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

Kinetic Car Race - 7 December 2016

Kinetic cars

It is often good to sit and think about our friends and colleagues, especially those we think we know so well. It is also especially useful to wonder exactly what goes on inside their heads, in particular those who we think are very much like ourselves. Of course, none of us really know what goes on inside the heads of others, and that was particularly evident on the night of the 7th December 2016, when Gary and Brian set out what was arguably the most contrived ever obstacle course in the history of the Kinetic Car Races at Whickham and District Motor Club.

Andrew Roughead summed it up perfectly when he said how it used to be nice and simple: a couple of sheets of paper with scores on, nothing at all like the myriad of ramps, tunnels, gates and traps, Pillars of Doom, barriers and buffers: a route of momentous impediments, handicaps and booby traps. The rewards were great for those lucky enough to skim past the obstructions, for those fortunate enough to land with just the right amount of grip and were turned towards the tunnel, for those whose skill meant the difference between thudding headlong into an unstoppable object and just missing the same by a hair’s breadth.

And it was as close as that: Gary showed promise at the start with a very unhealthy score of absolute zero for his first two runs, collecting a mere 20 points on his next two but gaining a full Century on his final attempt to recover at least some face as the organiser of the event. Kev was next and showed immense skill, proving that Princess Diana would have been much safer and probably still alive in his hands as he took the title of Tunnel King with a superb display of consistent car control. His achievement was then unceremoniously blown away by Phil whose first run shot through both tunnels to net an incredible 300 points! His subsequent attempts were not bad either and he ended up with a huge total of 510 points.

Jamie was next, varying between plus and minus but making the all important top tunnel to add a good 250 points to his total - which would have been better had he not suffered the vagaries of Laverick’s Brain and lost 50 points for doing so; that tiny mistake would cost him his final place. Andrew, however, was on fire: starting off with a good 100 from his barrel roll over the ramp which resulted in him landing upside down, collecting a further 140 points before his fantastic finale: a very cool 300 points for emulating Phil and going through both tunnels on his final run to net a full 300 points and take the lead!

Sadly, from that point things started to go downhill: Ian lost a full 100 points almost before he started, ending up in negative equity; Brian showed promise but never looked likely to match Phil and Andrew; Alastair showed an almost magnetic attraction for the Pillars of Doom even though they were Aluminium, still managing to gain some points but losing all at the gambling table of Gary's route. Guy showed enough skill to almost take Gary's place until his final run clipped an obstacle resulting in minus 50 points from his total; Gordon almost winding the backside out of the poor car by cranking it up more than Jason Statham in The Mechanic: he finished, however, with less than he started: there is a delicious irony there. Tosh was the final competitor to take part, all eyes were on him, willing both success and failure, yet even with his extremely controlled and careful drive, he could only match Jamie for fourth with 250 points, however he did emulate Andrew’s fine barrel roll over the ramp on his second run.

Final results, once everyone had attempted to be Kibblesworth's own version of Robert de Niro in Ronin, were declared as below:

1 Andrew 540 points
2 Phil 510 points
3 Brian 290 points
4 Tosh 250 points
4 Jamie 250 points
6 Kev 190 points
7 Gary 120 points
8 Guy 70 points
9 Gordon -10 points
9 Ian -10 points
11 Alastair -40 points

Another superb event that had everyone on tenterhooks, a superb win for Andrew, snatching the victory from Phil at the last gasp, causing Phil to look just like he had won this week’s lottery with last week’s ticket. Brian was very happy with his third place, Tosh glad to snatch an equal fourth at the very end.

The Kinetic Car Race is always a very well attended and hugely enjoyable event, bringing smiles and laughter, banter and encouragement to all who take part. As the final fun event of the year before the Awards Evening, it is also a fitting end to the year’s activities, and the success of all this year’s events bodes well for 2017....

Radio Controlled Autotest - 30 November 2016

2016 RC Autotest

The second the door was opened to the lounge at Kibblesworth Workmens Club it was apparent that this was no ordinary club night: the tantalising smell of a buffet was the first thing to assail the senses and the sight of a large number of platters of savoury wonders and the realisation that this was all free had everyone on their feet and partaking of the goodness within seconds! And seconds was what a good few had too!

December is obviously the month of plenty as we will all of course be enjoying another buffet evening as we celebrate the WDMC Awards evening in just a couple of weeks time, and with very few events left to run the various Championships are all but settled. Not so the Superstars Championship, which will very definitely go down to the wire.

Tonight was the penultimate round and it was befitting that it should be a car related event - this time a Radio Controlled Autotest and held upstairs in the Event Room. The course was quite simple with a number of garages to drive into, the rules being very straightforward: follow a simple route, park the car between the bollards in each garage and don’t touch any of them or you will collect a ’fail'. Just like life in general, if you scrape or crash your car you can’t just restart with a ten second penalty - the cost is much greater than being careful in the first place.

Of course, with all the competitors being Motor Club members, speed was always going to rear its head. And rear its head it did indeed, as Phil was first to the challenge: his first act was to change the tracking settings on the RC car to what he thought was right, until it was pointed out that those settings had been tuned by countless hours of testing. His efforts to get it right could possibly have done more harm than good, however he did set a very competitive time of 1m 40.5 seconds on his run; unfortunately he did hit a cone and his disappointment was palpable - he thought his chance of victory had evaporated. Gary came next, storming through the course like a man possessed, his time incredible at under one minute and easily taking the FTD award, however this did come at a price, and that price was three fails for the three bollards collected.

Andrew was up next, his confidence supreme, his request for new batteries waved aside. The car was good, the speed sufficient, the steering still unknown. The man was obviously on a mission, he shot out of the starting gates with the determination of man with the will to succeed; unfortunately his first success was collecting a bollard in the very first garage as he reversed out at an unusual angle. At this point he shot Phil a very sideways glance: could Mechanic Kenny have cost him his chance of victory? Nevertheless, Andrew stormed on, taking risk after risk in his efforts to be the quickest, and quick he was, but with a total of three fails, the same as Gary, and a good bit slower. Kev was next to drive; he had a careful attitude and precise manner, but unfortunately fell victim to the vagaries of the Aston’s reversing technique: there simply wasn’t one to speak of.

As each subsequent competitor took their turn, it looked as though it was de rigeur to hit three bollards, John and Alastair joining the ’Merry band of threes’ until the standard of driving depreciated rapidly: Gordon hit four, Peter collected no fewer than eight whilst Guy took the world record with an astounding drive that would have been worthy of Ryan O’Neal in the classic 1978 film ’The Driver': Guy collecting a huge total of nine bollards in a massive attack that destroyed almost all the garages en route. However, in his defence, he was much quicker than Peter, who had carefully placed himself with meticulous exactitude whilst driving, whilst placing his RC car with anything but.

Final competitors to go were Brian and Tosh: both very well known for their accuracy and precision, Brian also being known for his speed and competitiveness, Tosh being known for his care and accuracy of placement, albeit at the expense of rapidity. Both showed that the old adage of ’furthest cleanest’ still holds good today: both were clean and collected no bollards, Brian being very much the quicker of the two.

Final results, once everyone had tried to emulate the very talented Paul Swift in their own unsuccessful way, were declared final as below:

1 Brian 1m 27.0 seconds
2 Tosh 2m 26.4 seconds
3 Phil 1F 1m 40.5 seconds
4 Karl 2F 1m 45.0 seconds
5 Gary 3F 0m 59.2 seconds
6 John 3F 1m 03.8 seconds
7 Andrew 3F 1m 12.7 seconds
8 Kev 3F 1m 25.5 seconds
9 Alastair 3F 3m 02.2 seconds
10 Gordon 4F 2m 31.6 seconds
11 Peter 8F 5m 10.5 seconds
12 Guy 9F 1m 35.2 seconds

Another good win for Brian, increasing his Superstars haul of points and once again stamping his authority on his claim to the Superstars title, Tosh’s second place lifting him clear once again from Andrew in the Championship race. With no other changes to the Championship positions, it has certainly gone down to the wire: the very best competitions are where the result is still unknown up until the final curtain.

Many thanks to Tosh and Brian for putting the event on, points in the Club Championship to all who took part, and particular thanks must go to the following individuals: Gary for bringing the buffet; Phil for ’servicing’ the steering; Andrew for his excellent efforts to bring atmosphere to the event with his fine application of the smoke machine, and Kev for his absolutely impartial application of the rules of the garages.

Lego Challenge - 16 November 2016

Lego Train Tender

With just a few weeks to go now until the WDMC Awards evening the Superstars title race is certainly getting exciting.

Tonight it was the chance to turn the clock back in more ways than one: firstly by playing with a legendary toy that few men in this era have not experienced, secondly by constructing a vehicle not seen as a mainstream means of Public Transport for many years: a Steam Train. Peter Metcalfe was the Fat Controller this evening and whilst he may not have dressed the part there was no denying his air of authority when it came to applying the rules: there would certainly be marks deducted for any Picasso type interpretations this year, unlike 2015 when Mac ’Pablo’ Cliff produced his signature masterpiece: The Crying Scotsman.

Unfortunately Mac wasn’t present tonight as he was no doubt officiating at some highbrow Artistic event somewhere but we did have an alternative selection of competitors waiting to try their hand at putting together what Peter described as a ’Coffin Carriage’ - an appropriate name perhaps given the way some of our less competent members ’killed’ the model with a result that couldn’t even begin to describe what was presented as their finished article.

The event tonight was in one way a ’head to head’ challenge but with each competitor’s time logged for overall positions, however the simple act of going against each other (as well as the clock) brought with it a certain frisson of excitement. Brian and Gary were first up, Brian as usual relishing the challenge as he has always had an incredible passion for ’building’ of some sort or another: his time of 2m 19seconds bearing testament to his innate ability to construct at speed. Although David Attenborough wasn’t at the club tonight the cry of the lesser spotted Roughead was plainly heard: ’How fast?'

Phil and Gordon followed and the two were operating at different ends of the spectrum: Phil racing away to try and better his 2nd overall position of 2015 whilst Gordon took the approach of the active pensioner that he is, easing himself into a somewhat comfortable seating position and taking his time to understand the instructions before starting his own little version of Thomas the Tank Engine. Phil was done in 3m 09s - a very respectable time and one that might just prove good enough to retain his position. Gordon, however, was thoroughly enjoying himself, showing that although he was a member of one of the most active Motor Clubs in the North he certainly saw no ’Need for Speed' with his time of 8minutes and 36seconds.

Andrew and Kev came to the tables next and Andrew showed just how much he wants to push Brian in the Championship: his frantic action and flying fingers proving to be worth their weight in Silver, rather than Gold this year with him posting a time that would eventually be good enough to take second place; Kev was a little more restrained in his efforts, concentrating on quality rather than speed, his time an eventual 4m 17seconds.

Tosh and Jimmy were next to take to the tables, Tosh determined to beat his time of last year by a healthy margin, notwithstanding the fact that the combination of a lot of little pieces, the subdued lighting in the club lounge and a definite mixture of ham and fist meant he was never going to set the world alight, however his time of 4m and 28s looked increasingly spectacular compared to Jimmy’s who was not only struggling to identify the myriad of different coloured pieces of plastic but also doing so whilst relying on brother Kevin’s glasses to read the instructions. It was never going to end well, Jimmy eventually realising that as his car outside was only taxed until the end of November it would be good to stop whilst he could still legally drive home.

Final competitors to take to the tables were Peter and Alastair, Peter insisting that he had not been practicing all week, Alastair looking at the instructions like they were printed in Chinese. Although they both started well, it soon became apparent that whilst Peter was indeed a child of the sixties and seventies who grew up with an appreciation of dexterity and manipulation, Alastair was much more of the technological age, looking very much as though he would much rather have been slotting the model together digitally than actually picking up the pieces. And pick up the pieces he very much did, as they just seemed to fly off the table at will, Alastair eventually calling time after 15 minutes of solid concentration.

Final results, once everyone had done their best to be Whickham Motor Club’s own version of George Stephenson, were declared final as below:

1 Brian 2m 19 seconds
2 Andrew 2m 47 seconds
3 Phil 3m 09 seconds
4 Peter 3m 18 seconds
5 Gary 3m 25 seconds
6 Kev 4m 17 seconds
7 Tosh 4m 28 seconds
8 Gordon 8m 36 seconds
9 Jimmy OTL
9 Alastair OTL

Another resounding win for Brian, pushing his Superstars total higher than ever, however an excellent result from Andrew, his superb second place bringing him enough points to leapfrog ahead of Tosh in the Superstars Championship. Phil’s third place brings him another good points haul, keeping him ahead of Cautious Kev, whose sixth place keeps him in the running and still chasing Phil. Peter jumps up one place to usurp Jimmy in seventh and Tosh’s poor performance drops him into third: with only two more events to go the runner-up spot could all be lost for him this year. Not the best night for the Knox family, but then each of us has his own best events: just wait until the Wheel Change or PlayStation comes round to see a change of fortunes.

Many thanks to Peter for putting the event on, and especially for leaving us all thinking about whether he actually did practice for the event: if not, his fourth place was a good result, if he had, he should very definitely keep schtum about it! Points in the Club Championship to all, and with only a very few weeks to go now, the race for runner up is very definitely on!

Telephone Rally - 9 November 2016

Telephone Rally 2015a

November the 9th 2016 was a very strange day indeed. We had all woken up to the first snow of the year and the news that an obnoxious misogynistic Orangutang had just won the US Presidential Election farce. This wasn’t what everyone had been expecting, especially on the day of the final Telephone Rally round of the 2016 WDMC Maps Championship.

Gary Laverick was the organiser this time, and following a recent trend towards creating something a little bit different every time Gary had come up with a neat twist to the round, breaking the event into five distinct stages with each round timed. The challenge was very straightforward: Start on the word go and shout for a time when you completed the stage. Each Stage was timed to the second and your total times were all added up to give you an overall total. Fastest overall time would be classed as the winners. Gary had, however, also stated that any deviation from the route at all would incur a stage maximum, and as each stage had been given a hefty maximum time it was certainly in nobody’s interests to make even the slightest mistake. Competitors beware!

Andrew and Kev got off to a blinding start, and got so carried away they forgot to shout time at the appropriate point: Gary, being the gentleman that he is, allowed this minor discrepancy of the rules and gave themn a split time for the first stages. Tosh and Brian got off to a cautious but solid start, always aware of the consequences of even the smallest mistake, preferring to settle for a good solid place rather than suffer the consequences of any misdemeanour. Who knew how many crews would take part, the last thing they wanted was to finish at the bottom of the pile.

For a while it looked as though these two crews would be the only takers on the night, especially as Guy Wickham was awaiting his regular partner in crime Peter Metcalfe; as the evening wore on, however, it became apparent that Peter wasn’t going to make it, so Guy partnered with Tosh to take on the Laverick Challenge and see what they could do. Starting with a proverbial bang, everything was going really well, their times extremely competitive against Kev and Andrew, until Guy used some of his very extensive local knowledge and got a little bit out of kilter with Tosh’s instructions, the crew then getting a little confused and suffering a rather long delay whilst they worked out where they had gone wrong. Having finally registered where the error had occurred they went on to fly through the final stages and record a time sufficiently quick enough to reward them with second place.

As there were no more crews to take up the challenge, the results were declared final as below:

1 Andrew and Kev 265 seconds
2 Guy and Tosh 336 seconds
3 Brian and Tosh 373 seconds

A good result for Andrew and Kev, flying through the tests and showing that they have an excellent understanding of each other and with two wins this season showing that they can certainly match Tosh and Brian’s abilities; the Maps Championship is never a foregone conclusion, and 2017 could well see the crown being fought for even more vociferously than ever. A good result for the pairing of Guy and Tosh, just pipping Brian for second and demoting him to third place. Oh Father, what hast thou done?

With no more Map based events to take place this year, the Championship positions are now finalised, and it has to be said this year has been so much better than 2015, with more events, higher member participation and a greater sense of enjoyment and fulfillment for 2016. Every Championship that Whickham and District Motor Club holds is a very special one, and this year has been no exception: each and every competitor has thoroughly enjoyed taking part and is now looking forward to the 2017 challenge with a renewed and invigorated enthusiasm.

Many thanks to Gary for putting on a great Telephone Rally with a very neat and surprising twist to what has become one of the Club's regular events, it is often difficult to think of new and exciting things and this certainly made the event that little bit more special. Thank you also to all the Maps Championship competitors, we look forward to your enthusiastic participation next year!

Scalextric - 2 November 2016

There is a wonderful expression that defines men as just boys with bigger toys.

That may be true in many cases, as we all know men rarely actually grow up completely, and will always find fun in playing, whether it is trying to throw a scrunched up ball of paper into the waste bin first time or trying to drive the most miles down the motorway without hitting a single cats eye. Life is full of tiny little games, and much more fun because of it.

