Horses Vs. Horsepower
Car power is measured in horsepower. Our 1978 MG Midget is rated at 50 horsepower. How does it stack up against the real thing? A polo pony?
The Great Meadows Polo Club invited our MG Car Club to attend their annual Antique Car Night. The catch? Show up in an antique car! The reward is free admission and a prime parking space near the grounds. This is instead of the usual $30 per carload entry fee and a walk from the public parking, so what’s not to like?
I woke up the Midget from its slumber on Saturday morning and it dutifully came to life. The car warmed up nicely and it told me it was ready to trot over to the polo grounds. When the time came to leave, however, it was not to be. Click. Click. Click. The Midget made no other sound other than the radio, which played music. It should have played taps. The battery was fully charged, and I added an external charger to boot. Click. Click. Click. No amount of begging, pleading or cursing could get the car to turn over, much less start. I was so discouraged I wanted to scrub the evening. But my traveling buddy Lloyd had already come over with a stock of hard cider and other goodies from Wegman’s. My gorgeous wife had our delicatessen ready so we set off in a more comfortable but less entertaining alternative vehicle.
Other than being stung for the admission fee, the evening was just gorgeous. Clear skies and great temperature. We joined the gentry on the grounds and watched three polo matches. The first two matches were local teams versus teams from Dubai. We don’t know if their horses were from the UAE or not, but visiting teams might have fared better on camels. Both Dubai teams lost.
The featured match was the USA vs. England. The Star Spangled Banner was sung; God Save the Queen was not. Each polo match is played in 4 period of 6 minutes each. A period is called a “Chukker.” Players change horses between each chukker. Except in rare instances, the clock runs continuously with no time outs. The Zamboni is a tractor dragging a bunch of tires behind, which smooths the dirt ring between halves.
The English polo team consisted of three men from the British armed forces including a Captain in the King’s Royal Hussars and an incoming cadet at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. They are professionals. The US was represented by a co-ed team of experienced amateurs. The US won handily.
The crowd was warm and enthusiastic. A local Middleburg winery set up a tent to provide liquid refreshment. There were activities for the kids, who were well represented.
Two MGs took the show field. One was a 1973 MGB owned by Bob Edwards and Lydia Smith. The other was a 1958 MGA owned by Juan Duque, who also owns a 1980 MGB Limited Edition. If our Midget was lonely staying home alone, it didn’t say.
EPILOGUE: Lloyd was glad I wasn’t able to start the car at home. He was afraid of getting stuck at The Plains in the Middle of the Night. The MG needed a new starter. Perhaps Antique Car Night should be called Chukkers and Clunkers?