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Seeing the sunrise in style – by Stas

Idea for this adventure came only a few days after we attended the Goodwood Festival of Speed. So, suppose you could say, I was still under the influence of the festival.

A thought came to me: “How cool would it be to test the Q50, a car from Infiniti’s current model range that caught my attention at the festival, while exploring amazing natural scenery of southern England!”.

Then the idea developed further: “How about we combine that with a drive to see the sunrise”. After much deliberation, planning and ruling out several routes and destinations, we settled on a trip to North Downs on Saturday and a ‘drive to the sunrise’ on the Kent coast on Sunday. Deal Pier, on the East coast of Kent, was chosen to be our perfect sunrise greeting spot.

To be honest, the ‘drive to the sunrise’ part came to me after remembering Top Gear episode during which Jeremy Clarkson ‘raced God’ from sunset to sunrise in one night. J Remember that one?

However, our journey started on Friday evening with the long anticipated arrival of the car. It was delivered late in the evening, so I had plenty of time before for daydreaming. Around 7 pm we received a call that the car is outside the house. I peaked through the window and there it was – it’s hard to miss a sports car in Moonlight White with 19” alloys. Our Q50 was hybrid Q50S Tech Sports model with all-wheel-drive, V6 3.5L petrol engine and 360bhp under its bonnet.

It took me a good half an hour to get acquainted with car’s abilities, gizmos and gadgets. I consider myself an old school kind of a guy. So having a car, even if only for a weekend, with tablet-like user interface, customisable Driver Modes and a whole load of other extras is a novelty to me.

inside infiniti Seeing the sunrise in style   by Stas

Anyway, after a thorough tour of the car, assisted by a very helpful Infiniti specialist, we were ready for the weekend adventure.

The next day, after breakfast, we set off on the first part of our adventure. Driving through neighbourhoods and then out in to Surrey countryside I was astonished by the amazing views so close to London. Eventually, we turned off dual carriage way, right by the Rykas café. As it turned out, it was a biker event that day, so cars were in a minority. Not sure I have ever seen such variety of bikes in one place. Once we passed a car park full of bikes and a long line up of roaring two wheeled monsters, we headed up the Zig Zag Road. I could confidently say, this road is one of the most beautiful roads I have driven on so far. It was also quite a challenge with its sharp turns, steep gradient and some occasional car, bike or bicycle appearing from around the corner.

Short drive later, we reached the Box Hill tourist information centre at the top. We ditched the car. I know, cruel, but from here it could only work on foot. Equipped with trail maps from the information stand, we went to enjoy the Stepping Stones Walk.

However, before we embarked on our hill climbing voyage we took a moment to admire the views from the top of the hill. This was the second time that day I was left speechless. Views from the Box Hill were truly astonishing, wherever you look. And they stretched for miles.

box hill Seeing the sunrise in style   by Stas

Tired and exhausted from the walk, we returned to our ride. It was late afternoon and we had to get a move on to get some food and rest before our 2am start the next morning. Our schedule for the weekend might sound insane, but trust me, it was worth it.

The plan was to get at least 4 hours of sleep before hitting the road to Deal, which normally would be tricky for me as I have ‘bird sleep’ when it comes to important occasions or exciting events. Nerves kick in! So I was happy to fall asleep quickly and get almost full 4 hours of sleep.

Alarm woke us up precisely at 2 am. We brewed our favourite morning drinks (coffee and tea) and made a move on. It felt a bit weird to leave the house when some people were yet to fall asleep. You could see lights still on in neighbour’s windows. But air was fresh, anticipation of the exciting journey ahead high and sunrise slowly approaching UK shores.

When we approached, Q50 greeted us with a cheeky wink with its front head lights. Quickly setting the car up for the drive ahead we hit the road.

infiniti2 Seeing the sunrise in style   by Stas

Driving slowly through sleepy neighbourhoods gave us time to enjoy and appreciate peace and silence in otherwise one of the world’s busiest cities.

interior Seeing the sunrise in style   by Stas

We eventually reached motorway and were able to put ‘the foot down’. At this point we already could see sky getting lighter further east. A new day was up on us.

