e: enquiries @ wdmc.org.uk
Whickham and District Motor Club Limited

Alastair's Quiz - 5 August 2020

2020 Alastair Quiz 2

16 out of 15......

If there is one person in Whickham and District Motor Club with an absolute passion for motorsport, it's Alastair Knox, and he also likes to test the other Club members on their own knowledge on the odd occasion with a well-timed Quiz or two.

With 2020 being the year of the lockdown and much of the populace being required to stay at home, many of our Club members miss the vibrancy of a Wednesday night get-together but have found other ways of enjoying a club night by taking part in one of the many virtual events that have been held over the year.

Having organise one quiz back in May, Alastair very kindly hosted another one on the 2nd September - another one aimed mostly at the Rally enthusiasts but with at least a few questions to keep the non-rallying fraternity at bay. Fifteen taxing puzzlers this week and the best part of three days to complete. Not particularly easy for the non-rallying members but the dedicated few put their answers in, always aiming to garner as many points in the Championship as possible.

Whilst the entry was fairly small, the effort put into both organising the event and for those who took part was admirable; it is never easy to host an event and Alastair must be applauded for putting it on; if it wasn't for the organisers we would be having a very lean year competition-wise.

So the final results for the dedicated few were declared as follows:

1 Guy 16 points
2 Brian
2 Peter
4 Mac
5 Tosh

A superb first place for Guy, getting all the answers correct and confirming he is as knowledgeable about motorsport as we all remember from our club night quizzes, a great second place for Brian and Peter, showing that they aren't wasting their time in lockdown and are certainly people to be reckoned with when it comes to a quiz nowadays, with Mac fourth and Tosh bringing up the rear; whilst it was also Tosh's birthday it would be fair to say that it certainly wasn't a gift for him as he struggled with the rallying questions. All's fair in love and war (and WDMC quizzes) and there is always next time when the questions might be more to his taste.

Many thanks to Alastair for putting the quiz on, it takes a bit of time to arrange and is very much appreciated by everyone.

Points in the Superstars Championship to all members who took part, Brian extending his lead in the Championship by a few more points, whilst Guy and Peter peg away at the Championship with added determination. Many thanks to all competitors who took part, each point earned just as valuable as any other when it comes to the end of the season...

Peter's Winners Wordsearch - 5 August 2020

2020 Winning


It is of course one thing to compete in an event, but the name that everyone remembers is actually the winner's. Whilst coming second or third is many times an excellent achievement in itself, it rarely gets the praise it deserves, almost always overshadowed by the man or woman who was first.

Peter Metcalfe's Wordsearch of the 5th August came pretty hot on the heels of his Car Makes Wordsearch of the previous month, and whilst there were obviously a good few competitors that enjoyed the first Wordsearch, some of those who took part in the second were obviously hoping to improve on their initial performance and score a few valuable points.

The concept is a simple one: spot as many names of winners of Grand Prix or WRC rounds hidden in the game, traditionally described as a 'word square' although technically it was not a square (a description that Colin Fish would use to his advantage later on in the season) but a rectangle measuring 12 letters across by 16 letters down. Concealed amongst these 192 letters were a number of 34 drivers' names, all of whom had attained that special achievement. Of course, as you would undoubtedly imagine, there were actually more than could actually be found, but then, not all of them were winners.

Although Peter had actually asked for 'Sir' names we all knew he meant surnames otherwise it would have been a very thin list indeed, although we didn't know exactly how many were there: in truth it was 14 Grand Prix and 20 WRC winning drivers, champions all in their own way. To achieve those lofty heights can seem to the man in the street an amazing thing, although we all know there are very many armchair enthusiasts who are convinced they could easily do much better as they chomp on their crisps and drink their lager.....

There was a good entry for the event, and with Peter being generous enough to allow almost a full week to get their answers in the result was, as could be expected, quite close, with final results being declared as follows:

1 Brian 34 drivers
1 Jeff Ledger
3 Tosh
4 Guy
5 Gordon
6 Mac Cliff
7 Alexander Birkinshaw

A brilliant tie for first place between Brian and Jeff, with both of them finding all 34 drivers and topping the charts with their excellent knowledge of the hidden victors, a great third place for Tosh, just pipping Guy by the smallest of margins and claiming third place. Both Brian and Jeff gain maximum points in this round of the Superstars Championship and Brian extends his lead over Tosh by a further four points: the younger Townsend consolidating his iron grip on the championship even firmer with a commanding performance. Jeff continues to impress with his knowledge of motoring past and present even though we don't see him so often, but the events of 2020 have shown that he is still as competitive as he ever was.

Many thanks to Peter for putting on another excellent Wordsearch, those extra 16 letters making a difference to the challenge and causing a touch more squinting this month than last.

Points in the Superstars Championship to all members who took part, Brian extending his lead in the Championship by a few yet more valuable points, Jeff again showing his mastery of the Word Search competition with a first place alongside Brian, showing that his runner-up spot last month was certainly no fluke. A good third place for Tosh, unfortunately not finding those vital extra two drivers.

Many thanks to all competitors who took part, the Superstars Championship continuing to thrive during a 'testing' year in more ways than one...

Peter's Motor Makes Wordsearch - 8 July 2020

2020 Wordsearch 1

Eagle Eye Cherry. By Nissan.

If you have ever parked your car in a massive car park and then gone on holiday, the one thing that is absolutely key to a successful return is keeping hold of the ticket stub to remind you exactly where you left your vehicle when you return, initially relaxed and suntanned, to find yourself in shorts and sombrero, bags in hand, grumpy kids in tow, tired wife alongside you in the middle of a cold and rainy British day, and both the ticket and your memory are falling short of remembering exactly where the car was left. This is the worst type of car search, where you have absolutely no idea where it is and everyone around you is getting fractious.

Happily for the members of Whickham and District Motor Club, Treasurer Peter Metcalfe's own version of the car search was a thoroughly more relaxed affair, allowing those taking part to sit with feet up on the soft leather lazy boy recliner, a large glass of Baron de Ley Gran Reserva Rioja in one hand, pencil in the other, whilst gently casting an easy eye over his Motor Make Wordsearch. Well, perhaps not everyone.

And what a Wordsearch it was, with Peter asking competitors to extract the maximum number of motor manufacturer's names from his grid of 176 apparently random letters. Names of course could be spelled horizontally, vertically or diagonally, forwards or backwards, and whilst some were very easy to spot, jumping off the page without effort, others were really not so easily spotted.

Peter clearly asked for only the name of the manufacturers so 'Vauxhall' counted but not 'Astra', and he only accepted manufacturers who had sold completed (not kit) cars in the UK since 1960.

