An Extract From The Book: Mr Clops & Mr Balls – Silverstone By Kelvin Rush.
The sun was beating down as the temperature hit ninety degrees. Mr Balls had two really large distinctive sweat bombs under both his armpits and stunk of B.O. ‘It’s very hot Mr Clops, I’m sweating like a good’un, and I stink like a pig. Can I borrow some of your deodorant please?’ Mr Clops took out a can of Lynx Excite deodorant from his bag, handing it to Mr Balls. Mr Balls removed his Hawaiian shirt and used it to wipe away all the sweat from his body. A cool refreshing breeze crashed against his bare skin. He lifted up both his arms, and let the wind dry his sweaty smelly armpits. He then sprayed a large amount of deodorant all over his body, paying particular attention to his fat belly, his fat back and under his arms.
Just then, two teenage girls walked past on the opposite side of the road. One of the girls gave Mr Balls a wolf-whistle. ‘Oooh…..! Look who it is…..?! It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger!’ she shouted. ‘Show us ya muscles Arnold!’ Mr Balls stood upright like a proud peacock, raising his arms up high to his side and tensing his muscles, (well his bingo wings to be more precise). ‘You’d better believe it,’ he said. ‘It’s not every day you get to see a body like this.’ The girls were still giggling as they continued down the road, before fading into the distance. Mr Balls’s enormous man boobs and bingo wings, sat proudly on his obese body. He didn’t give a stuff what anyone thought, and because of his size, he got a lot of attention, which he rather enjoyed.
His shirt was soaked in sweat, so he turned it inside out and held it high, to let the wind blow it dry. He then gave it a good old shake before putting it back on. ‘That’s better,’ he said, handing the deodorant back to Mr Clops. ‘Ya can’t beat a bit of Lynx Excite on a fat sweaty body Mr Clops, that’s what I say.’ Five white taxis were lined up in a row. Mr Clops and Mr Balls got in the first one, with Mr Clops in the front seat and Mr Balls in the back, so he could manoeuvre his large frame into a comfortable position. ‘Where to?’ asked the driver. ‘Silverstone please,’ replied Mr Clops.
‘We’re on one of those experience days,’ said Mr Balls. ‘It’s a present from Mr Clops for my fiftieth birthday.’ ‘Oh that’s very nice, many happy returns,’ said the driver, as he caught a good whiff of Mr Balls’s deodorant. ‘Is that Lynx Excite I can smell? You can’t beat a bit of Lynx Excite. My mum always gets me some at Christmas.’ Mr Balls roared with laughter. ‘That’s just what I was saying. I always get Mr Clops a large can for Christmas and birthdays, don’t I Mr Clops?’ ‘Yeah, he never misses, he buys it for me and then uses it himself, don’t you Mr Balls?’ ‘Yeah that’s true, I do that sometimes.’
Five minutes later the taxi was approaching Silverstone on the perimeter road, just meters away from the famous race track. Mr Balls was overcome with excitement. ‘Look Mr Clops! You can see the race track!’ Mr Clops was just as excited. ‘Yeah…..! How great is that!?’ The driver then made a left turn and headed towards the bridge. As he drove over the bridge, he slowed the taxi right down to a snail’s pace. ‘We’re right over the Hangar Straight,’ he announced proudly. ‘Wow…..!’ screamed Mr Balls. ‘Right over the Hangar Straight!? Whatever next!?’
— The Hanger Straight is one of the iconic parts of the race track, with speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour. Silverstone was once used as a royal air force base and was home to two large hangars, (hence the name: Hangar Straight). The taxi pulled up outside the experience centre shortly after. ‘Here we are,’ said the driver. ‘That will be twelve pounds please.’ Mr Clops reached into the side pocket of his bag and pulled out fifteen pounds, handing it to the driver. ‘There you go, keep the change.’ ‘Thank you very much Mr Clops, and best wishes to you Mr Balls for your birthday.’ ‘Oh thank you,’ said a grateful Mr Balls, as he freed himself from the back seat of the taxi.
