22 August 2016


The Mercedes-AMG GT S has been named by Jeremy Clarkson as one of his top 10 cars in The Sunday Times Driving.

The TV presenter, who will soon be fronting new Amazon Prime show, The Grand Tour, described the GT S as “extremely exciting” in his official road test in The Sunday Times.

Clarkson noted:
Behind all the racing paraphernalia and the Mercedes-Benz suede and silicone, this is a modern-day muscle car. You sense this when you drive it. It feels raw. Much more raw than any of the other cars you can buy for this sort of money. It feels — how can I put this? — extremely exciting.
The GT range launched a new generation of performance engine from Mercedes-AMG: a 4.0-litre V8 unit which produces at least 462 hp and can propel the vehicle to reach 62 mph from standstill in four seconds (510 hp/3.8 seconds for the GT S).

At the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Mercedes-AMG unveiled a new, even more powerful version of the GT, the GT R, with an output of 585 hp and the ability to sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds.

The Mercedes-AMG GT and GT S are on sale now priced from £98,195. To find your nearest retailer, visit www.mercedes-benz.co.uk.

Jeremy Clarkson Names MERCEDES-AMG GT S One of His Top 10 Cars

24 June 2016


At Goodwood Festival of Speed, Honda UK hosted the biggest motoring showdown since the heady F1 days of Senna vs Prost.

Mini-mes of Jeremy Clarkson and Chris Evans, two poster boys for the biggest rivalling motoring shows in the world, went head to head on Honda UK’s life size version of the iconic Fisher Price style garage.

Clarkson and Evans’ motoring battle reached new levels of silliness as the duo clashed in what has clearly become a tit for tat profile-raising battle between Top Gear and The Grand Tour.

In comical lip service to the pair’s childlike antics, the young lookalikes raced each other on the Fisher Price inspired garage, brawled and wrestled for control of Honda’s BTCC rally car, sabotaged each other’s vehicles and even caused carnage to unsuspecting members of the public viewing the latest Honda range.




As rivalry finally reached the boil, the sour looking Clarkson and entertainer Evans were spotted smirking at the level of destruction handed to the other.

Tots Gear: Clarkson & Evans Lookalikes Go Head to Head at Goodwood

15 June 2016


Dundee car owners have the highest MOT failure rate in the UK, according to research by Automyze, the AA’s innovative car management website.

Automyze analysed more than one million MOT records of UK registered vehicles owned by AA members, looking at pass and fail rates, and found that more than half of cars in Dundee (53.5%) failed their last MOT - most for preventable faults such as tyres, headlights and indicators.

Meanwhile, seven out of 20 towns and cities with the highest MOT failure rates were in Scotland, with almost half of cars in Aberdeen and Perth failing their last MOT.

The research also revealed that four out of the five UK towns and cities with the lowest MOT pass rates were in the West Country; with Truro (51.5%), Plymouth (51.3%), Exeter (50.5%) and Bath (49.5%), failing their last statutory roadworthiness check

The following table shows the 25 towns and cities in the UK with the highest MOT failure rates (looking at the last MOT).

Town/Cities
% vehicles that failed last MOT
Dundee
53.5
Truro
51.5
Plymouth
51.3
Exeter
50.5
Bath
49.5
Aberdeen
49.5
Perth
49.2
Falkirk
48.4
Hull
48.3
Torquay
47.9
Belfast
47.8
Bristol
47.5
Edinburgh
47.4
Cardiff
47.4
Taunton
47.4
Inverness
47.2
Leeds
47.2
Salisbury
46.9
Stoke-on-Trent
46.9
Glasgow
46.5
Halifax
46.4
Bournemouth
46.3
Northampton
46.2
Lincoln
46.2
Huddersfield
46.2
Source: AA

By contrast, the Isle of Man has the highest MOT pass rate in the UK with 71.8% (failures 28.2%) of vehicles passing their last test at the first time.

And 18 out of the 20 towns and cities with the lowest MOT failure rates were in the south east of England – London (38.7%) and the commuter belt such as Twickenham, Harrow, Dartford, Sutton, Enfield, Croydon, Kingston and Ilford all doing relatively better than other parts of the UK.

The following table shows the 20 towns and cities in the UK with the lowest MOT failure rates (looking at the last MOT).

