The heat is on the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Race (SI, Oct. 23), as its sponsor, Brock Yates, warned. If Al Huber, the executive vice-president of the Indiana Traffic Safety Council, has his way, the event will be made illegal. He has written to the National Safety Council, the New York Safety Council and the Indiana State Police urging that any future race be closely monitored all the way across the country and violators of traffic laws be punished. Huber was particularly disturbed by an Indianapolis Slur article by Reporter Robin Miller, who finished fifth in this year's race. Miller wrote that he and his co-drivers averaged 79 mph for the cross-country run and picked up five traffic tickets.
"Evidently I'm safety crazy," Huber said, "but something like this seems to set us back 50 years. I see no great benefit coming to the general public from the Indianapolis 500—I don't buy all that about us not having the rearview mirror if it weren't for the 500—but I have no quarrel with sanctioned, supervised speed events.
"But this infuriates me. I wonder what kind of impression it made on our young people. It's damn near criminal to encourage 40 kooks to violate safety laws all across the country. To me, it is just a crime spree. Young people must say, 'If they can do it, everyone else can do it, too.' "
Despite the National Football League's victory in the courts on the question of its right to black out local television coverage of the Super Bowl (SCORECARD, Dec. 4), some TV people are confident that all local blackouts eventually will be outlawed by Congress. One key reason, they argue, is the exciting rise of the Washington Redskins. When the Skins were moping about near the bottom of the standings, Congress did not have much immediate interest in pro football. But now that Washington is one of the best—if not the best—team in the league. Congressmen are avidly seeking tickets to the Skins' home games. When they can't get tickets, which is often the case, they turn to television. And then they find out what the local blackout of home games means. It is suddenly personal, and when a Congressman finds himself personally discomfited the discomfiture becomes an issue. Maybe even a national crisis.
THE AUSSIES ARE COMING
Esso Australia (it hasn't changed its name) has pledged $25,000 for next year's Australian Davis Cup team, which means the current U.S. monopoly on the cup may end abruptly. The money is to go to John Newcombe, Mal Anderson and Ken Rosewall, who have agreed to play in the matches, and probably to Rod Laver, if he decides to join the others. Australia's happy Davis Cup captain, Neale Fraser, said, "I am reasonably confident we'll have the cup back in Australia next year." Then, in obvious reference to Ilie (Nasty) Nastase & Co., he blithely inserted an aggressive Aussie note to the proceedings by adding, "I would love to see Rumania here just to show them how to play the game of tennis fairly."
GOT THE BIKE RIGHT HERE
At least two manufacturers are planning to revolutionize U.S. transportation habits in the near future with the introduction of bike-cars. One, made by a Windsor, Conn. firm called Environmental Tran-Sport Corporation, is called the Pedicar and will sell for $550 when it goes on the market in January. It looks like a mini-car, with a stately, upright design reminiscent of an old-fashioned electric car. It has four wheels, a plastic body, seats, windows, doors and "extras." It can be propelled by the average driver at speeds of 12 to 15 mph and can climb a 20� grade.
The other, called the PPV (for "people powered vehicle"), is manufactured in Sterling Heights, Mich., a suburb of Detroit. The PPV is low-slung, like a sports car, and has three wheels. It, too, will average between 12 and 15 mph, but when pedaled by two occupants simultaneously it is capable of bursts of up to 30 mph. The PPV is expected to sell for $370.
The bike-cars are for fun and exercise but the manufacturers say they are ideal, too, for quiet, short-distance, no-pollution travel. They think that women on their way to the supermarket will love them.