Off-road Boomerang trip, Chiang Mai
This is an event not to be missed by those who revel in the
off-road events, or would even just like to be part of the off-road movement. It
is free! So that’s a good start. There are no entry fees and the organizers
are expecting about 500 Off-road trucks from all over Thailand, and another
20-40 vehicles from Malaysia.
The event is something like a jamboree or carnival with some
off-road activities, off-road car shows, car accessory sales, food stalls and
There will be trips to poor hill-tribe villages in the mountains near Chiang
Mai and Chiang Rai areas on the off-road tracks, to make donations. The villages
that will be visited have requested old clothing, blankets, sporting equipment
(e.g. footballs, volleyballs, badminton, takraw balls). So if you want to join
this trip, please bring anything you wish to donate with you when you come to
The events schedule and dates are:
Thursday November 25, 2004
Each group meets in Chiang Mai, camping at Huay Teung Tao, Muang District,
Friday November 26,
0900 Opening Ceremony
1000 Start of Boomerang Trip
1030 Testing vehicles, outdoor sports, shopping
1300 Continue afternoon activities
1800 Dinner (your own choice)
2400 Tour Loy Kratong Festival, Chiang Mai
Rest in Camping Area
Saturday November 27
0800 Start competitive events
0900 Outdoor sport, shopping
Car and Accessories booths
1300 Continue with competitive events
and outdoor sports
Sightseeing/tour (on your own)
1700 Off-Road Tour back from trip and
camping at Huay Teung Tao
2200 Join the Big Krathong Caravan,
Ping River, Nawarat Bridge
Sunday November 28
0800 Competitive events, outdoor sport
1300 Announcement of results
The event is jointly organized by Grand Prix International (GPI) through
their Off-road magazine, Chiangmai Off-road Club and other associated off-road
clubs). Readers wishing to join this trip and who would like more information on
this interesting event can contact Khun Satit on 01 632 5900 or “Off-road
Magazine” at 02 522 1731-8, ext. 236 or directly to my old friend Captain
Sitthichoke, who speaks English, on 01 864 2270 or email [email protected]
csloxinfo.com or shipsmaster @hotmail.com
This event looks like a great fun weekend, and the North is
famous for its hospitality. If you own a 4WD/off-roader, I reckon you should
start making enquiries straight away.
A slight boo-boo!
Received a press release the other day, which stated that in
September 1955, Zora Arkus-Duntov raced a disguised 1956 model Corvette with a
V8 engine at the Pike’s Peak Hill climb, setting the stock car record of with
a time of 17 hours 24 minutes and 5 seconds.
didn’t realize that the old Vette’s were that slow! Considering that in the
first ever Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 1916, professional racer Floyd Clymer on his
Excelsior motorcycle posted an overall record time of 21 minutes 58 seconds,
poor old Zora must have stopped for lunch, dinner and a massage and cleared the
final km with his bare hands to take 17 hours in 1955.
Or perhaps they meant to say it took 17 minutes, 24.5
seconds! C’mon guys, it’s a 19 km course which is regularly covered in
around 10 minutes these days. If you want us to regurgitate your press releases,
try and get the facts right! OK?
The ‘king’ of the Peak for me is expatriate EnZedder Rod Millen who
drives such things as a Toyota Tacoma truck with AWD and 800 neddies. Monster
Tajima is another of the Pikes Peak heroes in his specially built Suzuki.
The electric answer to the fuel situation?
It is interesting to look at the various power sources that
have been used to claim the World Land Speed records. Try these for size -
steam, electric, internal combustion, jet, rocket and turbine.
With the power debate that is current in the world, with fuel
cells, solar power and the like, as opposed to the internal combustion
engine’s use of gasoline (including diesel), the enduring source of power in
the motor industry is still electricity. What has to be remembered is that both
hydrogen fuel and solar power ends up being converted to electricity to actually
propel the vehicles forward.
