The Renault Koleos is the newest entrant in the fiercely fought mid-to-large SUV segment that includes the Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq. Completing Renault’s crossover range, which also includes the Captur and Kadjar, the Koleos is in effect the French giant’s flagship car. As such, it’s offered in just two top …
Fancy something a bit different. How about also stylish and retro. But more practical at the same time? Then maybe you need the Wunderlich Green Hell ISDT Scrambler Kit for the BMW R nineT.
Rather than the typical cafe racer, Wunderlich have used the BMW bikes entered by the factory in the late 1970s for the International Six Days Trial events. And it’s a good choice, judging by how the finished motorcycle looks.
There’s quite a shopping list of bits added. Starting with the ‘TT’ headlight surround and short, yellow fly screen which definitely give the R nineT a more vintage look. With the green paint, it almost looks like a World War 2 military motorcycle. Then there are the Wunderlich Six Days Handlebars, which can be adjusted for height. And the Clear Protect Hand Guards which are definitely important for off-road riding. And being clear, they don’t spoil the lines of the BMW in the way modern, solid plastic hand guards would. Plus fully-adjustable brake and clutch levers to finish switching the controls to something which can be tailored to any rider.
But the front is just the start. The traditional Spoked Wheels are now covered with shorter Brushed Aluminium Mudguards to stop stones and dirt being flung at you quite so much. There’s also a new vintage-style Tubular Steel Sub-frame at the bike, which has an integrated brake light. And a brushed, aluminium Number Plate Holder.
You can also fit the side-mounted Aluminium Number Plate, Monza Fuel Filler Cap and three-piece Tank Pad Set to give even more of a competition vibe.
But there are more than cosmetic changes. There’s a fully-adjustable Rear Suspension Kit, Fork Upgrade Kit and adjustable Paralever Strut. So you can properly tweak your BMW R nineT to cope with whatever terrain you plan on tackling.
Don’t put the shopping list down yet though. For added crash protection, there are Engine Crash Bars, Dakar Engine Protection plate, Header Pipe Protector and the Oil Cooler Guard. And there are LED Auxiliary Lights for more illumination, and Sidebags available in black or brown to carry your essentials.
The good news is that you can buy everything separately. Or just pay for the full conversion with the whole Wunderlich Green Hell ISDT Scrambler Kit for the BMW R nineT in one go.
About the only bit I’m not entirely sure about is the header pipe protector. It’s useful and practical. But perhaps a little bit ornate to be sat on top of the exhaust pipes like some bronze jewellery. The rest of it looks pretty awesome though.
Automatic cars are becoming increasingly popular – but how do you do about driving one? You may well find that driving an automatic is a more pleasant driving experience than that provided by a manual – but how do you get started? We’ve rounded up the basics below.
Once you’re in the car and you’ve checked the seat and mirrors are in the right positions, it’s time to familiarise yourself with the controls and pedals – remember in an automatic you just have a brake (on the left) and an accelerator (on the right).
It’s also crucial you familiarise yourself with the gear box. You’ll find the gear selector where a traditional manual gear stick is placed, between the driver’s and the passenger seat, or to the side of the steering wheel. As you’ll see, it’s quite different to a manual gear stick; you’ll usually have four choices where to put the gear selector: ‘P’, ‘R’, ‘N’ and ‘D’, denoting park, reverse, neutral and drive.
That might seem a lot of choice for a car that’s meant to be ‘automatic’, but you’ll see the choices soon narrow themselves down, making them much less onerous. Here’s how they work:
Park is only ever used once the car is stationary and safely parked, only then do you choose ‘P’. So you use it when you’ve finished driving, as you do the handbrake, ensuring your car doesn’t go anywhere until you next need it.
Reverse, as you would expect, for driving backwards. Neutral on the other hand can be used when you’ve stopped for short periods, in just such instances when you would apply the handbrake too. ‘Drive’ of course allows your car to move, and this is when an automatic comes into its own, as you don’t need to select a gear.
Some automatics also come with an additional first or second gear, which can be helpful in some circumstances, like negotiating a steep incline or preventing your wheels from spinning in inclement weather conditions. Moreover, some automatics give you the option to control gears either from paddles on the dashboard or via the gear selector.