Town/Cities
% vehicles that failed last MOT
Stevenage
39.5
Leicester
39.3
Redhill
39.3
St Albans
39.2
Luton
39.1
London
38.7
Twickenham
38.6
Harrow
38.6
Slough
38.1
Dartford
37.7
Sutton
37.3
Enfield
37.3
Chelmsford
37.2
Croydon
36.5
Southend-on-Sea
36.4
Kingston upon Thames
36.1
Ilford
35.6
Romford
33.4
Bromley
33.0
Isle of Man
28.2
Source: AA

Lucy Burnford, Director of Automyze, comments:
There could be a number of reasons why MOT failure rates are higher in Dundee, from the length of time people own their cars to the types of vehicle they own.

However, some basic checks could bring failure rates down and save both time and money. There are multiple reasons why vehicles fail their MOT but the most common are tyres, headlights and indicators, which can be so easily fixed before the statutory roadworthiness test.

Ahead of your vehicle’s MOT, it’s always worth doing some simple checks yourself to ensure anything straightforward like filling up the screen wash can be fixed in advance of your test. Also, make sure you have addressed any previous ‘advisories’ – that’s the maintenance work recommended by the garage during its last MOT. You can check your car’s MOT history and advisories for free using Automyze, and get free quotes to get the work done.

Dundee Has Highest MOT Failure Rate in the UK - Over HALF Vehicles Failed Last Test!

1 June 2016

If you know someone who particularly loves their cars, you’re in luck! Instead of trawling through the various websites and retail stores for a gift, it won’t be difficult at all. There’s a huge market for car-related gifts, and you can get really great creative with what you buy. Although we’re about to mention a small selection, be aware that there are many other options available on the market as well. Let’s get started!

#1 Experience Days


In recent years, experience days have risen dramatically in popularity. By buying a gift of this nature, you can treat your car-loving friend to a day they’ll never forget. Whether it’s racing around a track in a race car or taking a spin in the latest Ferrari, they’ll be sure to love it. There are many different options on the market when it comes to experience days, so look around.

#2 Magazine Subscription


If you don’t want to spend quite as much money, a magazine subscription is another great idea. With these, you can buy subscriptions in 3, 6, or 12-month increments in many cases, depending on how much you want to spend. Again, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to car magazines, so pick one that is particularly popular to save disappointment.

#3 Car Gadgets


Have you ever noticed anything that could help this person with their driving? Do they have to keep stopping on the side of the road to read their map? Maybe you should get them a satellite navigation device? Similarly, you might want to get them something like a dashboard camera that could be crucial if an accident was to occur.

#4 Personalised Number Plate


Here’s a fun idea! Companies like Absolute Reg offer personalised number plates that can act as a luxurious present for someone. You don’t need too many details in order to buy these plates, either, so you can keep it as a surprise. When they see their name or a slogan on their number plate, how could they not be excited about it?!

#5 Games


There’s a very long history when it comes to cars and games. When it comes to electronic games, arguably the most popular choice is Scalextric. There are loads of different styles of Scalextric tracks you can buy. If they aren’t so keen on something like that, why not buy them the latest video game for their console? From F1 games such as F1 2015 to rally games like Dirt Rally, there’s something for everyone.

#6 Models


A lot of car fanatics love to collect models of their favourite cars. It’s the next best thing to owning them! If you know someone that loves to collect car models, there’s no better present to get them! The great thing about this is that you’re never going to run out of ideas. There are thousands upon thousands on the market, so you just need to pick something they don’t already have!

See?! I told you it was easy! Any of these gifts are sure to please your car-loving friends. All you need to do now is decide which one to go for!

6 Gift Ideas Every Car Fanatic Will Love!

27 May 2016


Safety should be your priority when getting out on the roads with a new motorbike for the first time. However, it never seems to work out like that. Once you get that feeling you need to get on your bike, it’s tempting to cut some corners. And, if you have passed your test, what could go wrong? The trick is to get your gear before you get your first bike. It’s that simple - and here are some of the things you will need to ensure your safety.

#1 Full-face helmet

Don’t think that you will get away with wearing a shorty for your first year or so of motorcycling. You still have a lot to learn - and you will fall off your bike. An open face helmet is going to lead to serious injury if you are even slightly unlucky, which is more than likely when you are just starting out. So, go for a proper defence with a full-face helmet - and don’t save on the cost. Cheap helmets are inexpensive for a reason - they are next to useless. A good helmet will save your life - so there’s just no contest in quality.