We were soon in Dover, only a few miles away from our destination. It seemed Dover never sleeps, a bit like New York. Cars and trucks were arriving and leaving. We could hear some port announcements being made.

The official time of a sunrise in Deal that morning was 4:48 am, so we had little time spare to stop on the way. We cracked on. Turning off the motorway and on to country roads was a nice change of scenery.

It was getting somewhat hypnotic watching motorway road markings run past for miles in the dark. The sky was getting lighter by a minute but we were almost there.

sky Seeing the sunrise in style   by Stas

Driving on A258 through sleepy coastal villages perked me up. You had to stay alert on narrow country lanes. Few more turns and…we crossed Deal town boarder line.

We made it with about 15 minutes to spare. We parked up on The Strand and headed for the beach.

infiniti Seeing the sunrise in style   by Stas

A mix of excitement and a sense of accomplishment hit us. We did it! We laid on pebbles and watched sun slowly peek from the horizon.

If you want to see other photos from our sunrise adventure, join me on Instagram https://instagram.com/sta5

Let me know what car and adventure you would like me to blog about next and I will see what can be organised.

All photos taken by Seren

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A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti – by Stas

Just to warn you, this was my first ever experience at Goodwood Festival of Speed so there will be a lot of excitement and emotions in this blog post. Reader discretion is advised J

Since the day our attendance to Goodwood was confirmed, I was like a kid before Christmas. Walking around, with my head in the clouds, imagining what it is going to be like. Will tell you honestly, it exceeded all expectations.

When we arrived on site and passed ticket gates I was all over the place. My other half, yes she took part in this too, had to literally drag me between the stands. Bentley, McLaren, sports cars, classic cars… you name it. However, the most memorable moment during the first half an hour at the festival was when we were crossing the foot bridge over the Hill Climb straight. As we were climbing to the top of the bridge I heard a ‘roar’ approaching. It was coming from the left and getting louder by the second. Then it blasted beneath us. It reminded me scenes from Jurassic World, which we went to watch a few days ago.

However, there was little time to try and chase that ‘roar’ to discover what it was. We were in a bit of a rush. Once we made it to the stand, which was tucked away in one of the Goodwood House courtyards, first thing that caught my attention was Infiniti Q60 Concept.

car1 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

 

It was mesmerizing. Its shapes, angles and those headlamps… They reminded me of bats or maybe panther’s eyes.

car2 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

Before I got too carried away, guys from Infiniti told they have a surprise for us, a helicopter ride to see the festival grounds from a bird’s eye view.

car3 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

The flight was unbelievable, the views stunning. It took my breath away.

car4 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

When we landed, we headed straight to the Goodwood House for a tour and some Pimm’s on the balcony. On the way, we got ‘stuck’ in a crowd admiring huge line up of cars, preparing to enter the Hill Climb. Not really stuck though, the line-up was simply awesome – it would have been almost a sin to just walk past it.

car5 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

Completely unexpectedly, we heard a loud bang overhead. It was the Red Arrows. They flew over in a formation with blue, red and white smoke shooting out of their tails. Few others and myself were somewhat gutted jets appeared out of nowhere. None of us had our cameras ready.

Not to worry though, Red Arrows were to return shortly and we were ready this time.

car6 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

After a quick tour of the house we headed straight for the balcony to enjoy what is arguably the best view on the Hill Climb action.

car7 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

The view from here also gave me a full appreciation of the scale of the festival and, most importantly, a better understanding of how significant this festival is. Goodwood Festival of Speed has something to offer to every type of petrol head.

Filled with Pimm’s and positive emotions, it was time for lunch. Needless to say, the dining area was located perfectly to catch the tyre squealing action of the Hill Climb, up close.

car8 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

After lunch came another surprise. We would get an exclusive access to see the inside of Q60 Concept and QX30 Concept,

car9 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

and meet Simon Cox – the design director behind Infiniti’s all new Q30 model, due to be revealed later this year at Frankfurt Motor Show.

car10 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

The interior of Q60 and QX30 is as gorgeous as façade. Everyone, from driver to passengers and onlookers, is thought of and looked after.

car11 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

The new Infiniti range is to be “rare and desired”. To turn your head and make you want one. And it is not about style and looks, alone.

car12 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

Three words kept coming up in our conversation with Simon Cox: “Performance, craftsmanship and tailoring”. These represent Infiniti inside out. Mirrors, seats, central console, air vents, engine. Everything is created with performance, craftsmanship and tailoring in mind.

car13 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

Consistency in attention to detail is seen across all Infiniti models. For example, such mundane aspect of a car as door handles. On QX30 there are none, in a conventional sense of the word. Instead, the car has touch/gesture sensitive panels fulfilling the role.

