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Navigational Event - 4 March 2020

2020 Nav Event 2

Colin's Comprehensive Course of Confusion

The Gods were certainly smiling on not only the assembled members of Whickham and District Motor Club but also all those very welcome invited attendees as they all arrived at Kibblesworth Workmens Club on the night of the 4th March, ready to take on what was a particularly well anticipated occasion: a Colin Fish Navigational event!

It has certainly been a few years since Colin put an event of this nature on and if history is anything to go by everyone was in for a cracking evening, as the Ex-BT man is very well known for not only finding the most obscure byways and narrow lanes but also checking they will 'go' well enough to enable all who compete to complete the route (albeit on occasion, rather slowly and carefully). There is also the fact that Colin was arguably the originator of the 'Dirty Dog' moments that are expressly designed to catch out the unwary or those who tend towards rushing their plotting rather than taking their time. Tonight was going to be no exception!

The instructions were very clear and well set out, and for those who may not have done one before, Colin had provided marked route maps for those less experienced members to help them learn the ropes; that way their transition from utter novice to a more confident competitor would be much less painful than being dropped into the deep end immediately. It would also hopefully encourage them to try the event in a more gentle manner, easing them onto better things in future. Only time would tell if this was a successful ploy.

As with all Colin's events, the most important thing was to read the instructions carefully, not only once, but definitely twice and sometimes thrice. That way it would be clear if there were any hidden messages or extra instructions to be followed; and in this case there certainly were. Having plotted the black spots and answered a series of simple questions to provide a tie-breaker, each crew set off for the start, full of hope and expectation, each convinced they were to be the victors and gain maximum points. Well, maybe not all, but a good proportion would.

The route was a great combination of traditional local roads and some new, exciting lanes that even the experienced crews may not have seen before, which, together with the not-unexpected 'long way round' triangles and laybys and some excellent 'doubling back' along roads that were almost alongside each other, combined to provide a good 25 mile route that was both testing for the navigator whilst still being entertaining enough for the driver. Colin's navigational background was very much in evidence the further crews travelled, as each would find the combination of navigation and keeping on top of the questions spread along the route would keep everyone very much on their toes.

A very impressive ten crews took part, showing that this type of event is certainly very popular, considering the number of members at the club tonight, and definitely bodes well for the future if tonight was anything to go by. As each crew returned back to the club, they were of course extremely keen to find out how ell each had done, although Colin was as always holding his cards very close to his chest. He was, as always, very keen that everyone should do well, offering the most helpful advice and assistance that he could to all and sundry, whilst still maintaining his control over the correct procedures to be observed.

The more experienced crews were certainly more at home tonight than the novices, who found the combination of maintaining the correct route and answering questions maybe a touch more challenging than they might have at first imagined, but, having returned to the club, found the post-event banter much more enjoyable than they may have been expecting, and there were many stories of lost and found and wayward directions being thrown around whilst enjoying a beer afterwards.

Final results, once he had taken the time to not only check results but to also look at every single aspect of all answer sheets handed in, were as follows:

1 Peter and Matthew 0F
2 Tosh and Brian
1F
3 Gary and Guy
3F
4 Simon and Liam
4F (by tie decider)
5 Ali and Lynsey Proctor
4F
6 Alastair and Jimmy
7F
7 David and Ken
10F
8 Mac and Gordon
11F
9 Cameron and Emilia
DNF
9 Gary and Alison
DNF


A superb win for Peter and Matthew, showing that even if you turn up at the eleventh hour, with careful plotting and an understandable appreciation for the idiosyncrasies of a Mr Fish Event, you can be victorious. A solid (and fortuitous) second place for Tosh and Brian, whose keenness to plot too quickly cost them a fail due to a misplaced starting position. A great third place for Guy and Gary, bringing a good points score to start their Sporting Championship Challenge.

Many thanks indeed to both Colin Fish and Tony Bebbington for putting the event on, it was really good to see Tony again especially as we know he has other commitments on a Wednesday evening but his help and assistance was truly appreciated and certainly helped Colin to put on a great event. Points in the Sporting Championship to all who took part and a palpable sense of excitement for the next road event and what that will bring.

Quiz - 19 February 2020

2020 Tosh and Brian

Tosh and Brian's Pix 'n Mix

There is a sort of stability to things in this world and the WDMC Quiz nights are no different in that respect. The more Rallying questions there are the better the Rally boys do, the more specific the questions are the better Peter and Guy do, and the random the questions the more likely it is that an unusual result will arise, but generally, Tosh and Brian don't do very well at all and are more than pleased to come anything but last in the results.