Their toys, however, don’t have to be big to be fun, and that’s why men can find so much to enjoy in the little things we play with: radio controlled aeroplanes, Lego, model steam engines and trains, but the most popular of all at Whickham Motor Club is by far one of the smallest of toys: Scalextric! Where else could you find a dozen fully grown men, beaming smiles on their faces, sitting on the floor hunched over sections of plastic track ready to catch the unwary driver?

The format tonight was very simple, and indeed had to be as the only available cars were certainly no match for each other in a straight race: an Audi TT that drove very well and handled with aplomb, versus a Formula 1 car that stuttered round the circuit, stopping and starting erratically, refusing to go round corners and falling off the track with gay abandon. This was never going to be a fair fight, so each driver took a turn with both cars, their times being added together to give a cumulative total with final positions being decided by the shortest times. Excuses, obviously, would figure greatly tonight.

161102 Scalextric

As in almost every case that I can remember since the first time I played with a Scalextric as a small boy, nothing worked properly initially. It is almost the law. Sections of track appeared dead, controllers seemed to work sporadically, cars jumped off the circuit at the drop of a hat yet refused to move the next second. Peter tried to fix it, Gary had a go, but it was all eventually sorted by Tosh who inverted the braids on the F1 car, transforming its behaviour and performance in a stroke. This may of course not have been as helpful as might have been thought, as it effectively gave a better performing vehicle to the later runners; (although to be honest even if Phil had been given a perfect car the general opinion was that he would still have driven like a Bombay Taxi Driver on crack). Phil argued that Ollie had been taking far too long to put his car back on the track whenever he went off, Ollie reposting that had Phil not gone off more times than a pint of goat’s milk in the Namibian desert he wouldn’t have needed to put it back as many times. The simple truth was that Phil had been flicking his rear end around like a Transvestite at the Notting Hill Carnival.

Ronnie in the meantime was going for the ’Old Man’ trophy when he found himself pitted against young Alastair ’Millennial’ Knox; he need not have worried though, trouncing the younger Knox by a good ten seconds. Ronnie’s face was a picture, although it was still a picture of an old man.

Nevertheless, the spirit of competition was as high as ever, the enthusiasm immense and the enjoyment factor through the roof, each man pitting his wits against all the different elements: car, track, clock and skill, all the time doing their best to balance the centripetal force of the tyres against the centrifugal force generated by each driver’s enthusiastic use of the throttle!

As always, it all came down to the Jackie Stewart factor: smoothness. Nine and a half perfect laps could be ruined by a last gasp burst of acceleration sending a car spinning off the circuit; the two or three (or sometimes more) seconds taken to put the car back on track and into the correct slot making all the difference between first and second (ask Tosh).

Everyone, as they always do on Scalextric nights, had an absolute blast. Final results, once we had all tried to be somewhere between Juan Manuel Fangio and Lewis Hamilton, were declared as follows:

1 Peter 75.73s Ave lap 3.78s
2 Tosh 77.00s Ave lap 3.85s
3 Ollie 77.72s Ave lap 3.88s
4 Guy 79.32s Ave lap 3.97
5 Andrew 88.33s Ave lap 4.42s
6 Gary 90.85s Ave lap 4.54s
7 Brian 96.85s Ave lap 4.84s
8 Ronnie 99.90s Ave lap 4.99s
9 Alastair 110.16s Ave lap 5.51s
10 Phil 135.29s Ave lap 6.76s

An incredible fight for the first four places, with less than four seconds separating Peter in first and Guy in fourth over the combined twenty laps. That equates to less than 0.2 seconds per lap average, an amazingly closely fought contest and further proof that no matter where you find men together, you can almost guarantee to find a competition.

Another great win for Peter, showing that not only can he get the best sounds from a Steinway and the most wonderful bass from a Bösendorfer, but he can also wring out the best speed from Scalextric.

Points in the Club Championship to all who took part, Tosh takes that all important second place from Andrew, Peter jumps to eighth place above Karl. With now only four events to go the title race is getting very heated, with everything to play for over the coming month.

Don’t switch over folks, you wouldn’t want to miss this Championship finale at all!

PlayStation - 19 October 2016

Kankkunens Escort

The spirit of Paul May was certainly at the forefront of everyone’s minds tonight when the latest PlayStation round took place at the Club. There was really no car to choose for the event other than a Ford Escort, and although the game did not contain an Orange MK1 for us we did the next best thing and picked Juha Kankkunen’s 1998 Ford Escort Rally Car as the nearest available option.

The circuit chosen was Trial Mountain, a tarmac course with a mixture of tight hairpins, long straights and some twisty intermediates under the trees, together with some quite tight sections through the unforgiving rocky part of the circuit between the tunnels. To make everything a little more manageable sticky tyres were fitted and gearbox was set to Automatic.

Tosh was first up to try his hand, and although his time was nothing spectacular it was certainly good enough to give everyone else a target to aim for. Karl took the controls next, and despite having spent much of the day raising a glass to Paul he still managed to a) remain standing and b) set a faster time, immediately relegating Tosh to second; he was to drop even further as the night progressed.

As each competitor took the controls it was pretty apparent that some were very much more comfortable with the controller than others: Paul Fawcett is obviously more at ease with a steering wheel and pedals and it was the front wings of the Escort that bore testament to his attempts at mastering the hand controller. Alas all his efforts were largely in vain, but he did accept his result with good grace and indeed offered the suggestion that most other drivers would probably finish between him and first place! He was not wrong. Alastair for some reason found the going tough this evening as did Phil, who lost most of his speed cutting corners trying to shave off time but losing momentum as he did so - it was an unfortunate decision and cost him dearly.

Gary, however, had a great three laps: on the pace from the off, producing the quickest first lap time of the evening and a great final lap to topple Karl from his leading position, topping the times in the process. His rapid first lap time only lasted a moment and then ’The Chairman’ took his turn, blitzing Gary’s initial lap by a clear two seconds and leading us all to think he was on target to wrestle the lead from Gary and stand proud at the top of the table as befits his position in the Club. Ollie’s hopes, however, were only that: he had effectively shot his bolt at the very first hurdle and his subsequent lap times didn’t live up to the great expectations he had set. Gary’s smile, which had momentarily waned a little, was immediately much brighter at Ollie’s expense.

PlayStationTrialMountain

Final drive of the night fell to Brian, and once again it was an absolute pleasure to watch his smooth, unhurried style as he threaded the 4WD No. 7 Escort through the tricky circuit, millimetres from each rocky outcrop, hitting apex after apex with no apparent effort. His first lap a full second and a half quicker than Ollie, his second lap almost two seconds quicker still, his final lap an absolute exhibition drive and an amazing three seconds faster than that.

Final results, after everyone had done their best to impersonate the great Roger Albert were declared as follows:

1 Brian 1m 31.693s
2 Gary 1m37.594s
3 Karl 1m 37.791s
4 Ollie 1m 37.825s
5 Tosh 1m 38.816s
6 Phil 1m 40.630s
7 Steve 1m 41.480s
8 Alastair 1m 41.899s
9 Guy 1m 46.223s
10 Paul 1m 47.022s

An amazing fight for second place, with Gary, Karl and Ollie all within a quarter of a second of each other showing just how competitive the PlayStation events have become, and just how much each of us enjoys the challenge of competing against each other.

Points in the Club Championship to everyone who took part: Brian extending his lead in the Championship once again with an incredibly storming drive, winning by virtually six seconds from Gary, who once again showed he has a degree of class to his driving. Tosh’s championship runner-up hopes rose just a little with him closing to within two points of Andrew as Phil snatched fourth place from Kev.

A great result for both Brian and particularly Gary, who showed his performance on DriveClub in July was no mere flash-in-the-pan but down to his skill behind the virtual wheel: now of course he only has to translate that into the physical world. It will come, we have no doubt, but for tonight he walks away with ten more points in the Superstars Championship.

Guys Quiz - 12 October 2016

2016 October Quiz

The human memory is a truly wonderful thing: not only does it bring back wonderful times from your past in an instant with just a word, a phrase, a smell or a song, but it also plays impossible tricks on your mind when you call on it to remember things you thought you really knew.

And it’s not only things from long ago: sometimes you can’t even remember something that you saw or heard yesterday, yet you can vividly remember something from twenty or thirty years ago as if it were today.

Guy Wickam’s October Quiz was a wonderful case in point: a total of sixteen questions that should have been easy pickings for any well-versed Motorsport enthusiast, however in reality it only showed that most obvious of traits: people only really knew about stuff they were interested in.

The questions covered a good selection of disciplines: Formula 1, Rallying, BTCC and general motorsport knowledge. Sixteen possible maximum points, surely an easy evening at the club: answer the questions correctly, put in your answer sheet, bask in the glory of being a knowledgeable motorsport guru. Simple, really, what could possibly go wrong?

The answer of course, was precisely that: the answers. The racing boys effectively ’raced’ away at the start with the first six answers hitting the bull dead centre; unfortunately, though, nothing else made any sense to them and that was the absolute limit of their knowledge. Six points it would be.

No matter, surely the Rallying aficionados would have their day? Er, nope. None of them got all four British drivers to finish in the top six on Rally Finland, few got both Tom Cave and Charlie Payne. That achievement would be Peter Metcalfe's: a man completely at ease with his exhaustive knowledge of motorsport triviana, and certainly one whose knowledge we should all aspire to.

There are those that know, and there are those that know. Peter knows. He knows he knows. And once everyone had completed their answer sheet and returned it to Guy, everyone else knew too.

1 Peter 11 pts
2 Gordon 10 pts
3 Ollie 9 pts
3 Andrew and Kev 9 pts
5 The Knoxes 7 pts
6 Tosh and Brian 6 pts
6 Dave 6 pts
6 Ian and Tony 6 pts

Points in the Club Championship to all who took part: Brian’s lead slips slightly to Andrew, Kev snatches fourth place from Phil and take four clear points from Tosh in the process.
It’s getting hot.

A great result for everyone except Peter, who by winning the event must now organise the final quiz of 2016 next month.

Head in Hands

There is a delicious irony in winning a Whickham and District Motor Club Quiz: as have so many unsuccessful competitors said in the past: it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part. In WDMC parlance, that rings very true indeed: with each winner having to organise the next quiz finishing second is the ideal result for almost all competitors.

And so it was that Gordon was the real winner of this event: almost maximum points with absolute minimum follow-up effort. There is certainly a fine balance to entering a WDMC Quiz, and the look on Peter’s face as he was announced winner was almost too good to be true: that damn Russell Brookes. Peter, you must try harder next time, and remember the old adage is certainly not true: "to finish first, you must first finish" - in WDMC Quiz speak: "To finish first, you must finish just behind the man you want to organise the next quiz.

Oh Peter, you really should be more careful.....

Guy's Navigational Event - 28 September 2016

2016 Beamish

How many times have you heard the expression "A couple of minutes?" It’s usually when you’re waiting for somebody to get ready, or do something, or if you are in a bit of a rush and want something quickly.

Those two minutes, however, can make all the difference in the right context.

Tonight Guy Wickham put on an absolutely super little navigational event at the club. With simple, easy to follow clues using a mixture of differing navigational aids, no complicated map references or the use of A Level mathematics to produce a compact route that never went more than a few miles from the Club, yet kept each crew entertained and enthusiastic. This, together with a complimentary and beautifully prepared map and instructions made life as easy as humanly possible for everyone taking part.

Starting at Kibblesworth Club, each crew were also presented with a series of map squares that contained ’Not As Map’ junctions they were required to follow in order to solve the answers to the twenty or so questions that would decide the winners tonight. Each question followed its predecessor: it was important therefore to make sure that each one was tackled in the correct order to ensure you didn’t ’lose your place’ en route. Guy had advised everyone that they would need to exit their vehicle at certain points in order to find the right answers, and so it was some trepidation that crews inevitably found out one of the major clues was in the infamous ’Dogging’ Car Park near to Birkheads Secret Gardens....

Of course no Navigational Event would be complete without the obligatory last minute SNAFU: we all remember Colin and Tony’s great Road Event of a few years ago when one of the roads was so rough only Joseph Cyril Bamford would have managed to get through the very last road section; also Peter Metcalfe’s infamous Prudhoe event where there was a white he insisted he had driven in his mini that almost destroyed everyone else’s cars. Tonight would be no different: it was only once competitors got going that they discovered the road past Beamish Hall was closed and all important Post Box had been covered up with a very strange ’Hong Kong’ bag, causing a re-route back along Beamish Burn Road to pass the Bluebell Inn for the second time. Not that it had put off Club Chairman Ollie Currie and Co-driver Karl Knox, who were convinced, as Peter Metcalfe had been so long ago, that the road was a ’goer’. And go they did, determined to make it through to the entrance of Beamish Museum.

2016 Hong Kong

Alas it was not to be the case. Barriers blocked their route and they could not pass. Undeterred, they turned around and soon the throaty roar of the MR2 could be heard protesting at the inconvenience as they retraced their route and headed back to Stanley and the A693 - accompanied by enthusiastic cries of ’Floor it’ from the passenger seat: it is obviously in the very lifeblood of every single member of the Knox family to go far more rapidly than common sense dictates. Ollie, thankfully, had his sensible head on (having taken note of Guy’s very clear instructions on road behaviour) and kept it to the legal limit. Cue pouty bottom lip from Karl, but muchos kudos for Mr Currie.

With Guy hosting the event tonight Peter was of course unable to take advantage of his usual navigator, however being the resourceful man that he is, (and bearing in mind that Tony Bebbington had long harboured a hankering for a competitive trip in Peter’s classic mini) there was an obvious deal to be done: the call was made and Tony duly arrived at the club bearing a sunny smile and an enthusiasm that we have missed over the past couple of years. Indeed it was a shame that he wasn’t at the club a few weeks ago when Colin hosted the ’Foot Rally’ but Tony was on an early flight: tonight was his opportunity to catch up with us all again and see what had been happening whilst he’s been away (and getting a very obvious and healthy suntan). As it happens his trip in the classic mini was not to happen tonight: Peter explaining to him that an errant blown fuse had been the cause of much head scratching and the sensible decision had to be to use the more modern car tonight on the basis that Mr mini would be ready for the next event. The common sense thing to do, but disappointing nonetheless.

Once all crews had completed the route, returned to the Club and Guy had marked each answer sheet, final results were declared as follows:

1 Tosh and Brian 0F6m 13s
2 Andrew and Kev 0F8m 48s
3 Ollie and Karl 0F19m 42s
4 Gordon and Adam 1F11m 04s
5 Peter and Tony 1F12m 40s
6 Jimmy and Alastair 0FNovice

A great win for Brian and Tosh, answering every question correctly and taking the victory on their very rapid plotting time: those two minutes mentioned earlier being the deciding factor: the Government and the media may insist that ’Speed Kills’ but at Whickham and District Motor Club we know the truth: it is very different: ’Speed Wins’ - which is exactly as it should be.

A huge thank you to Guy for putting the event on, we know how much effort goes into organising an event such as this, and it is so very much appreciated by every single crew on the event tonight. Points in the Club Championships to all who took part, Brian and Tosh move up in their respective rankings (although now it must surely be considered too late to wrest the Championship title from Andrew and Kevin due to their Tranwell results) - but then, there are only four points in it. Many thanks to all who took part in what was a hugely enjoyable event whilst essentially being a really simple little affair:

Guy Wickham - take a very well deserved bow - you absolutely nailed it tonight!

Wheel meet again - 21 September 2016

Steering Wheel Nurburgring

Balls of Steel.

An expression that usually goes hand in hand with a brave act of heroism or daring, a momentous personal victory against all odds, a foolhardy yet unexpectedly successful attempt at an altogether impossible challenge.

Not always, though, as in some cases it means exactly what it says: balls made of steel. And it was those very steel balls that would define the course of the event this evening when the famous 1980's Hillman Imp steering wheel made its appearance at Whickham and District Motor Club’s Steering Wheel Challenge.

The concept was simple: a number of steel balls in a circular tray mounted in the centre of a steering wheel: get the balls in the holes in the shortest possible time, and then place the wheel very carefully back on the table without knocking the balls out of their holes. Sounds simple? You wouldn’t believe how hard it was for some, how easy others made it look.

But then again we were men, and if there is nothing else in this world that is set in stone, it is the fact that given any number of men, plus any sort of competitive element at all, there will be a competition to prove who is best.

The first test certainly adopted the concept of the Medieval ’Ridge and Furrow’ type surface as found in many Northern archaeological sites. Whilst historically accurate and aesthetically pleasing, it does nonetheless introduce a degree of complexity and frustration to those competitors taking part by making the task of getting the balls in the holes far more taxing than it ever needs to be.

But then, who said a competition should be easy?

Karl was a surprising first entrant tonight, casting aside his usual reticence and grasping the wheel of power as if he were King Arthur himself, faced with the Sword in the Stone, ready to become the ruler of the WDMC Kingdom. His concentration was intense, his determination obvious, his mission very clear: Could he do it? Would he do it? Did he have the innate ability to conquer all before him tonight?

To be honest, his time was not bad at all for a first attempt, although in reality he was less than pleased: he felt inside that he could have done better. No matter though and no time to dwell on the subject as Brian was immediately up for his challenge, posting a time that was only two-thirds of Karl’s - maybe King Arthur Karl would need to find another sword this night, or maybe his time was yet to come.

Tosh was up next, his reputation as the absolute Master of the Steering Wheel Challenge at stake from all who took part. Each time the competitors get quicker, their times that little bit less, their determination to beat him more pronounced. Would he meet this challenge, or would there be a new name at the top of the leader board? For Tosh this was not an option, this is the one event he excels at; he considers this title his and his alone; this position would only be relinquished to an incredible performance by a gifted individual - but would that be tonight?

Andrew took his turn with a steely resolve to be that very man: it was etched in every line on his face, his furrowed brow a picture of intensity. He is a competitive man, and knows what it takes to succeed: determination and guts, and certainly balls of steel. There seems an inevitability that he will not rest until he has that win. The chase is both compelling to watch and exciting to be part of. His time, as could have been expected, was faster than all other challengers, including Brian. Everything was therefore to play for during the second round.

As is tradition, the second round was indeed the famous Nordschliefe circuit with its twelve significant corners and twelve associated balls: the major difference this time being the surface which was as smooth as a billiard table; just like comparing Taylor Swift’s face to that of Keith Richards, the difference was immense: the expectation therefore being that times would tumble.

Surprisingly tonight, the difference was not as great as had been expected, although in an unexpected turn of events, the accumulated times would reveal a challenge emerging from an unexpected source: Steve Averre, you silent Ninja, you were so much under the radar and never even noticed......

Final results, after both tests had been taken and time had been accumulated were as follows:

1 Tosh 38.5s
2 Andrew 64.0s
3 Brian 70.1s
4 Steve 71.4s
5 Guy 81.7s
6 Karl 93.2s
7 Jimmy 124.1s
8 Paul 124.3s
9 Kev 133.1s
10 Alastair 294.9s

An absolutely crushing win for Tosh, stamping his absolute authority on the steering wheel challenge once again and showing just who really has the balls of steel; however a surprising second place this week for Andrew, beating Brian for the first time ever. Maybe the challenger has a new focus following his Co-Driving decision, perhaps the Wednesday night events will take on a new significance, could the Club Championships be more appealing to the younger Roughead? Only time will tell.

No matter. Points in the Club Championship to all who took part, Andrew takes second spot from a non-appearing Phil, Tosh leapfrogs both Phil and Kev into third place and sits only a whisker behind Andrew, whilst Guy slips quietly ahead of Mr "Go Motorsport" Peter. With only around nine events left in the Superstars Championship the title race is hotting up: can anyone catch Brian and beat him to the Superstars Title for 2016? Who will be the runner up? Is there really so little time left? Where did the year go? Is it only 93 shopping days to Christmas?

Or if you are a man, do we really have 92 days before we need to think about Christmas shopping? Brilliant.

Pit Stop - 7 September 2016

Pit Stop Wheel

Expectation. Pressure. Sweaty palms.

Expectation: a belief centred on a future result which may or may not be realistic;
Pressure: a sense of stressful urgency caused by a certain expectation;
Sweaty Palms: the result of both the above.

There are times in this life when we all experience pressure, sometimes due to the expectation of those around us, often due to the expectations we put upon ourselves. Tonight was no exception.

The Whickham and District Motor Club Pitstop competition is a fiercely fought challenge; where, in less than a minute and a half, victors can be crowned, potential champions aspirations can be dashed, the ordinary man in the street can emerge as a real contender with a stunning display of dexterity on one night, where split seconds decide the winners and losers and reputations are made and broken.

There are few challenges during the Club’s competition year where the event is over so quickly; where all the preparation, the psychological buildup, the mental focus and yes, all the expectation can be compressed into such a short period of time. Fewer than ninety seconds. Often around seventy. The PitStop Competition encompasses all this and more.

The stopwatch starts the split second you pick up the wheel brace; all eyes are on you as you smite the brace to slacken each nut; every other competitor watches like a hawk to see if your technique is better than theirs; and as each nut falls free, the seconds tick remorselessly by: 25, 26, 27, 28, and as the thud of the wheel hitting the floor resounds throughout the room, intakes of breath occur and times are checked: is it slow, is it close, is this faster than me, is this the fastest time of all, will this beat my own time? Empathy can sometime rear its head as perfectly capable men suddenly struggle with the simple task of putting the wheel back on the studs cleanly: teeth are gritted, words are uttered, a split second seems like an age, a missed alignment a tragedy, eyes squinting, arms straining, hands beginning to shake.

160907 Brace Spin

And then suddenly the wheel slams home.

Wheel nuts immediately snatched from the floor, fingers trembling to get them started on the threads: though there are only four it seems to take forever to get them started. The wheel brace grasped, the spin too slow, breathing now rapid, brows become furrowed, hands sliding along the wheel brace shaft to reduce the friction and gain a few valuable microseconds, the smack of the final hit of the brace to tighten the nuts to torque and then the slam of the brace hitting the floor. So much incredible action, so little time to take it all in.

Over the past few years there have been some amazing times, some incredible results, victories have been won and lost, and Champions have emerged. There are also of course, those that believe it is their destiny, those that expect to do well, and yet do not. Others of course expect little, yet have that one incredible night where it all comes together and they emerge victorious.

The night of the 7th September 2016 was, however, a beautiful balmy late Summer night, an evening where the air was still, with not a breath of wind and temperatures approaching 20C - which of course brought with it the third element of the competition: those sweaty palms. Nobody could spin the wheel brace like normal tonight, apart from those with hands like Mahatma Ghandi’s feet: they needed to be as hard and dry as nails. Everyone else found the brace sticking to their fingers, slowing the spin, eating up valuable seconds and dropping them down the rankings. It was a night for men to emerge as men. All the more surprising, then, that some of the challenger's times had still been beaten: a brilliant time for Brian, a great one for Gary, both possibly their best ever.

Final results, after all had tried their absolute best to be the wheel changing wizards, were declared as follows:

1 Andrew 1m 12.26s
2 Brian 1m 14.93s
3 Jimmy 1m 17.77s
4 Gary 1m 19.95s
5 Phil 1m 21.85s
6 Tosh 1m 23.61s
7 Karl 1m 39.80 s

A great result for Andrew once again, retaking the position of King of the wheel change from Jimmy who had an unusually bad night; however there are few in the Club that believe Andrew can hold on to this crown faced with the might of JiKno. Jimmy will no doubt be eyeing up this lost opportunity with a certain degree of pain: he considers the wheel change competition his own, and will stop at nothing to hold onto that title. Andrew had better make sure his performance was no flash in the pan: Jimmy will be coming for you next time!

160907 Jimmy 1

Points in the Club Championship to all who took part, Brian extends his lead, Andrew leaps into third place and creeps ever closer to Phil, Tosh and Kev tie for fourth place.

Many thanks to Gary and Phil for bringing the equipment along despite Phil’s obvious tiredness, however he picked up enough points to maintain his challenge for the Superstars title as the Championship enters its final stages.

Telephone Rally - 31 August

Dunkeswell

Chinese Whispers. Not necessarily what you might imagine if you were thinking of chocolate bars made in the Far East. As children we used to play Chinese Whispers, where one child would whisper something into the next childs ear, and then they would pass it on, and eventually it would come round and be something completely different. The clue, of course, is in the perception of the recipient, who may not hear quite what was actually said.

Its therefore fair to say that there were indeed parallels with some crews tonight as what was said was obviously not what was heard, judging by the routes submitted for marking. The deviations were not that great, but as the competition is now so very close, each and every error is bound to make a difference to the overall result.

Tosh put on a very compact route this evening that encompassed a variety of different road types, from the main A roads to yellows and whites and even bridleways and an Airfield!

Devon was the choice of Champions tonight and it fell to the village of Culmstock, with its single old narrow stone bridge and population of around 600 to host the start of what was to be an extremely competitive event that saw an even closer result than anyone was expecting. From the pretty Culmstock village the route meandered down to Blackborough and then South of Dunkeswell before taking a surprising turn into Dunkeswell Aerodrome in the heart of the Blackdown Hills - originally established in 1943 as RAF Dunkeswell, before being used by the US Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command as a base of operations to fly antisubmarine missions. The aerodrome now hosts a number of flying schools including Devon and Somerset Flight Training.

Culmstock

Heading North past Gipsy Cross the route took us into Hemyock, original home of the famous ’Utterly Butterly’ and ’St Ivel Gold’ spreads, before heading South and skirting the remains of the remote Cistercian monastery Dunkeswell Abbey, founded in 1201 AD, now little more than a few ruins. From there we headed North again crossing the Bolham River before passing within 300m of Smeatharpe Stadium, home of some of the West Country’s finest banger racing events!

Leaving the roar of competition engines behind for the quieter pastures of the Parish of Luppitt (a tiny place with arguably one of the most comprehensive websites I’ve seen) brings us back up to the village of Upottery nestling on the Devon and Somerset border before briefly crossing the very busy A303 a couple of times and finishing just South of Rawridge, with all its local produce on the doorstep and a host of Country Markets.

With such picturesque countryside around it would have been truly wonderful to actually drive the route today, but alas it was simply not to be. Nonetheless, each crew did their best to avoid the pitfalls of the dreaded Chinese Whispers and make sure their driver heard exactly what their Navigator was describing, hoping this would bring them the victory they both craved. This week saw tables commandeered to give a better view of the maps and avoid the crouching stance of the Navigator, something that helped a lot this evening. However, not everything in that particular garden was rosy: the number of missed junctions, wrong slots and general mistakes was higher than normal, and so it was a very different scorecard that greeted the competitors at the end of the night.

Results after all crews had driven themselves to distraction, were declared as follows:

1 Phil and Gary 0 Fails - 13 Controls15m 00s + 2m 00s
2 Tosh and Brian 2 Fails - 15 Controls11m 24s
3 Andrew and Kev 2 Fails - 15 Controls12m 08s
4 Gordon and Guy 4 Fails - 15 Controls13m 05s

A great result for Gary and Phil, keeping everything as clean as a whistle and cleaning up on the points in the process. Many thanks to everyone else that took part, everyone seemed to enjoy the event although it was fair to say that as the nights start to draw in the light in the Club makes each TableTop and Telephone Rally more challenging. Nevertheless, it was good to see a good number of enthusiastic Club members taking part and trying to grasp the Championship lead. Who knows who will win in the end, there is everything still to play for.....

Points in the Club Championship to all who took part, many thanks to Tosh for putting the event on and bringing all the necessary equipment, here’s to the next round in the Maps Championship and seeing who will step up to the mark next time....

Colin and Tony's Foot Rally - 17 August 2016

The ’Dirty Dog’ returned to Whickham and District Motor Club on the night of the 17th August when Colin Fish, a member of the Club for very many years, put on a much awaited ’Foot Rally’ around the local streets. The event had been organised by both Colin and Tony Bebbington, both ex-members, but always most welcome on a Club night and particularly so when they were more than willing to put an event on for the benefit of the members of the Club.

Foot Rallies have been a part of Whickham Motor Club’s culture for a very long time although we haven’t managed to hold one since July 2014, when the significant pairing of Club Chairman Ollie Currie and Mark Jose triumphed and took maximum points. Tonight, however, was not going to see a repeat performance: Ollie is now very much a family man spending much of his time running around trying to wrestle control of his iPhone back from his 16 month old daughter, whilst Mark is living the high life of a successful software developer these days and probably has a man to do his walking for him!

Nevertheless, there were certainly participants this evening, and as you could no doubt expect there was the usual very competitive element involved which saw each and every competing member doing their best to try and gain points in the Club Championship and leapfrog those below. Tonight, however, would not necessarily play out well for all the participants, as the nights are all too obviously drawing in now that we are heading towards the end of August: the longest day was unbelievably over two months ago: we are now a third of the way towards the shortest day, and that of course affected those crews that didn’t get to the club particularly early tonight.

One major victim of the loss of light was the crew of Gary and Phil; having turned up just as the light was fading, with no torch or means of lighting their way, they must have felt like the Ancient Greek Leander, their love of a challenge driving them to hope that Aphrodite’s Hero would strike up a light to help guide them and provide them direction in their quest for clues. Forsooth, Kibblesworth is these days incredibly short of Greek Heros and so it was not to pass; as the light faded, so did their chances of victory, and as dusk descended the lure of the warm, cosy atmosphere of the Club overcame their desire to beat all before them.

Walking

Amazingly, they were not the last to return. A full fifteen minutes after Gary and Phil appeared the doors were flung open to reveal team KK: Kevin and Karl. Just like the 90’s expression that spawned the team’s initials, these boys were very definitely ’oK and Kool’ - their persistence driving them to search for clues despite the impending darkness. This was for them an inspired decision; they arrived back at the club in plenty of time to avoid penalties yet with a plethora of answers to catapult them into third place and justify their dogged determination to improve their championship chances.

Not everything was perfect in the KK camp however: it would certainly be fair to say that Kevin Cousins will never be considered an appropriate host of BBCs Gardeners’ World, principally due to his presentation of a clover as a dandelion: this was however perfectly understandable given that despite everyone’s initial impressions, there was an absolute dearth of dandelions in Kibblesworth tonight. The Lion’s tooth was just not present this evening. Points were therefore deducted for both his misidentification and complete lack of horticultural knowledge. This was further compounded by his surprise at discovering a Chieftan was in fact a tank. If Kevin ever gets to see a Chieftain up close, it would be fair to say he wouldn’t forget it in a hurry: it is a formidable piece of military hardware, and not one you could keep in your garden shed.

Dandelion

Jimmy and Alastair were little better: given the task of counting steps to the clue of how many eggs were in one basket, they decided adding all of them together would be an acceptable answer: not three, or four, but just ’3 or 4’. Of course adjudicator Colin (Mr. Accurate) Fish was never in a months of Sundays going to mark that answer as correct. Nice try Jimmy, but no cigar.

Results after all crews had returned, treasures had been checked off and Dandelion stalks had been measured, were declared as follows:

1 Tosh and Brian 0 Fails 7 Treasures
2 Peter 1 Fail 5 Treasures
2 Kev and Karl 5 Fails 4 Treasures
4 Jimmy and Alastair 13 Fails 3 Treasures
4 Phil and Gary 25 Fails 4 Treasures

Congratulations to Tosh and Brian on a great win, almost cleaning the event; their only fail being the answer to the ’Dirty Dog’ question, which no crew was even close to getting correct: "What flower can be seen under the Tyne Bridge?" It was, of course, one of Colin’s typical mind benders: it was not a ’flower’ in the sense of flower beds and vases on the windowsill, but actually a play on words of ’flow’; what flows is a flow-er, and the thing that flows under the Tyne bridge is of course the River Tyne itself. In a strange and ironic twist it didn’t make any difference to the result; the answer sheets were far enough apart to stand on their own merit.

It was, however, wonderful to see Colin at the Club again, and catch up on what he had been doing over the past couple of years. It was a superbly organised event, and save one tiny error where a footpath was shown as a road, the event was an absolute pleasure to take part in. The distances were exact, the clues nice and easy to follow (even if they were on occasion difficult to actually find) and the marking, as is always the case with Colin, scrupulously fair, with Colin always willing to listen to a genuine interpretation, comment or opinion. It was unfortunately a shame that Tony was unable to attend, as he is always welcome at the Club and had obviously put a great deal of effort into the event, and we are very grateful for both his and Colin’s efforts in that respect.

Points in the Club Championship to all who took part, Brian extends his lead still further, Tosh takes another step up by wresting third place from Kevin, and Phil sees his second place lead eroded a little more. The title race is hotting up, and there is everything to play for!

Click here to view the 'Championship Standings' page

Medium Kev's Quiz - 3 August 2016

2016 Kevs Quiz

’Touch-and-go’ is a very interesting phrase, and one that has been used over the years with great success. Whenever something is very close, almost to the point of no return, we tend to say it was ’touch-and-go’ for a moment. Many of our members have for example been driving to places with virtually no petrol left in the tank and they would consider it touch-and-go whether they would make it to the petrol station. Others may have been on rallies where the critical call was a bit on the late side and they would definitely feel making the next bend was touch-and-go.

Wednesday the 3rd August 2016 was the night that Medium Kev Cousins put on a great little quiz that although at first appeared quite straightforward actually tested everyone’s knowledge quite a bit: a good little mix of questions encompassing Rallying, Motorsport History, Formula 1 and Touring Cars with a nod to Tee Cee at the very end with a RallyCross poser.