Tour on the insides of soon to be launched Infiniti models concluded our day with them, but it was only 3pm. What shall we do? Go enjoy the rest of the festival, of course. However, that deserves a separate blog post in itself. For now, this is it on my first visit to Goodwood Festival of Speed.

If you fancy seeing more photos from the festival or dropping me a comment, join me on https://instagram.com/sta5

To find out more aboout these amazing concept cars, head over to Infiniti.

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Ford B-Max Mini MPV Review: A Good Car for the Money

What do you get when you cross the Ford Fiesta platform with the size and the styling of the Ford Focus? The B-Max Mini MPV, Ford’s strongest entry in the European minivan market. The B-Max was originally introduced as a concept car at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show as a way to display the company’s revolutionary B3 platform. It has done very well since being introduced to the consumer market in 2012.

The 2015 B-Max is everything you would expect from this car, and then some. Its strongest selling point for families is a combination of its price point and practicality. You get a lot for your money with the B-Max, although you will probably not win any style points for driving a sleek and sexy sport sedan. That is why the B-Max is really designed for families with young kids.

A bonus for families is that used versions of the B-Max are available through manufacturer-approved schemes such as Ford Direct. Choosing one that is a model a year or two older is yet another way to get an excellent car for not a lot of money.

The Positives

We like the B-Max, first and foremost because it answers one of the most annoying features of most minivans: barely accessible rear seats. Ford designers got rid of the centre pillars to create an open system that makes it easy to get the kids in and out. Believe it or not, child seats have never been easier to use in a minivan. No other minivan offers 59 inches of open space between side doors.

The use of the hatch in the back is another significant positive. Owners have easy access to the rear of the vehicle for loading everything from luggage to groceries. That said, there is not a whole lot of room in the back when the passenger seats are in their normal position. Travelling a long distance with a lot of luggage probably means using a roof-mounted luggage rack or a trailer.

Lastly, the fuel economy of the 99bhp 1.0-litre petrol model is excellent. Ford says you can get 55 mpg if you are careful not to drive aggressively. That’s not hard to do with the 1.0. You may have more difficulty getting mileage that good with the 1.4-litre engine. You will, however, get more punchy performance.

The Negatives

Despite the amount of space afforded by the removal of the central pillars, we cannot help but think that the B3 design presents a safety issue in the event of a side impact crash. Nevertheless, crash tests have resulted in a five star rating for the B-Max in the States. The Euro NCAP also gave the B-Max a five-star safety rating for the 2012 model.

There is not a lot to be impressed about with the comfort level of the B-Max. It is adequate, in the sense that it is not an uncomfortable car, but it is not as smooth and gentle as we would expect a family car to be. Some have described the ride as ‘firm’. It needs to be that way in order to give owners the handling they expect in a car of that size and shape.

Lastly, the design for the interior can be a bit annoying until one gets used to it. The dash seems overly generous while all of the gauges and user controls are compressed into a tiny area. It seems as though Ford could have done a better job of spreading things out a bit. Nonetheless, perhaps the dash arrangement was designed around the overall theme of more room to work rather than valuable space being taken up by unnecessary features.

Where to Buy the Ford B-Max

The Ford B-Max has done very well in a UK market that is heavy on fuel economy and low price point. It is available from most Ford.co.uk dealers in the UK as a brand new model and there are no real stock restrictions, some sites have strong special offers such as JenningsMotorGroup.co.uk. There is no reason it should not continue to do well for the foreseeable future. It is a minivan worth looking at for young families that need space for the little ones. In short, it is a good car for the price.