#2 Proper riding clothing

First of all, in your first year of riding, you are going to come off - perhaps, even, on many different occasions. In simple terms, it's going to hurt, and even the slightest graze on the knee can affect your biking technique. You need to be comfortable, and you need protection. Think about heavy duty Rukka Trousers or something similar to give you the protection you need. Also, get a heavy set leather jacket to protect your elbows and upper body. Again, it’s worth investing a little in something that looks great and feels perfect.

#3 Boots

Footwear is just as important as anything else you will wear. But, they are especially important if you are riding a fast bike rather than a cruiser. Sportbike riders should look for something lightweight and durable. There is a huge array of technology involved in riding boots these days. The trick is to find something that you feel comfortable with, so head down to your local bike store.

#4 Something for the rain

When you live in the UK, you have always got to be ready for rain. It’s just the way it is - and without protection, you will regret it. Leather isn’t the greatest material when it comes to water, so get something waterproof to ensure it stays dry. We know of bikers getting caught in thunderstorms miles from home, with no option other than to ride on. The added water in their leathers almost doubled their weight - so think carefully before skipping the kagool section in TK Maxx.

#5 Sunglasses

Finally, always have a good pair of shades. For a start, no biker worth their salt would go without. But, it’s also a much safer way of biking when the sun is out, and the roads are looking hazy. It only takes a stray reflection to hit your eye at the wrong angle, and you could be toast.

Image source: Flickr / Adam Kuśmierz

5 Essential Pieces of Gear For First Time Motorcycle Owners

23 May 2016


Although more than half (58%) of Brits would recognise they’re too sick to work, they would still get behind the wheel of their car, according to new research.

The survey, conducted by car finance specialist Zuto, asked 1,003 motorists about their attitudes towards driving while suffering from the effects of ten common conditions, only to find that while nearly of half of Brits (47%) would call in sick after breaking an arm, over a fifth (21%) would continue to drive.

Meanwhile, 38% of Brits would call in sick if suffering from sciatica yet 53% would still be happy to hit the road - in extreme cases, the illness can cause stiff or weak legs. Not ideal for quick reactions if needed.

Furthermore, nearly 9 in 10 (86%) motorists said they would take to the roads when they had a cold/flu, risking the effects of the illness and its treatments.

Overall, the results showed that while a third (36%) of motorists would consider themselves too ill to work, over half (58%) of Brits would still get behind the wheel.

Encouraging safety on the roads, Zuto wants to ensure that UK drivers are fully aware of the perils to themselves and others when driving with common illnesses.

Christine Davies, a pharmacy technician of over 20 years, said:
Quite a lot of people aren't aware that the medicines they're taking can have an effect on their concentration and could cause drowsiness.

The thing to remember is that all drugs have some side effects, but they aren't the same for everyone and can interact with other regular medications. The main thing is if you're taking anything new, and you start to feel unusual in any way, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

The illnesses Brits say they drive with:

Illness
Potential Issues
Cold/Flu 86%
Slowed reactions, alertness and uncontrolled sneezing
Ear Infection 80%
Pain, nausea, reduced hearing and potential dizziness
Back Pain 69%
Painkillers used to treat can cause dizziness and slowed reactions
Tonsillitis/Glandular Fever 64%
Extreme fatigue and fever
Kidney Infection 58%
High levels of pain fever, chills, fatigue, nausea and diarrhoea
Sciatica/Trapped Nerve 53%
Extreme cases can cause stiff or weak legs
Eye Infection 52%
Potential blurred vision
Migraine 46%
Nausea, impaired vision, Sensitivity to light and sound and slowed mental processing
Sickness & Diarrhoea 46%
Fever and stomach discomfort
Broken arm 21%
Reduced range of movement
Ailments which can cause visual impairments were met with worrying indifference by off-colour drivers. Nearly half (46%) of those suffering from a migraine – with symptoms including blurred vision – still felt it was safe to drive, while 52% of those with eye infections said they’d be happy to risk a trip on the roads.

