Whickham and District Motor Club meet every Wednesday evening from around 8:00pm at the Kibblesworth Workmens Club, a local village venue offering a friendly welcome and extremely reasonable prices...........................................................................................
 
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A "Special Event" - 2 December

2015 Special Event

They say that hand-eye coordination is one of the biggest factors in many sports, and the final event of the 2015 WDMC Championship year took place on Wednesday the 2nd of December when Andrew Roughead put on his "Special Event".

And Special it certainly was as it tested the hand-eye coordination of every competitor as well as tackling their construction ability. This time, however, it was not going to challenge the great "Pablo Cliff" and his amazing Great Train Journeys of the World masterpiece, but it was more a case of being able to correlate the dozen pieces of a jigsaw to the finished picture and put it together in the shortest possible time.

Once done, you were immediately tasked with having to do the simplest of exercises: throw two bright yellow balls into a bucket only a couple of metres away. Simple? You would think so, but after watching some of the appalling efforts on display tonight one can only surmise that if we had all spent more time as children at the funfair the times would have been significantly quicker! Only person to get both balls in first time was Brian. Some competitors (who shall remain nameless) would certainly have been a huge liability should the country ever go to war and provide them with hand-grenades. Watch out! Fire in the hole! (No enemies were harmed in the making of this war).

Having (eventually for some) managed to get both balls in the bucket, members were faced with another jigsaw - this time a mammoth twenty piece affair featuring that darling of the silver screen - Minnie Mouse. Completion of this tactile test stopped the clock and that was it - no second chance, no going again to improve your position.

A great entry of 12 competitors showed that even something as simple as kiddie jigsaws and throwing balls in a bucket can bring out the competitive instinct in a group of fully grown men, and tonight was certainly no exception.

Final positions once all times were in were as follows:

1 Brian 2m 28s
2 Adam 2m 33s
3 Phil 2m 44s
4 Andrew 2m 55s
5 Peter 2m 59s
6 Tosh 3m 16s
7 Kev 3m 28s
8 Guy 3m 40s
9 Gary 4m 36s
10 Gordon 5m 28s
11 Karl 7m 17s
12 Alastair 13m 22s

Congratulations to Brian on a very snappy performance, edging out Adam by a shade over 5 seconds and putting him into second place. The secret was obviously in the arm action. Dead-Eye Dick was the name of the game..

Many thanks to Andrew for putting on what was a hilarious and simple little event to finish off the 2015 Superstars Championship. Hopefully Ellie was already in bed and not wondering why her toybox was a little light on content tonight. Thanks also to everyone that took part, points in the Club Championship to all and final points and positions to come over the next few days.

2015 has been a great year for the Superstars Championship, everyone seems to have thoroughly enjoyed both the variety of events and the cameraderie in which they have all been competed, and we all look forward to rest over the Christmas Holidays and then a renewed attack on the Championship in the New Year.

Telephone Rally - 18 November

Telephone Rally 2015a

The 2015 WDMC Maps Championship was brought to a conclusion on the 18th November when Tee Cee put on the final round, promising "something slightly different with a sting in the tail".

Interest was obviously piqued by his statement especially as he went further by saying this was something that we would no doubt look at and wonder why nobody had done this before. Intriguing. Tee Cee also promised that this event would involve "No tricky bits, No triangles, No farting around in towns".

The event consisted of two distinct parts - the first being a very straightforward dash round the country, all contained within an A4 coloured map sheet, with the Start already plotted and marked on the driver's map to help him get away with the minimum of bother. Novice entrants only needed to complete this part. For the Experts, they not only had to complete Part 1 but then turned the page over to find Part Two - printed in Black and White! This immediately made everyone think much harder as there were obviously no colours to call out. Allied to this, the sting in the tail being the route was in Wales, resulting in some VERY interesting pronunciations of the place names. Fabulous!

With this being the final Maps event of the season it would be easy to think the Championship was all settled, but as they so often say, "it ain't over until it's over" - and there was always the chance that the top three positions could still be mixed up by the results of tonight's event.

As expected, Tee Cee really did put on a cracking event - it was fast, very straightforward, the least amount of fiddly bits of any event I can remember, and brought the closest result of any maps event that any of us have ever seen!

Final positions once all answer sheets were in were as follows:

1 Guy and Peter 22 controls + 3 junctions
2 Tosh and Brian 22 controls + 2 junctions
3 Phil and Gary 22 controls + 1 junction
3 Andrew and Kev 20 controls + 1 junction
5 Connor and Tosh 15 Controls
6 Steve and Paul 8 controls and 3 junctions

Congratulations to Guy and Peter on the very narrowest of wins - by only 400m over a route of approximately 100 miles - Tosh and Brian just being pipped into second place, with Gary and Phil, although thinking they had not done very well, being only a fraction behind.

Many thanks to Tee Cee for what was a truly excellent and brilliantly fitting finale to the 2015 Championship, everyone enjoyed this final round and it was so close it was almost a tie. The standard of entry was very high, only one minor route error being made over the whole event. Thanks also to everyone that took part, and it was rather nice touch at the end when Stevie the Barman brought out three trays of sandwiches for those who had stayed behind. The speed with which the remaining members reached the bar was simply amazing!

Well, that's it for another year, but it all bodes very well for a very competitive season next year as everyone appears to be getting very close to each other.

It's looking good for 2016...

Quiz - 11 November

Quiz small

The longer Whickham and District Motor Club’s Midweek competition season goes on the more likely it is that at some dreadful point Tosh and Brian are likely to win a quiz. There is a general fear of this happening based on previous experience, and regular competitors will know that such a quiz will always contain a myriad of questions of which the answers will be more obscure than the workings of the inner sanctum of the Brotherhood of Masonry.

Remembrance day 2015 was no exception, and true to form Tosh and Brian put on a 30 question quiz based on the simple principles of putting stuff in order, spotting the unusual and recalling general motoring facts and figures from the past. It all seemed so very simple at first glance, but once the questions started rolling, the doubts crept in and before long people were analysing almost every answer! A number of the answers were very straightforward, whilst others more obscure, yet everyone seemed to enoy the event, despite a number of competitors obviously mixing up CRV with CVT, unlike almost everyone else who knew about the classic six wheeled Tyrell P34 and the Peel 50.

Smart phones as usual were not allowed and everyone played very much by the rules which was both fair and honest and made for a very pleasant event.

This was of course the final quiz of the 2015 season (notwithstanding the Annual Christmas Quiz) and so this was the last time for members to score good points towards their Championship challenge. And points of course is not just what this is all about - the general consensus being the best result is second place and 10 points - not 12 - therefore being the "Best of the Rest" and not having to organise the next round. It is considered a real test of skill to come second in these quizzes and subsequently earns a degree of respect from all present.

One wonders of course just how many competitors began to sweat as the answers were being read out - Oh No I got that right!; Am I going to win?; Will I be too good for the rest?; Will I be putting the next quiz on? Luckily, there can of course be only one winner (or winning team) which of course helps keep the quizzes fresh and different, as each winner puts on an event that suits his or her own particular style.

Final positions once all answer sheets were in were as follows:
1 Gary and Phil 12.5 pts
2 Guy 12 pts
3 Steve, Paul and Diane 11.5 pts
3 TeeCee 11.5 pts
5 Peter 10.5 pts
6 The Rougheads 8.5 pts
7 The Knoxes and Gordon 7.5 pts
7 Andrew and Kev 7.5 pts

Congratulations to Gary and Phil on a good win, even more congratulations to Guy on a very near miss - his sigh of relief was almost as audible as Alastairs intake of disbelief over rocket vs jet power.

Many thanks to Tosh and Brian for yet another one of their brain teasing challenges, also to all those who took part and provided a plethora of furrowed brows over their pints. Points in the Club Championship for all, and here’s looking forward to the first Quiz of 2016 and seeing what Gary and Phil can cook up for the new Year!

TableTop Rally - 22 October

Table Top Map 2

As the daylight fades earlier and the nights close in more each day the difference in temperature makes and being inside a much more attractive proposition. It is for reasons like this that we hold TableTop and Telephone Rallies where members of the Club can compete against each other in comfort without having to brave the elements outside.

As we inch ever closer to the WDMC Awards evening in a few weeks time, the Championships are starting to hot up, with competition for the final places by no means settled. What may have looked like a foregone conclusion just a couple of months ago has become alive again with the final couple of events in looking to decide the 2015 Maps Championship.

Gordon Bradford was the host for tonight’s round and put on a very compact event, consisting of five ’selectives’ all contained within a single A4 map. Gordon very kindly arranged for pre-printed maps to be available for anyone who didn’t have a map to hand, therefore allowing a greater number of competitors to take part should they so wish.

Plotting was by a combination of some of the classic types of clue: Map References, Spot Heights, Tulips and Grid Lines whilst not forgetting a few cryptic clues and head-scratchers to keep everyone well on their toes. The addition of a couple of slight ’brain teasers’ in the form of not-quite-perfect instructions had one or two of the early competitors frowning and looking confused until they worked out what Gordon actually meant; having pointed out the man’s misdemeanours it did at least give him the opportunity to amend the instructions for the following people.

The event itself covered most of the map, and included some tight and twisty sections allied to some long runs that did have you wondering if you were right, however everything did seem to work out in the end although there was a good deal of ’interpretation’ needed on some sections. Due to the aforementioned ’brain teasers’ the total time could not be taken and so Gordon used the plotting time for sections 3 to 5 as a benchmark. Total plotting times overall were used as final tie-breakers to separate the top three.

Final positions once all maps and answer sheets were in were as follows:

1 Guy 6RC 7m
2 Andrew 6RC 7m
3 Brian 6RC 7m
4 TeeCee 6RC 8m
5 Peter 5RC 12m
6 Tosh 4RC 5m

Congratulations to Guy on good win, his result now pushing him to second overall in the Maps Championship behind Brian, not such a good result for Tosh who fell foul of proximity interpretation once again, although to be fair he did mistakenly count more water crossings than he should have.

Many thanks to Gordon for hosting the event, also to those who took part in what was a challenging evening for accuracy pundits; points in the Club Championship for all, and here’s looking forward to the next event - the final Telephone Rally of 2015 - where it is now very apparent that everything is to play for: nothing is going to be settled until the final round - just the way a true Championship should be!

PlayStation - 14 October

Playstation

October the 14th saw the final PlayStation round of the 2015 Superstars Championship, and it was Karl Knox that had the honour of choosing the car and circuit, as he had to leave quickly for work. Although his eyes were bright and shining, it was probably more the thought of the overtime he was getting than any anticipation of a quick lap time that was the cause of his excitement.

Nevertheless, for this final round the circuit chosen was Citta Di Aria, a tight, narrow street circuit set in the Italian city of Assisi. The circuit is extremely demanding and there is no room for error on the narrow streets. Unfortunately Karl was surprisingly reluctant to use the Fiat Punto that Tosh suggested as the competing car, instead settling for the alternative Nissan 200SX S14a in white.

