into Dave's P5 as they rounded the bend. Not only did this give his competitor the advantage coming out of the turn at a faster speed, but it transferred kinetic energy from one vehicle to the other. The P5 absorbed the blow as the Series J bounced forward, leaving Dave to founder as he slipped off the track and onto the asphalt.
He adjusted as best and fast as he could, while cursing himself for not anticipating one of the oldest tricks in the book.
As he emerged in second, barreling downhill toward the seawater river and the dangerous jigger in the road, he told himself he was lucky to have learned such a lesson so soon. He wouldn't let Series J get away with it again.
Both lead drivers slowed for the river approach. No one wanted to slip off course on the quick left-right jigger, yet they each needed to maintain speed for the long ascent that followed. Dave got so close to the Series J, he almost touched bumpers.
It surprised him, although he knew it shouldn't, when the car behind him, the Porsche 322 Atletico, actually impacted his rear, but Dave had cleared the jigger and felt safe to accelerate.
With a competitor so close at his back, however, it left him vulnerable. He didn't see it coming when the Porsche, with better acceleration, pressed hard against him from behind, and caused him to lose control.
Dave spun out onto the grass, probably the only racer in Ile Malmedy history to go off track in the exact same spot on his first two official races. The only difference, this time he churned up the ground on the left rather than the right side of the road.
Dave felt despair as he slowed, regained control, and watched one after another AC pass him by on the uphill.
When he finally righted things and rejoined the race, his position had dropped to eighth.
The guy in ninth crashed into him from behind.
It was pure luck that the impact, rather than push Dave off track yet again, actually propelled him forward. It got him up to speed quicker than he would have otherwise, and put him back in the race.