• Don’t Forget British Superbikes 2017 Starts This Weekend

    The motorcycle race season is now well underway. World Superbikes and MotoGP have already started their seasons. And possibly the best national series, the 2017 British Superbike championship, kicks off at Donington on Friday, March 31st.

    The entry list includes multiple champion Shane Byrne and team-mate Glenn Irwin on the Be Wiser Ducatis. Leon Haslam and Luke Mossey are on the JG Speedfit Kawasakis. Honda will again field Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran. And Tyco BMW riders Christian Iddon and Davide Giugliano will both be capable of running at the front.

    Then there’s the returning Josh Brookes on the Anvil Hire Yamaha, John Hopkins on the Moto Rapido Ducati, James Ellison and Michael Laverty on the McAms Yamahas, and the Bennetts Suzuki team of Sylvain Guintoli and Taylor Mackenzie. And also the debut of Bradley Ray on the Buildbase Suzuki.

    Basically, out of a field of 25 riders, you wouldn’t bet against about 17 of them having a chance of winning.

    Anvil Hire Yamaha Josh Brookes British Superbikes 2017
    Anvil Hire Yamaha’s Josh Brookes is back in British Superbikes for 2017

    What’s the Donington Park British Superbikes Timetable?

    The weekend kicks off at 9am on Friday, March 31st. Free practice for all classes takes place throughout the day, and there are qualifying sessions for the KTM RC Cup at 3.45pm, and the Ducati TriOptions Cup at 5.45pm.

    On Saturday, the morning is largely taken up with qualifying sessions and the final free practice for the BSB boys.

    For entry, gates open at 7.30am

    Saturday Races:

    • 12.30: Ducati performance TriOptions Cup 8 Laps
    • 13:00: Pirelli National Superstock 1000 2 x 18 laps
    • 14:30: British Motostar Championship 10 laps
    • 15:05: KTM RC Cup 8 laps
    • 15:35: Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup 10 laps
    • 16:02: BSB Qualifying and Superpole
    • 17:20: British Supersport Championship Sprint Race 10 laps

    Sunday is race day, with all the competing classes getting a morning warm up session. Then racing begins at 10:30am. There are also Suzuki Donington 40th Anniversary parade laps taking place during lunch at 1pm.

    Sunday Races

    • 10:30: KTC RC Cup 8 laps
    • 11.05: Ducati TriOptions Cup 10 laps
    • 12:35 National Superstock 600 14 laps
    • 13:30: British Superbikes 20 laps
    • 14:15: National Superstock 1000 16 laps
    • 14:55: British Motostar Championship 14 laps
    • 15:40 British Supersport Championship Feature Race 18 laps
    • 16:30: British Superbikes 20 laps
    • 17:15: KTM RC Cup 8 laps

    How much does Donington British Superbikes 2017 cost?

    Advance ticket sales have now ended, so it’s full price on the gate. Children age 13 and under are free, and parking is free for the British Superbikes. Plus you can get 50% off adult entry for the Donington Park museum on the day.

    The paddock will be open. And disabled spectators access is located at Coppice Corner with an elevated viewing and parking area. You’ll need to be displaying your blue badge to get in.

    Ticket prices for the weekend are:

    Friday
    £10

    Saturday
    £15

    Sunday
    £30

    Weekend
    £45

    Grandstand
    £15

    Concessions
    £25 – race day only

    There are a few limited camping spots left for those deciding to stay at the last minute. Weekend admission with camping starts at £75 for those over 14 years of age.

    How to Watch Donington BSB 2017 on TV:

    Not able to make it to Donington Park? Here’s how to watch on TV and online.

    British Superbikes Live Timing is available via the official British Superbikes site for free.

