Safety Fast! Notes for March 2006

I haven't quite got my head around the new copy and publication dates, so it might (or might not) be too late to remind you about the SW Centre AGM at the Ring O' Bells, Compton Martin on 7th March (call Bruce Weston on 01963 440941 for more information) and the Annual Dinner at the Limpley Stoke Hotel near Bath on 11th March (contact John Bird on 0117 956 0175 for tickets). You'll definitely see this before the Cheddar Valley Navigational Scatter on 9th April. Why not give it a go - a fun morning of light-hearted competition with great scenery. Far be it from me to forecast the winning crew (I predict that they'll be driving an orange MGB GT providing I gets some new tyres by then), but if you don't mind competing for second place then call Dave Coppock on 01934 834429 for an entry form!

When you receive the printed version of the calendar, you will notice the absence of both of the 'to be confirmed' runs to Prescott Hillclimb (on 7th May and 3rd September) that I mentioned in the Notes last month. I understand from Phil Archer that the events are not finalised, hence their omission - my advice is to keep the dates pencilled into your diaries and watch this space for further information.
jt - check the latest calendar here

I've written about the 70th Anniversary of the SW Centre in both sets of Notes this year, and have received some interesting correspondence from a couple of Centre stalwarts. Edward Kirkland e-mailed me to report that the Weston Hotel is still very much in existence, although now it's a pub called 'The Weston'. Edward recalls there to be a plaque on the wall giving some details of the pub's past history as the Weston Hotel, though it fails to note its importance so far as the MGCC is concerned. Mike Hawke wrote me a fascinating letter, which he starts by advising me to consult Edward Kirklandů Mike goes on to say that Eddie Goodenough, elected Honorary Treasurer at that first meeting in 1936 was still in the post when Mike was elected to the committee in 1961! I'll catch up with Mike soon to see if we can put together enough information for an article in Safety Fast!

It occurred to me that it has been some time (exactly two years, to be precise) since I reminded you about the format of the different types of event on the calendar. Hopefully we have got one or two new members since then, so I'll close the Notes this month with a much-abridged summary. A social, or road run is a scenic drive between two or more points of interest purely for the fun of it. Sometimes there is a final objective but usually the run is just a good excuse to enjoy your MG amongst like minded people in beautiful countryside. A navigational scatter, or naviscat, is a bit like a social run except you have to make up your own route. A navigator is most definitely required - crews are provided with a series of map references that they plot (draw) onto a map. They then have to decide the route to visit as many of those points as possible, picking up clues on the way. A gymkhana consists of a number of 'tests' set out in a field that involve driving around cones while sometimes doing something else besides. Passengers are normally required to help with the 'something else besides'. Autotests are normally held on tarmac (in a large car-park) and are a bit faster, a bit trickier and a bit more competitive than gymkhanas. The principles are the same, although timing is more precise and marshals are more conscientious when it comes to reporting indiscretions as regards contact with the cones! For a production car trial (PCT), a series of twisty uphill courses are set up in a field. The objective is to get as far up the hill as you can - the further you get, the fewer points you get. A classic trial is along the same lines as a Production Car Trial, except that the twisty courses are on different off-road sites (many historical) linked by road sections. Finally, sprint and hillclimb drivers are timed over a course - the fastest time wins. Sprints usually take place at racing circuits or disused airfields while hillclimbs are sited at specialist venues with a steep and twisty hill. Unlike the other events described above, both sprints and hillclimbs require some preparation to the vehicle and basic safety equipment (helmet, fireproof overalls and gloves) for the driver.

Neil Lock
neil@port-z.fsnet.co.uk

01275 817915 (before 9pm please)
SW Centre website: www.mg-cars.org.uk/mgccsw