Maximum points available was a heady 15 and so scoring should have been reasonably high, after all we are a Motor Club, but therein lies the rub: most members only really know about their own discipline, and are at best flaky on all the others. Those with the broadest overall knowledge would generally be acknowledged as Peter or Guy; so many quizzes are organised by them due to generally finishing as the top two. This night, however, was not to be quite as straightforward. Neither had won the last event, hence Kev being the organiser of this particular round, but this was their chance to make amends; a good result here would bring them back into the running!

There were initially ten potential University Challenge contestants, each believing they were the ones to take the victory tonight. Each took their turn, handed in their answer sheets and awaited the results. As ten o’clock approached it seemed apparent that there were no more to take up the challenge, so Kev started to collate the results: it was at that precise point he received a phone call from Tosh and Brian, running extremely late due to work, asking if the quiz was still on! Kev said yes, if you can be here in ten minutes, and to the rush was on.

Much like the dearly beloved Road Rallies of the Eighties, the road from Stanley to Kibblesworth suddenly came alive to the sound of a very rapidly driven overhead cam Fiat engine as Brian gunned the wee Panda like there was no tomorrow: this was seriously ’touch-and-go’ and as the minutes ticked by, not a word was said in passenger or driver seat as tyres squealed and suspension thumped, seconds became minutes, minutes seemed to drag. The new 20mph limit in Kibblesworth was - as expected of a WDMC member - stringently observed despite its potential to ruin their chances; however they made it with seconds to spare; and Kev, being not only the absolute gentleman that he is but also a firm believer in sportsmanship, handed them the question paper as they walked through the door. Questions were being answered and written down as they waited for their drinks.
Touch-and-go? I’ll say!

Typically, the rallying questions were too much for the latecomers, but due to the eclectic nature of the quiz, there was enough left in it to make it a challenge, and as they handed in their answer sheet their breath was being collectively held, wondering if it had been worthwhile taking the life off the Panda’s tyres.

The paper was marked, the sheets were shuffled, and Kev turned smiling to Guy and announced that he had nothing to worry about. Not that THAT was a surprise to anyone.

Results were therefore declared as follows:

1 Guy 8
2 Mac 5
2 Ollie 5
4 Knoxies 4
4 Phil 4
4 Tosh and Brian 4
7 Gordon 3
7 Peter 3
9 Andrew 2
9 Gary 2
11 Karl 0

Congratulations to Guy on a resounding win, once again showing a breadth of motoring related knowledge that many can aspire to but few can match: normally only Peter gets close, but this day he was nowhere to be seen; perhaps his Go Motorsport responsibilities are beginning to fill the spaces in his head that previously held those facts and figures that he used to challenge Guy. Mac of course brings a wealth of motoring knowledge with him and so second was no surprise. What was a surprise was a fine equal fourth for Tosh and Brian showing that it’s never over until it’s over, and the sprint to the Club was worth every penny.

Many thanks indeed to Kev for putting the quiz on, and especially for both being a gentleman and making it a good mix of questions. It can be very easy to concentrate on only one area of motoring knowledge but Kev encompassed a number of areas that made it very interesting for everyone in the Club.

Points in the Club Championship to all, Brian stretches his lead another couple of points, Tosh leapfrogs Andrew to tie at third with Kev, Guy jumps up two clear places to 8th and Karl drops to 10th - this was obviously not Karl’s strongest event of the year. However there is still time to climb the championship ladder and finish in a strong position.
The Championship is never over until the final event of the year, and there are still plenty of events to come!

Scalextric - 27 July 2016

Scalextric CivicBMW

There is a common saying (probably started by women) that men are just boys with bigger toys. It is not true. Men are simply just boys at heart. Nothing more, nothing less. The truly wonderful thing about being a man is that you can act like a boy almost any time you like, and, to be honest, for the majority of us it really doesn’t really matter what people think.

Take the night of the 27th July 2016 for instance. Whickham and District Motor Club, a place where grown men meet to discuss the finer (and often serious) points of life and the universe. A meeting of minds and opinions, of intelligent conversation and philosophy. Except on that particular night Peter brought in his Scalextric and Steve Averre brought a selection of awesome cars. Philosophy and the meaning of life went out of the metaphorical window - Scalextric was here: there were races to be won!

This was, surprisingly, the first Scalextric night of 2016, and just like giving a starving man a free pass to Greggs, there was no stopping the hungry rush. In what was noticeably the most well attended and competitive event of the year so far, eighteen members took part in a fabulously entertaining evening of superb fun as everyone drove their hearts out to try and beat their racing rival.

The format was, as could always have been expected, that most classic of competitions: man against man, car against car, the fastest over ten timed laps the victor. First across the line counted for everything, to come second in a two car race would only mean you were first loser!

The crowd was cacophanous, the banter boisterous, the enthusiasm exhuberant and the voluble advice mostly well intentioned: whether it actually made any difference to the result was a moot point - it was simply huge fun and there were so many smiling faces and laughter it must rank as one of the most brilliant nights of the year so far.

The initial races were all timed over ten laps, each driver racing on both lanes in separate races, times added together to give an overall result based on twenty competitive laps. Total times were then divided by the number of laps to give an average lap time: and they were so close it was almost unbelievable.

Results were therefore declared as follows:

1 Peter 61.80s ave lap 3.09s
2 Brian 64.01s ave lap 3.20s
3 Guy 64.18s ave lap 3.21s
4 Phil 64.84s ave lap 3.24s
5 Tosh 65.11s ave lap 3.26s
6 Karl 65.31s ave lap 3.27s
7 Steve 66.50s ave lap 3.33s
8 Kev 66.74s ave lap 3.34s
9 Ollie 67.85s ave lap 3.39s
10 Gordon 68.43s ave lap 3.42s
11 Jamie 68.92s ave lap 3.45s
12 Paul 70.24s ave lap 3.51s
13 Andrew 74.39s ave lap 3.72s
14 Alastair 74.68s ave lap 3.73s
15 Mark 75.92s ave lap 3.80s
16 Ian C 76.49s ave lap 3.82s
17 Ian S 77.18s ave lap 3.86s
18 Andy E 78.88s ave lap 3.94s

Congratulations to Peter on a superb win: he was however quick to point out that although it was his track the cars were Steve Averre’s and so in reality Steve should have trounced him. As could be seen from the results, it is very apparent that piano tuning obviously benefits the musical Mr Metcalfe and his dynamically dextrous digits, for Peter’s times were so quick he was all but untouchable. Not that Brian saw it that way: the younger Townsend proving that every competition is there to be won and the faster your times the better your chance of winning, and so for Brian attack was the name of the game.

Second for him was a good result, his average lap time only one hundredth of a second faster than third placed Guy; himself three hundredths quicker than Phil with Tosh snapping at Phil's heels. Looking down the table it was very apparent that it was extremely close in terms of average lap time. In truth, going off the circuit could cost a driver a mere three seconds, but that would mean a speed increase equivalent to 0.3 seconds a lap, and that would mean the difference between finishing third or twelfth!

Many thanks indeed to Peter and Steve for putting on such a brilliantly simple event that had virtually everyone at the club gathered round the top end of the room, cheering and laughing and having a fantastic evening. Thanks too to everyone that took part: it’s evenings like this that truly make the club what it is, a great place to spend a Wednesday evening.

Points in the Club Championship to all, Brian extends his lead a little more once again, Kev loses his second place to Phil and Tosh creeps ever closer to Andrew.

The title race is hotting up, and believe it or not, there are only four months left in the Championship!

Table Top Round 2 - 20 July 2016

TableTop 1602

There are many things to be grateful for during the Summer months, and one thing that was particular appreciated on the 20th July 2016 was the beautifully balmy and sunny evening that not only welcomed the members of Whickham and District Motor Club to their usual Wednesday night meeting, but also beamed brightly through the windows to light up the inside of the lounge and bring a wonderful sense of Summer to the venue.

Not only was the sunshine most welcome but it also played very well into the hands of the early competitors that took part in Peter Metcalfe’s superb Table Top Rally, as, unlike similar events during the winter months, the light was key in allowing the detail of Peter’s excellently printed maps to be seen perfectly clearly which made the challenge so much easier for those with less than perfect vision. Good points were to be had tonight as the club was fairly light on attendance - always a good sign for Championship contenders!

Peter had created yet another of his great little Table Top events: not too long, not too difficult, a good and healthy mixture of plotting types and enough little twists to test all types of competitor. There were no "Dirty Dog" moments to catch people out, but there were enough testing elements to ensure it was no walk-over for anyone. There were of course those that found the challenge more than testing, but to give everyone their due, none gave up and it was very heartening to see people doggedly battling on despite everything and each and every one gained points in the Club Championship due to their determination.

There were of course the usual raised eyebrows and knowing nods when people's errors were pointed out, but as is generally the case, each member appreciated not only their mistakes in plotting but also the effort that Peter had gone to in order to put the event on. Results were declared as follows:

1 Tosh 0F 11m 23s
2 Brian 0F 38m 45s
3 Guy 1F 20m 04s
4 Andrew 2F 15m 00s
5 Andy Egner 4F 34m 00s
6 Ian Salkeld 7F 42m 30s

Congratulations to Tosh on a blinding time and a perfect result, once again stamping his authority on the Maps Championship and increasing his lead by another two points from Brian, who finished a very credible second showing that perseverance counts for a very great deal, refusing to give up on the task of solving a difficult circular herringbone with no obvious start (the first that he had ever seen) and proving its worth with a clean result: as always, clean wins the day. A good result for Guy, narrowly losing out to Brian by virtue of his very slight route error resulting in a fail and losing him the benefit of a quicker time than Brian. Andrew was quicker still; although unfortunately he too fell foul of the circular herringbone - and the longer he took to solve the riddle, the greater the lure of his pint became: Andrew eventually throwing caution to the wind and very appropriately calling "Time" in order to sit down and saviour the sweet nectar of his pint at the end of what had been a particular busy day and evening, moving cars around the North East in the heat of mid Summer. His pleasure was all too obvious.

Many thanks indeed to Peter for putting on a short, sharp event that didn’t take up too much of the evening whilst still being enough of a challenge to get a few people scratching their heads and furrowing their brows. If the event whetted the appetite of some memnbers to tackle the next round that can only be a very good thing.

Points in the Club Championship to all, Tosh extends his lead with Brian helping to keep it a 'Townsend Lockout' at the head of the results tonight.

Guys Special Event - 13 July 2016

160713 Guy Event

RED. A wonderful colour, a great film, a sign of danger. All of those things are true.

It also figured highly on the night of the 13 July 2016 when Guy Wickham held his "Special Event" at Kibblesworth Workmens Club. Nobody knew exactly what it was going to be, some may have brought pencils and rubbers thinking it would be map based event; some may have swotted up on their motorsport knowledge thinking it might be some form of special quiz, whilst others may have spent the day cracking knuckles and flexing fingers thinking it might be a dexterity based challenge.

None were even close. Tonight Guy put on a deceptively simple exercise, based on rally timing, that should have been a walk in the park to any of the very experienced co-drivers in the club. In simple terms, it was a paper exercise but in reality it was as much a test of a co-driver’s understanding of timing as it was an exercise in mathematics. The challenge was made even easier by being held in the warm, dry and quietness of the club, without the many distractions that would normally be present, trying to manage all the various calculations and elements in a moving car whilst giving directions at the same time. Tonight’s competition was easy in comparison, and so the experts would no doubt trounce the novices.

The truth of the matter was subsequently a little different to what may have been expected, and surprisingly so, as it certainly seemed to favour the careful over the quick. Unlike the 1995 film starring Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman, tonight it was not the fastest that would taste victory; indeed those that took their time and carefully read all the instructions very carefully would see themselves at the head of the results.

Guy made it quite clear that the instructions should be read very carefully, yet it appeared those guidelines fell on some deaf ears in some quarters, confused others: of the seven that took part there was amazingly only one perfectly clean answer sheet. That, of course, took the victory; and as has been said so many time before on so many different occasions: to win you must be furthest cleanest, and a clean result would always win over a fail. Tee Cee would therefore see himself at the top of the charts this evening, despite not having co-driven for nigh on twenty years, showing that even after the passage of so much time, certain things never leave you. Skill and understanding, it seems, are perennial.

There were some healthy, yet embarrassed cheers as the results were announced, once everyone had sat their Wednesday night equivalent of the Kibby Club Maths Test:

1 Tee Cee 0F 14m 26s
2 Tosh and Brian 2F 13m 11s
3 Andrew 4F 6m 17s
4 Gary 4F 9m 15s
5 Ronnie 4F 9m 53s
6 Jimmy and Alastair 6F 29m 14s
7 Phil 7F 10m 41s

Congratulations to Tee Cee on a brilliantly taken victory, showing that despite being somewhat grey around the gills, he can certainly still show these young whippersnappers a thing or two! A great result for Tosh and Brian, who although having been beaten by Tee Cee, still managed a very credible second: a great result considering neither had any experience of rally timing before, and only a slight misunderstanding causing them to drop points for one stage and subsequent totting up totals.

Many thanks indeed to Guy for putting an excellent and excitingly different event on, something we have not seen before at the club but one that certainly combined a most useful exercise with the usual competitive element! Thanks also to everyone who took part in what could be a great new event for the future - learning with prizes! Tee Cee was extremely happy not only to have won but more importantly having beaten Tosh - payback for last week when his challenge was well and truly met: their battle continues...

Points in the Club Championship to all, Brian extends his lead by a few more points, Tosh starts to catch up a little bit.

Oh, and that colour red?
That would be the colour of a few of the established co-drivers faces..........

PlayStation - 6 July 2016

PS4 Canada

"When the cat’s away the mice will play" is an age old proverb but it was also a very apt description of the event of the night of the 6th July, when Tosh "borrowed" his brand new Son-in-Law’s PlayStation4 and DriveClub game and brought it to the Motor Club (whilst new Son-in-Law was on honeymoon - he probably had other things on his mind).

Although DriveClub is not a game we have seen at WDMC before, it was a driving game and therefore had all the necessary ingredients to entertain a dozen competitive men in a club. DriveClub was the game, Canada was the country, all other options were the first on the list of options. As with all our driving competitions, there were of course a number of little sub-competitions going on apart from the main event. More of that later.

It has always amazed me how men can get into the ’zone’ so quickly when driving competitively, and tonight was an absolutely prime example: having only just set the game up, Kev Cousins was first to the game. What transpired next was an absolute delight to witness: Kev was immediately on the boil from the very first micro-second - his pace incredible right from the off, his style as smooth as silk, his manner relaxed and easy going despite being as quick as anyone I’ve seen on a first run before. His first run was nevertheless somewhat cautious, his second a stunning ten seconds quicker, his third even quicker still. Kev had set the pace and done so with such a relaxed and unhurried drive that it looked simply unattainable.

Andrew was next, staring in disbelief at Kev’s time, but nonetheless determined to beat it. Alas it was not to be so: Andrew immediately complaining that his hands were too small to reach the buttons; Kev responding that was because it was a "Man’s controller". The best that Andrew could eventually manage was a full five seconds behind Kev. Second place for now, but likely to drop down the rankings as each competitor took their turn. Phil followed Andrew, starting quite slowly but building his speed up, eventually just falling short of Andrew’s time to lie third.

Gary was next. Quiet, unassuming, studious. Generally not considered to be amongst the front runners. Wrong. Gary had been carefully watching the other competitors to see where the time was to be made up: his very first run was amazingly not only faster than Andrew and Phil but was actually snapping at Kev’s heels - could this be a sign of things to come? Although his second run was not as good, it was obvious that he was testing the limits of the car and track surface and he certainly put all his knowledge to very good use on his final run by driving at an incredibly rapid pace to take the lead by 0.3 seconds! Nobody looked more pleased than Gary: could this be the first time he would win a PlayStation event? Only time would tell and Brian had yet to come.

At this point Kev offered a suggestion to make the event more interesting: perhaps Brian should go home? As expected, it fell on deaf ears....

Next to take their turn was Steve Averre: a regular competitor in almost every event that WDMC hold, but not a man that has particularly stood out in previous PlayStation events. Steve is a thoroughly good bloke with a good sense of humour, although he isn’t generally known as a PlayStation star. Tonight, however, he turned that reputation on its head: each of his runs was as good as any we have seen in recent times - even though he was particularly keen on attacking the scenery, he still managed to bring each and every run back from the brink to record an excellent time on the leaderboard: eventually showing up some of the more seasoned campaigners with a superb time of 2m 54.8s. Steve could very well be one to watch in future.

