BRITISH COMICS

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THE TOUGH OF THE TRACK

First episode (fifth series) is taken from The Rover No. 1404 - May 24th 1952.

He’s back today to give you laughs and thrills.

Alf Tupper, your pal of the running track!

TUPPER THE SCRAPPER

Alf Tupper, his hair as usual hanging untidily over his ears, rushed towards the exit of the car factory at Brassingford as soon as the hooter sounded on Thursday evening.

His overalls were tattered and grimy and his boots were dull with grease. There was a brown paper parcel under his arm. He was one of the welders in the body shop. Hundreds of other employees were also in a hurry to get out. The gateman spoke to Alf as he went by in the crush. “Aren’t you working overtime?” he asked. Alf shook his head. “The chargehand said nothing about it,” he replied. “Anyhow, I’m running tonight!” He scowled at a man who pushed past him. “Here who d’you think you’re shoving?” The stampede continued towards the buses. Alf wanted to get on the bus for Reservoir Lane which was a couple of miles away. His sport was running and the Brassingford Harriers were starting the season with an evening meeting. He wasn’t a member of the club, but there were a number of open events. It was his intention to run in the Mile Handicap Race. The “Works Special” for Reservoir Lane had not yet arrived and with a final sprint Alf took his place in the queue. Up to a month previously Alf had worked with a racing car crew. When it was decided to race the car in America. Alf had been given the option of going. His answer had been “No thanks, mister!” They wouldn’t catch him going off to America at the start of the athletic season. Not likely! In the past he had occasionally gained a big success on the track, and a newspaper writer, in reviewing Olympic Games prospects, had gone so far as to describe him as a British hope. When Alf’s workmates had drawn his attention to this he had scoffed, “Some hope!” What he really thought he kept to himself. The bus appeared and then there were indignant shouts. Instead of the usual double decker, a single decker vehicle turned towards the kerb. The queue shuffled forward. Alf watched anxiously. He began to think he would be lucky and just get on. He was near the step when the conductor called out, “One more only!” Alf had his foot on the step when Pug Willis, whose flat nose was evidence of his success, or lack of it, as an amateur boxer, shoved past him. Willis worked in the tool room and since he was the local middleweight champion enjoyed a lot of prestige. “Come off it,” snarled Alf. “I got here before you.” For all the notice Willis took he might have been deaf. He was on the top step when Alf laid hold of his ankle and pulled. Uttering a startled bellow, Willis slid down the steps and rolled in the road. He scrambled up and clenched his fists. “I’m going to knock your block off,” he exclaimed angrily. “Try it,” retorted Alf and threw down his parcel. Willis took a swing at the Tough who ducked and slammed a punch into the bigger fellow’s ribs. It hurt his knuckles. It also hurt Willis. To a boxer’s eyes Alf looked wide open. Willis weaved in and hooked at the Tough’s head. The blow found its target. Alf blinked but did not stagger away as Willis expected. He hit back instantly and his fist thudded on the boxer’s nose. “I’ll kill you for that,” howled Willis. “You’ll ‘ave to hit a blooming sight harder,” snapped Alf and rushed in at him. Willis took a sock at Alf’s jaw and hit it. As he waited to see the Tough crumple up, he received a set of knuckles smack in the mouth. Ring tactics were no use against an opponent who had never heard of them and who, when punched, hit back. Willis let fly with his left and punched Alf in the eye. Without any pause for recovery the Tough whirled round and his swinging fist took Willis full on the ear. He tottered across the pavement, collided with the wall and slid down it into a sitting position amid cheers from the onlookers who had reason to be tired of him. “Next time keep in your place,” snarled Alf and turned to pick up his parcel. A gasp broke from him. “Where’s the blooming bus?” he exclaimed. “It went while you were scrapping,” said a spectator of the scrap. “Well, paint me pink,” growled Alf in exasperation. “I’ll have to walk.”