    Saturday April 1:

    • 15:45: Live Qualifying and Supersport Sprint Race (Until 6pm) – Eurosport 2
    • 21:00: Qualifying and Supersport Sprint Race Highlights – Eurosport 2

    Sunday April 2:

    • 13:00: Live British Superbikes (Until 6pm) – Eurosport 2
    • 21:00: Race Highlights – Eurosport 2
    • 22:00: British Superbikes Extra – Eurosport 2

    Monday April 3:

    • 13.15: Race Highlights – Eurosport 2
    • 14:15: British Superbikes Extra – Eurosport 2
    • 17:30: Race Highlights – Eurosport 1

    Eurosport is available via Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV. Or online via the Eurosport Player, which is £5.99 for a one day pass, or £29.99 for access until December 31st, 2017 (Which also includes World Superbikes). That’s a special offer running until April 30th, 2017.

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  • 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy Heads to Mongolia

    The 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy will take place in Mongolia in a little over two years time. But the regional qualifies are open this year for men and women to compete to represent their country.

    The GS Trophy is open to any non-professional BMW rider. Teams of three compete, judged on their riding, adventure and teamwork skills. And even if you don’t win the overall trophy, you’ll get to spend time riding in Mongolia with bikes and equipment provided. To be in with a chance, you’ll need to try out in a regional qualifier, which generally replicates the main event over a couple of days.

    2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy
    The 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy heads to Mongolia

    In addition to the top three overall riders from each country being selected, there’s also an International GS Trophy Female Team. The best two women from each regional event who haven’t made the top three anyway will be sent to an International GS Trophy Female Qualifier, with the top three from that going on to Mongolia.

    2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy Confirmed Teams:

    • Argentina
    • Australia
    • Brazil
    • Canada
    • China
    • France
    • Germany
    • Japan
    • Latin America
    • Mexico
    • Russia
    • Southeast Asia
    • South Africa
    • South Korea
    • UK
    • USA

    Want to give it a try and be in with a chance of competing in the 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy? You’ll need to head to the GS Trophy website for the entry details. Or check out our previous coverage of the BMW all-female team, and how BMW shipped 114 BMW R1200 GS bikes to Thailand for the 2016 event.

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  • 5 Items Every Garage Needs in 2017

    Every motorist should have a garage that is properly equipped. You do not need to be a mechanic to fix every problem that you encounter, and thanks to some excellent tools and equipment, anybody can carry out minor work on their car. All you need is a few of these tools and an easy to follow guide, which can be found online.

    Here are some important tools that you should consider investing in:

    Tool Kit

    Buying tools that are of the highest quality will turn out to be a great investment. You may already have a few at home, but there are also tools that every beginner mechanic should own; this will allow you to take on all kinds of jobs.

    Tool Chest

    Having the right set of tools is, of course, essential, but you must also have somewhere to store these items. If you were to leave your tools scattered across the garage floor, you are putting yourself at risk as it is extremely dangerous. By investing in a quality tool chest, it will keep the garage tidy, you will quickly be able to find what you are looking for and you can lock the chest for safety. These should be purchased from reliable suppliers, like SGS.

    Seating & Creeper

    When it comes to working on your car, it is vital that you have comfort and manoeuvrability. An adjustable mechanic seat will be required to achieve this, as well as a creeper for inspecting the underside of the automobile.

    Jacks & Axle Stands

    A lot of the work that you carry out on your automobile will require lifting it off the ground. You will need to be able to do this safely and with confidence, so a top-quality jack is an essential. An axle stand will be strong and sturdy to keep the car in place whilst you work underneath.

    Air Compressor

    An incredibly versatile item which you will find yourself using constantly, an air compressor serves many different purposes. Inflating tyres, powering air tools and cleaning tools are just a few tasks that are made quick and easy with one of these. Although they can be expensive, it will prove to be a worthwhile investment if you have several cars or work on them regularly.

    These are the 5 items that every motorist should have in their garage in 2017. With these tools and a little knowledge (which can be found online), you will be able to tackle many different tasks and save a fortune on unnecessary mechanic bills.

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  • Ford S-Max – Don’t Be ‘Sports Dad’

    Purchasing a new Ford S-Max should be regarded as a textbook example of refusing to stand out from the crowd. While being one of the herd is traditionally frowned upon, actually in the case of the new S-Max it’s highly beneficial. Unless that is, you’re ‘Sports Dad’.