PlayStation 200SX S14a

There was of course no time to lose and so Karl was thrown into the deep end and had to take his turn immediately - no standing on ceremony for this event as he had to be away in less than ten minutes! Though the circuit was tight and twisty it was not all plain sailing - there were enough little sticky out steps and low walls to cause more then a little trouble to the unwary. Karl set the initial benchmark before rushing off to earn his daily crust - or should we say his extra crust tonight?

As each competitor took his turn the times started to tumble - and it was Kev who held the fort for quite some time with a time of 1m 56.242s - a very respectable time which could have been better had he not fallen victim to one or two of the protruding objects littered around the circuit. Nonetheless, he was at that point in the lead. Adam held on to his tailpipe very well for almost all of his laps, but just could not find that little bit extra to take him into the lead. Andrew, however, was determined to beat Kev; there is a fantastic rivalry between various members of the club, and this one was obviously going to rear its head tonight! Although starting badly, Andrew quickly gained his rhythm and on his last lap pulled out all the stops to snatch the place from Kev by the tiniest of margins: a mere two thousandths of a second! The grin was back as he punched the air..

PlayStation Citta Di Aria

Andrews reign was unfortunately cut short by the appearance of Brian, who, unlike his normal routine of being the last driver on the road, decided to take his turn early. The strategy did not initially appear to have paid off, however, as he looked to be struggling to take his customary pole position on his first two laps - he was quick, but certainly not the quickest. On his final lap, however, the quality of his ability shone through as he stormed to a 1m 54.691s lap to leapfrog Andrew to the head of the leaderboard.

Gary and Phil tried and failed to beat him, whilst having their own battle, of which Phil rose victorious with a beaming smile. It was not to be their night. Alastair, however, was a different matter, as he drove like a man on a mission and seemed to have the measure of Brian, keeping the white 200Sx in plain view and overtaking it on a number of occasions, before regaining the ground only to lose it again. It was nip and tuck for three glorious laps, and had it not been for the slightest of mistakes, Alastair could have had the position: alas, it is of course those mistakes that make the difference between winning and coming second. In the end Alastair had to settle for second; no mean achievement, as the quality of everyone's driving was extremely good.

Until now, that is, as the final two drivers to take part were Tosh and Tee Cee - never going to win the event, but always going to drive like maniacs to beat the other. Of course, being a maniac is not too far from either of their normal mental states so it was not a hard thing to do. Tee Cee went first, having paid particular attention to the circuit and the driving styles of the previous drivers. His times were not at all bad, and he was obviously hoping to repeat his last PlayStation victory over Tosh back in August when he whooped him by a good 1.7 seconds. This time Tee Cee had not only set a respectable time, he had also beaten Karl, which of course he would no doubt point out to young Master Knox at the earliest opportunity. Tosh, of course, was much more interested in simply beating Tee Cee, and would have settled for 0.001 seconds as long as it was a victory for him. And a victory it was this time, as Tosh pulled out a time that not only beat Tee Cee but did so by more than the margin last time out. Sweet revenge.

Final positions once all times were in were as follows:

1 Brian 1.54.691s
2 Alastair 1.56.066s
3 Andrew 1.56.240s
4 Kev 1.56.242s
5 Phil 1.59.254s
6 Gary 2.00.510s
7 Adam 2.02.071s
8 Tosh 2.05.210s
9 TeeCee 2.07.474s
10 Karl 2.08.206s

Congratulations to Brian on a well deserved victory, although it is fair to say he was pushed hard on this event by Alastair - are we seeing the seeds of change for the future?

Many thanks to Tosh and Brian for hosting the event, also to those who took part in what was an excellent evening and great fun; points in the Club Championship for all, and here’s looking forward to the next event - Gordons TableTop Rally - where Tee Cee will be looking to exact revenge for being beaten by Tosh this week. We may not have to wait until November for Fireworks at Kibby Club!!

Navigational Event - 7 October

Navigational Event 2015

Now that we are in October, the last month of British Summer Time (even though it certainly didn’t feel like Summer this week) there was a great opportunity tonight to enjoy one of the most pleasant of Motor Club activities - the Navigational Event.

It hardly seemed as if the Summer had arrived before the nights started drawing in, our thoughts once again turning towards some memorable Wednesday evenings in the past when we have enjoyed some challenging tours round the local lanes, looking for code boards and clues and trying to be the best on the night. There are of course a number of ways to make the evening interesting: tricky navigation and a straightforward route, easy navigation but a devil to find the best and highest scoring option, or maybe even a simple plotting exercise with a very straightforward route that is extremely pleasurable to drive.

Guy Wickham was the organiser of the October Navigational Event, and he put on a beautifully simple challenge and a compact route that didn’t stray too far from the Club whilst still managing to please both Driver and Navigator; nothing dreadfully difficult, some thought-provoking route instructions, a clear enough route that didn’t cause any unneccessary suffering to the competitors and one which everyone who took part thoroughly enjoyed.

The questions consisted of fixed or semi-permanent answers, such as "Who is now selling Tropical Fish?" to the more obscure "Where would you find the last remaining 2 and 3 bedroom properties?" which was admittedly a little more difficult to find.

It was a shame that the event was not better supported, but in the true spirit of rewarding those who took part rather than those who didn’t, Guy ran the event regardless. It was absolutely great, the route was fun for both driver and navigator, there was plenty to keep everyone on their toes and looking for the answers to the questions(which were, surprisingly, on both sides of the road, yet not too difficult to find), and Guy had been kind enough to offer enough help to prevent anyone from falling off the enthusiasm ladder should they have found it a little difficult. In truth, neither plotting nor driving caused too many headaches.

After all the crews were back and scores were totted up, the final results were as follows:

1 Tosh and Brian 0F 20m 15s
2 Tee Cee and Karl 0F 39m 59s
2 Kev and Andrew 2F 25m 18s

Congratulations to Tosh and Brian on a clean sweep and a very rapid plotting time - even though their eventual mileage was probably higher than expected due to them both thinking they had missed a vital clue and subsequently having to backtrack a considerable distance. They were not the only ones to do so, all three crews realising at certain points they had missed that essential answer.

Many thanks to those who took part, in particular huge thanks to Guy who must have spent a good deal of time organising what was a really nice event that had some of the competitors still talking about it at half past eleven that night!

Points in the Club Championship for all those who took part, and for those who didn’t, you missed a thoroughly enjoyable night out in the lanes, and not a Policeman in sight!

Kinetic Car Race - 30 September

Slow Ferrari

There are many afficionados in this world who believe that there is no finer motor vehicle than that produced in Maranello, Italy: the Ferrari!

Whilst it would be fair to say that the marque is revered as a classic and coveted by millions the world over, and has garnered its fair share of enthusiasts, fans and fanatics over the years, there were not that many at Kibblesworth Workmens Club on the last night of September when Gary and Brian held what could very well be the final Kinetic Car Race of 2015. The motor vehicle chosen this time was a Ferrari Retrogress: a model rarely seen but one which displayed all the well-known Italian attributes: it looked fabulous, started well, but within a very short period of time the performance fell off markedly and it began to get slower and slower and eventually could not even manage to get to the end of the course.

The early competitors had the best of the car - they had the power, they had the accuracy, they had the speed; and in the case of Gary, as he sent his Italian Red Devil perfectly into the garage at the end of the course, they had, in the words of 1974 Pop group Arrows, a "touch too much" as it promptly shot out through the back incurring a 1000 point penalty. It looked very much like crestfallen Gary was not going to win this event. Andrew, however, had the true measure of the Italian - setting a very respectable standard that looked hard to beat.

As each competitor lined up to take part, each with his own method of preparation, nobody knew just how good the car would be, how accurately it would steer, how well it would run and how quickly it would stop. The answer was of course that it was an Italian classic and therefore had lower quality control than the burger van at Scotswood B&Q. There is a brand called Red or Dead and in the case of this particular exoticar the answer was Yes.

As usual, there was a hugely competitive element to the evening, and as each driver took his turn, Andrew seemed to turn into Whickham's own version of the Cheshire Cat, his smile growing minute by minute as he saw victory inching closer and closer. His smile did not stop until it was time to go home.

Big Smile

After all the scores were totted up, the final results were as follows:
1 Andrew 220 pts
2 Peter 140 pts
2 Guy 140 pts
4 Connor 100 pts
5 Kev 80 pts
5 Brian 80 pts
7 Phil 60 pts
8 Tosh 0 pts
8 Gordon 0 pts
10 Karl -20 pts
11 Tee Cee -40 pts
12 Gary -1020 pts

Congratulations to Andrew on a convincing win - proving he is not only good in the Co-Driver's seat but that he can very effectively put a Supercar in its place.

Many thanks to those who took part, in particular to Gary and Brian who hosted a nice simple event with an exciting twist.

Points in the Club Championship for all, and here's looking forward to the next event in the WDMC 2015 Superstars Championship.

Quiz - 23 September

Australia

The first attested use of the word Quiz is from 1781 and means an odd person. How wonderfully appropriate, therefore, that such an event should be held at Whickham and District Motor Club’s weekly meeting at Kibblesworth Workmens Club where there would undoubtedly be many examples of the genre present! Odd? I should say so!

The Bi-Monthly Quiz was this time organised by our Treasurer Peter Metcalfe, who decided to base the event on an Antipodean theme: all questions this evening having a decidedely ’Down Under’ twist to test the assembled members’ memory and knowledge. The questions ranged from Formula 1 to Global manufacturing; from Rallying to Cricket; from Pop Stars to Geography. It was a short but beautifully put together quiz: just the sort of questions that make you think ’I know that answer’ - but at the same time challenging you to dig deep into the recesses of your mind to pull the information out that you know is in there, somewhere, just not exactly where.....

The questions were all so easily solved: all you needed was the right answer! Unfortunately, as is always the case, those snippets of information do not always come to the fore so easily; and tonight was no exception. There certanly was a plethora of head-scratching and furrowed brows whilst the participants wracked their brains to recall the relevant information.....

Results were not at all unsurprising: the funny thing being just how wrong some people can be!

After all the answers were totted up, the final results were as follows:

1 Tosh and Brian 13 correct
2 Tee Cee 11
3 Steve and Paul 10
3 Phil 10
5 Gary 8
6 Ron and Audrey 7
7 Big Kev 6
8 Jimmy and Alastair 5

Congratulations to Tosh and Brian on a surprising Quiz night win: - not something often seen at Kibblesworth and so is thus the equivalent of spotting Haley’s Comet whilst shopping in Tescos wearing sunglasses and a pink flannelette bikini..

Many thanks to those who took part in what was a beautifully set out Quiz, just enough interest to get everyone going, with a couple of slight twists to keep everyone on their toes.

