Sunday 30 December 2018

Road - 2018 Driving Highlight

Many folk think the life of a motoring journalist is one non-stop glamorous tour of exotic places driving fast cars on open roads with the sun beating down and the speed cops having a siesta. The truth is often cold, grey, wet and windy driving the next 'big' thing in urban transport. However, every so often, we get a treat. Something different. Something that will stick in the memory for years ....

Monday 24 December 2018

Merry Christmas?

In a festive flush of recycling, few can match the cheapskates, sorry, resourceful environment sympathisers, at Knockhill. Taking the idea of artificial trees to new limits, check out what those Blue Peter rejects devised at Scotland's National Motorsports Centre to bring sparkle and light to a cold, dark night.

Inspired by such a wondrous act of saving the planet I too have scrooged their idea for my own Yuletide greeting image.

And remember in this season of kind thoughts and goodwill, the true meaning of Christmas celebration is spending time with family you don’t get to see very often - then you have an excuse to neglect them for the rest of the year!

Merry Christmas everyone, take care out there and have a good one.

Saturday 22 December 2018

Road - Christmas Road Test

"But I would drive 500 miles, and I would drive 500 more" - if only I could afford the petrol. "Just to be the man who's driven a thousand miles to fall down at your door" - broke and penniless.

No, I haven't been over indulging in festive spirits. This is the Christmas Road Test, and what a car. Not just any car. This is the manifestation of a time and a way of life that we'll never see again.

Trouble is, I had summat else in mind for a Christmas Road test. Bigger, heavier and more powerful, so just maybe there will be two Christmas Road tests this year.

In the meantime, it's here:

Rally - Campaign?

I've lost count now about who has and when they did it, but I reckon that over 200 folk who read this page have 'done' the Transport Scotland questionnaire regarding the Closed Roads consultation, and that is a conservative estimate. This month's Motorsport UK Newsletter will add more impetus and spread the appeal further while closer to home the Scottish Association of Motor Sports Clubs has urged all member clubs to spread the word through their own memberships.

In fact, the SAMSC went one step further with 'Our Dear Leader' copying his questionnaire responses to the member clubs, something I haven't dared do on this page. Whereas Mr Weall provided the perfect example of sobriety, common sense and sound judgement, my response was rather more political, opinionated and perhaps even provocative. Maybe I will print it here after the consultation process is closed - or maybe not!

But remember, you're not doing this for me, the SAMSC or Motorsport UK, you are doing it for yourselves and for the sport.

The only reason I want to encourage folk to fill in the questionnaire is that I am only too well aware that motorsports followers are a lazy bunch. After long nights and weekends spent in the garage, building, replacing or fixing bits, the last thing you want to do is come into the house, switch on , log on and fill in a silly questionnaire. The sport is notoriously bad at petitions and direct action.

I remember an occasion in the past when BBC Scotland YV failed to run a featured report on the Esso Scottish Rally Championship - and they got one letter of complaint (from guess who?) - whilst the same programme also failed to run coverage of a highlighted football match. Apparently the poor wee postie was bow-legged dragging sacks of hate mail up the BBC's drive for days afterwards - even from folk who couldn't write. There were threats and complaints galore, and some written earnestly in blunt crayon, or it might even have been blood.

That's the difference between those in power and in the media taking notice and paying attention. If you create a noise they are more likely to listen and respond, whilst it's all too easy to ignore a whisper and wrongly believe that no-one is interested. We can be the instigators of our own misfortune at times.

Anyway, keep up the good work, I may yet return to this topic in the New Year. Meantime I have my Christmas Road Test to finish. The trouble is I can't make up my mind which of two it should feature. Maybe I'll just write them both.

The Transport Scotland consultation documents are here. Easy to read and fill in:

Friday 21 December 2018

Rally - Public Consultation

Another 59 folk have confirmed they have completed Transport Scotland's Closed Road public consultation document (see previous Post). That brings the total that I am aware of on this page to 142 who have 'done' it, or in the case of some of our posher readers, have 'completed' it! The appeal of this page is classless, eh?

Of course these are conservative estimates, as some folk responded to this page without actually saying they had completed the form, so I didn't count them, while others replied saying they had responded to other appeals, so I didn't count them either. On that basis it is certain that many more folk have responded, so that's the good news.

As yet there is no indication how many other responses TS has received, either for or against, and that figure won't be known till after the process is completed and considered at the end of January.

Yesterday Motorsport UK distributed its December newsletter to competition licence holders and officials  which included the text of their press release regarding the launch of Transport Scotland's public consultation. They also included a direct link to the documents on the TS website so that should further spread the word across the nation and hopefully provoke a few more folk into completing the questionnaire.

However, it's worth bearing in mind that the Welsh Government published its own report on its Consultation findings some 10 weeks after the conclusion of their own consultation process last year, so don't get too excited yet. Apparently, one of the topics which generated discussion was the use of the Welsh language in official documentation. Hopefully we won't have anything like that issue adding to the complexity up here!

When Transport Scotland publish their findings, I'll let you all know the outcome here, so just keep the fiery crosses on standby.

On a more positive note, the final paragraph in the Welsh Government report stated: "A good range of comments and issues were raised and an overwhelming majority of correspondents were supportive of the preferred approach outlined in the consultation document".

By the way, there's also a job advert in the Motorsport UK Newsletter for a new bod at Edinburgh based Scottish Motor Sport, so if you think you're up for it, go for it. Who knows, the position might even take on additional importance if Scotland goes for another referendum! Oh no it won't, Oh yes it might. Exciting times all round, eh?

Full job spec here: