Scouts Rally SA 2014

ROSA_2014_Saturday (46)Scouts Rally SA once again returned to the Mount Crawford Forest and the northern hills over the weekend of August 1-3 for three heats of intense gravel rally action on some of South Australia’s most challenging roads.

ROSA_2014_Sunday (12)Taking the outright event win and victory in round four of the Australian Rally Championship was Scott Pedder and Dale Moscatt in the Walkinshaw Performance prepared Renault Sport Clio R3. The pairing narrowly claimed victory in all three heats which was enough to snatch the lead of the ARC.

ROSA_2014_Saturday (50)Claiming second place was Brendon Reeves and Rhiannon Gelsomino in the quick little G2 Mazda 2. It was a close battle for much of the event however the Mazda 2 was struck with problems, including non functioning windscreen wipers in heavy rain and the loss of a rear wheel on SS20 when the studs broke, forcing Reeves to tripod back to service. Reeves was able to match the pace of Pedder when everything was working correctly, but these niggling problems kept him down at this crucial point in the championship. With two rounds remaining, Pedder managed to snatch the championship lead. Continue reading

Porsche, rally weapons and odd Italian cars – A chilled Sunday on the road.

Sunday_27 (23)There’s a lot to be said for organised events and races but sometimes it’s fun to just cruise around on a lazy Sunday and see what you find. With my own Fiat X1/9 project finally hitting the roads after seven long years in the shed, I used the vague excuse of the media briefing and scruitineering for the upcoming Scouts Rally SA Australian Rally Championship round (happening this weekend) as a way point and took the X1/9 for a drive.

Sunday_27 (7)It’s not uncommon to see a few Porsche’s in the hills on a pleasant Sunday but after about the sixth in a row I figured something must be up, so I followed them just down the road to Longview Vineyard in Macclesfield.

Sunday_27 (4)When it comes to Porsche it’s usually that trademark classic style that steals my heart, and even though this left hand drive 912 was definitely a looker there was something else that stopped me dead on this occasion…

Sunday_27 (1)… this stunning 964 Carrera 4 sitting on a set of OZ Allegerita‘s. Continue reading

Interesting support vehicles of the cycling world

CyclingCars 880There’s an interesting observation to be made when comparing human versus internal combustion as forms of propulsion. There are obviously exceptions (I’m one of them), but on the whole, ‘car guys’ aren’t typically also into cycling. However, road cyclists usually take at least a passing interest in cool cars. Road bikes are also finely tuned machines, and whilst this is a concept I plan to explore in more detail in a future story, a passion for the bicycle usually overflows into a passion for other mechanical devices.

CyclingCars 881Out an about on my bike during the recent Tour Down Under pro cycling race in Adelaide, I spotted two vehicles that support my theory. The first was this left-hand drive Citroen H van, from Rapha Racing. Rapha produce a range of mighty fine cycling kit, and are suppliers to the Sky Pro Team.

CyclingCars 887The H was produced in France and Belgium from 1947 to 1981 and is known for its distinctive corrugated iron bodywork which adds strength without adding weight, whilst also reducing manufacturing costs. Rapha have fitted their beautifully restored van out with an espresso machine (another cycling institution), and were out all over the hills during race week providing a much needed caffeine shot to the thousands of fans out on their bikes. I spotted it here dispensing much needed relief at the top of Eagle on the Hill, after making a rather sweaty ascent.

CyclingCars 884By far the coolest vehicle I’ve spotted in a long time was this Volvo 240GL Wagon (bet you never thought you’d read those words on Any Given Reason!). The car itself is nothing special, but the fact that it was stickered up as a period European support car for 70’s Belgium cycling champion Eddy Merckx was beyond cool. Continue reading

The Goodwood Festival of Speed

DSC_0176Sometimes in life we are blessed by experiencing something truly incredible. Be it driving a particularly fast or rare car, making no mistakes on the perfect rally stage, finally hearing a favorite song live or witnessing the sun rise over a remote mountain range, these are the rare moments that are remembered vividly, never forgotten and used as comparison for everything that comes after.

DSC_0422These moments are bittersweet, because whilst experiencing them is something of a privilege, it is tinged with the knowledge that this is probably going to be the pinnacle.

DSC_0727Sitting back now and writing this post about the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I’m coming to terms with the fact that there’s probably not a lot out there that can compare to the magic of Goodwood. The sheer quantity and quality of cars, the peaceful forest surroundings, the relaxed and open atmosphere and the diversity is something impossible to replicate. Continue reading

Camping and Mad Friday at Le Mans

DSC_0039In a previous post I’ve already taken a look at the actual Le Mans event itself, however what goes on off the track is almost as famous as what happens on it. With tens of thousands of car nuts all in the same place for a week, you can be assured that it’s a pretty good time, particularly on the Friday.

DSC_0205Because an event on the scale of the 24hr only happens once a year there is nowhere near enough beds for the fans who come, and most of those few beds are occupied by teams and race officials at hideous expense. Unless you want to stay an hour or more from the circuit, camping is the only option. Camping at Le Mans has become as much of a tradition as the race itself, with fans driving from all over Europe and proudly pitching their tents next to their pride and joy.

DSC_0204Driving the nicest possible car and then camping beside it seems to be the British thing to do. One Porsche driver mentioned to me that he’d had a conversation with a French Ferrari owner, who’d said “I never understand you Brits. You drive your $150,000 cars here, and then get some sort of joy from sleeping in a $20 tent in the rain”. Continue reading

2013 Ben Simpson Memorial Cruise

A_DSC_0230Easily over six hundred cars. But not just six hundred cars – over six hundred enthusiast cars. By my estimation, that’s how many vehicles attended the Ben Simpson Memorial cruise last Saturday night.

LamboPut on by the Nissansilvia.com/ Hardtuned.net forum guys, the Ben Simpson Memorial Cruise is one of the biggest annual events run by the forum. So what exactly is it?

A_DSC_0158I’m sure you’ve all seen these R.I.P drift_pig13 stickers around. That is the forum alias used by Ben Simpson on the Nissansilvia.com forum, who sadly took his own life a few years ago. After Ben’s death, his parents actively got involved in the Japanese car scene, and used it as a vehicle to promote mental health awareness so that their son’s death need not be in vein. ‘The Olds’, as they are popularly known, have since owned a range of Japanese performance cars and have become well-known fixtures of the Hardtuned.net forum.

A_DSC_0211Each year they hold a fundraising memorial megacruise in his honor, which has quickly become one of the biggest cruises in South Australia. The sheer number, and quality, of cars in attendance was huge. Continue reading

Moving sheds with a Volvo 850R

Using an eighteen year old Volvo to move some old car parts. Fantastic you say, what’s so special about that? Quite a bit really, when the Volvo in question happens to be the rare and desirable 850R.

Like a lot of previous models before it the Volvo 850 personified the staid, safe image that Volvo is famous for, which makes the 850R even more special. Volvo’s designers have worked their magic on the boxy 850, somehow adding a whole lot of aggression, but still keeping the R understated and tasteful. It looks purposeful without looking pretentious; it looks racy without looking ‘boy racey’. I’ve long admired the 850R because quite frankly I think it looks hot. It has the right touring car influences, but you could still give your girlfriends Mum a lift in to dinner without raising her eyebrows. And the Police? C’Mon, it’s a Volvo! Continue reading