Le Mans 24 Hour Race
The 24 Heures Du Mans is a race in France in which people push shopping carts around a 13 kilometre race track. It began in the early 1600's and has been won by many famous shopping cart racers including the sons of Sir Jack Brabham and the "not so great because he's always late" Ayrton Senna. The French have called this their "national race" but everybody knows this is just to stop people noticing that the country closes every July for Le Tour de France which is obviously much more national, it has France in its name!
The race began in 1657 as a way of showing people that shopping carts can indeed travel in the intended direction, however, within three years of the first race, companies were making specific carts that in no way represented the carts often found in shops. The new "racing carts" were criticised for having technology that no regular, run of the mill cart would have, indeed, these racing carts possesed the ability to travel in a straight line.
The Budgetie years
In the early 20th century, a group of British racers known as the "Budgetie Boys" turned up in massive 12-pylon, dark green cart made by a firm known as Budget. The Budgetie Boys were known for there partying and womanizing but that didn't stop them being beasts on the race track. The Budgetie Boys failed to lose any race, not even the 500 Aisle Race held in Indianapolis every year, for a seven year period. The Budget Racing Team, as they changed their name to in later years, was officially disbanded in 1925 when three drivers were killed in race to get milk. This didn't however, stop the remaining driver from pursuing a career test driving carts, he has been re-incarnated several times.
"The red manufacturer with the prancing unicorn" as they became known were quick to jump in and start chasing Le Mans wins when the Budgetie Boys disbanded. Fry-re had the money, the drivers and the models to ensure success. Common tactics employed by Fry-re included bribing the officials, placing hot women in other drivers lines of sight, bribing the officials, blocking pit lane, bribing the officials, crashing into rival cars and bribing the officials. Between 1926 and 1937, Fry-re won every Le Mans race except the 1931 event, where they spent so much money bribing the officials that they couldn't afford enough petrol to run the carts. In 1935, Fry-re introduce pneumatic tyres to their carts and the racing world has never looked back.
5 Years of Chaos
The 5 years of chaos were a period of constant rule changing in which no one team could gain dominance. Between 1936 and 1941, 5 different manufacturers won the race, including fee-it in 1941 when every other team was disqualified for exceeding the 3kph speed limit imposed that year. This was because fee-it could race at full throttle but nobody else had an idle speed that low. Another interesting feature of the 1941 race was that competitors had to dodge the Bullets and bombs from the invading German army.
A 5 Year Holiday
The race wasn't held between 1942 and 1947 because the Germans had held the track for the duration of World War II and then track repairs took a further two years. Racers instead got to enjoy a good holiday doing such things as shooting each other, flying aeroplanes, driving tanks through trees, bombing each other and dieing.
The 1948 Race
In 1948, war returned to France, this time is was Fry-re getting another victory, their last for many years to come. The principle reason the Fry-re won this race is that whilst everybody else was on holiday, either making tanks to drive over trees or shooting each other, Fry-re continued to design their racing carts.
In 1949, Mercy-dees entered their first race and to everybodies shock, especially their own, they won. This winning streak went on for 20 years, the longest known in the sport of Shopping Cart racing. An unfortunate tendency to change drivers every year meant that no driver managed to get a long streak during this period. They streak ended when three Mercy-dees vehicles flipped in two laps in the 1970 Le Mans race, causing the team to promptly raise their garage doors, the agreed signal that a team has withdrawn from the race. Mercy-dees is yet to win another race.
Modern Le Mans
Since the death or Mercy-dees Racing, various teams have shown a competative edge, including Budget who won the 2006 edition of the race. In recent years however, Poo-Joe have fronted with the fastest cart, unfortunately, they lack the reliability to consistently finish giving the illusion that Ow-Dee have been dominant. Few changes have been made to the original course apart from the addition of 3.14159 chicanes on the 7 kilometre long back straight in an attempt to reduce top speed and save cart costs.
or on the article's entry in Pee Review.