A further breakdown of the results showed that just under one in three (29%) said they’d only drive for journeys they would describe as necessary, for example taking the kids to school. While around quarter (23%) of people said they’d still carry on with their daily tasks, like going to the supermarket, when feeling unwell.

Ryan Dignan from Zuto said:
Many of us follow the weekly routine of driving to work, doing the school run and stocking up on groceries, but when illness hits, it’s vital that we pay attention to the effect it’s having on us.
Taking to the roads with blurry vision or whilst distracted by pain is just as dangerous as the more obvious risks like speeding. Our guide highlights the dangers of common illness we’re likely to ignore, so we’re encouraging all drivers to start paying attention to those little things that can have a big effect.
To find out if it’s safe to drive when suffering from and being treated for common illnesses, go to the Zuto website https://www.zuto.com/blog/too-sick-to-drive/.

Brits Would Call In Sick With a Broken Arm - But Refuse to Stop Driving!

20 May 2016

When it’s time to buy a new car, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of things, and settle on a model which isn’t quite right for you. Obviously, any new car is cause for celebration. However, sometimes it’s better to be patient. There are a number of exciting new cars coming out over the next few years that are well worth the wait!

#1 BMW 5 Series

Image source: Navigator84 / Wiki

The executive saloon class is pretty competitive these days, especially with the release of the new Mercedes E-Class. BMW certainly have an idea of the stakes, which is why the upcoming 5 Series is looking so good. This gorgeous saloon is going to have to compete with the E-Class’s great drivability, and limo-like interior luxury. The 5 Series will include high-tech features like gesture control for the infotainment and semi-autonomous driving. These are carried on from the revolutionary 7 Series. BMW have also announced they’ll be shaving off 100kg from the whole vehicle, meaning the fuel economy will be greatly improved. While there’s no telling until we drive it, the 5 Series certainly looks like it’s going to be something special.

#2 Ford Fiesta

Image source: Ford Europe / Flickr
Earlier versions of the Fiesta are an incredibly common sight. If you’ve ever driven one, you’ll know exactly where that popularity comes from! The new MK8 Fiesta is due to be released in early 2017, and drivers all over the world are expected to flock to the dealerships. The new release will be much lower than the previous versions, giving it a much sleeker shape that will make you forget you’re driving a supermini! The information that’s been released is limited. However, Ford are expected to take an evolutionary route, with a modernised interior and advanced tech. This brand has never been known for reinventing the wheel. You can expect the 2017 Fiesta to be just as reliable, practical and spacious as their previous versions.



#3 Ford F150 Raptor

Image source: João Paulo / Flickr
Ford aren’t just looking out for their casual, sub-urban drivers. Off-roading junkies have got a present to look forward to as well! The Raptor has always been a favourite among pickup lovers, and the amount of hype for the 2017 version is only continuing to mount. The new F150 Raptor will include a 360-degree camera, an improved 4x4 chassis and torque, as well as a more advanced infotainment system. If older Raptors are anything to go on, this model will be a versatile, comfortable truck, both off the road and on it. The 2017 version will be up-sized, with larger doors and more cabin space, as well as gnarly-looking skid plate. I didn’t think these trucks could look any more mean until I saw these recent images! Pictures of the interior aren’t all that impressive, despite the added tech. However, I’m sure that’s not what you’d buy a pickup for!

There you have just a few of the most anticipated cars on our radar. More and more models are being talked about all the time. Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s coming over 2017 and beyond!

3 Cars To Look Out For In 2017

19 May 2016


Recent research conducted by Experian has revealed a boom in used car sales, with the number of used cars sold in Great Britain increasing by as much as 7% in the final quarter of 2015… that’s 1.63 million cars.

North East Sees Largest Rise in Used Car Sales in UK

The region that saw the largest growth in the number of used car sales was the north east, where sales were up 8.3% year-on-year. Scotland’s rise, at 4.1%, was the lowest of all the regions in Great Britain.

New cars have seen a large rise in the number of registrations in the past few years thanks to a slight economic recovery. This rise, that started in 2012, has now seen those new cars returned as used ones as part of the traditional cycle, where owners part-exchange their car before its first MOT.

Sale of Cars Up to Three Years Old Rises by 11%

This partly explains why the number of cars sold that are up to three years old has soared by 11%, with people looking to buy slightly used models. By contrast, the number of people buying cars that are between 6 and 9 years old has tumbled by almost 6%.