For a quick part exchange valuation then webuyanycar.com is a good bet or alternatively direct from a dealer against a car you are interested in http://www.jenningsforddirect.co.uk/cars/ford/b-max/

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Goodbye Freelander, Hello Disco Sport

On the very day the Land Rover Freelander 2 featured here was delivered for review by Motor Blogger, the very first Discovery Sport – the replacement for the venerable compact all-rounder – rolled off the production line. This doesn’t mean that reviewing the out-going car is a waste of time though because it continues to have much to recommend it as a great used car buy.6 300x192 Goodbye Freelander, Hello Disco Sport

I wondered if the Evoque may have taken some of the sales share away from the older car – given that they share engines and some mechanicals – but this isn’t the case, according to Land Rover. Since the original Freelander first appeared in 1997, the company have sold almost a million worldwide as at the end of 2013.

Indeed, 13859 of them were purchased by UK customers during 2013 so clearly the demand for this practical and versatile car remains.

2 300x205 Goodbye Freelander, Hello Disco SportAs the Freelander exits through the gift shop over the next few months the range has been pared down accordingly. Our vehicle was in fully loaded Metropolis trim with Indus Silver paint, Windsor Leather Ebony Seats, Ebony interior with Grand Black Veneer all set off by some fetching 19” Alloy Diamond Turned wheels. Our car came with the optional full-sized spare wheel – a must have for peace of mind I think. At around £35,000, this is not a cheap car but it is a very complete and able one. Land Rover reckon 40mpg should be possible on the combined cycle and that seems reasonable after a week of mixed use.

The first thing you notice is how tall you sit in the saddle affording the driver with a clear all-round view. Certainly, there’s a degree of body roll and I felt the steering was over-light, but the car always feels safe and predictable, plus there’s plenty of grip from the permanent four-wheel drive. Power is derived from the torquey 188bhp 2.2L SD4 turbo diesel via an excellent auto gearbox that always seems to select the right gear. I didn’t feel the need to switch to the paddles.

The Freelander is about cruising comfort. It’s good to drive on road. The suspension easily smooths out our ruined roads, There’s a pared-down version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system on board, which adjusts the traction control according to the conditions meaning that this car can handle all but the most difficult gnarly stuff with ease, which is why it scores well against the more road-oriented vehicles from other car makers.3 300x195 Goodbye Freelander, Hello Disco Sport

Inside, the Freelander has benefited from Land Rover’s overall upmarket trend. The dashboard is a high-quality affair, with soft-touch materials and metal trim. As mentioned there’s no Terrain Response dial like you’ll find in a Discovery; instead you get a pair of buttons which scroll through the various transmission settings, which is fine.

The interior benefits from deep door pockets, a decent-sized glove compartment and plenty of storage cubbies, so there’s no shortage of space. The boot is massive offering 755 litres of space, which expands to a cavernous 1,670 litres when the standard-fit split-fold seats are folded down flat. The lack of a seven-seat option does limit the Freelander 2′s flexibility and overall people-carrying ability compared to some but the brilliant existing Discovery fulfils that brief anyway.

Although in some ways it is starting to show its age I still think the Freelander laughs in the face of more trendy opposition secure in the knowledge that is part of a legendary heritage. Still a great choice.Land Rover Discovery Sport 2015 0051 300x184 Goodbye Freelander, Hello Disco Sport

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The Efficient Audi A6 Ultra

Our featured car is the imposing Audi A6 you can see in the image. It’s a 2.0L four-cylinder turbo-diesel, in this case in S-Line trim with the S-Tronic auto ’box. It is fast yet frugal. It’s also lighter thanks to a steel/aluminium construction.

This is thanks to the Company’s new ’Ultra’ technology which brings hundreds of innovations together to deliver better efficiency, delivering more for less. The result is greater agility with lower fuel consumption and CO² emissions, aided by unobtrusive Stop/Start.

A6b2 The Efficient Audi A6 Ultra The engine powering the Ultra is a completely new development engineered for lean burning with no impact on performance and meeting stringent new Euro 6 emission standards.

