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

Metcalfe's Mental Mark - 16 January 2019

2019 TT Rd1 Instructions

The number 7.

It has had significant impact on millions of people throughout the world over many centuries. Most famous of all were the seven ‘wonders of the world’: the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. The world was said to have been created in seven days. The number seven is also featured in the Book of Revelation (seven churches, seven angels, seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven stars). The Koran speaks of seven heavens and Muslim pilgrims walk around the Kaaba in Mecca seven times. In Hinduism there are seven higher worlds and seven underworlds, and in Hindu weddings the bride and groom walk around the holy fire seven times during the wedding ceremony. In Buddhism the newborn Buddha rises and takes seven steps.

Indeed, Seven is also the basis for many myths and folklore; various parts of the world had beliefs about the seventh son of a seventh son; each rainbow has seven colours and there are seven days in the week. There are seven dwarfs in Snow White, and in Japan there are Seven Lucky Gods, who have a ship called Takarabune, the Treasure Ship. For many aficionados, the Lotus 7 was the finest car the company ever made, spawning a myriad of similarly styled cars from a host of manufacturers. It is a well-known fact that if you ask people to name a number from one to ten more will choose number seven than any other number. 7 is, of course, supposed to be nothing other than lucky.

On the night of the 16th of January 2019, however, the number 7 may not have been quite so lucky for at least one of our club members. Peter Metcalfe had organised a wonderfully excellent Table Top Rally in the same manner as most of his recent events: a single page of relatively straightforward instructions, taxing for some, enlightening for others, no real dirty dogs and enough different aspects of Table Toppiness to challenge the novices whilst still satisfying the purists. In short, the perfect Table Top for the day.

The event started with a nice, clearly identifiable point on the map, followed by a series of cryptic clues before reverting to pairs of numbers. These were swiftly followed by a herringbone, moving on to another section consisting of nothing but numbers. For those who do the Times Crossword, it must have seemed quite easy. For those who chop trees down for a living, it might have been possible at the start but started to appear more difficult as each section was attempted. This would be less clear than at first expected.

Whilst at Whickham and District Motor Club we don't actually have any members who chop trees down for a living, there were enough members in other modes of employment who would sympathise with such men if they had been members, especially as the following instructions were to be in and out of the same grid square multiple times in different directions all without crossing your path or using the same road twice. Having managed all this, the sting in the tail was to draw a straight line between two churches, then cross that line seven times. Seven. For at least one member that number seven was to prove his undoing, as it must have somehow ingrained itself into his mind in such a way as to be at the forefront of his thinking to the exclusion of all else. Seven.... Seven....

The final instruction to draw that straight line was from the church in grid square 5465 to Grid Square 5168, yet for Tosh, that infamous seven had already taken over, it had been burned into his mind, it was as if a flaming torch had seared the number into his brain, and he could not see 5168, all he could see was grid square 5768, and in the most delicious irony, there actually was a church in grid square 5768. So Tosh drew his line, extremely carefully, ridiculously accurately, with the finest of lines a pencil could ever draw, between those very two churches.

Incredibly, as if to reinforce his dreadful mistake, the line ran absolutely perfectly along a twisty, winding road, criss-crossing the most twisty section of the lane with that most perfect of results: seven crossings. It was just right, everything checked out. His confidence at an all time high, his time quick, certainly fast enough to win this event, and as he rechecked the last section of the route, he could see that all was well, and so he shouted 'time'. Now he only had to wait.

Final results, once Guy had checked with Peter's supplied instructions, were as follows:

1 Guy 11m 31s 0F
2 Brian
14m 6s 0F
3 Gary
18m 24s 0F
4 Tosh
11m 28s 3F
5 Matthew
42m 41s 8F
6 Lee
DNF 9F

A superb win for Guy, stamping his authority on the Maps Championship at a stroke with a very comprehensive win; a brilliant second place for Brian, not very far behind Guy and producing another immaculately clean score with no fails, followed by Gary with yet another clean sheet. Although Gary might have been a little bit slower to complete the event, he did it cleanly, which is the first principle of Table Tops: get the route right and you will always beat those who are quicker but less accurate.

For Tosh the results were a real surprise: 3 Fails? That was a crushing result! How on earth could that be? As always, Tosh was far more interested in how he had made the mistakes than he was in his final position. He had simply read a seven instead of a one. His 5768 was actually a 5168. For Tosh, that seven was crushing.

However, there were some thoroughly good points for Matthew, showing his absolute dedication and perseverance by not giving up and completing the event with good points in the Championship.

