Whickham and District Motor Club meet every Wednesday evening from around 8:00pm at the Kibblesworth Workmens Club, a local village venue offering a friendly welcome and extremely reasonable prices...........................................................................................
 
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Whickham and District Motor Club Limited

Ollies Translucent Treasure Hunt - 16 May 2018

May 2018 Treasure Hunt

Whickham and District Treasure Hunts are always anticipated as not only a thoroughly enjoyable evening's driving round the country lanes of County Durham but also as an excellent adventure, incorporating as they do an element of plotting against the clock, map reading skills, observational capabilities and the ability to sit in a confined space for a couple of hours with somebody either giving or taking instructions without wanting to hurt them.

This is probably why there are few married couples doing this: I can certainly say from my own experience that doing a navigational event with my son is always a very pleasurable experience, whereas if I tried to do this with my wife she would find fault in almost everything I said, either in the way I said it or the tone of voice I used. This is, of course, one of the million or so of good reasons why I would never bring her to the club.

Tonight, though, whilst father Lee Tindall was sitting in the bar chatting away with the regulars, son Ewan was contemplating the prospect of sitting in with Karl Knox, and, having never done a navigational event before, he was understandably a little unsure as to how that would pan out. Ewan, however, has shown that he is a young man of no fear and so it was (almost) without hesitation that he agreed to be the navigator for the night. Thank God for young men of optimism and passion; only time (and the inevitable return of the crew) would tell how successful the partnership would be.

With his son Brian away for a few days at Lake Windermere attending friend Dave's wedding, Tosh suddenly found himself 50% short of a full crew (something Brian had opined quite openly some weeks beforehand) and so the challenge had begun: to find a suitable crew member that would allow him to take part and gain the points necessary to continue his Championship Challenge.

Guy was the obvious choice: capable, methodical and logical; so it transpired that the two friends sat down that evening and plotted the route and all question references as required.

The time was pretty relaxed too; over two hours to complete a 25 mile course even allowing for on-route plotting it should have been an easy task. And so it proved to be: none of the crews taking part were even close to OTL. Ewan did, however, look just a little pale from trying to map read, work out clues, peer into the darkness without a torch and cope with the vagaries of Karl's driving all on his very first event: I think he did well to keep it all together.

The route, however, was absolutely superb in its execution: No black spots, No quiet zones, No 'Dirty Dogs'. Plotting was very straightforward, apart from a very intriguing twist: crews would have to get to a specific point on the route to collect their 'treasure' in the form of a tracing that showed them exactly where they should go for the second part of the route. It was a master stroke: without it crews would be stranded. Ollie, however, had thought this situation through extremely well; anyone who found themselves completely lost could open a 'Get Out Of Jail Free' envelope that would give them the correct route home. The penalty, however, was that it would cancel their points.

Not that this troubled either Tosh and Guy / Peter and Matthew: they took this in their stride and set off from Kibblesworth Club with not only enthusiasm but also a sense of purpose: this was to be a thoroughly pleasureable evening and as such should deserve to be enjoyed to the full with both skill and abandon! And that is what would transpire: each and every crew would go forth and try their best to be the best, to win and beat all others, to emerge as the victors on the night.

By the time all crews had returned, Ollie had all but worked out the results, however there was a surprise in the tail: Peter and Matthew had snatched the victory on both plotting and observation: Guy and Tosh had been soundly beaten into the runner-up spot by virtue of plotting time and code board spotting: the final positions proving that despite how carefully each crew reads the instructions, there is always the chance that one might just slip away. Organiser Ollie had awarded marks to each team based on plotting time, route accuracy and answers to questions; a tough combination if ever there was one.

Final results were as follows:

1 Peter and Matthew Plotting 8, Points 17 Total 25 pts
2 Tosh and Guy
Plotting 6, Points 16 Total 22 pts
3 Ewan and Karl
Plotting 4, Points 10.5 Total 14.5 pts
4 Jimmy and Alastair
Plotting 2, Points 14 Total 14 pts

A great win for Peter and Matthew, taking the victory despite arriving last and being the final crew on the road. It just goes to show that quality will rise above the rest. A brilliant result for Matthew who is still learning the ropes but getting better each and every time. A good solid second place for Guy and Tosh, who were later both seen to be intensely analysing and discussing the events of the night and working up a plan to beat the victors next time around. A fantastic result for Karl and Ewan, beating long time member and established veteran Jimmy Knox into last place with a very well conducted first event and also building a very good and solid foundation for the future. Ewan looks like a very useful competitor for the future - not surprising, given his current history in such a young man.

Many thanks to all who took part, and especially to Ollie for putting on a great little Navigational event that incorporated a soupçon of innovation in the form of the trace in the wilderness: an inspired choice and one that raises the bar for organisers of future navigational events.

Next week: a slightly different Remote Controlled Autotest: what will be the innovation this week? Only time (and perhaps Gary Laverick) will tell......

Treasurers Test - 9 May 2018

Treasurers Test

It may have been all facts and figures last week but it was definitely more about the numbers this week when Peter Metcalfe put on his excellent little Table Top Rally on Wednesday the 9th May.

It takes a rare man to find fun in numbers but Peter was obviously hoping that would be the case this week: he came up with a good number of them whilst creating what was a very enjoyable event that also incorporated letters as well as signs and symbols; all of which were designed to test the competitor's abilities, whilst not being so arduous as to put off those who may not have been quite as familiar with the concept of Table Top Rallies as others.

The first section was beautifully simple: a very straightforward 'herringbone' type diagram to lead us all along a path that suggested the subsequent sections would be a doddle: the route instructions were pretty clear, the route was fairly easy to trace although there was one slightly unclear bit involving a combination of a bridge and junction at Chesham's Waterside. Never mind, for those with good eyesight (or if not a torch and magnifying glass) worked it all out and all went down correctly on the sheet.

Section two was a very explicit set of map references with arrival and departure directions; always a really good test of who is really concentrating and who is just aimlessly looking but not properly taking it all in. The references were simple to plot, the trick being to ensure both the approach and departure were correct; not always completely obvious. Getting this right was the key to success: getting it wrong was both easy to do and disastrous to your chances of winning.

However, get that section right and the following section was a breeze: each grid square was to be departed in a direction based on compass settings. Plotting was amazingly simple, Peter must have realised that time was against him and decided to just make the last couple of sections as easy as possible. Thanks Peter, this was going to be easier than putting cheese on top of a pizza.

The final section, however, showed that Peter had been doing nothing else but lulling us into a false sense of security: it wasn't the 'Dirty Dog' in the traditional sense devised to catch you out, it was more of a thinking man's challenge: a series of almost a dozen Tulips arranged in a grid, but with a tantalisingly different, yet crucial twist: three of the Tulips had been replaced with a simple question mark, making the plotting of the final stage of the route much more an exercise in logical thinking than one of simple interpretation. Everything, of course, was timed to the second and so the entire event was to be a lesson in Time Management. Everything had been designed to be completed in less than thirty minutes so as to avoid taking up too much of each competitor's valuable socialising time.