There were the classics, such as the very first word on the top line, Daimler, to Bentley and Ford. There were also those more modern manufacturers alongside those such as Nissan, Bond and Bristol, with a smattering of Lotus, Lada and Lexus. However there was a slight sting for those who put down VW as it is an abbreviation of Volkswagen and so wasn't acceptable, whilst SAAB and DAF were OK as they were acronyms. In all there were a grand total of 45 different manufacturers, some of whom were so obscure as to be quite a surprise to some of us.

As a tie-breaker, Peter asked for the make, model and engine size of the car with the biggest engine capacity sold in the UK since 1960 from the list of manufacturers found. This of course was a double-edged sword, as anyone not finding that make would have great difficulty getting that question right.

There was a great turnout for the event, with no less than a dozen competitors taking part and everyone doing rather well, although some did do much better than others. Peter had been very kind in giving everyone the best part of a week to get their answers in, and once they were all marked, results were declared as follows:

1 Peter Heatherington 42 AC Cobra 6,997cc
2 Jeff & Sue Ledger
41 Bentley Mulsanne 6,752cc
3 Phil Raffel
40 Bristol Fighter 7,994cc
4 Mac Cliff
39 Bristol Fighter 7,994cc
5 Colin Fish
38 Bentley Mulsanne 6,752cc
6 Mike Austin
7 Brian
37 Jensen Interceptor 7,200cc
8 Tosh
37 Bentley Brooklands 6,752cc
9 Guy
37 Audi Q7 V12 5,934cc
10 Gordon
35 Bentley Mulsanne 6,752cc
11 Matthew
12 Stuart Bankier
23 Bentley S2 6,200cc

An absolutely superb win and top marks were scored by Peter Heatherington with a total of 42 different marques, only just missing out on a full house and showing he is the eagle eye of WDMC; a great second place for Jeff and Sue Ledger, only just one make behind with 41, but importantly just enough to beat third place Phil Raffel who came in with a grand total of 40. In truth, the top nine finishers were all within a point of each other so a single make could have made such a difference, although the variation of largest engined cars did act as a very good tie-breaker indeed.

Many thanks to Peter for putting on a different and thoroughly enjoyable event that certainly appealed to the competitors, and is just the sort of event that really brings a smile to the faces of those taking part (or at least, it does once they have finished furrowing their brows and squinting at letters).

Points in the Superstars Championship to all members who took part, Peter gaining maximum points on his first Superstars event of the year, with Jeff leaping up the leaderboard with an impressive result and Mac moving above Peter and Guy by a single point. Brian maintains his lead in the championship although both he and Tosh scored scant few points in this event. However, all points count and if you want to win you have to take part, we have seen championships won by a single point in the past.

Many thanks to all competitors who took part, it's really good to see a different event on the calendar and especially one that is so familiar to those members who may remember them from their past; whilst perhaps introducing another interesting new concept to those who may not have experienced one before.

Ice Station Zebra - 1st July 2020

2020 Bardon Mill Underpass

Holding Station

According to Wikipedia, there are a mind-bending number of different types of Station; from the Album by Russian Circles to the former town of Laws, California, and even a device capable of using the IEEE 802.11 networking protocol. Many types of station, but probably not all figuring very highly in Colin Fish's TableTop Round 4 held on the 1st of July 2020.

The instructions for part one seemed clear enough: 'Go in or out of each Km square that contains a station for a maximum number of times'. If we were fish then this was the lure, the gently wriggling and obviously tasty worm, just waiting for us to snatch at the succulent invertebrate. Had we done so, we would have realised that what we had in our mouth was nothing less than a counterfeit meal, designed to catch the unwary.

And the unwary are, of course, Colin's target audience, sucked in by the very nature of a TableTop Rally to think immediately of maps and transport, movement and location, and set the trap: the obvious thing to look for is a Train Station, and by an amazing coincidence there were two to be seen. How easily we are taken in; Colin is a master at leading us up the garden path, as so beautifully illustrated by Peter Metcalfe's start point in TableTop Round 3.

The result would be a healthy amount of route analysis to maximise the number of ins and outs for each of those two km squares, and once the route had been decided upon, the number of ins and outs were added up, the spot heights listed and the question answered. The km square at Haltwhistle had no less than ten coloured roads entering or leaving it, whilst the station at Bardon Mill had merely half that number. It wasn't possible to use all ten of the roads at Haltwhistle, six being the maximum that could conceivably be achieved, however all five could be used at Bardon Mill with a bit of judicious routing whilst finishing the route inside GS 7764. So the answer was obviously 11.

Ah, but not so fast, Tonto. The fly in the ointment would prove to be near Thorngrafton, quietly sitting there as a Roman Signal Station. It may not have been on the main Newcastle to Carlisle line, but a station it was nonetheless, and a quite significant one too when it came to the correct route. It changed the number of times those km squares were entered or left, and changed the spot heights en route. So the answer was actually 13, not 11. Damn you, Colin.

For part two, we had to completely ignore part one, and consider all roads, not just the coloured ones. If you have ever watched Derren Brown then you might have an inkling about the application of the power of suggestion and how it affects a person's decision making abilities. Part one clearly stated you should start on the A69 on the Western edge of the map. Part two also stated you should start on GL69 North of the river South Tyne and finish on GL69 South of the river South Tyne. Added to that, anyone reading the full sheet of instructions would have also seen the Tie-decider mentioned ONLY the West half of the map extract: all these elements surreptitiously affecting your thought processes and subconsciously making you think about where on Easting 69 you should begin your route. There were other clear instructions such as only crossing the river via a marked Ford, not going up or down any 1:5 or 1:7 hills, and most significantly, only using the A69 for the minimum distance possible. The number 69 had been very clearly planted in your mind.

The significant event here would prove to be the statement: 'use the minimum amount of the A69 possible'. With only one exception, all the competitors would subsequently use the A69 twice, once at Henshaw, the other at Haltwhistle; however it was possible to complete the route by using the A69 only once: at Haltwhistle. The trick was to use the underpass at Bardon Mill, removing the need to use the A69 at all at that point. By doing so, what appeared to be the most simple answers to questions 4 and 5 were to prove disastrous for many: only one person getting it right.

Anticipating a raft of different answers to the TableTop, Colin had devised a series of tie-decider questions to sort out the right from wrong, or at least help him work out who had gone which way on which part of the event. This was to be an inspired decision, as tie-deciders would prove to be thing that decided all but three of the final results, which were declared as follows:

1 Tosh 4 Fails
2 Guy
3 Gordon
6F via tie-decider
4 Brian
5 Peter
7F via tie-decider
6 Alan Graham
7F via tie-decider
7 Phil Raffel
7F via tie-decider

A brilliant and unexpected win for Tosh, who must have thought he'd blown it by not spotting the Roman Station, yet proving that getting everything else right would be key to a good result; a great second place for Guy, only falling foul by a single Fail from Tosh. Good third place for Gordon, only beating Brian by virtue of the younger Townsend missing out on a single question despite spotting the Roman Station and getting the route almost 100%.

