Jonathan Lodge and Jim Valentine 28th Overall

Peking to Paris Challenge 2016


13,625 Kilometres through 11 Countries in 36 days

 (with plenty of drama, adventures & a couple of detours along the way!!)

A note from Jonathan

I’d just like to say a massive THANK YOU to club members who have supported and encouraged us since we first mentioned the possibility of Jim and I attempting to drive ‘the impossible’. You folks have helped make it happen”


Editor’s Thoughts

By Helen Harkness

(You weren’t expecting that one were you? & I warn you, I’m feeling quite emotional)

Hello all,

Way back in September 1978, when “Tyred Topics” was only on edition no.99, and we were still filling 9 pages of A4, the late Bob Harrison wrote of how he ‘accidentally’ came to join Spadeadam MC and the pleasure & friendship it had brought him. He described the club at that time as a “happy and very competitive car club due to the fact that no-one is left on the sidelines”.  Bob was only a relative newcomer when he wrote that. He’d only been a member for 2 years, but reading some of the old “TT’s” you get a sense of why it had made such an impression…. Spadeadam M.C. is, and always has been a club that runs with it’s own new ideas and has it’s own personality!  38 years later, it’s comforting to read that some things don’t change much; 12 car entries were way down one year. Membership numbers had fallen, but then picked up again. The chancellor of the exchequer had just hit motorists hard in their wallets and it looked like it was the end of rallying. Committee members didn’t agree on some item on the agenda and it took a tediously long meeting to decide an outcome! The other thing that I like to think has not changed is the enthusiasm, the humour and the friendship within the club. Because really, without Spadeadam Motor Club and its members I know that my life would be that much poorer; I’d never have done closing car for 3 stages on the RAC; I’d never have won or even driven on a road rally; I’d never have been stood at 2am in a service area in -18 ºC temperatures. I’d never have navigated in a stage rally for Rob or Nigel and so much more. And I’d never have met the really wonderful folk who have helped me on the way. To borrow from Whyte Melville “I freely admit that the best of my fun, I owe it to Spadeadam Motor Club.”

But then again, some things have definitely changed…for example back in 1978 we ran an autocross event at Gilsland show and it was sponsored by “Scottish & Newcastle Breweries” and “Marlboro Cigarettes”!!  Can someone tell me if the winner received cigarettes & alcohol as a prize? And I really, really want to know why we no longer have a fancy-dress disco?! I think that should be on the next AGM agenda.




It doesn’t sound like a sowing machine…

By David Love

You know how it is; the wife is dragging you around a shopping centre and you wish you were at the dentist instead, getting a tooth pulled without anaesthetic.  Then you see salvation, a cool car on display in one of the intersections of the walkways.  You beg, tell the wife you’re just popping over to have a look at it and you’ll only be a minute and before you get a lecture you rush over to it.  It really is impressive close up and as you stand there drooling a minder comes over and starts telling you about the wonderful technological features of the car.  He then offers to take your contact details to keep you informed of special offers and developments, you feel sorry for him being stuck there all day talking to hundreds of tyre kickers so you give him your details and wait to get pestered on a weekly basis.

Well, that was me last September and surprisingly I’d only had a handful of newsletter type of emails from them since then.  That was until a couple of weeks ago when my mobile phone rang with a call from a Manchester number.  Now I normally ignore calls from numbers I don’t recognise but for some reason I answered this one.  ‘Good morning, this is Thomas from Tesla Motors, is that David?  OK, somebody’s winding me up but it doesn’t sound like any of the guys from work.  I give a tentative yes and he says “ We’re going to be in Carlisle next Tuesday and wondered if you like to try the Model S.  “You have to ask!”  I think to myself as I say “Yes” and everything is arranged. Continue reading

Thoughts On Wales

By Phil Jobson

Having fallen in love with Wales through rallying, I’m gutted to now read that Natural Resources Wales (NRW) plan to recover the whole cost of forest road restoration from MSA and therefore largely from competitors. The impact of unsustainable forestry charges will, of course, spell the end of forest rallying in Wales. Not only is the passion for the sport in Wales extensive, but rallying provides remote rural communities with huge investment from competitors, support crews and spectators. The levels of such revenue would not be available from other activities.

