Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weather in France

Not much here for the casual reader, I'm afraid. This page was constructed mainly for the use of members of the Mad Dog Rally team so they could get an instant take of the weather at a number os strategic points on the route of the imminent 16ème Rallye Monte Carlo Historique. Members of Team GB, a motley collection of seven cars (which includes Bill Richards and me) are also most welcome to browse around here. Clicking on a specific town will link to the French Meterological Office ("Meteo") and the four day forecast will pop up. I'll post something of more general interest soon...

Antraigues sur Volane
La Bollène-Vésubie
La Chapelle-En-Vercors

Friday, January 18, 2013

Shedding Some Light on the Matter: An Illuminating Evolution

When I first started rallying at the beginning of the new millennium, the Mini was fitted with two, period correct, 7" Lucas Flamethrower spotlights. These very quickly revealed themselves to be little better then useless when the going got tough and the term "candlepower" was never more apt. Subsequently I added two more Lucas 5 1/2" fog lights which also proved to be minimally effective. I then had the Flamethrowers (an optimistic term if ever there was one) rebuilt with modern reflectors and high output bulbs. In addition the Mini's headlights were replaced with quartz iodine units. This was a small improvement but we still weren't getting anywhere near enough light on the road, especially with Bill's (who was now in the pilot's seat) aggressive driving style on twisty mountain stages. So then we added a set of four classic 180cm Cibié Oscars. This was a lot better and night stages were becoming less scary. But the lighting evolution continued and for the subsequent rally we substituted the two center lamps for 220cm Super Oscars. Now I was beginning to feel that we were no longer outgunned by some of our competitors who seemed to have military-grade anti-aircraft searchlights bolted to their vehicles. But there is an old saying about the Monte, "You can never have enough light on the road". Too true! So for the 2013 event we have four 220cm Super Oscar spotlights with long distance beams and two 180cm Oscars with foglight reflectors to give us side scatter illumination which is particularly useful for 180° hairpins turns. Oddly we have never found a light which is any use in fog; maybe one year we'll fit radar for that...!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

That Time of Year Again

Well it appears to be that time of year again when we engage in ritual combat with Porsches, Alfa Romeos, Jaguars and other automotive iron on the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique. It's come around very fast. I'm now madly making pace notes and doing a million things before I fly out to to fettle and calibrate the car next week. This time the "off" is from Monte Carlo on Monday 28th January and finishes at the same place in the early hours of Saturday 2nd February. A good place to spectate is the Quai Albert, MC, at the start of the Turini night loop on the afternoon of Friday 1st February or a little later at the top of the Col de Turini itself. Please come and watch if you are anywhere near the south of France or come and say hello after the finish. I won't bore you with more details now as everything will get published in the motoring press anyway (thanks Jeff)but in the meantime here are a few nice action snaps of the MiniSpares-Mad Dog Rally Team on the 2012 event.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Musical Postcards: Hubert Laws

For some reason I didn't get around to posting this clip I captured last summer at Bake's Place in Bellevue, Washington. It features veteran flautist, Hubert Laws and members of his band joining up with the Lary Barilleau Latin Collective and taking off on a fantastic jam together. Rob Mullins dominates the piano in rare fashion. I can't remember when I last saw such a spontaneous and exciting session. Bravo!