Contact Lost With Polar Racers
The Times 17 March 1910 – It has been three days since contact was last made with the three remaining competitors in the Race to the Pole. Race organizers and officials from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale have both stated that, given the remoteness of the fleet, this is not an unexpected event, and they do anticipate hearing from the observers on the ground and in the oceans under the fleet’s flight path.
Since leaving Longyearbyen on Svalbard, the status of the Race has been nothing but speculation. Whilst the British entrant was undoubtedly the favorite after the withdrawal of the French Clarion, it is popularly believed that the American competitor’s extensive experience in polar climes may give his team the edge. The final competitor, the German Flugboot, is also largely an unknown quantity, though several “race watchers” have noted that the German has maintained its position regardless of the speed its competitors adopt, and that its true potential has yet to be seen.
In any case, the coffers of Lord Northcliffe have increased dramatically, with whole nations being caught up in the excitement of the Race. One financial expert has stated that sales of the Daily Mail have increased thrice fold, easily recouping the £50,000 that Lord Northcliffe put up as the overall prize. Realistically, given the near-total control the military exerts over leviathans, the sum of £50,000 pales into insignificance when compared to the prestige the winning service will gain over its rivals. But for Lord Northcliffe, the increased sales will go far in compensating for the shipping trade he has lost at the hands of the Australian rebels as they continue their harassment of shipping in the East Indies.
But now we wait with bated breath to find out which of the competitors will reign supreme. And Lord Northcliffe waits to see the final tally on his sales ledger.