Last week I mentioned that in one family there was a very successful racing
driver and his sister was also a very successful rally driver. Who were they? An
easy one - they were Stirling Moss and his sister Pat Moss (Carlsson). Ivar
Hoyem was first in (again).
So to this week. Pope Pius XI’s Nurburg Popemobile was a
present from Daimler-Benz AG. What was interesting about the wheels?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct
answer to email [email protected]
’m off to race F1 this year
Following the verbal OK for the necessary 13 million pound
Sterling loan given by the St. Petersburg branch of the Esarn Rice Growers Bank,
I have been provisionally offered the race seat at Renault F1, previously
occupied by the Russian Vitaly Petrov.
Poor Vitaly, who had to buy his seat with a 13 mill loan
engineered by his father, has had to admit that the money from Dad’s bank has,
so far, not been received. What is more, Vitaly’s father says that if Renault
don’t get the first installment by March 1, his son’s F1 career will be over. (I
am having my race suit dry-cleaned in preparation for March 2.)
While I feel sorry, in some ways, for Vitaly Petrov, I do not
feel the same about Renault. Formula 1 is (supposedly) about the world’s best
drivers in the world’s best cars, but has not been that way for decades. If
Renault are willing to take ‘pay drivers’, it does not say much for the resolve
of the team towards giving the best results possible this season. Judas Iscariot
sold out for 30 pieces of silver… with inflation over the past 2010 years, it
seems that figure is now 13 million STG.
Graham Knight from HighSide Tours continues with his second
article with tips on how to survive in the traffic in Thailand.
Slow riding. Most riding in towns and villages in Thailand is
done at relatively slow speeds (10-30 km/h). And probably most accidents happen
at relatively slow speeds as well, so this is an important part of your daily
Pulling away. One of the funniest sights I see (but also the
most tragic) is the guy who rents a bike on Beach Road, hops on and when pulling
away either stalls it immediately, pulls off in a series of uncontrolled bunny
hops or with screaming engine and slipping clutch. You do not want to be this
Sit on the bike in the correct position (from last month’s
article). Look up and ahead to where you are planning to go. Do not look at the
rev counter or the instrument panel. Find something in the distance to focus
your attention on. Let the clutch out until you find the bite point. Then relax,
apply more throttle and release the clutch gradually. Look up and ahead all the
Get those feet up quickly. Dragging your feet as you pull
away or go round a corner is not helping you. By not having your feet on the
pegs you have made the bike more unstable as your weight is now acting through
the bike seat raising the centre of gravity. By putting your weight through the
pegs you will lower the centre of gravity and make the bike more stable.
Brake dragging. Have you heard about centrifugal/gyroscopic
forces? The physics that makes you run wide in corners? Well at slow speed these
forces are your friend because they are also generated in your engine.
If your engine is revving, the movement of the cylinders up
and down or even side to side (BMW) generate gyroscopic forces that resist being
moved out of the plane they are already moving in. This means that you can ride
at extremely low speeds and still keep the bike upright by keeping the engine
revs high as the gyroscopic forces resist the bike tipping over. By high I mean
around 2-5,000 rpm, not redlining it.
Try this. Sit on the bike in the correct position. Arms are
relaxed. Now pull away slowly and once you are moving use the brake to slow the
bike down, rear brake is probably the best to start with but either will do.
Counteract the rear brake by gently increasing the throttle. With a bit of
practice you should be able to balance the amount of rear brake and throttle so
that you can stay upright at less than normal walking pace.
It will help you to relax and operate the controls smoothly
if you practice looking ahead of you instead of staring down at the controls or
the road immediately in front of the bike.
Slowing down. We will deal with braking in more detail in
another article but for slow riding practice using the front brake only.
As for pulling away: look up. Do not stare at the road
directly in front of you as you apply the brake. Now smoothly squeeze the lever,
do not snatch at it. As you feel the bike weight transfer to the front you can
apply more force to the lever if necessary. Keep you arms bent and relaxed
throughout the process, use your knees or legs to absorb the braking forces, not
Choppers with extended front forks will have only limited
weight transfer to the front, another reason why these bikes handle so badly.
Try to apply the most braking early and then lessen the
braking force as you are slowing down. Squeezing the lever hardest just as you
come to a stop is most likely to result in a locked wheel and an embarrassing
topple into the parked cars and bikes. Not cool!
OK that’s the basic pulling away, slow riding and stopping.
Next month observation skills.
(Graham Knight can be contacted at graham.knight @highsidetours.com.)
A German rival for the
With BMW’s Mini series being very popular, it stands to
reason that another European manufacturer would produce a small car to compete
against it. Audi (owned by VW) has risen to the challenge, releasing the new
Audi A1 hatchback at the Geneva show in March.
According to Audi, they have “shrink-wrapped” everything it
stands for to create the new A1, a more compact and city-friendly three-door
premium hatchback that delivers all the celebrated quality, design flair and
engineering acumen synonymous with Audi.
The new A1 has the latest, ultra-efficient TDI and TFSI
engines. The new 1.2 TFSI petrol engine linked to a five-speed manual
transmission covers the zero to 100 km/h in 12.1 seconds and a 166 km/h top
speed. The more powerful 1.4 TFSI power unit has the standard six-speed manual
gearbox or the optional seven-speed S-tronic twin-clutch transmission. Equipped
with S-tronic it takes the A1 to 100 km/h in 9.1 seconds. The 1.6-liter diesel
is the third engine option, and via a five-speed manual gearbox covers zero to
100 km/h in 10.8 seconds.