Many thanks to Colin for putting on yet another of his superbly organised and excellently presented Table Top Rallies, each one not only taxing the brain of those competing but doing so in a way that exercises the subconscious elements of the mind just as much as those parts that function normally. (If you can consider any event that Colin puts on as even approaching normal).

Points in the Maps Championship to all members who took part, Tosh gaining maximum points to bring him level with Peter in the championship, whilst Brian lost ground to Guy in his chase for third place, his four points dropping him just behind Guy who scored a magnificent ten points. So the lead is shared by both Peter and Tosh going in to the next round, who knows what will happen when the next event arrives?

Many thanks to all competitors who took part, it's always good to see that the WDMC Maps championship is alive and well and being supported by the dedicated competitors amongst us, and here's to the next event: Guy's special Map based event on the 9th September.

Tosh's Rapid-Fire Misummer Quiz - 24 June 2020

2020 Tosh Rapid Fire Quiz

Not quite Fastest fingers first

One of the wonderful aspects of holding competitive events at Kibblesworth Club is the dynamic nature of things, where everything happens in real time and everyone gets to know the results on the same night as the event takes place. The obvious problem during COVID-19 times is that type of thing doesn't tend to happen with the virtual events we have been holding due to the nature of email delivery and the associated delays that medium presents us with.

To try and resolve that issue Gary held his What3Words event in a particular way, with the event being web-based and becoming live at a very precise point in time - and it worked very well indeed, so Tosh was next to incorporate that system in to his 'Rapid Fire Mid-Summer Quiz' by setting a starting time and only activating the event at that pre-determined point, thus giving every competitor the same advantage and to a certain extent negating the effects of any broadband delays or hesitation.

The quiz itself was very simple and hosted by joinmyquiz.com, and involved a series of multiple choice questions accompanied by visual stimuli, against the clock (most questions having to be answered within 20-30 seconds) which either made it easier (or more difficult, depending upon your point of view) for the competitors to select the right answer from a series of possible options. Some of the questions were very simple, others not so much, but all in all it made for a very quick competition which provided almost instant results on the night and allowed each competitor to see where they had fallen down in their quest for excellence.

There were a good number of competitors taking part on the night itself, and it seemed everyone enjoyed the event, although some of the questions did seem to be a little too specific for the majority, with some of them not being answered correctly by anyone at all - something to bear in mind for the next event of this type.

It was quite good to have the visual clues, and for some of the questions it gave that little extra to the feel of the quiz. With the format of the event being one which rewarded a quick thinking answer rather than just the equivalent of fastest finger first the whole event was over in a little over ten minutes, with final results being declared as follows:

1 Guy 18 correct
2 Gordon
3 Mac
4 Brian
5 Peter
6 Simon
7 Matthew

A great win for Guy, showing he has a good understanding of many things motorsport and motoring, and a great second place for Gordon, proving that age does not necessarily dim the mind, backed up by Club President Mac's excellent third place.

Many thanks to Tosh for putting on a great little event of a slightly different yet challenging type, bringing yet another type of event to the club's competitive repertoire, and one that could so easily be reproduced in another form with little effort on the part of the organiser.

Points in the Superstars Championship to all members who took part, Guy adding more valuable points to his challenge whilst Brian loses a little ground to the chasing pack, Tosh of course gaining nothing this round save for the organiser’s points, whilst Gordon gains a healthy ten points for his efforts. Thanks to all competitors who took part, and here's to the next event in WDMC's Virtual competition year!

Gary's What3Words challenge - 10 June 2020

20200610 Map Challenge grid

Three words that could change your life.

For those of us who haven't yet heard of the concept of What3Words, it is just the most brilliant idea: What3words simply locates every single 3 metre square on earth as a simple string of three words. It is so incredibly simple it's quite amazing that nobody ever thought of it before. People remember words much more easily than numbers, and so if you wanted to direct somebody to let's say the front door of Kibblesworth Workmens Club, you previously had only a few alternatives: a Postcode (useful if you have one), a Map reference (useful if you are familiar with maps), a complicated string of Northings and Eastings (who understands those?) and so on. However, since the introduction of What3words, life has become so much simpler.

To give you an example, if you wanted to meet somebody at the front door of Kibblesworth Workmens Club, all you need to do is tell them to go to what3words.com/adjusting.dating.month - put that into any web browser and it will take you to the exact 3m square at the entrance to the club. The truly brilliant thing about What3words is that it locates you anywhere in the world, so if you were broken down in the middle of Kielder Forest, you could just say I'll be at mental.lump.ambitions and anyone you needed to get to you would know exactly where to find you: otherwise, try finding a postcode for that particular place!

For the event of the 10th June 2020, Gary had devised an ingenious competition using those exact principles along with a little challenge: a grid of words to start with, clues to get you the right list of words (and as you would expect including a few red herrings), then it was then up to you to put the potential candidates in the correct order to arrive at a spot in the world: although the correct order would put you at a World Famous Racing Circuit. Just do that seven times and you should have seven circuits. Simple really.

It was, to be honest, a brilliantly simply concept; all each competitor had to do was get the right words in the right order and there's your Racing circuit. There was of course an element of luck in that you might get them in the right order first time, but then to do that seven times would be incredibly fortuitous, and probably, the quick ones would outweigh the slow ones.

To make it scrupulously fair, Gary set the challenge on Google and activated the web page at precisely 7:30pm, meaning nobody had any advantage or disadvantage due to their internet speed or delay in receiving emails. That was a masterstroke; it meant the playing field was absolutely level - a critical factor in any competitive event!

For those that understood the concept straight away it was a great little event - listing the words and the trying all manner of alternatives and inputting them into the What2Words website until the circuits appeared, and as each one was confirmed the next was attempted, then the third, and fourth, and so on. There was a very definite pleasure in seeing the name of the circuit appear as you zoomed out from your 3m square, then typing in your answer before rapidly moving on to the next one, trying to get all seven in the fastest possible time.

It should of course, been immediately clear that you had the right answer, as only that would result in a 'World famous Racing Circuit', and so it was all down to time. So when the final results came out, it showed who knew what they were doing and who may perhaps have struggled with the task. Results showed who had it vs those who didn't:

1 Brian 7 30m 55s
2 Tosh
7 33m 1s
3 Guy
7 57m 27s
4 Colin Fish
7 130m 5s
5 Peter
7 857m 58s
6 Gordon
6 178m 5s

A brilliant win for Brian, getting all seven circuits in a shade over half an hour, showing he grasped the idea immediately and applied both his reasoning and ability to get the words in order in the fastest time was key to his success; a great second place for Tosh, chasing Brian all the way but just unable to pull everything together quite as quickly as the younger Townsend, despite all his fatherly efforts. A great third place for Guy, consolidating his position as a competitor who will compete against anyone and everyone, always determined to do his best and get that win if at all possible.

