I want to press the ludicrous button

Last week. we had a student at Rowden with a very smart car. It was a Testler and it had a button marked “Ludicrous”. Tracey, who had the car, said if we had dry roads and a dual carriageway in North Devon she would show us what the button does.

I can’t wait for dry roads and the building of better tarmac. I want to press the ludicrous button NOW.

I drive a 1980 Morgan 4/4 four seater. It’s basically a 1930s car that is still built today. One of the few British owned hand made car manufacturers  left, which is why I bought it. It is hand made, not robot made. I was wondering how to describe what it’s like driving a Morgan to someone who had never had the experience. It’s very light and quite quick, but not blazing fast. It is low to the ground. Your backside feels like it is inches from the road – and it is only inches from the road. All the controls are heavy, there are no servos powering the brakes or the steering. When you brake you push like hell and the world goes into reverse around you. Your hands feel the surface of the road through the steering wheel. You need gloves to pull the slippery, polished wood and aluminium wheel around. But as you stuff the long bonnet into a sharp corner you feel the contact of rubber with gravel from the front wheels. Your bum tells you what the back wheels are doing. Ae they going to lose grip and drift out? Not this time, but you were close.

If I can take you back to the days of The Soap Box Cart Derby. Kids would get their dads to make a cart. Well, not a real car but a vehicle based around a wooden crate with big pram wheels at the back and smaller pram wheels at the front. You had a cross bar, the front wheels were attached to and you pulled left or right with rope to steer it . My Dad made one for me and I loved it. There was a hill and a pathway that ran through woodland of the Beverly Westwood. This was near the house. I would bomb down this path, startling elderly couples walking hand in hand. I ended up going off the path at great speed and crashing into Nettles. I think I would be about nine years old. There were no brakes on carts like this.

That experience but it must be combined with one other…. A World War One Biplane. A Sopwith Camel as fast as anything made at that time, all canvas wood and wires, with a bellowing oil soaked engine. Those two, the bi plane and the soap box cart. The bellowing engine noise, the speed, the fear, and the flapping of bits of car are what the Morgan feels like.  Even at fifty miles an hour. Take it up to ninety and you are Pushing The Ludicrous Button . HOORAY !!


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