oldSTAGER No.115
April/May 2009

 

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Cache Account

What a great start to the HRCR Clubman’s season. A full entry list of 75 for the Tour of Cheshire Rally and the Ilkley already oversubscribed a month before the event. Yet not all is well in the motorsport world. A few top stage events have been cancelled recently, and after proclaiming the benefits of 12-car rallies in the last oldSTAGER, I had to postpone the Essex 100 due to lack of entries. Perhaps all the new regularity recruits have already graduated to the real events.

The restricted use of the Croft Circuit after noise complaints from established nimbys has set an unwelcome precedent for all motor sport venues and Tour Britannia was immediately affected for this year.

I feel most sad for my own car club – West Essex – who at short notice have had to cancel their senior event, the Millbrook Stages, since the owners of the Bedfordshire proving ground have outlawed motorsport events. The event has run for 19 years and its loss makes a dent in this year’s HRCR Historic Stage Rally Challenge and other Championships. The Millbrook site is used as a development facility for several motor manufacturers who are taking precedence; ironic, since the income they could provide will possibly be lost because of the cutbacks in the motor industry.

* * *

Little motorsport press has been given to the fact that the government are planning to cut the national speed limit from 60mph to 50mph on most of Britain’s roads, as early as next year. The scheme will apply to single carriage A, B and C roads. Local authorities will have the power to raise the limit to 60mph on the safest roads, but will have to justify it. With the swell of support I’ve read from the public on non-motorsport forums, I doubt any justifications will be forthcoming. I hope the MSA don’t use this as an excuse to tamper with road rally regulations.

* * *

I received my bus pass recently and this prompted a revelation about my past. In my early teens I was a bus spotter. A sad pursuit, but it did introduce me to maps, and most weekends I could be seen clutching a Red Rover, an A-Z of London and a bus map as I travelled around the Capital. My addiction to buses (mostly red) went as far a buying a fleet of Routemasters – the matchbox variety. On my bedroom floor there was a carpet whose grid pattern conveniently allowed me to create a network of bus routes. I decorated the route with childhood objects and created imaginary schedules stopping at them. I was even conscious of the concept of average speed and equated an inch of carpet travel to one minute of time. So the 20” journey from the wardrobe to the bedside table was scheduled to take 20 minutes.

Little me didn’t realise that a decade later, and ever since, I would be playing with time schedules for rally routes rather than passenger services. What goes around comes around.

* * *

I was cautioned the other day for travelling on the correct (left hand side) of the road! Actually I was jogging and view this to be the safest direction. I argued at length with the policeman who had skidded to a halt in front of me almost knocking me over. His maths were clearly disadvantaged. He couldn’t understand that if a car (travelling at 30mph) were to hit me (8mph), a combined impact speed of 22mph would give me a significantly greater chance of survival than 38mph by running towards the traffic. Then he said it was the rule of the road for non-motorised transport; news to me, since bicycles are similarly compromised as joggers (my fastest running equates to a slow cyclist), and my highway code says cyclists should keep left. The way this officer continued his campaign against me and the traffic jam building up around us, anyone would have thought I’d just murdered his cat. Send me your opinions on the back of disused route cards.

* * *

Have you tried geocaching? This is a pastime where the objective is to find treasure (or cache) using a GPS device. The caches are pre-hidden and typically comprise a metal tin containing small objects of low value like: coins, buttons and small toys. Sometimes there is a logbook where you record your visit and the exchange of an object. There are about 40,000 of these concealed in the UK. Your starting point will often be a convenient place to park and then you set off on foot with GPS in hand. You may just have co-ordinates to head for or there may be a puzzle or two to solve to get to the cache location.

If you want a walk with a navigational purpose in these warmer months take a look at the website at geocaching.com.