As each subsequent competitor took their turn, the sub-competitions began: Andy and Ian’s friendly rivalry being played out in a wonderfully gentlemanly manner: Ian pondering the prospect of the controller perhaps running out of power and affecting his times slightly more than he was being beaten by; Tosh and Tee Cee’s perennial battle almost not taking place when Tosh became concerned about the lateness of the hour - (not wanting the Kibblesworth Workmens Club to fall foul of the licencing laws) - however a friendly comment from Tee Cee about being "beaten by default" had Tosh grasping the controller to prove he was the faster of the two. And so it subsequently transpired, (much to Tee Cee’s chagrin) even though Tee Cee was offering Tosh plenty of advice on when to brake, which turns were flat, and exactly where to hit the wall!

Final run of the night was Brian. The anticipation was palpable. Having watched with extreme interest all night, weighed up all the options, analysed every corner and every line, Brian was finally ready. Only Gary stood between him and victory. He did, of course, have the advantage of a perfectly clear mind, being the "designated driver" for the night, but this was only of minor benefit - Brian would still have to drive every single metre of the course perfectly, hit every line precisely, clip every apex with millimetric perfection and not make a single, tiny mistake.

It was his time. His first attempt taken very carefully: a clean, calculated run to analyse the car and conditions and get the exact "feel" for everything so his second run could be attempted in earnest. And taken in earnest it most certainly was: his face unmoving, his concentration intense, his pace typically smooth and unhurried, his positioning pin sharp, his time astonishing. It was, to be perfectly frank, the drive of a master, eclipsing everyone by a massive 2.5 seconds and that on only the first of his "competitive" runs. There was, of course, no need to drive again, although it would have been magnificent to see: he had beaten the best time on the board, he was the quickest. For him it was maximum points. No need to prove the point, and all with a run in hand.

Final results, once everyone had done their own imitation of the Jason Plato of Whickham and District Motor Club, were as follows:

1 Brian 2m 48.6s
2 Gary 2m 50.9s
3 Kev 2m 51.2s
4 Steve 2m 54.8s
5 Andrew 2m 56.2s
6 Tosh 2m 56.8s
7 Phil 2m 57.1s
8 Karl 2m 58.0s
9 Tee Cee 3m 2.2s
10 Paul 3m 7.9s
11 Andy 3m 9.4s
12 Ian 3m 11.0s

Congratulations to Brian on an amazingly impressive win, stamping his authority once again on the PlayStation Challenge and leapfrogging Kev and Phil to the top of the leaderboard. Good points for Gary who could just be mounting a mid-season challenge to the established front runners.

Many thanks to Tosh and Brian for putting the event on - and also thanks to Ryan for unknowingly lending his prized PS4 to the Motor Club. Thanks also to everyone who took part in a great new event. Tee Cee was obviously left a little downcast having been beaten by Tosh, especially as TeeCee had initially goaded him into it - only to be roundly beaten! - Their battle will inevitably go on...

Points in the Club Championship to all, once again the Championship tables are turned on their heads, here’s to the next round of the ever changing 2016 Superstars Championship.

Quiz - 29 June 2016

Quiz

It seems that June 2016 is a month for amazing changes in the UK.

Not only did a large number of the populace vote to leave the EU, an even greater shock was the eventual appearance of Andrew Roughead’s Quiz, only six months into the year. As could well have been foreseen, it was based on one of Andrew’s main passions: Rallying.

For a club such as Whickham and District Motor Club, you could be forgiven for thinking that this would result in a very high scoring round for some, based on the wealth of knowledge of rallying and history of ’The Rally Club’ - as other members of Kibblesworth Workmens Club like to call it.

Surprisingly, that wasn’t entirely the case: in what was a generally low scoring round, it seemed that Andrew had pitched the questions pretty much about right: enough information to make people think they knew the answers, yet difficult enough to ensure it wasn’t going to be a whitewash by those who adore the sport.

There was a good mixture of questions: general rallying knowledge, pictures of drivers and others of parts of cars; an offer to those who may not follow the sport as passionately as others but might be able to recognise either the personalities or their vehicles from the photos.

Final results, once all the answer sheets were in, were as follows:

1 Kev 12pts
2 Phil 10pts
3 Knox Family 8pts
4 TeeCee 6pts
5 Mac Cliff 5pts
5 Ollie 5pts
5 Ronnie 5pts
8 Tosh and Brian 2pts
9 Steve and Paul 1pt
10 Gary 1pt

Congratulations to Kev on a good solid win, reinforcing the opinion that he has more than enough leisure time at work to keep up to date on the history of World rallying; a good result too for Phil, giving his Superstars Championship challenge a huge boost by taking him to the top of the rankings. Not so good this week for Brian, who although being deposed of two places in the table was only one point in the quiz behind such rallying afficionados as Ronnie and Mac Cliff: a good result nonetheless given that rallying does not feature at all in his list of motoring interests.

Thanks to Andrew for putting the event on - it’s fair to say it has been an anticpated event for some months now so it was nice to see it finally appear; also to everyone that took part in what was quite a testing evening. Tee Cee was obviously extremely happy to have beaten Tosh, and so their inter-personal battle goes on as normal.

Points in the Club Championship to all, major changes in the tables as a result and here’s to the next round of the 2016 Superstars Championship.

Pit Stop Competition - 22 June 2016

Pit Stop Wheel

Men like speed.

There is no other way to dress it up, the bottom line is simply this: no matter what else you might think, if you get a number of men together (especially those that are interested in cars and all things motoring) speed will eventually come into the equation. Add a competitive element into the mix, (of any type whatsoever) and the scenario becomes ever more interesting and attractive.

So: take a dozen men. Add a simple rig comprising of a wheel on a hub on a stand. Provide the simplest of tools: a wheel brace. Add a stop watch. Challenge the assembled men to change the wheel in the shortest possible time. There could hardly be a simpler challenge, yet it is often the most simple of events that herald the best results.

Each competitor approached it differently: techniques varying from man to man; some attacked each wheel one nut at a time; some slackened every nut before spinning the rest off; some used their hands more than the brace, some felt the brace offered the best solution. Whichever option was employed, there was always a healthy and interested crowd of onlookers watching, holding their breath, empathising every moment, feeling the pressure, spinning the wheelbrace with the competitor and experiencing every tiny nuance as each man took the challenge.

As with every round of the Pit Stop Competition, rivalry was as fierce as ever: would it be Jimmy that took the honours this time, or would Andrew return to claim what he truly felt was his rightful crown from ’Flying Fingers’ Jimmy? Would somebody else emerge from the shadows with a sudden burst of speed and ability to snatch an unexpected victory from them both? Only the stop watch would tell.

And it was the stopwatch that would be the final arbiter this evening as Jimmy showed he had lost none of his incredible ability by once again taking the honours with another impressive display of speed and dexterity: his time of 1m 7.33s was simply untouchable. Honours in the Pit Stop Challenge are generally divided between Andrew and Jimmy: tonight saw Jimmy claim victory albeit with a slightly slower winning time so Andrew’s record of 1m 05.51s set in January 2016 still remains the ultimate target for all to aim. Will anyone ever beat the one minute barrier? Only time will tell. The only thing faster than Jimmy tonight was 'Flash Gordon' Bradford who shocked everyone with his amazing burst of speed by being at the wheel within a millisecond of being asked if he was ready. Poor Phil on the clocks was caught very much by surprise. A shame Flash's time changing the wheel wasn't quite as quick...

Final results, once everyone had done more spinning than Rapunzel, were as follows:

1 Jimmy 1m 07.33s
2 Andrew 1m 10.63s
3 Phil 1m 21.85s
4 Gary 1m 22.01s
5 Tosh 1m 25.50s
6 Kev 1m 25.75s
7 Brian 1m 26.76s (5s penalty)
8 Adam 1m 30.17s
9 Gordon 1m 40.76s
10 Ollie 2m 03.70s
11 Guy 2m 12.30s
12 Peter 2m 26.15s

Congratulations to Jimmy on yet another impressive win and although he was less than enthusiastic about his time it’s fair to say he was still the fastest by a good margin. It may not have lived up to his demanding standards, but it was still fast enough to beat the rest, and that’s what counts in competition. No more, no less.

Many thanks to Gary and Phil for putting the event on, bringing the wheel change rig and setting everything up; also to everyone that took part in what was once again a very enjoyable evening: it was quite funny to hear the remark late in the evening that so many men could find so much fun in the simple act of changing a wheel: in truth, that is what makes WDMC a great club to be part of - the simple things in life.

Points in the Club Championship to all, many thanks to all who took part and here’s to the next round of the 2016 Superstars Championship.

 

Radio Controlled Autotest - 15 June 2016

RC Aston Martin

There is of course a certain expectation that members of the North East's most active Motor Club would be truly exceptional at driving, no matter what vehicle they were given. Even more so, if that Motor Club was one where Rallying appears to be revered more than any other form of motorsport, one would think that the concept of going sideways was almost akin to normality and would be handled with consumate ease....

Surprising, then, that given a miniscule electric car with very questionable handling, were the number of competitors that actually complained about the car not going straight.
Beg Pardon? One can only assume that people were getting their excuses in early, should they fail to perform as well as they might be expected to by their peers. An added complication tonight turned out to be the surface: approaching the North East garage from the far end of the course caused almost everyone to fall foul of the carpet pile, which over the years had been worn to an angle which rode up under the car and lifted the driven wheels into the air. Cue Karl Knox, who was quicker off his feet than a UKIP member could vote Brexit on June 23rd, to assist all who suffered by gently helping them to gain back traction in a trice. Thank you Karl Knox, you showed true sportsmanship.

The course was simple: one start line, one finish line, four garages. All each competitor had to do was start the radio controlled car astride the Start line, reverse into each of the garages in any order and then cross the finish line. Each "bollard" hit incurred a penalty of 60 seconds added to the competitors final time. Everyone except Andrew managed to reverse properly into all the garages and stop before proceeding; taking particular care to ensure they were well behind the line. Times were thus very tight at the sharp end of the table so in order to make things fair in future rule clarifications will be introduced for the next event! Nonetheless, a good night was had by all concerned and just as expected the normal excuses were flying thick and fast: batteries low, poor signal, no response, steering wonky etc etc - it mattered not in the end, we all knew who was the quickest, and Kev Cousins was without doubt the Ken Block of Kibblesworth!

Final results, once everyone had been driven to distraction, were as follows:

1 Kev 0m 33.8s
2 Karl 0m 36.8s
3 Andrew 0m 36.9s
4 Brian 0m 38.0s
5 Tosh 1m 22.3s
6 Phil 1m 27.6s
7 John 1m 39.7s (+60s)
8 Gary 1m 47.6s (+60s)
9 Steve 2m 03.1s (+60s)
10 Alastair 2m 22.7s (+60s)
11 Jamie 3m 20.9s (+120s)
12 Paul 4m 26.8s (+180s)
13 Ian 5m 28.5s (+120s)

Congratulations to Kev on a brilliant drive, a total pleasure to watch and a great win, maximum points with a crisp, tidy and honest drive. An excellent second place for Karl who showed that his trip into the undergrowth during the week has not hampered his abilities as a pilot. A very fortunate third for Andrew due to the generosity of the organisers - it could so easily have been sixth had they been brutal in their application of fairness to all. There were some very quick times tonight and some interesting interpretations of the best perceived route to take for minimum time on track.

Many thanks to Tosh and Brian for putting the event on, bringing the equipment and setting everything up; also to Karl for keeping his eye on everyone who suffered at the hands of the carpet and for giving each of them a "helping hand" to maintain their momentum.

Points in the Club Championship to all, thanks to all who took part and here’s to the next round of the 2016 Superstars Championship.

Telephone Rally - 8 June 2016

2016 Gary Round 2

If you believe all you read in the Press and also what a number of safety experts say, Speed Kills. One thing we all know at Whickham and District Motor Club is that speed itself does not kill, only the inappropriate use of undue speed in the wrong circumstances, and even then it is not the speed but the consequences of the speeding object meeting something moving much more slowly or at rest that causes the problem.

It was probably therefore the use of inappropriate speed that ’killed’ Tosh and Brian’s chance of victory as although they were the fastest by far to finish Gary Laverick’s truly superb Telephone Rally tonight, it was only the tiniest of mistakes that robbed them of a win when they missed a vital turn and earned a fail because of it.

Gary had selected a great section of the map with a beautifully elegant route that included some wonderfully flowing sections of Northumberland, starting just West of Doddington Moor and heading towards Wooler before crossing the A1 and travelling along some of the fabulous roads from Seahouses to Ellingham. From there the route re-crossed the A1 to fly rapidly right across the map to the A697 before heading South briefly and then working its way back again towards the A1 near South Charlton and Rock, before finally finishing just North of Longhoughton.

From a navigator’s point of view the route was beautifully easy to read, clear and accurate and not in the least bit ambiguous, which allowed everyone to maintain their pace without too much trouble. In an ideal world that would have resulted in a very straightforward event, however the Gods of Club night competition stepped in this evening to make it a testing evening by sabotaging the headsets, causing everyone to struggle to hear the navigator’s instructions. Some could suggest that made it little different to sitting in a competing car, however it did make things difficult for some of the competitors.

Everybody seemed to enjoy the event, and it was particularly nice to see new WDMC Club member Victoria Wilcox have a go at navigating for Phil - the first time she had ever done a Telephone Rally - and she appeared to thoroughly enjoy herself whilst doing so. It’s always so very good to see new people at the Club and especially rewarding when they take part in the club activities too. Regular competitors were also out tonight with the spirit of competition as fierce as ever, tonight’s results probably bringing as much rejoicing in some camps as there was dismay in others!

A surprising entry tonight was long time member Colin Fish, who had come to the club to talk about the forthcoming Tanfield Railway event where some WDMC cars were to be exhibited this weekend. Colin was seen wistfully looking at the telephone headsets, so Tosh and Colin decided to have a non-competitive run in the spirit of old, remembering the great number of Telephone Rallies they had done together in the past; and huge fun they had doing so, although Colin admitted the quality of the current headsets wasn’t a patch on the old BT telephone handsets of old!

Final results, once everyone had taken part were as follows:

1 Andrew and Kev 9m 27s 0F
2 Peter and Guy 11m 26s 0F
3 Tosh and Brian 7m 58s 1F
4 Phil and Victoria 15m 00s 1F
5 Andy and Ian 15m 00s 6F
6 Tosh and Colin 9m 59s 0F

Congratulations to Andrew and Kev on a great win, keeping it clean and tidy and showing that to win you need to be on the correct route all the way from start to finish. A good second place for Peter and Guy, who apparently spotted the route was the local area immediately as Peter was heard to be giving instructions based on Pub names and local landmarks. Also good to see Andy and Ian taking part again, as always with their great sense of humour and relaxed attitude.

Very many thanks to Gary for providing us with not only a superbly presented route of great quality but also his unstinting efforts to get people involved and taking part on the evening - not always a very successful or rewarding task.

Points in the Club Championship to all, thanks to all who took part and here’s to the next round of the 2016 Maps Championship.

Treasure Hunt - 25 May 2016

2016 Treasure Hunt

There is a good reason why Whickham and District Motor Club is one of the most active in the North of England and that’s because there’s an event on every week, no matter what.

May the 25th was the date set for an early Summer evening Treasure Hunt organised by Phil and Steve, with everyone expecting a pleasant and sunny evening befitting the time of year. Unfortunately, although the morning was fine, as the day wore on the weather closed in and late afternoon saw the first drops of what were to be much heavier downpours later that evening, making the event a little more challenging than had been expected. Nevertheless, a few crews did come out, although it is likely that the inclement weather did put off some people who might otherwise have tried their hand at beating the rest.

The route was deceptively simple: a mixture of start and finish points akin to selectives, questions at each juncture and brightly reflective code boards set in easy to view locations; none of the questions were particularly difficult, the object of the event being that both Driver and Navigator could enjoy the route without having to be constantly on the lookout for tricky or difficult things. Whilst that set the scene, there was of course one slight sting in the tail: some of the code boards were a different colour and not all the competitors spotted the clear, but obvious trick and suffered a fail because of it. Traditionally known as the ’Dirty Dog’ bit of the event.

Andrew and Kev were first out of the door, followed shortly afterwards by Tosh and Brian in the trusty Freelander. The evening was beginning to turn to dusk, but the drive out to the start point was enjoyable enough, with the prospect of driving some roads that hadn’t been used since the days of Colin Fish’s last event a few years ago being enough to bring a soupçon of excitement and raise the collective pulse just a little.

However, it wasn’t long before Tosh and Brian’s pulses were raised a touch more than expected, the Freelander starting to make some terrible clonking noises from the transmission just as they approached Waldridge Country Park; a bit of a worry as they were only at the very beginning of the event. Undeterred, they carried on, but as each mile went by the noises became worse and worse and it was not the prospect of the tight left uphill hairpin under the A1 on Forge Lane that had their hearts in their mouths so much as wondering if the transmission was going to last until the end of the event!