When all was said and done, the final positions showed that each instruction was as valuable as any before it, each second as crucial as the next. The final positions were therefore as follows:

1 Tosh 0F 11m 25s
2 Brian 0F 16m 29s
3 Guy 1F 17m 37s
4 Gordon 1F 19m 12s
5 Gary 3F 22m 28s
6 Dave Thompson Many FDNF

A superb win for Tosh, taking top honours despite all of Peter's efforts; a great second place for Brian, pushing his father all the way but failing to beat the senior Townsend's incredibly rapid time. A very solid third place for Guy, unfortunately picking up a fail in the very first few hundred metres of the event and snaffling his chances of victory by doing so. A sound fourth place for Gordon, almost cleaning the event had he not fatally missed the loop around Parrot's Farm at Buckland Common, sealing his fate as he did so. Good points for Gary, despite him not getting to grips as well as he might have hoped, and it was good to see long-time member Dave Thompson taking part in the event, even if he felt very much like a fish out of water as it was his first Table Top event. More power to his elbow, at least he made the effort and had a go!

Many thanks to all who took part, and especially to Peter for putting on a short, deceptively simple event that still managed to catch out the unwary whilst delivering a super little Table Top Rally. Points in the Championship to all who took part, this win allowing Tosh to stretch his lead in the Maps Championship by a further two points to make up for his second place on the last event.

Next week, Ollie's Navigational Event: a gentle jaunt around the rural lanes of County Durham enjoying the pastoral views and peaceful livestock.

Or maybe not, depending upon whose foot is on the throttle.......

Gordons Quiz - 2 May 2018

A lot of F&F...

180502 Quiz

Abbreviations and acronyms are very much part of the fabric of everyday life nowadays. Whether it's OMG, LOL or BRB - most people know what they mean.

Take F&F for example: to an Architect, it might mean Fixtures and Fittings, to a BT user maybe Friends and Family, or an avid cereal aficionado perhaps Fruit and Fibre. For a lost love it could also mean Forgive and Forget.

Not, however, for the assembled members of Whickham and District Motor Club taking part in Gordon's Quiz on the night of the 2nd May 2018, for them it meant a very different thing: Facts and Figures. The Facts were those that stayed tantalisingly close to the edges of the memory when trying to recall the names and places of the questions that were asked, The Figures were those diagrams of Rally Stages and UK Race Circuits that looked so familiar until the time came to pull those names from the reaches of your mind and actually put it down on paper.

There were of course the obvious ones, recognisable as some of the most popular circuits in the country: Brands Hatch, Silverstone and Donnington Park for example; however the remaining 14 were certainly not as close to the forefront of the mind as each competitor tried to put the name to the shape. Some knew many, others knew few, but almost all were seen to be holding their heads in their hands in an effort to drag the names from the memory and gain as many points as possible. Why do we hold our heads in our hands? Does it actually help to tease those reluctant names from the depths of our consciousness? Or scratching our heads as if that single act makes the blood flow more freely and release the names as they hang on by their very fingertips?

180502 QuizRally

For some, the names of the Rally Stages were just impossible: who actually recognises the twisted turns and squiggles on those forest maps? There were of course those that knew the stages yet had no idea of the names of the circuits, and of course vice versa - those that knew the opposite. There were of course others present whose much wider knowledge encompassed a huge range and knew almost all of them. Damn clever, some people, just ridiculously so.

The overall range of questions presented was actually very good, with a great mixture of topics to enable almost everyone in the club to get at least some questions correct; they ranged from Rallying to Formula 1 and from World Rally Cross to Moto GP. With such a breadth of questions it would prove be all but impossible to guess who would win, and so it was the case on the night.

Final positions, when all the answers were in and the sheets had been marked, were as follows:

1 Jamie, Ian and Tony 45 pts
2 Lee and Ewan 45 pts
3 Guy and Charlie 41 pts
4 Peter and Matthew 39 pts
5 The Knoxes 30 pts
6 Phil and Gary 29 pts
7 Tosh and Brian 21 pts
8 Ollie 20 pts

A great win for Jamie, Ian and Tony, who although they got the same number of points as Lee and Ewan, were awarded the win on a 'furthest cleanest' basis, much to the delight of Lee who had begun to realise the thought that he was going to have to organise the next round. His smile on hearing he was second was as bright as a four year old being given an ice cream with a flake. A good solid third place for the combined minds of Guy and Charlie, showing that a good memory and an eye for detail will always pay dividends when taking part in a WDMC Quiz! A great fourth place for Peter and Matthew, coming in only just behind Guy and Charlie and showing that Matthew has definite promise for the future as a keen competitor, with all the right qualities to take the fight to the established runners.

Many thanks to all who took part in the quiz, and in particular to Gordon for putting on a really good, fair and varied quiz that tested all who were present and didn't concentrate too much on one discipline. Points in the Superstars Championship to all who took part, especially to those who were new at this yet scored well enough to leapfrog some of the existing members into the Top Ten at a stroke. I foresee great things for the future of the Club at this rate, especially with the competitive spirit that thrives at present.

Next week: Peter's Table Top Rally - as always it will be a great event to take part in: it will be taxing, it will make you think, it will keep you on your toes and it will sort the men from the boys, whilst maintaining enough interest to be enjoyable to all who take part.

Gary's Tantalising Tulip Test - 25 April 2018

180425 Tabletop

Just how long is a piece of string? This wonderful and traditional response is often asked when the answer to a problem cannot be exactly ascertained.

The answer at Whickham and District Motor Club on the night of the 25th April 2018 was around 7km, if you worked on the basis of the scale maps that Gary had prepared for his truly excellent new take on the traditional TableTop Rally. This was to be an event that encompassed map reading, observation and not a little understanding of Stage Tulip diagrams.

The concept had not been seen before in the Club: give each competitor a map and a book of Tulip diagrams, a start and finish point, then let them work out exactly where the route should go, timed to the second. For those who understood how to read a Stage Rally Road Book they were off to a flying start; for those who didn't, it was much more unfamiliar ground to them. For some of the others, it would prove to be a step too far and one that would bring about a couple of retirements.

In truth, there was very little ambiguity in the instructions; they were very clear, well laid out in what appeared to be exactly the same way as a normal Stage Rally Road Book would be. The Tulips were well drawn, the stage and overall mileages were very accurate and the route check questions were not particularly hard at all, although for some competitors just finding the correct route would prove to be a rather difficult thing to manage. For those that persevered, however, understanding came quite quickly, resulting in that typical lightbulb moment where it all suddenly clicked into place and made sense.

To help those taking part with the problem of measuring distance accurately, Gary had helpfully provided each competitor with a small piece of string, marked off in kilometres. This gave each one the opportunity to place their string on the map and bend and shape it to follow the road and find out just how far some of the distances actually were. This was an inspired move, as it meant the guesswork was taken out of the equation and distances could be measured quite accurately.

Although everyone started out well, there was to be a percentage of those taking part that simply could not handle the task: Gordon finding the job of actually following the route more than he could manage, and with Gary being a far more stringent marker than the last TableTop that Gordon did he was never going to get away with a straight line between start and finish, (although it must be said his route through the first section did suggest it was a tactic he was seriously considering). That was enough for Gordon, preferring to return to his iPad and concentrate on the administration of the Club Membership. Jamie persevered on, his intention to finish strong, his expectations less so. Each competitor took to the challenge in his own manner, each as determined to do as well as they could.

Final positions, once all the times were in and all the answers complete, were as follows:

1 Phil 18m 07s
2 Tosh 25m 40s
3 Brian 30m 31s
4 Peter 2F 23m 22s
5 Guy 3F 16m 30s
6 Jamie 5F 36m 06s
7 Gordon DNF

A resounding win for Phil, finding his feet immediately and feeling very much at home with the whole concept; a great second place for Tosh who obviously found this particular event much more of a challenge than the normal Map based events but gave it his full attention and effort; a thoroughly good and well deserved third place for Brian who was determined to be 100% clean on the basis that no fails will always beat any fails, no matter how long you take.