In many cases, it appears as though many people are selling their vehicles before their finance deal matures properly, which is causing an influx of cars that are almost three years old coming to the market.

The Way We Buy Cars is Changing

This represents a change in British car buying behaviour and is in part due to the rise of Personal Contract Purchases (PCPs), which help split car prices into affordably monthly payments. For many, new cars and nearly new cars are now far more affordable than they’ve ever been previously and people now no longer have to settle for a used car that’s 3-5 years old.

By buying newer cars, many believe that they’re getting a much better deal, even if they have to pay a little more. This is because the age of the car, and the fact that it will still be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and doesn’t need an MOT means that less is likely to go wrong.

The Trend Looks Likely to Stay

Overall, the thirst for newer cars has fuelled the rise of retailers who specialise in selling nearly new cars. According to the data, this is a trend that also looks set to stay. This is because the strong performance in the final quarter of 2015 follows a more modest increase in the third quarter of the year, when used car sales increased by 1.1% year-on-year to 1.88 million.

Why Used Car Sales are on the Rise

17 May 2016


Leading innovators in the field of engine technologies from Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be showcasing products to help improve the efficiency of the next generation of vehicles in the UK Pavilion at Engine Expo 2016, Messe Stuttgart, Germany, 31 May - 2 June 2016.

The research and development work carried out by the exhibitors is being aided by Britain’s unique innovation landscape, where industry and government work together in conjunction with a range of support including funding. Support organisations involved in the UK Pavilion are the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), Innovate UK, the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) and the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN).

The exhibiting companies and the new technologies being showcased are as follows:

Advanced Innovative Engineering

Clean, efficient and economical lightweight Wankel rotary engine for hybrids/range-extenders or as a primary power unit

Aeristech

Fully electric turbocharger and eSupercharger technology and compressors for automotive fuel cell applications

Bladon Jets

Micro-turbine and air bearing technology for use in automotive range-extenders or for static power units

Brunel University London

Industry-led research, bridging the gap between the lab and the marketplace to accelerate manufacturing implementation

Catagen

Catalyst technology allows the testing of full size after-treatment systems and components under a wider range of conditions encompassing WLTC Real Driving Emissions

Cella Energy

Advanced materials and technologies company has developed a safe hydrogen storage material that releases hydrogen when heated

Cosworth

High performance, low carbon powertrain engineering solutions for global OEMs and motorsport teams

Dearman Engine Company

Using liquid air to deliver zero-emission power and cooling

Equipmake

Prototype motor, hybrid and electric system design & development

GKN Hybrid Power

Gyrodrive composite flywheel hybrid technology reduces fuel consumption and emissions

Oaktec

Pulse-R multi-gas engine delivers exceptional results in terms of performance, emissions and fuel efficiency

Prodrive

Engine development capability showcased by Aston Martin Vulcan

RML Group

Motorsport and high performance automotive engineering company has developed the 400bhp 3-cylinder 1.5-litre powertrain for the Nissan ZEOD RC

Sunamp

Heat batteries for vehicle heat recovery, storage and re-use – for applications ranging from improving ICE efficiency to extending EV range.

The UK Pavilion will include an Aston Martin Vulcan with a V12 engine developed by Prodrive and a Westfield sports car with a new rotary engine developed by AIE.

Ian Constance, CEO, Advanced Propulsion Centre said:

The UK Pavilion at Engine Expo 2016 shows that automotive supply chain companies in Great Britain and Northern Ireland have a real strength in the area of innovation, and we have the support required to help these companies bring their technologies to market. The exhibiting companies also demonstrate that the UK is a global centre of excellence for low carbon propulsion development and production.
More information can be found about all the exhibiting companies at Engine Expo 2016 at: www.apcuk.co.uk/engine-expo

The UK Pavilion (stand number 3320) is supported by the GREAT Britain campaign. The campaign showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer, and welcomes the world to visit, study and do business with the UK.

www.greatbritaincampaign.com

UK’s Leading Engine Technology Innovators to Showcase Products at Engine EXPO 2016

11 May 2016


MINI today has launched its latest design model, MINI Seven.

Taking its name from the very first Mini, the 1959 Austin Seven, MINI Seven has been developed to showcase both the distinctive style inspired by the original Mini and the current modern values of the brand.

