The Sole Track — by D. H. Phoenix

The stands filled with people eager to watch the race. Some even came here early in the morning from all the country to watch these aspiring drivers race against each other in one of the most prestigious race tracks in the world. This event would always attract the lead scouts of all the top motorsport teams from the least significant competitions to Formula One.

Each of the drivers had a fan base, but no one enjoyed the huge fan base of Ramon the Bullet. It was his twentieth year in this competition, and Ramon had broken all previous records by winning twelve times. No other driver came close to that number. Ramon knew this track like the back of his hand. When you look at the man’s forty-five-year-old face, the little wrinkles might fool you into thinking you are not looking in the face of a champion. All other drivers stood little chance if any at all against this giant race driver.

*****

Ramon was in the garage inspecting his car for the tenth time today. His focus was bent on winning the race as he knew he would not have many more years to keep his performance at such a prominent level, so he wanted to make the most of it while he could. He was checking the engine when his friend Patrick came and whispered in his ear,

“This new guy, Michael is supposed to be the best of the whole new pack this year. Some people say he might have been the new Schumacher.”

Ramon kept on looking at the engine, and then he pulled a cloth and rubbed his hands clean of the grease. He looked at Patrick with a dubious smile and said,

“Isn’t that what you said about Samuel Herbert last year? About Tyler Smith the year before? Why do you think I should be terrified this year?”

“No need to get angry, man. Stay focused, but just to remind you, Samuel and Tyler are leading the Formula One drivers’ championship this year. I could have been as good a scout as any of these big shots lining up in the VIP boxes looking for the next best driver. I always know the best even before the race is on. Anyway, how’s the car doing?”

“She’s ready to roll like thunder, as always my friend.”

“Sounds great. Listen, Ramon. I have known you for twenty years, and I have never doubted your skills, but I want you to keep an eye on this Michael guy I told you about, ok. Just do it for me.”

“All right, Patrick. I will be as careful as always. No one is beating me today.”

*****

The drivers started the warm-up lap, and then they all lined up to start the race. Michael was fourth on the starting line, three places behind Ramon.

The race started with the thundering noise of the cars speeding up as fast as they could, and the drivers all dashed towards the first turn where everyone tries to move ahead a position or two. However, they were all very careful because this turn was also called the debris turn for most of the accidents at the first lap happened right there. Ramon had nothing to worry about. He was in the first place, he dashed forward and had no worries about keeping the lead in this busy first lap.

There were no severe casualties in the first lap; it was just two drivers who were competing for the last couple of places who had a small accident, which wasn’t dangerous, yet it forced them to give up the race.

Ramon finished his tenth lap with no worries neither about that Michael guy, nor about anybody else. He had a substantial lead of ten seconds ahead of the second driver, Michael who passed the two drivers ahead and had but one big obstacle left between him and his first big win in the world of motorsport racing.

Ramon was a pro, and he was never complacent, for he still remembered when he came in second once when he underestimated his competitor who overtook him on the last lap just before the final turn. Yet that was ten years ago, and Ramon has learned not to make the same mistake again.

Ramon was getting ready for the pit stop; he had a strategy of only one pit stop, but he had no worries as he had a comfortable lead by twenty seconds ahead of Michael and the rest of the pack. The mechanics were ready and waiting when Ramon entered the pit lane and stopped the car. They were like busy bees around the car changing the tires and filling the car with enough gas to complete the race. Then something wrong happened. Ramon couldn’t hear the engine running anymore. The engine went dead, and the precious seconds were passing. Ramon could do nothing about it, and that new mechanic was a complete disaster. It took him too long to restart the car and set Ramon back on the track. That fateful pitstop took Ramon 63 seconds and moved him away from the lead.

When he rejoined the race, Ramon was seventh. After a few laps when all the drivers in front of him made their pitstops, Ramon was still fourth, and that Michael boy was first now. Ramon was not a quitter and if he could not prove himself worthy of winning this race on this track, who else could?