Mr Clops and Mr Balls walked into the experience centre and up to the reception desk. They were like two kids on a day trip to the seaside, (that initial rush of excitement you get, when you first spot the sea through the coach window). They were greeted by a smart looking man, dressed in blue stylish tracksuit bottoms, and a red t-shirt with: “Silverstone The Home Of British Motor Racing” splashed across the front in bright yellow letters. ‘Can I help you?’ he asked with a warm generous smile. Mr Clops noticed the man’s name badge pinned to his t-shirt: “Simon Spencer – Team Coordinator”
‘Hello Simon, we’re here for the Silverstone experience,’ he said, as he handed over the tickets. ‘Oh….. two more for the single seater thrill, that makes ten in total. Can I see your driving licences please?’ Mr Clops handed over his and Mr Balls’s driving licence. After a quick check, Simon handed them back along with the tickets. ‘Right then,’ he said. ‘Your experience starts at three o’clock, you’ll hear the announcement through the tannoy. You then go to the briefing room, located through the blue double doors next to the cafe. You’ll have a thirty minute briefing from your driving instructor, who will go through all the procedures. This will include safety regulations, the layout of the track, braking, turning techniques and overtaking. After the briefing, you’ll go to the Stowe Circuit for your single seater drive. Don’t worry about all the minor details, your instructor will tell you all you need to know.’
Mr Balls looked a little confused. ‘The Stowe Circuit…..? Don’t we drive around the proper Grand Prix Circuit?’ ‘I’m afraid not sir, but I think you’ll find the Stowe Circuit, just as thrilling and exciting.’ ‘I doubt that very much,’ said a sarcastic and somewhat annoyed Mr Balls. Mr Clops also looked a bit puzzled. ‘I thought we drove around the Grand Prix Circuit? How can it be called a Silverstone Single Seater Thrill, when you don’t even drive around the Silverstone circuit? That can’t be right.’ Simon went into one of his customer service statements, that he’d no doubt said a million times before to disgruntled customers. ‘I think you’ll find sir, it clearly states on our website, that your particular experience, namely the single seater thrill, is a drive around the Stowe Circuit and not the Grand Prix Circuit. However sir, the Stowe Circuit is almost a mile long and features fast chicanes, hairpin corners, and two high-speed straights for overtaking. I think you’ll find it just as thrilling and exciting as the Grand Prix Circuit sir.’
Mr Clops wasn’t impressed one little bit. ‘Well, I didn’t buy the tickets directly from your website, and I certainly never read anything about the Stowe Circuit. And like Mr Balls said, I very much doubt if it’s anything like the real Grand Prix Circuit.’ Simon quickly defused the situation with a calming friendly smile, before switching his attention to the elderly lady stood next to Mr Clops. ‘Hello madam can I help?’ he said. Mr Clops and Mr Balls were still peed off as they wandered around the centre looking for somewhere to sit.
They soon found a couple of empty chairs in the waiting area, and sat down next to a middle-aged man, supporting a mass of brown curly hair. He was kitted out in a bright red all-in-one racing suit, and black leather biker boots with five velcro straps. The boots went right up to his knees, and must have been at least size thirteen. It was a wonder he could lift them off the floor, let alone walk in them. He also had a jazzy blue and white crash helmet, nestled neatly on his lap. The helmet was turned upside down, with a pair of tatty old leather gloves peeking over the side. ‘You look smart,’ said Mr Balls. ‘I bet ya here for the racing aren’t ya?’ The man swept his curly hair away from his face. ‘Yeah how did you guess? Are you waiting for the three o’clock single seater thrill?’ ‘Yes we are,’ said Mr Clops. ‘But I wouldn’t call it a thrill. You don’t even drive around the proper Grand Prix Circuit.’
The man looked surprised. ‘Have you been here before?’ ‘No it’s our first time, it’s a present for my fiftieth birthday,’ said Mr Balls. ‘Oh many happy returns. Well I’ll tell you what, you’re in for a real treat in that case. The Stowe Circuit may not be as fast or as famous as the Grand Prix Circuit, but it’s just as exciting. You can do well over a ton on the straights, and the corners are scary as hell, assuming you like that sort of thing. And the adrenaline rush is incredible, especially when you’re overtaking someone. I come here four or five times a year, and I’ve never once been disappointed.’ Mr Clops and Mr Balls smiled gleefully, as they got all excited once again. ‘By the way,’ said the man. ‘Is that Lynx Excite I can smell? You can’t beat a bit of Lynx Excite, that’s what I say. My wife always gets me a gift set for Christmas, shower gel and deodorant.’ Mr Clops was beginning to wish he’d left the deodorant at home. Five minutes later an announcement came over the tannoy:
‘Can everyone with tickets for the three
o’clock single seater thrill, please make
your way to the briefing room, situated
through the blue double doors next to the
cafe. Thank you.’