Many thanks to Gary for putting on a very different event, and one that certainly got everyone thinking; not only that, but it brought a great new addition to our repertoire of events that can only be a good thing. The crowning glory, of course, was that being web based, it was scrupulously fair, with every competitor having the opportunity to start at the same time so nobody gained any advantage due to internet speed. A great event.

Points in the Championship to all members who took part, Brian notching up another win although as always he was chased to the victory by Tosh. It's good to see the Championship continuing to run events during the lockdown despite everything that is happening, and so we continue to maintain our Superstars challenge throughout 2020. Hopefully, we will soon be able to meet again on a Wednesday night, and there should be many stories and tales to be told once we are all back together again.

Colin's Table Top - 3 June 2020

2020 CRF Rd3

Clear as mud. Unless your name is Peter.

If there is one thing that is as sure as the coming of the dawn, the fading of light at dusk, and the fact that we are all going to die at some point in the future, it is the fact that a Colin Fish TableTop Rally will bring you to your knees just when you think you have completely understood every one of his instructions and set off, happy in your innocence, to plot your route on the map he has provided.

Oh, foolish competitor! What you read and what you understood is often so very far off the mark as to be eminently laughable; that little clue to where you start - not correct. That suggestion of a spot height that should be considered 'on the road' probably isn't even 'en route' and is only put there to plant a seed in your mind to suggest you go that way, that suggestion of how many times you cross a 'Red road' - not even close.

Except that is not always the case. Sometimes, those clues are actually put there to genuinely help you, to give you a helping hand and guide you on your way to success. The big problem is working out which one it is, whether it is a ploy to distract you or an honest clue to make your task a little easier.

With one of Colin's events, you just don't ever know, and that is the wonderful, temptingly tantalising teaser that either helps or hinders depending upon just how you interpret each and every instruction, and if you are lucky or gifted, you may perhaps crack all his cryptic instructions and leap off into the wilderness plotting your route like a Ninja, confident in your own understanding and interpretation of all that you read. Or, if not, you may delve into the darkness that is the wrong route, never to recover, always to regret not understanding that little idiosyncrasy or nuance of the written word.

For Colin's Table Top event of the 3rd June 2020, he managed to accomplish not just one, but many of his little tricks to catch out almost everyone, starting with the very first instruction and his hint of a road past a Cemetery, deliciously hooking the majority of competitors into thinking they knew just where to start the event. Wrong. Wrong diddly wrong from the plant Wrong. Only Peter Metcalfe saw the true meaning of Colin's instruction, and started at the correct place. The result was now simply inevitable.

As you might imagine, there would have been much gnashing of teeth once the results were made public. Much as we love Colin, there would have been a moment or two when his name might not have been right up there with Mother Theresa on Tuesday night. However, as is always the case with the competitive membership of Whickham and District Motor Club, that moment was very transitory, and each and every member took that little setback as a sign that next time, they would be that much more wary, that little bit more careful, more distrusting of the written words in favour of their own interpretation of what they actually might mean.

So almost everyone got it wrong from the start, and so it was always going to be a form of catch-up from there onwards. Everyone listed all the animals, crustaceans, insects and mammals they could spot, but it was all a touch academic in the end, as the cryptic start was actually the finish with the subsequent placings only making up the secondary positions; final results were declared as follows:

1 Peter 0F
2 Guy
3 Tosh
4 Alan Graham
5 Brian
6 Gordon
7 Mac Cliff

Another truly superb win for Peter, showing that he certainly had the measure of Colin on this particular event, although come next time who knows just what is likely to happen; a great second place for Guy, getting everything right except the start, and also spotting almost every single living thing in Colin's final question. A great third place for Tosh, giving him perhaps a glimpse of the Runner-up spot in the Maps Championship, although he would need all his skills to maintain that position given the calibre of talent on offer at WDMC.

Many thanks to Colin for putting on another truly testing yet cracking Table Top Rally that despite giving everyone almost a full week to solve, just showed that even given a long time to work out what he was thinking it doesn't automatically follow that you would understand what goes on in Colin's head. Goodness knows what actually happens there.

Points in the Maps Championship to all members who took part, Peter consolidating his lead even more now with a great hat-trick of wins and stretching his lead over Tosh to seven points; Tosh and Brian just a few points apart and everything to play for. Wonderful to see that despite the current COVID-19 lockdown the WDMC Championship is alive and very well indeed, and here's looking forward to next week's event from Gary Laverick; a novel event based on the what3words concept where each and every 3 metre square on this earth can be identified very precisely by using only three words. It is magnificent principle and one that we have used to great effect in the past, and hats off to Gary for thinking of a novel use of this concept to bring yet another, different way of competing to all our Whickham and District Motor Club members.

Stage Rally Timing Event - 20 May 2020

2020 Virtual Stages Rally Timecard

There's only one Stephen Hawkins..

One of the most reassuring aspects to come out of the current Coronavirus pandemic is the ability of Whickham and District Motor Club to continue to hold events pretty much almost every Wednesday night, with a variety of quizzes, Table Top Rallies and Picture Puzzles to name but a few.

However, the night of the 20th May saw Guy Wickham put on an event of a very different type, and this time it was certainly one to test the mental abilities of all who took part in a number of ways: comprehension, mathematics and a tie-breaker based on absolute guesswork! The concept this time was that of a Rally Stage Timing Section, although as you might imagine it was never going to be a gentle stroll through the stages hitting every 'bogey time'.

For those who know nothing of Stage Rally Timing, it was always going to a learning process, however Guy had very helpfully included some pretty clear instructions, and following them carefully should mean that everyone would get top marks, with the final positions only decided by the tie-break. As it happened, that was very close to what happened, with only one minor difference; more of that later.

The challenge consisted of just four stages. All you had to do was drive through them and record your times, then work out your penalties at the end. What could be simpler? The answer for most, it seemed, was the equivalent of working out the length of a hypotenuse whilst only knowing one given angle and one leg. Hello Pythagoras.

In reality, the competitor (crew) started the event at a given time, arrived at each Special Stage after driving a defined time, and started three minutes after arrival. The crew then took a given time in each stage, then drove to the next stage etc. etc. There was a holdup or two, but if your maths was OK then by adding up all the various times you should have ended up with a figure, and that was your answer. To decide any ties, Guy had added a tie-breaker based on the overall mileage he and Jo drove whilst undertaking a journey to spectate on the Mille Miglia in 2015. Luckily for those who took part, there was almost certainly no 'dirty dog' moment involved to catch out the unwary.

Whilst the result should really have just involved a simple mathematics equation, it turned out to be anything but, with everyone except Brian getting at least one answer wrong. The funniest thing being the fact that the tie-breaker came into its own in deciding second to seventh places.