He drove like an insane maniac, but it was that kind of crazy driving only Ramon could pull off. Any other driver would have gone off the track or caused an accident, but not Ramon. He passed his way all up to the second place with only five seconds between him and Michael, but there was a problem. There were only three laps left. Ramon used up the last bits of his tires, which were wriggling in the air in front of him like sea waves now. They could explode at any moment, and car handling was becoming a nightmare. Driving the car in those last three laps was like trying to ride an angry bull. Ramon closed the gap to three seconds with two laps to go, one second with one lap to go. Then all his life was bound to this last lap of the race.

The spectators and scouts were watching what was happening, and they were all mesmerized by the impossible driving skills of Ramon. Many turns were to be his last in this race, or to some in this life, but Ramon endured. No one was worried as Patrick was. He felt guilty of telling Ramon about Michael, which made Ramon even more determined to win the race.

Ramon took the largest leaps of faith in his driving abilities and his car’s capability to hold on and not break apart. He could smell Michael’s sweat from where he was now. He had two turns to go and just like a hungry tiger, Ramon was just waiting for the right time to strike. The first turn, there was a small window, but Ramon saw the risk of hitting Michael’s car and driving it off track, so he halted just long enough to let Michael pass, but he didn’t lose a millisecond doing that. There came the final turn and the last chance for Ramon to win the race. He fooled the young green Michael with a move he thought Ramon would overtake him on from outside part of the turn. As Michael moved a little to the right to block, Ramon came in like a bullet from the inside and dashed to the finish line with a slim lead of just a few milliseconds achieving the greatest victory of his entire career and the most exciting race this track had ever seen.

*****

The fans crowded in front of the podium as Ramon stepped on to take his thirteenth trophy breaking his own record and setting the bar too high for anyone who might try to break this record in the near or the far future. Michael won second place, and another new guy called Nigel was in third place.

The champagne bottles popped, and a crazy sense of excitement was all over the place. The scouts’ eyes were glittering with opportunities and potential drivers they had already made calls about and made their initial offers ready. All were waiting for the top three drivers to step down from the podium, and some had already extended very generous offers to the other drivers who could not make it to the top three. The reporters were stalking the scouts to get scoops of young drivers who were about to enter the big world of Formula One racing, or the less lucky ones received offers to race in the Formula 3000 competition.

The top three drivers came out of the back door of the podium, and the scouts pushed their way to get to them as if the real race had just begun. The most notable was Ferrari’s team lead scout who made his way right past Ramon and stopped Michael to give him the deal of his life. Other scouts tried to throw their deals at Michael, and they tried their luck with Nigel, who had shown a lot of potential, too.

Ramon strolled away from the crowd to his team’s garage. Even the few reporters who bothered to ask him a few quick questions couldn’t wait to finish and head towards Michael and Nigel.  The road was clear and empty now to slip out of the spotlight and back into the garage. The team was waiting for Ramon there with another round of champagne to celebrate the great achievement of their champion. Patrick was there, too. He gave his friend a warm hug and congratulated him on the incredible feat he accomplished today.

Soon the party was over, and Ramon went out with Patrick for a few more drinks in the bar.

“I keep wondering where you would be today if you but took the offers dropping on you like rain until ten years ago? Don’t you ever think of that?” Patrick said while looking in the eyes of middle-aged Ramon, who was smiling at this typical question Patrick had never given up asking for the past ten years.

“I would never know where or what I would be, but Patrick my friend, right here, I will always be king.”

Story Analysis

The Sole Track” is a well-crafted and engaging story that effectively builds up the tension and conflict through its plot and characters. The story’s setting, a prestigious race track, serves as a backdrop for the intense competition between the drivers, particularly Ramon and Michael. The story explores themes of determination, skill, and perseverance, as Ramon faces challenges and setbacks on his path to victory.

The story’s characters are well-developed and serve their roles effectively in the narrative. Ramon is portrayed as a seasoned and confident driver, whose experience and skill make him a formidable opponent. His friend Patrick serves as a supportive but slightly annoying presence, providing a contrast to Ramon’s confidence and highlighting his determination to win.

The plot of the story is well-constructed, with a clear conflict and rising tension. The moment of the pit stop serves as a turning point in the story, as Ramon falls back in the race and faces the challenge of catching up to Michael. The final lap is particularly well-written, as Ramon uses his driving skills to make a thrilling comeback and win the race by a slim margin.