One thing they did have in their favour, of course, was the fact that every few miles Andrew and Kev were guaranteed to drive past them and so if they were to break down they knew it was only a matter of time before help would be forthcoming! And it is fair to say that Andrew and Kev were not only the Kings of Drive-by but also once again doing their best to shore up the global oil industry by using as much diesel as possible in one single night. Last time out they stopped to ask if Tosh and Brian had any spare diesel and this time was little different, they actually stopped at a garage for fuel, only to find it closed. If anyone is hard pressed to think of a Christmas gift for Andrew and Kev next December, a 25 litre fuel can would be a great and appropriate idea for the 2017 season.

Vintage Fill Up

Brian, meanwhile, was doing his best to emulate ’Driving Miss Daisy’ by travelling at no more than 25mph through gritted teeth, his beanie pulled tight over his ears to blot out the grinding and clonking of mechanical parts, yet continuing with a steely determination to get to the end no matter what. He feathered the throttle, he coasted whenever possible, he steered with the touch of a seamstress, anything to steer the beast home. Tosh, however, was more pragmatic: as the drinking member of the team it would of course be he who would inherit the job of pushing the Freelander should it stop at an inconvenient point. He started praying: maybe Brian’s offer to be the designated driver had its advantages after all.....

There were a few sighs of relief as Tosh and Brian made it back to the club shortly before eleven o’clock - vehicle suspect but still intact, answer sheet in hand. At least they had got this far.

Final results, once Phil had marked the sheets and pointed out the obvious errors of their ways, were as follows:

1 Andrew and Kev 0F 11m 38s
2 Tosh and Brian 3F 15m 30s
3 Guy 5F 8m 54s

An excellent victory for Andrew and Kev, not only cleaning the event but also with a storming plotting time just to ensure they would win if the tie-breaker was deemed necessary. Kudos to Guy who tackled as much of the event as he could on his own, having found himself ’sans’ navigator at the last minute. Doing so is not a feat to undertake lightly, (ask Tee Cee) but certainly worthy of admiration nonetheless. Not many would attempt to do such a thing. Hats off to you Guy, you're a credit to WDMC.

Many thanks to Phil and Steve for putting the event on, a super route using some classic local roads and great fun to drive despite the weather. Congratulations to Andrew and Kev on a convincing win and maximum points in the Sporting Challenge; as always, points in the Club Championship to all and a very big thank you to all who took part. A pity more crews were not out to enjoy the event, but those who did take part thought it thoroughly enjoyable (despite the fuel costs) and would definitely do it again.

Kinetic Car Race - 18 May 2016

Kinetic cars

One of the most popular events on a Wednesday night is undoubtedly the Kinetic Car Race, and the 18th May was certainly no exception with a grand total of 15 competitors taking part.

Once again there was something different to attract competitors to this particular challenge - and it certainly looked like Gary and Brian had put their heads together to come up with an obstacle course to test each driver, whilst offering a couple of exciting opportunities to score big points without too harsh a penalty. This time there was not only one car to use, but four - a Jaguar, Ferrari and a couple of arrivals that were last seen early in 2016 at the infamous January Sale! All cars had to be used and none could be removed from the course until all had been driven and the 'go' was complete.

This week also saw, apart from a number of various ramps, pads and "Dentistix", the arrival of the "Pylons of Doom" - which would cost a competitor 100 points off his score should he hit one; that was something to be particularly wary of, but the risk could well be worth it, as we also saw the arrival of the Carlsberg Bridge of Sighs which would get you an amazing 300 points just for passing through. For those who were incredibly lucky (or talented) there were also two 500 point markers at the extreme end of the course. It would be a very fortunate man who managed to hit one of those.

Kinetic Pylons of Doom

As each competitor took their turn, it was pretty obvious that the scoring was going to be as random as the handling of the cars, and there was very little that anyone could do to tame them. The best way to tackle the event was to go for the Bridge of Sighs and keep your fingers crossed for a good result. Ian Coulson was the first of the big scorers, massing 350 points with no passes on his go. He was never really pushed after that, though Tosh did get 250 points, until Peter, fresh from his excellent 5th place overall at the weekend had his go and immediately sent the Jaguar through the Bridge of Sighs to score a Grand Total of 400 points!

As everyone else tried to beat him without success, Peter was very much basking in the glory of his victory when Jimmy sidled up to take the last turn of the evening, just as Gary and Brian were about to pack it all away; and very fortuitous it was too, as he put his very first car on the 500 point marker (although, to be fair, he did smash one of the Pylons of Doom on the way) to amass a very last minute 450 points and snatch victory from a rather disappointed Peter.

Final results, once everyone had used their very best endeavours to try to beat the clock, were as follows:

1 Jimmy 450 pts
2 Peter 400 pts
3 Ian 350 pts
4 Tosh 250 pts
5 Karl 200 pts
6 Andrew 150pts
6 Gary 150pts
6 Gordon 150pts
6 Guy 150pts
6 Phil 150pts
11 Brian 100pts
11 Paul 100pts
13 Alastair 50pts
13 Kev 50pts
15 Tee Cee 0pts

A great last gasp snatched victory by Jimmy, showing that he is not just limited to being the "Flying Fingers" at the wheel change competition, but that he has spent more time playing with toy cars than his son who couldn’t hold a candle to his Dad tonight. Commiserations must go to Tee Cee who achieved the impossible by managing to place all four cars in the proverbial wilderness without even scoring a single point.

Many thanks to Gary and Brian for putting the event on, a great little event once again and extremely popular with everyone. Congratulations to Jimmy on a superb victory and maximum score in the Superstars Championship; as always, points in the Club Championship to all and a very big thank you to all who took part.

PlayStation - 11 May 2016

Playstation

There are times in this world, often rather rare, when everything comes together at the same time to create a wonderful outcome that just could not be foreseen.
Tonight that happened.

May 11th saw the PlayStation appear again for the next round of the Superstars Championship, and this time the route chosen was Cathedral Rocks Trail - one that hadn’t been used before but a good mix of gravel and tarmac, which should have kept the Rally boys happy! There was much humming and hahing over vehicle choice, eventually a cry from Kev Cousins of ’That’ll do Tosh’ resulted in the selection of the Range Stormer in bright orange. Not the most snappy of handlers, but a gutsy motor nonetheless although it did take quite a while to get up to speed.

PlayStation Range Stormer

It was this obviously noticeable lack of punch that caused Gary during his run to make the comment ’Is this a diesel?’ which had everyone laughing. Kev was the first to set a time and a very respectable time it was too, at 2m 04.892s and an impressive run to watch. Jamie was up next and looked to have Kev’s time in the bag until he ran wide a couple of times, unfortunately dropping a lot of time as the Range Stormer (not the most appropriate name) did its best to ’storm’ back to top speed, which it did rather ponderously. Nevertheless, he still managed to stay within a second of Kev’s time which was no mean feat. Ian was up next and though he tried his best he just never got the hang of the approach to the bridge, crashing out on every lap. This of course hit him really hard in the times. Still, he was not only trying but also gaining points in the Club Championship, which as we all know can be very important at the end of the year. Alastair put in a strong performance to quietly steal a place from Dad Jimmy in the Championship Standings.

Gary was next and put his heart and soul into his drive, and before anyone knew it he was faster than Kev - bringing the orange beast home in ’Storming’ fashion in 2m 4.516s - shaving 0.4 seconds of Kevs time. Kev was crestfallen, but being not only the gentleman and sportsman that he is, congratulated Gary in the best way he knew how, by hoping he won. Not that he wanted Brian to be slow, of course, but his wishes were very real, he just didn’t want Brian to win.....

As each member took their turn the times were very close indeed, all within a couple of seconds of each other and there were many sighs and whoops as the split times went from red to blue, everyone holding their breath to see how they had managed. The top spot was always Gary’s though, and as each new time came up, he watched with bated breath.TeeCee took his turn, his concentration at full stretch, his aim to set a time that was out of Tosh’s touch. We all knew he wouldn’t win the event, but that was not the plan: it was Tosh that he was after. His time was good, but Tosh thought it achievable.

Eventually, though, Brian stepped up to the mark. The expression ’Quality Counts’ immediately sprang to mind as he threw the Range Stormer around like a true professional, sliding effortlessly through the sweeping bends and transitions from tarmac to gravel and back, chopping over two seconds off Gary’s time within the first few corners. Gary knew almost immediately his game was up, but with such a good time he was virtually assured of second place. Brian’s eventual time was to be only the merest fraction over two minutes, and victory was almost certain.

PlayStation Cathedral Rocks

There was now only Tosh to go, and based on previous experiance, this was not going to be something to write home about; it’s fairly common knowledge that the PlayStation is cretainly not Tosh’s forte: it was Tee Cee that he had to beat, and so he had to complete a lap quicker than 2m 11.452s - not the easiest task. Nevertheless, Tosh has always been a tryer and given everything his very best efforts, and tonight would be no exception.

Unbelievably, tonight was very much the exception as far as Tosh’s PlayStation career was concerned: although his first run was nothing special, his second run saw him start to get the hang of the beast, beating TeeCee’s time by almost a second, and then he really found his rhythm: in an amazing and serendipitous way, he had the perfect combination of everything: his third run producing an almost unbelievable time of 2m 4.132s - putting him into second place and arguably the best PlayStation result of his life!

That result turned the tables upside down, and resulted in the final positions as follows:

1 Brian 2m 0.413s
2 Tosh 2m 4.132s
3 Gary 2m 4.516s
4 Kev 2m 4.892s
5 Alastair 2m 5.254s
6 Jamie 2m 5.552s
7 Phil 2m 7.202s
8 TeeCee 2m 11.452s
9 Ian 2m 30.640s

Congratulations to Brian on a very comprehensive victory, maximum points in the Club Championship and continuing his assault on the Superstars Trophy once again. Kev was actually seen grabbing Brian at one point and muttering the words kidnap under his breath - maybe Brian should go first next time just in case! Huge congratulations to Tosh on his best ever PlayStation result, that old dog just won’t lie down and die..

Thanks to Tosh and Brian for bringing in the PlayStation at the last minute due to Andrew enjoying a little too much ’hot tubbing action’ at home; to Gary for providing us with a great evening of anticipation and a range of emotions rarely seen at Kibby Club, as well as his ’Is this a Diesel?’ comment; to Tee Cee for his impromptu ’Geronimo’ Indian Chief dance whilst trying to bring back some life into his dead leg, and for the cheer that greeted Kev’s announcement that he was leading the charge (despite being the only one to have had a go).

Points in the Club Championship to all, many thanks for not only taking part but all your good natured banter on the night. The season is looking good!

Navigational Scatter - 4 May 2016

2016 Ollie Scatter

The whole concept of a Navigational Scatter is for the competing crews to take a set of map references and cryptic clues that describe places on a map, work out a route that allows them to visit the maximum number of ’controls’ and then set off from the Club to have a very pleasant drive around the countryside, enjoying the scenery whilst hoping they have pitted their wits against all the other competitors and by the end of the event have amassed enough points to have beaten all the others.

The other way of looking at it, of course, is to try to visit the maximum number of ’controls’ by driving at the absolute legal limit permitted by law; not the approach that we at Whickham and District Motor Club condone, but one that has been seen in the past and one that has brought success to those who have tried it.

Whichever way they decide to tackle the event, strategy obviously plays a huge part. Should the crew decide on a route that covers a good number of points over a healthy distance where those controls are connected by fast roads, they can manage to harvest a good number of points without too much trouble. Should they instead decide to maximise their points haul using the twisty, time consuming back roads, they could gather a significant number of points simply due to the close proximity of those controls. Whichever way is best is entirely due to the individuals involved.

2016 Ollie Scatter Lanes

It was a bright and beautiful Spring evening that welcomed the competitors this Wednesday night, just the sort of weather that organisers dream of, and one that makes all those taking part smile not only with anticipation, but also with joy as it make the whole event so much more fun. And fun was certainly what Ollie had in mind, as he billed the event ’May the Fourth be with you’ and included a number of Star Wars themed clues.

Everyone who took part thoroughly enjoyed the event; the route included some of the classic roads of yesteryear, the sun was shining, the air warm and balmy, the atmosphere one of relaxed and expectant pleasure. Surprisingly, once on the road, few crews saw any of the other competitors except on a very rare occasion, and it was due to this unusual situation that as each crew returned to the Club, none had any idea where they featured in the final standings, or just how successful they had been in their endeavours.

This, of course, was manna from heaven for Ollie, and the truth would only come out once he had marked all the answer sheets. All eyes were on Ollie as he was doing so and there was a palpable air of anticipation that this could be close, in fact it could be very close indeed!

Once he had the results collated, Ollie announced the final positions as follows:

1 Tosh and Brian 29 pts (30pts - 1m penalty)
2 Peter and Guy 25 pts
3 Pete and Doddsy 23 pts
4 Andrew and Kev 19 pts (24 pts - 5m penalty)
5 Gordon and Mac 17 pts
6 Steve and Paul 9 pts
7 Andy and Ian 0 pts (15 pts + 15m penalty)

Congratulations to Tosh and Brian on a resounding victory, only losing out on a total clean sweep due to the aftermath of what appeared to be a dreadful accident at the Causey Arch Pub which held up their return and caused them to re-route, Brian absolutely wringing the neck out of the Freelander, hurling it around the back lanes of Beamish like a dervish trying to avoid incurring a lateness penalty, unfortunately to no avail. The secret of their win, however, was obviously in their strategy, allowing them to maximise their points whilst completing the route in an ill-handling Land Rover Freelander with a boot full of IT equipment. Amazing what can be achieved with careful planning.

No report could be complete, either, without a special mention to Peter and Guy who brought the 40-year old mini back in second place, giving Tosh and Brian a good run for their money and collecting more overall points than Andrew and Kev, who had decided they would showcase their spectacular talents at the local filling station - having set off to do the event with a half empty tank - showing that speed was not necessarily the order of the day, and Peter and Guy's methodical approach bringing them within touching distance of victory.

A huge vote of thanks to Ollie for putting on what was an absolutely cracking event, everyone completely loved it and there were so many smiles at the end it was a heartening reminder of what it is that brings us all together on a Wednesday night: a love of cars and motoring, a shared passion that transcends the physical object that we all love so much: the motor car.

It is, of course, nights like this that make it all worthwhile, so thank you Ollie for all your efforts and your fabulous event tonight, because it is nights like this that make it special.

Steering Wheel Challenge - 27 April 2016

Steering Wheel Nurburgring

Whenever an event is held that relies on the skill and dexterity of the competitor, the result will almost certainly be determined by not only the ability of the individual but will also be hugely influenced by their technique.

The Steering Wheel Challenge on the 27th April was a great example of all of the above. One would think that it would be the youngsters with their lightning quick reflexes that took all the top spots in what was, an all honesty, a simple game of ’Get The Balls Into The Holes’ - albeit in a Motor Club themed arrangement of a 1970s Hillman Imp steering wheel, a CD case, a biscuit tin lid, some bits of cardboard and a set of ball bearings from a 1996 Fiat Cinquecento hub. Tonight was to prove the exception to the rule.

The concept was simple: the fastest time to get all the balls in the holes and then place the steering wheel carefully back on the table with all balls in place. This last step was to prove difficult for early competitors at the game, however this time nobody seemed to be caught out. Qualifying was held with a smaller 75mm disc and nine ball bearings, the main race being held on a map of the Nurgburgring Nordschleife, a 200mm disc with 12 balls to place, requiring both accurately and speed. Times for each test were added together to give the fastest overall time; tie break was the fastest in qualifying. How hard could it be, how long could it take?

The answer was not what you would expect: some were convinced that there were magnets under the holes to stop the balls going in; some were sure there were tricks involved; some were just frustrated that they simply could not get the balls to behave! The various techniques on display varied from what appeared to be the ’Saint Vitus Dance’ method to the old ’Panning for Gold in the Yukon’ style; others were accompanied by some ’under-the-breath’ mutterings whilst a few used some particularly blue language in the vain hope it would persuade the balls to go where they should; all had different merits or not depending upon your point of view and the result obtained.

A fine entry of 13 competitors would eventually take the stage, times on the first test varying from the almost unbelievable 15.5 seconds to more than six minutes: it was fair to say that for some, the balls would simply not behave!

Final results, once everyone had used their very best endeavours to try to beat the clock, were as follows:

1 Tosh 15.5 + 20.0 = 35.5s
2 Brian 16.8 + 43.9 = 60.7s
3 Andrew 48.3 + 25.6 = 74.5s
4 Phil 37.1 + 37.5 = 74.6s
5 Karl 32.3 + 46.5 = 78.8s
6 Peter 50.6 + 31.2 = 81.8s
7 Guy 59.0 + 26.1 = 85.1s
8 Gary 65.2 + 30.3 = 95.5s
9 Adam 51.9 + 48.0 = 99.9s
10 Ollie 72.5 + 35.3 = 107.8s
11 Kev 56.4 + 56.1 = 112.5s
12 Gordon 57.0 + 56.9 = 113.9s
13 Alastair 382.8 + 86.8 = 469.6

A comprehensive win by Tosh, showing just what a competitive streak he has in all events he takes part in; a simple, easily put on yet super little challenge for everyone, and certainly one that had some simply not believing how quickly the task could be achieved. Karl just managed to scrape into the event despite arriving at almost 10:30pm, and with an excellent 5th place proved that it’s always worthwhile taking part as there are points to be had for the taking.