So with most of the competitors struggling to either add up, take away or just not understand the instructions, the results were finalised as follows:

1 Brian Townsend 8 Correct
2 Colin Fish
3 Gordon Bradford
4 Peter Metcalfe
5 Tosh Townsend
6 Lee Tindall
7 Stuart Bankier
8 Jimmy Knox
9 Mac Cliff

A brilliant first place for Brian, showing a perfectly clean pair of heels to everyone else by getting the all-important last question correct. A great second place for Colin, first of a six-way tie for second place by virtue of having the nearest guess to the number of miles Guy and Jo drove during their motorsport loving trip, with a great third place for Gordon who for a short while thought he'd grabbed second only to be pipped at the post by the oldest Fish in the Club!

Many thanks to Guy for putting on a very interesting and challenging Event, and one that certainly must have had some of the competitors thinking just what must go on in the co-driver's seat on a Stage Rally, proving it's not all just shouting out tulips and telling the driver to go faster! It also brought home to many just how complicated some things can be to get absolutely right, and it must be particularly galling for any crew to find that although they may have been fastest on an event, just the merest of slip-ups could cost them not just a place but perhaps the chance of a victory.

Rally Co-Drivers - I take off my hat to you all.

Alastair's Quiz - 13 May 2020

2020 Ryan and Isabelle

Not Ryan O'Neal or Isabelle Adjani..

As motoring quizzes go the event that Alastair Knox created on Wednesday the 13 May 2020 was a really good one. Twenty five pictures of motorsport related drivers going back over half a century, from a variety of disciplines and catering for pretty much everyone in the club with an interest in Motorsport.

Pretty much everyone in the club, then.

Some of the faces were of older people who were famous when they were young, some of the others were those who are instantly recognisable today, but maybe not so much when the photo was taken many years ago. There were some famous photos that the older members would instantly recognise, whilst others were of 'young whippersnappers' that had the older competitors scratching their heads, whilst the youngsters in the club would know them in an instant.

The format was simple, just name the face. Alastair had very kindly arranged them all in strict alphabetical order, giving each member taking part a little extra assistance when they realised the name of the unknown face started with a letter between those you had already identified. There were also other little helpful hints too, such as the half hidden name on a rally seat, the 'Lotus' pin badge on Jim Clark's lapel, the Skoda jacket worn by Armin Schwartz or the frozen Nordic background to Valtteri Bottas' black and white portrait. All these little clues were definitely a help to those who spotted them.

It was particularly heartening to see that although Alastair is well known as both a very knowledgeable and particularly keen rally fan, he had not limited his questions to only that sport, but had also spread his questions across Racing and Touring Car drivers - a really praiseworthy decision that meant the quiz was much fairer to all who took part - a very nice touch indeed.

Some of the faces were instantly recognisable by their very features, the handsomely rugged good looks of Walter Röhrl, the flamboyant Jacques Villeneuve (sporting what looked very much like a Darkie Lewis hairstyle), the enigmatic face of Markku Alén and the fabulously talented and much missed Jim Clark; but they were in turn matched equally by those drivers that looked so very familiar yet their names just couldn't get past the tip of your tongue - Dennis Kuipers, Luca Rossetti, Manus Kelly or the rather hirsute James Thompson (looking rather like a Touring Car version of Keanu Reeves - perhaps he might star in the next release of the film 'Speed'?)

To finish off there was the obligatory tie-break question: How many Rally Cars has Jimmy Knox owned since he started rallying? What a question to ask. The problem with being a member of a rallying family, is of course, the confusion as to exactly how many cars were owned by that extended family and by whom? There was at least one BMW, there was the Peugeot 205. I seem to remember a Sierra and various Fords, perhaps a FIAT 127? Who could know just how many cars were touched by Jimmy and exactly how many of those he actually owned? This could well come down to a carefully calculated and perhaps rather lucky guess....

With less than a day to get your answers in you had to be quick, and those with their fingers on the pulse were finalised as follows:

1 Andrew Roughead 22 correct
2 Tosh and Brian
3 Guy
4 Mac Cliff
5 Gordon
6 Stuart Bankier
7 Peter Metcalfe

A brilliant first place for Andrew, showing that he certainly knows his drivers and can recognise them no matter in what sphere of motorsport they compete; a great second place for Brian and Tosh, the variation of disciplines working to their advantage this time as their limited knowledge of rallying fortunately included some faces they knew; a great third place for Guy, only pipped to second by a couple of points but still showing the way to Club President Mac Cliff who obviously spends as much time thinking about motorsport as he does tinkering in his excellent garden shed.

Many thanks indeed to Alastair for putting the event on, it was a great little quiz, encompassed several types of motorsport and was aimed at everyone in the club. Anyone putting on this type of event has to put in a good deal of preparation and so it is particularly welcome to find an organiser willing to do so. Everyone that takes part really enjoys the challenge of working out the answers and to finish first is a triumph in itself. Points in the Superstars Championship to all current members who took part, unfortunately none for Andrew this week but he certainly set the bar to aim for and so who knows who will triumph at the next picture quiz?

Next week: Guy's Stage Rally Timing Event. For those who know nothing about Stage Rallying or timing, this could be a real trial for you, but then with perhaps a day or two before you need to get your answers in, there is always that opportunity to turn to Google and learn a new skill in record time.

And record time could well be the thing that earns you a place on the leader board, depending of course, on how well you learn....

Colin's Table Top Rally - 6 May 2020

2020 CRF TT Rd2

The Dirty Dog is back with a bang...

Colin Fish's Table Top Rallies really are the stuff of legend, with taxing clues and cryptic wording that really does make you think before applying yourself to the task. The truth is that no matter how good you think you are, there's a very good chance that Colin has already worked that out and included something in his instructions to cover that situation, and cause you to fail in some small, but important way.

His Table Top Rally of the 6th May 2020 was no different either, with what seemed like the very simplest of instructions to lull you into a false sense of understanding. "Consider all roads. Start on Grid Line 69. Pass under Electricity Transmission Lines as many times as possible". With only two ETLs shown on the map it could hardly be simpler, but for anyone who has competed on one of Colin's TableTop rallies before this would actually be a very carefully worded instruction designed to catch out the unwary.

There was a caveat, of course, in that it looked to be impossible to traverse all ETL/road crossings; Colin had seen that and added an extra instruction allowing you to use the A696 more than once, but not more than 1.3km the second time. Careful examination of the route would show that though there appeared to be a number of possible routes each one had its own pitfalls.

Initially, the event was going to be timed, however due to some unforeseen problems with email delivery, not everyone received the instructions at the same time, so Colin very fairly decided that time would not be of the essence. Some had already put in their answers by this point, so it gave them the opportunity to re-check their answers just to be sure they had made no mistakes. With Colin's events, however, that would be a rare occurrence, as he is known to put in the 'dirty dog' moment to catch out the unwary.