He picked up his parcel and, with his right eye half-closed, marched off down the road. Through a maze of streets Alf made his way towards the Harriers’ ground. He wasn’t far away when he first sniffed and then saw a fried fish and chips shop with a cluster of people round the door. Alf had worked hard all the afternoon and felt peckish. He joined the short queue. There had been occasions when he was on athletic tours when he had sat down to six course dinners, but none had been as satisfying as a feed of fried fish and chips. “I’ll have a piece and six penn’orth of chips,” stated Alf, when his turn came. He kept his eye—the one which wasn’t closing up—on the man behind the counter. “Hi, I don’t call that a piece, mister! Keep it for the cat’s supper.” Another piece of fish was laid on top of Alf’s chips. He gave them a good sprinkling of vinegar and left the shop. Both to save time and because he was hungry, he ate his fish and chips as he headed for the ground. Noel Meecham, the Harriers’ champion miler, drove past in his red sports car. Maybe he saw the Tough, maybe he didn’t. In any event he didn’t give him a nod. From astern of Alf sounded the kind of whistle produced by sticking two fingers in the mouth and blowing. “Hello, Charlie, so you’ve turned up,” chirped the Tough, as he glanced back. Charlie Crabtree hurried after Alf. Charlie had unusually thin legs and though without his bicycle, wore the clips. His neck had a couple of inches clearance above his collar and he had a long, thin nose. He was a couple of years older than the Tough and they knew each other because they both had “digs” with Mrs Narker in Canal Road. Charlie was a storeroom clerk in one of the town’s multiple shops. Athletics were a passion with him. He could not compete himself because he had a tendency to asthma, but he turned up at every meeting and had his own stopwatch. “I never thought I’d make it,” he panted. “Crowing cats, what have you done to your eye?” “It was done for me,” said Alf. “Barking fish, who done it?” asked Charlie. “A chap who got out of his place in the bus queue,” Alf explained. A car went by and then they crossed the street and turned into Reservoir Lane, a long street lined with brick houses. Up at the far end was a pool and, on what had been a rubbish tip, the Harriers had their ground. “How long will it take you to run the Mile tonight?” Charlie inquired. “It’ll be slow,” muttered Alf. “It’s my first time out this season and working overtime has cut down my training time. I’d be satisfied with four minutes twenty this evening—but only this evening. I’ll have to sharpen up a lot by a fortnight Saturday for the sports at London.” Charlie rolled his eyes excitedly. “I’ll be there to watch you, Alf,” he exclaimed. “I shan’t miss those sports at White City, no fear!” Alf had had his entry accepted for the Southern Meeting in the White City Stadium which in a real sense, would be an Olympics Trial. “Well, don’t bank too hard on me being there,” said Alf with an air of determination. “I’m not going to the White City to muck up my chances. I might as well give up the idea if I’m not sure of beating four minutes ten. I’m not telling everybody, but I know I’ve a chance of making the Olympics team, but it’d do me a lot more harm than good if I went along and ran like a twerp’s uncle.” Following on this emphatic statement Alf popped the last chip into his mouth and walked into the sports ground.

THE FIRST MILE OF THE SEASON

The Harriers’ ground wasn’t a White City or a Stamford Bridge, but it was the centre of the district’s athletic activities and well up to the job. The stand was small but there was a excellent track and a good grass oval. On big occasions five or six thousand spectators could get on the banks.