It would seem utterly logical, and make economic sense to me, for the MSA and Welsh Government to subsidise any gap in forest road restoration. From their figures, this would amount to just over £300,000, a pittance in comparison to the many millions forest rallying attracts to these rural areas. But why should there be such a massive cost in forest road restoration in the first place? What came of the discussions a number of years ago of redesigning tyres to cause less damage to forest roads? Continue reading

Things Ain’t What They Were

By David Love,

Thought this 1974 advert might stir the memories of our more mature members and surprise our younger ones. Look closely at the car (Morris Marina) and you’ll also see it didn’t have door mirrors either. We didn’t worry about what was behind us in those days! Come to think of it I don’t even pay a lot of attention now!


Run To The Sea – September 2015

By Martyn, Graham & Shaun Petry,

What a better way to end our school summer holidays than have a run to the seaside. Helen & Nigel had organized a great mystery trip to the sea as one of the motor clubs outings. Setting off from Gretna Gateway car park with full instructions & diagrams of sign posts through Scottish villages and lovely scenery.

Half way stop at Glencaple for cake and drink and a kick about until the football disappeared into the sludge. Thank you to Nigel who soon produced a new one. On our way again, over the river Nith. Past Sweetheart Abbey then to arrive at Southerness.

Buckets & spades and a picnic for on the sand. Everyone joined in the fun. Kicking the new ball, Long jump & Curling on the sand.

On our return journey we had a great surprise as the Red Arrows flying past in two sets of five then followed by the Vulcan Bomber.

A Great day to remember, thanks again Helen & Nigel.

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Run to the Sea – September 2015

By Eric & Linda Ritchie

10am on Sunday morning 6th of September, saw us in our 1960 Austin Healey Sprite on the M74 heading North. Nothing ahead of us on the road, and one car approaching very fast from behind. Mind you when you are 65 in a 55 year old car doing 45, everything around you is fast! Four Eddie Stobbart trucks, one caravan and a car heading South, so clearly the M6 is going to have congestion problems soon. “Gosh, “ said Linda, “the motorway is busy this morning!”.

There is not a cloud in the late summer sky. Certainly the best day of September, and arguably one of the best days of our Cumbrian summer. Helen’s day of prayer yesterday obviously worked a treat. Gretna at 10.20 and we were the first in the car park. A few minutes later, Helen and Nigel arrived, minus Geoffrey (working on his car)……. Followed by Kool Kenton in his Speedo’s……and the entire Lindsay family, sadly minus Barry (also working on his car)……… Rossi minus Christine who was checking out the last of the 100 overnight guests from Surrone House……and finally Clive, who added an amazing “Italian Job” presence with his immaculate and original left hand drive Alfa.

I’m not quite sure why, but Linda and I were chosen to lead away the “Run to the Sea”. Perhaps it was because the following pack wanted to chill on the wafts of Castrol R40 from the Froggie. Helen’s comprehensive road book had the reassuring comment that if you get lost please call her! I don’t think we had mobile reception for more than 300 yards after our Gretna start during the entire journey! We cruised through Rigg, Eastriggs, Annan, Cummertrees, and Bankend and eventually arrived in Glencaple, and our half way halt at the tea room on the harbour. I say harbour, as there was a derelict boat berthed, and apparently being used as a 365 day holiday home by seaside squatters!



Continue reading

“Sorry George.”

By David Love

Health and Safety policies now affect all aspects of our lives and are very contentious. What makes perfect sense to one person can seem senseless to another. Rallying is receiving a lot of Health and Safety attention at the moment; some would say an excess of attention. Not all policies being implemented are interpreted the same, instructions given on the Scottish Rally stated that no spectators were allowed to enter the stage through the Start or Finish at all. Yet on a previous rally the MSA Safety Delegate said no one to enter after he had passed. The Delegate’s comment made sense to me as within 10 minutes of his passing the first fast car should be on the stage but stopping a seasoned enthusiast 30 minutes before cars are due is overkill. I know we are in a transitional period but the MSA should be producing a clear and concise guide for organisers so that there is a constant standard for all rallies and enthusiasts will not be confused by different rules at each rally.

