As soon as the timer reached zero, Alison throttled off, with peeping tires. The other motorists left their starting places at the same time as Alison and raced off with her. The engine roared happily when the motor reached its speed limit in the first few seconds. They all passed the finish line, and the real race began.
She had practised on the start of the race, the suddenly upcoming speed and the other racers who tried to cut off her lane, but it was harder than she thought. This might be a race for beginners, but these participants were vicious. More vicious than Alison thought they would be. They're men, she reminded herself, and this is their territory. She was an invader and had to think like men would do, otherwise she would never win this race.
The first bend appareaded and the motorist rode close next to eachother. It would be easy to pass them if they clutched together like this, but then she had to be faster and actually, she doubted she would be. This isn't a fancy motor, this is a second-hand, barely fixed motor which still missed some parts. Alison had to be smart, otherwise it would never work. She slowed down a bit so she could ride behind the group, waiting for a chance to pass them.
When they got into the bend, the motorcyclists clutched together even more. Everybody tried to pass eachother by riding as close to the left side, the smallest side, of the bend as possible. Others tried to out-race them, but were held up by the slower participants. It was just one black spot on the already dark grey road which was faced by her as one single problem, not as 9 other racers.
Alison wasn't a part of the clutched motorcycles and stayed behind the group of angry men, who tried to gave eachother a punch in the face when another person came to close to their motorbikes. A little gape appeared between the group and the side of the track. The group was forced to ride a little to the left, which greated an empty spot between the side of the track and the group, big enough for her to fit through. Alison saw a chance to pass the group and took it the second she saw it. She speeded up until she reached her speedlimit again and tried to pass the group of guys. She wasn't fast enough. Alison got cut off by another motorcycle. She wasn't quite sure if the motorist cut her off on purpose or forgot she was even there and tried to fit through the gap himself too. It didn't matter because they got out of the bend while she rode half past the group. She got trapped between the other participants and couldn't escape, until they came near the straight part of the track again. The guys in the front speeded up and left it, which gave the other guys the opportunity to speed up as well and leave. Alison was left behind, back at the end. She could hear Ramon growl of irritation in her head, and so did she.
Alison made sure she kept close to the cyclist in front of her. She guessed that at the next bend, they would clutch again, and they indeed did. The group was formed again, with the fastest motorist in the front and the slower, desperate ones in the back. Alison joined the guys in the group, because she knew that if she would drive behind them, she would be too slow to pass them once the gap was created again. She mixed in between the guys, hoping she would be able to pass the group at once this time. She waited a second or two, but then she saw the hole between the side of the track and the group appearing again. She manouvred between the other guys and their motorbikes and took advange of the opportunity. Alison tried again to pass the group, but again, it didn't work. The bend ended too soon, she couldn't pass the group. She was only half past.
The motorists broke the clutch up again. This time Alison didn't stayed last on purpose. She tried to pass as much motorcyclists as she could in the straight part of the track, but that wasn't easy. Their motors had a higher speedlimit, they could drive faster than she could. And they were defenitely handier than she was. The bend was her only chance to pass them, but until now, she wasn't able to. She had to be even smarter.
The finishline became visible again, small near the horizon with the huge croud at both of the sides. She heard the incredible loud cheering, even through her helmet. It gave her new power. New determination to win.
They passed the finish line. The first round was done. She still had to complete 4 more. Enough time to pass the effers and win the race, she thought, although she got a little nervous.
Alison tried to pass the group when they neared the bend again a few times, but the motorists started to notice what she was trying to do. One of the cut off her lane when she tried to squeeze through the gap. Another tried to knock her off her motor when she tried again in the other bend. The guys started to work together and ended up being one big group of vicious, mean assholes whose main goal is to keep Alison from winning. And they seemed to win, because after the second round, she couldn't pass any other motorists, not even on the straight parts though she was fast enough.
The last round began and Alison lost hope with every foot her motor took her closer to the finish line. It was impossible to pass the other participants and she had to give in with the fact she probably wouldn't win this race. The guys were too fast and too smart for her. She sighed, yet, she forced herself to concentrate. Even if she wouldn't win, she still tried to, and that's all that matters. She had tried and she should be proud of that. The last bend approached and Alison was almost glad she could step off her motorbike. Her butt started to hurt a bit and she was thristy and tired from the long, intense ride. Maybe she could take Ramon out for diner to thank him. Het thoughts wandered off. She thought about the stuff she still had to do before Donnie came home from work. Taking Oscar to his soccer practise, cooking diner, showering to get rid of the smell of oil. And...
Holy fishticks! Alison was pulled back into reality when she almost crashed into the side of the track. She jerked the wheel and managed to avoid being knocked off her motorcycle. She shook her head, as if she could shake her worries out of her head. She needed to concentrate. She had to try one last time to pass the group.
She rode behind the already clutching motorists and noticed the gap in between the side of the track and the group appearing, like it always had done these past few rounds. The guys even made it bigger on purpose, so they could try to knock her off her bike again, Alison suspected. She wasn't so stupid to try it again. And she would neither go through the center of the group of guys. Maybe she could try to pass them at the other side? Alison blinked with her eyes. The group tried to stay as close to the left side of the track as possible, because that was the fastests way to leave the bend. But a lot of them couldn't ride at full speed, they were held up. If Alison could pass them through the huge open spot on the right, she could pass them, if she was fast enough.
