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Michael’s Travel Diary

Monday, 28 Apr 2008

Location: The M3 somewhere, England

MapWell, Round 1 of the ARUK Season started on Saturday, and what a day it was....

The team met in Southampton at 815 am to travel to London for the first game of the season. I jumped into Kuf's car and we all set off in convoy, 4 cars in total, with another one meeting up on the way. We were on the motorway, moving at about 85 mph in the inside lane just after Basingstoke, making great time with not too much traffic around, when suddenly there was a bang. I was sitting in the back and thought we'd run over something. I looked out the back but couldn't see anything, and figured it must have been a blown tire... but in hindsight, that still would have left debris. Kuf did a great job moving from the inside lane to the emergency stopping lane across 3 lanes of traffic, smashing on the hazard lights, and just as we got in there, there was another thump and I had no idea what was happening! He managed to get the car to stop by using the gears and not touching the brakes. The car had been swerving from side to side, and I was worried we'd either hit the wall or just slide back into the traffic, but he did a top job and stopped the car without a problem.

When we got out, it was clear that the tire was infact still fine. It had a bald patch - well, by patch, I mean there was little race of any tread at all - on the tire, but that was it. What it appears happened was that the wheel and wheel hub came off the axle and was jammed up in the wheel arch, just being dragged along the road, hence the bald 'patch'. Then as we made it into the emergency lane, the wheel slipped out of its wedged position and the axle was then grinding into the road, leaving a lovely gouge in the M3! The car was a write off (well, it cost nothing in teh first place) and we waited 2 hours for a tow truck to pick the car up and drive us to a garage. Thankfully it was a great day (for not playing football apparently) and we took the opportunity to Sun ourselves. Four blokes standing on the side of the M3 with our shirts off!

From back in Basingstoke, we caught a taxi into London and arrived 3 hours later than expected, and half an hour after the end of the game! Safe to say I was pretty disappointed with the whole experience, but at least we all walked away unharmed.

But, the team managed a win, and as much as it hurts me not to have played, the win was what the team needed!

The rest of the avo was fun, with a great atmosphere, and I managed to find a place selling fried Dim Sims, my first since I left home, and I never knew I'd miss em so much - so the day, unlike the car, wasn't a total write off!

Off to Amsterdam tomorrow for Queen's Day, and back on Thursday, so stay tuned for pics and story from that one!