Not a moment too soon has the 2012 Modified Show season burst into life, after what seems like an eternity of Winter and not enough snow to keep us occupied, we have been anticipating and looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and there is usually no better place to get the feeling and love back than the first show of the year which for most happens to be Santa Pod’s; The Fast Show.

Now, ever since the demise of the traditional season opener; ‘Donny’, The Fast Show has taken the reins and given modified petrolheads the chance to get out nice and early in the season, run their cars up the strip to test the new power, gauge trends in the show and shine area, watch some clever drifting and, let’s be honest, have a piss up with the rest of your club! Usually there is a price for this early enjoyment, no we’re not talking about the entry fee, usually The Fast Show is accompanied by hypothermia, wet feet, chattering teeth and the hard working Santa Pod crew desperately drying the track before the next downpour…

This year, however, the team pulled off the unthinkable; sunshine! We had near on 20ºC of glorious sunshine, not a cloud in the sky let alone a rain cloud, we came home without feeling like polar explorers, in fact we picked up Sunburn, that’s SUNBURN at The Fast Show! Top marks Santa Pod, we will take that weather for every event please!

RX7

Consequently the show was huge, by far the biggest Fast Show since I’ve been going and I’d be hugely surprised if it wasn’t the biggest ever, both fields were packed with campers on the Saturday night and reports from people entering the show on the Sunday claimed over 2 miles of modified cars queuing to get in. So with the sun on our backs and the place jumping with everyone full of enthusiasm, let’s get in amongst the action!

Firstly some housekeeping, the standard attractions that are a staple part of the Santa Pod diet were all there, we had the Terry Grant Stunt Show, including a rare slip up when he ‘parked’ his Legend race car into his TVR. The Drift What You Brung boys and girls were playing in the same pen as Terry, probably a bit small compared to what they are used to, but with the ongoing development of Santa Pod evident, the guys are running out of space! The ‘Pod’s very own Monster Truck was in action as well as the ‘Red Dragon’ giving you a chance to actually go out as a back seat passenger in a Monster Truck! No trip to Pod would be complete without various runs from Fireforce Jet car, an attraction that just never gets boring, I’d love to know how many times I’ve seen that car run, each time just as good as the last!

For those wanting to test their own car against the legendary Santa Pod quarter mile there was plenty of opportunity, with a full RWYB programme all weekend and no bad weather breaks to contend with. The cars kept coming round keeping the startline and timing staff busy all weekend. Sure, there was some cars run that don’t need to be mentioned in regards to their time but overall the level of RWYB seemed to be pretty quick with lots of cars running down into the 13, 12 and even 11s over the weekend!

Lights

As far as the RWYB winners went, Matt Marsden’s mighty, green Pug 205 took the Class A win (FWD N/A) running through in a 12.6. Class C (RWD/4WD N/A) saw Ian Tune’s Kadett run 11.9 and in the boosted sections Chris Green’s Golf went 11.8 in the B Class (FWD + Power Adder). I had the pleasure of being trackside when Stuart Nice launched his white RX7 on its way to the class D (RWD/4WD + Power Adder) win with a highly impressive 11.1. The non road legal class winner was Ian Cox’s Ford Escort Mk2 RS2000, who narrowly missed out on a 10 second pass.

Away from the track for a moment we swing our attention to the crowded Show and Shine Paddock, now we do have a slight grumble with this, no fault of Santa Pod’s or the Autoglym Show and Shine officials, but if you’re not going to clean your car and make the effort required for a show and shine competition, then go park somewhere else or leave it in the campsite. Too many cars were in that just weren’t presented to the standard that is required. And we’re not going on about taste and style here (otherwise there is a good few we wouldn’t have even let in the main gates!), just if you are Show and Shine-ing then make the effort to Show and Shine it, not use it as a convenient parking space!

205

The trophies for the Show and Shine were given out to some owners who had bothered to make that effort, with the top prize – Best Of Show, making its way to Anita Bestwick with her black and pink Vauxhall Tigra. The top 5 were worthy winners in our eyes, Scott Austin won USC overall in his Skyline and picked up a top 5 place at Fast Show along with another previous winner; Tony Nelson and his Fiesta. Aaron Taylor’s Signum is also no trophy stranger, if my memory serves me correctly he picked up Best Interior at USC, this time he was part of the top 5 and Chris Coghill’s smart Polo was the final recipient. The Judge’s Choice went to a rat look Golf, not our cup of tea, but we can’t fault Dom Clarke’s dedication and actually turning out a smart rat look car… if that’s at all possible!