Many thanks to Peter for putting the event on, and especially to Guy for stepping in at the last minute to run the event in Peter's absence. Points in the Maps Championship to all who took part, this event just going to show that even if you think you have it in the bag there is always the possibility that things may not be exactly what they seem.

Next week: PlayStation. Hopefully not another Rally Game, but then again it could always be tarmac. Flex your fingers, rub your eyes, settle yourself down and get into the digital zone: The first PlayStation round has arrived in the 2019 Championship!

Seven? Forget the film, this is serious.

2019 TTRd1a

Kinetic Car Race - 9 January 2019

2019 KCR

There are, of course, some fabulous songs that have been sung down the years about driving. Whether your favourite is 'Thunder Road' by the Boss, 'Road Runner' by Bo Diddley, 'Cars' by Gary Numan or in the case of Gordon Bradford, the truly wonderful 'Crash' by The Primitives, each of us may well have had a song in mind as we all took to the track to try our hands at being the Michael Schumacher of Kibblesworth Workmen's Club on the night of the 9th January 2019.

Whether what you actually saw that night was an amazing homage to the great man or instead a desperately poor representation of the inability to make a toy car perform a simple task can only really be answered by looking at the results of the event, and that would certainly

This time, the Kinetic Car Race was just that little bit different: gone was the mechanical advantage of the spring-loaded catapult system employed before, and in its place was nothing more than the Kinesis offered by the application of the driver's hand and eye coordination, together with an understanding of mass, velocity, thrust and a sound appreciation of the effects of friction on a car this time constructed entirely of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene rather than the traditional die-cast metal with which we have become so familiar.

The format was as normal as a Gregg's Cheese and Onion Pasty. Nothing was changed for this event and the traditional scoring sheets, laid down equally along the track, each with their simple scoring system clearly visible, sat there, waiting for the little car to come to rest with only the smallest of tyre contacts touching the sheet. That would be, as Mark says in Love Actually, enough. Enough to score the marks on that particular sheet, and certainly enough, if previous Kinetic Car Races are anything to go by, to get you well and truly on the way to a good result on the leader board.

Gary was first to go, and it was immediately apparent that this time the scoring would be more difficult. No longer could a competitor calculate the odds by working on an initial pull-back distance and then apply logic and reasoning to work out the optimum next attempt; this time it was all down to a combination of feeling and the careful execution of measured power and direction of thrust of the wee Lego vehicle.

It certainly didn't always go according to plan; for Gary he couldn't get the wee Lego car to land on anything at all; for Brian, his best was a single score of 60 points. Matthew fared no better than Gary, missing everything on the track and scoring the equivalent of falling off the top board at the diving Olympics. He handed the small plastic vehicle to Tosh, with the warning that the car would need more than the usual amount of force to get it even off the line.

Tosh sent the small car off and was immediately surprised to see the good push he gave it only allowed it to reach the first scoring sheet, however it was a score, and that would certainly mean he wouldn't finish last. His next go was even more forceful, bringing a score of 40 points to put him firmly on the leader board. Each of his subsequent turns would be more and more aggressive; he was determined to see if he could reach the elusive and highly desirable 100 point score: and in his final attempt, he did just that, adding a massive amount to his total and ending up with 150 points. This would take some beating!

Phil was next, netting a healthy 40 points, whilst John, Jake and Jamie all failed to score a single point in all fifteen goes. It was starting to look as though this challenge was a far harder one that anyone had imagined. However, Lee was next to try his hand, and was immediately on the pace with a score of 20 on his first attempt. His second scored just as highly, netting him 40 points in just two goes. His next two were unfortunately not so good, and it looked as though he had peaked a little too early, but then, like Tosh, he showed he had saved his best till last, with a solid 40 points coming on his last attempt.

Peter hit the ten point mark on his first run but just couldn't repeat his success on any of his subsequent runs, whilst Alastair, Mac and Gordon all failed to score even a single point, although they were the architects of some of the most impressive crashes seen during the evening.

This meant the last man to go was Guy. Maybe not so much one of the traditional high scorers, but then this game was never about that: anyone could be a champion, anyone could, in the words of Savage Garden, crash and burn. For Guy, this was to be his opportunity to show the others just how the application of thoughtful evaluation and careful preparation would result in a score that would place him higher than over 50% of the evening's competitors. This was his time. His first three attempts brought forth no score at all, but his mind was evaluating all the elements of the event, and so it was at his fourth run he scored a valuable 20 points to place him in the top 35% - not bad for the last man standing!