As the Spot Heights were all ticked off, it soon became apparent that the route was not as simple as it had at fiurst appeared - whilst there were ETLs that wre very close to each other, making it easy to choose the correct route, there were others that were far away and not easily incorporated, so the route had to be modified, rubbed out and re-drawn to collect them in a seamless, flowing way. But then there would be a single ETL that just seemed impossible to cross, until you saw a way to do it and all your previous work had to be rethought. It was a classic Colin Fish event, but once the final route had been decided on, only the questions need to be considered.

All the answers seemed very straightforward, just count up the number of times the route went under the ETLs, list the Spot Heights, say how many times you went from a yellow road to a white and vice versa, then write down the word nearest your finish point. As Colin had so blithely suggested: How simple could it be?

The truth, of course, was not that simple, as the results would prove to be:

1 Brian 16 ETLs
1 Peter
16 ETLs
3 Tosh
17 ETLs
4 Guy
15 ETLs via tie-decider
5 Alan Graham
15 ETLs
5 Gordon Bradford
15 ETLs
5 Simon Jennings
15 ETLs
8 Martin Wilks
13 ETLs
8 Mac Cliff
10 ETLs

An excellent tie for first place between Brian and Peter, both getting the correct answer of 16 ETLs and spotting that the ETL in GS 1270 wasn't actually shown as going 'over' the road, a mistake that Tosh made to his cost, dropping him a place down into third. A good fourth place for Guy, unfortunately missing the very last ETL crossing by failing to spot it hidden at the very edge of the map, although he did get the tie-decider right which put him above the three-way tie for fifth between Alan, Gordon and Simon. All will no doubt be far more careful next time to read Colin's very carefully worded and no doubt explicit instructions for the correct interpretation!

Many thanks indeed to Colin for putting the event on, it takes a good deal of thinking to create these Table Top Rallies and I know that Colin enjoys putting them on when he gets a good entry. Everyone who took part also enjoys the challenge of trying to work out just what was going on in Colin's head when he devised these cunning competitions, especially trying to find that 'dirty dog' moment that otherwise escapes you. Points in the Maps Championship to all members who took part and good fun nonetheless.

Next week: Alastair's Picture Quiz. A young man well known for having taken a huge number of photographs of motorsport action over the years, could this be a compilation of his best work, with associated questions to test your knowledge of the cars and stars? The anticipation is as much fun as the actual quiz, but we will all find out on Wednesday night the 13th of May 2020......

Picture Quiz - 29 April 2020

2020 1970s photo

It was alright in the 70's

Incredible though it may seem, the 1970's are as far back to us now as the Great Depression was to the 1970's. If that seems truly amazing then that's because it's a very strange phenomenon that appears to make history that we remember much more relevant than that of which we have no recollection.

For Gordon Bradford, however, the 1970's is as clear to him as anything from the past fifty years, for his photo quiz on the 29th April harked back to a time when men were wearing shoulder-length hair and moustaches that would make a porn star proud, with jackets and shirts sporting patterns to make your grandmother break out the sewing machine.

The photograph that Gordon supplied for the quiz was certainly a reminder of times gone by, with many a manly lock in evidence and some faces from times gone by that tested the memories of older members to the extreme, whilst, it must be said, the youngsters didn't have a hope in hell of even guessing the identities of those on display.

Viewed from the perspective of the year 2020, it makes a very interesting photograph, for some of our members it brought back memories of the clothing styles and haircuts of the 1970's and all the emotions associated with that time, whilst for the younger club members, it meant no more to them than photographs of the 1930s would mean to the old boys.

It was an interesting exercise, however, with a good few members putting forward their own guesses as to who was pictured in the photograph, although when it came to marking, it turned out that even Gordon was not quite so sure exactly who was who! It was all done with the best intentions, though, and did bring a smile to many of the older members faces, as they not only recognised the faces of members past, but also smiled as it brought memories flooding back of times when legislation and regulation were far less restrictive, with 120mph road rallies pretty commonplace along the Northumberland and Durham road network on a Saturday night.

Nevertheless, there was a result of sorts, with Gordon declaring the final results as follows:

1 Stuart Bankier 8 names
2 Mac Cliff
7 names
2 Jimmy Knox
7 names
4 Tosh and Brian
3 names
5 Alan Maughan
1 name
5 Peter Metcalfe
1 name
5 Simon Jennings
1 name
8 Guy Wickham
0 names
8 Jeff Ledger
0 names

A great win for Stuart, showing he has a 'photographic memory' better than anyone else in the club, closely chased for the victory by Mac Cliff and Jimmy Knox with seven names each. Tosh and Brian were third more by virtue of Tosh's random guesses, although there were some other names mentioned that Gordon disallowed, even though he admitted there were some faces on the photo that even he didn't recognise! Nevertheless, it was a light-hearted event, and appeared to be enjoyed by most, although perhaps the next photo quiz should have a more structured approach.

Many thanks to Gordon for putting the event on at very short notice; it certainly brought out some very fond memories for many members, and really plumbed the depths of our collective memories. Points in the Superstars Championship to all members who took part and good fun nonetheless.

Next week: Colin Fish's Table Top Rally; knowing Colin, it just might contain a 'dirty dog', but then it might not. In reality, with his events, the challenge is almost as much working out if it is as straightforward as it seems, or whether there is a sting in the tail. Only time will tell, and the time will be 8pm on Wednesday the 6th of May 2020......


Virtual Quiz - 22 April 2020

2020 Wallsend

This week's Top 40

The concept of a quiz being emailed out to members could make you think it would be easy to fiddle, however Whickham and District Motor Club's Treasurer Peter Metcalfe had thought about that very carefully when the question was asked of him; 'You could use Google' he said, 'but it won't help you'. This of course set up an intriguing bit of thinking, how could such an event be done? Would it consist of questions that could not be found on the internet, or would it be facts that had been so misinformed that it would be all but impossible to sort fact from fiction? Could it otherwise be something else? It was an enticing conundrum.

The event was scheduled to be emailed out at 8pm on the 22nd April, and it would be fair to say that the anticipation was quite high, following the previous three week's successful events. When the event was received, however, it became immediately apparent how Peter had cleverly managed the format: it was a series of pictures, some with a link between them to create a location or event, some just a single picture suggesting place names and others of motorsport events; all included tantalisingly small (and often blurry) clues to help the competitor try to work out where, what or who. All of this was neatly tied off with a selection of wheels to test those with good observational skills (sometimes known as anoraks) to sum it all up.

Although many were seemingly straightforward, there were one or two that were not so simple, and a careful examination of the background of the pictures was very necessary to try and resolve the locations, and therefore the event. One or two looked really easy at first glance, but the answer didn't come immediately; then you thought about it a lot more, until finally you got that 'Eureka' moment - it's very satisfying when that happens.

