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

Gone in sixty seconds... 22 January 2020

2020 PitStop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was done.

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

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

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


Guy's A1 Quiz - 4 December 2019

191204 Guys Numbers

When your number's up....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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