It was, therefore, something of a shock to the established system when those same two managed to win Guy's A1 Quiz back in December and with it the opportunity to put on the next round. Based on historical evidence theirs was always going to be a mixture of who knows what and why would I know that but it was definitely created in the spirit of all their previous quizzes with a complete open format of question types encompassing everything from Racing to Rallying, Rallycross to Hillclimb, engine power outputs and hillclimb venues to the wonderful ladies in the W Series racing championship.

Some of the questions proved to be very easy, whilst others would really test what each participant knew, however the combination of all of them would give a very good indication of a competitor's depth and breadth of knowledge and reward those that knew over those with specialist expertise.

Who would know what the front wing of a Nissan Cube looked like? How many would mistake a Sunbeam Stiletto for a Hillman Imp? Just how recognisable was the Renault Twizy? Whilst a good few knew what Jamie Chadwick looked like there were fewer that recognised her title rival Beitske Visser who chased her to the wire for the W Series Championship.

The end result after many scratched heads and furrowed brows showed that although many had taken part, not everyone was as confident as they might have thought and so listened carefully as the correct answers were read out and final positions awarded:

1 Peter 22 pts
2 Guy
19.5 pts
3 Phil and Gary
15.5 pts
4 The Knoxes
14 pts
5 Mac Cliff
10.5 pts
6 Colin and Simon
9 pts
7 David and Karl
8 pts
8 Matthew
6 pts
9 Lindsay
6 pts

A Great win for Peter, showing that he has such a breadth of knowledge of all things motoring that he is still one of the most prolific points scorers in any motor related quiz, scoring maximum points in the Superstars Championship and wasting all before him. A huge success for Guy with a perfectly placed and strategic second place to gain almost as many points as Peter without the penalty of having to put on the next round - superb! A great third place for Phil and Gary who were quite convinced by some of their answers but not so much that they were not surprised when a couple of them proved to be incorrect!

Points in the Superstars Championship to all who took part - a good quiz and one that taxed the brain well, whilst perhaps increasing some participants’' knowledge just that little bit. A thoroughly enjoyable event that generated a good degree of conversation afterwards. Brian's lead in the Superstars Championship stays firm, whilst Tosh drops down to fifth place, overtaken by Phil, Gary and Peter, however it is still very early stages and there are many more events to come, so nothing can be taken for granted.

Next week, the AGM, followed a week later by a Navigational Event - first one in the Club's 2020 Sporting Challenge, and then it's back to the Superstars Championship with the Reaction Test - get those nerves on edge because it will all eventually be decided by thousandths of a second!

Radio Controlled Autotest - 12 February 2020

2020 RC Gallardo

Size just doesn't really matter.

It doesn't really make any difference who says it, but it's a phrase that has been used in many different ways over the years, mainly it has to be said in advertising as a subliminal and slightly derogatory term towards men. The truth of the matter is that the majority of men don't really care, and especially when it comes to men and cars, because they love them no matter what colour, shape or size they are.

The more important factor, of course, is when it's all about the competition, because that's when things matter. Not the size of the thing, whatever it is, but what you ultimately do with it.

Give two ships’ captains a boat each and challenge them to something and you will have exactly the same response as if you gave two men a matchbox sized car and told them to roll them down a table to end up closest to a given spot. It's normal, it's natural, and to be perfectly frank, it's inevitable.

Wednesday the 12th February 2020 was a very definite case in point, with Matthew Price this time bringing along a couple of cars to challenge the assembled members of WDMC to see just how competent (or otherwise) they would be at navigating the tricky course that he and Brian had set up with some rather sensitive gates made out of balanced beer mats. The course was fairly straightforward, although it did have to be navigated twice, once with a Ford Focus and the second time with an Italian Supercar.

The Ford was very predictable, making direction changes just as you would expect, however the Italian Supercar was rather more volatile, streaking away from the start like a scalded cat and changing direction quicker than a Swallow on speed. This was going to be an RC challenge and a half, and so it proved to be.

The members of Whickham and District Motor Club are a fabulously tight knit bunch, with everybody encouraging each other to do well with the exact same gay abandon and enthusiasm as they gave those same members absolute grief for their failings, all done with the same degree of friendly rivalry as any other sport on this earth. To do well would earn scant praise, whereas to do badly would result in tremendous cheers of encouragement to do better whilst admitting a degree of empathy and understanding that only men can have. Does that sound sexist? Only because it is true.