The chairman of the Club, Stewart Langley, was now nearer forty than thirty, but he had been a good middle distance runner in his time. He was a Brassingford auctioneer. Langley looked hard at Alf as he approached the stand. “I’m glad you’ve turned up, Tupper,” he exclaimed. “You’d have a job to keep me away from a bit of running,” said Alf. “Gracious, what have you done to your eye?” asked Langley. “I had a bit of an argument with a fellow,” explained the Tough. Alf went into the dressing room under the stand. There was a cheerful chatter. Something like thirty of the Harriers and visitors were starting to get into their running strip. Alf crossed the room to find a peg for his clothes. Noel Meecham had got as far as taking off his jacket and was now loosening his old school tie. He had been a Public Schools champion and, now that he had finished his National Service as a lieutenant, was in strict training again. He had run a four minutes fourteen seconds mile while in the Army. “Howdo, Noel,” said Alf. Meecham shot a startled glance at him. “I didn’t recognise you,” he exclaimed. “Did—did I see you eating fish and chips?” “How did you guess?” inquired Alf. Meecham shuddered. “I saw the newspaper,” he said. “But, surely you can’t run after eating that greasy stuff?” “I eat when I feel like it,” replied Alf. “If I had anything more than a poached egg I wouldn’t finish a lap,” said Meecham. Alf sat on the bench and shook his brown paper parcel loose. An undervest from which moths had found sustenance and a pair of khaki shorts, ex-Army, 3s 3d, fell out, together with his track shoes. Terry Benger, the Harrier’s aspiring Miler, made his entry. His fastest mile, at the peak of the previous season, had been four minutes fifteen seconds. The starters in the 100 yards heats were called out and when they had gone there was a bit more room to move about. The Tough enlarged the moth holes when he pulled on the vest. He never wore socks nor had any protection for his feet. He stood and started on his massage. “Done any training, Noel?” he asked. “A bit,” said Meecham. “I’ve done quite a lot of gym work this winter. Have you?” “Naw!” Alf shook his head. “I reckon the best training for running is running.” The time came for the runners in the Mile to go out. As it was a handicap race there were a dozen starters.

Alf found he was on scratch by himself. Meecham had been given a couple of yards. The Tough did not think that was unfair but when he saw Terry far up the track he uttered a loud protest. “Here, how much start have you given Benger?” he snarled. Cyril Huntley, the Harriers’ honorary secretary, frowned indignantly. “He’s on forty yards,” he snapped. “I wonder you didn’t give him four hundred while you were about it,” growled Alf. “It needs a telescope to see him.” The Starter took charge. Alf still glowered at Benger. The start given to Benger struck him as being a bit of favouritism. “Get to your marks!” Alf walked to the line and started to get into his awkward looking crouch. “Get set!” The gun was the signal Alf had waited for with impatience ever since the end of the 1951 season. He worked for his living and lived for his running. He catapulted himself into motion and hit his stride. Meecham was off the mark smartly and Alf gained nothing on him at the start. It was a minor race but Alf was on the track to win. He started to think of his tactics as he got on the move. The main thing was that he couldn’t afford to nibble at Benger’s lead. He felt it was necessary to grab some distance as soon as he could. Meecham apparently had the same idea, for he soon began to put on pace. Alf went with him and they were soon passing some of the slower men. Alf really felt alive again now that he had a running track under his feet and saw it curving away ahead. By the end of the first lap it was evident to the handful of spectators that, barring accidents, the race lay between Benger, Meecham and Alf. The second time round the two tail-enders had gained something on Benger but he was running strongly to take advantage of his long start. It was midway through the third lap that Alf shot a glance towards Benger as he took the curve. “This is no blooming good,” he muttered. Alf cracked on pace. There was a long way to go. He knew he might be taking a risk of running himself out short of the tape, but he wasn’t going to be licked by Benger if he could help it. He turned out spurted past Meecham and went slogging along. His burst gave the spectators their first excitement. He halved Benger’s lead by the time the latter entered the fourth and last lap. “Go it, Alf,” yelled Charlie who, stopwatch in hand, was opposite the finishing line. Alf tore into the last circuit. He hadn’t shaken off Meecham, who was hanging on with great determination. Up in front Benger was showing signs of flagging, but there was no doubt he would finish. Alf plugged away. It was hard going now. He was driving himself unsparingly. He could see he was gaining on Benger and that was a spur. With a hundred yards to go he was twelve paces behind Benger and felt just about pumped out. It wasn’t evident in his running. It was his determination and his big heart which urged him on when his legs were nearly spent. Meecham made a big effort but couldn’t catch the Tough. He was still there if Alf faltered. Alf gasped down a last long breath and went for the tape. He could scarcely see out of his black eye and the other was blurred. With his face twisted in determination he took a stride which put him in front of Benger and with the next step broke the tape, staggered on and flopped to the ground. “I run him,” he muttered triumphantly. “It wasn’t a fair do, but I run him.” Charlie pranced up to him excitedly. “Whistling whales, that was a race,” he exclaimed. “What was the time?” panted Alf. “I made it four minutes nineteen seconds,” said Charlie. Charlie was right too. That was also the official time.

Alf was still blowing hard. “Not bad for the first race of the season,” he said. “I’ve a fortnight to speed up.” Cyril Huntley bore down on Alf. “Tupper, as you didn’t pay for your entrance fee of half a crown prior to the race, you are not eligible for the prize,” he said pompously. “You can stick it down your collar,” scoffed the Tough. “If you want the half dollar, come and get it.” However, on his way out, Alf was stopped by Mr Langley. “If you want to use the track for your training, Alf, you’re welcome,” he said. “Thanks,” exclaimed Alf. “You’re a sport.”

OUT OF A JOB

The factory hooter was wailing when Alf sprinted past the gatemen in the morning and headed for the body shop. No sooner had he entered the huge building, with the unpainted metal car bodies looking like giant snails, and clocked in than he was told he was wanted by the foreman.

Alf made for the office. It had glass sides and he saw that Mr Wilkes, the foreman, was not alone. The chargehand of the gang, Fred Ferritt, was in with him. As Alf pushed the door open, the argument continued. “You knew the job had to be finished last night,” snapped Wilkes, who had a heavy dark moustache. “You knew it was a special body for the Brussels show.” “I’ve told you I was left in the lurch,” whined Ferritt. Wilkes glared at Alf. “You skipped out last night,” he snapped. “You were ordered to work overtime but you beat it.” “That’s a blooming lie,” retorted Alf. “I was told nothing of the kind.” Ferritt shifted his feet uneasily. “I told you to come back when you’d had your tea, Alf,” he said. Alf just couldn’t believe his ears. He had told the chargehand he was running and had received the reply of “Okay!” “You never said anything of the sort,” he exclaimed. Wilkes stared hard at Ferritt. “Did you or did you not tell Tupper to come back?” he demanded. “I told him to come back,” said Ferritt brazenly. “I said ‘Get your tea and make it snappy’.” Alf’s face blazed with indignation. “Your name ought to be Ananias,” he snarled. Wilkes accepted the charge hand’s version. “It was a condition of your employment that you should work overtime when called on, Tupper,” he said. “You held up an important job by clearing off. On top of that a director saw you fighting in the street. We’re paying you off. Go to the office for your cards.” Alf turned on Ferritt and stared at him fiercely. “I hope you’re satisfied at saving your own job,” he shouted. “I’d push your face in only I don’t want to catch anything by touching you!” Alf slammed the door hard enough to fetch down the foreman’s hat and coat off the peg and stalked away down the factory. It had been a good job but they could stick it up their waistcoats. He had had a dirty deal and they would never get him to go back. Before the end of the morning Alf was down at the Employment Exchange. The clerk was both polite and helpful. “You’ll soon get fixed up,” he said after he had glanced at the form Alf had filled up and had a talk with him. “There are three places where you can ask.” “In the town?” Alf exclaimed. “All in the town or close by,” stated the clerk. “The Castle Garage people need a mechanic with some knowledge of welding. It’s a five and a half day week.” Alf just grunted. “Neale & Co., the firm which makes agricultural machinery, have vacancies,” the clerk added. “It’s a good firm. They have their own canteen. It’s a five day week.” “That suits me better,” exclaimed Alf. “What’s the other place?” “A fitter’s wanted in the railway running shed,” was the answer. Alf grunted again. “I reckon I’ll look Neale’s up,” he said after some thought. Alf left the Employment Exchange. He crossed the road and went down the narrow street which would bring him out on the new bus route. Neal & Company’s new factory was four miles out. He had seen the building when out in the suburbs on a training run. Alf heard the wail of a whistle. Steam gushed up around the high metal parapets of the railway bridge as a locomotive rumbled below. He crossed the smoky bridge and came to a fence made of railway sleepers. A wicket door opened. A driver and fireman, with the badge of British Railways, Central Region, on their peaked caps stepped out, their faces grimy and their eyes weary.