Points in the Club Championship for all, and here’s looking forward to the next round, which Tosh and Brian will be organising: it is fair to assume, based on their last effort, the words of Stingray’s Troy Tempest will spring effortlessly to mind: ’Anything could happen in the next half hour!’

Gentlemen, prepare your pencils!

Rally Horse-Trailier - 9 September 2015

Scalextric Renault 5 Scene

If you were to ask the average bloke what he thought of when you mentionaed Scalextric he would undoubtedly say something like ’Racing electric toy cars against each other along a track’. That’s not really surprising as for all of its life Scalextric has offered a twin slot track with bends, crossovers, straights and chicanes that all click together and allow you to race a couple of cars against each other.

The main problem is because you have to make a ’circuit’ it is very important to ensure the design of the track anables the whole thing to line up when the last piece clicks in to complete the circuit. However, if you wish to set up a ’Time Trial’ or ’Special Stage’ for a single car against the clock you then lose 50% of the distance by only using one half of the track. You can of course get round this by putting in a single crossover but you are still limited to the continuous circuit design.

Tee Cee, of course, being a master of the unusual and abnormal, sees things a little differently. His solution to the problem was to create his own special ’loop’ sections of track at each end of a single, fluid route that allowed the competing car to use both sides of the road in different directions and therefore all of the available track. The major advantage of this means that the circuit does not need to ’join up’, allowing absolute freedom of design.

Cue the appearance on September 9th of ’Rally Horse-Trailier’ - a testing route combining some of the traditional black track with some European snow-covered, very slippery sections to test your car control.

Format was very simple: two familiarisation laps then three timed laps, total time for the three laps to the hundredth of a second.

Scalextric Jean Ragnotti

Two stages were to be used: the first using an absolutely gorgeous, beautifully detailed and very controllable Jean Ragnotti Tour de France Renault 5 Turbo that tested everybody’s dexterity and finesse due to its inherent tendency towards oversteer. Some were very good at controlling the wayward rear end, some were not so adept. There were those who saw the best way for a quick time was to point and squirt at every opportunity; then there were those who simply took it very steadily indeed, working on the basis that momentum is King, and going off or stopping produced a huge time penalty.

Times after Stage 1 made interesting reading, with Tosh coming out on top by less than 3/4 of a second from Brian, with Kev breathing very closely down Brian’s neck only 0.95s behind!

The second stage was an altogether different affair, and the car chosen couldn’t have been more different: a Lancia Delta S4 in the Totip colours of the Jolly Club, with working front and rear lights and speed and grip that was a world apart from the very wayward Renault Five of Stage One. Times, as can be imagined, were significantly quicker than Stage One: three laps taking an impressive 69% of the time the Renault managed!

The Lancia brought out a distinct difference in some competitor’s driving styles: there were some who blasted at every opportunity, there were those who used the Binary ’on-off’ approach, believing it would bring success, whilst others maintained their smooth, unhurried progress in an effort to prove that, just like Sir Jackie Stewart always maintained, to come first you must drive as smoothly as silk. Front runners were once again Tosh, Brian and Kev, proving that smooth, steady driving was definitely the way to go.

Scalextric Delta S4

Times for Stage 2 were then added to those from Stage 1 to give an overall result as follows:

1 Tosh 111.70s
2 Brian 115.09s
3 Kev 116.57s
4 Andrew 127.35s
5 Steve 127.85s
6 Karl 128.36s
7 Gary 132.26s
8 Peter 135.59s
9 Phil 137.73s
10 Paul 143.79s

Congratulations to Tosh on a great win, proving there is life in the old dog yet; perhaps all this practice at Hill Climbs is paying dividends in ways he didn’t exactly expect. The truth of the matter is that Brian and Kev pushed him all the way, and the three of them were considerably quicker than all the others.

Many thanks to those who took part in what was a brilliantly thought out event from Tee Cee, bringing a new perspective to what would normally be considered a pretty formulaic evening of car vs car on a roundy-round circuit. His vision and execution were superb, and a definite hit with all who took part.

Points in the Club Championship for all, and here’s looking forward to the next round. Tosh has set the standard - and so has everything to lose next time!

Telephone Rally - 2 September 2015

2015 TableTop September

It is a well-known fact that if you took a hundred people and got them to describe something to a hundred others you would not get the same answer from them all.

Telephone Rallies at WDMC are a great example of just how different descriptions can be, when you get a number of people trying to describe a pre-defined route to a number of other people who are armed with nothing more than a blank map and a pencil. The skill, of course, is in getting the detail right; miss a crucial junction, or mistake right for left and all your efforts can come tumbling down with a penalty for your error. Accuracy is King. Get it wrong, and you will feel the sting.

Amazingly, it has taken until the 2nd of September to see Round 2 of the Telephone Rally section of the WDMC Maps Championship - however it was certainly worth the wait as Tosh had put on a round that was not only challenging but one that had all the right elements to make it fun: some long runs, some twisty sections, some gnarly bits but with none of the desperately awkward wrong way triangles or tiny routes through housing estates and city centres. The result was that if you got the junctions right, the route would ebb and flow along some of the best roads that Southern Cornwall had to offer.

The route was centred North of Helston, Cornwall, and took in some wonderful places such as Nine Maidens Downs, Praze-an-Beeble, Constantine and Stithians. There was a particularly testing section around Godolphin Cross and Crowntown, but the flowing lanes of Trethellan Water and Trewithen Moor certainly made up for any difficulties caused by them.

Driving round the route it was very apparent that Cornwall has a huge number of towns and villages whose names all start with Tre- something or other: a name derived from a Homestead and its nearby buildings. There are also many places whose names start with Pol - meaning they had a pool nearby; or some that start with Pen, meaning the end of something, such as a headland or cliff. Along the way there could be found a number of places named Wheal- something: these were derived from the names of nearby mines.

For the route this evening, fifteen minutes proved just a little too tight; none of the competing crews actually finished the event although Tosh and Brian came agonisingly close: a tantalising 30 junctions short of 350 and almost finishing the route. Another day, perhaps, a little better light in the Club.... Who knows?

Final results, after everyone had done their best to complete the route and times were adjusted for completion, were as follows:

1 Tosh and Brian 0F 16m 10s
2 Guy and Peter 0F 22m 20s
3 TeeCee and Gordon 0F 26m 30s
4 Gary and Phil 1F 30m 45s
5 Andrew and Kev 4F 35m 15s
6 Connor and John 3F 50m 00s

Congratulations to Tosh and Brian on a great performance, completing over 90% of the route with a perfectly clean result;

Many thanks to those who took part in what was a thoroughly enjoyable event and it must be said it was really good to see new member John having a go especially with no glasses and a challenging view of the colours. He certainly seemed to enjoy the event, and that is what Wednesday nights at WDMC are all about: not taking it all too seriously, and having an enjoyable night out.

Points in the Club Championship for all, and here’s looking forward to the next round. Can anyone topple Tosh and Brian from their current run of success? As we said earlier, it’s all about the accuracy....

Pit-Stop competition - 26 August 2015

Pit Stop Wheel

It's fair to say that if you work in the City and live the lifestyle of the modern Metro-sexual 21st Century person you are more than likely to think of "spinning" as being the sort of thing you do at the Gym to keep your modern healthy city-style body in shape.

However, for the more modest type of person that attends Whickham and District Motor Club the term "Spinning" means less about manic cycling and an awful lot more about getting a wheel brace to perform a beautifully gyroscopic action whilst loosening (or tightening) a wheel nut to get the best possible time on a Pit Stop evening.

Not everyone, of course, is proficient at the art of "Spinning". There are those for whom the wheel brace seems to take on a life of its own and simply will not spin no matter what they do; then again there are those for whom the brace does all it is ever asked, and spins like the proverbial top whilst giving all the help and assistance it possibly can. For those lucky souls, the prize is the opportunity to set the fastest time of the day, and perhaps reward them with a time that is all but unassailable.

This week saw Andrew set the standard with his lightning fingers; his time an astounding and almost unbelievable 1m 08.3s - a simply incredible time that frankly seemed impossible, had it not been achieved in front of everyone. The standard had not only been set, it had been cast in Granite and the gauntlet had well and truly been thrown to all and sundry!

Try as everyone might, there was simply no way that anyone could even begin to touch Andrews time. Knuckles were cracked, fingers were flexed, shoulders hunched and necks rotated, but it was all to no avail: the time had been set, the time was untouchable; the time was, frankly, not possible to beat.

Despite everyone's efforts, despite the collective will that almost wished somebody to beat it just to prove it could be done; despite everything, it simply was not possible.

After everyone had tried their best, the times were finally decided as follows:

1 Andrew 1m 08.3s
2 Gary 1m 23.8s
3 Jimmy 1m 26.0s
4 Phil 1m 29.3s
5 Brian 1m 31.2s
6 Steve 1m 26.4 + 5s penalty = 1m 31.4s
7 Tosh 1m 34.5s
8 Karl 1m 35.2s
9 Ollie 1m 46.3s
10 Paul 1m 49.6s
11 Gordon 1m 55.8s
10 Adam 2m 07.0s

Congratulations to Andrew on a simply blinding time, setting what could very well be a WDMC record for a wheel change. Almost unbelievable to think a man can remove a wheel, put it on the ground and then put it back on all in less than seventy seconds. Madness.

Many thanks to those who took part in what was a thoroughly eye-opening evening, certainly one that raised more than a few eyebrows, and one that has set the WDMC standard just that little bit higher once again.

Points in the Club Championship for all, and here’s looking forward to the next round in a few months time - and the thought that next time, could it be possible that somebody, somehow, could even think of doing it in less time........

PlayStation - 19 August 2015

Playstation

Hard to believe that we are now two months from midsummers day, and the evenings are getting noticeably darker earlier.

What that does of course mean is more WDMC in-house evening events and tonight was no exception when Tosh and Brian brought along the trusty PlayStation 2 for the bi-monthly driving challenge - bringing the opportunity for everyone to showcase their abilities with the gaming console. There were, of course, those who shone, whilst there were also a good number whose skills were a little less glossy, perhaps a little bit tarnished. No matter; each competitor put in the best effort they could and it was plain to see the competitive streak rear its head once again with some friendly rivalry and light-hearted banter from the spectators. All in the best possible taste. 

Gary Laverick was the man to choose tonight’s circuit, car and settings, deciding upon Laguna Seca and - surprise, surprise - the Renault Clio Sport 2.0 16V. Driving wasn’t really helped this week by a sticky controller, although it has to be said it was the same for everyone, and will be better next time when a newer, better controller will be brought along. That will, of course, prevent some of the normal excuses that we have all come to expect and love....

It was also very nice to see a couple of new faces tonight: Rob and Tenille, who showed they were up for a challenge by putting their names down to have a go. Unfortunately time wasn’t on their side and they unfortunately had to leave early so didn’t get the opportunity to show their skills, however maybe next time should see them try to be the best and beat the rest!