Many thanks to all who took part; particularly to Gary for what was yet another twist on the traditional type of map event and bringing another aspect to the Championship. Points in the Maps Championship to all who took part, even those who found the task just a little too much to handle. All those points will add up at the end of the year.

Next week: Gordon's Quiz: who knows what goes on in that head? Come along next week to find out and see if you can not only take on the challenge but beat all the others to take the Mastermind Crown!

Blindfold Rally - 18 April 2018

Gordon Minion

There won't be many people in this world who are not familiar with the term "The Blind, leading the Blind".

Whilst the age-old phrase may not now be absolutely politically correct, there is of course a degree of truth in it and that was demonstrated perfectly this evening when Whickham and District Motor Club held another of its thoroughly enjoyable Wednesday night events and hosted a slightly revised version of its popular Blindfold Rally. This time the challenge was not only to get round the course without hitting any of the hazards, but instead of doing so whilst trying to work out what you were seeing through the Beer Goggles, it was instead to do so whilst being directed by your partner and crew member, who was standing on the Function Room stage and calling instructions out to you, hopefully clear and concise enough to avoid any of the static pitfalls littered around the room.

As in almost all the Wednesday night events, the challenge itself was fairly straightforward: for this particular event the criteria was keep it clean, don't walk into anything solid and do it all in the fastest time possible. The trick to this event was to be precise: careful positioning of the feet and legs were the key to success, all the navigator had to do was call out the very specific instructions, all the driver had to do was follow them.

As could have been expected, however, the application of those instructions was somewhat different to their deliverance. What began as an entertaining event soon turned into a very comical sideshow as drivers lost their way, turned completely opposite to the directions given, all the time shuffling around the floor trying to work out what seemed like a 90 left whilst wearing blocked out goggles that prevented all vision in all directions.

The resulting spectacle was not only hugely entertaining but one of the funniest things seen in the club for many months: some of the assembled spectators were literally crying into their pints as competitors kicked the buckets, tripped over waste bins and lurched into chairs, all the time fumbling around the function room desperately trying to maintain some form of style and decorum. That was never going to be the case; in particular when Gordon and Mac took the stage as Gordon did his best to impersonate a Minion whilst Mac shuffled round the floor like an extra from "The Walking Dead" taking smaller and smaller steps, much to Gordon's chagrin and eliciting increasingly louder and more urgent instructions from the older Bradford: they really only seemed to make Mac move more slowly than ever. You could almost see the steam rising from Gordon’s head! The only thing that came even close to that was Jamie who seemed to be completely bemused by Ollie's left/right instructions, turning left and right like a music box ballerina whilst completely misunderstanding Ollie's instructions; the net result being Ollie changing his instructions from "Turn 90 left" to "No, not that left, the other left!"

As you could imagine, to say the evening was a thoroughly entertaining event and incredibly good fun would be to completely understate the event; it had us all in tears of laughter and everyone enjoyed it immensely.

Final positions, once we had all dried our eyes and added up the cumulative times, were as follows:

1 Gary and Phil 286.8s
2 Tosh and Brian 297.1s
3 Peter and Matthew 2F 330.9s
4 Gordon and Mac 3F 466.2s
5 Jamie and Ollie 4F 388.4s

A thoroughly deserved win for Phil and Gary, beating Tosh and Brian by just over ten seconds, a very tight finish nonetheless considering it was the culmination of four combined times. A great second place for Tosh and Brian, just missing out on the win due to the smallest of margins; a really good solid third place for the pairing of Peter and Matthew who showed they have a good understanding of not only the concepts but also how each other thinks and reacts, now just needing to refine their technique to prevent those few and tiny little mistakes.

Many thanks to all who took part; particularly to Tosh and Brian for bringing the equipment and setting up yet another slightly different event and adding that little bit of a difference to the evening's proceedings. Points in the Superstars Championship to all who took part, a real missed opportunity to those who decided they didn't fancy it, but then you must be in it, to win it.

Next week: a Map based event to get those brain cells working, courtesy of Gary Laverick. Sharpen those pencils, break out the roamer and compass, massage those temporal lobes and get ready for some Ordnance Survey Action!

Minions

PlayStation - 11 April 2018

Playstation

Final Results:

1 Jonny 1m 31.29s
2 Gary 1m 31.37s
3 Alastair 1m 31.61s
4 Brian 1m 32.36s
5 Jamie 1m 32.66s
6 Phil 1m 33.82s
7 Karl 1m 35.81s
8 Ollie 1m 39.80s
9 Ian 1m 44.92s
10 Matthew 2m 00.94s

Points have been allocated in the Clubs Superstars Championship

The Last Post: Kinetic Car Race - 4 April 2018

2018 KCR 1

There was always going to be an inevitability about the particular design of the second Kinetic Car Race of 2018 after the events of the previous weekend when Karl Knox had taken only the slightest of detours on a hard right and embedded his beautiful white Vauxhall Nova into a very substantial and rather unmoving gatepost at the Warcop Stages.

Whilst subtlety is and always has been an art form practiced by the very best, I think it is fair to say that neither Gary Laverick nor Brian Townsend were at the front of the queue when they were giving out the subtlety badges; as while the Kinetic Car Race test on the 4th April 2018 was one of the most simple and elegant to view, it was much more complicated in its scoring methodology; that would tax even the best of competitors and more than one said they didn't understand it. In truth, nobody really needed to understand the scoring system; the concept was simple: get your car into the paper square in the shortest number of goes, and do your best to get it as close to the Karl Post as possible.

How hard could it be?

The organisers were very kind: if you got onto the paper in your first five attempts then you were in with a chance, the competitor nearest the Karl Post winning the event. For those who found it all but impossible to get onto the paper in their five allotted goes they were subsequently allowed an infinite number of further attempts until they finally managed to rest the car on the paper square. Some were very good indeed, needing only one more attempt; others, not so lucky. Some had so many goes the Durham County Licencing Authority started checking applications for late licences. The general opinion was that not many of the members present had much of a clue about how best to set the power and stance of the vehicle in question in order to attain maximum points!

Some were fast, some were slow, some spent an inordinate amount of time planning the aim and power of the car before sending it off down the track in a flurry of hope and desperation just hoping it would settle in an acceptable and points scoring position. Oh dear. How we laughed at their inabilities. Eventually, though, enough competitors had scored enough points to make it a competition.

Final results, once everyone had set their sights and tested their mettle, were as follows:

1 Ollie
2 Brian
3 Alastair
4 Tosh
5 Gordon
6 Ian
7 Jamie
8 Phil
9 Gary 1F
10 Karl 5F
11 Mac Cliff 11F

A superb win for Chairman Ollie, showing that fatherhood, whilst it might have its downsides, does at least provide enough toys on offer to allow a man enough of a degree of practice to enable him to improve and enhance his skill level to one that might be beneficial. A great second place for Brian, snatching at the heels of Ollie but sending the message very clearly that he is a contender to be reckoned with; his eye for detail and his incredibly analytical approach meaning he never, ever, leaves anything to chance. A great third place for Alastair who seemed to mix up his ability to score high and low at the same time; a solid fourth place for Tosh to consolidate his points position in the Championship and show that despite not being a spring chicken, he has all the competitive spirit that he always had.

Many thanks to all who took part; particularly to Gary and Brian for setting everything up, points in the Championship to all competitors,

Next week: PlayStation / X-Box and yet another opportunity to shine. Some will be missing, some others may make an appearance, but whatever happens, there will be some competition, some confusion, some gains and some losses.