Alf remembered that one of the jobs that were vacant was in the railway running sheds. It was a job that wasn’t interesting him much but, seeing the two railwaymen, he thought he might have a look at the place, no harm done. “Is this the way to the running shed?” he asked. The driver gave a tired nod and trudged away with his mate. Alf went through the doorway. A long flight of wooden steps led down to a large building with smoke rising from the numerous ventilators in the roof. Beyond the running shed he could see the turntable, on which an engine was being turned, the coaling tower and the ash hopper discharge plant. A dozen other locomotives waited on the tracks. Alf shrugged. “Now I’m here I might as well inquire,” he muttered and went down the steps. A dour-looking man in a bowler hat and dusty dark clothes appeared in the doorway of a brick office. “Who are you looking for?” he asked gruffly. “The Labour Exchange sent me up,” said Alf. Wal Webber, the loco foreman, looked hard at the Tough. If he noticed his black eye he didn’t mention it. “Let’s see your hands,” he barked. Alf blinked in surprise and then opened his hands with their engrained grime, hard skin and broken nails. “You’re not afraid of hard work, then,” said Webber brusquely. “Come on in.” As Alf followed the foreman into the dark stuffy office, a wall phone buzzed. Webber snatched of the receiver and planked it against his ear. “Loco Shed here,” he rapped out. “What’s that? Eh? Where d’you think I’m going to find another engine? I’m not a conjurer. I can’t fetch them out of my hat. What? Eh? Oh, all right I suppose so!” He jabbed a button on the phone. “Listen, Bill,” he exclaimed. “The engine on the Liverpool Parcels has a sticking ejector and it’s got to come off the train. What? Eh? That’s what I told ‘em only a bit more politely. We’ll send the 407 away with the Liverpool and try and get those injectors right in time to use the engine for the Bristol.” He hung up the phone and turned to Alf. “There’s a sample for you,” he snapped. “We’re up against emergencies day and night. Don’t come here thinking it’s a soft job. You work all hours of the day and night, including weekends. You’re liable to be fetched out anytime. Let’s see your card.” Alf passed over the card he had brought from the Employment Exchange. “Tupper? Are you any relation to the runner?” Webber asked. “It’s me,” said Alf. “You’d get plenty of running about here,” retorted the foreman. An engine stopped just outside the office and blew off steam. The phone buzzed. Webber grabbed the receiver. “What? Eh? How did the clumsy elephants do that?” he snarled. “All right. I’ll come along with the crane.” He hung up and turned towards the door. “Come back and see me this afternoon,” he said. “I’ve got to go and put a shunting engine back on the rails.” Alf departed through a shower of grit and ashes from an erupting locomotive and climbed the steps to the street. “No thanks,” he murmured. “I’ll go to Neale’s place.” Alf had walked on about fifty yards when on the corner, he stopped and sniffed. “Where’s it coming from?” he muttered, for the scent of fried fish and chips made him feel hungry. He stuck his head out inquiringly and shuffled towards a doorway. There was a board over the top, “Railwaymen’s Canteen.” Alf stood on the step. Then he advanced another pace. He looked into a large, dingy room with a row of metal topped tables. On the far side was a counter and, behind the counter the friers. A small man, in an apron and shirt sleeves plunged a ladle into the sizzling fat. With an intent air he scooped up a pile of golden yellow chips and the sight of them made Alf’s mouth water. With his head on one side the man regarded the chips. Then he inverted the ladle and watched them slide beck into the fat. Alf advanced. The cook turned round on hearing him, to reveal a quaff of hair hanging over his damp forehead and a black moustache, waxed into long spikes. He gestured towards a slate—“Today’s Menu,” on which was chalked, “Soup, 3d; Meat and veg., 1s 3d; Meat pie, 7d; Bread and butter pud. 4d.” “No, thanks,” exclaimed Alf. “I want some fish and chips.” The dark beady eyes of the cook, glittered with pleasure. “You like da feesh and da cheeps?” he asked. “Not half,” said Alf. “It’s real grub.” With the air of a conductor about to lead his orchestra in a symphony, Antonio flourished the ladle. He plunged it into the fat and by the time he had finished bringing out the chips it was only with difficulty that Alf could see the plate. It was with a similar air of pride that Antonio scooped out a piece of fish with its coating of golden batter and laid it reverently on top of the chips. Alf carried the plate to the nearest table and sat down. Antonio leaned over the counter and watched tensely while Alf put a couple of chips in his mouth. “You lika my cheeps?” he asked. Alf’s jaw moved slowly. In ecstasy he closed his eyes. “Like ‘em?” he said, in a voice charged with emotion. “They’re the best chips I’ve ever tasted.” “Ah!” Antonio waved his arms in delight at finding such an appreciative customer. “You know what is good!” He scoffed contemptuously. “Some peoples will only eat da meat and veg., and da bread and butter pud! Bah!” “Bah!” echoed Alf. Voices were heard.