Kev set the initial target with a time of 1m 51.32s and that looked achievable, however as each competitor took their turn they soon realised just what a target had been set. A few came tantalisingly close, but it was Alastair who looked to be the biggest threat with a display of driving that hung onto the ghost car for almost the entire lap, only faltering at the eleventh hour when he went off the circuit and simply could not get back on target quickly enough.

PS2 Laguna Seca

Tosh and TeeCee were having their own private little battle at the lower end of the lap times as they have so often pointed out: we are certainly not going to win, but we do thoroughly enjoy the race. In this private little competition, it was TeeCee that emerged the victor and was very quick to let Tosh know he’d been beaten.

Final driver to take his turn was Brian, who absolutely nailed the circuit, setting the fastest time comfortably and exhibiting a driving style that had Guy, Tee Cee, Tosh and Karl all mesmerised, providing a display of smooth, silky driving that had TeeCee commenting: "Brian didn’t look as though he was doing anything different, but he was just so smooth and clean and made it look so easy" - followed up by a typical TeeCee type compliment that wouldn’t have been out of place in an Australian Bar.

Final results after everyone had tried their best to knock Kev off his lofty perch were as follows:

1 Brian 1m 49.2s
2 Kev 1m 51.3s
3 Gary 1m 52.6s
4 Andrew 1m 53.2s
5 Phil 1m 53.6s
6 Alastair 1m 56.0s
7 Karl 1m 57.4s
8 TeeCee 1m 58.1s
9 Tosh 1m 59.8s
10 Guy 2m 01.1s

Congratulations to Brian on a comprehensive win, showing he is still a very hard man to beat.

Many thanks to those who took part in what was an enjoyable evening, points in the Club Championship for all, and here’s looking forward to the next round in a couple of month’s time - and whether Brian can hold onto his winning streak...

Picasso comes to Kibblesworth

Train Good


The majority of the British population, if asked, would agree there is no substitute for experience, and if suffering a heart attack on an aeroplane would just hope that there was a trained First-Aider present.

As the saying goes: Experience is everything.

The glorious evening of the 12th of August brought an exciting new challenge to the members of Whickham and District Motor Club when Peter Metcalfe held his "Engineering Challenge" - an opportunity for each member to create an artistic masterpiece from a small pile of Lego and a booklet of instructions. The challenge was really very simple: follow the pictures and make the model. How difficult could that be?

As with most Lego kits, there were of course a number of models that could be made, and depending upon the particular model chosen, there would be a couple of extra pieces left over. It would be very reasonable to assume that as each member took their turn the extra pieces should have always been the same......

Most people managed to not only complete the model but to do so very successfully; and the subsequent production of trains would have made Isambard Kingdom Brunel a proud and happy man. However, there was the inevitable exception.

It should of course follow that many years of experience with trains would give a chap an unfair advantage when it came to the simple challenge of creating a very basic train from Lego, especially if the constructor was issued with a comprehensive set of illustrated instructions designed for a five-year-old child.

But this, of course, is Whickham and District Motor Club. The home of not only the most capable competitors but also host to the occasional gloriously ham-fisted attempt at a challenge. We‘ve seen it all before: the dreadful driving on the Scalextric nights; the quiz results that measure in the minus figures; the PlayStation drivers that shouldn‘t really be let loose with an electric pencil sharpener, the steering wheel challenge that goes on past closing time.

Tonight, we were privileged to welcome WDMCs own Picasso of Lego; a legend of a man who took the detailed and definitive instructions created in that most precise of countries, Denmark, and gave them an incredible twist that could only have originated in Málaga, Spain, - Mac "Pablo" Cliff created a model of artistic interpretation that can only be described as Kibblesworth's equivalent of Pablo Picasso's "Bullfight" - which frankly appears to be more horse and testicles combined in a dreadful accident on the A19.

However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the Champion this evening absolutely stormed his way to the top with a blistering time that was 40 seconds faster than second place: Brian taking the honours from Phil with Gary only a fraction behind.

Final results after everyone had tried their best at beating the clock were as follows:

1 Brian 3m 28s
2 Phil 4m 08s
3 Gary 4m 10s
4 Steve 4m 32s
5 Andrew 4m 41s
6 Peter 5m 23s
7 Ollie 5m 41s
8 Guy 6m 21s
9 Connor 8m 28s
10 Tosh 8m 57s
11 Gordon 10m 08s
12 TeeCee 10m 22s
13 Paul 13m 40s
14 Ronnie 18m 59s
15 Kev 10m 22s 1F
15 Mac 15m 07s 1F

Congratulations to Brian who exhibited an amazing ability to multitask by not only reading the instructions but identifying the correct parts and fitting them in the correct places; a skill not wholly mastered by Tosh and Tee Cee who were later heard discussing the various benefits of bifocal versus varifocal glasses.

Many thanks to Peter for organising and hosting the event, also to those who took part in what was a very enjoyable evening, points in the Club Championship for all, and here’s looking forward to the next round of the Lego challenge - Peter assures us he has a number of different models to build!

The Train that Mac Built.

Train Bad

Bullfight by Picasso

Picasso Bullfight

29 July - Radio Controlled Autotest

RC Aston Martin

There is of course a very good reason why, in this computerised, digital age, so many people continue to use the humble pencil. It is because it is simple, has no moving parts, and is one of the most basic implements that simply does the job.

Kibblesworth Workmens Club on the evening of Wednesday the 29th July saw the motoring equivalent of the pencil, when Big Kev Cousins, ably assisted by Tosh and Brian, put on a beautifully simple event: a radio controlled Autotest: One small RC car, two plain wooden tables, three organisers, a four metre track and five "bollards" to determine just who would be the July 2015 RC Autotest champion.

The course was about as straightforward as anyone could imagine: Start when you were ready, drive through the slalom of the bollards, perform a 360 degree turn around the end bollard, and then drive straight to the finish. The rules were simple: hit a bollard or fall off the course, and each infringement gained a ten second penalty on top of your overall time.

How difficult could it be?

Well, the truth of the matter was very definitely in the hands of each and every competitor; and there were certainly many. Some found their rhythm immediately, some struggled with the controls; some had the measure of the car immediately, some just never got it at all.

Andrew was first and set a very impressive initial time to beat: 47.23 seconds and no fails - a mark in the sand, and one to definitely go for. As each subsequent competitor took their turn, it was Andrew whose heart rate increased, with each time being checked and compared in case he had been beaten. The tension increased as each competitor tried and failed, and it looked as though Andy had it in the bag, until Ollie took control: his time an incredible 4.6 seconds faster than Andy, who, having led for so long, was crestfallen at being beaten.

Worse was to come for Andrew: Phil Kenny, having been deep in conversation with John, stepped up to take his turn and went for Gold - and absolutely flew! His time was blisteringly quick, and as he crossed the finish line it looked as though he had snatched victory, and as everyone crowded round to see his time he had failed to beat Ollie by the very slimmest of margins: a mere .22 of a second!

Final results after all penalties had been applied were:

1 Ollie 42.68s
2 Phil 42.90s
3 Andy 47.23s
4 Brian 48.68s
5 Steve 58.19s
6 Karl 71.20s
7 John 80.69s
8 Gary 81.60s
9 Tosh 136.32s
10 Jimmy 147.82s
11 Connor 156.02s
12 Guy 174.80s
13 Alastair 196.33s
14 Paul 230.68s

Congratulations of course to Club Chairman Ollie who showed that he has the skills befitting his position, putting in a sterling effort to secure the win. Congratulations too to Gary for the fastest "off" of the day, having driven off the cliff almost before Kev could press the start button! A special mention too for Guy, whose car spent more time on the floor than on track.

Many thanks to Kev for hosting the event, also to those who took part in what was a hugely enjoyable event, points in the Club Championship for all, and here’s looking forward to the next round - in whatever format that will be!

8 July - Ollie's Summer Navigational Event

Wet driving

After spending a few sunny evenings plotting approximately 40 clues - some of which were very simple, whilst others were a bit more tricky - all that Ollie really wanted was another sun-kissed night for the competitors for his Summer Navigational Event, but sadly, it was very wet and gloomy. Ollie had been out to set the few final ’man laid’ clues, (some in waterproof covers as the rain was lashing down) and then he made his way to the club to eagerly await his competitors for what was only his second attempt at organising a scatter, both of which have been mid June.

Surprisingly for Ollie, signing on saw no fewer than 10 crews turning out to take part in the fun, and looking forward to the navigational challenge of the scatter. First through the door were the Knox family (minus Karl) followed closely by two new faces Rae and Jordan Dobbins, who had seen the club stand at the Corbridge Classic Car show on Sunday and thought they would come along. It was great to see them come down and take part, true to their word and to introduce 14 year old Jordan to the world of navigation. With several crews all plotting their grid references and routes in the club, they were duly told of the key aims of a scatter and the vital rules: One: You have only two hours to plot and drive the route; Two: get as many points as you can; Three: do not be late as it’ll cost you a point per minute! Simples.

To help those who were starting out in the world of navigational events, Ollie had kindly offered to provide marked maps to enable Novice crews to gain the maximum amount of time on the road without spending too much of their allocated two-hour time slot in plotting.

So, with every grid reference firmly plotted and no chance of a protest Ollie was able to sit back and enjoy a few beers whilst the crews went out to tackle the great roads that the various parts of OS map 88 has to offer......

There were a couple of the old favourites thrown in for good measure, plus some new and more difficult clues this time. In particular, keeping on time was the key to getting a good finish. A couple of crews felt the pain last time out when their tardy arrival at the finish wiped out their efforts to gain points on the road, so they were more than keen to make up for it this time.

There were, of course, some casualties. One well known crew lost out by having to fill up with fuel halfway round the event (a little bit of an oversight there), whilst another crew had a sudden and desperate need to return to the club for what the Formula 1 commentators call a "comfort break" - which caused a degree of hilarity back at the club with various references to that particular crew's chances of victory "going down the pan"........

The event itself was thoroughly enjoyed by all that took part, there were some classic roads used and it is fair to say that there was the usual bit of gamesmanship, one or two crews were obviously making full use of the available speed limits, whilst others were simply trying to stay on the tarmac. Apparently, for one particular crew,  there were no less than three sick stops. That, to be honest, is showing a whole new level of commitment.

Banter back at the Club after the event was the usual mixture of back-and-forth joking with some forehead-slapping disbelief for one crew who hadn’t realised there were clues on both sides of the sheet, (scored 13 points, were 12 minutes late so only scored one point) but it was hugely enjoyable even if some of the clues (and references) were a bit tenuous, however as Ollie had said, no protests were allowed so the Organiser’s decision was final.

When all the cards had been marked, results were as follows:
1 Andy / Kev
2 Peter / Guy
3 Tosh / Brian
4 Phil / Gary
4 Stuart / Niall
6 John Marshall / James O’Reilly
7 Paul / Steve
8 Jeff / Curtis
9 Jimmy / Alastair
10 Rae / Jordan

Points in the Club Championship to all, congratulations to Andrew and Kev on a very spirited drive and fine win, commiserations to those who found it all a bit difficult, although from the smiles on the faces of everyone back at the Club they all enjoyed themselves anyway.

