The Nitto 3K people have scheduled a meeting at Bira this weekend. As always with this promoter there will be many classes competing, including the Retro Cars, in which my BBX/Acorn Gastropub Mk1 Ford Escort competes. Main event is for the Isuzu pick-ups.
The Bira Circuit is on Highway 36 about three km past the Regent’s School, heading towards Sattahip.
We will be having our hospitality tent there and you are invited to join us for hamburgers and hot dogs by saying the magic words “Saw it in the Pattaya Mail!” To find the hospitality tent you have to come in the back entrance to the circuit, which is about 50 meters before the main entrance when coming from Sattahip. Go through the tunnel and then turn immediately right and go up the hill 20 meters and you will see the red gazebo.
A regular reader, Kevin Maguire contacted me with the following:
Seeing the picture of the lovely little Jowett Jupiter in this week’s Autotrivia quiz made me think a little.
You will, I am sure, know that Jowett Cars started life in the town of Bradford, before moving, still in the environs of Bradford, to Idle (the home of the ‘famous’ Idle Working Men’s Club). But did you know that Jowett also built the very first few Scott motorcycles. This year is in fact the 100th anniversary of the move of the Scott factory to Shipley. The two stroke, water cooled twin was a lovely thing to ride (although I did learn a salutary lesson once, when after leaving town and getting on the open road, I had forgotten to open up the Pilgrim oil pump and had the engine ‘nip’ under me!).
Panther Motorcycle and sidecar.
Not many miles away on the other side of Bradford, Cleckheaton, was the home of another well known motorcycle manufacturer Phelon & Moore, who built the Panther (no - nothing to do with Bob Jankel’s Panther Cars). Panther motorcycles were built from 1904 until 1967, the most famous models being based around the big single cylinder ‘Sloper’ engines ranging from 500cc up to 654cc. I well remember a hot Summer’s day, shirt off, as a 16 year old, full of bravado, persuading a friend to let me have a ‘go’ on his Panther outfit. This sadly ended up with me, who had never handled a motorcycle combination before, let alone a heavy Panther, coupled to a double adult Busmar sidecar, put the thing into a ditch, which just happened to be full of stinging nettles! Ouch!
Thanks Kevin. It is a wonder we all lived through our early motoring/motorcycling years!
Kia’s first hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle will begin production in 2015, starting with a small run of around 1,000 units, in line with the present lack of refueling infrastructure, according to an engineer.
The carmaker is developing a portfolio of electrically powered vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric models, but sees hydrogen fuel cells as its eventual goal, with mass production expected to begin in 2020 once the refueling infrastructure has expanded.
The Hydrogen fuel cell technology is being shared with Hyundai, which recently began series production of 1,000 ix35 FCEVs now being leased to fleets across Europe.
Kia is also preparing to launch its first electric vehicle sold outside Korea. The Soul EV will go on sale globally in the second half of 2014 and a version is being developed for European customers.
This offers a LEAF-rivalling 109 bhp and a range of over 180 km on a single charge, but will be available with either a new Combined Charging Standard plug in Europe, or CHAdeMo plug for Asian markets, allowing a full charge in 25 minutes.
Volumes are expected to be very small as Kia investigates demand. Just 30 Soul EVs will be brought to the UK at the end of next year, and Kia has yet to decide whether it will offer a leasing option for the batteries in the UK.
‘Gadget overload’ is making driving riskier, says new research from Zurich Insurance. Motor manufacturers may have made cars safer, but more than four out of five UK motorists say distractions from gadgets including Sat Navs, iPods, mobile phones and DVD players is now making driving riskier.
Nearly half of the motorists admitted to being distracted by phone calls and texts while driving, with 22 percent checking social media accounts behind the wheel.
The research also found that a rise in the number of cyclists on Britain’s roads is contributing to drivers feeling at risk, with almost a third of motorists blaming them as the number one distraction ‘outside of their control.’ (They would have a nervous breakdown dealing with our motorcycle maniacs!)
The top 10 road risks today versus 10 years ago:
1. More people using mobile phones (68%)
2. More cars on road (67%)
3. More reckless drivers (61%)
4. More urgency to get to destination (44%)
5. More people using sat navs (39%)
6. The number of vans/lorries on the road (30%)
7. More speed cameras (29%)
8. More cyclists (29%)
9. More signs on the road (27%)
10. More motorcyclists on the road (16%)
The Nismo version of Nissan’s GT-R supercar with 441 kW and 652 Nm is coming with a revised 3.8 liter twin-turbo V6 (up from 404 kW/628 Nm).
The Nismo GT-R’s uprated performance comes through the use of new high-flow, large-capacity turbochargers, as used in GT3 racing, while optimized individual ignition timing control for each cylinder and an upgraded fuel pump are said to improve combustion.
There are many changes for 2014, so Adrian Newey will have to really sharpen his pencil.
The 2014 season will see the introduction of a new engine formula, with the return of turbocharged engines for the first time since 1988. The new engines will be a 1.6 litre V6 format with an 8-speed semi automatic gearbox. The rules dictate the use of a ninety-degree engine bank, with fixed crankshaft axis and mounting points for the chassis, while the engines will be limited to 15,000 rpm. Individual engine units under the 2014 specifications must last for at least 4,000 km before being replaced, in comparison to the pre-2014 engines, which were required to last for just 2,000 km.