    Ford S-Max Static 03

    ‘Sports Dad’ wants to be the best. He wants to the best so much, that he’ll pick the biggest engine with the highest bhp output on his new car just so everybody knows he is the man. Basically, ‘Sports Dad’ is the guy you avoid like the plague when you go and watch your own kids football team playing because he abuses the referee and generally makes a monumental tit of himself. Fear not reader, I’m here to show you how to get the best S-Max for you, all while getting a better S-Max than ‘Sports Dad’ and saving a bit of money in the process.

    The guy we all love to hate has already chosen his S-Max, and naturally it’s the one that sits at the very top of the S-Max pyramid – the 2.3 236bhp litre petrol powerhouse. Ford expects only 1% of all S-Max buyers to take this one up, but that’s ok because ‘Sports Dad’ has always thought of himself as being in the top 1% anyway. For us though, let’s think of that 1% as those people who are so keen to distance themselves from the herd, so keen to look special, that they’d go as far as to shoot themselves in the foot in a bid to impress others around them.

    Ford S-Max Driving 01

    Yes, as tempting as it may sound on paper, the ‘sporty’ variant of the new S-Max is certainly not the high point of the range. It’s an engine that just doesn’t feel at home in this car, lacking the torque needed to launch the heavy S-Max, and despite that high-ish power output, in reality it doesn’t feel anywhere near as quick as the spec sheet might have you believe. The 6-speed automatic Ford has attached to it doesn’t help either, a pure cruiser unit that’s clearly not been designed to deliver on the excitement front, and to be fair why would it? ‘Sports Dad’ will tell you all about the flappy paddles, but I’ll tell you that it’s so lacking in shift feel you wonder why they even attached them to the steering wheel in the first place. Ford hasn’t offered a manual option with this engine, but even with that option box open I still think it would be a poor choice. Despite the disappointment with this particular powertrain, this is where the problems with the new S-Max end.

    Ford S-Max Interior 04

     

    Some drivers will naturally prefer some of the more conceptual design flair seen in some of France’s latest offerings, but it can’t be said that the S-Max isn’t a handsome looking beast. The strong, angular lines make this one of the best efforts at putting together an attractive people carrier that I can remember, it looks like a car with real class and that continues inside. From the moment you step in you can see and feel the improvements in the interior, with plenty of quality materials applied to make the cabin a genuinely pleasurable place to spend time. The seating is particularly excellent, providing a hugely comfortable and supportive place to park the posteriors of you and your family. The S-Max now feels more premium than ever before and – through these eyes at least – is a nose ahead of the interior environments found in some of its rivals.

    Ford S-Max Interior 02

    As it’s the modern age, the class and comfort of the interior would be nothing without decent technology to back it up, and there is some very tasty tech to examine. The SYNC2 system is a must have, and while the interface and arrangement of the software is good, the touchscreen it’s wrapped in can occasionally be unresponsive. Other useful features include split view cameras to assist in pulling out of parking spaces and junctions (not something obnoxious yet genetically superior ‘Sports Dads’ will ever feel the need to use), a variable ratio steering setup that Ford has even managed to squeeze the mechanism of inside the steering wheel, and a system to monitor road signs and adapt the speed limiter to match them, theoretically preventing you exceeding the speed limits. For those show offs who always have something new to stick in the garden, boot space starts at 700 litres in 5 seater mode, but the 2 seated van-like layout will bump that up to a cavernous 2000 litres, perfect for that gazebo hauling, faux-brick BBQ buying dad who always calls you ‘mate’.