But how to go about driving it? First, check the car has been left in the ‘park’ position. Then put your foot on the brake, put the key in the ignition and turn it clockwise. While keeping your foot on the brake, move the gear selector to ‘Drive’ or ‘Reverse’, as you require, and take off the handbrake.
As you lift your foot off the brake, you’ll find the car begins to move gently. If you are on a hill, you may need to add some acceleration, but otherwise, the car will choose the right gear for your journey. If you are ever stationary for more than 5-10 seconds during your journey, then apply the handbrake. Once you’ve reached your destination and are safely parked; then select the ‘Park’ option, put on the handbrake, turn off the ignition and exit.
Driving an automatic car may seem strange at first, but the key is to get to know your new car well and give yourself time to practise driving it. Learn to slow down and apply the brake sooner than you would in a manual car, for instance when you are approaching a corner. Also familiarise yourself with the different use of the accelerator, using it to give your car ‘oomph’ when you’d use a low gear in a manual car. However, once you’ve got used to these differences, you’ll find automatic cars make for a very relaxing driving experience.
Want to keep your current car running safely and efficiently? Make sure that your tyres are in full working order, and check out the tyres Swindon section of the Wiltshire Tyres website to find out more.
Go find yourself a Kart track this weekend. No, it’s not “real” racing, but for millions of Americans it’s the only first-hand motorsports experience they’ll ever have. And that’s surely better than the alternative, blogs Stephen Cox.
I started late. I didn’t drive in my first professional auto race until age 21. Before that, I was addicted to Go Kart racing. No, not the World Karting Association or the National Karting Alliance. I’d never heard of them.
My Karting career began by paying five dollars for ten minutes of track time. They were 5-horsepower, 25-mph “fun Karts” at tiny, tourist-driven venues during our family vacations. We stopped at Go Kart tracks from Virginia to Utah. Any track, any time. It wasn’t real racing, but it was the only racing I had.
The tracks were minuscule. The Karts were poky rent-a-wrecks. Sometimes they didn’t even require a helmet. My first races were on tracks like the Salty Dog Grand Prix against other vacationing kids, most of whom never realized they were locked in bitter competition with a teenager and his visions of grandeur.
Several days ago, while returning from my entirely unsuccessful run in the Super Cup Stock Car Series American Racer Twin 50’s at Jennerstown Speedway, I stumbled across what appeared to be an abandoned rental Kart track. The sign said it was “The Salty Dog Grand Prix” of Mt. Pleasant, PA. I parked the Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions van and started walking. The track was closed but the gate was open.
It had apparently been closed since 2015, though information has been hard to come by. The property was well kept but a sign in front of the track advertised Karts for sale, which means they probably have no intention of re-opening soon, if at all.
Maybe it’s just me, but I believe that little Go Kart tracks like the Salty Dog are perhaps the canary in the coal mine for American auto racing. I’ve made it clear many times why I believe the average age of race fans continues to get older and older. Kids are losing interest in automobiles, and those who don’t care about cars will never pay to see anyone race them. Until the automobile is again viewed as a teenage ticket to mischief, personal liberty, speed and late-night fun, interest in cars will continue to decline and the snowball effect on motorsports is inevitable.
I hope the property can re-open because it’s tough to see time move on from places like the Salty Dog Grand Prix. The asphalt is still good. The tire barriers are solid. The pit area and outbuildings are nicely maintained.
Yet people just don’t flock to these venues as they once did. The world is too full of I-gadgets and screens and distractions. And lame superhero movies.
And cheap milk shakes masquerading as status-symbol coffee drinks. And discredited evening news programs that claim everything else is fake. And social media that’s not. The more hear from Bruno Mars, the better I like the smell of gasoline!
Long before I landed my first sponsor or won my first race, I looked forward to the simple purity of racing a cheap Go Kart on “tourist” tracks. No qualifying. No mandatory autograph sessions. No drivers meetings. Go Kart racing was all fun and no pressure.
Stephen Cox is Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions Driver, Super Cup Series & EGT Championship, and Co-Host, Mecum Auctions on NBCSN.
It’s proving to be a stellar year for superminis – all-new kids on the block include the transformed Nissan Micra and latest version of the market-leading Ford Fiesta. Now it’s Seat’s turn with the fifth-generation of the popular Ibiza. Originally launched in 1984, it’s the Spanish brand’s best-selling model with more than 5.4 million sold. …