So final results, once the top third had shown how brilliant they were, whilst those at the bottom had shown how absolutely dreadful they really could be at such a simple task, were as follows:

1 Tosh 150 pts
2 Lee
80 pts
3 Brian
60 pts
4 Phil
40 pts
5 Guy
20 pts
6 Peter
10 pts
7 Alastair
0 pts
7 Gary
0 pts
7 Gordon
0 pts
7 Jake
0 pts
7 Jamie
0 pts
7 John
0 pts
7 Mac
0 pts
7 Matthew
0 pts

A crushing win for Tosh, instantly putting him up to his familiar second place in the Superstars Championship, a brilliant second place for Lee, proving he loves to compete despite having been away from the club for so long on business, and a solid third place for 'Max Attack' Brian, increasing his lead in the Championship already and showing he is as determined to go for the Title as ever, even this early in the season. Good points for Phil, Peter and Guy, all very valuable and helping them to rise above those who simply couldn't make their cars hit the mark on this occasion. An incredible eight-way tie for seventh place, having never been seen before, and quite amazingly, in a total of 70 attempts this evening, only eleven actually scoring points, with Tosh and Lee claiming six of those scores between them.

Many thanks to Gary and Brian for putting the event on, and for adding a little frisson of excitement to an event which we might have otherwise all expected to be the same as normal. Points in the Superstars Championship to all who took part, a big change in the leader board just as we would expect so early in the Championship with positions changing around once again. It is early days yet.

Next week: Peter's Table Top Rally - the start of the 2019 Maps Championship, and one to challenge the mind and test each competitor’s interpretation of exactly what is in the organiser's mind: will there actually be a dirty dog, or will competitors just spend an inordinate amount of time looking for something that doesn't exist? Only time and Peter will tell.......

Amazing what one man can do with only his fingers

2019 KCR Crash

 

PitStop Challenge - 2 January 2019

190102 PitStop Challenge

Early January doesn’t bring with it the best of the weather, although to be fair it is generally just very cold and frosty with the crispness that comes with temperatures that hover around the zero mark.

Not that the prospect of a cold evening would normally keep the members of Whickham and District Motor Club away from their normal Wednesday evening meeting, especially as tonight was the first meeting of 2019 and a good opportunity to meet up after the Christmas break and wish each other a Happy New Year. The evening was a very relaxed and informal one with everyone generally just talking together, chatting about their respective Christmases and how they had spent them; the feeling this year was that most had enjoyed a very peaceful, relaxed affair with nobody really doing much other than chilling out and kicking back after what has been a pretty mad year for everyone.

However, nothing stands still at WDMC, and the Superstars Championship is already a month old, with the first event - the radio controlled Autotest - almost a month ago. This is the first year that the Championships have all started back-to-back, with the new season beginning immediately following the last. The RCA was a great event to start the Championship year, with ten competitors all vying for victory and a surprise result that certainly threw the cat amongst the pigeons as far as positions were concerned, with Jamie taking the top spot and Ewan coming a close second.

This week, however, would almost definitely see a change in the leadership, as the event is not only one of the most hotly contested, but would bring some of the old stagers out of the woodwork to show the young whippersnappers just how it is done! The Pit Stop Challenge has always been one of those events where you simply cannot tell who is going to do well and who will do badly, and although skill undoubtedly plays a massive part, there is always the element of Lady Luck that dictates just how fortunate some will be in putting the wheel back on the studs and just how freely the wheel brace will spin for some, whilst sticking for others.

Brian would be the first to go: flexing his fingers and cracking his knuckles, he was always going to go for the win. Having found himself in what was for him an uncomfortable third position in the Championship table after the last event, he was determined to put an end to that situation and reclaim his rightful position at the top of the leader board. It was of course perfectly achievable, but then again there was always the spectre of Jimmy Knox, who, although rarely competing in the Wednesday night events, does have his favourites, and the Pit Stop Challenge certainly figures highly in that category. Brian, however, was aiming to put the block on Jimmy's challenge; his ultimate target was the win, and his face showed nothing other than fierce determination to make it so.

Watching him attack the rig from the very first millisecond, few would argue that he was going to be anything other than victorious; he absolutely stormed the first part and had all the wheel nuts off in a shade over thirty seconds, the wheel was off and on again in the blink of an eye, Brian lining up the studs with impeccable accuracy, then spinning the nuts back up with amazing speed. His time, although not the quickest we have seen in this competition over the years, was extremely quick: 1m 10.74seconds and a target for every following competitor to aim at. The marker had been well and truly set.