    Ford S-Max Interior 01

    So, how do you stick it to ‘Sports Dad’? By knowing the following important information; those who love to drive will ultimately gain more pleasure from one of the more powerful diesel manual options than the petrol powered brute discussed earlier. The new S-Max is a brilliant cruiser, being both remarkably quiet and hugely comfortable and when driven as such it’s a joy, even if as the driver you do feel a little detached from what’s happening outside. With one of the more grunty diesel engines, the excellent manual gearbox, and ‘Titanium’ spec, you’ll have a truly excellent car on your hands. This might be about as good as a people carrier gets. Refined, comfortable, practical, and perhaps most crucially it’s actually quite desirable. It’s also cheaper to buy and will depreciate less than the flash git’s top spec model. That means when you lift lazy waves from the steering wheel of your S-Max outside the school gates, you get the satisfaction of knowing you’re in the better car.

    So, who’s winning now ‘mate’?

    2015 Ford Galaxy

    Performance & Economy 2.0 TDCi Titanium X 2.0 EcoBoost Titanium X
    Engine 1,997cc tubocharged diesel 1,999cc turbocharged petrol
    Transmission 6-speed manual, front engine, front-wheel drive 6-speed automatic, front engine, front-wheel drive
    Power (PS / bhp) 180 / 177 240 / 236
    Torque (Nm / lb.ft) 400 / 295 345 / 254
    0 – 62 mph (seconds) 9.5 8.3
    Top Speed (mph) 131 140
    CO2 Emissions (g/km) 129 180
    VED Band D I
    Combined Economy (mpg) 56 35
    Price (OTR) £33,845 £35,205

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  • INDYCAR: SO YOU WANT TO DRIVE THE INDY 500?

    We’ve suspected this for many years and now it’s official. The Indianapolis 500 is no longer a reasonable aspiration for most racing drivers, blogs Stephen Cox.

    Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) president Doug Boles was kind enough to talk with me briefly at the annual PRI trade show in Indy. I asked him what his plan was to increase the number of entries at the Indianapolis 500. His answer took me by surprise.

    “We grew up falling in love with the sport when you had that number of entries,” Boles said. “A lot of those entries were guys who sat around in December and said, ‘You know what? We’re going to build a car in our garage and we’re going to enter it at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.’”

    “But first and foremost in my mind is just really safety. I don’t think it makes sense for us to get back to fifty or sixty cars just from a safety standpoint,” Boles continued. “I’d love to see fifty or sixty or seventy cars entering and guys just being able to decide that they have a driver who’s running at Putnamville and we’re going to give him a shot to run at the Speedway. I just don’t think it’s practical anymore.”

    Let that statement sink in. American short track drivers – who routinely filled the field until the 1980s – are now considered unsafe and incapable of running the Indy 500.

    Don’t ever go back to the speedway and expect to find the next A. J. Foyt or Parnelli Jones. There won’t be one. Nor will you ever see another Stan Fox or Rich Vogler claw their way up through the ranks and make it to Indy. For that matter, we’re also unlikely to ever see another Rick Mears or Robby Gordon. Those guys got to Indy through off-road desert racing, not Indycar’s current ladder system. They would likely be considered unsafe at the speedway today.

    Boles countered by saying, “We have the best on-track product that we’ve ever had in the history of the speedway with the last five years. The number of lead changes we have, the number of cars in the field that have a chance of winning it.”

    True, recent events have had a certain NASCAR-green-white-checkered-overtime excitement to them. However, this was not achieved by eliminating drivers of sprint cars, off-road trucks, midgets, late-models or amateur sports cars from the speedway. It was achieved – if indeed, this can be called an “achievement” at all – through regulation.

    More teams are in contention because everyone is forced to use the same spec car. The additional lead changes were artificially created through “push to pass” legislation and turbo boost mandates. Using this logic, even better races could be manufactured by enacting a rule disqualifying anyone who leads two consecutive laps, thus assuring 249 lead changes in every 500!

    The bottom line is this – SCCA drivers are welcome to compete at IMS in the Run Offs. SVRA drivers are welcome to Indy’s vintage event. Short track drivers are welcome to buy tickets and sit in Turn Three.

    But the speedway has no intention of enlarging the field past forty cars and creating space that could be filled by new drivers from other disciplines. That is bad news for thousands of very good racing drivers worldwide. And it is even worse news for the Indianapolis 500 itself, whose relevancy continues to fade.

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