A group of railwaymen entered the canteen. The secretary of the canteen committee, a sharp-featured clerk from the locomotive superintendent’s office, fixed his gaze on Alf and strutted towards him. “What are you doing in here?” he demanded curtly. “This canteen is for the use of railway employees only.” Alf swallowed a delicious morsel of fish. “I’m starting work on the railway this afternoon, guv’nor,” he replied. “Any job where there’s fish and chips like this is my job.”

THE MAD MILE

A hand pushed a wrench between the wheels of the Class 6 4-6-2 mixed traffic locomotive that was standing over the inspection pit in the running shed. Then the grimy face of Alf appeared. He had a miner’s lamp on his cap. He wormed out and straightened up with a grunt.

Bill clews, the chief fitter, left his work on a tank engine and came across. “Finished?” he asked. Alf nodded wearily. One of the sections of the rocking grate of the locomotive had jammed and it had taken a bit of shifting. He had been working with only one break for something like ten hours. It was the Wednesday of his second week on the railway. The work was hard, but he wasn’t grumbling. Why grumble when he had only to nip round the corner for a prodigious helping of the best fish and chips in the world. “Knock off, then,” said Clews. “I’ve a bit of news for you, Alf. The boss says you can have Saturday for your trip to the White City.” “I hope I’ll get there,” Alf replied. “I’m going along now for a speed trial. If I don’t beat four minutes twelve I’ll stay and run in the County meeting. It’s no use me going to the White City if I haven’t found my form.” Alf trudged away. He had found time for running each day and had been concentrating on working up his speed. Now it was to be the test. He was quite determined not to go to the White City if he was below form. He was sure it would do him more harm than good. The Tough was on his way out when Mr Webber came into the running shed. “How’s Tupper shaping?” he asked. “He’s a real worker,” said Clews. “He’s a neat worker, but I can use him on almost anything. Wish I had a few more like him.” Alf took the bus to the Harriers’ ground. Charlie minus bicycle but plus clips, was waiting to time him and Noel Meecham was taking a preliminary canter before pacing him. “Shan’t keep you a couple of minutes,” Alf called out as he dashed in to change. Charlie stood down the track where they could see him and started them by swinging down his arm, simultaneously starting the watch and then leaping out of the way. It was a real pace with Alf running his hardest and Meecham staying with him until near the end when he had to break it off. Alf nearly ran himself out but he found the energy from somewhere for a finishing spurt which put him on his knees when his impetus faded. With his chest heaving and sweat trickling down his face he looked anxiously up at Charlie. “Let’s know the worst,” he said. Charlie pulled a miserable face. “Four seventeen, Alf,” he muttered. Alf’s expression went glum. “I ain’t sharp enough for the White City,” he said. “I’ll pack it in and run in the County sports.” “No, you have to go,” Meecham urged. Alf shook his head emphatically. “I’d put myself right out of the reckoning if I ran a bad race,” he said. “They won’t look at a four seventeen runner for the Olympics team.”