Can I wait? Hardly at all.

Guy's Goodwood Revival - 28 March 2018

2018 Goodwood Revival

The Goodwood Revival: not what you might at first think, bringing memories of flat caps and tweed jackets, A line dresses and full curved silhouettes, the 1950s was not only a time of fashion statements but also saw the emergence of the distinction between adolescents and adults; it was a time of huge change for us all, and defined the direction of the next fifty years in a single stroke.

Nowadays of course the Goodwood Revival is something to be particularly celebrated in the motoring calendar: an event of such significance that it attracts the most prestigious of stars and celebrities to the absolutely splendid Goodwood House in West Sussex to both celebrate and enjoy the spectacle and romance of the event: racing motor cars of a decade gone by, dressing up in a manner not seen for over half a century, enjoying the atmosphere of a time gone by that will never be seen again. The thoughts and feelings that such an event generates can only be experienced to be believed, and once done so, can never be forgotten.

It must be said, however, that the Goodwood Revival held at Whickham and District Motor Club on the 28th of March 2018 was, not surprisingly, an altogether different affair: there were no waspy-waisted ladies, no Y line dresses to be admired, no tweed jackets on show or flat caps to be seen. The Goodwood Revival this time was a return to the Ordnance Survey maps of the 1950s and a set of instructions that had been constructed to test the mettle of each and every competitor to see exactly how good they were when faced with a conundrum of instructions based on a 50-year old map.

In truth, the test was not as difficult as some may have thought: the instructions were actually very clear, there were no map references, no particularly difficult plots, no really challenging or mind blowing calculations to be solved. It was all pretty straightforward, although each and every one of us knew there would somehow be a sting in the tail if only we could spot it amongst the other instructions.

Guy, as could be expected, has produced a very comprehensive set of instructions designed to lead each competitor along a pre-determined route; and at first glance, it all seemed so simple to follow. There had been an indication of a 'dirty dog' moment at some point during the evening in the instructions for the event: this did of course make everyone aware of the need for accuracy and observation, lest the unwary should fall by the wayside.

The event was timed to the second, each competitor being allowed a very generous twenty minutes to complete the exercise; perfectly achievable, potentially cleanable, certainly a target to be aimed for.

Tosh was first to go, setting himself up in the brightest corner of the room to give himself the best possible chance of victory. Brian was next to the fore, settling down alongside the older Townsend and getting himself ready for the task ahead. Guy counted them down; the race was on!

Tosh was first to finish in 15 minutes and 25 seconds, confident he had covered all possible bases, convinced he had understood every instruction to the letter. He was shortly followed by Brian, having studied every instruction and applied it with unnerving accuracy, he was pretty sure he had the measure of his Dad. Gary would be much more analytical in his approach: knowing he would not complete the task in time, his thought process was to submit his incomplete answers within the time and therefore claim the maximum points for the section of the route that was complete, whilst hoping that the penalties for an incomplete answer would somehow make up for the time lost. It was a bold ploy, and one that would only tell once all results were in.

The big problem, however, was the enigmatic Guy Wickham: nothing would ever be given away, no sense of win or lose would be forthcoming, no chance of finding out just how successful you had been until the final results were read out on the night. And when they were, it was very apparent that Guy had added that extra tiny 'dirty dog' moment that had actually caught out every single competitor: a single spot height, shown on a side road that nobody had spotted. It was the classic 'Dirty Dog' and everyone appreciated it for what it was: the single thing that caught everyone out.

Final results, once everyone had peered in the darkness at the 1950s map and made their decisions, were as follows:

1 Tosh 15m 25s 0F
2 Brian 18m 48s 0F
3 Peter 20m 2F
4 Gary 20m 4F
5 Matthew 20m9F

A good win for Tosh even though he had been convinced he had given it away at the eleventh hour; a great second place for Brian to confirm the Townsend family dominance, a good third place for Peter who would have done so much better had he not run out of time, much like Gary who took a tactical decision to finish early and take the fails rather than persevere and potentially lose both points and time. Matthew showed very well indeed considering it was his very first ever map-based event; his knowledge was to subsequently be improved immeasurably after the event when Brian walked him through all the various techniques employed by TableTop organisers.

Many thanks to all who took part, points in the Championship to all competitors and a great start to the 2018 WDMC Maps Championship. It's really good to see some new members taking part and especially the camaraderie that is engendered by it.

Next event is the Kinetic Car race: where technique is a minor factor, aim is a major factor, skill is all but irrelevant but competition is as fierce as ever!

The January Quiz - 21 March 2018

180321 Quiz

The Human Brain - an unbelievably and incredibly amazing thing whichever way you look at it. Little more than a collection of cells that spends its time processing, integrating, and coordinating the information it receives, making decisions and sending them back to the body. Little wonder that so many members of society find it difficult to actually use the thing to any great effect.

Wednesday the 21st of March, the day of the Spring Equinox, saw the assembled members of Whickham and District Motor Club all using the collective power of their own brains to solve the questions posed by Gary Laverick in his January Quiz; which, not altogether surprisingly, was not held in January. Of course not.

It was an absolutely beautiful Quiz: the range of questions superb, the subjects as varied as could ever be imagined, no two questions on the same subject, each one testing the abilities of the aptly-named, seahorse-like hippocampus to make the connections to the cortex and pull facts and figures from long term memory. This quiz would certainly be testing to the individual. Whilst it would be easy to say this type of quiz favoured the older generation it could also be argued that they of course are most at risk of loss of the memory function known as declarative memory: you know the answer but just cannot remember the actual words.

We have all been there so many times before; sitting, holding heads in hands, knowing the answer but just unable to recall it enough to put pen to paper. Then suffering the ignominy of waiting to hear the right answer whilst secretly hoping upon hope that each and every other competitor didn't get it right; somehow, if nobody did, that made our failure so much easier to accept.

Whichever way you looked at this quiz, it was a simple masterpiece: covering almost every discipline from Formula 1 to Firing Orders, Mini advertising to MG origins, Air-Fuel ratios to All-Girl teams and Road Signs to Registration Numbers - this quiz certainly had it all in abundance. This would be the most varied and possibly taxing quiz WDMC had seen in an age, and it was all the more welcome for all that.

The answers were as varied as the questions, with nobody getting 100% of the answers correct, although it is fair to say that everyone certainly made the effort; the average score was nothing to be ashamed of and many of the answers were correct, even if some of them left a bit to be desired.

Knowing just how the average quiz at Whickham and District Motor Club goes, it was of course always going to be a battle between Guy and Peter for the honours, and so when Gary read out the results it was, to say the least, a bit of a shocker:

1 Tosh and Brian 26.5 pts
2 Guy 25.75 pts
3 Peter 24 pts
4 Phil 22 pts
4 Tony 22 pts
6 Ian 21 pts
7 Team Knox 16.5 pts
8 Jamie 15.5 pts

A brilliant and rather surprising win for Tosh and Brian, especially as they are not known for coming anywhere near the points in any normal quiz, so this one must have just been one that encompassed all their knowledge and brought it all together in one place on the one night; a great second place for Guy, the size of his smile at coming second could almost be seen from space; an almost very tactical third for Peter, expecting second, but somehow missing out due to the anomaly of the Tosh family victory.