Several people got up from their seats, (including the curly-haired man with his size thirteen boots), and began walking towards the blue double doors. Mr Clops and Mr Balls tagged along at the back. A few minutes later, they were all sat around the wooden oval table in the briefing room. There were nine men (of varying ages), and an elderly lady who was sat across from Mr Clops. He heard her talking to the man sat next to her. ‘Hello I’m Winnifred,’ she said. ‘Everyone calls me Winnie. I’m eighty five and I’ve been coming here for as long as I can remember.’ Winnie reminded Mr Clops of his late mother Mavis, who’d passed away peacefully in her sleep the year before. She was very active and adventurous right up until her death, and would have relished the opportunity to drive one of the cars at Silverstone. The driving instructor was stood in front of a large whiteboard. ‘Hello everyone, I’m Philip James, and I’m your driving instructor for today.’
— For the next forty minutes Philip went through everything in great detail. He gave clear and precise instructions on how to handle the car, and how to manoeuvre the tricky corners. How and when to overtake and where the best racing lines and breaking points were. And most importantly of all, how to get around the track safely. He also warned that anyone ignoring the flags, or instructions from the marshals, or driving without due care and attention, would be immediately pulled off the track and their race would be over. After the briefing was finished, they all left the room and eagerly followed the steward to the Stowe Circuit garage, to be fitted with a balaclava and a crash helmet. Mr Clops and Mr Balls were walking down the corridor to the garage, when Mr Balls was tapped on the back from behind. He stopped dead in his tracks and turned around. Philip the driving instructor was stood there looking slightly concerned.
‘Excuse me sir, can I ask how much you weigh please? Only there’s a maximum weight limit of eighteen stone for the single seaters.’ Mr Balls wasn’t amused. ‘I beg ya pardon!?’ he said frowning, shocked that anyone would ask him such a personal question. Philip could see Mr Balls was annoyed and tried to use a little diplomacy. ‘Oh I’m not trying to be funny sir. It’s just that safety is paramount, and we do have a maximum weight limit of eighteen stone for the single seaters.’ Mr Balls got very stroppy. ‘Yeah…..! So what ya telling me for!? Are you suggesting I’m over eighteen stone!?’ ‘I’m not suggesting anything sir, I’m just saying it’s a possibility you may be over the weight limit. I’m afraid I can’t let you drive a single seater, unless you can prove you’re under eighteen stone.’
Mr Balls was losing his patience, and could feel himself boiling up inside. It was bad enough being asked intimate questions stood in a corridor. It was even worse, when the person asking the questions, was a pipsqueak like Philip James. He was only in his early twenties, and as far as Mr Balls was concerned, couldn’t possibly be a proper driving instructor. ‘And just how am I supposed to prove I’m under eighteen stone!?’ said an angry Mr Balls. ‘Well, I’ll have to weigh you sir.’ ‘Oh will ya now…..!? Well ya can do that, but I’ll tell ya right now ya wasting ya time, cos I’m certainly not eighteen stone. I’m about seventeen tops,’ said a confident Mr Balls. Philip wasn’t convinced. ‘Well I’ll have to weigh you sir just to be on the safe side. I need to follow the health and safety regulations. As you can appreciate we must take safety very seriously.’
Mr Balls and Mr Clops followed Philip to a small room at the end of the corridor to be weighed. Mr Balls slipped off his brown loafer shoes and jumped on the scales, determined to prove Philip wrong. All three of them gazed at the needle, as it shot around quicker than a mechanical hare at the greyhound track, before resting on 26 stone 10 pounds. There was silence in the room for a good few seconds, before Mr Balls erupted. ‘What the bloody hell!! That can’t be right!! There must be something wrong with the scales!!’ ‘There’s nothing wrong with the scales sir. Jump off, let me get weighed, I should be just over twelve stone.’ Philip got on the scales. He was right, the scales were working perfectly. He was twelve stone three pounds.