There we have it, the Show Season is officially underway and what a start! The Fast Show was a huge success, and if one observation sums up just how good it and the weather was, it was that we’re usually one of the last ones to leave, right at the very end of all shows to avoid queues and because usually none of us can think of anything we would rather be doing, but on this occasion, we were far from the last out, the early rush hadn’t happened and everyone was still there… it makes us wonder if people are still there just refusing to leave and enjoying the weather!

For more information and reports on this year’s Fast Show head to www.thefastshow.com, for all other events and information it’s www.santapod.com and keep the 12-13th May free in your diaries to join us at Street Nationals, a new kind of event for Santa Pod!

Words – Ollie // Pictures – Ollie/Chris

It seems we are a tad rally heavy so far this year, and for that I make no apologies as we’re well into the rally season! The elements may hamper most track based events, and car shows are a total no-no until at least the spring in the UK, but the one thing we can rely on are the forests being as busy as ever as the rally season springs into life!

Obviously the high profile WRC is well underway, and the British Rally Championship began last weekend with the Sunseeker, but for the BTRDA championship we’re already 2 rounds in and Garage Awesome have been at both bringing you fantastic coverage through our hardened rally specialist; Coop.

Hugh Hunter

If you put our round 1 and 2 reports side by side, it looks as though they could be months apart, with the Wyedean covered in snow and slush whereas for the weekend’s Malcolm Wilson Stages, although heavy rain overnight made the stages muddy, glorious sunshine and warmer weather greeted us over the Cumbrian landscape.

The action was immediately fantastic and it took just one special stage to kill off the chances of Charlie Payne making it 2 wins out of 2 as he put his Focus off the road deep into the stage. With Payne out, it left the other WR1 drivers to fight for position, Hugh Hunter and co-driver Andy Marchbank were quickest through the first stage in the Focus, chased by Roger Chilman in their Impreza with the pair split by the Class B car of David Wright. Stage 2 saw Hunter fastest again, although Davis Wright had climbed within 5 seconds of the leaders in his Evo. A further 15 seconds was all that separated the top 6 with Paul Bird, Steve Perez, Euan Thorburn and third overall; Roger Chilman all vying for the lead.

Hunter was also quickest through stage 3 making his gap over Wright now 9 seconds and the top 5 separated by 17 seconds. Thorburn had lost time placing him 8th overall after the Greystoke Stage. Jamie Anderson appeared to be the fastest Group N runner, just 41 seconds off the pace and heading into SS4 in 7th overall in the Evo.

Tripod

The famous Grizedale stage was the first of the day that didn’t go to Hugh Hunter, he lost 6 seconds to the storming David Wright, making the gap for the overall rally lead just 3 seconds. Perez appeared to be way off the pace, and trouble at the end of the stage meant his rally would be over, leaving Paul Bird closest to the leading pair with a 13second gap. Round 1 hero Julian Wilkes was heading the 1400 field again, and at the end of SS4 had over a minute over his nearest rival and was running 24th overall in the mighty Nova.

A disaster in SS5 saw front runner David Wright stop in the stage and join both Payne and Perez out of the rally leaving just Bird, who incidentally posted the quickest stage time and Thorburn, who had done well to make up for his SS3 mistakes, with a chance of the rally win. The second running through Greystoke saw Bird take another 7 seconds off of Hunter’s lead, meaning going into the last stage the pair would be separated by only 5 seconds, Jamie Anderson was now 5th in Group N, and Wright’s departure left Shaun Gardener leading the B Class and 5th overall. With only the final Cumbrian stage looming, it was too much for Thorburn and 4th place WR1 driver; Michael O’brien to make up.

In a dramatic run through Wythop and the final stage, Paul Bird drove the wheels off his car, desperate to make up the 5 second gap, but although he won the stage, Hunter was only 2 seconds down the road leaving a 3 second gap and enough to claim the Malcolm Wilson Stages rally win. Thorburn remained 3rd overall, just over a minute back from the leaders. Shaun Gardener remained the Class B winner and 5th overall, Anderson remained group N winner and 6th overall and Julian Wilkes climbed to 18th overall spot and taking his second 1400 class win of the BTRDA season.

