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May not be suitable reading for the 'safer' driving sex. If of a sensible or a 'PC' disposition please click on image below to move immediately to next page.
Please understand this, I am no hooligan and I certainly respect road traffic speed limits. Well most of the time anyway and without fail I always respect limits in built up areas. I have though been known to ‘put the hammer down’ on deserted motorways from time to time, particularly autobahns in Germany where often there are no limits at all. For the most part though these days I drive very conservatively.
Back in a previous life I was fortunate to be provided with a Jaguar XK as a company car. Fast, safe and extremely comfortable, and though many readers will refuse to believe it - quite economical. In pursuit of earning a crust for me, my company and of course, my country. The fact that I was obliged to pay enough 'Benefit in Kind' tax to pay off the national debt for this 'privilege' of risking my life driving around the planet 'for Queen and for Country' was another matter and a serious bone of contention. Especially as the car was rarely available for use by my wife as I frequently travelled in it abroad. I thus had to fund a second car anyway! That though is an example of what every working person must suffer through 'culture of envy' inspired socialist politicians and a subject for discussion another day.
The Jag and I stormed frontiers across every country in Europe and beyond. Over one hundred thousand miles in two years and without, I might add, ever missing a beat. As I practically lived in the car I grew very attached to it and so when the opportunity arose and when a vehicle change was due, I purchased it from the company. Later, when I moved to France I imported the car here and obtained a certificat d’immatriculation for it. That is, had it re-registered locally. I am now considering how I might marry it.
Last Friday I was ambling along a ‘Route Nationale’ in my now twelve year old but still very serviceable 'pussy cat', minding my own business and at a sedate and legal 70kph when a pip squeak moto (click) appeared close behind. Very close. Too close! Our Froggie chums are lovely people but cannot drive to save their lives and sadly they frequently don’t. To which an attrition rate amongst the worst in the Western world testifies. I pondered whether to tap the brake pedal gently and put the fear of God into the 100lb specimen atop it when I thought better of it. That could be dangerous and would anyway only antagonise him, serving no useful purpose.
Moments later the truck I had been following turned off anyway and so I thought I’d give Pipsqueak a little demonstration of what was attached to the other end of the two 4” diameter exhaust pipes protruding each side from the rear end of my car (I know, I know. Puerile. It’s a ‘man thing’ and very ‘Clarksonesque’. I did warn you though. Some of us never left our first childhood though let alone entered a second one. OK?). Anyway, at the other end was a 4 litre supercharged V8. Compliments of the finest motor car builders in the world bar none - Jaguar.
Naturally Pipsqueak was left way behind. Law of Sod prevailed though and just to teach irresponsible latter day louts like me a lesson, another truck pulled out in front of me. Next moment there is Pipsqueak in my rear view mirror again and clearly only thirty centimetres (12") from my rear bumper. More than a little dangerous at now around 70kph when astonishingly he pulls out to overtake. With chin resting on handlebars to reduce windage and with elbows raised like the hind legs of a grass hopper he somehow gained enough knots and just managed to creep past. His problems quickly became apparent though when now out of my car's slipstream he could no longer maintain the momentum that got him past me. So we both now had to slow down quite considerably.
With insufficient power to maintain the speed at which pipsqueak had performed his almost suicidal overtaking manoeuvre the truck ahead started to increase its gap from him. Thus providing me with sufficient space ahead to safely overtake him. Naturally my overtaking him he interpreted as a challenge to his virility. So once more with the benefit of my slipstream, there he is again, just twelve inches behind my back bumper.
"Slow down and let him overtake." some might say. Fine but without my slipstream the little pratt would be down to 50 clicks and why should I be obliged to follow for mile after mile at just 50 clicks!?
Thoughts of flashing the brake lights occurred again but again I thought that might be a little cruel. Also the prospect of spending the rest of the week-end picking teeth out of my car’s rear window rubber surround didn’t excite me too much either.
As luck would have it the second truck turned off the road and so I floored the throttle once more. This time and with a clear and dead straight road ahead of me taking the car straight up to around 225 clicks (140 mph and not yet in top!).
Pipsqueak was by now just an insect almost out of sight in my rear view mirror and I quickly slowed to a more responsible pace.
Sod wasn’t on my side yet again this day though and another slow vehicle pulls out ahead of me. I’d had enough at this point and being low on fuel anyway decided to pull in at the next filling station. Would you believe Pipsqueak arrives a few moments later and stops at an adjacent pump?
By the time Pipsqueak had arrived I'd already shot in around a hundred litres of unleaded, whilst Pipsqueak squirts in a cupful to fill the tank of his moto. A machine incidentally that despite having an engine no bigger than the motor on a food blender looked for all the world like a motocross bike.
We both march up to the cashier’s counter at the same time. I then realised Pipsqueak must live locally to the area. Clearly he was known to an appreciative audience of giggling teeny-bopper girlfriends and similarly acnied yooves propping up the Pepsi machine by the cashier's counter.
Pipsqueak spoke (except in French of course - or at least something close to it) and played to his admirers. “Nought to 100 isn’t up to much on that old Jag of yours is it?”
“No, it isn't” I replied. “You’re quite right. Nought to a 100 isn't all that clever. 200kph to 300kph ain’t bad though. What’s yours like?”
Like I said. It’s a ‘man thing’!
I’ve finished ‘purring’ now.
For the day anyway.