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Ian Mallon: Only surprise is that it's taken so long to catch on

I WONDERED when it was going to catch on. The only surprise is that the 'beat the sat nav' duel between man and machine has taken so long to become a favourite with drivers.

Only yesterday I raced myself home from the golf in Killarney, smashing my own world record by six minutes.

On the way down I did a Usain Bolt on it -- I ran at record pace all the way, until I neared the finish line, where I slowed up.

In this case the finish line was a hotel, which I couldn't find, mainly because my TomTom sat nav didn't have the obscure inn's name in its directory.

When I rang the premises, a woman speaking in a language I didn't quite recognise failed to pinpoint her or the hotel's own exact location accurately or coherently.

She turned out to be a ruddy-cheeked local who was all smiles and winks when I eventually turned up wheezing and late at the check-in desk.

On the way to Kerry, I went via Limerick, and on the way home I came via Mallow -- a shorter route, but the tractor count is high.

My sat nav ETA told me I'd be back home in time for dinner, but a clear road, a rather decent car and some serious sat-nav racing got me home well in advance of the 5pm predicted time -- in fact I rolled in at 4.54pm.

Beat the sat nav? Beat that.