The final 'Tie-break' was a question on the mileage of Peter's mini - although he very helpfully gave us the mileage in 2012 as a starting point, the question was how many miles on the clock today? I think it's fair to say that for everyone who took part, that was a totally random guess.

The results showed that some club members are obviously very good indeed at working out cryptic clues, others may more adept at recognising car parts, while for some the sight of a motorsport venue is instantly recognisable. All answers were to be returned by 9:30pm, after which Peter would work out the results and email them to all competitors.

1 Tosh and Brian 40 pts 71568m
2 Mac
36 pts 56435m
3 Gordon and Linda
36 pts 55899m
4 Tom Howe
35pts 55500m
5 Guy
34 pts 53000m
6 Alan Maughan
34 pts 72000m
7 Alastair, Jimmy and Allison
33 pts 54221m
8 Simon Jennings
33 pts 78236m
9 Martin Wilks
31 pts 58216m

A cracking win for Tosh and Brian, this quiz just the sort they relish with pictures and cryptic associations suiting them well and resulting in a rare maximum score. A superb second place for Mac with Gordon and Linda just being pipped to second by virtue of Mac's better guess at Peter's mileage. A strong fourth place for Tom Howe, hailing all the way from Lancashire but still taking part in the quiz and showing he is as much a part of WDMC as any other member, albeit a little further afield.

Many thanks to Peter for putting a superb and very cleverly designed quiz on for us to enjoy, and one that gets the old grey matter going instead of just sitting indoors and watching the TV. Points in the Superstars Championship to all members who took part and a thoroughly enjoyable event it was too. It's certainly good to know that although we may not be meeting face to face each Wednesday evening, we can still effectively 'meet up' in a virtual sense and continue to compete against each other.

It all adds to the enjoyment of being a member of Whickham and District Motor Club, and now we can look forward to the next event in our series of virtual brain teasers.....

Virtual Table Top - 15 April 2020

2020 TT Rd2 CRF

Triple Table Toppers

Ask anyone whether they'd done a Table Top and you're likely to get a variety of responses; a South African might think you were asking them if they'd been up a mountain, a cabinet maker might think you were asking about their skills with French polishing, whereas a wedding planner might be thinking of a flower arrangement. However, ask any member of Whickham and District Motor Club and you would probably always get the same answer - a Table Top Rally!

Wednesday the 15th April saw the second in our series of Virtual Club events, when Colin Fish put on a magnificent Table Top Rally to test all and sundry. Whereas the normal event held on a Wednesday evening in the Club house would normally be run against the clock, this time the event was a wholly more relaxed affair, with a timescale of almost six full days to work out the correct route and submit the answers.

The format appeared at first glance to be a very simple one: take an eleven kilometre square extract from OS Map 88, start on Grid line 40, and then travel as far as possible via alternating spot heights: Odd, then Even, then Odd and so on until you had travelled as far as possible.
Colin had added the tantalising teaser 'Simple ???'

To be honest, at first glance it did look like a simple solution, but then the more you looked at it, the more you realised that there were an awful number of variations of the route and that would take a little more time than you might have at first considered. Having worked out a good route of many Spot Heights, it became apparent that as the route was examined more closely, there were little sub-sections that could be traversed that would pick up even more Spot Heights, and so it went on. Ultimately, though, there came a point where it was impossible to collect and more, and so the route was to be declared final.

The only thing to do then was answer Colin's questions to show you had the correct route; however, in his wisdom Colin had thought about those who might not have got the perfect route, and so he helpfully added some questions based on the map as a whole, in order to get a consensus of how well everyone had done and enable him to declare finishing positions even though some may have gone awfully awry.

Of course, there was a tiny sting in that tail: one question asked for the height of the highest Triangulation Pillar in feet - not metres, and that did catch one or two out.

The results showed a very healthy take-up for the event and just as the previous week's quiz had done, attracted a couple of members not normally associated with Club night events:

1 Guy 22 SHs
1 Peter
22 SHs
1 Tosh
22 SHs
4 Brian
22 SHs Q6 wrong
5 Simon Jennings
20 SHs
6 Martin Wilks
19 SHs
7 Alan Graham
17 SHs
8 Gordon Bradford
14 SHs via tie deciders
9 Mac Cliff
14 SHs via tie deciders

A Great three-way tie for first place between Guy, Peter and Tosh, all recording the maximum number of SHs and also answering all questions correctly, unlike Brian who also got the perfect route only to be unfortunately thwarted by recording the answer to Q6 as printed on the map, not realising it was in metres rather than the feet the question required.

Many thanks to Colin for putting a great little Tabletop event on, it certainly had us all scratching our heads and was very reminiscent of the 'Nelly National' Tabletop rallies of the 1980's when the event was sent out by post to competitors across the country, and we used to spend weeks working out the clues and questions for a place in the top ten nationally.

Maps Championship points to all members who took part and a cracking event to boot. They say that taxing the grey matter is good for the soul and helps to fight off ageing, and with some of our club members, they certainly need all the help they can get with that!

Here's looking forward to next week's quiz, to be put on by Peter Metcalfe.

Virtual Quiz - 8 April 2020

200408 Virtual quiz

Quadruple Quiz Conquerors

Wednesday the 8th of April saw the second of Whickham and District Motor Club's Virtual Events, this time a quiz kindly put on by Steve Laverick.

Of course, the thought of an online quiz being run would seem anathema to a fair result, however Steve had thought carefully about that and cleverly constructed an event for which Google would be no help. Any normal questions could very easily be searched for online, and so he had devised a quiz entirely of picture riddles, the solving of which would result in the name of a car part or terminology. To make it fair to all and sundry, there was a very relaxed time limit on returning results, to give everyone a good chance to work out the 15 teasers.

Some of course were pretty straightforward, whilst others had people really having to put their thinking caps on. To be honest, it was a brilliant little event and certainly helped to bring everyone together again and give them something Motor Club related to do whilst we are all locked down.

The results showed a good few of our members were very adept at the cryptic clues, whilst everyone got pretty good scores. Positions were decided by 'furthest cleanest' rules for all who didn't get all the answers correct, and are shown below:

1 Mac Cliff 15
1 Mike Austin
1 Richard Derrick
1 Tosh and Brian
5 Simon Jennings
6 Alastair Knox
7 Gordon Bradford
8 Colin Fish
9 Peter Metcalfe
10 Karl Knox

A Great four-way tie for first place between Mac, Mike Austin, Richard Derrick and Team Townsend, all of whom were chased very closely for second place. It must also be said that not only was this a great little event, but it was also very heartening to see some competitors taking part that we would not expect to see at a regular club night, so many thanks to both Mike Austin and Richard Derrick for taking part and showing that the reach of WDMC is perhaps better than we might have first thought. Good to have you taking part, gentlemen.