Thanks to everyone who took part, in particular thanks to Ollie for the huge effort he put in to organising the event; it is a lot of effort and it is certainly very much appreciated by all those who competed. Here’s looking forward to the next round - who knows whether the Summer Sun will give way to Autumn Winds, or will it be something else entirely?

 

1 July - The Dark Night Rises

Xbox 1

The first day of July 2015 proved to be one to remember, not only because it meant the year was on the wane, and 2016 was just that little bit closer than 2014. However, it is the Summer season, and the weather this morning gave everyone a great sense of optimism that we would soon be welcoming some long, hot, Summer days, sporting our Hawaiian tee shirts and Bermuda shorts, applying sun cream and enjoying picnics on the grass with long cool iced drinks.

Such weather would have been an ideal accompaniment to the traditional WDMC Summer ’Foot Rally’ that is held around the streets of Kibblesworth, however the weather gods had already stamped their seal of disapproval on that once before only a few weeks ago by sending an unexpected but very heavy shower that caused its postponement until tonight.

Cue Groundhog Day. In an altogether surprising turn of events the beautiful Summer day we were all absolutely loving changed suddenly around mid-afternoon when the skies darkened to almost black and we were subjected to an amazing thunderstorm that completely drowned out any opportunity to hold the event tonight. Everywhere was soaking wet, and so an alternative was needed for this Wednesday night and quickly. Stepping up to the plate came Karl Knox, who brought his Xbox, steering wheel and foot pedals to the club for an evening of driving entertainment.

As the normal PlayStation nights generally consist of race circuits it was decided that this time we should use a Rally Stage, with a Volkswagen Golf Rally Car and a particularly twisty and challenging Stage that meant the majority of the route was driven in the lower gears. There were hairpin bends, ninety degree bends, a good selection of solid banks and stone walls, and an appropriate number of fences and mesh to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Xbox2

Andrew Roughead was the first to go, and set a very respectable time on his first run. Not satisfied with that, and steeling himself for a better time, he braced himself and took off like a bat out of hell - he was really setting the stage times alight and all eyes were upon him when there was a sudden and unusual strange sound from outside, almost a roar, and all the assembled spectators went to the door and saw an amazing sight: golf-ball sized hailstones crashing down everywhere! The sight and sound was amazing, yet somehow rather scary, as if the Weather Gods had reinforced their point that the Foot Rally would not be held tonight. It really was an amazing sight, and one that we had not seen at the Motor Club an many years. The gardens around the Club were covered in massive hailstones, looking more like Serre Chevalier than Kibblesworth.

Having satisfied their sense of incredulity, the assembled throng returned to Andrew, still resolutely driving the socks off the Golf, and getting quicker and quicker, eventually setting a time of just over 1minute 51seconds and putting down a marker for any subsequent competitors to beat. And try they did: Big Kev, Connor, Tee Cee, Tosh and Paul, all doing their best but none coming close. Except Brian, who really wrung the best out of the Xbox, his first run only fractionally slower than Andrew’s, his second slightly quicker, and his third run almost exactly the same time, but ultimately thwarted by the steering wheel coming loose which cost him those valuable micro-seconds and ultimately the lead. This was what it is all about: the competition, the race, the pitting of man against man, the fractions of a second that make the difference between winning and coming second.

To say that competition was as fierce as ever would be a massive understatement: This really was all about the race; between Andrew and Brian, between TeeCee and Tosh, between man and machine. We all know from the events of tonight that there is a lot more to come in this Championship!

Final results were as follows:

1 1.51.14s Andrew
2 1.51.79s Brian
3 2.01.14s Connor
4 2.14.14s Big Kev
5 2.18.06s TeeCee
6 2.26.30s Tosh
7 3.44.42s Paul
8 4.13.94s Ronnie

Points in the Club Championship to all, congratulations to Andrew on a very fine win although it’s fair to say that he was pushed all the way by Brian; I get the feeling that this battle is not over yet!

Thanks to everyone who took part, in particular thanks to Karl who brought along his Xbox yet unfortunately didn’t get a chance to put in a time; (there’s always next time) and here’s looking forward to the next round and just what sort of evening the weather Gods have in store for us!

24 June - Steering Wheel Challenge

Steering Wheel Nurburgring

They say that the best drivers are the smoothest ones, and that particular theory was certainly put to the test on June 24th when Tosh and Brian put on the "Steering Wheel Challenge" - a very simple game that was anything but to some of the Whickham members wishing to put their skills on display.

The concept was very simple: take a container, fit a piece of thick cardboard in the bottom with some holes in it, place a dozen or so ball bearings in the container, and then time each competitor to see how long it would take them to get all the balls in all the holes. Simple.

Tosh brought along his quite ancient but perfect condition 1970s Hillman Imp steering wheel complete with added "ball race" which featured an original stainless steel WDMC drinks coaster as a wheel centre.

For this round there were a few members that had not been at the inaugural challenge back in 2014, so they had no idea just how easy or hard the task in hand would be, and it is fair to say that there were a couple of people who seriously misjudged the difficulty they would face.

It was particularly interesting to see just how each competitor approached the task in hand; one or two preferring to make bold, sweeping gestures to try to get the balls in the holes, others being very tentative with their movements, whilst some preferred the "jiggle" approach to achieve a the best time.

The competition comprised of three rounds: two timed runs at the initial test, featuring nine balls and holes, to give each competitor a feel for the game, and then a third "Superspecial" test at the end, when a large dish appeared with a map of the famous Nordshleife, or Nurburgring as it is more commonly known. Those who had persevered with the initial tests were rewarded with a much more responsive game this time.

Particular highlights of this round were Kev, having got all the balls in the holes, who then plonked the steering wheel on the table so hard the balls all jumped out of their holes (cue for the air to turn blue) and TeeCee, who was trying his absolute hardest to get the last ball in the hole (which was proving particularly reluctant) and having then been advised to use his normal tactics, swore at the ball with a burst of extremely colourful language that amazingly did the trick!

Competition was as fierce as ever, there was a huge amount of laughter and general well-meaning banter, and times were as varied as the abilities on show.

Final results were as follows:

1 53.67s Tosh
2 59.02s Brian
3 79.49s Ollie
4 91.42s Karl
5 93.95s Andrew
6 124.64s TeeCee
7 164.33s Gary
8 104.65s 1FGordon
9 124.52s 1FAdam
10 220.02s 1FConnor
11 277.58s 1FKev
12 343.06s 2FRonnie

Fastest time of the day was a blistering 9.65 seconds by Tosh on the second test showing there is definitely life in the old dog yet, although one comment was heard that it was probably years spent hanging onto pints whilst on unsteady legs that had given him a major advantage.

Points in the Club Championship to all, congratulations to Tosh on a snatched victory from Brian by only the slimmest of margins, he obviously has the knack of the manual games if not the PlayStation!

Thanks to everyone who took part and we look forward to the next round and seeing whether competitors can manage to find that elusive trick to getting the last ball in the hole......

Kinetic Car Race - 17 June

Toy Car

It really is fair to say that it does not take much to get a group of men into a competitive mood. Take one small spring-loaded car, a large board, and half a dozen bits of paper with numbers on them and you can guarantee there is a competition in there somewhere!

June 17th saw the latest round in the Kinetic Car Race, and this time there was very definitely a sting in the tail for all who took part. Marks were much more clearly defined, 5 points for stopping in the parking zone (which comprised of 50% of the route) and extra points form stopping with a part of your car on the "scoring zones" - which ramped up from 10pts for the closest, to the massive 200pts for stopping at the extreme end of the course, a feat which would test the mettle of the very best drivers in the club!

The sting, however, was the positioning of a few strategically-placed Beer mats, landing on which would give an 'On The Spot Drink Driving Offence' of -20 points - something that you obviously wouldn't want to suffer from!

The car used on the event did, however, have a very slight tracking issue - not one that caused untold grief, but one that did, on occasions, cause the car to veer away from its intended route and often drop off the edge of the track.

As can be imagined, the event was very fiercely fought, with each driver applying his own individual style of "launch control" in order to gain maximum distance and accuracy without suffering the dreaded "veer off" to one side or the other and the subsequent plunge into oblivion.

Competition was as fierce as ever, and as expected, results showed that the top slots were acheived with some superb driving.

Final results were as follows:

1 110 pts Guy
2 70 pts Curtis
3 65 pts Ollie
4 10 pts Brian
4 10 pts Gary
6 5 pts Alastair
6 5 pts Mac Cliff
6 5 pts Tee Cee
9 0 pts Karl
9 0 pts Tosh

It was also good to see Guy triumph with a steady, controlled drive that proved you did not need to set the world to rights to take victory at this type of event, and his very steady run proved far more valuable than any of the other runs that took place on the night.

Points in the Club Championship to all, congratulations to Guy on a particularly impressive win, despite all the concerted efforts of every other competitor (all of whom were undoubtedly convinced of their superb driving prowess)

Thanks to everyone who took part and particularly to Gary and Brian for putting the event on. Here's to the next round and seeing just how close each and every competitor can get to that elusive final 200pts spot.....

Kinetic Car Race

Guy Wickham's Quiz - 3 June

Quiz

Whenever a Quiz takes place at a Whickham and District Motor Club evening it is fair to say there are pretty equal amounts of anticipation, trepidation and concentration amongst the members, and rightly so if anyone is keen to achieve a good result and show off their motoring knowledge to the assembled throng.

It is also fair to say, however, that the recent crop of Quizzes at WDMC have shown a remarkable flair for including questions not wholly based on motorsport, but instead posing questions based on a wide variety of topics of which the term 'motor' plays an increasingly tenuous association.

And it was indeed tenuous associations that were a significant element in Guy Wickhams "The Bits Of All Sorts June Quiz" - which had the assembled members scratching their heads in unison as they searched through the farthest regions of their minds to answer some beautifully crafted questions on a range of subjects such as music, photography, geography and films. It is always surprising just how much you can't recall when asked a specific question, made even more frustrating by that nagging thought in your head that you definitely "know this one".

The quiz was excellent, the questions just tough enough in some instances, yet eminently answerable in others, to make a real competition of it. Everyone was very keen to hear the answers, not least of all Curtis, who was to be seen jumping in the air and punching the sky as each of his correct answers unfolded. The final truth was in the results, and all eyes and ears were on Guy as he read them out at the end of the evening.

Final results (after everyone had completely exhausted their brains) were as follows:
1 Peter Metcalfe
2 Tosh and Brian
3 Mac Cliff
4 Ollie
5 Gordon and Adam Bradford
6 Jeff and Curtis
7 TeeCee
8 Big Kev and Andrew
9 Jimmy and Alastair
10 Paul and Steve

It was also really nice to see two new faces at the Club tonight, lets hope they enjoyed what they saw and continue to attend and see and experience what Whickham and District Motor Club do each Wednesday night.