The key upgrades include the amazing new 187bhp motor and the adoption of a revised seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. A manual six-speed is also available. Our featured car had the added option of the MMI Navigation Plus Pack that includes a Driver Information System and a larger retractable screen than the 6.5” version offered as standard.

The car offers a quality feel that permeates the interior augmenting a classy executive exterior look. The A6 Ultra delivers a new dimension in fuel efficiency, low emissions and company driver appeal – that‘s the point. This is a car ideally suited to, and I suggest designed for, the business and fleet community with low VED and a 19% BIK rate.

The driving position is spot-on with plenty of head room and a wide range of adjustment. The dash is smart and feels robust. Rear legroom is generous even though there’s a large 530L boot. The A6 Ultra is easy to manoeuvre, despite its size, while good visibility and standard-fit parking sensors means slotting into a space is straightforward. The S-Tronic gearbox is pretty faultless but paddles are there for manual control and there’s a sport mode for extra performance – although there’ll be an economy penalty. You can’t have it both ways.A6a The Efficient Audi A6 Ultra

For a big car it handles well although I suspect though that most buyers will be looking at the car as an overall package rather than just for driving thrills. The Ultra range is a great addition to the Audi portfolio and any company car driver covering high annual mileage can only be impressed with its mix of efficiency, refinement and effortless performance.

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Five Secrets You Didn’t Know about the Audi A6 Saloon

For a car to reveal all it has to offer requires some long-term testing. But sometimes drivers never find out a car’s “little secrets” simply because the opportunity never comes up. Discovering a car’s hidden gems earlier on can lead to better vehicle performance and smarter ownership. So today, We’re going to dig deeper into the little tricks that the Audi A6 3-litre TDI S-Line S-tronic with Quattro four-wheel drive has to offer.

Some tricks make full use of the car’s in-built technology and others simply make your life easier.

Secret 1:  The Virtual Dipstick

Today’s modern engines have done away with some of the mundane weekly checks that our parents used to carry out. Checking the oil being one of them – essential to ensure the engine isn’t going to seize due to a lack of lubrication.

The A6 is quite capable of advising you that it needs a top-up and that you should get it sorted pronto. No sudden stops at the roadside in a panic, just a detour to the garage to get some of that black gold.

Once topped-up the central display will tell you all is well, so you can lose the oily rag and avoid dirty fingers that every dipstick check delivers.

More secrets are revealed when you gain access to the car’s computer such as service intervals information and what pressure the tyres are at and, if you really need to know, the car’s Vehicle Identification Number.virtual dipstick Five Secrets You Didn’t Know about the Audi A6 Saloon

Secret 2: The Self-Suspending Boot Floor

Everyone dreads a flat. Especially when it’s raining and especially when the entire family (including restless kids) are in the car. On this Quattro car, during the test, it was necessary to put the Audi toolkit into use and as usual it was under the boot floor.

Normally, holding the floor up while accessing the kit requires three hands, or at least a shoulder to prop it open. In this case however, the flush fitting handle that lifts the floor up has a little hook on the end of it, which once engaged secures the floor panel to the top boot seal. Simple yet ingenious.

More obvious but worth mentioning are the two gas-struts that keep the bonnet open – no other strut required. It’s the little things that please most owners, right?self suspending boot floor Five Secrets You Didn’t Know about the Audi A6 Saloon

Secret 3: Locking Rear Seats Deter Felons

One advantage of the saloon over the estate version is better security. Any miscreant breaking into your estate car can easily access the storage area simply by clambering over the back seat.

In some saloons, the thief can still get in the boot by dropping the seatbacks. Not so in the A6! That’s because the backrests are lockable so you can prevent access to the boot. That’s clever thinking to protect your valuables. If you want to find out more about this car’s performance check out this Audi A6 Saloon review.

locking rear seats deter felons Five Secrets You Didn’t Know about the Audi A6 Saloon

Secret 4: The Car That Parks Itself.

Self-parking cars are not uncommon. For an experienced driver though, the challenge is trusting the tech to achieve the delicate art of parallel parking. The idea of technology is to make life easier for the user. But to achieve car parking nirvana, you have to learn to trust the tech.