The game was superb, the performances were less so. Some were magnificent in their driving, whilst others were definitely more Forrest Gump than Dwayne Johnson. Nevertheless, a total of a dozen competitors took part, each convinced they were much more the Kibblesworth equivalent of Vin Diesel rather than the County Durham version of Hightower in Police Academy.

And so it was after all the times were catalogued, sorted and evaluated, the final results were given:

So final times, once everyone had taken their turn, showed that Brian had triumphed over all to gain maximum points:

1 David 1m 19.2s
2 Gary
25.4s
3 Tony
1m 31.5s
4 Brian
1m 52.1s
5 Cameron
2m 16.0s
6 Phil
1F 1m 32.2s
7 Karl
2F 1m 26.6
8 Matthew
2F 1m 31.4s
9 Gary Whitley
2F 1m 48.8s
10 Tosh
2F 3m 10.0s
11 Jonny
4F 1m 17.9s
12 Andrew
5F 2m 21.0s

A brilliant win for David showing he has the skills and dexterity to become an RC Champion of the future, unless of course he had just been lucky and had a really fortunate day: only time will tell and we have many more events in the future to test his ability. For now though, he takes the victory and a deserved one at that! A great second place for Gary Laverick, proving that being the Club Secretary is not all about Word and Excel and taking notes and filing - the man certainly has a mean streak when it comes to racing cars! A truly superb third place for Tony Chrisp - putting to rest all those traditional comments about age before beauty and dust before the broom, showing that he has the absolute measure of the young whippersnappers in the club and he is willing to take them on and beat them at their own game! Bring it on, suckers - write me off at your own risk! Brilliant to see new club member Andrew taking part and throwing himself into the mix - he may not have been the star of the show tonight but he was certainly no worse than many of our regular members when they took their first steps in the Superstars Challenge!

Points in the Superstars Championship to all who took part - a great evening was certainly had by all who attended; these sorts of events are the lifeblood of Whickham and District Motor Club and one of the main reasons this club is so popular and respected by all. It is testament to the strength of the club that more people were watching the RC Autotest than were sitting in the bar - and long may that situation continue!

 

Gone in sixty seconds... 22 January 2020

2020 PitStop

60. It's the magic number....

There are those times in one's life when everything just seems to come together in almost perfect alignment, when conditions are such that it seems like nothing can fail. This situation certainly doesn't happen very often, perhaps 'Once in a blue moon' - a saying that originated from the very rare occasions when the moon did indeed appear blue, due to the way that microscopic dust particles in the atmosphere cause red light waves to diffract, making objects appear with a bluish tinge, generally after volcanic eruptions such as that of Krakatoa in 1883.

Wednesday the 22nd January saw the second event in the 2020 Superstars Championship Season when Gary and Phil brought the Wheel change rig along to the Club for the first event of 2020 and it certainly brought the New Year in with a start! Although there was a Cheviot meeting upstairs the boys held off starting until everyone was ready and in a surprise move Tosh was the very first to go, setting himself down in front of the rig with a concentrated, determined look on his face. Not being known as one of the quickest on this particular event, he was nevertheless focussed on doing well, and picked up the brace and was off to a flying start, the brace spinning really well and the nuts flying along the studs like never before. His time suffered slightly with a fumble getting the wheel back on again, the few seconds lost causing a grunt of anguish, but having slotted the wheel home he was back on song in an instant and with all nuts tight he recorded a time of 1m 16.13seconds, his quickest time in five years.

Brian took to the floor next, removing watch from wrist and phone from pocket, settling down and waiting to go. His speed was visibly quicker, the brace absolutely flying and everything seemingly looking good for a record time. The nuts were off almost immediately, the wheel off, down and back in superfast time, then just the nuts to start; but in an incredibly frustrating few seconds one would just not start, causing Brian to lose valuable time trying and trying before switching studs and then he was off. The rest of the job was done in an instant, but those few seconds cost him dearly, although his time of 1m 5.89 seconds was certainly nothing to be ashamed of. His look of disappointment was clear; it could have been less than a minute.

Next to go was David, and having never taken part in the event before he was not expecting any miracles. It was in a way strange to see somebody who had not taken part before, as we have all developed our techniques and know what each other tends to do, however it was clear that David was on unfamiliar ground. Give him his due, he attacked the job with purpose, feeling his was as he went, and his time of 1m 51.34seconds was certainly good enough to put him almost halfway up the average time chart. Not a bad start at all, and certainly a time that bodes well for the future.

