Once again, the voting on the last poll really surprised me. For a long while, the daredevil answer was winning – don’t listen to the team, just go for it. However, a more sensible approach seems to have won:
So, Mitch is ready to do what the team wants, but on his own terms. Where will that lead? Today’s vote will be the last one, and whilst I’m sure it’s not a surprise – we’ve been heading here for a while now – it’s the big one. You get to decide how the story ends – and whether or not there will be a sequel. No pressure!
Mitch shifted in his seat, tensing his hands on the steering wheel. He was in his car, on the grid, eyes locked on the starting lights. He’d formed a rhythm, timing his breaths with the lights as they came on. It kept him calm, and put him right in the zone to prepare for the lights going out and the race starting.
One breath. Red light. Breath. Light. Breath.
All the lights were on… and then they were out.
Mitch put his foot down, the engine roared, and the entire grid moved forward. Mitch drew level with Mason, but knew the Mortimer car had the advantage into the first corner. He fell back a little, safe in second place.
“Mitch…” Bob crackled in his ear.
“I’ll do it,” Mitch snapped. “But not at the start. I’m the best starter out there.”
Back on the pit wall, Bob felt a surge of pride for his driver, but contained it, as he glanced at Rex. Their boss was sitting down the line from him, arms folded, a frown painted on his face.
“Ok, Mitch.” Bob confirmed. “I hear you.”
Mortimer GP and Shuttleworth Racing brought their lead drivers in at the same time. Bruno followed Mason into the pit lane, and pulled in outside his garage. The mechanics surrounded him, old tyres off, fresh rubber on, fuel in. One by one, the four corners were complete, the fuel was out, and the lollipop was up.
Bruno pulled back out into the main pit lane, intrigued to see Mason still stationery. He rejoined the track in fourth position.
Out in front, Mitch was putting in some hard laps, his times falling as he neared his own stop.
“Mason’s dropped,” Bob reported. “Problem with a wheel gun.”
“Catching you, but you’ve got time.”
Mitch continued for two more laps, then veered into the pitlane. His mechanics did their job, and moments later he was out again. As he reached the pit exit, he spotted Bruno. Mitch was ahead. He could win this race. He could pull out in first place, and win in Monaco. Imagine being handed the trophy by Prince Albert, walking up that red carpet to the number one spot. The after party. The celebrities.
Mitch sighed, and let his car drift to the left.
A moments pause and then:
“You’ve crossed the white line,” Bob said.
“Yea,” Mitch replied.
One drive through penalty later, and it was Bruno who took the chequered flag. Mitch finished fourth, his only pleasure taken from picking up one extra point over Mason in fifth place.
When he exited his car, Bob was the first to greet him, hugging the young driver tightly. “I’m sorry,” Bob said.
Mitch shrugged. “My mistake,” he said. He kept his helmet on for as long as possible, but eventually had to face up to the press.
“A single lapse of concentration,” he repeated a thousand times. “Gutted but happy for Bruno and the team.”
Only Melissa eyed him carefully, and Mitch knew he hadn’t fooled her.
Mason found Mitch leaning against the Shuttleworth transporter. He looked tired, downbeat, and Mason knew why.
“It came to pass then,” he said.
Mitch looked up, adjusting his backpack on his shoulder. “I made a mistake,” he said.
“Mmm, I know. You picked the wrong team.”
Mitch shook his head, looking away.
“Are you waiting for something?” Mason asked. “Waiting for Bruno to come and say thanks? It won’t happen.”
“Why are you talking to me?” Mitch snapped.
“Hey,” Mason held up his hands defensively. “I know we didn’t get off to a great start, but I’ve been pretty fair to you since then. I did try and warn you this would happen.”
“Great. The ‘I told you so’ speech. Just what I need.”
“You’re right.” Mason nodded. “I won’t do that. What I really came to say is… come drive for us.”
Mitch was silent.
“This would never happen at Mortimer GP,” Mason said. “We exist to race, not play at politics. At least come and talk to my uncle. He can make you an offer. It can’t hurt to talk, can it?”
Mitch thought about it for a moment, then peeled himself away from the lorry. “I’ve got five minutes,” he said.
But he already knew what his answer was going to be.