‘Let me try again without mi clothes on,’ said a desperate Mr Balls, as he began to quickly undress, hoping for some mysterious intervention. He removed his shirt, trousers and socks, and stood there in his Leeds United boxer shorts, and his panama hat. ‘Is that Lynx Excite I can smell?’ asked Philip. ‘You can’t beat a bit of Lynx Excite, that’s what I say. My girlfriend always gets me a can at Christmas.’ ‘Oh for god’s sake!’ snapped Mr Balls. ‘Not another one!’ ‘Yes it is,’ smiled Mr Clops. ‘He always gets me a can or two for Christmas and birthdays and then uses it himself, don’t you Mr Balls?’ Mr Balls was in no mood to respond, as he got back on the scales. This time he was 26 stone 2 pounds. His man boobs and bingo wings alone, must have weighed at least a stone each. Philip was now adamant.
‘I’m sorry sir, you’re over the eighteen stone weight limit. So I’m afraid you can’t go out in a single seater.’ Mr Balls, who was normally reserved and laid back, was now becoming increasingly irate. ‘I don’t bloody well believe this! It’s my fiftieth birthday and I’ve come all the way from Leeds! I’m a massive Formula One fan, and now I’m not even allowed to drive a bleedin single seater! What about one of ya other cars? Can’t I drive one of those?’ ‘I’m afraid most of the other cars have the same eighteen stone weight limit,’ said Philip sympathetically. Mr Balls was like a pressure cooker at boiling point, just about to let off steam once again. ‘How come I wasn’t told about this when I first arrived!? Or before the briefing!?’ ‘I’m not sure sir, it is a sensitive issue. I can only assume they must have thought you were lighter than eighteen stone. Let me go and see what I can do sir,’ said Philip, as he put a reassuring hand on Mr Balls’s right shoulder, before leaving the room.
‘Bloody hell Mr Clops! What a mess! Didn’t you know about the eighteen stone weight limit!?’
‘Yes I knew Mr Balls, but if you remember, I asked you last week how much you weighed, and you said you were around seventeen stone.’ Mr Balls snapped once again. ‘Well, I haven’t weighed myself in ages, so I assumed I was around seventeen stone! To be honest, I never gave it much thought! Why didn’t you tell me about the eighteen stone limit!? at which point I would have found out my exact weight!’ Mr Clops was trying really hard to remain calm, and not get into a heated argument, especially on Mr Balls’s birthday. ‘I couldn’t tell you about the weight limit, as it would have spoiled the surprise. That’s why I asked you how much you weighed, and you said around seventeen stone.’ ‘You can see I weigh more than seventeen stone Mr Clops!’ ‘Well I don’t know what seventeen stone looks like Mr Balls, now do I? Don’t worry, I’m sure Philip will sort something out.’
Philip returned ten minutes later. ‘Do you want the good news or the bad news first?’ Mr Balls, who was a glass half-empty kind of guy, opted for the latter. ‘Go on give us the bad news.’ ‘Right, I’ve checked all the other cars and it’s just as I thought, they all have a maximum weight limit of eighteen stone. So I’m afraid you can’t drive any of our cars today sir.’ Mr Balls looked dejected and resigned to the fact, that his birthday had been well and truly ruined. ‘I can’t think what possible good news there could be, but let’s have it anyway,’ he said. ‘Well Mr Balls….. I can take you out in a Ferrari F430 Coupe around the proper Grand Prix Circuit. You won’t be able to drive it, but at least you’ll have the thrill of going around the famous Silverstone Circuit. You can also have your picture taken on top of the winners podium, and we’ll have a bite to eat in the restaurant afterwards. After all, it is your fiftieth birthday. How does that sound?’
Mr Balls’s demeanour changed quicker than a chameleon’s skin colour. His cheesy smile returned in abundance. ‘Well, I don’t know what to say Phil. I’ve got to admit, I’m desperately disappointed not to be driving a car. However, I can do that in the future, once I’ve shed some of this weight. In the meantime, to be driven around Silverstone would be absolutely brilliant, so thanks for that.’ Mr Clops agreed. ‘Yeah, a big thanks for sorting that out Phil, it’s a very kind gesture.’ ‘Don’t give me too much praise,’ said Philip. ‘I do have an ulterior motive you know. I’ve never driven a Ferrari F430 Coupe before, so I can’t wait to get out on the track.’
Mr Clops made his way to the Stowe Circuit garage, to be fitted with a balaclava and a crash helmet, while Philip and Mr Balls went to the Silverstone Circuit.
An Extract From The Book: Mr Clops & Mr Balls – Silverstone By Kelvin Rush.