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The Race of the Century

Every year the the Collings Foundation sponsors the Race of the Century, which seems odd for an annual event, but this is a historic demonstration. Various vehicles in use in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are pitted against each other. The race highlights how the evolution of motor vehicles was often two steps forward and one step back. Early motor cars were not an improvement on horses, but they were a step to something that was. National Geographic has the story.

When the 1904 Franklin rolls out for the Race of the Century, there is always a person with a red flag walking in front of it. In the first race, the car goes up against a horse-drawn stagecoach, a runner, and a female bicyclist holding a “Votes for Women” sign, all proclaiming that their mode of transportation is superior to the newfangled horseless carriage.

Whoever wins the first race goes on to the second. Whoever wins that continues to the next one, and so forth. Each race introduces new concepts and technology, and the winners are different every time. (Though the antique cars are well-kept, they’re still old—slight weather changes can affect their performance.)

(YouTube link)

Interesting, but when I saw this video of so many disparate vehicles racing each other, all I could think of was Japan World Cup 3. This time, there were no horses running sideways on their hind legs. -via mental_floss


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Reminds me of when in college at the U of Maine late 1950's when the best track team sprinter raced a horse in a 50 yard dash. A decent sprinter can easily beat the horse at that distance. I think it takes a world class athlete to do it at say 100 yards. Of course a bit longer, the 4-legged animal rules. They can hit 35 mph or so at full bore. The best a sprinter can do is somewhere around 25 mph. I stand to be corrected if wrong.
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