After the brief tutorial of how to drive the hovercycle and what each gauge on the display meant followed by a painful comms check courtesy of Dr. Reid, Victoria sat on the DH-40 Centaur and waited for Dr. Hanlon to give the signal to go. Victoria reviewed the gauges and looked towards the empty track, then looked towards the doctor. Dr. Hanlon smiled at her and gave a thumbs-up while Dr. Reid walked over to the man and gave him a wireless headset. The brunette flinched... her ears were about to come under a sonic assault for the third time in almost as many minutes. He walked away from her and towards the truck parked 200 meters away; he stopped at the passenger side door and spoke into the microphone.
"Comms check. Victoria, can you hear me?" Dr. Hanlon asked. To her surprise and relief the volume was set at a level that did not hurt her ears.
"Loud and clear, Doctor." Victoria replied in the affirmative.
"Excellent. You may proceed with the DH-40 Centaur test drive when you are ready." He informed her. Victoria gave a thumbs-up with her left hand, then put both hands on the grips and slowly twisted them forward. The Centaur lurched forward because she had applied too much throttle from a dead stop. The brunette quickly twisted the grips backwards and almost threw herself off when it jolted to a stop. Victoria calmed down and took a deep breath, then slowly and steadily applied throttle.
This time the Centaur moved smoothly forward onto the track. This was it. She was about to see what Dr. Hanlon's project could do.
-On the test track-
Victoria rode in the middle of the track at speeds of approximately 15 MPH as she tried to get used to the handling of the hovercycle. She was approaching the first turn when she increased the speed to about 25 MPH. She turned left and the vehicle responded without any trouble... in fact it turned so smoothly that she started to head towards the tire wall before changing course and carefully steering back right. Once Victoria had righted herself she continued on course to the second turn.
"Try going at 50 MPH." Dr. Hanlon instructed. Victoria obliged and increased speed until she was at the target speed, then maintained it going into the third turn. The key to staying in control of the Centaur was smoothly accelerating or braking with gentle twists of the grips, not sharp and sudden adjustments. Victoria approached the fourth turn and easily completed the lap without any problems.
"First lap complete. So far, so good." Victoria reported to the doctors.
"What do you think of the Centaur, Miss Sheridan?" Dr. Hanlon asked.
"It's a lot more stable than a motorcycle and somewhat more maneuverable. It's also user-friendly. However, you have to be gentle with the speed controls or you'll throw yourself off of it. It's the same way with turning... go easy while turning or you'll snatch yourself into an obstacle." Victoria replied with a summary of its performance up to this point as she made the first turn. Aside from the rough start while learning to control the throttle, Victoria had been in no danger of falling off due to instability. The brunette liked that about the Centaur.
"Yes, Victoria's right, Dr. Hanlon. I'm reading the performance statistics on the laptop and analysis of the Centaur's aerodynamic profile..." Dr. Reid chimed in with a whole bunch of technical jargon the brunette did not comprehend. Victoria kept her eyes on the track and spared a glance at the gauges on the display. Everything was in the green, so she would keep motoring around until the doctors told her to stop.
Feeling that she understood how to control it now, Victoria slowly accelerated to 60 MPH and approached the second turn, going through it with ease. She maintained 60 MPH and completed the lap before receiving a new set of instructions.
"Accelerate to maximum speed." Dr. Hanlon instructed. The rider obliged and throttled up to 100 MPH, which was the maximum it could go. Victoria blazed through the first and second turns with no trouble but on the way to the third turn noticed that the Centaur started to heat up to an uncomfortable extent. A temperature gauge popped up to the right of the speedometer and listed the engine temperature as 260 degrees Fahrenheit and rising. Her backside and thighs were starting to feel the burn... literally.
"Uh, Doctor... I don't think the Centaur's supposed to get this hot at full speed... is it?" Victoria asked with concern.
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