The ovver day there were a blog on internet about a course fer making soapbox racers. Oi were surprised that it said as 'ow soapboxes didn't need ter make 90 degree turns. Cripes, wivvout brakes, 'ow d'yew stop, never mind manoeuvre, unless yew c'n make sharp turns. When Peter showed me 'ow ter race, 'ee explained all that. This is 'ow it was:
I got to the clay pit before Jenno and sat down in Lightning to think about what to tell her and show her, about cart racing.
We were both small. This was a disadvantage when it came to punting where strength and long legs counted. On the other hand, when downhill speed had increased sufficiently to make punting ineffective, small size reduced wind resistance, particularly if one hugged close to the body of one's cart.
This also kept the centre of gravity low, thus increasing manoeuvrability and reducing the tendency to turn over on bends. Sharp bends could be negotiated better by sliding broadside and then quickly straightening up again. Broadsiding could also be used effectively for braking.
I decided to show Jenno how to broadside. The gravelly track down from the pit would be good for this, particularly for a beginner, as it had a fairly gentle slope. I had arrived before Jenno, so I decided to practice.
I set off at a run and leaped aboard Lightning. I was just entering the first curve in the track when Jenno appeared. I swung Lightning left into a broadside, shifting my weight rapidly to the left from the outside of the turn. With the steering bar, I kept Lightning balanced in her slide to come to a halt in a cloud of dust just a couple of feet from Jenno.
For an instant she looked as though she would jump away, but she didn't. She merely stopped and broke into a laugh.
‘If'n yew fink yew c'n scare me loike that, yew c'n jus' fink agen.’
‘Sorry Jenno. I didn't see you coming.’
Jenno continued to laugh. ‘'Corse yew did. Yew done it a-purpose.’
I got off Lightning and stood up. ‘Jenno, believe me— I didn't know you were there.’
She stopped laughing. Her freckles drooped down her face. ‘Cripes— yew're serious! It were pretty good any'ow. Would yew teach me 'ow ter stop loike that?’
‘It's not difficult. You just have to get a feel for the steering and how to keep your weight low and balanced from side to side as the cart turns. Come on— let's go back up the track a bit. We'll start with simple turns. Find out how your new cart handles before we try anything more difficult.’
‘Emmeline P's goin' ter 'andle real good, don't yew worry.’
‘How can you be so sure? You've never ridden her.’
‘She's exackly loike Lightnin' fer size an' wheels an' all; so she'll 'andle jus' the same.’
‘You're probably right Jenno, but let's make sure— we don't want any accidents.’
Gang Loyalty Chapter 16