At the report of the pistol Noddy’s car shot off as an arrow from a bow, the explosions of the cylinders sounding like a small battery of quick-firing guns in action. But the others were after him, the five cars bunched together, that of the motor boys a little behind the other four.
“We’ve got to catch him, Jerry,” whispered Bob.
“Easier said than done,” replied Jerry, as he shoved the gasolene lever over a trifle, and advanced the spark, thereby increasing the speed of the car. “Noddy’s got a powerful machine.”
“They should have had a handicap on this race,” said Tom Jennings, the young man whom the hotel clerk had asked to be a fourth passenger in the motor boys’ car, so that the conditions of the contest would be met. “It’s not fair to have a high power auto race one of two cylinders.”
“Ours has four,” spoke Ned. “Of course its not as up-to-date as Noddy’s is, but—”
“We’ll beat him!” exclaimed Bob. “We’ve done it before and we can do it again.”
“I’m afraid not,” went on Tom. “That big green car of his will go ahead of anything on this track.”
And so it seemed, for Noddy was spinning around the course at fearful speed, his car looking like a green streak.
“Let’s see how he takes the turn,” suggested Bob. “He’ll have to slow up if he doesn’t want a spill.”
Noddy was wise enough to do this, though even at the reduced speed at which he went around the bank, his rear wheels skidded rather alarmingly.
But Jerry was not idle during this time. As he found his car responding to the increase of gasolene and the advanced spark, he shoved the levers still further over. The auto shot forward, distancing the yellow car immediately in front of it, passing one with an aluminum body and closely approaching a purple auto which was behind Noddy.
Suddenly a loud explosion sounded back of the motor boys.
“There goes a tire!” exclaimed Bob.
“Hope it isn’t one of yours,” said Tom.
“If it was you’d be sliding along the track on your face instead of sitting here,” responded Bob. “No, it’s one on the aluminum car. She’s out of the race,” he added as he gave a quick glance back. A few minutes later there was another noise— a crashing sound— and the motor boys, by a quick glance, saw that the rearmost car in the race had, by injudicious steering, been sent through a frail fence which surrounded the track. The radiator was broken and, though no one was hurt the car was put out of business. That left but four cars— Noddy’s green one, the yellow, the red one of the motor boys’, and a purple affair. They were speeding along in that order, and, a few seconds later something went wrong with one of the cylinders of the purple machine, leaving but three contestants. Then the yellow car shot ahead of the red one containing the motor boys.
By this time one circuit of the track had been completed, and a start made on the second lap.