One weakness of the story is its reliance on stereotypes and clichés. The character of Ramon is portrayed as a typical “veteran” driver, with a long and successful career behind him. The character of Michael is portrayed as a young and talented driver, who poses a threat to Ramon’s dominance. While these stereotypes are effective in creating tension and conflict, they also feel somewhat predictable and uninspired.

Overall, “The Sole Track” is a well-crafted and engaging story that effectively explores themes of determination, skill, and perseverance. While it may rely on some familiar stereotypes and clichés, its strong plot and characters make it a compelling read.

Character Analysis

Ramon

Ramon is the protagonist of the story, and he is portrayed as a seasoned and confident race car driver with a long and successful career. He is determined to win the race and maintain his position as the dominant driver on the track. He is also shown to be a strategic thinker, carefully planning his pit stop and using his driving skills to make a thrilling comeback in the final lap. Ramon is a focused and disciplined character who values hard work and persistence.

Patrick

Patrick is Ramon’s friend and a constant presence in the story, offering advice and support to Ramon throughout the race. He is portrayed as a somewhat annoying but well-meaning character who is deeply invested in Ramon’s success. Patrick serves as a foil to Ramon’s confidence, providing a contrast to his friend’s determination and highlighting the importance of having a support system in one’s life.

Michael

Michael is the main rival to Ramon in the race, portrayed as a young and talented driver who poses a serious threat to Ramon’s dominance. He is shown to be ambitious and competitive, with a strong desire to win the race and establish himself as a top driver in the field. Michael’s character serves as a challenge to Ramon, forcing him to confront his own limitations and pushing him to perform at his best.

Overall, the characters in “The Sole Track” are well-drawn and serve their roles effectively in the story. Ramon is a strong and determined protagonist, while Patrick and Michael provide interesting contrasts and challenges to his character.

Themes

Determination and perseverance

Throughout the story, Ramon is portrayed as a highly determined and persistent character who is focused on winning the race. Despite facing setbacks and challenges, he never gives up and continues to push himself to achieve his goals.

Skill and expertise

The story also emphasizes the importance of skill and expertise in the field of race car driving. Ramon is portrayed as a highly skilled and experienced driver, while Michael is portrayed as a young and talented driver who poses a serious challenge to Ramon’s dominance.

Competition and rivalry

The story explores the intense competition and rivalry that exists in the world of race car driving. Ramon and Michael are portrayed as fierce competitors who are willing to do whatever it takes to win the race.

Friendship and support

The story also highlights the importance of friendship and support in achieving one’s goals. Patrick, Ramon’s friend, serves as a constant source of support and encouragement for Ramon throughout the race.

Triumph over adversity

Finally, the story celebrates the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. Despite facing setbacks and challenges, Ramon is ultimately able to make a thrilling comeback and win the race, demonstrating the power of determination, skill, and perseverance.

Interview with Ramon

Q — What inspired you to become a race car driver, and how did you get started in this career?

Well, I have always had a love for speed and adrenaline, even when I was a young boy. I used to watch car races on television and dream of one day becoming a race car driver myself. When I was old enough, I started to participate in local races and gradually worked my way up to the more prestigious competitions. It wasn’t easy, of course – there were many setbacks and challenges along the way – but I never gave up on my dream. With hard work, dedication, and a bit of luck, I was able to make a name for myself in the world of race car driving.

Q — You have had a long and successful career as a driver, with multiple victories on this prestigious race track. What do you think sets you apart from other drivers, and how have you maintained your skills and competitiveness over the years?

Well, I think what sets me apart from other drivers is my unwavering focus and determination. I’ve always been very disciplined in my approach to racing, constantly seeking to improve and hone my skills. I never take anything for granted and always push myself to be the best I can be. As for how I’ve maintained my skills and competitiveness over the years, it’s really been a combination of things. I’ve always made sure to keep up with the latest developments in the field, both in terms of technology and driving techniques. I also take good care of my body, staying in shape and practicing regularly to keep my reflexes sharp. And, of course, I have a great team behind me, supporting me every step of the way.