Let’s look at when we first started with electric vehicles,
with one of the most famous from the beginning of time, motoring-wise - La
Jamais Contente. The vehicle was driven in 1899 by the Red Devil himself,
Belgian Camille Jenatzy (1868-1913), to a blistering 100 kph, the first vehicle
in the world to achieve this benchmark.
So here we are, 105 years later and hybrids combining
electric and internal combustion engines are looking like the way of the future,
with the Japanese very much in the forefront. Honda, Suzuki, Toyota, Lexus,
Nissan, and Subaru all having hybrids for sale, or being developed for
In the US, all of the Big Three are working independently on
fuel cells, driving, yes, you guessed it - electric motors.
How do fuel cells work? A fuel cell combines hydrogen from
some other fuel source with oxygen from the air to produce electrical energy,
with water as the only by-product. The cell consists of four key elements. First
is the proton exchange membrane, which goes by the technical name of
perfluorosulphonic acid polymer. This acts as an electrolyte. Second is the
electrocatalyst layer, using a platinum alloy. Third is a gas diffusion layer
made of carbon cloth or paper, and fourth is a bipolar plate, which acts as a
As hydrogen and oxygen move through the fuel cell’s layers,
they recombine to form water, or more accurately, water vapour, and in doing so,
a small electrical charge is produced as well. Fuel cells are then stacked to
produce enough electricity to power an automobile. The amount needed is around
The future is to use electrical power even more than just
now. Other features in the vehicles of tomorrow can be adapted and handled
better by electricity, and this includes brakes and steering. DaimlerChrysler,
for example, have electric operated accelerator and brake pedals in a current
concept vehicle, and the new BMW 5 Series has its electric steering.
You don’t need to be a bright spark to see where we are
Interlagos Circuit History
The name Interlagos comes from the Portuguese for ‘between
the lakes’ because the circuit was built in a natural bowl which had two small
lakes in it. Their position dictated the layout of the 7.2 km track which was
built in 1954 close to Sao Paolo (Ayrton Senna’s home city).
Interlagos hosted the Brazilian GP from the first
non-championship race in 1972 through to 1980, with the exception of 1978 when
it was held in Rio de Janeiro. After 1980, it went to Rio again, until 1989 when
it returned to Interlagos, where it has remained.
This coincided with a new layout which retained the old
section on both sides of the start/finish line. The infield kept the character
of the original, but lap distance was shortened from 7.2 km to 4.3 km. One of
the new corners was named after Ayrton Senna.
The official name of the circuit is the Autodromo Carlos Pace in memory of
Pace, the Brazilian who scored the only Grand Prix win of his brief career at
Interlagos in 1975.
What did we learn from the last GP in Japan?
Well, the first thing we learned was that the Japanese TV
director was a fan of Takumo Sato and Trulli in the Toyota. At some stages
during the telecast I was wondering if there were any other cars out there? (By
comparison, the TV coverage of the Bathurst 1000 race in Australia the same day
was brilliant. The viewers missed none of the action, all day.)
However, national televised pride put aside, the Japanese GP
was a boring event, I’m afraid. Michael Schumacher just ran away and hid.
Quickest in every session leading up to the GP and quite untouchable. The man is
Of the others, Barichello again demonstrated that he is ideal
number 2, or 3, or 4, or 9 or 29 material, and had a problem trying to pass
Coulthard, neatly bending his left front suspension, at the same time as bending
Coulthard’s right front suspension. And these, gentle reader, are two of the
best 20 drivers in the world? Mind you, we didn’t get to see the actual
incident on TV, because (a) neither of the drivers were Japanese, and (b)
neither of the cars was a Honda or a Toyota.
Jenson Button drove well (and Sato did too), and I still
remain amazed that Button is busting his boilers to leave BAR, when they have
got him on the podium something like 10 times this season.
Villeneuve in the Renault again failed to impress, and
Montoya should be sent home to Colombia for yet another lack-lustre performance
in the BMW Williams. As for the rest, I have no idea, as Mr. Japanese TV
director wouldn’t show us what was going on with any of the other non-Japanese
drivers in non-Japanese cars!