Gary had been watching proceedings with interest, and whilst he may have been the timekeeper for the preceding contestants, he could see an opportunity when one arose; the rig seemed alive tonight, everything was aligning with the stars, and there was an opportunity to take some valuable points while the going was good. The rig might well have got quicker as the night wore on, but then it might have conversely slowed down, and Gary was not going to take that chance. He had seen Tosh go very quickly (for Tosh) and wanted a piece of that rapid action, so took up his place at the start. In truth, he was quick. Very quick, and pushed Tosh down a position with ease. The wheel brace felt right, the nuts were on fire and nothing seemed to stand in the way of him taking second place. It was a good strategic move and looked like it would pay a handsome dividend.

Matthew was next to try his hand, his target anything less than two minutes, and he achieved that with seconds to spare, with a time almost identical to his August 2019 time albeit within a mere two hundredths of a second adrift. He was followed by Peter, who freely admits the wheel change challenge is not his strongest event, but whatever his time he did score points and they certainly all count at the end of the year. Jimmy followed Peter, a preparatory loo break setting him up for action, although as he admitted, he had hardly seen any activity since Christmas due to his health not being the best. Nonetheless, he attacked the rig with his usual gay abandon, only struggling to get the nuts back on the studs quickly enough (a familiar problem tonight) but still recording a time of 1m 18.13 seconds.

Guy would be the next to go, and, as with most of the other competitors, he had his own targets to aim for: no different from any major competitor, his main opponent was the clock. There are those for whom the wheel change is second nature, whilst for others, it is not a natural fit, however Guy has always gone for the challenge with his customary enthusiasm and tonight was no exception: tonight would give him his best performance by far, knocking a full twenty seconds off his best ever time to give him a new record to beat next time. A brilliant result!

Last to go was Chairman Phil, having stood silently to the side all evening, watching each competitor take his turn, analysing everyone's technique and quietly psyching himself up. It was eerily obvious that he meant business, Phil squatting before the rig with anticipation as he readied himself for action. He burst into life in an instant, spinning the wheel brace and looking every inch as though he was going to eclipse Brian's time, everything looking good, although the one or two tiny, almost imperceptible errors causing miniscule time penalties and clocking up the microseconds, and ultimately, resulting in a time over four seconds slower than Brian. It was of course a one-shot attempt, and he missed that crucial mark. Second was a good result, just not quite what he wanted.

So final times, once everyone had taken their turn, showed that Brian had triumphed over all to gain maximum points:

1 Brian 1m 5.89s
2 Phil
1m 10.07s
3 Gary
1m 11.13s
4 Tosh
1m 16.13s
5 Emilia
4 pts
6 Emilia
4 pts
7 Emilia
4 pts
8 Emilia
4 pts
9 Phil
4 pts

A superb win for Brian and one that showed that as he gets more familiar with the rig he is improving steadily with time, bringing him maximum points this week and moving him firmly into first place in the 2020 Superstars Championship after only two rounds. A great second place for Phil, showing that an hour spent observing each other competitor can often pay dividends when it comes to the crunch, although he was obviously aware those few seconds had proved to be a little costly on the night. A good, solid third place for Gary, his performance the best he had ever produced, his final time only that one second behind Phil, but scoring good points nevertheless.

However, the evening was not yet over. Brian had been watching everyone throughout the evening, a look of thoughtful contemplation on his face. He had obviously been thinking about his own performance, and had quietly and carefully been analysing it in his mind. Watching everyone else and the way they had been attacking the rig had set in motion a seed in his mind: tonight, he felt it was possible to crack the magic minute, and he was the man to do it.

As Gary leant down to start dismantling the rig, Brian stopped him short: 'I'd like to take a crack at the record - unofficially of course' he said. Everyone's eyes suddenly lit up: could this be the night that the magic sixty seconds limit was broken? Gary gently stepped back, clearing the way and the air and leaving a very definite space. The Club clock ticked menacingly loudly in the corner of the room, whilst nobody present dared breathe. Brian's watch was once again carefully removed, the wallet placed gently on the side table, alongside Brian's immaculate Sony Xperia X5. He stood for a few silent seconds, the air taut with expectation, before slowly and methodically settling himself down in front of the oh-so-familiar rig with its tantalisingly capricious nuts. He breathed slowly and deeply, almost as if he were preparing himself for World at War in Call of Duty. It was time.