MINI Seven joins the current generation MINI Hatch range in 5-door or 3-door form with specially designed exterior and interior looks unseen before on this generation’s model line-up.

MINI Seven is instantly recognisable by its striking MINI Yours body finish which comes as standard in Lapisluxury Blue - the most intensive blue tone ever applied to a MINI. Three other body finishes from the MINI paint range are also available to choose from; Pepper White, Midnight Black and British Racing Green.

A Melting Silver roof and exterior mirror caps come as standard contrasting with the distinctive body finishes. MINI Seven door sill finishers and side scuttles with the MINI Seven logo as well as 17-inch light alloy wheels in exclusive MINI Seven Spoke two-tone design complete the exterior look.



For those wanting to add their own personal style to the exterior design of MINI Seven, bonnet stirpes in Melting Silver with surround in Malt Brown are also available as an option.

Inside, the eye-catching design cues continue with sports seats in the fabric/leather finish Diamond Malt Brown, designed exclusively for MINI Seven.


There is also a MINI Seven logo on the central instrument which surrounds the MINI Visual Boost 6.5’’ colour display which also comes as standard alongside MINI Connected, Bluetooth Handsfree with USB audio, floor mats, MINI Excitement Pack, automatic dual-zone air conditioning and storage compartment pack.

In addition to the high quality standard equipment offered, MINI Seven has its own bespoke option pack, the MINI Seven Chili. The MINI Seven Chili offers customers MINI Yours features such as the Lounge Leather Upholstery in Carbon Black and the MINI Yours Steering Wheel in Walk Nappa leather with a waxed hand stitched seem.

The MINI Seven Chili pack also offers additional features which are unique in the small car segment including LED headlights, multifunction controls for the steering wheel and cruise control with brake function.



Additional optional equipment from the MINI range is also available to further customise MINI Seven. This includes the popular panorama glass roof, windscreen heating, front driver and passenger seat heating, the Harmon Kardon hi-fi speaker system as well as MINI Connected XL and MINI Navigation System.

MINI Seven will be have its first UK premiere at Goodwood Festival of Speed on the MINI stand from 23-26th June with orders being taken now.

Prices start for MINI 3-door Seven from £18,545 OTR and from £19,145 for MINI 5-door Seven.

The New MINI Seven

9 May 2016


Whether you’re planning to travel across the UK or make the trip abroad, you need to make sure your vehicle is in a suitable condition. Without taking proper care, you could run into all sorts of problems. Before you know it, you’ll end up broken down on the side of the road, which is definitely something you don’t want to experience! So, you’re going to have to follow a few crucial tips if you want to turn a potential travel nightmare into a positive holiday experience.

Of course, the main thing you need to consider is vehicle maintenance. You should be checking your vehicle on a regular basis as it is, but this is especially the case when you’re going on long journeys. Make sure the oil is checked on a regular basis, or you could end causing severe consequences to your vehicle. Also, ensure the wheels are adequately equipped with enough air according to the requirements in the manual. Keep your washer fluid topped up so you can deal with any messy marks on the windscreen too. Just a few basic checks are all that’s needed before you go away.

If there are any repairs that need to be done to your vehicle before you go away, get them booked in ASAP. You don’t want to be hoping for the best when you’re expecting to have a nice holiday. Get your car serviced by a local mechanic, and make sure you’re picking a reputable one. You also need to ensure the basics like tax and MOT are covered, or you could find yourself getting into trouble. Nothing screams “bad holiday” like being stopped by the police on your way there.

You also need to think whether your current vehicle is even suitable for what you intend it to do. If your entire family is coming with you on a nationwide trip, can you really accommodate them? It might be simpler to think about minibus hire or something to that effect. I try to limit the amount of travelling I do in my car because I know it’s not in the best condition. If yours is the same way, you’re going to have to think long and hard about whether it’s a safe option. You shouldn’t be travelling at all if you can’t guarantee the safety of those around you.

Instead of using your vehicle to get around, you could always use public transport instead. Trains and busses are great alternatives. If you can’t rely on your vehicle, this might be your best bet. As long as you find the right deals by browsing online first, you might even save a bit of money in the process!