This was her last shot and she didn't care anymore to not try, so why shouldn't she? Alison speeded up to her speed limit. The engine started to moan in disagreement. The second-hand engine wouldn't last much longer than the finishline. There wasn't much time left. Alison got even more ambitious, more determined to win. If this race meant the end of her motor, then at least she had to try to win it.
Alison rode to the left of the group, making it look like she wanted to sqeeze through that gap again. But at the last moment she changed course and quickly turned right, to pass the group without any diffeculties. The guys expected her to try to pass at the left side and didn't notice she just rushed past them at the right, still waiting for her to turn left so they could cut off her lane. But once they noticed, she heard the stunned voices, screams and swears behind her. A smug grin appeared on her face as she speeded up some more. They left the bend and the group, with Alison some feet in front of them, entered the straight part. She could hear the engines of the other motorcycles angrily roaring, as if they could feel the humiliation and anger of their riders. She just had to stay in front of them for a few moments.
She already could see the finish. Alison could hear the people cheering for her. The arms thrown up in the air and waving, inviting her to cross the finish and be the first female winner of a drag-race like this. But she hadn't won yet.
The motorcyclists entered soon. They were faster than she was, but she had an advance of a few feet. She thought she was going to win, until her engine started to smoke. The machine started to growl in disagreement, trying to tell her it couldn't go any further. It was the thick, black kind of smoke that blurred her vision and blocked her nose and mouth when she inhaled it that troubled her. She couldn't see anything anymore and that made it diffecult to not crash into something or someone else.
One of the guys started to enter her vision through the corner of her eyes, with his body flat against his motorcycle and his bare hands turned white from pinching the grab bars. His head, covered with his black helmet, turned to her and she could almost see him smile behind the dark glass when he was about to pass her. It felt like the guy said: "Good, you passed us. But now I'm going to pass you and your crappy motorcycle." while laughing hard. It pissed Alison off and made her even more determined to win this race. She had to wipe those smug faces off their face.
But her motor couldn't win the race. Her engine turned off and when she tried to throttle, the engine spat out more black smoke and slowed down. It slowed down and the guy besides her passed her without any diffeculty.
The finishline approached and the guy finished first, with Alison a few foot behind him. Directly behind Alison the group of pushing, cheating men finished. They weren't able to pass her anymore before they finished and once they stopped, they took off their helmets and gave her foul looks. Some whispered together, not able to understand they were beaten by a girl. She took off her helmet as well and smiled at them, which made the whispering guys even more annoyed. One of them spat on the ground as he turned his back to her and yelled to his assistant to take his motorcycle back to his garage and to polish it until the black metal shone.
With her helmet under her arm, she turned around, only to see Ramon jumping over the metal fences which tried to keep the viewers away from the finish line and ran towards her. He gave her a big hug and she noticed the happy, smug grin on his face.
"Well done, Hendrix!" he said. "You're not first, but you'll get a medal and a price anyway. As your 'manager'," he made the quotation mark-sign with his hands,"- they gave me the cheque and the medal once they saw you finished second."
He took a silver medal out of the pocket of his jacket and signed her to come closer. Alison bowed foreward and Ramon placed the medal around her neck. He smiled and showed her the cheque
"You didn't think I could do it?" Alison teased, as a timid smile appeared on her face. She took the cheque and blinked surprised. It was worth hundred dollars! Enough to go out with Ramon and thank him and do something nice for the kids! A grin appeared on her face. Ramon laughed a bit uncomfertable at the question, placed his hand in his neck and scratched the back of his head.
"Well, to be honest, I didn't think you would end second."
Alison gave him a friendly slap on his shoulder and rolled her eyes, but her smile betrayed she didn't mean it.
"You should have a little more faith in me, Ramon. Because I think a lot more races are coming ahead. But first, I'm going to take you out for diner."
Ramon coughed a bit and looked down to his feet, softly biting his lower lip. Alison narrowed her eyes. He only avoided her gaze when something was wrong and he didn't dare to tell her. And this was certainly one of those moments, obviously.
"Ramon, what is it?"
"I think you could better use that money for a new engine, Miss Hendrix," he said, still avoiding her gaze. "I'd love to go out for diner once, but your Black Beauty needs an overhaul..."
Alison blinked and tilted her head a little bit to the left. Okey, she knew her motorcycle was broken, but she thought Ramon could fix it.
"Can't you fix it?" she asked worried.
"I'm a fine mechanic, but I'm not a professional. I can pimp motors perfectly well, but your engine almost blew up," Ramon said. "I can't fix that. You have to go to a professional mechanic. But don't worry. I know a cheap one. I've never been there myself, but I heard they're amazing. What if I'll give you their name?"
Alison sighed and nodded. She rather had Ramon to fix her motorcycle. It was way easier to let her friend repare the motorbike, he simply didn't ask any questions. But maybe, if it really needed a overhaul, then it was for the best she would let a professional mechanic fix it.
Ramon took a piece of paper and a pencil out of his pocket. He seemed to keep everything there, she realised. He wrote something down on the paper and gave it to her. She read it and narrowed her eyes, because she never heard of the name.
Childs & Manning