Cars V Trains: An initial sunset drive has left the car with wounds to lick.

What a fabulous invention the car is: I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Britcar this weekend and jumping in VX02 on the scorching hot day Saturday turned out to be, it wasn’t more than two or three minutes before the air con had me cooled down, music set just so and on our way.

Coming out of BRMB’s car park, I was immediately confronted by Birmingham’s finest drunks. Why is it that a splash of hot weather in the UK immediately means shorts, BBQs and drunkenness? I’m not complaining, I’m all for a bit of sun, but when a mentalist runs in front of your car wearing a multi-coloured wig, chanting all sorts of profanities, I cannot stress how comforting the clunk, hearing your car doors lock is.

Had I been walking down the road, I don’t think I’d have made it home without getting my head kicked in.

Other drivers around Birmingham must have been on the loopy juice too. Getting to the motorway from the heart of Birmingham takes only 15 minutes, yet in that short journey, I encountered someone play chicken with oncoming traffic and narrowly miss a pedestrian crossing the road, then a bus driver rave a devil hand symbol out the window at me, 3 people go through a red light and someone cruising at 20mph in a 50mph zone heading onto the motorway. Through all of it, however, I felt safe, thanks to the steel box that was carrying me in complete comfort.

On the motorway, more advantages to the car become apparent. I truly believe that one of the most beautiful ways to watch the sunset is through the windscreen of a car. The car is the one mode of transport that can enable you to see such beautiful sights and then stop and admire them or turn towards them to go and touch them. A train follows its own path and the plane, although can take you vast distances and offers a completely unique view, doesn’t offer you intimacy a car can. Especially with a good album on. Try White Light, by Groove Armada – just watch your speed when Time and Space  comes on


Cruising down the M1, watching the sun slither away and people’s lights come on, we hit a landmark moment for VX02. It cruised past the 70,000 mark…

Why is it that clicking past the next 10k miles on a car is such a big deal? It’s like we always put an exact amount of fuel in our cars (or try to anyway) to the nearest pound. Its just one of those things only driving and owning cars let you experience. 70,001 now…


One of the things I’m not keen on however is Sat Navs. They are wonderful pieces of technology, but they are completely reliant on the internet. If you haven’t updated the maps, or you’ve got no signal, you’ve had it. It separates you from the experience too; you don’t read the local signs, the road or get the feeling of the unknown. Should you put the wrong destination in, however, You’ve had it.
So arriving in Silverstone Village, as muggings did here, I took to the local signs, indicating I wasn’t far off. VX02, however, had a problem.

Pulling over, I noticed the tick over was lumpy at best, struggling to keep itself above 500rpm. Sounding like an old F1 car, with the lovely blap blap blap tick over the old advanced cams gave, Rockafella (Yes, my car does have a name) made it to circuit – and entered into a world of problems.

As I had to meet my good friend, Ian Cook, the famous artist who paints with radio controlled cars, and get my ticket from him, which involved parking up. Not a problem usually, however VX02 was clearly in a bad state. Trying to follow him in resulted in nothing more than a WA-TA-TA-TA-TA-TA-TA-TA sound of an engine not firing.
After cranking it for about 30 seconds, he (yes it’s a he!) started coughing into life, eventually starting – just – after a little persuasion from a prod on the accelerator pedal. Parking up for the night, I left VX02 in the car park to rest… maybe, hopefully, it will start again in the morning.

That is one disadvantage to the car – if it breaks down, you’re stuck, wherever that maybe. Trains on the other hand have other services available; it’s just a matter of changing platforms.

But then again, ‘Train Racing’ doesn’t exist, whereas motor racing does. Time to find a good spot, wrap up warm, enjoy Britcar and have a beer. After all, it’s not like I can go anywhere soon is it?

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