If you’re certain that your vehicle is ready and it’s up to scratch, it’s time to get out there! Remember to drive safely at all times, obeying the speed limits and taking proper care. Always take adequate rest stops to ensure your concentration doesn’t slip. If you’re feeling tired at any point, you should find a place to rest overnight.

Is Your Vehicle Ready For A Long Trip?

2 May 2016

So here we are again, its round 2 of my second DMAX season and it was time to head back to Sandown Park. As a karting circuit it is essentially my home track, it is the place I did my first proper outdoor karting and certainly the place I truly fell in love with the sport. As you might imagine, I do know the track pretty well having raced there a lot and also had the pleasure of a Daytona karting masterclass there but does that mean I was faster than everyone else? Sadly not, but it was a great round.

The Track

My history at Sandown involves a fair few arrive and drive evening sessions in the 4 stroke sodi karts and the previous model of kart too. It is also where I enjoyed racing against Damon Hill and all sorts of celebs like Heston Blumenthal at the Halow Charity events and others.It is a track with one hell of a start finish straight that leads into one hell of a first corner. Turn 1 is a long sweeping corner that turns you a full 180 degrees and the debate about how fast you can tackle it can always be heard rumbling on between new drivers at the track. In a DMAX kart personally I don't think you can take it flat as the kart just starts losing grip but this could be because I don't weigh very much. In a Sodi kart you can definitely take it flat and it's a great feeling, but don't try it in the wet!

There is then a mix of tight turns and sweeping corners as well as a couple of tricky complexes that take some time to learn. Every time I race there I think I learn something new and this DMAX race was no different.

It's All About the Brakes

So, in light of my plan this season to learn more and take on advise this race was going to be all about the brakes. So many people had watched my videos and said I was just not braking hard enough soon enough. In a car you would start braking then gradually increase the pressure up until the lock up point then perhaps release a little before hitting the throttle to come out of a corner. Being primarily a car driver this is how I have been braking since I started karting. What the advice I have been getting says is that in a kart you need to literally stamp on the brake, lock up the wheels and then release a little before hitting the gas.This may sound simple but it carries with it a big risk of spinning.

Because a kart's brakes only act on the back wheels when you lock them up it will naturally try to spin, if you are even slightly turning into a corner and do this the kart will start making it's way very rapidly into a 180 turn that is not great from a racing point of view. So the big trick with this kind of braking is to be ready for the spin and be good enough to control it; and here lies the skill. If you are about to head out on your first ever karting session I would not advise trying this, you will probably get a black flag and asked to stop because you would be considered out of control. However, if like me, you have done a lot of karting but simply can't get that extra bit of pace then its time to push the limits.

Did It Work?

In short, yes. I was shy at first but as I got a few practice laps in I started to try this new technique and I managed to hold onto the kart and keep racing. It was pretty scary feeling the kart fully locked up and starting to spin but a touch of lock in either direction and releasing the brake seemed to allow me to turn in and carry through a lot more speed. In terms of lap times, last year's race was on a partially wet track so it is hard to compare but I feel I was a lot faster than I normally am at Sandown.

The Race

As always the heats were a mixed bag but generally a good one.I felt good on the track and apart from the people who are super quick I was able to hold my ground with a lot of drivers and it felt great. During the heats you start at different points on the grid and I started in 4th for one race. for a very short moment after some contact at turn 1 I actually shot into the lead. Now, I knew I was not going to stay there but it was a very surreal moment to be racing in DMAX and not have anyone in front of me. As you might imagine, it didn't take long for Jake Butler, Tim Sibley and Tom Golding to new a few were making their way past me but I really felt pretty comfortable up there and the usual apologetic letting people past didn't happen, I think I finally feel I deserve to be on the grid.

The Final

Sadly, due to a spin which is rather painfully captured on the official video below I came last in the final but I managed some better positions during the heats so it was not quite as bad as it sounds. I also had a great tussle with a few people at the back so I got some really good racing in as well as trying out my new braking technique.


Next!

Round 2 was a great days racing, it was an even better test bed for some great racing advice and it gave me a brief glimpse of what it is like to lead a race....all in all a great day!

If you want to have a crack at karting at any level then head to https://www.daytona.co.uk/ you can try some simple arrive and drive, or you could get in touch with them about joining me at one of the DMAX rounds...go on, I dare you!

Round 2 - 2016 TW Steel Daytona DMAX Championship - Sandown Park

 
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