Ashton’s President’s Prattle for March, 2024

President's Prattle March 2024

Welcome to Autumn everyone! I was rather rudely reminded that it’s that time of the year a few days ago, as if I wasn’t keeping up. Which I wasn’t.

This month you just have me I’m afraid, as time caught up with both Tom and I. Normal proceedings should recommence next month.

The last month has slipped by in a blur of helping my friend Matt Bryson get his and another car ready to ship to the 2024 Peking to Paris rally. Matt’s car is the P76, the other is a Merc 250, and four weeks ago, neither was in good shape!

I’m pleased to report that as of last night, the Merc is wheels-up, and the P76 has an engine and gearbox back in. The diff will go in today, and then the wheels go back on so that it can at least go on the boat. Matt may be doing some final fettling in the car park in Beijing! They have to go in the container on Monday (11th).

Peking to Paris

Via Hero Era Rallies Peking to Paris

On the subject of which, I was checking the Hero website to confirm the dates for this year’s rally (as I will possibly be in Europe when they finish), and who should pop up on the front page? None other than Gidget, Giles and I making progress in northern Europe somewhere.

So that has rather distracted me from my own cars, but not enough to prevent me from popping down to the garage one evening to glue the mounting tabs back on the lenses of the Elise’s reversing and fog lights. Apparently these are already unicorn items, despite being a parts-bin item from Hella.

Anyway, once the glue was setting, I had to of course just check the fluids and make sure all was well in the Elan and Elite, and who knew, I could spend two hours pottering around down there! Here’s the evidence in case you need reminding.

I did also manage to find and fit the chrome strip on the front of the Elan, which I hadn’t noticed was missing since I bought the car (I only realised when checking out Dan Bando’s pretty new acquisition, which I will leave him to tell you about in due course perhaps).

Those of you who have registered your interest in the progress of the re-commissioning of Wakefield Park (or One Raceway as it is now known apparently) may have received the teaser correspondence ahead of the planned reopening in June.

I have to admit, I am quietly excited to hear this, and am much looking forward to having the circuit back in operation. I have missed those weekend trips to Goulburn, and may even have to get the Elite race-ready again if we are going to have some fun back there – I have personally not enjoyed the monotony of Eastern Creek in its various forms, hence (well, one of the reasons) for not being terribly active of late.

In other thought-provoking news, there has been an interesting twist in future of the electric car movement, with 2023 apparently appearing as “peak EV” year, and sales of new EVs falling off a cliff in certain markets since. It’s hard to determine the cause (or, more likely, combination of causes) but the corresponding news that Toyota and Honda are both investing in hydrogen technology rather than batteries has me far more excited. To be a bit brutally honest for a moment, I am rather over the whole woke movement, and in particular the virtue signalling of certain sectors of the community. The technology-first approach is much more aligned to my personal interest in the future of the motor car!

And I notice that even Goodwood has gone a bit quiet about the whole EV scene, preferring to support renewable fuel approaches, particularly for (obviously enough) the existing ICE cars competing there.

So have we seen a tipping point? Discuss.

And on that bombshell, as a certain well known presenter might say, I will leave you pondering, and wish you a fantastic autumnal month, with, I hope, some dry weather to enjoy your cars.

Keep it safe, upright and mostly on the blackstuff.

Pip pip,

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