' a few other odd-bod sorts ' had decided to charter a plane and fly to the track .
" Well they ' re not here ... and one of the bastards owes me twenty bucks , pardon my French Mrs D ," Dennis spluttered .
RING THE AUTHORITIES .. She told Dennis that the lads had all left four days earlier , and that they had intended to be waiting at the track to greet the arriving fellow combatants .
" I think you better ring the authorities ," Dennis told Bert ' s mother firmly .
She assured him she would , but could not find ' Authorities ' in the phone book so rang the police instead .
The wheels of rescue began to turn . Although it would eventually become clear they needed oil .
The police went to the search and rescue Wallas , and they went to the Air Force .
But not before Search and Rescue coordinator Randall Splint had carried out a check of all the charter flight firms in the region .
By the process of elimination , he came across a human piece of shit masquerading as an engineer with Air Chartercheap , a firm so desperately operated it would have been unlikely they would have been accepted by the Imperial Air Force of Japan for kamikaze missions .
The engineer recognized the photographs of Bert Day and the other three lads , and said that ' yes ... they flew off that way .'
Unfortunately he did a complete fingerpointing 360 degree spin before falling to the ground in an alcoholic stupor .
" We ' ll send a couple of aircraft up ”, Randall advised , and the green phone to the air force was activated .
All the phones were actually green , because they came from a job lot , but it always sounded really good when some prick with a clipboard and a handlebar moustache barked out ' get me the green phone ... this is an emergency !'
AN ENGINE .... Back at nowhere , the lads had begun cleaving bits off the chewed-up aircraft .
They had an engine ... a boxer-six unit which was relatively undamaged .
There was enough chain within the hydraulic system operations to create a drive system , and there was enough fuel ( they reckoned about 80 litres ) left in the one remaining wing tank to get the brute running , and get them within a visible explosion of some sort of civilisation .
There was also a fair supply of nuts , bolts , metal struts and aluminium sheeting left from the wrecked aircraft to work with . " This could work ," Lenny said . " Bloody oath ," Max said , before adding ; ' it ' s not a case of could ... mate , it will .' Bert and Nod were not exactly convinced , but
it gave them something to do . It was a focus . A hope .
As the lads toiled away , weakly fueled by insipid water and foul-tasting berries , the crew of an air force Q58 search and destroy aircraft arced across a wide swathe of sky , seeking any clues to the whereabouts of the missing aircraft .
All they came across was inspired , but misdirected , handiwork .
It was the handiwork of Bert and Nod , who had earlier told Max once they ' d seen a film about some blokes who were lost on a desert island , and who used rocks and flotsam to create the international distress signal in the sand .
While Max and Lenny got on with the job of butchering the remains of the aircraft for pieces , Bert and Nod had scratched up what rocks they could and laid them out ... in a perfect ' S A S .'
A WARNING SIGN For Flight Lieutenant Rosco Burns and Flight Sergeant Bobby Schway the sight of what appeared to be a warning sign from the most covert of all covert sections of the defense force that an exercise of some form was taking place was enough for him to hit left rudder hard . " We ' re outa here ," he barked . " You don ' t get caught up in that secret SAS shit , no way ."
The four desperate men below , waved and yelled ... but the aircraft , after performing what appeared to be a brutal 90-degree turn , disappeared in a disintegrating trail of vapour .
" They didn ' t see it ," Bert whined .
Max , checking out the rockwork before his eyes , turned to Bert and simply said " the trouble is , you dopey buggers , they did ."
Nod , after a few moments displaying a perplexed look , quietly said ; “ save all souls ... it ' s save all souls isn ' t it ?”
Only his rock-heaving accomplice Bert did not roll his eyes skywards .
Hope of rescue from the air having faded , the four all threw themselves into building their way out .
Both wheels were undamaged due to the pilot forgetting to lower them , and the tail wheel was okay . A bit scuffed , but otherwise okay .
A WHAT ? What they built over three days , fighting fatigue and gnawing hunger ( they were going off the boiled berry things big time ) was a rudimentary motorcycle with sidechair attached .
There was about 80 litres of fuel still in one of the wing tanks , and Max carefully siphoned it off into the tank he had hammered out of a sheet of fuselage .
There was no suspension but that didn ' t matter because the big balloon tyres ( after Max drew about 30 psi out of them ) absorbed the jolts reasonably well .
Lenny , no slug with a wrench and spanner , used some hydraulic cable and sleeved sections of pipe to build a throttle system .
Their hearts rose to the heavens when after a remarkably short push the thing fired ... and sounded like a badly neglected Porsche . But to them , it sounded like an MV Agusta . What they built looked exactly like what you ' d expect four desperate men to build when all other hope had gone .
" We set out tomorrow ... we head east because the sun rises in the east and someone must live there ," Max said .
" Plus the fact that ' s the only direction without a bloody mountain range in the way ," Lenny suggested .
" There is that ," Max replied .
FIRST LIGHT It was decided they would set off at first light the next day ... although as the night wore on , and the others fitfully slept , Max lay there doing the sort of calculations in his head which had made him Open Production Champion .
He tallied the weights of them all , as against the distance which would need to be traveled ( after calculating the time the aircraft had spent in the air he had a rough idea how far they ' d come ) and he worked out fuel consumption .
Sleep would not come for Max after he came to a chilling conclusion .
Only three of them would be able to make the journey out .
Next Month : " Bye bye ... take care mate !"
68 KIWI RIDER