A few of the Club members gathered around after the event had finished for some extra practice, initially not believing that the times posted by Tosh were actually possible. Just like last week it was funny to see just how many ’extra goes’ some had to try and beat Tosh’s time and get FTD, Brian eventually whittling his Qualifying time down to a shade over 11 seconds. A great time, but sadly no points for that.

Congratulations to Tosh on a superb win and yet another maximum score in the Superstars Championship; as always, points in the Club Chamnpionship to all, a big thanks to Brian and Tosh for putting the event on and a very big thank you to all who took part.

Reaction Test - 20 April 2016

Funny how it’s always the drivers that talk about their split-second reactions and also how the younger members of the club refer to the more senior ones as old and slow. That perception was certainly up for grabs on the night of the 20th April when Tosh and Gary put on an impromptu event to replace the Quiz that didn’t appear when it should have.

The concept was incredibly simple: take one iPad, set it up at the end of the room, connect to humanbenchmark.com, run a little programme called ’Reaction Time’ and let the club membership loose to test their - you guessed it - reaction times. In operation this was deceptively simple: touch the screen and it turned red, wait until it turned green and then touch the screen again. Best of five tries gives you an average reaction time and the shortest average time wins. The kids have got it nailed, obviously.

Reaction Test 1

Of course with the test being web based we wouldn’t be seeing absolute true reaction times (Kibblesworth not exactly being known as connectivity centre of the North-East) however we managed to get a good enough and reliable 4G signal to run the tests convincingly enough. A few test runs were tried to ensure the signal didn’t drop, and then it was all systems go!

Gary was first to show his hand, bringing all his skills as a IT maven to the game and flexing his Control-Alt-Delete fingers to record a very respectable average time of 326ms - to put that into perspective it is the equivalent of travelling 10.2m at 70mph. Kev was next to go, confident that his reactions, honed to perfection by years of X-Box and PlayStation practice (with a certain degree of in-between rest at GMBC) would allow him to ’see off’ Gary’s fine attempt. Alas it was not to be so: whether it was first date nerves (or the thought that any time he recorded would be better than Andrew) he could manage no better than 367ms - still a very good time but one that had him looking at Brian and thinking he could have done better.

Phil was next to the challenge: shoulders hunched, he crouched down at the table, breath held very tightly, face a mere 18cm from the screen, his fingers twitching in anticipation and a palpable sense of urgency, we all waited for the screen to go green.

Reaction Test 2

It certainly seemed to pay off. Although his times were generally around the same as the others, one particular try showed an amazing 182ms - bringing his average well below that which had been seen by the previous two. His final average times were 318ms - causing everyone watching to take a sharp intake of breath, knowing that it would take something special to beat that particular time. Brian was next up, and although he put everything into his challenge, he simply could not better Phil’s time.

Tosh came next, the ’Old Man’ bringing no great expectations to the challenge, yet he showed there was certainly still some neural activity going on somewhere by achieving an average time 0.001 seconds better than Brian! This of course brought forth some excellent banter about life in the old dog yet, with Gary being heard to remark ’But what can you do in 1 millisecond?’ - Tosh’s answer being one more suited to Tee Cee and certainly not one to repeat before the watershed! Gordon finished right behind Tosh showing that the young ones were certainly not having it all their own way tonight. Maybe perhaps a bit more RED than retired......?

Final results, once everyone had tried their best to show just how electric their fingers could be, were as follows:

1 Phil 318ms - 9.95m (at 70mph)
2 Gary 326ms - 10.2m
3 Tosh 328ms - 10.3m
4 Brian 329ms - 10.3m
5 Gordon 365ms - 11.4m
6 Kev 367ms - 11.5m
7 Jamie 403ms - 12.6m
8 Guy 411ms - 12.9m
9 Jimmy 427ms - 13.4m
10 Alastair 412ms - 12.9m

A brilliant little event, so simple and yet so very competitive. It was particularly funny to see just how many times some of the competitors had ’an extra go’ afterwards to try to beat their time and get the FTD. That honour eventually went to Brian with an unbelivable time of 65ms, although to be honest he did spend a very long time trying to ’beat the clock’ by anticipating when the light was changing. Nevertheless, it was impressive.

Congratulations to Phil on a superb win, his face a picture of happiness at achieving the ultimate goal of proving the left hand seat can be quicker than a driver. Not that much quicker of course, as Gary was snapping at his heels and only 8ms behind. Still, what can you do in 8ms? Don’t answer, Tosh. Points in the Club Championship to all, huge thanks to Gary and Tosh for organising the event as a fill-in at very short notice, and a big thank you to all who took part.

TableTop Rally - 13 April 2016

2016 TTr2 Herberts Hole

It wasn't a sudden outbreak of headlice or itching powder that had a few members scratching their heads tonight as Peter Metcalfe hosted the first TableTop Rally of 2016 - and a great little event it was too! Unlike some of the events in the past when a WDMC TableTop Rally was rather more of an epic and could take a couple of hours, this event tonight was a very different experience for all the competitors who took part. In what could almost be seen as a compliment to Gary Laverick's excellently prepared Telephone Rally of two weeks ago Peter put on a very concise, compact and succinct event whilst still encompassing a good number of the traditional teasers to keep everyone on their toes. It was also really good to see that it was not only the established members taking part but also people who had maybe not done a Whickham TableTop before - always a good thing.

The route was designed to be enclosed within an A4 sheet of part of the country around Chesham, an area known well by Peter who lived there as a younger man. The route took competitors out in the country along what looked to be some lovely lanes by Little Wood Corner, just touching Herberts Hole before passing through Chartridge; then running around Buckland Common and skirting the edges of Chesham at Great Hivings before darting back North again via Heath End to finish at the North-Western edge of Berkhamsted. It was almost too easy to imagine sunny Summer evenings driving along the country lanes enjoying the scenery.

Going the long way round the triangle at Braziers End

2016 TTr2 Braziers End

There were, of course, those who had a "SatNav" moment and went veering off on a tangent in the firm belief they were going the right way, before ending up in the archetypal riverbank of confusion, before finding their way back to the designated route. This is, of course, all part of the joys of TableTops, and no event would be as much fun had the instructions been too simple and everyone cleaned the route. Particular praise should go to Ian Salkeld for completing a very clean test with no fails, and also Jamie Coulson who was attempting his first ever solo TableTop. A finish is always a very rewarding result especially as there have been many in the past who have simply given up, deciding it's all too difficult. No such examples tonight, though, as everyone completed the route.

Final results, once Peter had both retrieved his glasses and analysed each of the various routes produced were as follows:

1 Tosh 6m 15s
2 Guy 7m 35s
3 Brian 13m 40s
4 Ian Salkeld 35m 10s
5 Andrew 1F 7m 30s
6 Andy Egner 3F 11m 30s
7 Jamie Coulson 4F 19m 45s

A brilliant little TableTop Rally, enough different instructions to test the experts yet challenge the novices, with Peter using a great mix of grid lines, spot heights, grid square departures and Tulips to make the event really interesting in a short space of time, thereby allowing everyone to still enjoy their evening without being tied up for hours wracking their brains.

Congratulations to Tosh on a convincing win, though certainly no walkover as Guy was snapping at his heels and showing he is very definitely gunning for the 2016 title having been right behind Brian last year. Tosh obviously felt the pinch in 2015 having been soundly beaten into third place after a run of bad finishes due to some simple, lazy errors: it certainly looks as though he has learnt his lesson this year!

Points in the Club Maps Championship to all, many thanks to all who took part and a big thanks to Peter for putting on what was a great little event, bringing old and new competitors together and injecting a nice dose of enthusiasm into a cold and damp Wednesday night.

Pit Stop Competition - 6 April 2016

Pit Stop Wheel

The reach of Whickham and District Motor Club extends far beyond the confines of the North East of England, and our members compete across the world. It was due to that reason that Andrew Roughead found himself preparing to compete on the Circuit of Ireland Rally and thus unable to put on his eagerly anticipated quiz tonight.
These days, a Wednesday night without an event is considered a Wednesday night wasted, and so as is becoming the norm nowadays, the recently postponed PitStop Competition was brought in to fill the gap. Always hotly contested, and tonight being no exception, PitStop competitors lined up to take part, cracking knuckles and wiping hands on trousers to give themselves the best possible chance, the best advantage, the fractions of a second that could make the difference between winning and coming further down the pecking order.

Gary and Phil were the Knights in Shining Armour this week, bringing the stand, wheel brace, torque wrench, (and unlike last time, Phil) a wheel. And a fine wheel it turned out to be too, adorned with good rubber and all mounted on what appeared to be a freshly painted stand. One thing that was not actually fresh was a rather rogue wheel nut, slightly odd in appearance, and missing its stainless steel cap, but much more importantly, one that was very sticky on the stud to start with - as first man up Brian found out very much to his cost when no amount of hitting the wheel brace could persuade it to spin! It was a slightly disappointed looking Brian that walked away from the stand, made all the more vexing when second man Kev "Medium" Cousins appeared to have no trouble at all in spinning the nut up to speed with almost no effort at all!

As each man took his turn and as each time was announced the excitement grew, especially as it became more and more apparent that this week it would only be fractions of a second that decided the ultimate outcome. When it came, it no real surprise to anyone. Jimmy "Flying Fingers" Knox was not, to be perfectly honest, at his very best, however he still showed that he can not only compete against the best but beat them too by displaying a superb example of his ability with a wheel brace, his hands flying across the face of the wheel and the speed with which he spun the brace being a delight to behold.

Wheel Brace Flat

Final results, once everyone had had their chance to be the "AA" man of the moment, were as follows:

1 Jimmy 1m 20.48s
2 Brian 1m 21.61s
3 Kev 1m 22.32s
4 Phil 1m 22.47s
5 Gary 1m 24.54s
6 Tosh 1m 29.10s
7 Karl 1m 45.74s
8 John 1m 46.87s
9 Ollie 1m 54.54s (5s penalty)
10 Guy 2m 10.36s
11 Jamie 3m 29.68s (20s penalty)

A thoroughly enjoyable evening once again, competition was as hot as was expected (always a very good sign), the atmosphere relaxed yet somehow expectant. Style points of the night were very much awarded to Ollie "Hugo Boss" Currie who took part whilst sporting a very smart combination of Khaki Chinos, dark blue sweater and light shirt all finished off with Converse footwear. He may have been near the bottom of the Pit Stop table this evening but was certainly top in the elegant looks stakes, just as the Chairman of a any successful motor club should appear.

Congratulations to Jimmy on a good clear victory although this time by only a shade over a second; well done Brian for setting an excellent time despite being the first one to go and having the worst of the sticky nut problems. Points in the Club Championship to all, many thanks to Gary and Phil for bringing everything along on the night and especially to all those who took part: It is always good to see so many members willing to get stuck in and enjoy themselves!

Telephone Rally - 30 March 2016

2016 Telephone Rally Rd 1

Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection that can cause pain in the ears, sight problems and a pain in the neck. It is pretty fair to say that may have been the underlying cause of much confusion on the evening of the 30th March 2016 as Andrew Roughead tried desperately to work out just where Kev Cousins was trying to describe the start of the Telephone Rally, - however it may not have been the infection that was causing the confusion....

Gary Laverick put on a deceptively simple yet very testing little event this evening, choosing to eschew the normal colour maps and instead taking a leaf out of Tee Cee's innovative idea last year and deliver a monochrome masterpiece: for the drivers it was relatively simple: draw the route on a clean map; for the navigators, it was less easy: peer at the map and try to work out what you are looking at: that had both members of the competing crews poring over the route with furrowed brows and squinting eyes.

And squinting was certainly to be seen in abundance: not only was the route very compact, the light in the club was no brighter than a typical Big Brother contestant and just to make it a real test the guidelines alongside the route were incredibly black whilst the maps themselves were printed in a faded grey on white background: perhaps this was a tribute to Guy Martin and his new Wall of Death World Record this week when he described "greying out" and losing his vision at around 6G.

To be honest, Kibblesworth Workmens Club is a bit more 6X than 6G, and so it didn't take anything like that amount of downforce to cause confusion in the club this evening. All it actually took was Kevin Cousins' ability to emulate American Country music artist Eddie Rabbitt, whose 1982 hit "I Dont Know Where To Start" must have been right at the very forefront of his mind as he desperately searched the faint grey print for the words that would help him find the beginning of the route. All of his deliberations were not only in vain, but also unknown to team member Andrew Roughead, who was totally oblivious to the mental trauma inside Kev's head. This was not the case for those watching, who were on tenterhooks, anticipating the fundamental error Kev was about to make.

Eddie Rabbitt

The truly delicious moment of the night was when Andrew finally understood Kev's instructions, suddenly exclaiming "Chestnuts! Chestnuts! I've got it! I've got it! Is that where the start is?" - only to be met with the desperately deflating response - "Er, no, that's actually the finish!"

Only a sense of decorum and responsibility to Andrew's family prevent me from reporting his immediate, explosive, expletive. To say that men collapsed on the floor with tears of laughter at this point would be a massive understatement. Men have actually been admitted to mental hospitals with lesser symptoms than were exhibited at that precise point. I may have seen men cry before, but never, ever on this scale. At no point in history has Brian ever been seen on his hands and knees on the floor, but this was one of those exclusive moments. How he managed to breathe can only be regarded as the Eighth Wonder of the World. It truly was a moment to saviour for many years to come.

Once the final tears had been wiped away and everyone had regained at least some sense of decorum, we returned to the competition in hand.

Final results were as follows:

1 Tosh and Brian 7m 40s
2 Andrew and Kev 10m 00s 1F
3 Steve and Paul 13m 20s 4F

It was, unfortunately, a shame that more crews did not take part; but to give Gary his credit, despite there being a low turnout at the Club tonight, he followed the correct philosophy by running the event as scheduled for those who wished to take part - which is exactly how it should be, no matter how many there are present on the night.

Congratulations to Tosh and Brian on a thoroughly convincing win, the only crew to clean the route, doing so at a blistering pace and stamping their authority on the 2016 Maps Championship. Obviously, that narrowest of defeats in the last round in 2015 - a mere 400m by Peter and Guy - has spurred them on to action. It is of course highly unlikely that Kev and Andrew will make the same mistake again next time round, but should they do so, it would certainly be wise to bring handkerchiefs to the event. Nobody likes to see a man cry, but to be honest, given the opportunity, I for one would pay handsomely to see tonight's events once again!

X-Box Challenge - 23 March 2016

X-Box A

The number Four. One might think there is nothing particularly notable about that particular number but it did seem to figure a few times tonight, when Kev Cousins brought his X-Box One and the truly excellent Forza 6 game along to Kibblesworth Workmens Club for an evening of four wheel drive digital motorsport. The circuit chosen was Brands Hatch, the weather was appallingly wet, there was standing water all round, and all car aids were off, save ABS. It had all the classic elements of a cracking evening of driving that would test everyone's skills to the maximum.

Andrew was first to take the controls, laying down a target for all to beat with a time of 1m 47.11s, quite impressive considering the conditions. Karl was next but found the going tough, not able to get within around six seconds of Andrew's time. Alastair took the Knox family honours this week by a clear five seconds from Karl, a feat that is sure to ignite some more family rivalry at the next PlayStation night. Perhaps Karl was suffering from the exhaustion of preparing his Rally Car, or maybe Alastair was just bounding with enthusiasm from his new job.

Young Jamie was up next and showed he was not only very capable but also one to watch by chasing Andrew all the way and only missing out on taking the place off the younger Roughead by the merest of margins: eighteen hundredths of a second! Adam Bradford came next and showed he was as capable as he was stylish, taking the top spot away from Andrew by a clear second.

Brian showed that his driving skills are not limited only to the PlayStation by setting a cracking time over two seconds clear of Adam, leaving Andrew a further second adrift. This obviously did not please Andrew, who has made it clear he has the big guns out for Brian this season and has stated his clear target to win the 2016 Superstars Championship. He wants his name on that trophy. However, with Jamie showing so well tonight, perhaps Brian is not the only threat to Andrew's Championship hopes - he will have watch his back as well as his front!

X-Box B

Tosh and Tee Cee, as usual, were not interested in the top spots, but far more interested in whether they could beat each other. After the last time out back in January it was Tosh's turn to claim victory, as Tee Cee seemed to struggle with the slippery conditions. Paul Fawcett showed he had been preparing for the Challenge in his own inimitable way by being the only competitor to take part sitting down: it wasn't clear at the time if he was trying to emulate the hero drivers of his heyday or preparing for the days when he has to sit down to do everything, although to be fair, he wasn't wearing a Cloth Cap so maybe it was the former. One day we will all have to sit down to do everything, even put on our socks and pants...