There was no arguing with him and he sent off a postcard canceling his White City entry. He was convinced he had to sharpen up a lot before he appeared in top class company. As he was not going to London he worked on Saturday morning doing a welding job wanted urgently for one of the Diesel shunting engines. Afterwards, he nipped into the canteen to see Antonio and have a feed of fish and chips. Then he went along to the ground for the County Sports. Meecham was running again and another fast strong man in the Mile was Don Hudson, of the Mainford A.C. At the White City, according to the radio there were 40,000 spectators. At Brassingford there were about four hundred. At the start Alf pounced into the lead and maintained a fast stride. He wasn’t an elegant runner. He had no style at all. He always gave the impression that he was butting his way along. Charlie as usual had the stopwatch on him. Alf felt he was going all right. The idea did occur that it was too easy. Maybe it was that feeling that accounted for his lack of pace. He decided that in the last lap he would drive himself to the limit. Hudson and Meecham tailed him through the first three laps. When the bell rang for the final circuit Alf cracked on speed. He quickened his stride and the other runners fell away. The excitement of the spectators faded as it ceased to be a race and there was hardly a shout as the Tough finished far away in front on his own. Alf carried the tape with him, staggered and flopped down with his hair plastered over his forehead and his vest stained with sweat. He stared up questioningly at Charlie as his pal ran to him. He was too pumped out to speak. Charlie pulled a doleful face. “I make it four seventeen again, Alf,” he sighed. Alf gulped for breath. “It must be old age creeping over me,” he panted. Somebody in the crowd had a portable radio. A terrific din issued from it. A commentary on the sports at London was being given. “Kershaw has won, Kershaw has won the Mile in excellent time,” raved the commentator on the radio, “I make his time four minutes eight seconds—yes, that’s right. Four minutes eight seconds. Well done, Kershaw!” Alf put on his jacket and began to walk away. “You see, I would have looked a proper mug at the White City,” he said to Charlie. The loudspeakers in the ground were switched on for the announcement of the result of the race just ended. “Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen,” screeched the excited announcer as he held the slip of paper just received from the official timekeeper. “Our record has been smashed! Alf Tupper has just broken the record for our track with the wonderful time of Four Minutes Seven point eight seconds.” Alf reeled to a stop. “Say that again,” he gasped and, just to prove there was no mistake, the announcer repeated the time and called for a cheer for the record breaker. Alf’s mouth gaped. He stared flabbergasted at Charlie. “Then I ain’t dreaming,” he spluttered. “Chase me, Charlie, what went wrong with your watch?”

 

The Tough of the Track (1st series) 32 episodes appeared in The Rover issues 1244 - 1275

The Tough of the Track (2nd series) 30 episodes appeared in The Rover issues 1295 - 1324

The Tough of the Track (3rd series) 10 episodes appeared in The Rover issues 1331 - 1340

The Tough of the Track (4th series) 12 episodes appeared in The Rover issues 1350 - 1361

The Tough of the Track (5th series) 20 episodes appeared in The Rover issues 1404 - 1423

The Tough of the Track (6th series) 22 episodes appeared in The Rover issues 1434 - 1455

The Tough of the Track (7th series) 13 episodes appeared in The Rover issues 1460 - 1472

The Tough of the Track (8th series) 22 episodes appeared in The Rover issues 1503 - 1524

He’s in the Army Now (9th series) 31 episodes appeared in The Rover issues 1543 - 1573

The Tough of the Track (10th series) 22 episodes appeared in The Rover issues 1646 – 1667

 

© D. C. Thomson & Co Ltd 

Vic Whittle 2007