Impreza

With 81 out of the 117 starters completing the rally, the Malcolm Wilson Stages gave the spectators plenty to see right through to the very last stages, and with 45miles of forest stage to have 2 drivers within 2 seconds of each other at the end, it really was a cracking show to watch and follow and has us really prepared and ready for the rest of the motorsport world to kick into life over the next few weekends!

As we have mentioned before, if you are into your rallying and want to find out when they are close to you or are next in action (21st April, Somerset Stages – Minehead) then head over to the BTRDA website www.btrdarally.com or for more specific news from the Malcolm Wilson Stages visit www.malcolmwilson.co.uk.

Words – Ollie / Pictures – Rich

What happens when Nomex, HANS, carbon fibre, kevlar and safety rules get replaced with Tweed, brass, wood, leather and not a great deal of safety? The answer is simple; Historic Motorsport and what better way to celebrate the ancestory of the racing series we enjoy than to make a trip to Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire for the annual Race Retro Show.

Firstly, we enjoyed a fabulous weekend of weather, which is something that we haven’t been able to say for a few months, in fact, our last outing saw us battling through the snow to get to the stages! So with the sun out, we made hay and enjoyed a decent day out looking around some amazing historic cars and memorabilia.

RR

Okay, so it may not be a show for everyone or the mainstream enthusiast, but the Race Retro event does cater for those either old enough to have participated in Motorsport 20,30,40 or even 50 years ago or those with a keen interest to find out what it was like and what machinery was used, to coin a phrase, ‘back in the day’.

The live rally demo is an obvious highlight to the whole weekend, for us it’s a chance to see cars we are concious of and that are steeped in history, but we have never or seldom seen in action. The line up of rally cars tackling the stage was varied, from Porsches to Triumph, Rover to Skoda and Toyota to Vauxhall. Whilst they were all impressive in their own right, and the soundtrack of some of the cars is like no other, we did feel with it not being a timed stage that the drivers would maybe put on more of a show rather than driving as if they were being timed. Even so old rally cars are epic. Always.

One of the main cars running was the Porsche 914-6, this car was made availabe and co-driven by a celebrity petrolhead in the form of Jamiroquai frontman; Jay Kay. Other notable drivers whose names might be familiar were Russell Brooks, Jimmy McRae and Ryan Champion, who was piloting the Subaru Impreza WRC car.

Line up

Away from the live stage you had classic karting demos and a sterling effort from Westfield putting on a drift and handling demo. Inside we found a huge autojumble featuring tools, parts and memorabilia all from a by-gone era and of course the displays featuring classic cars that participated in motorsport or moden day replicas of these historic machines.

If you are looking for a manic, fast paced show you’re going to be disapointed, if you’re after a slice of history and a bit of something you’re not likely to have seen before then this is one for your diary in 2013, we like to think of it as ‘the show you can take your Grandad/Dad/Uncle along to’.

A quick shout out to The Falcon Motor club who marshalled the event and did a fine job in keeping everyone safe and entertained and of course for all your retro information and up to date planning for next year’s event, www.raceretro.com is the place to be.

Words – Ollie // Pictures – Chris

Finally, we grab our first taste of some live motorsport in 2012! Our first hit came in the one form of competetive motorsport that thrives all year round and the risk of bad or adverse weather makes the whole event just that little bit more interesting, exciting and technical, of course all this only points to one thing, and that thing is Rallying! Now, unfortunately if you were expecting coverage from this weekends WRC event in Sweden then your going to be dissapointed, but hopefully the promise of a popular english event will fill the void as we headed out in the early hours to Chepstow Racecourse for the start of the 2012 BTRDA Rally season with the Team GMF Wyedean Forest Rally.

Obviously the weather has a major part to play in the event and with 180 competitors down on the entry list it had every potential to be more of a skilled battle over the usual speed dominated event and with classes ranging from WRC machines down to the 2 wheel drive 1400’s and Historics, for Rally fans it really was the next best thing to 2 plane tickets to Sweden!

