Monday, 13 February 2017

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Goodbye Bernie - "The king is dead. Long live the king."

So the reign of Bernie the great dictator is over ... or is it? 

Bernie Ecclestone, as chief executive of Formula 1, has been deposed by the sport’s new owners, Liberty, and its powerhouse leader, Chase Carey. 

Bernie is to be retitled as Chairman Emeritus an oddly disjointed title in an oddly disjointed scenario.

Chase Carey was fulsome in his praise of Bernie's achievements, if startlingly frank in his observations  that it was time for the 86 year old dictator to head into exile.

He also said in recent years there had been many mistaken decisions pointing the finger of blame in Bernie's direction.

So we are promised a brave new world of F1. New ideas,  new arrangements,  a new concentration on on-line media as global TV audiences have been plummeting and a greater concentration on entertainment. 

Given that the various teams and team bosses have all got very rich under Bernie's rule, it will interesting to see if Chase Carey can corral them into making decisions that benefit the sport rather than their own pockets, personally and corporately, which has often been where the poor decisions came from.

So let's hope the new era under someone who will probably have to become a new dictator is better than before, but pause a moment.

Let's thank Bernie for 4 decades of F1 where his mostly benign tyranny has made a small time weekend warrior sport into a globe-spanning multi-billion pound spectacular where everyone has got rich, the racing has often been spectacular and it's been safer than for many decades without the regular annual slaughter of the young heroes. 

Bernie has yet to say his piece, and it wouldn't be the first time that Bernie has sold something that turned out to be ephemeral, at a price that was very real.

Graham Benge

The A3 before the Hindhead Tunnel

During a conversation about tunnels the other day, which I think was started when the A303 Stonehenge project was in the news, I mentioned that the Hindhead Tunnel, south of Guildford on the A3, has made a huge difference to the village of Hindhead, and the surrounding countryside, with much of the “old A3” being returned to nature.

I then said that, somewhere, I had video of the old road during the tunnel construction work, and was surprised when I was asked to upload it for all to see!

Anyway, here it is…. Firstly the road driving south…

Then, you’ve guessed it, north…

Since then, the route of the old road has been transformed…


More about Hindhead Commons from the National Trust:

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Mighty Machines

A little bit of top trumps to distract from the day...

Thanks to for the information.

Monday, 16 January 2017

World Rally Championship 2017

The 2017 WRC campaign kicks off on Thursday on the tarmac, mud, snow and ice of Monaco and the surrounding countryside.

It is all change this year after the departure of the 2016 winning manufacturer, Volkswagen…

After 17 years away, Toyota rejoins the Championship, as does Citroen after just a year away.

M-Sport, Malcolm Wilson’s Ford team, and Hyundai, last year’s runners-up in both Championships, complete the line up with all new, lighter, bigger and more powerful cars.

The manufacturer changes have, naturally, also lead to a game of musical chairs/teams for the drivers too:


  • Sébastien Ogier
  • Off Tänak
  • Elfyn Evans



  • Jari-Matti Latvala
  • Juho Hänninen
  • Esapekka Lappi



  • Kris Meeke
  • Craig Breen
  • Stéphane Lefebvre



  • Thierry Neuville
  • Hayden Paddon
  • Dani Sordo

Friday, 13 January 2017

And you thought YOU had a cold start today...

Yes, we might all think that with UK temperatures dipping (just a little bit) below zero our cars are rightly justified in hesitating a little in the mornings. But should this really be a worry for us?

Car manufacturers usually want to be able to sell their cars across the world, and not everywhere is as temperate as it is here.... Testing of new models from -40C to +50C isn't unusual.

Starting a Smart CDI at -29C in Novosibirsk in Russia... This driver does mention the problems with frozen ABS, ESP and stiff steering, but it does get going.

I think the best advice is, (a) take things easy, and (b) keep your batteries charged!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Dakar 2017–Official Teaser video

Official Teaser - Dakar 2017 by Dakar

At time of typing this, the official website tells me that there are only 3 days, 15 hours, and 48 minutes to go until the start of the 2017 Dakar event… which is, naturally, no-longer taking place anywhere near Dakar!

This time the event is visiting three South American countries, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina, and the route covers nearly 9000km over 12 gruelling days.

The Dakar attracts a special kind of person, and indeed, a special kind of vehicle…




For example, the 2017 MINI John Cooper Work Rally has a few tweaks that make it a little different to the models you buy at your local dealer. The 3 litre TwinPower Turbo Six-Cylinder diesel engine produces 340hp, and carries the 1952.5kg vehicle at up to 184km/h (114mph) over some of the toughest terrain and conditions that the event can muster.

To keep up to date with the 2017 Dakar, which runs from 2nd – 14th January 2017, visit/follow/etc:

Friday, 23 December 2016

Will YOUR car still start in 2017?

With bad weather looming, and Christmas coming, it is probably a good time to politely remind all drivers about the need to keep an eye on the health of their cars... in particular, the battery.

You use the car every day to get to work... and it hasn't given you ANY problems... All MUST be fine... Well, hopefully, yes!

Aa merged v2b
AA Busiest Day of the Year

However, it is worth remembering that not using the car as much, and perhaps making several much shorter journeys, the car's battery will not get recharged as much as on longer trips. This means that, come that first day back at work when you're running late and it is cold and raining outside, the battery might not be up to getting the car started. In fact, on the first day back in 2016 over 7000 people called the AA with that very problem.

There are, of course, things that you can do to try to avoid these issues:

  • If you use your car a few times for journeys that are at least 30 minutes long, all should be well since the car will charge the battery for you.
  • If you are NOT going to use the car, you might wish to consider using a battery charger to keep the battery topped up, or to fully recharge the day before you are back to work.

If you have two cars, but have only used one over the holidays, it might be worth having that set of jump leads handy... and remember to look up how to use them safely! UKMotorTalk's Winter Driving Tips