Many thanks to Steve for putting the event on, a smashing quiz and a well attended one too. Points in the Superstars Championship to all members who took part and a good omen for the immediate future, especially as we consider our Wednesday evenings and miss our meetings. Good to see a good turn-out and here's looking forward to the next virtual event.

Virtual Table Top - 1 April 2020

2020 HERO Virtual Table Top

Simon Smashes it.

With the majority of Club members now effectively spending pretty much all their leisure time at home it would be natural to think that the WDMC Championships would all be shelved for the foreseeable future, and to be honest, most of them are. However, due to the combination of some foresight and adaptability on the part of our organisers, some events can still be held depending upon just how they are organised.

The first of these was a nice little Table Top Rally organised by Guy Wickham; planned to be released by email at 8:30pm on Wednesday the 1st of April, with a neat herringbone to complete and question to answer, all to be emailed back to him when complete. The concept was good, although some members seemed to struggle a little with the technology, and others may not have appreciated the need to start as soon as possible to get the best result, however as a first stab it was a great concept and one that definitely showed we could continue to run this sort of event even whilst the country is in lockdown.

The event itself was nice and straightforward, consisting of an email with attached pdf comprising of a printed map and associated instructions: a simple herringbone to follow with start point and a question to answer at the end of the challenge. There was an extra bonus point for those who worked out an additional teaser. The clue to its provenance was in the logo in the top right hand corner: it was in fact a 'Teaser Herringbone' published by HERO as part of their Virtual Table Top Rally. Quality, of course, always counts.

For those who are very familiar with this type of event it was as straightforward as they come, but this was the first in a series of Virtual Events and as such was always intended to test the water and see just who would like to take part, and in reality, with an entry of nine competitors, it was a real success.

The results were a great reflection of the enthusiasm of club members, and final results, once they had all been returned and marked, were as follows:

1 Simon Jennings 6 minutes
2 Brian Townsend
11 minutes
3 Tosh Townsend
13 minutes
4 Peter Metcalfe
13 minutes plus bonus point
5 Mac Cliff
18 minutes
6 Mike Austin
22 minutes
7 Gordon Bradford
29 minutes plus bonus point
8 Colin Fish
37 minutes plus bonus point
9 Alan Maughan
53 minutes plus bonus point

A cracking win for Simon, smashing the time at only six minutes, showing just how quickly it could have been completed if you were really on the ball and hopefully had good broadband; a great second place for Brian, immediately seeing the benefits of his technology background to aid his position; a good third place for Tosh despite a blip that saw his initial route lost by virtue of a mid-event update. A superb fourth for Peter, also gaining the first of the extra bonus points for working out the sequence was the finishing positions of the 2019 Formula One Championship. Colin Fish suffered the penalties of using TalkTalk Broadband which meant most of his time was spent looking at the download progress bar, unlike Alan Maughan, who plotted the quickest of all but just didn't start for almost an hour.

Many thanks to Guy for putting the event on, not only a superb little event but also a particularly well attended one. Points in the Maps Championship to start the Season off and hopefully we can look forward to more of the same whilst we while away our Wednesday evenings and look forward to the day we can all meet up again, whenever that may be. Brilliant to see so many taking part and looking forward to the next virtual event.

Reaction Test - 11 March 2020

2020 Gear Change

Tindall's Triumph

I don't think any of us could have imagined that Tosh's Reaction Test on the 11th March could have been the last event for quite some time, but faced with the situation in the country right now, it seems increasingly likely that the Government will be putting measures in place to legally limit the ability of the normal man and women in the street to not be that - in the street, or anywhere else they deem inappropriate.

Notwithstanding that, the event in question was nonetheless a cracking evening's entertainment, with no less than seventeen - yes, seventeen - competitors taking part in the event and pitting themselves against each other to be the most accurate gear change ninjas of the night. Fingers were flexed, eyes transfixed, nerves on the very edge and anticipation palpable.

The concept was fairly simple: a nice easy game called 'Reaction Race' on the iPad, with a number of reaction based tests; there was a 'Practice' mode to give you a chance to see how all the various different parts of the challenge worked, then a 'Race Day' mode to string them all together to give a total reaction time.

The modes were varied; 'Starting Grid' tested your reaction to getting away at the lights; 'Gear Change' tested how close to the optimum point your gear changes were; 'Braking Zone' showed how well you braked for a series of different corners; 'Pitstop' saw how accurate your reactions were to changing a wheel and then finally 'Photo Finish' tested your photography skills to try and catch the winning car just as it crossed the finishing line.

Whilst it would have been fun to have tested everyone on all the various modes, time constraints just would not have allowed it, and so for the purposes of this event we chose the 'Gear Change' - giving everyone the opportunity to make seven gear changes as close to the optimum as possible. Everyone had a chance to try it out first, and then they were timed.

The results were actually quite surprising, with everyone showing differing results and no two people the same. Final results, once all the totals had been collated were as follows:

1 Lee 0.441s Fastest Gear Change .014s
2 Phil 0.533s
FGC .018s
3 Gary 0.586s
FGC .032s
4 Tosh 0.595s
FGC .003s
5 Brian 0.602s
FGC .018s
6 Martin 0.681s
FGC .028s
7 Karl 0.683s
FGC .054s
8 Ewan 0.841s
FGC .029s
9 Peter 0.858s
FGC .014s
10 Cameron 0.977s
FGC .067s
11 Guy 0.993s
FGC .034s
12 Jonny 1.041s
FGC .054s
13 Tony 1.054s
FGC .019s
14 David 1.151s
FGC .016s
15 Gary W 1.197s
FGC .018s
16 Colin 1.262s
FGC .002s
17 Alastair 2.020s
FGC .236s

A superb win for the ultra-competitive Lee, his total time for all seven gear changes coming in at only 0.441s and netting him maximum points; a great second place for Chairman Phil, only slightly behind at 0.533s and showing good anticipation and reaction; his time followed by Gary a mere five hundredths of a second behind. Points in the Superstars Championship to all current members and a fabulous turnout with no less than seventeen competitors taking part tonight.

Many thanks to Tosh for putting the event on, a great little test combining observation, understanding and reflexes with some surprising statistics: for example closest gear change of the night went to Colin Fish at 0.002s followed by Tosh only one thousandth of a second behind. Brilliant to see so many taking part and getting behind the Club Championships, which this year looks to be very much affected by the countrywide lockdown and all the implications that brings.

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
3 Gary and Guy
4 Simon and Liam
4F (by tie decider)
5 Ali and Lynsey Proctor
6 Alastair and Jimmy
7 David and Ken
8 Mac and Gordon
9 Cameron and Emilia
9 Gary and Alison

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
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!

© Copyright, Whickham and District Motor Club Limited 2022 Website Powered By tmb