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Letter: Ruthless will to win in the kiddies' model car grand prix

Sir: David Usborne's experience at the Tiger Cubs' Pinewood Derby meeting ("Connecticut Days", 3 February) was free of the cultural gaffe which I committed at a similar event some years ago.

The highlight of the evening was a long, ill-tempered wrangle over the alleged weights of several of the model cars, and the accuracy of the weighing device provided by the organisers. Most of these vehicles seemed to have had their weight fine-tuned up to the limit at various prestigious institutions in the Boston area ("You wanna' argue with Harvard Medical School, or maybe you think MIT is always right?"). We had pre-empted this challenge by keeping well below the limit, and, like that of your correspondent, "our" car gained second place.

Exhausted by an evening fighting on behalf of their children, the parents gathered round for the winner to be rewarded. This done, I was moved to ask in the ensuing silence, "What is the second prize?" Lady Bracknell herself could not have been more crushing - "Second prize? We don't have second prizes here!"



South Gloucestershire