Peter and Guy brought their own personal battle once again; Peter going first and showing that driving a car in the wet was not all about finesse; in fact to be brutally frank there was none present whatsoever. Tosh commented at one point that he could hear spectators shouting words of encouragement yet could see no sign of them, to which Peter replied "Thats because they have all gone indoors; after all, it's wet, it's cold, it's raining and the driving is cack." Such honesty is truly refreshing in this day and age. That only served to enthuse Guy who went up next, taking his lead from Peter and driving with a similar style: more revs than was necessary, more steering input than was required, and more track used than could possibly have been imagined. Having finished his enthusiastic three laps, Peter asked if Guy had beaten him, and on hearing Guy had been slower, exclaimed "God, you must have been sh**!"

Worried look of the night award went to Phil Kenny, who was driving more "Brands Dakar" than "Brands Hatch" and spent most of the evening asking if he was still last, only showing visible relief when informed that Peter and Guy were to take part. Phil, to be fair, had driven like a man possessed: in fact it was like a man possessed of no talent at all, and finishing so far down the order had only one saving grace: he got more points than Gary, who was away this week enjoying spending time with people acting like twelve year olds - no change there then!

To round off the evening in glorious style, Kev showed he could still pilot a very mean Mercedes by producing a text book display of driving in the wet, sliding the A-Class Merc around the slippery circuit with ease, to take victory and a very valuable 12 points by a very clear 2.34 seconds to knock Brian off the top spot into second.

Final results after everyone had taken their turn in the frankly atrocious conditions, were as follows:

1 Kev 1m 41.61s
2 Brian 1m 43.95s
3 Adam 1m 46.18s
4 Andrew 1m 47.11s
5 Jamie 1m 47.30s
6 Alastair 1m 48.42s
7 Karl 1m 53.78s
8 Tee Cee 1m 58.52s
9 Paul 2m 02.21s
10 Tosh 2m 03.45s
11 Phil 2m 11.36s
12 Peter 2m 15.26s
13 Guy 2m 27.75s

Congratulations to Kev on not only an impressive win, but a masterclass in the wet. Although, to be honest, when complimented on his performance, he did have the good grace to admit he should have won anyway as it was his game and he had obviously had an opportunity to test the circuit!

Not quite top three..

Fourth Place

Andrew therefore finished fourth, Brian taking a very useful four points off his lead, moving up from fourth place to tie with Phil, with Kev now mounting his own challenge to Andrew for the Championship.

Things are hotting up already, and it is only March! Its going to be an exciting season at WDMC....

Blindfold Rally - 16 March 2016

Blindfold 2

There are many occasions during a man's life when he has to put his faith in another. Whether he is trusting his rock climbing partner to hold onto the rope and stop him falling, or perhaps in a tandem parachute jump where his life depends upon somebody else pulling the ripcord, there is a leap of faith that his wellbeing is completely entrusted to another.

The night of the 16th March 2016 could easily have gone on record as being one of those occasions; where, upstairs at Kibblesworth Workmens Club in the heart of the North East of England, men met in a darkened room to do challenge on a grand scale. This was the night where nine men would challenge each other in the darkness, where they would blindly go forth with only the sound of their navigator guiding them through the unseen maze of obstacles, where the dreadful consequences of knocking over a critically positioned plastic bin and being handed a penalty during the course of the event would stain a man's competitive history for years: for this was no ordinary event; this was one of Kev Cousins' world famous Blindfold Rallies.

For the naturally seeing man we know the adrenaline rush we get when we do things "Blind" - the raised heartbeat when betting Blind at cards, the excitement that automatically comes when meeting a Blind Date for the first time, or going to the toilet in the middle of the night without putting the light on - all are a little bit scary. Tonight was no different, as each competitor placed their fortunes in the hands of another. Some were very quick, others were very careful; some appeared to have no idea exactly where they were going, (and not all of them were drivers). This could of course have had a lot to do with the quality and clarity of the navigator's instructions.

There were inevitably a number of "crashes" during the evening, in fact at one point organiser Kev was left wondering if the sound of him eating his crunchy snacks was drowning out the dulcet tones of Guy "Whispering" Wickham, resulting in a concerned Kev deciding to simply suck his pork scratchings for fear of accusations of interference...

Competition, as usual, was keen, and results after everyone had been well and truly led up a blind alley by their counterparts were as follows:

1 Brian 1m 54.76s
2 Phil 2m 20.51s
3 Andrew 2m 32.86s
4 Tosh 2m 54.20s
5 Paul 3m 08.80s
6 Gary 2m 11.00s 1F
7 Steve 5m 56.43s 1F
8 Peter 2m48.17s 2F
9 Guy 3m 04.39s 2F

Congratulations to Brian on an absolutely storming pace to win by almost half a minute and put a very definite stamp back on the 2016 SuperStars Championship; moving up a place and showing he is very much in the running for the trophy again this year.

Points in the Club Championship to all, very many thanks to Kev Cousins for putting on a beautifully simple yet thoroughly enjoyable event proving it is possible to have a great evening's entertainment with only the minimum amount of equipment.

Here's looking forward to the next event in the Championship - X-Box - where the competition is likely to be as fierce as ever!

Andrew's Special Event - 17 February 2016

As each Wednesday night comes round, there are occasionally those evenings, although typically only very rarely, when an event is proposed that seems to jar and doesnt really fit the Motor Club ethos. Andrew Rougheads Special Event looked to be one of those occasions, as it was initially proposed to be an X-Box Kinect Boxing game that simply had no appeal to the general membership present that evening.

To give him credit, Andrew spotted the obvious reluctance shown and changed the game to a Table Tennis Tournament - that sounded far more appealing, and numbers were quickly swelled to a sufficient amount to begin the game. It was decided to run it as a knockout tournament, and the initial signs seemed to suggest that Andrew was indeed confident that he could score highly in this particular round, therefore not only scoring some very valuable points in the Superstars Championship but also ensuring he had completed the requirements of the WDMC Club Championship regulations by organising a Wednesday Night event!

The tournament started slowly and quietly, with a few contenders trying their hands (with mixed success), until Brian and John started to hot things up with a fantastic rally that saw them going at it hammer and tongs for what seemed like an age, before John eventually triumphed and sent Brian packing. It was then followed by Tee Cee stepping up to the plate, and which point things started to get interesting. A small crowd assembled. It was barely ten minutes since the tournament had begun yet already the WDMC competitive spirit had reared its usual head. Banter ensued. This was going to be a typical WDMC event!

Ping Pong

In what is a wonderfully English foible, whoever appeared at the time to be the underdog in any round attracted the most voluble and undying support from the small but passionate crowd of supporters. It really is a truly superb part of being British. This was further heightened when Karl Ewart took on Club Chairman Ollie - there was so much heckling from the terraces: be careful Karl, take it easy on the Old Man, he is the Chairman, you will never be accepted as a Club Member if you beat Ollie. That issue, however, never arose as Ollie performed like a porky pig in Swan Lake and snatched a truly wonderful defeat from the jaws of victory by being completely useless.

Karl was then on fire: taking on all-comers and beating them hands down. Andrew, in the other stream, was working his way towards Championship Victory by pulverising everyone in his way. This was shaping up to be a final of epic proportions!

And epic it was, as both Karl and Andrew pulled out all their stops to be the Number One. Andrew even took off his gilet, in order to concentrate more fully on the task of wiping the floor with Karl. As the spectators watched, it became obvious that Karl was not the walkover that Andrew had hoped for. Karl was on fire: he smashed, he backhanded, he forehanded, he sent the ball to the edge of the table so many times he should have been wearing a watch cap - he was "The Edge", he was the boy on the night.

Inexorably, consistently and convincingly , he took the game to Andrew and ultimately (and inevitably) took the man apart: ball by ball, point by point, eventually taking victory by a very impressive 11 points to 6, setting a standard that would see him crowned as the Ping Pong King Kong of Whickham Motor Club.

Results after everyone had tried their best to retain some semblance of dignity as they wafted their arms in the air like they were swatting midges in Kielder, were as follows:

1 Karl Ewart 12 pts
2 Andrew 10 pts
3 Phil 8 pts
4 Guy 6 pts
5 Gary 5 pts
5 John 5 pts
5 Tee Cee 5 pts
8 Ollie 2 pts
9 Alastair 1 pt
9 Brian 1 pt
9 Kev 1 pt
9 Tosh 1 pt

Congratulations to Karl on a very impressive win, taking on the best and really showing them how it should be done. It seems there is a new kid on the block, and so the stakes are raised once again, and everyone flexes their muscles and thinks about upping their game to meet the new young charger. Things are starting to get interesting in 2016.

Points in the Club Championship to all, a great laugh once everyone started to get into it, and based on tonights event, who knows just what the next event in the 2016 WDMC Superstars Championship is likely to be....?

Kinetic Car Race - 10 February

Busy Pub

In what was without doubt the busiest Wednesday night of the year so far the first of the 2016 Kinetic Car Races took place at Kibby Club on the 10th of February, and a very different event it was this time. Gone are the simple scoring systems of previous years, as in their place was an obstacle course of amazing complexity.

The level of skill required has very definitely increased from those early days to one which now requires both a steady hand and careful thiniking for the initial launch, an eye for the optimum route through the various traps and an appreciation of power to weight ratios to enable the car to achieve the most lucrative route whilst stopping on the highest point scoring spot.

Where before we were required to simply land on a sheet of paper with a number on it to score the best result possible, this time we were presented with an incredible array of silos, tunnels, ramps and bollards to jump, miss, drive through or avoid in order to accumulate the maximum amount of points whilst hopefully not losing too many by hitting the penalty obstacles. This was obviously not as easy as it first appeared. Every competitor had five turns at the wheel, enough to get their eye in and make a reasonable stab at a good result. There were some flashes of brilliance, some inspired choices of acceleration versus accuracy, some dreadful attemps at placement and some wonderfully sublime lines through what was arguably an impossible course.

Obstacles

The perfect score would have been to drive through the garage (500 points) then through the tunnel (500 points) to finally come to rest on the farthest parking space (500 points). Suffice to say, nobody managed that, but Tosh was closest with a sweet drive through both garage and tunnel at his first attempt. His subesequent attempts were less than successful, however, and his glory was very short lived. Steve provided an almost carbon copy drive by driving through the garage and parking in the tunnel, on two separate occasions, proving the first was no fluke, however, he simply could not manage the elusive "Triple Crown", and none would manage that on the night.

There was a huge turnout, with sixteen members taking turns to both excite the crowd and provide some excellent material for the inevitable banter that would ensue. This was never going to be a foregone conclusion, and as expected, the result was as unexpected as it was foreseen.

Results after everyone had taken their turn were as follows:

1 Steve 2200 pts
2 Peter 1450 pts
3 Tosh 1300 pts
4 Phil 1250 pts
5 Gary 1000 pts
5 Kev 1000 pts
7 Guy 750 pts
8 Karl 700 pts
9 Brian 650 pts
9 Paul 650 pts
11 Andy E 600 pts
12 Ian 550 pts
13 Andrew 300 pts
14 Alastair 250 pts
15 Gordon 100 pts
15 Mark 100 pts

Congratulations to Steve for a very convincing win, proving that a man will always play with toy cars especially if there is even the slightest competitive element. A great result for him, many thanks to all who took part and thanks in particular to Gary and Brian for putting the event on.

Points in the Club Championship to all, a hugely enjoyable event for both competitors and spectators alike, and here is looking forward to the next event in the 2016 WDMC Superstars Championship.

PlayStation - 13 January

Playstation

Driving home through the rain and sleet this evening created a gem of an idea in Tee Cee's head - "It's PlayStation night tonight at the Club, it would be good to have a circuit involving wet tarmac."

And so right on cue as Tosh and Brian were setting up Tee Cee arrived with a couple of WRC games and the three of them started looking for the particular circuit that Tee Cee had in mind - SS4 Panzerplatte-Ost in the wet! Unfortunately, that particular stage was locked and so a suitable alternative was quickly sought - Rally of Turkey, SS1 Simena.

In typical fashion a car with the very loosest of ties to our club was chosen, this time a Škoda Fabia WRC driven by the WRC equivalent of our own Kev Cousins - the very talented Armin Schwarz.

2016 PS3 Turkey

The Stage was set, the game was ready, and appropriately, Kev Cousins was first up to set a time. And set a very respectable time he did, for with only two attempts this week, accuracy and positioning was paramount to achieve a good time. Having thrown down the gauntlet, Andrew Roughead was next to take part, setting a blistering pace right from the off. His very first time was so spectacular it proved to be the definitive one to beat, and had everyone trying their best to do so.

In truth, there were actually three races being held this evening: Tosh and Tee Cee having their usual face-off, Guy and Peter with their personal battle, and then everyone else (the quick guys).

Competition was as fierce as ever, with each competitor trying their best to stake their place on the Championship table, and start the year off with the best advantage possible. Tee Cee triumphed over Tosh, whilst Guy knocked Peter out by a fraction over three seconds. There was also an unexpected Knox battle going on too, with Karl knocking Alastair off third place and only just failing to beat Kev.

Results after all had taken their turn were as follows:

1 Andrew 2.53.96
2 Kev 2.58.00
3 Karl 2.58.80
4 Alastair 3.08.90
5 Gary 3.12.16
6 Phil 3.13.58
7 TeeCee 3.13.82
8 Adam 3.15.28
9 Brian 3.18.80
10 Tosh 3.47.60
11 Guy 4.28.68
12 Peter 4.31.84

A great start to the 2016 PlayStation Challenge, Andrew showing the way to everyone for the second week running and starting his 2016 Challenge with an absolute bang by winning the first two events in the Superstars Championship, proving that he has his eyes very firmly on the trophy in December! He has obviously decided that 2016 is to be his year.

Points in the Club Championship to all, many thanks for taking part and who knows what is likely to happen next week in the Table Top Championship? Can Andrew stage a remarkable Hat-trick of January wins? Who can stop him? Only time will tell......

Pit Stop Competition - 6 January 2016

Pit Stop Wheel

The 2016 WDMC Superstars Championship kicked off in style on the 6th January with a Pit Stop competition to blow away those holiday cobwebs and see who had been keeping themselves in trim over the Christmas break.

This time there was an additional problem to overcome - one of the wheel nuts was a particular awkward fit and so didn't spin off or on as expected, catching a couple of competitors out - and to add insult to injury it was quite a tight fit in the wheel brace causing more than one member to have to physically pull it out of the socket!

Times were once again very competitive, more or less on a par with the 2015 times except for Andrew Roughead, who put in an absolutely blistering time to not only seal his position at the top of the tree and destroy all hope of anyone who thought they might be able to take the position from him, but also to break his own record set last year. On the day, it all went perfectly for him.

Unfortunately, the sticky wheel nut proved to be the undoing of a number of club members, in particular Jimmy who incredibly left one nut three turns loose! Must have been still enjoying that relaxing Christmas break and not concentrating enough...

Results after all had taken their turn were as follows:

1 Andrew 1.05.51
2 Brian 1.17.95
3 Kev 1.19.71
4 Phil 1.20.08 (1.15.08 +5s)
5 Jimmy 1.20.62 (1.15.62 +5s)
6 Gary 1.25.87
7 Tosh 1.33.25
8 Guy 2.01.95
9 Peter 2.23.92

A great way to start off the year and as expected created the usual excitable buzz of competition, Andrew triumphing again this time to reinforce that his 2015 time of 1.08.30 was no fluke - we can only assume his hand must be as hard as nails to allow the wheel brace to spin so readily.

Points in the Club Championship to all, and a challenge to everyone for the next competition to get those spinning fingers trained and try to stop the Roughead hat-trick next time around!

2015 Christmas Quiz

As a nice little way to finish off the year, Gary Laverick put on his 'just for fun' 2015 Christmas Quiz event a mere two days before Christmas with a novel way of presentation: he made a crossword puzzle using a variety of questions to produce an anagram of a seasonal word.

It is always nice to see something different at the club and the questions certainly had a few of us scratching our heads, but all in a good natured way especially for the time of year.

Results do not of course count for any Club Championships, but do carry a certain cachet to carry forward over Christmas and to the start of the 2016 Competition Year.

Results were as follows:

1 Andrew, Kev and Dan 2F 22m 38s
2 Tosh and Brian 3F 17m 23s
3 Guy 3F 17m 55s
4 Gordon 4F 48m 47s
5 TeeCee 5F 20m 00s
6 Mac 11F 26m 25s

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable event with no pressure except that which everyone put upon themselves to do well, and a really nice way to finish off the year and get into the spirit of Christmas.

 
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