Points in the Club Championship to all, congratulations to Peter on an impressive win, despite being heard to say "I fall for it every time" on being announced the winner of this round.

Thanks to everyone who took part and particularly to Guy for putting the event on. Here's to the next event and seeing just what sort of Quiz Mr Metcalfe decides would be a fitting follow-up to Guy's.

We await with bated breath......

Driving Simulator - 13 May 2015

Driving Simulator

Virtual Reality took a step closer to Kibblesworth Workmens Club tonight when Gavin Oliver came to Whickham and District MC, bringing his own version of a Big Boy's PlayStation for an evening of competitive driving.

Gavin runs Mobile Motorsport Competitions and brought his XBox One simulator complete with a large screen monitor, full driving seat, pedals and steering wheel and set everything up for a thoroughly enjoyable evening of competition in the way that WDMC regulars truly do appreciate: driving flat out and to hell with the consequences!

The setup was very impressive: a comfortable seat, fully adjustable with recline and fore and aft adjustment; a two pedal system; full force feedback steering wheel and as much banter and heckling as any man could ever care to enjoy.

Each of the competing members took their turn at the wheel and it was immediately apparent that the first thing everyone had to do was warm up the tyres sufficiently; any driver who failed to do so was immediately spat off into the scenery without so much as a second thought. Every competitor was given four laps of Road Atlanta, and although the circuit may have been unfamiliar to some of the drivers there was no shortage of helpful, verbal advice from the crowd that had assembled to watch each driver's attempt at the wheel.

To say that the ability on display was varied would be a bit of an understatement: there were a few who were obviously very familiar with the feel of the simulator and took to the controls "like a duck to water"; however there were also those who found the simulator just too different from a normal car and simply could not achieve the times they felt they would have undoubtedly managed in a "proper car".

However, the evening was a huge success, everyone thoroughly enjoying the experience, with some evidently finding the use of a wheel and pedals much more comfortable than the normal hand-held controller we use.

Final results after everyone had made a stab at being "The Stig" were as follows:
1 1.35.4 Paul
2 1.35.7 Karl
3 1.37.1 Big Kev
4 1.38.4 Connor
5 1.38.5 Curtis
5 1.38.5 Brian
7 1.39.5 Phil
8 1.42.4 Gary
9 1.42.9 Tosh
10 1.43.5 Steve
11 1.45.0 Darkie
12 1.48.0 Ollie
13 1.48.5 Jimmy
14 1.54.4 Alastair

Really nice to see two new Members join tonight: Jeff and Curtis, and especially good to see them join in immediately with Curtis setting an impressive time on his debut.

Points in the Club Championship to all and congratulations to Paul on an impressive win, confirming the well-founded opinion that anyone who works with youngsters obviously spends far too much time playing video games.

Thanks to everyone who took part and particularly to Gavin for bringing all his gear to the Club tonight. We are sure that a great many members are already looking forward to his next visit and subsequently trying to "go one better"....


Driving Theory Test - 29 April

It is fair to say that as members of the most active Motor Club in the North of England we at Whickham and District MC should be very proud of not only our motoring heritage but also our ability behind the wheel.

It is also fair to say that even though a great number of us are very capable when it comes to handling a motor vehicle, the results of "Big Kev's Driving Theory Test" showed that the ability to make a motor vehicle dance and sing at the hands of a skilled driver does not necessarily mean said driver shows an appropriately comprehensive knowledge of Her Majesty's Highway Code.

Comprising of a total of a mere 20 questions, Kev's quiz was a great indicator of just how easy it can be for the average driver (despite his belief that he knows "The Rules of the Road") to forget the finite details that govern each and every road user. As we know, these rules keep us all safe and secure, especially as we all think that all the other drivers are imbeciles, have found their driving licences in Christmas Crackers, or won them in a raffle.

The truth of the night was that unfortunately, of the assembled throng that took the test, very few would have passed tonight. As Ronnie Roughead commented, "I hope the ones that finished lowest are not driving home tonight!"

In truth it was all a bit of fun, but the results did show that there are a few members of the Club that could really do with swotting up on the Law.

Final results after all answer sheets were marked were as follows:

1 18pts Tosh / Brian
2 16pts Guy
2 16pts Audrey and Ronnie
4 15pts Tee Cee
4 15pts Ollie
4 15pts Peter
7 14pts Phil
7 14pts Gary
9 13pts Alastair
9 13pts Karl
11 11pts Andrew
12 10pts Connor

Surprise of the night was the fact that those Club Members who had most recently taken their test had somehow managed to fall into the very bottom of the results table: does this mean it was a case of "learning to pass the test" rather than "learning to drive"? It certainly seemed that way in the Knox household as Kevin was heard to say on leaving that he was going to "Give Karl a clip round the ear" when he got home!

Points in the Club Championship to all, congratulations to Tosh and Brian on a great result (Tosh remarking on the fact that he had remembered every stopping distance for 45 years in the hope that one day they would be useful), thanks to everyone who took part and we hope that the results on the night might encourage those rather further down the list to engage in a spot of "motoring revision" during the Summer months.

Here's looking forward to the next quiz, although knowing Tosh and Brian's propensity for making quizzes up using the most obscure motoring data it could just be one of the most random Motor Club Quizzes ever........

Telephone Rally - 22 April 2015

Telephone Rally 2015a

Amazingly, it was almost the end of April before we saw the first Telephone Rally of 2015, organised by Tosh, and this time the route was a particularly rural section of the Devon countryside. That part of the country has a myriad of narrow lanes all interspersed with multiple junctions criss-crossing the beautiful Devonshire countryside, giving Tosh's Telephone Rally Designers head full reign.

Knowing just how competitive the members of WDMC are, it was inevitable that the route used almost every single road available, winding its way back and forth across the map with abandon, taking turns at almost every opportunity and utilising as much of the map as possible.

This week saw a good turnout of a dozen competitors (as six crews) taking part and much hilarity ensued as the competition started, many in the Club realising that the supplied headphones (although not exactly high fidelity) were definitely an accessory rather than a necessity. This was particularly noticeable when Phil Kenny started reading as he could be heard right across the room - Tee Cee commenting that he knew the first six junctions without having to look at the map!

The route consisted of a grand total of around 170km, over 300 junctions, and of the 221 available squares on the map less than 40 were unused, so the navigators were certainly kept busy describing the route, whilst drivers were drawing furiously to keep up with them.

Unfortunate incident of the night was Tee Cee and Adam Bradford who heard Tosh shout "Finished" very loudly and thought the event had ended, then sat together and compared notes before realising that they actually had another two minutes to go. Unfortunately it was too late to continue as they had been looking at the route and the resulting confusion dropped them to last place. I doubt they will make that mistake again!

Final results after all maps were marked were as follows:

1 13m 12s Tosh / Brian
2 18m 00s Andrew / Big Kev
3 18m 20s Phil / Gary
4 20m 10s Peter / Guy
5 23m 10s Gordon / Jimmy
6 25m 00s Tee Cee / Adam

Positions were decided using the 2014 marking criteria:
Miss a control: 1 minute
Miss a junction: 10 seconds

Points in the Club Championship to all, congratulations to everyone who took part and we hope that those who were interested spectators on the night might consider having a go next time. Who knows, you might just show a clean pair of heels to the established competitors...

Ollies Easter Egg-stravaganza Quiz!

Quiz

Organising a quiz for the Motor Club these days must rank as one of the highlights of any Club Members career, as the collective knowledge within Whickham and District Motor Club, together with the sheer diversity of motor related activities and interests that Club members exhibit, must make it an event that would never be forgotten.

The beautiful irony, of course, is that the winner of each quiz is then required to put on the next round, and in doing so the variety of questions and level of motoring knowledge required changes with each subsequent event.

Wednesday the 8th April saw the second round of the 2015 WDMC Quiz championship, with the questions this time coming from our very own Chairman, Ollie Currie. Ollie had obviously looked at the previous quizzes and decided that the more diverse the questions, the more interesting the result was likely to be!

True to form, the brain-teasers this time were particularly testing, and covered a very wide range of motoring general knowledge, such as Rallying, Formula 1, BTCC, Rallycross and Car manufacturers.

Any hopes of gaining a massive score were rapidly scotched as each member scrutinised the question sheet. Who is that team-mate? Who were the sponsors? What is that corner of that racing circuit called? It truly was a great leveller in the field of WDMC quizzes.

Giving everyone the benefit of taking part was par for the course, and as Peter Metcalfe arrived around 10:00pm Ollie handed him an answer sheet and Peter set about it with Gusto, handing the sheet back within minutes, only to suddenly retrieve it when he realised there was a 'back' to the question sheet!

Final results after all papers were marked were as follows:

1 16 pts Guy Wickham
2 13 pts Paul Fawcett / Steve Averre
3 9 pts Big Kev / Dan May
3 9 pts Gordon Bradford
3 9 pts Peter Metcalfe
6 8 pts Tosh and Brian
7 6 pts Adam Bradford
8 4 pts Jimmy and Alastair
8 4 pts Connor
8 4 pts Phil and Gary

Points in the Club Championship to all, many thanks to Ollie for putting the event on, despite being totally knackered, and heres to the next quiz and a definite sense of anticipation of exactly what sort of questions it could contain....

Pit Stop Competition - 1 April 2015

Pit Stop Wheel

It was way back in 1967 that Martha and the Vandellas recorded a hit song called "Jimmy Mack" that included the words "Jimmy Mack, when are you coming back?"

Well it may not have been the original Jimmy Mack that was coming back, but almost a year after he stormed to victory in the Pit Stop Competition of April 2014 Jimmy Knox was once again full of fire and enthusiasm to come back and show that the result in December 2014 was not truly reflective of his amazing ability with a wheel brace.

Once again Gary and Phil brought out the trusty pit-stop rig, this time, however, with a very definite warning that any damage to the wheel or chip of the fresh paint would result in the instigator suffering the penalty of exclusion! The only problem with that of course, is that everyone was trying so hard to be the "WDMC Pit Stop King" that it was almost inevitable that somebody, sometime, would make that unfortunate slip and suffer the consequences.

It was once again Andrew Roughead that started proceedings, setting a very respectable time of just over one minute eighteen seconds, which would have put him fairly and squarely in the running for a win based on the timings from the competition in December. As you might expect, each time we hold the PitStop competition the standard is raised and tonight was no exception - at each attempt there was a palpable deep breath and you could almost feel the collective air of "Wow, that was quick, how can I do better?"

As each competitor took their turn, the atmosphere became more tense, every attempt added to the excitement with times that crept towards Andrew's..... and it is true to say that he was watching with avid interest as his time became more and more vulnerable.