It was, of course, an achievable target. Every subsequent competitor could have beaten that time, but as each one came to the rig and tried their pest, they fell those few critical seconds short. Gary less than three seconds behind; Tosh only seven seconds adrift, Karl not quite getting there as well as he had hoped. Gordon struggling with the brace, not quite spinning as well as he had intended. Phil, fresh from his awkward fall at the garage, looking very promising until he made the fateful mistake of rechecking all four nuts and taking those few vital seconds longer to record a time eight seconds slower. Guy was next, both deliberate and purposeful, his application and intentions superb but his time unfortunately suffering because of it. It looked very much like Brian was on the home stretch.

And then of course, up came Jimmy. Known as the King of the Wheel Change, he readied himself for the challenge, looking carefully at the rig. First he stooped, then he knelt down, then he stood up. It was almost as if he was trying to get himself into the perfect position. In truth, there was something missing; he didn't look quite as poised as he normally does. Eventually he cracked his knuckles, took up his position, then in a flash he was on it, slotting the wheel brace deftly onto the nuts and smacking the free arm purposefully to break the nut free. The nuts spun almost willingly, flying off the studs, Jimmy dropping them directly onto the carpet and on to the next in a flash, whacking and spinning the nut off once again and on to the next in a trice. The wheel was off and onto the carpet, then almost straight back on but just not as smoothly as he would have wished, that microsecond of delay causing a grunt of displeasure, nee frustration, and then it was home; the nuts were back on and spinning up tight, his fingers whirling like a dervish and almost as quickly as he had started the brace was banged down on the carpet to finish.

But what was his time? Was it good? Had he beaten Brian? Had he reclaimed his crown as King of the Wheel Brace?

Incredibly, he was only third, slower than both Brian and Gary. This night was obviously not to be Jimmy's. A superb result for many, but in Jimmy's eyes, a failure. That was the end, no more would take up the challenge, and the event was done.

So final results, once everyone had done their best to emulate Guy Martin at Williams F1, were as follows:

1 Brian 1m 10.74s
2 Gary
1m 13.42s
3 Jimmy
1m 14.61s
4 Tosh
1m 17.66s
5 Phil
1m 18.23s
6 Karl
1m 25.92s
7 Gordon
1m 46.04s
8 Guy
2m 00.48s

A superb win for Brian, cementing his place as the most competitive player in the Superstars Championship; an absolutely brilliant second place for Gary, his fastest ever time on the PitStop Challenge in history, with not a loose nut in sight! A third place for Jimmy, unusually, yet not the last time we will see him attack this event with his usual gusto.

Many thanks to Phil and Gary for putting the event on. Collecting the rig and setting everything up is no mean feat, and we certainly appreciate the effort the guys put into hosting this event. Without members such as these, we would have no Wednesday night events. Points in the Superstars Championship to all who took part, a big and immediate change in the leader board which just goes to show how even one event can make a big change and taking part is key to everyone's Championship Challenge!

Next week: the Kinetic Car Race, where skill and luck play equal parts; and as was so beautifully said at the start of the 1960's Stingray programmes: 'Stand by for action! Anything can happen in the next half hour!'

Radio Controlled Autotest - 5 December 2018

2019 RC Crash

The Whickham and District Motor Club's Championship Year is something that is not only looked forward to with a healthy degree of anticipation but also incredibly well contested, and so tonight's event, being the first round of the 2019 Championship year, was certainly no exception.

Tosh and Brian were the hosts and tonight they put on a slightly different variant of the traditional Radio Controlled Autotest by introducing not only a secondary element but also a second vehicle: in times past there has occasionally been a problem when some competitors take so long to complete the test that the poor batteries start to die in the car. This of course is not an ideal situation and so in order to prevent such an event occurring again they introduced the concept of a second car for the 'return journey'.

In essence, competitors had to navigate a twisty section of the route in one car before parking it and switching to the second vehicle, then guiding that car to the finish via a series of gates and garages in the shortest possible time. Time could of course be gained here by the quickest of controller changes, however, whilst this should have been extremely easy to understand, it soon became apparent that there were some for whom the concept of 'rapid turnover' would be an alien concept.

First up was Phil; not feeling his best and looking extremely tired to boot he was, as always, game for a challenge, and did his best to complete the course as quickly as possible. To be honest, his ability behind the proverbial wheel was very apparent as he completed the course in a very respectable time of 1m 6seconds. This set the target for each subsequent competitor. Gordon was next and although the finesse of a radio controlled car may not have come naturally to him, he certainly made a very good stab at it by completing the course in only 1m 21s.

Jamie was up next and to say he was sublime would be an understatement: he looked as though he was at one with both car and controller, his smooth action and fluid control setting him immediately at the forefront, his time a reflection of his ability: a very impressive 50.3 seconds: that would be a time to aim for and one that each following competitor would very probably struggle to beat.

