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For weeks, Lightning McQueen has been preparing for this one special day. A race between him and Jackson. The big race in the orchard. Will all his hard work pay off?
The finishing touches to the racetrack outside have been completed. Luigi and Mater are standing in the pits together with Lightning. “Lightning. You are the best racing car I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m so excited. It will be fantasticoooooo!” Luigi calls. “Yeah, it will be great,” Mater adds. “Oh, I’m really not sure today. I’m going to go over the track again in my mind.”
Lightning closes his eyes. The start line. Then straight ahead through the strawberry field. Turn left around the bend, past the children’s swing and over the shovel bridge. Juuuuuuuump. Landing! Continue to the garden hose slope, turn right around the curve, through the flowerpot slalom. And full throttle once again over the final stretch, straight ahead across the grass. Home stretch. Done. Win. “Okay, I’ve memorized the circuit. I’ve been working out a lot. I’m brave. I have power. I can do this,” says Lightning and the three of them give each other a high-five. Doc Hudson rolls into the pit lane. “Lightning, get ready. The big race starts in two minutes!”
A lightning bolt is super-fast. It moves at 300,000 kilometers per second. That’s why Lightning is called Lightning, because he is as fast as lightning.
Lightning nods towards Doc and slowly starts rolling forward. Luigi checks his tires again and polishes his lights. This race is important. Unique. Today, Lightning is competing against Jackson for the first time, a new super racing car that has far fewer miles under its wheels than Lightning. But Lightning McQueen wouldn’t be Lightning McQueen if this would stop him.
Pulling up to the home stretch, he sees Cruz. Their headlights flash when they see each other. “Light, wow, how exciting. This will be a great race,” Cruz encourages him. “Remember, believe in yourself. That’s the most important thing! If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.” “Yes, Cruz. I know. And I believe in myself. I can’t wait to start the race,” says Lightning, flashing his lights at her once again.
And now Jackson arrives. Following behind him are six training vehicles. The engines are roaring, Jackson spins his tires. Lightning stays calm. “Hi Jackson, good luck.” “Luck?! Pff. I don’t need luck!” Jackson gets ready to start. Their eyes are glued to the traffic light hanging from a branch in front of them. “I believe in myself. In my power. My gearbox. I can do this,” says Lightning to himself. And at that very moment, the traffic light turns green. GO!
Jackson gets off to an excellent start, Lightning is very close behind him. They fly past the strawberry field. Left, right, sharp right. Avoiding leaves, driving around hills. The two racing cars go head to head over the earthy ground. Left turn, past the children’s swing. Now, the shovel bridge. The most dangerous obstacle of the track. Full throttle, no matter what. Jackson is just a hair’s breadth ahead of Lightning. JUMP! Like two eagles they soar through the air. Everything feels like it’s happening in slow motion. Cruz, Doc, Luigi and Mater are all standing tensely at the side of the track and are rooting for Lightning. Just a few more inches, then they’ll land.
Jackson lands first, brakes, and the rear end of his car slips a little, but he quickly finds his way back onto the track and then keeps on going. In this moment, Lightning lands. He can’t slow down, has far too much momentum. He tries to slow down a little. But there’s no chance!
Suddenly he’s lying on his roof. He can’t turn over and therefore, he cannot drive any further. Mater immediately rushes to help. Doc Hudson and Luigi right behind him. “Man, what are you doing?” asks Mater and tries to attach his hook to Lightning’s window to turn him back over.
“Lightning,” Doc Hudson sighs. “I think it’s time to tell you something… You know, Lightning, you’ve been driving all these years, and you have really shone. You have won hundreds of trophies, medals, and enjoyed fame and honor. But life is full of changes. We get older, a lot of things change. And so do our beloved car races. Don’t hold that against me, buddy. But you’re getting older, too. You’re not obsolete, don’t ever think that. But remember the time when you were the champion and left everyone behind. Now it’s their turn. Be a role model. Don’t overextend yourself. And make room for new superstars!”
With a thud, Lightning lands on all four wheels again. “What’s that supposed to mean, Doc? That I should just give up?” “No,” says Cruz, “it means it’s time to let go and accept that new times are coming. You’re still the best racer ever. For us. But new racing heroes are also coming.” Lightning is annoyed.
“Don’t think about it. Just keep on driving. Do your best and we’ll see you at the finish line,” Doc says and pats him on the trunk. Lightning carries on. Quick as an arrow, he races down the garden hose slope and then, as agile as a young rabbit, without a single mistake, masters the flowerpot slalom. Now just straight ahead.
The smell of fresh grass wafts around his nose. He feels the air rushing gently around his bodywork. The sun glitters in his rear-view mirror and he sees small birds flying above him almost as fast as he is driving. Lightning feels good. He feels brave. He feels strong. Just like in every race.
Having reached the finish line, Jackson is already being celebrated by reporters and fans. Lights are flashing, golden confetti flies and the big Garden Race Trophy is on its way. Lightning rolls over to him: “Jackson, you drove really well. You left me, old racer, in the dust. Congratulations on your victory. You really earned it!” Jackson is visibly annoyed. But he is also happy at the same time. “Thank you, Lightning. Honestly, thank you!” Then he disappears among the cheering crowd.
Lightning hadn’t won. But now he understood what was really important in life. Doc Hudson heads over to Lightning. “Doc, you know… It doesn’t matter whether I’m the winner or not. Things change. But as long as I don’t lose the joy and happiness of driving, it will be the thing I love doing most. I am a racing driver!” Doc nods proudly. And the five of them cheer vigorously as they drive to the next diner together to drink a delicious petrol shake.
They raise a toast to this day: To Lightning’s great race and the fact that he will always be a racing driver!
Our race drivers
Our cars jump out of the beds with the boys in the morning and dash across the carpet through the hallway into the bathroom. Over the edge of the sink with a large jump into the bathtub. Afterwards pit stop at breakfast with planning on meeting for the next race track…. with the robust, handy car characters from Bullyland racing fun at home is guaranteed! 3 – 2 – 1… and off we go into the next adventure!
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BULLYLAND is full of adventures. Be curious and discover even more stories featuring our heroes. You can read them yourself or listen to our audiobooks.