One new safety regulation is quite clear and that is the mandatory use of F.I.A. approved Frontal Head Restraints from 1st January 2016. I know a lot of competitors will not be happy about this ruling, mainly due to the extra cost, but it is a proven device that can help avoid serious injury. In America, NASCAR made HANS devices compulsory after the death of 7 times Champion Dale Earnhardt when, after extensive investigation, it was concluded that wearing it could have prevented the brain damage that killed him. He had refused to wear a HANS device. Which brings me to George’s comment in the Chairman’s Thoughts in last month’s newsletter. He considers that it should be left to the competitor to decide whether to use them or not, this is when I have to say sorry George I disagree. Most competitors compete to win, whether it is for overall, class or just personal victory, to do that they feel that they need the fastest, best handling car their money can buy. An FRH will not make the car go faster or make them a better driver and as they don’t intend to crash, it is very low on the list of priorities. That’s very understandable as it is very expensive to compete but a brain injury carries a high cost also, not in monetary terms but the emotional cost suffered by their loved ones and family.

I say to competitors, is it not worth a few hundred pounds to safeguard your future and your family’s emotional security?

Small Wonders

By David Love

No, I’m not going to write about people like our Newsletter Editor although I will say that Helen does a marvellous job with the limited contributions she receives I’m sure her compact dimensions have nothing to do with it.

I have long had a fascination and appreciation for small detailed creations especially if it’s a small-scale replica of a full sized item. I’ve even found myself looking at Lillyput Lane pottery houses but the less said about that the better. It probably all stems from when I was a young child and discovered Matchbox toys, younger members Google it. I thought it was great that you could hold a car or even a lorry in your hand. Of course as I got older I turned to Airfix kits, most of which were aircraft but there were a few cars in their range and amazingly some are still current models. They include E Type, Triumph TR4A, Triumph Herald and 4½ litre Bentley. I did assemble a few aircraft kits but only so I could set fire to them to watch them crash and burn in the dark. Health and Safety warning, don’t try this at home kids, melting Airfix kits and skin cause tears if they come into contact with each other.

Pilot 1 After watching films such as Duel and Convoy and selling Foden trucks for a year or two I moved on to building plastic 1/24th scale American truck kits. British and European trucks just weren’t available at that time. The problem with plastic kits is that once built they are quite fragile and bits drop off when you touch them. They were also long, a tractor unit and trailer were nearly 2 foot long. I needed something stronger and smaller so in the late 70s, the 1970s that is, not my 70s, I discovered white metal kits from Grand Prix Models (GPM). Despite their name they also produced kits of rally cars in 1/43 scale with the Eaton Yale Mkll being one of their first kits. Some of the early castings were a bit rough and lacking in detail but they could be filed, sanded with wet and dry and sprayed with car paint aerosols. If you used car paint on plastic it had a tendency to melt. GPM also sold kits by other manufacturers, mostly Continental, but the only way to find out about them was to take out a paid subscription for GPM’s monthly newsletter which mainly consisted of low resolution black & white photos of the built version of kits they were selling. It was difficult to get a clear idea of how accurate the kit was until you’d parted with your money and the kit arrived in the post. Some of the kits were poor quality but once you paid your money you were stuck with them. Continue reading

“The Death of Forest Rallying!”

By David Love

Maybe I’m being a little melodramatic or alarmist as it hasn’t happened yet but the death of forest rallying might be closer than we think. We have to accept that rallying, as we have known it, is now dead. Due to the deaths on last years Jim Clark big changes are coming our way and we have to accept them. You only have to read the open letter that Rob Jones, Chief Executive of the MSA published after the Wyedean to realise the future of forest stage rallying is in the balance.

At our recent Awards Night, guest speaker, Mike Faulkner expressed his concern over how rallying would change with the safety initiatives that are starting to be implemented by the MSA. As we all know the Scottish Government have investigated and reviewed rally safety, they have made recommendations, some of which have already been implemented on Scottish rallies and they will soon be coming to the rest of the country. The MSA is also coming under Health and Safety pressure from the Forestry Commission who themselves are reviewing and implementing improvements in the safety of their own industry. Rallying is probably safer now than 20 years ago but with the explosion in social media even the smallest misdemeanour is broadcast to thousands of people and is sometimes blown out of proportion. Society has changed with the advent of Ambulance Chasers, sorry, Accident Claims Lawyers so that common sense and taking responsibility for your own actions have flown out of the window. You and I know it’s going to hurt if we stick our hand into a roaring coal fire but there is a section of society that would do it and then sue the owner because there wasn’t a fireguard. Therefore rallying must also change! Continue reading