Many thanks to all who took part and in particular to Gary who had obviously put a good deal of time and effort into producing a quiz to be held in abeyance for an emergency; this was a superb example of a truly proper quiz: not one with a very tight discipline that only favoured the specialist; this one contained many different disciplines, a variety of subjects all loosely linked by a motoring theme; a good mixture of different questions and a few loose cannons to catch the unwary.

Points in the Championship to all who took part, Brian and Tosh push their lead a little bit higher, whilst Guy leaps up to third in the Championship table and Phil just edges Jamie out to fourth place. Peter moves above Alastair and Ian deposes Matthew from the Top Ten.

Next week we see the first event of the 2018 Maps Championship, so everything to gain and yet another Championship to contend: there's a long way to go until November and everything to play for.

Bring it on!

 

Pit Stop Challenge - 7 March 2018

Pit Stop Wheel

When the torque stops.

After a recent, and rather sudden spell of very inclement weather bringing with it some of the heaviest snow we have seen in a few years it was nice to be able to get out and about again and even better to get to the Club for the first Pitstop Challenge of the 2018 Championship. Expectations were high for a good bit of competition from the regular members, although this time there was a noticeable absence in those taking part as Jimmy was feeling unwell and taking it easy for a while. Withdrawals too from Jamie and Ian pleading injuries although the attendance was boosted by the inclusion of two new participants in Martin Wilks and Dean Anderson who had called at the club to meet Guy and talk about Marshalling, but were persuaded to also take part.

There was, however, a slight hiccough in the organisation when Gary and Phil realised they had brought the wrong Torque Wrench and were left with the problem of mating a 3/8" drive with a 1/2" socket. This was never going to work in practice, and so the rules were relaxed to allow Brian to be the "Torque Adjuster" and decide whether nuts were tight enough or just too loose for comfort.

Gary went first, spinning the wheel brace like a professional and looking for all the world like he was going to set an initial time that wouldn't be touched, his flying fingers getting the wheel off in no time at all and apart from the slightest of fumbles when placing it back, posting a time of 1m 22.7seconds to really set the standard. Brian followed Gary, flexing his fingers, cracking his knuckles and setting his jaw like a pro: by going early he was fresh, he was ready, and he was quick! The wheel brace spun even more rapidly than when in Gary's hands, the wheel was off in a trice and back on in seconds, the nuts back on two at a time and the brace a chromium blur in the reflection of the club lights. His time was rapid, too, a full 5.1 seconds faster than Gary, setting the bar even higher.

Visitor Martin was next, and although he had never done this before, he was as game as they come, listening carefully to the instructions and taking everything in; he had only seen two go before him, both veritable demons on the clock, but he gave it a very credible attempt. It's very easy for those of us who have been doing this for years to forget how awkward the first time must be when you have not had the benefit of honing your technique, but Martin certainly had a go and did not disgrace himself by any means. Dean had been looking very carefully at Martin while he took part, and had quickly worked out a way of shaving time off and put that into practice from the off. His strategy paid off pretty well, too, as he saw his own time eclipse Martin by almost a full 30 seconds.

Phil had been watching all this with interest, so came to the rig next, full of optimism and raring to take part. He was off like the proverbial rabbit, spinning the brace easily and making the whole thing look very easy; his time to wheel off being very quick, only suffering a small lapse in concentration due to him making a very small mistake with a wheel nut that caused a comment from the watching crowd that suddenly had him in fits of laughter: that single event causing him the tiniest of delays and leading to an eventual time of 1m24.43seconds - just short of Gary and placing him currently third.

Tosh came next, setting himself down on the floor and simultaneously setting his glasses down on the table; his focus was obviously on attack. The start was very good indeed, the wheel brace spinning freely, the nuts coming off quickly too, the wheel off and on the floor without an issue and then the wheel was back on more quickly than anyone on the night, slotting home with a resounding thud and the nuts going on two by two almost instantaneously. This was looking very good indeed! However, that was where it all went wrong; the nuts just would not spin up and the brace looked as uncomfortable as it could ever be, not spinning, stalling and catching his skin, his time an almost painful 1m 30.83 seconds: so close to begin with, so far in the end.

Mac and Gordon were next to come to the floor, each with their own inimitable styles, Gordon struggling with the wheel as it went back on wonky, causing him to take some valuable time doing up what seemed like more wheel nuts than you get on a Scania Truck, whilst Mac was seen to be peering over his glasses as he tried desperately to align the wheel holes with the studs; the wheel eventually slotting home and allowing him to do up all the nuts. Alas, his tightness was not really up to standard, with three loose nuts he would have caused much grief to any driver relying on his pit stop skills.

So final times and positions after everyone taking part had done their impression of Guy Martin at the Williams F1 team, were as follows:

1 Brian 77.8s
2 Gary 82.9s
3 Phil 84.4s
4 Tosh 90.8s
5 Dean 123.9s
6 Gordon 134.3s
7 Martin 152.4s
8 Mac 172.9s

A great win for Brian, not his fastest ever time but certainly good enough to take the victory nonetheless, with Gary breathing down his neck and only two seconds quicker than Phil in third place. Brilliant to see visitors Martin and Dean taking part in the competition with very good humour and we hope to see them again soon.

Many thanks to all who took part and in particular to Phil and Gary especially considering they had an extended journey home as they had to return the rig to the Club garage. Points in the Club Championship to all who took part, Phil takes the golden opportunity to leapfrog both Karl and Guy into fourth place and finds himself only a single point behind Jamie in third. Gary suddenly shoots into the top ten at position seven. Next event is the Quiz on March 21st so enough time to brush up on your motoring knowledge and put it all to good use on that evening!

Steering Wheel Challenge - 14 February 2018

The St. Valentines Day Massacre

Steering Wheel Nurburgring

February the 14th is a day that has for many years been associated with Romance, Love and Courtship. It is a special day for those who are in love, for those who secretly love another, and those who wish for a sign that somebody loves them. For the members of Whickham and District Motor Club, it was a day for those who love competition, and especially those who love to win.

One of the staple events we hold is a combination of a steady hand, an eye for accuracy and an understanding of physics together with an appreciation of timing: the steering wheel challenge. The game is very straightforward, two steering wheels, each fitted with a circular container and board filled with holes; one nine, one twelve, each with an equivalent number of steel balls that have to be seated in the holes in the shortest possible time. Not only that, but the steering wheels need to be sat down neatly and steadily so all the balls remain in position. Easy. The slight change this time was that both sheels would be done consecutively, the total time taken being your score.

Nobody ever wants to be first, lest they set a dreadful time and show themselves up. Tonight was different though: Karl Knox stepping up to the plate immediately and taking his turn whilst he was fresh and thinking clearly. It proved to be a wise move, as his time was a very good 2m 55seconds, setting the bar high immediately. Jamie came next, smiling as always, ready to do battle and checking Karl’s time with a look of determination. His time of 4m 06s wasn’t good enough to beat Karl, but it certainly set the following competitors something to aim at. Jamie was followed by Ian, looking at the wheels with not a little trepidation, thinking that this was only his second ever attempt at the challenge. However, Ian is a dogged man who attempts all things with his usual good humour and although he wasn’t the fastest he certainly seemed to enjoy the challenge.

Phil was next to try his hand. Although he always sets his expectations low, he has shown over the past few years that he has not only learned the art of the Steering Wheel Challenge but become quicker as time has gone on and his final time was always going to be good. And so it proved, his skill and dexterity showing he is getting better and better at mastering the skills required to eventually triumph at this game. Alastair, however, still finds completing this particular game a challenge in itself, coming so very close so many times to getting that final ball in place, only to see it knocked out of position at the eleventh hour. There is, however, no denying his tenacity: Alastair persevering long after many would have given up, determined to finish the challenge. Dad Jimmy came next, again getting tantalisingly close to finishing, only giving up when his back started to feel the strain.