He was motionless for what seemed like a minute, then slowly tensed as he prepared to start, he gently touched his fingertips together, feeling the nerve endings and the electricity coursing through them prior to the point of action, readying himself for the start, about to push himself to the very limit. Suddenly, he burst into action, snatching the wheel brace in a split second and smacking the extended leg as he cracked off the nuts one by one, each time spinning the brace as never before, the nuts flying off in record time and being placed on the carpet in military precision before moving to the next one. The wheel was off, on the floor and back onto the studs in the blink of an eye, and then in an agonisingly painful few seconds the nuts once again didn't go on smoothly, however with the most deft of movements Brian caught the threads and spun them up ready for the brace, twirling them home with a snap of the wrist and slamming the wheel brace down on the floor in a final, decisive statement of completion.

It was done.

But was it quick enough? Were the nuts at the correct 30Nm torque? As Gary checked the tension and confirmed they were all OK, all ears were on the final time. Incredibly, Brian had done it: his time of 59.72 seconds was the very first time that the wheel change competition had managed to break the magic one minute barrier, and whilst it may not have been achieved during an officially timed event, the record had nonetheless been broken. Others had come tantalisingly close, but none had managed it before; now it had been.

Many thanks to Gary and Phil for bringing the rig along, also to Brian for his help in setting everything up and helping to run the event. Points in the Superstars Championship to all who took part, Brian extends his lead from Tosh with Phil snapping at Tosh's heels in third place.

Next week: the famous January Sale, with all manner of wonderful and exciting objects for sale, all in the aid of charity. We have been promised a veritable plethora of superb items to grace the home of the motoring enthusiast, whilst also appealing to the inveterate collectors amongst us that like to think they can spot a bargain in amongst the multitude of motoring ephemera.

Guy's A1 Quiz - 4 December 2019

191204 Guys Numbers

When your number's up....

The 2020 Superstars Championship got off to a flying start with another truly superb little quiz from Guy Wickham, this time concentrating on 'Numbers and Letters'.

Over the years there have been many different types of quiz, some mainly focusing on Rallying, or the Highway Code, others on Films and the cars in them, whilst there have even been quizzes on the race circuits of the world or the colours of F1 drivers' helmets. However, Guy is well known for his ability to put on a challenging quiz that doesn't concentrate purely on one discipline, and tonight's event was certainly no different.

The theme tonight was 'Numbers and Letters' and the concept was explained in the first few sentences at the top of the sheet: Identify the driver or rider associated with the following competition or vehicle registration numbers. To help you, the relevant year or years has also been shown. There was of course the warning that 'In the event of a dispute over answers, the organiser's decision is final' - together with the very carefully worded caveat: 'Dirty Dog warning - not all the answers are motorsport related'.

Helpfully, Guy had started off with a couple of easy answers: the numbers 46 and 44 were obviously Valentino Rossi and Lewis Hamilton, although the third question was a little less so: the number 89. For the avid Rally enthusiast, it was no trouble, although for some it didn't ring any bells at all. The number 722 however, struck a chord with others that had an interest in history. There was a British Registration number next, but the clue in the years made for some head-scratching; 1963 and 2012 were so very far apart it suggested perhaps motorsport wasn't the required answer in this particular case. It wasn't; the answer was James Bond, the registration number belonging to his famous Aston Martin DB5!

The answers were as varied as the questions, with Racing, Rallying, MotoGP and Films all in evidence together with Motorcycle Racing and historic events; there really was something for everyone in this week's event - the quiz was simply a superb piece of lateral thinking, and with fourteen questions and a possible 17 points on offer there was a good deal of interest in trying to fathom out the correct answers to the quite taxing clues.

Final results, once Guy had read out the answers to the various sounds of groans and nods of appreciation, were as follows:

1 Tosh and Brian 10 pts
2 Peter
9 pts
3 The Knoxes
7 pts
4 Tony
5 pts
5 Emilia
4 pts
5 Phil
4 pts

A brilliant and totally unexpected win for Tosh and Brian, especially considering that although they are arguably the most competitive members at club night events, they are certainly not that successful when it comes to a quiz. Their faces were an absolute picture of happiness, although it has to be said that Peter's look of unbridled joy at coming a superbly strategic second was nonetheless the highlight of his night. A good third place for the Knox family, combining their in depth knowledge of Rallying with general motoring lore to garner them some good points.

Many thanks to Guy for putting such a cracking event on, especially considering it was another great variation on what could have been a formulaic event. Points in the Championship to all who took part, Brian and Tosh take an early lead in the brand new Superstars Championship for 2020 - obviously starting well and certainly an unexpectedly sublime result for them both.

Next week: the first Kinetic Car Race of the Season - and as always, anything could happen!

 
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