Q — The moment of the pit stop in the story was a turning point for you, as your engine failed and you fell behind in the race. What was going through your mind at that moment, and how did you manage to make such a thrilling comeback in the final lap?

Well, when my engine failed during the pit stop, I have to admit that I was pretty frustrated and disappointed. I knew that I had lost valuable time and fallen behind in the race, and I was worried that it might be impossible to catch up. But I didn’t let myself get discouraged – I knew that the race wasn’t over yet, and I still had a chance to make a comeback. So, I just focused on driving as hard and as fast as I could, pushing myself to the limit and taking risks where I needed to. I was confident in my skills and my car, and I just kept telling myself that anything was possible if I stayed focused and didn’t give up. And, as you know, it all came down to that final lap – I just gave it my all and managed to make that final, decisive move to win the race. It was an incredible feeling, one that I will never forget.

Q — Your friend Patrick is a constant presence in the story, offering advice and support throughout the race. How important is having a support system like this in your career, and how has it helped you succeed as a driver?

Having a support system like Patrick is absolutely crucial in a career like mine. Racing can be a very demanding and stressful profession, and having someone you can rely on for advice and encouragement can make all the difference in the world. Patrick has been my friend and confidant for many years, and his support has been invaluable to me. He understands the challenges that I face as a driver and knows just how to motivate me and keep me focused. He has helped me through some tough times, both on and off the track, and I’m grateful to have him by my side. I think having a strong support system is important for anyone, but especially for those in high-pressure careers like mine. It helps to have people who believe in you and are willing to stand by you no matter what.

Q — As a veteran driver, what advice would you give to aspiring drivers who are just starting out in their careers, and what do you think are the most important qualities for success in this field?

To any aspiring driver, I would say this: always remember why you’re doing this. Racing can be a tough and unforgiving sport, but if you’re passionate about it and committed to it, then you can succeed. The most important qualities for success in this field are discipline, focus, and a willingness to work hard and never give up. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort it takes to get to the top, and you have to be willing to learn from your mistakes and keep pushing yourself to be better. It’s also important to stay grounded and humble, and to always respect your fellow drivers and the sport itself. If you can do all of these things, then you have a good chance of making it in this competitive and rewarding field.

Q — Was it your fear of failure that held you back from taking one of these big offers you used to get in the past? Is that what you mean by saying, “right here, I will always be king.”?

No, it wasn’t fear of failure that held me back from taking one of those big offers. In fact, I never really saw them as being all that important. To me, racing has always been about the love of the sport and the challenge of competing against the best drivers in the world. I’ve never been motivated by money or fame – those things are nice, but they’re not what drives me as a driver. And when I say, “right here, I will always be king,” what I mean is that as long as I’m doing what I love and competing at the highest level, I will always feel like a winner. Winning races and breaking records is great, but at the end of the day, what matters most to me is the joy of racing itself.

Keywords:

race car driver: A person who competes in professional motorsports races.

motorsports: A group of competitive events that involve the use of motorized vehicles, such as cars or motorcycles.

competition: A contest or race between individuals or teams.

victory: The act of winning a competition or achieving a goal.

perseverance: The quality of continuing to work towards a goal despite obstacles or challenges.

support system: A group of people who provide emotional or practical assistance to someone in need.

skills: Abilities or knowledge acquired through practice and experience.

competitiveness: A strong desire to succeed and win in competitive situations.

Formula One: A class of open-wheel single-seater auto racing.

records: The best or highest achievement in a particular field or competition.

pit stop: A brief stop during a race for refueling, tire changing, or repairs.

engine: The mechanical device that converts fuel into motion to power a vehicle.

mechanics: The individuals who repair, maintain, and tune up vehicles.

strategy: A plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal.

adrenaline: A hormone released by the body in response to stress or excitement, often associated with increased energy and focus.

performance: The manner in which a task or activity is carried out.

potential: The possibility or likelihood of success in a particular endeavor.

scouts: Individuals or teams who search for talented individuals to join a particular organization or team.

championship: A series of contests or competitions to determine the best competitor or team in a particular field.career: A person’s course or progress through a particular field or profession.

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<a href="https://englishpluspodcast.com/author/dannyballanowner/" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan

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Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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