Brian, however, showed all the signs of a man determined to be the victor: grasping the Nurburgring wheel within a split second of being counted down and getting all the balls in place in little over half a minute, then setting it down and grabbing the Imp wheel and playing with the balance to get all the balls in place despite the corrugated cardboard making life so difficult. His time was quick: 1m 11seconds and that was certainly a challenge for all to follow. Guy was next and showed great skill by getting all the balls in place on the Imp wheel amazingly rapidly, only falling down on the Nurburgring when a couple of rogue balls just would not go into place, costing him valuable minutes.

Tosh was last to go, eyeing up Brian's time with caution and getting ready to take the challenge to his son. Guy was on the clock and as soon as Tosh touched the first wheel it was ticking. Tosh flew on the Imp wheel, getting all the balls in place in less than thirty seconds, on to the Nurburgring and he was away at top speed and looking for all the world like a Champion once again; however, a momentary reluctance by the balls to drop into place cost him some treasured time, and although it was only mere seconds, the cost was palpable: Tosh's final time revealed as 1m 14s, those uncooperative balls making a very expensive dent in his time and handing the victory to Brian.

When all the times were sorted the result made very interesting viewing:

1 Brian 1m 11s
2 Tosh 1m 14s
3 Phil 2m 12s
4 Karl 2m 55s
5 Guy 3m 13s
6 Jamie 4m 06s
7 Matthew 4m 34s
8 Peter 6m 49s
9 Ian 8m 32s
10 Jimmy -2 balls 7m 52s
11 Alastair -4 balls 20m 00s

An excellent victory for Brian, showing he has certainly learned the correct technique to getting all the balls in place in a very respectable time and taking the crown from Tosh who has to date been unbeaten in this challenge. Maybe this is the first sign of cracks in his dominance; perhaps he has finally had his day, or maybe it was just a one-off. No matter to Brian, who claims a well-deserved victory and maximum points this week, stretching his lead in the Championship once again and claiming the title of Wheel Challenge King; at least for this week. No doubt Tosh will be thinking carefully about what went wrong this time and cost him the victory; it isn't likely to go down well with the senior Townsend. A great third place for Phil, showing that although he plays the 'I'm not very good at this' card very well, he is and always will be one to watch.

A good fourth place for Karl, getting in quick and cementing some very valuable points in the Superstars Championship and leading the Knox family charge, his single point moving him just ahead of Guy who in fifth, just starting to pull away from the chasing pack. Phil leaps up two places to sixth: could this be the start of a Championship Challenge?

Time now for a wee break for a month: next week is the Karting Challenge at TeamSport Karting at Scotswood, the following week is our Annual General Meeting and the week after is the Border Counties Meeting; the next event will therefore be in a month's time and will be a Pit Stop Challenge. Here's looking forward to the next round in the WDMC Superstars Championship!

Quiz - 24 January 2018

2018 January quiz

The end of January each year is a trying time for many people as they face the trials and tribulations of their Annual Tax Returns, Self-Assessment forms, VAT Returns and many other official forms, most filled with obscure and confusing numbers and calculations almost guaranteed to make you sweat and strain.

Then again January 24th 2018 was also just as taxing for the members of Whickham and District Motor Club as they pored over their own personal forms: bold capitalised text on sheets of white paper, some pretty obscure questions that put the strain on the brain with strange numbers and diagrams to trick the mind, and all only weeks into the New Year. Registration numbers were offered, drivers and makes were required, F1 circuits were drawn on the paper and faces were drawn too as furrowed brows were rubbed in confusion. This quiz could have been a disaster had nobody known what on earth was going on, but as it happened what at first appeared to be a really difficult quiz turned out to be much more manageable to more than one of those taking part.

Those perennial bottom of the table entrants Tosh and Brian looked at the registration numbers and then at each other; this was not going to be easy and considering they were as likely to be wrong with every answer as right they decided on the scattergun approach of answering Ford to everything they didn’t know, working on the basis that at least one answer would eventually be correct. That decision turned out to be an inspired one, as Ford turned out to be the correct answer to many of the questions asked!

The F1 circuits were as familiar to many as the layout of the local Tesco’s, but then had they been specifically asked if the cheese counter was before or after the deli most could not be absolutely certain, and so it was with the names of the circuits: just what was the Spanish GP circuit called? Was it Barcelona or something else? And what is the name of the Brazilian circuit? Sao Paulo? Rio de Janiero? And that one at top right? Where in the world was that? Suddenly all those clever minds seemed to go as blank as the current Gimp in the White House, although to be honest that might be a bit cruel to the members of WDMC. Or even amoeba.

Nevertheless, as each answer sheet came in and competitors tried their best to sneak a look at the answers, Ollie marked each one with a strict eye for detail and a requirement for accuracy that should always be shown in each and every case. Not for Ollie the woolly ambiguous answers often given in the vain hope of appealing to the question masters’ good nature. For him, only the right answer would do. Just as it should be. Luckily Gordon was not here tonight.

Once marking was complete and to his satisfaction, Ollie first read out the answers and then the final results:

1 Jamie 22.5pts
2 Guy 22pts
3 Phil 18.5pts
4 Tosh and Brian 17.5pts
5 Ian 17pts
5 Peter and Matthew 17pts
7 Jimmy and Alastair 11pts

A superb win for Guy, who although he didn’t come first was far happier to finish a strategic second once again and so sported the biggest smile seen since Christmas; an excellent first place for Jamie who despite winning looked as though he had just come second in a winner takes all competition. A good third place for Phil, netting some valuable points in the Superstars Championship Table which suddenly changes everything: Tosh leaps up to second just behind Brian, Jamie takes his advantage to move on up and snap at Tosh’s heels in third, Karl missing out on the quiz due to work and subsequently dropping from second to fourth, equal with Guy. Alastair meanwhile drops from 4th to 6th, but that might just be a temporary blip; who knows what the younger Knox can manage?

Many thanks to Ollie for putting on a great little quiz, challenging to most but with enough variety to please everyone present. There were some great questions in there too, although some were very obscure it was extremely enjoyable even for those that had no idea what the answers were. (Of which there were many).

Next event will be on St Valentine’s day - February 14th, and who knows what event we will ’Love’ that particular evening? Should I bring roses and chocolates?

Scalextric - January 17 2018

180117 Scalextric

The Northern Adult Male is not particularly renowned for being overtly enthusiastic about much, unless it involves drinking, football or being out with the lads. He has certainly never been seen to explode into rapturous excitement about his lass's new shoes or handbag (there is a particular type of man who does that) so it would be easy to dismiss the Northern Bloke as being simply uninterested in much other than the aforementioned pastimes.

However, the old adage about men being nothing other than boys with bigger toys is as true today as it ever was, but that isn't the full story. A man of course is a simple thing, and generally just as entertained, or maybe even more so, by the small or simple things in life as he would be by the more complicated or esoteric. Just watch a man throwing away a piece of paper: he can't just crumple it up and drop it in the bin because that is just too straightforward, he has to take a step back to what he considers a 'challenging' distance, then try to throw it with unnerving accuracy into the bin, just to prove it can be done. Failing to do so will often involve him going to the bin, collecting the ball of paper and then retreating back to his original position before trying once again, until he is successful. Women might shake their heads in perplexity, but men will nod their heads, because they understand it is a bloke thing.