The thing is, this A6 can effectively park itself. It takes an act of will to relinquish the steering wheel but you still need to control the brake and throttle. On the road test, the A6 demonstrated that it was entirely capable of assessing the space available and manoeuvring itself into the gap accordingly.

Subsequent tests revealed so long as the space was of adequate size, the Audi parked itself successfully – no drama or fuss. Although, on one occasion, it wasn’t perfectly straight. Then again, how often do we get it exactly right?car parks itself Five Secrets You Didn’t Know about the Audi A6 Saloon

Secret 5: The Digital Handbook

In the glove box of any new car you’ll find the handbook, which these days are about the size of a hardback version of War and Peace. To get the best out of your car this needs to be read from cover to cover but, in all honesty, how many owners actually do that?

The A6 almost dispenses with this antiquated method of information and instead allows the driver to access a digital handbook on screen. To do this it is first necessary to get to grips with the Audi’s systems before you can get to the guide that takes you through the car’s main controls and systems.

It isn’t meant to replace the handbook (the A6 comes with a printed version), but when those occasions arise the handbook isn’t where it should be, i.e. in the car as opposed to a mouldering drawer in the garage, you can still find out what you need to know, especially in an emergency.

These days we are becoming much more accustomed to in-car technology and 21st Century automotive marvels. It has become much easier to connect your mobile device to stream music and access contacts, it’s just the Audi A6 still has some tricks up its very smart sleeve and it is willing to let you in on the secret.digital handbook Five Secrets You Didn’t Know about the Audi A6 Saloon

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Driverless On The Hockenheim Racetrack

At Germany’s Touring Car race finale at Hockenheim Audi will stage one of the most extreme piloted driving demonstrations to date. They will underscore piloted driving potential as part of the programme for the final German Touring Car Championship race at Hockenheim.

There will be a live broadcast on Audi Media TV from 12:45pm on October 19, 2014 when an autonomous car will undertake a two-minute lap time and try and achieve a speed of 149mph.

driverless Driverless On The Hockenheim RacetrackA driverless Audi RS7 Sportback will tackle Germany’s famous circuit at race speed next week to underscore the potential of their piloted driving technology. With the latest Audi developments on board, the concept car will drive autonomously to its physical limits with millimetre precision as an exciting sideshow for the Touring Car Championship (DTM) finale on the 19th.

As its sophisticated sensors guide it around the challenging circuit, the RS7 Sportback piloted driving concept car will be approximately as fast as with a professional racing driver at the wheel. Tests conducted so far indicate that on the grand prix track a lap time of just over two minutes can be expected, and that the technology demonstrator should reach speeds, as mentioned, of up to 149mph.

The performance will be broadcast live and exclusively on the Internet starting at 12:45 pm on Audi Media TV.

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Fight Back Down Under

Down under, on the far side of the world, Australian motor enthusiasts have had enough of being the whipping boys for all the swivel-eyed, health and safety, car-hating monomaniacs who for too long have, just as it’s been for UK motorists, done their level best to brow-beat the drivers of Oz into meek submission.

Australians like their freedoms. They like to quaff a few cold beers, grill shrimps, watch a bizarre form of sleeveless rugby and drive proper V8-powered cars. They are done with being interfered with. In Britain it seems like we just roll over and accept our lot, but in Australia in 2013 they formed their own political party — the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party and they are determined to have their say.

aus2 Fight Back Down UnderSee if this sounds in any way familiar: According the Party’s website, “with the rights and civil liberties of everyday Australians being eroded at an alarming rate, the Party aims to bring focus back to the notion that the Government is there for the people; not, as it increasingly appears, the other way around.”

The Party launched in response to widespread anti-hooning (hooning is the Aussie term for anyone taking place in racing, burnouts, joyriding, etc.) legislation passed by the Australian government, as well as the closing of many areas that off-roaders used in the past. The regulations passed last year were especially concerning to Australian petrolheads because a first offence for “wilfully starting or driving a motor vehicle in a way that makes unnecessary noise or smoke” could lead to an immediate ninety day impound of the allegedly offending motor. The Party are not condoning reckless or illegal activities; they are concerned about the potential over-zealous interpretation of the law.