The Kinetic Energy Recovery System (known from 2009 to 2013 as KERS, and renamed from 2014 as ERS-K) will be incorporated into the design of the engine and its usage increased; its function as a supplementary power source will be taken by the introduction of the heat-based Energy Recovery System (ERS). The ERS unit captures waste heat as it is dispelled from the exhaust turbocharger, using an electrical device known as a Heat Motor Generator Unit. This waste heat is stored as an electrical charge until it is utilized by a complementary system called the Kinetic Motor Generator Unit. This device is connected directly to the drive train to deliver the additional power in the most direct and efficient way. In combination with the ERS-K it will give drivers an additional 161 bhp (120 kW) for thirty-three seconds per lap, compared to the KERS units used prior to 2014, which gave drivers 80 bhp (60 kW) for six seconds per lap.
Teams will be able to use electronic braking devices to manage the braking of the rear wheels as the increased power output of the ERS-K units will make regulating the brake bias much harder than previously.
Drivers will only be able to use five engines over the course of a season in 2014, down from eight in 2013. Drivers who use a sixth engine will start the race from pit lane, as opposed to the ten-place grid penalty handed down for going over the engine quota in previous season. In the event that individual elements of the engine unit - including the turbocharger, ERS unit or KERS battery - are replaced, drivers will incur a ten-place grid penalty.
The pit lane speed limit will be reduced from 100 km/h to 80 km/h.
There are other changes, but mainly relate to the bodywork and exhaust placement.
The Pattaya car club meets at Jameson’s Irish Pub on Soi AR next to Nova Park. The next meeting is on Monday December 9 at Jameson’s at 7 p.m. A totally informal meeting of like-minded souls to discuss their pet motoring (and motorcycling) loves and hates (plus lies and outright exaggerations). Come along and meet the guys who have a common interest in cars and bikes, and enjoy the Jameson’s specials, washed down with a few beers. A couple of the members were scrutineers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, so they may have some scuttlebutt about the F1 scene. Always a fun night. Be prepared to laugh a lot at some of the antics of the members (when they were younger)! The Car Club nights are always on the second Monday of the month (not every second Monday)!
Last week I mentioned that a Dame of the British Empire was a great competitor in V8 Fords, lived to be 90 and was involved with the world’s first enclosed motor track. I asked who was she? It was Dame Ethel Locke King who developed Brooklands after her husband died.
So to this week. What is the connection between the Bugatti Atlantic and the Lunar Roving Vehicle? And I mean construction, not the fact that men rode in them.
We had Bird Flu and apparently sporadic cases are still coming to light in Cambodia and Vietnam. With Bird Flu on the rise again in Cambodia, will it fly across the Mekong and infect Thailand? Of course it will, and probably has done already. But since the world statistics from Bird Flu (A/H5N1) has only been 564 cases over eight years, you are more likely to be run over on the road (especially during Songkran).
However, there is another “chicken” disease, Chicken pox! Actually, chicken pox (AKA Varicella) is not really caused by chickens, nor even carried by them. Chicken pox is a common disease caused by the varicella zoster virus which is a member of the herpes virus family. It is very contagious and all communities experience epidemics.
A few years back there was a real outbreak in Thailand, with 22,833 patients with the complaint between January and May. This nasty condition never actually leaves the community, lying quiet for a while and then attacking in epidemic proportions. Make no mistake about this one, it is a most aggressive disease that sweeps through schools and institutions and while generally a disease of children, it can attack adults too with devastating results.
The varicella zoster virus is known for the characteristic chickenpox lesions. These come out very quickly after an initial period of vague symptoms such as fever and aches in muscles and joints. The lesions (vesicles) are very superficial on the skin and grow like a mini-Vesuvius, burst and then crust over. That cycle of events takes around four days, but new crops of vesicles come up in waves in the first three or four days, so you can have some vesicles growing bigger while earlier ones are drying up and crusting over.
The vesicles generally come out on the trunk and face first, but can spread to all over the body and even inside the mouth and on the tongue. Now while scarring is always a worry for the Mums of this world, there are far worse effects from this little virus. There is a distinct possibility of an encephalitis in older children and adults can actually develop a varicella pneumonia. Pregnant women who get chickenpox also run the risk of infecting the unborn child, and this can run as high as 10 percent. Very often, especially if the child scratches the lesions, there can be an added infection by an opportunistic bacterium on top of the viral lesions, so you get a double problem.
So what do you do when chickenpox is doing the rounds? The first thing is to keep away from those who have the disease. It is highly contagious and is spread by inhalation of micro droplets in the air, or by direct contact with weeping vesicles. In a family, this means that little Johnny gets his own towel that no-one else must use and a bed-time kiss is strictly forbidden.
Calomine lotion does help with itchy and weeping vesicles and trim the fingernails in young children to lessen the chances of scratching. With very little ones, I even suggest putting their hands in socks, just as you do with little babies.
If the temperature is raised (more than 37.5 Celsius) then a little paracetamol will help (but not aspirin as this drug should not be used with children), and if there is the “super-infection” by a bacterium it will be necessary for your doctor to prescribe an appropriate antibiotic.
The other important duty that you have as a parent, is do not send little Johnny back to school until the very last vesicle has dried up. This is generally around a week to ten days, but is so important in trying to stop the epidemic.
The other nasty part of this virus is that it lies dormant in your system and can strike back many years later as Shingles, or as we medico’s call it, Herpes Zoster. No, chickenpox is not fun, and to those of you who are struggling with it right now, you have my sympathies.
However, we do have a varicella vaccine these days, and vaccination is recommended from about 12 months of age. Like all vaccination programs, this will radically reduce the impact of epidemics.
The Automotive Focus Group (AFG) celebrated their events year with an address by noted columnist Voranai Vanijaka, one of the most straightforward and straight talking media persons in this country. This was given at the Amari Ocean Tower.