Wednesday the 17th January was one of those nights to bring out the boy in the man, as Peter Metcalfe arrived at Kibblesworth Club with a box of track, a couple of controllers and some miniature electric cars: this of course was Scalextric night, and as if by magic all the so-called quiet and reserved Northern men present became as animated in their enthusiasm for the racing game with its tiny electric cars as Gok Wan does for fashion on 'How to look Good Naked' - although thankfully all the men present at Kibblesworth Club kept their clothes well and truly on.

Peter's format was as simple as the game itself: a figure of eight circuit, two cars, competitors race each car for ten laps and then add those times together to get a cumulative time for a twenty lap race. This would decide who was overall fastest in each heat and move them onto the next stage. Having sixteen competitors made it even simpler: a knockout competition of Round One, Quarter- and Semi-finals and a Grand Final.

Round One saw the eight fastest drivers through to the Quarter Finals, where they were matched against the next fastest driver to make it as even as possible; that way there was no possibility of the fastest driver being pitched against the slowest. Guy faced Matthew, Karl took on Tosh, Gary went up against Peter and Phil challenged Brian. The four victors then moved up to the Semi-Finals, where Peter took on Brian and Matthew raced against Tosh; the two quickest would emerge to battle it out in the final. And what a final it would be, with Semi Final victors Brian and Tosh facing up against each other over an even longer race of 40 laps for the mother of all family challenges - just who would be the overall winner?

They both started well and for a couple of laps could not have been more evenly matched, however a tiny misjudgement by Tosh saw him put just a little too much throttle on at the North curve and the Mk 2 slid off the circuit, prompting a look of anguish on the older Townsend's face as he realised that could be the single deciding factor of the final. Brian continued his steady pace, quick but by now easily ahead, always the thinking man and knowing Tosh would have to try hard to catch the Audi. Trying was to be Tosh's ultimate downfall, as the Escort once again plunged off the circuit, putting the result almost beyond doubt.

At the second half restart, Brian was well ahead and knew that all he had to do was stay ahead of his father to clinch the win. Brian raced steadily, Tosh raced strongly, and although he was clawing time back from Brian it looked as though it was an impossible task, until without warning the lovely Mk 2 Escort left the road at the South hairpin and an excruciating look of doubt crossed the younger Townsend's face: suddenly the race was on and it was anybody's to take. Tosh's Audi raced along gaining valuable seconds and looked to be about to take the lead: however the 'putter-backer-onner-er' did his job magnificently, getting Brian's Escort back on the circuit without a wasted second, and almost as soon as it happened the race was over.

Times were checked and accrued and they showed a clear victory for Brian by four seconds: his consistency winning the day once again. Final results were as follows:

1 Brian F1
2 Tosh F2
3 Peter SF1
4 Matthew SF2
5 Karl QF1
6 Gary QF2
7 Guy QF3
8 Phil QF4
9 Tony 1m 26s
10 Jamie 1m 28s
11 Gordon 1m 30s
12 Steve 1m 32s
13 Ian 1m 36s
14 Mac 1m 38s
15 Alastair 1m 44s
16 Paul 1m 58s

A thoroughly good win for Brian, showing that the trick is as always, consistency. Every 'off' brings with it a huge time penalty, and even two seconds to put a car back on the track equates to three or four by the time the driver has regained his impetus, so just a couple of offs can seriously affect the driver's final position, as Tosh found during the final as he saw his chances of victory slip away. The race-off for third and fourth places was between Peter and Matthew; Peter checking beforehand by asking Matthew 'If I beat you will you still take me home?' - a phrase not heard since last year's Sado-Masochism convention. The answer must have been positive as organiser Peter went on to take a good third place by showing the same excellent car control as he had during his previous races - causing a few competitors to modify their technique to try and emulate his progress. A sound fourth place for Matthew, showing good driving skills and also some of the more established members that the new guys can hang with the old boys and maybe show them a thing or two.

Many thanks to Peter for bringing in his Scalextric and setting everything up on the night and in particular thanks to all who took part and had a really enjoyable time doing so: it's always good to have a real laugh at the club and men playing racing games with tiny electric cars is just about the most enjoyable thing you could do on a Wednesday night. Points in the Championship to all who took part, Brian extends his lead in the Superstars Championship, Karl maintains his second place although Tosh leapfrogs up to third just a single point behind him. Peter's third place netting him a good haul of points to bring him into contention, whilst Matthew's points bring him firmly into the Top Ten.

Next week sees the first quiz of the year, an event where Guy and Peter typically excel, so the points table is due for yet another upset and it is still only the first month of the Championship year!

Happy days.

PlayStation - January 10 2018

180110 Forza

Forza!

How many times has that cry been heard from the millions of fans throughout the world? Most would undoubtedly be Italian, of course, but there are still more than enough other fans to make themselves heard. Although the literal translation is 'Force' the word has become synonymous with speed and the total encouragement of it.

Forza Motorsport 7 however, is a console game that brings all the excitement of the real thing to the small screen, and it was Jamie that brought it to Kibblesworth Workmen's Club on Wednesday the 10th January for the second round of the Whickham and District Motor Club's 2018 Superstars Championship along with his X-Box One to test the gaming abilities of the assembled members present.

In what was a quiet night at the Club, there were not as many competitors as usual, prompting Tosh to exclaim that he could potentially finish reasonably well this evening. That, of course, was before he had attempted to actually drive the vehicle of choice: a Bentley GT Continental prepared by M Sport. It's fair to say that this was never going to be a gentlemanly drive in the country, wafting past thatched cottages and village greens in unadulterated luxury and virtual silence. No, this was raw, powerful and right on the edge: Jamie had all the aids on, Traction Control, ESP, ABS, Automatic Gears and to help those less capable drivers, damage was off. Tosh, of course, would need ALL of the above.

Brian started by taking the controls first; not a game he had any experience with, but always willing to give it his best shot, he first had a practice lap and then was straight into the action. The heavy Bentley was immediately skittish on its cold tyres and took almost a full lap to warm them enough to get a good feel for the car. The feel was good, Brian posting a time of 1m 36s to set the benchmark.

Jamie came next, his familiarity with the game showing evidence as he threaded the big GT through the sweeping bends and tight hairpin of Brands Hatch's Grand Prix circuit, determined to beat Brian at all costs. His first standing start lap was a fraction slower than Brian's best, which boded well for the result he was after, however on his second lap he fared not so well, posting a time a full six seconds slower, so it was all down to his final lap. Jamie went for Gold all right, getting each and every bend just about perfect and posting a time over a second faster than Brian to put him first.

Tosh followed, deciding that he might as well go now as put off the inevitable drubbing that was surely to come. Unfamiliar with the game and without the dexterity to keep the big car flowing through the bends his progress was patchy at best, poor at worst and although he had the benefit if the sighting lap it made not a jot of difference to his times and he was a full 15 seconds adrift of the younger men. Tosh was followed by Ian, who looked immediately at ease with the game, sweeping round the circuit with style and looking like he was about to challenge the two youngsters for their positions. Alas, Ian's enthusiasm soon got the better of him as he ran wide on more occasions than he will wish to remember, in particular making the same mistake on the same corner on each and every lap, much to the amusement of all who were watching. His good times were not to last, as each excursion robbed him of valuable seconds and he struggled to gain the time back so much that he eventually finished slower than Tosh, much to his dismay and Tosh's delight!

Alastair came next, with some great expectations to do well. He has shown his mettle in the past and both Brian and Jamie know that he can often be a force to be reckoned with. Known as the 'Quiet One' he could easily have upset the apple-cart with his unhurried style and rapid pace, so all eyes were on him. Although he started well, it was to be his standing start lap that was surprisingly the quickest of his times, as each of his subsequent laps couldn't match his initial pace.

However, Alastair was not to be the last player, as we had heard that Biscuit Bob was about to make a late entry having been working the Two to Ten shift at the local Hobnob Factory, and sure enough, at exactly one minute past Ten Karl strode in the door and ordered his pint before doing battle with the X-Box. This could be good. His cousin was third, his great rival was second, his target was first. Karl picked up the controller, checked the times of all concerned, adopted the stance of one who didn't care what he looked like (especially with his trouser crotch around his knees) and set off for his inaugural lap. His practice lap was good, his first competitive lap was as stylish as those jogging bottoms - a total and absolute car crash. Literally. Karl broke the car. Even with damage off, Karl broke the car. This would go down in the history of the club. Damage off, yet Karl broke the car. Whilst the reviewers of Forza Motorsport 7 might have earnestly said "This is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful racers you will ever see" they had plainly not seen the younger Knox from Kibblesworth. No matter, he now only had two laps left to make his mark, and, being fresh from a hard day's graft, he may not have been in as tip-top condition as the biscuits he helps to produce, but he certainly gave it his best shot; after all, he had a cousin, a leader and the clock to beat.

Karl gave it his all, but in the end it was all too much to manage: his best time coming on his final lap as he wrangled the huge Bentley around the GP circuit in a vain attempt to wrestle it to the fastest time of the day. Alas it was not to be, but he did at least come away with some pride: his fourth place bringing with it a valuable hoard of points in the Superstars Championship and helping him consolidate his place in the table.

So final results, after everyone had been the Derek Bell of Brands, were as follows:

1 Jamie 1m 35s
2 Brian 1m 36s
3 Alastair 1m 40s
4 Karl 1m 46s
5 Tosh 1m 50s
6 Ian 1m 59s


An excellent win for Jamie, probably surprised at just how close Brian was to his time considering all things. A great second place for Brian and one which he was patently happy with, especially as the points would help increase his lead in the Championship, a solid third for Alastair showing that you just have to watch the quiet ones.

Many thanks to Jamie for bringing in his X-Box One and setting everything up on the night, and thanks to all who took part and especially for the excellent and good-humoured nature that was so apparent on the night. Points in the Championship to all who took part, and a palpable excitement about next week: the third in our trilogy of car-related events and one that always brings out the boys in the men: Scalextric!

I can hardly wait.

Kinetic Car Race - January 3 2018

2017 Kinetic Car 1

The WDMC Superstars Championship got off to a roaring start on the very first club night of the year when Gary and Brian put on one of the most popular events - the Kinetic Car Race. The format suits men very well indeed as it is so very simple: take a toy car and send it down a long table, trying to get it to stop on a piece of paper. The further away the paper is, the more points you get, unless of course you fall off the table or stop between the sheets. How hard can it be?

The truth of the matter is the result of your efforts is often very different to your expectations of success; those gaps between the papers seem to grow each time you try, the steering seems to vary much more than you expect, and the pace of the car is often quite hard to judge. Points can be very hard to come by. No matter, each of the competitors were as keen as the cast of The Fast and The Furious and determined to show off their skills.

Tosh went first, to set a benchmark for everyone to aim at. The trouble with going first is that you have no idea how far back to pull the car before letting it go, or how wayward its journey is likely to be. But then, somebody has to be first, so why not just have a go? His attempt wasn't brilliant, with only 70 points gained from his five attempts, but then it could still be a winner depending upon how everyone else did.

That theory was shot down in flames at a stroke when second man up Guy took his turn, immediately scoring 120 points to eclipse Tosh at a stroke. It looked as though Tosh's score would be firmly at the bottom of the table as third man Gordon took up the challenge. And challenge it really turned out to be, as Gordon ended up with more zeros than the Imperial Japanese Navy had in 1945; it would be hard to finish higher than last with nothing on the table.

Mac was next, missing almost everything but a careful peer over the top of his glasses saw him sneak a nifty sixty points to place him just behind Tosh. Karl was up next, having carefully weighed up all his options and thought it all through, he scored on more runs than not, ending up currently top of the leader board with 200 points.

Gary quickly followed and his first run saw him net a cool 100 points for finishing on the optimum scoring card. This could be good, and Karl was seen gently biting his lower lip as he no doubt saw his prime position snatched away almost before he had it. Luckily for him, it was not to be, as Gary had obviously been reading the Gordon Bradford book of "How to score points and win" and managed absolutely nothing on all four of his subsequent runs.

Ollie and Phil followed next, both matching each other with a total of 50 points each, before Alastair took his turn, scoring 60 points to place him level with Mac. Father Jimmy came next, flexing his "pit stop" fingers and ready to do battle with the best, however it was nothing short of tragedy in the points stake as all his runs ended up in non-scoring positions. Perhaps his future lies in mine clearance, as he landed on absolutely everything except those places that would light up the sky.

That only left Brian to take his turn. Always competitive, always one to watch, never one to take for granted. Although his first run was not only off the pace but also off the track, he learned from that as he positioned the car for his second run. Beautifully weighted, expertly aligned, the little car drove up the track as if on rails and with a purpose that was clear to see. 100 points. Brian was immediately equal third. His third run was positioned with almost identical accuracy; the result? another 100 points. He was now equal second. Karl bit harder on his lip. Brian aligned his car for his fourth run: his concentration intense, his mind computing all the options, his eyes fixed on the ultimate prize, and when he let go, all eyes were on the car. Unbelievably, he scored yet another 100 points. He was now firmly in the driving seat; he had the pole position, he need not go any further. A call from Gary of "You have the win, don't risk the car" brought a hearty laugh from all those present, but Brian was not finished. He still had his final run, and in typical fashion, he was not only going for the win but for a crushing victory. His final run netted a very healthy 70 points, to bring his total to 370 - almost twice the score of second placed Karl, and an indictment of Brian's attitude to competition: to beat him, you really do have to win in no uncertain terms.

So final results, after everyone had played their own little Kibblesworth imitation of Brian O'Connor, Dominic Toretto or maybe even Michelle Rodriguez, were as follows:

1 Brian 370pts
2 Karl 200pts
3 Guy 120pts
4 Gary 100pts
5 Tosh 70pts
6 Alastair 60pts
6 Mac 60pts
8 Ollie 50pts
8 Phil 50pts
10 Gordon 0pts
10 Jimmy 0pts

A fantastic win for Brian, blasting himself into the lead on the very first event of the year, showing he is as intent on retaining his Championship winning status as ever, despite whatever everyone else can throw at him. However, it is of course early days, and there are plenty of opportunities during the coming year for others to take that position away: that is, of course, if they actually can. An excellent second place for Karl, showing his drive at the Christmas Stages is not his only talent; a brilliant third place for Guy, his best ever result and one that definitely proves the old adage: 'You have to watch the quiet ones'.

Points in the Championship to all who took part, and many thanks to Gary and Brian for putting on one of our favourite and well-supported Club night events. Next round is the first PlayStation round of 2018 - and depending upon the motoring discipline, Brian could potentially see his position taken away, or maybe even reinforced; we can, of course, only watch and speculate as to the outcome.

Bring it on.....

 
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