The AMEP was formed and instead of just making a lot of noise, ran a candidate for Senate, and to a whole lot of peoples’ surprise, won a seat in the Federal Senate. “The success of the AMEP at a Federal level will open doors to negotiation which have previously been unavailable to us as motoring enthusiasts,” reads the AMEP’s website. “The unity displayed by supporters of the AMEP at the election sends a clear message to those who would see our culture dismantled – we are not a minority, and we will not give up the fight for our rights and freedom.” Senator Elect Ricky Muir takes his seat on last Monday. We watch with interest. Not to say envy.

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Driving Between The Lines

It seems hard to understand but new research seems to show that removing the white lines down the middle of the road actually reduces speeding.

These findings have come out of government work to reassess road markings and street furniture generally because, they believe, drivers are being confused by the plethora of signage out there. For now, this page will ignore the issue that they clearly think that most of us are as thick as two short planks and look at what they are up to.

Transport for London – for it is they who are doing this work – believe that by removing central white lines that separate two lanes of opposing traffic will result in a significant decrease in the speed of vehicles. They are suggesting that rubbing out lines will ‘introduce an element of uncertainty into the minds of motorists’, thus causing us to slow down. It’s like some sort of reverse Pavlovian exercise.

They’ve tried it on three roads in London. At all three test sites it was shown that traffic slowed down. The biggest decrease on the Seven sisters Road was by just over four miles per hour.

Their psychology appears to suggest that we motorists think that white lines, hatching and the like, provide some sort of magical barrier over which cars on the other side cannot cross. They take no account of the fact that most drivers don’t trust any other drivers on the road to do anything right and are, therefore, alert to dangers, but there you are. Such is their opinion of the great unwashed public.

This all stems from finding out in the bosky avenues of Wiltshire in 2003 which appear to show similar reductions in accidents. If it was so good then, how come it hasn’t been picked up earlier? This is another knee-jerk reaction to the perils of speed because, as we know, officials like to blame speed for all motoring ills, seemingly forgetting about the phone users, texters and all the myriad other reasons why people have accidents.

Most drivers have mostly become inured to the constant fiddling with the rules of the road but pretty soon now they are going to take umbrage for being treated like idiots. Mind you, they have got one thing right – there are indeed too many unnecessary signs.

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We Need More Police

In a surprising turn and clearly bought on by the invidious use of heartless speed cameras, law-abiding motorists have become frustrated by the lack of a police presence on Britain’s highways and byways and believe there is little chance of law-breakers being caught and prosecuted.

Motor Blogger spends a lot of time behind the wheel and can confirm that driving standards are dropping. The purpose of indicators is to let other roads users know your intentions, for example, yet increasingly bad drivers are manoeuvring without recourse to that troublesome indicator stalk.

We’ve all seen idiots using mobile phones, sending texts and so on and sadly it is clear that many lazy brainless motorists in modern Britain think there is little risk of being caught breaking the law for anything other than speeding or running a red light – offences typically enforced via cameras – so why, they think, bother with the rules at all?

For the best part of the 20th Century, motorists bemoaned what they saw then as the draconian enforcement of traffic rules by actual human policemen. At every turn there seemed to be cops lurking in lay-by’s ready to catch the unwary, but here’s the thing: although there’s a bad apple in every barrel, for the most part the cops were able to judge each infringement on merit and act accordingly. Oftentimes this resulted in a reprimand and a stern warning rather than an instant penalty. As a motoring nation we moaned about this but now, perhaps, we are beginning to see the light.

It seems that forty percent of law-abiding car users believe anyone committing common offences such as texting at the wheel of either a moving or stationary vehicle, aggressive driving, tailgating, middle lane hogging or undertaking on the motorway would more than likely get away with it. Sixty percent of motorists surveyed believe this is because there are insufficient numbers of police officers on the roads to enforce driving laws.

The only offences that motorists truly believe are dealt with effectively are the ones that are enforced via cameras such as speeding and traffic light violations which is why we‘ve long since arrived at the ‘cash-cow’ debate. It isn’t just the roads either, there are simply not enough cops, period.

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