It was, inevitably, the appearance of "Jimmy Mack" that not only thrust the knife deep into the wound but turned and twisted it as it entered: Jimmy Knox turning in an incredible 1m 17.9s time that eclipsed Andy by the slightest of margins: an incredible 0.2 seconds!

Final times were as follows:

1 1.17.9 Jimmy
2 1.18.1 Andrew
3 1.18.8 Brian
4 1.23.8 Gary
5 1.25.2 Tosh
6 1.27.0 (1.22.0 +5s) Phil
7 1.33.0 Big Kev
8 1.40.6 Ollie
9 1.42.7 Paul
10 1.49.0 (1.44.3 + 5s) Karl
11 1.49.7 Gordon
12 1.59.8 James
13 2.17.5 (2.02.5 + 15s) 2.17.5 Connor

Points in the Club Championship to all, many thanks indeed to Gary and Phil for bringing along the Pit Stop Rig and officiating while everyone took part, and here's looking forward to the next competition this Summer!

PlayStation Round 2 - 25 March 2015

Playstation

The second round of the PlayStaion challenge kicked off tonight with new Committee member Connor Hooks choice of car and track. No doubt with the Border Counties Rally fresh in his mind he chose the Swiss Alps circuit (most akin to a Rally Stage) and an Audi RS4 - an interesting choice of vehicle and one that would prove to be a little difficult to handle.

The Club was initially quite sparsely attended, prompting Tosh to think he might have a better night than normal points-wise, but as the competition progressed more members turned up, and eventually almost a dozen drivers took part in what was a well attended, fairly competitive event.

Setting the first time was Tosh, with what could only be described as a spirited, but not particularly rapid, time: this was unfortunately to be the last time he held the lead. As the younger members took part, they showed their skills that could only have been learned from many hours whiled away in pursuit of the fastest time of the day.

Big Kev was soon the man to beat, and it looked for all the world as though he had the measure of everyone, until Adam came in with a storming, beautifully smooth driving style that saw him pip Kev by the merest 35 hundredths of a second! As Sir Jackie Stewart used to say: to be quick, you have to be smooth.

Final results after all had taken part were as follows:
1 1.43.028 Adam
2 1.43.062 Big Kev
3 1.43.353 Brian
4 1.45.999 Phil
5 1.47.220 Ollie
6 1.47.799 Connor
7 1.49.898 Alastair
8 1.52.260 Tosh
9 1.53.467 Peter
10 2.07.081 Guy
11 2.36.486 Paul

Points in the Club Championship to all, many thanks to Tosh and Brian for putting the event on, and to Connor for hoosing the car and circuit and then finding the combination too hot to handle, and here's looking forward to the next round in May.

Kinetic Car Race - 18 March 2015

Toy Car

Following on from the Toy Gravity Car Race back in January, this week's Kinetic Car Race took a slightly different turn, with the introduction of different approach and a slightly sinister sting in the tail!

Whilst January's event was a nice, clean, simple attempt at placing your car in a very precise location, (the centre of the scoring range), this week's event took it to a whole new level by introducing Joker spots that stripped any points you scored in that attempt and subjected you to a 20 point deficit to boot!

In the last event the points were allocated by the competitor judging just how accurately he could place his Car: the target was the centre of the scoring area; too far and you lost points, too near and you lost points too. The best competitors managed to place their cars exactly in the centre of the target area.

This time, however, it was all about absolute skill and accuracy. To gain maximum points, each competitor would have to reach the extreme end of the course, without going so far as to fall off the end of the track. The limits were very tight: only 15cm separated maximum points from total failure, and there were many on the night who reaped the penalty of their enthusiastic, yet misguided start, as their cars (and hopes) went that little bit too far and toppled over the edge.

To say that the event attracted a record number of entries would not be untrue: a total of 19 competitors took part and made this arguably the most popular event of the year so far. How nice it would have been if all of the competitors were able to handle their toy cars as well as they undoubtedly handle their road-going vehicles; alas it was painfully obvious that the talent on display didn't reflect the obvious talent within the club.

Suffice to say, the event was a huge success: everyone thoroughly enjoyed it - whether they were successful or not - and the banter during the event was as colourful and inspiring as ever, with many of the competitors offering a massive variety of reasons why their particular attempt was either unsuccessful, lacking in merit or otherwise just dreadfully low scoring.

Final results were as follows:

1 240 Peter
2 200 Tosh
3 160 Big Kev
4 100 Brian
5 90 James (Toshs Mate)
6 60 Guy
7 50 Tee Cee
8 30 Andy Egner
9 20 Gordon
9 20 Karl
11 10 Alastair
11 10 Connor
13 0 Andrew
13 0 Paul
13 0 Steve
13 0 Rob Telford
13 0 Jimmy
18 -20 Gary
18 -20 Phil

How ironic that the perpetrators of the Joker space should be the ones that suffered so heavily at its hands; yet there is a delicious irony in that fact: credit to the boys for standing by their own decision to award points based on the rules of the event. Good lads. We love the integrity that you show in this respect.

Points in the Club Championship to all who took part, a thoroughly enjoyable event for all, and here's looking forward to the next iteration of what is fast becoming a popular and engaging event in the WDMC Wednesday night calendar!

Navigational Event - 11 March 2015

Hillman Imp Road Rally Car

With only just over an week to go before the first day of Spring it was fitting that the Gods had blessed us with fine weather for the first Navigational Event of the 2015 competition season.

The honours this time fell to Gordon and Adam Bradford, winners of the last "Treasure Hunt" - as seen on BBC TV, (and currently getting more coverage than Jeremy Clarkson) and everyone was looking forward to the event with anticipation and excitement as it seemed to have been quite some time since the last event was held.

As the evenings are beginning to appear noticeably lighter, Gordon and Adam were at the Club early to allow all competitors to plot the route, go out and enjoy it, and get back in time for a pint or two.

It is more than fair to say that the Bradfords pitched it absolutely perfectly: the plotting, although incorporating a number of the classic TableTop elements such as Spot Heights, Grid References, Tulips and Herringbones, managed to provide such brilliantly clear, straightforward and simple instructions that everyone managed to plot the route without any trouble at all.

The route itself was a triumph on the night: taking in a number of the classic roads of the Eighties, a few little tricks to catch the unwary, some lovely little lanes and hidden gems around Burnhope and Holmside, the oh so beautiful Knitsley and the inevitable, yet still so successful, double-bluff at the edn of two code boards on the one triangle to catch out those who were at that point "on a charge"!

Especially exciting tonight was the fact that we welcomed a total of Five new members to the Club: Andy, Ian, Lee, Stuart and Vince, all of them competing on the event and enjoying it as only true motoring enthusiasts can. We would like to extend a particularly warm welcome to all of you and say how happy we are that you have joined Whickham and District Motor Club, and we look forward to seeing you at Club nights and taking part in our many and varied events throughout the year.

Once back in the Club, the usual post-event banter was obviously in full swing, with a number of crews taking Gordon to task about his innovative use of signposts to confirm crews had taken the correct route. Not only that, but some of the crews had not read the clues correctly, leading to some fairly interesting answers, such as the height of a bridge being 7 tonnes........

As could be imagined, there were also one or two discussions about the different interpretations of Gordons instructions, leading to some highly amusing moments; Gordon, to give him his due, took all in his stride, and after all crews had returned he published the results for all. It had been not only a very successful event, but one that was hugely enjoyable from all quarters.

Final placings were so close that it all came down to plotting time: and although Andrew Roughead and Medium Kev Cousins thought they had nailed it with a plotting time of 7minutes and fifteen seconds, they were unceremoniously trumped by Tosh and Brian's incredible time of six minutes and fifteen seconds - exactly one full minute quicker.

Final results were as follows:

1 6m 15s Tosh and Brian
2 7m 15s Andrew and Medium Kev
3 9m 14s Stuart Watson and Niall Cook
4 16m 13s Phil and Gary
5 26m 10s Andy Egner and Lee McGinn
6 34m 10s Ian Salkeld and Vince Moore
7 35m 7s Karl Knox and Connor Hook

Many thanks indeed to Gordon and Adam Bradford for putting the event on; points in the Clubs Championship to all who took part, and here's looking forward (albeit with some trepidation) to Tosh and Brian's next Navigational Event in whatever format they decide to use. (Who knows what obscure instructions they will employ......?)

TableTop Rally - 18 February

Table Top Map 2

They say that good things come in small packages and that was certainly the case on the 18 February when Peter Metcalfe put on the second event of the 2015 Maps Championship with Round 2 of the TableTop Challenge.

Taking a different view on the traditional Wednesday night events Peter decided on a short, concise event that had only one page of instructions, a start and finish time and a route check to decide the final placings.

Whilst it would be easy to think that with such a simple format the results would be only too predictable, the event proved exactly the opposite, proving that care and accuracy will very often triumph over outright speed.

The route instructions were very simple: no tricks, coloured roads only, read the instructions properly and don't hang about!

The route was divided into four sections: standard tulips, a series of numbers with a reference or two, a herringbone and a final sting in the tail with a series of unmarked tulips.

A total of 8 members took part, and surprisingly, only three of them maintained a clean sheet, possibly because it looked just a tad too easy, and as they say, "there's many a slip twixt cup and lip" - what seems easy lulls you into a sense of false security.

Final results showed that Brian had absolutely stormed the event with a blistering time over two minutes quicker than his nearest rival, and over four minutes clear of the second place finisher.

Results were as follows:

1 8m 42s 0FBrian
2 12m 20s 0F Andrew
3 13m 38s 0F TeeCee
4 10m 53s 1FTosh
5 12m 42s 1F Gary
6 13m 05s 1F Guy
7 16m 23s 1F Gordon
8 25m 35s 2F Connor

Points in the Club's Maps Championship to all who took part; many thanks indeed to Peter Metcalfe for putting the event on despite having been working away from home for the past week, a cracking event for all; and especially well done to Connor Hook on his very first Table Top Rally. Connor took to it well, showed a great deal of enthusiasm and maintained a happy smile throughout!

Here's looking forward to the next one, and especially as tonight's event showed that a TableTop Rally, or any Wednesday night event, need not be so complicated or time consuming. This was a great example of a smart, crisp event that could be literally done between beers.

Blindfold Rally - 11 February 2015

Blindfold 2

They say that a Rally driver is only as good as his Co-Driver and that was certainly the case on the 11th February when Kev Cousins put on the first of this year's Blindfold Rallies in the upstairs room at Whickham & District Motor Club.

For those who had never taken part in such an event the concept is fairly simple yet very effective: the Driver puts on a blindfold and the Co-Driver calls out instructions from the stage, doing his best to guide the unseeing driver through a twisty and difficult route whilst avoiding any obstacles in his path.

The route this time took on a similar format to an AutoSolo, all forward but twisty and narrow in places with a few well-placed obstacles to catch out the unwary or unobservant.

