Guardian of the Sea, a rowboat piloted by four members of the U.S. Coast Guard, has just such a problem, but the Cheesy Rider, piloted by the gray-haired Tony Kerreman, glides through without trouble.
"It's all about practice," says a mud-splattered fan. "In four or five years they [the Coast Guard members] will be able to compete."
At the home stretch, Hobart Brown's Kinetic Bus has suspiciously crossed the finish line first. It is duly ignored. Thousands of people, some of them authentic war veterans in full military regalia, line the street, cheering and blowing small horns as the racers roll in.
After much back-slapping, the racers proceed to the awards ceremony, where Bass Ackwards comes away with "Overall Winner," Scratch wins the "Best Art" category, and two teen-age boys driving the Titanic (which did sink along the way) come away with the "Mediocre Award." (It's an automobile signed by every team; the car even runs.) After the "Speed Award," "Spirit Award," "Engineering Award," and a couple of awards made up just for the occasion are bestowed, everyone else gets "Losers Awards" handcrafted by Hobart Brown.
"No one should come away empty-handed," says Brown.
And no one does.
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By Silke Tudor