Payne

The conditions didnt favour all however, with a few of the drivers and teams electing not to run their cars in the rally either before the event had started or after the first couple of stages when many found that their tyre choice was maybe not the greatest of that they just simply couldnt get enough traction to be either competetive or safe enough to race withough the risk of car damage. For the drivers who did brave it, we found the timing sheets most amusing especially the retirements section with the reasons given in the comments box truely outstanding.Paul Gunter in his Historic Ford Escort RS was one of our favorites with ‘Not Talented Enough for Ice’ although Colin Webb’s BMW 325 went out on stage 4 with the reason; ‘Road Not Wide Enough’ and finally Boyd kershaw’s reasoning behind his Ford Escorts departure after Special Stage 2 of; ‘Bank Jumped Out At Us’ also amusing us highly!

Despite the 58 Cars that were retired, the rest ploughed on regardless over some deep snow, sheet ice, tricky ruts, hidden rocks and freezing temperatures to produce some really good battles in all the classes as well as a good few near misses and brown pant moments including some for some of the many Rally Fans who had made their way into some of the 45miles of Special stage to support the crews. With 2010 Winner; Steve Perez being one of the unlucky 58, and Last years winner Andy Burton missing from action it gave the golden opportunity for Charlie Payne and co-Driver; Craig Thorley to take the overall Rally win finishing the stages with over 3 minutes to spare from second place and nearly 5 mins until his closest class rival; Roger Chilman/Bryan Thomas in their Imperza. Shaun Gardner and Ben Innes were that second placed car and the Evo driving pair took the class B victory.

Sideways

As far as giant killing goes it doesnt get much bigger than the third placed team who despite their being no fewer than 13 ex WRC spec entires and 70 Class B cars running, Julian Wilkes and Will Rutherford-Child managed to place their 1400cc FWD Vauxhall Nova third overall a mere 4mins and 3secs behind the lead driver! What and Epic Drive and a class win for the 4th year running.

David Bennett also put his 1400cc Vauxhall in the top ten overall at the end of the event, but this time; a Corsa. To find the third placed WR1 Driver you needed to head all the way down to 25th overall where Dave Nutt’s Focus was placed some 12mins off the pace after the 7 stages had been completed. For the Historics Peter Smith placed his Escort 52nd overall to become the quickest Historic car on the rally and when it came to the Championship that runs within the championship; MGZR Rally Challenge, it was the team of Marlon Roberts and Steve Deeley who came away at the top of the pile.

Wyedean Evo

We love Rallying, sure we didnt have the latest manufacturer backed WRC cars thundering past us in the Snow, but as a alternative the snow covered Forest of Dean was right up there and goes to show that even in times of economic concern you can still run sucessful events with large numbers participating..even if the snow has threatened to make it even more challenging for everyone!

The Wyedean was the first of a 8 round event that takes in some of the most fantastic forests in the UK and miles of trecherous stages, if you just cant wait for your next Rallying fix then the 3rd of March see’s the BTRDA event head to cumbria for the Malcom Wilson Stages and for guarenteed Garage Awesome coverage then look out for us on the 9th of June as the Rally comes to us in the heart of garage Awesome Country; Sherwood Forest. For More information, rules, regulations, calendar dates and a full list of results including the stage times and retirements then point your browser towards www.btrdarally.com or for some local info; www.wyedeanrally.com

Words – Ollie // Pictures – Rich

‘Back by overwhelming popular demand’ a phrase we haven’t used before, but this particular post is definitely one that uses that particular slogan without having to worry, as, for a second year running, we bring to you a special post featuring all the best of the Promo Girls from this year’s Autosport show.

AS2012

It’s a tough job I know, but someone had to do it… so we thought it should be usagain! Do not get confused with the lumo skirt, leg warmer wearing, cheap, tacky cruise site promo girls, this bunch are some of the hottest women in the industry with big names like Maxxis, Pirelli, MSA, Team dynamics and WD-40 to name but a few of the big players using the fine female form to promote their worldly goods or services.

AS Girls

So here you have it, a gallery featuring the girls of the 2012 Autosport show for you to feast your eyes on because let’s face it, you’re not reading this anyway are you?…..hello?….hello..?

Words – Ollie // Pictures – Rich