This type of event can certainly often fortune the brave, as with an element of luck thrown in, the margins for error were close but not impossible. The biggest obstacle in the room was simply the disorientation of the driver, as although each had a good look at the room beforehand, once the blindfold was on it was simply impossible to know exactly where you were until it came off.

Times varied considerably, but speed comes with its own penalties: too fast and you stood the chance of hitting an obstacle and gaining a fail, too slow and you would find yourself down the results table.

Most surprising was for the drivers: although it felt like they were rushing headlong into the abyss, from the Co-Driver's view they were being so cautious they looked like learner drivers on their sortie into traffic!

Final results showed that cleanliness was indeed next to Godliness, and certainly brought about points if not fame and fortune, as the perfect lines of the top three competitors brought them their just desserts.

Results were as follows:

1 1.29 0F Brian
2 1.46 0F Tosh
3 1.47 0F Ollie
4 1.09 1F Phil
5 1.31 1F Connor
6 1.47 1F Tom Wells
7 2.00 1F Gordon
8 2.27 1F Andrew
7 2.33 1F Gary
7 1.38 3F Adam

Many thanks to Big Kev for putting the event on, points in the Club's Superstars Championship to all who took part, and here's looking forward to the next round. Everyone who took part seemed to enjoy this particular event, especially as the route was straightforward, the instructions simple and it was really easy to organise.

Just remember to take off that blindfold before you drive home!

Quiz - 4 February 2015

Quiz small

The 2015 Quiz season got off to a flying (and interesting) start on the 4th February when Tee Cee put on the first of this year's quizzes with a masterful example of just how to do it properly.

Following in the footsteps of some of the better types of quiz from last year Tee Cee decided that the best way to test the membership was to put on an event that tested everyone's overall knowledge of motoring facts and figures, whilst throwing in some memory testing puzzlers and technical knowledge brain-busters to boot.

In a great example of asking the question you thought you knew the answer to but really didn't, there were some absolute classics to test the mind, from knowing the race numbers of famous competitors to knowing just how much of the country a 1:50000 Landranger Ordnance Survey map covered.

There were photographs of bits of car, each of which had a significant number in the answer, all to add up to make a total score, to knowing which Formula One circuit was the odd one out; to knowing how skimming a block would affect capacity/compression ratio, to the correct answer to the technical question of how a coil spring actually worked: tension, compression or torsion?

Easiest question of all was spotted a mile off, with a very humorous question about a particular place in North Yorkshire: even those who didn't know, could have guessed as it was a Tee Cee quiz!

The quiz was a great success, and although the club was not particularly well attended that night, all who took part thoroughly enjoyed not only answering the questions, but also the Doh! moments as the answers were read out.

Final results were as follows:
1 25 pts Ollie
2 23 pts Gordon
3 22 pts Andrew
4 19 pts Tosh and Brian
5 18.5 pts Phil and Gary
6 17 pts Connor, Karl and Trevor
7 14 pts Alastair and Jimmy

Many thanks to Tee Cee for putting the event on, points in the Club's Maps Championship to all who took part, and here's looking forward to the next round to be organised by Ollie. The standard has now been set for the future, and everyone seemed to agree the format was both a good concept and a fair way of deciding the winner, as it took elements from a number of disciplines. As Tee Cee said on the night: "I did three easy, two medium and one hard question throughout. Seemed to work well".

PlayStation Round 1 - 21 January 2015

The 2015 PlayStation Series got off the ground in a typically topical manner on the 21st January with an event featuring a mixture of tarmac and snow, just like the conditions outside the Club, although it is fair to say the temperature inside was a fair bit higher than you would have expected had you actually been at Chamonix, the circuit chosen. Format was as normal, no practice, but three timed laps of the circuit with your fastest time to count. The car of choice tonight was the Lancia Delta HF Integrale - Four Wheel drive, not too much power, and all the credentials that a Rally driver would wish for.

150121 Chamonix

Responding to calls from the floor, Brian set the initial time which although healthy was, surprisingly, not unassailable. Tee Cee followed Brian with only one aim in mind: to beat Tosh and score an unprecedented hat-trick of victories over him for the first three events of the year! Tosh of course was not wanting that to happen and held back, keeping a watching brief and taking careful note of the lines that everyone used. This would prove invaluable later in the evening.

As each competitor took their turn, the times steadily approached the benchmark that Brian had set, however it was Big Kev who broke through the barrier with a beautifully smooth drive resulting in a time just over a second quicker than Brian to move into the lead. A Gentlemanly handshake from Brian for a quality drive and a well deserved move into first place. As each subsequent competitor took their turn, straining to catch the elusive ghost car that defined the fastest time, all the observers held their breath, especially as Connor came so very close to Big Kev's time, only missing out by a mere half a second in the end.

It looked as though Big Kev had the measure of everybody, but in a surprising upset at the eleventh hour, Alastair took his turn and produced an exceptionally smooth, unhurried drive to not only beat Big Kev on his very first lap, but then eclipse that time a lap later by over two seconds! As has so often been said of competitive driving, if it looks slow, it is probably quick, and Alastair's drive was no exception.
Maximum points, Alastair.

Final results were as follows:

1 2.32.368 Alastair
2 2.35.685 Big Kev
3 2.36.102 Connor
4 2.36.857 Brian
5 2.37.875 Tosh
6 2.37.929 Gary
7 2.39.343 Adam
8 2.40.512 Karl
9 2.43.047 Phil
10 2.43.352 Tee Cee
11 2.50.978 Peter
12 2.55.629 Guy

Many thanks to Tosh and Brian for putting the event on, points in the Club's Superstars Championship to all who took part, and here's looking forward to the next round in March. Hopefully the weather will be better by then, and maybe Liam will eventually pluck up the courage to pit himself against the other members of the Club and see how he fares against everyone.

Who knows? The gauntlet has been thrown!

Tabletop Rally - 14 January

The WDMC Maps Championship got off to an early and very interesting start on the 14 January when Gordon Bradford put on Round 1.

Brushing away all the cobwebs of Christmas and New Year was the order of the day as each competitor tried to analyse exactly what had been in Gordons mind on the day he set the routes.

TableTop Rallies are notorious for catching people out with their tricky diagrams and cryptic clues - that is of course the very nature of the event - and tonight was no different as Round 1 contained all of the classic ingredients: herringbones, tulips, gridlines, spot heights and map features, all designed to catch out the unwary and tax the brains of the uninitiated.

There was a healthy entry, encouraging as it was still early in the year and the club wasnt particularly full on the night in question, but a entrant is a competitor and nobody can gain points by sitting at the bar and not taking part.

Gordon had obviously spent quite some time trying to ensure that there was not only a suitable challenge for everyone taking part but that it would tax their thinking as well.

The format of the event was good, with a number of different sections, each being timed, so that in the event of any disputes a section could be dropped without affecting the overall result to drastically.

Although there were a couple of different interpretations of the instructions, the overall result showed that this 2015 Championship leaves all to fight for, and certainly shows just how careful everyone needs to be in their interpretation of the instructions, and ask if there is any confusion whatsoever.

Final results were as follows:

1 11 pts 46m Guy
2 10 pts 44m Peter
3 10 pts 46m Brian
4 10 pts 63m Gary
5 9 pts 42m Tee Cee
6 9 pts 51m Tosh
7 6 pts 35m Andrew

Many thanks to Gordon for putting the event on, points in the Clubs Maps Championship to all who took part, and heres looking forward to the next round: train your brains Gentlemen, it could be tough.

This is, after all, a thinking mans event!

Toy Car Gravity Race - 8 January 2015

2015 certainly started with a very healthy bang when Phil and Gary held the very first event of this years Superstars Championship by hosting the inaugural 'Toy Car Gravity Race'.

To be perfectly honest gravity didn't really enter into the equation as the cars used were the 'pull-back' type where the skill was very much in the way you both lined up your car and the distance you pulled it back.

Points were awarded for accuracy in this technical event, as the distance driven by the toy car was measured on a graduated scale - nearest the centre was 50, whilst any distance either side dropped your scores by ten points each time.

Skill, of course, is an extremely fickle mistress, as it is completely possible to be the very best at something one day and totally bomb the next. This was very much the order of the day as a huge entry saw some of the most fancied competitors fall by the wayside due to the simplest of errors - a slight misalignment, a hair's breadth of tension, a touch of opposite lock at the wrong moment.

The first Round saw Gary, Liam and TC place their cars in a very commanding position, closely followed by Paul who must have been watching very carefully from the sidelines as he planned his strategy. There were certainly a good number of "Ooohs" and "Aaahs" as the tiny cars propelled themselves along the graduated track.

The second round saw an interesting development as Liam bombed with a zero, whilst TC and Paul both scored a maximum followed closely by Tosh with a solid 40 points to start his challenge for the title.

The Third round was the decisive one - Tosh taking top honours with a very respectable 50, followed closely by Paul, Adam, Guy, Big Kev and Phil all scoring 40 points and suddenly setting the entire competition on fire by closing all the results up instantly.

Totting up the scores after the compulsory three runs saw the results as follows:
120 pts TeeCee
120 pts Paul F
110 Tosh
90 Gary

With standings after three rounds being equal, it was time for a "Sudden Death" playoff between TeeCee and Paul. - It is fair to say there were a few raised eyebrows at the "new boy".
Paul was a member many years ago and is probably not really known to many of the younger members, however we do know he has a very healthy competitive spirit and is one of those quiet types who doesn't say much but comes up on the rails every now and again to upset the apple cart and throw everybody's expectations into the wind.

Crunch Time! - Just who would be the most accurate, the most precise, the one who could place their Toy Car in the optimum position to claim the glory of being the very first winner of 2015?
TeeCee won the toss, and elected to go first.

His drive was in almost sublime. In a beautiful and controlled drive he placed his Toy Car on the "40" mark, setting the standard for Paul and putting him under the most extreme pressure to perform or lose the tie-break.
Alas, it was not to be. Paul unfortunately lined up his Toy Car slightly off-line, and although his distance was very well judged, his car unfortunately drifted off-line and ended up off the scoring grid. Nil Points, as the very honest French would say!

To Tee Cee, not only the spoils of victory, but perhaps more importantly, a very concise victory over Tosh, and a marker immediately set for the forthcoming year. A brilliant win, and as we all suspected, yet further confirmation that TeeCee has indeed, in his own words, spent many of his formative years playing with himself on the basis that one day, he will be vindicated.
That day was the 8th January 2015.
Tosh, you need to step up your game....

Final results were as follows:

1 160 TeeCee
2 120 Paul F
3 110 Tosh
4 90 Gary
5 70 Big Kev
6 60 Guy
6 60 Adam
7 50 Liam
7 50 Phil
8 40 Connor
9 30 Peter
10 20 Karl
10 20 Ollie
11 10 Brian
11 10 Andy R
12 0 Steve
12 0 Gordon
12 0 Alastair

Many thanks to all who took part, points in the Club Championship to all, and here's looking forward to a new and exciting Club Championship for 2015! :-)

 
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