Tosh tried his best, but as usual, he just didn't have that innate understanding of forward vs reverse and just which way to turn the wheel for which direction he was travelling, and this of course cost him very valuable time. Nevertheless, he posted a time of 1m 51s which was pretty good for him and would have seen him very happy, had it not been for a very unfortunate incident as he laid down the first controller with the slightest and most inadvertent of brushes to the trigger, causing the car to plunge into the back of the garage and penalise him an immediate point! That was a mistake that though he will not make again, this time it counted and so would drop him down the results.

Guy was next, a man who admits he definitely finds the intricacies of the RC controller challenging, a black art understood by only the youngsters and very definitely not something that comes naturally to him. To be honest, that became apparent within the first ten seconds, when Guy's attempt at navigating the first gate resembled the car crash scene from the first Blues Brothers film: the carnage was not only impressive but also comprehensive. At that point Guy did the most sensible thing: gently laying down the controller he uttered that most subtle of phrases: "This is not going to get any better, I retire". There is a certain integrity in a man that can say that and walk away with his pride; most would struggle on and make an absolute pig's ear of it, but Guy knew his limits. His skills lie in other areas that will stand him in good stead later in the Championship, where others may struggle. This is a long year, and points are available each and every week.

Peter, however, has no inhibitions; for him he is content to blast his way to either victory or obscurity, either way is fine by him. This week, it was not to be victory, but he did show immense perseverance and his efforts were rewarded with a good showing to finish just behind Tosh.

Alastair stepped up to the mark with high hopes; all eyes were on him as he carefully weighed up all the options and took careful stock of the route. As he was counted down the anticipation was high - could he beat Jamie? The short answer was no, as Alastair found the wee cars a little more trouble than he was expecting, catching bollard after bollard and even exiting one garage via the side wall to record more fails than anyone else. True to say this was not his finest event, but then it was the very first of the Championship year, and there is a long way to go.

Ewan then stepped up to the mark, a confident smile on his lips and a determination to his face. He set off extremely well and looked to have it in the bag, his first section a blistering 24seconds and plenty of time to complete within Jamie's time; however, a slow changeover and the slightest of hesitations saw him post as final time of 53.24s, putting him in second place.

Brian was next, having watched all before him and planned his execution with the precision that only he can bring. He was off like a shot, smoothly transitioning between the first two gates with ease and guiding the RC car into the first garage neatly and precisely. The nest section was clean and quick, his changeover smooth and unhurried but with a determination to succeed. For some reason, the second half had the tiniest of misdirections, causing Brian to reverse the miniature car for just a second or two to get the aim just right; it was to prove to be the straw that broke the camel's back: the cost of doing so adding a fateful few seconds to his time and placing him third overall.

It looked like everyone had had their turn and everyone was just about to pack up when Karl walked in; a late entry to be true, but a valid one nonetheless. He considered the route carefully, asked all the right questions, and then set his mind to beating all before him. Perhaps he left it just that bit too long, perhaps he was more tired than he appreciated, perhaps he was just not on form tonight; whatever the reason, he posted a time of 1m 12s to place himself between Gordon and Tosh. Perhaps next time he should try his hand earlier in the evening, maybe that is the key to success.

Fin al results, once everyone had tried to be the Tron of Kibblesworth Club, were as follows:

1 Jamie 50.3s
2 Ewan
53.24s
3 Brian
54.82s
4 Phil
1m 06s
5 Gordon
1m 21s
6 Karl
1m 12s 1F
7 Tosh
1m 51s 1F
8 Peter
2m 48s 2F
9 Alastair
1m 55s 8F
10 Guy
DNF

A Great win for Jamie, showing he has not only the skills and reactions of youth on his side but also that he fully understands the intricacies of the RC controller; a great second place for Ewan, putting him second in the Superstars Championship for 2019 and securing his place as a true contender for the crown; a good third place for Brian, maybe not the result that he wanted but certainly good enough to set him up for a concerted challenge for his seventh Superstars Championship.

Many thanks to Tosh and Brian for putting the event on, the RC Autotest is always a very well received event and one that certainly brings out the competitive spirit within the club. Tonight was no exception, with ten members competing for places and all getting themselves ready for the 2019 Championship.

Points in the Championship to all who took part, this is of course the very first event in the 2019 Superstars Championship and there will be many more points to be had for every event held in the future, so each and every member has an equal chance of winning the 2019 Championship. No more events to be held now until the New Year, when the PitStop Challenge will be held in early January, where we expect to see Jimmy Knox flex his knuckles and powder his hands to take the challenge to the many. Who will challenge him? Watch this space to find out!

 
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