A Lasting Impression

It has been three days since the closing ceremony of the World Gliding Championships in Uvalde. I am now settling in at home, nearly 2,000 miles away from Garner Field. I think it is safe to say the same for those of you who were at the WGC. And if you’re still trekking home, I wish you safe travels, safe gliders, safe trailers, etc. Updating here now feels a bit like walking around the airfield after everyone has packed up their gliders and are setting off with their trailers in tow. A bit of a sad feeling maybe, but this never lasts too long really – there are only two more years until next time…

Words About The Worlds

 Four days ago I was leaving Uvalde for Orlando via San Antonio. It was raining for the first time in a long time in Uvalde and everybody participating at the WGC was nicely dressed and ready for the closing ceremony and airshow. Although it was the same noisy and happy crowd as always, for the first time we were all kind of silent and saying good bye in lower voices. I hugged some (the ones I could spot) of my old and new friends and left for the SA airport. Everybody was crowded under the 2 tents as it was still raining. About 8 hours later I was in Orlando looking at my computer and seeing pictures of the champions and ceremony. It was wonderful to see such a beautiful end to this great WGC edition. Since I’ve been back I am only telling and re-telling the stories from Uvalde. And this got me to realize what a great experience this has been and how many wonderful people I’ve met and worked with.

Closing Thoughts

Congratulations to everyone for a great competition. Thank you especially to the many volunteers that have made this event possible. It has been my greatest pleasure to be a part of the large team that has done such a wonderful job. Most of us, maybe all of us, had no idea what we were getting into. In spite of that, you volunteers have all done a terrific job and have made me proud to be a part of the team. Thank you.

A special thank you to John Good, our Deputy Director. John and I worked together closely as a team throughout the competition and John was responsible for tasking.

Thanks to our chief steward Dick Bradley for all your help. Dick came last year as well and helped me tremendously this year by providing sage advice on many matters.

Al Tyler has already sung the praises of the Uvalde town people, but I can’t close without saying that this is absolutely the most soaring-friendly town I have ever known.

Now for some interesting statistics: I believe that the winning scores of this championships are more points than have ever been earned at a glider competition. The second highest scores were earned here at Uvalde in 1991. You pilots flew 13 competition days. Many of you also flew 7 official practice days. Some of you started flying here well before that. About halfway through the competition I mentioned that the total km flown took us the distance from the earth to the moon. You’ll be glad to know that we didn’t leave you hanging out there in low earth orbit. The total distance flown including the official practice period was almost 800,000 km, more than the distance to the moon and back.

Thank you for coming. Maybe, we’ll see some of you back here in less than another 20 years.

Ken Sorenson – Championship Director

Automotive Websites By Race Media

Please find below a selection of our latest automotive forums all going live this year

Renault Kadjar Forum

Buoyed by the success of Captur, Renault is continuing its offensive in the world of crossovers with the launch of Kadjar, the brand’s first C-segment crossover. In a fast-growing and extremely popular area of the market, Kadjar will boost Renault’s ambitions on the international stage, as it is due to go on sale initially in Europe and in many African and Mediterranean Basin countries, followed by China. This sibling to Captur shakes up established thinking by bringing an innovative and attractive proposition to the crossover market. The Renault Kadjar stands out through its fluid, athletic exterior styling. Meanwhile, its interior is both sporty and refined, courtesy of the quality of the materials employed and the attention that has gone into its finish. Available with either four- or two-wheel-drive transmission, the Renault Kadjar encourages adventure while at the same time delivering easy manoeuvrability in town thanks to its compact footprint (4.45 metres long x 1.84 metres wide). Furnished with high-quality interior appointments and modern equipment, the Renault Kadjar offers advanced connectivity with the R-Link 2® multimedia system, along with a relaxed experience behind the wheel, courtesy of the latest driving aids. The Renault Kadjar also benefits from a range of particularly efficient engines which position it at the forefront of the segment in terms of low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The Renault Kadjar will be unveiled to the public at the 85th Geneva Motor Show which opens to the public on 5th March 2015. It will go on sale in the summer in both Europe and a high number of countries in Africa and the Mediterranean Basin region and is scheduled to appear in RHD form in the UK in the Autumn, our local Nottingham dealer maintains that an autumn showing is expected for the kadjar. Read More at our kadjar forums

BMW M2 Forum

The follow-up to the (sadly discontinued) mad, bad and most definitely delicious 1M Coupe couldn’t come a moment too soon for those who love a compact BMW developed by the M Division.

Prototypes of the 2-Series Coupe-based M2 have been caught both on track and the road for quite some time now. Today, though, BMW forum 2addicts revealed a US market built sheet showing that the M2 Coupe will enter production in November.

Expected to be unveiled as a thinly veiled concept at the Geneva Show in March and in production guise in Frankfurt in autumn, the M2 will be powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line six.

Mind you, this won’t be a detuned version of the new S55 engine that powers the M3/M4 but an improved version of the N55 straight-six from the M235i. Although power will be up, it will probably be kept in the 365-375hp (370-380PS) range to avoid stepping on big brother’s M4 toes.

Expect the M2 to come with all the mechanical, bodywork and interior M Division bells and whistles. Thankfully, BMW hasn’t ditched the manual transmission in its M models, so a six-speeder manual will most likely be standard and the seven-speed dual-clutch DCT an option.

Vauxhall Viva Forum

The new Vauxhall Viva city car will make its first public appearance at the Geneva motor show in March, Vauxhall has confirmed.

The new model will sit below the Vauxhall Adam and new Vauxhall Corsa in the British brand’s line-up, with prices starting from around £7,000.

The Vauxhall Viva name first appeared on a small saloon car in the sixties. It sold more than 1.5 million units worldwide, before it was discontinued in 1979. However, the new model has no link to the original (apart from the name) and should rival cars like the Skoda Citigo, Hyundai i10 and new Toyota Aygo.

The five-door city car will get the option of four or five seats and will be based on the next-generation Chevrolet Spark. It has been designed by a British-led team, but will be built in South Korea.

New Vauxhall Viva price & release date

Although prices are unconfirmed, we expect the new Vauxhall Viva to be priced from just over £7,000. That means it should cost around £1,500 less than a basic Volkswagen up! and Hyundai i10, despite having five doors and a reasonable-sized boot. It’ll go on sale next spring.

New Vauxhall Viva design & specs

The car will get a similar look to the Vauxhall Adam and new Vauxhall Corsa. Although it’ll be cheaper to buy, it inherits the Corsa’s swept-back headlights and Vauxhall’s new-look grille.

Vauxhall claims that, like its biggest rivals, the Viva will have more than enough space for five people inside. The Viva’s wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) is 100mm longer than that of the Peugeot 108, allowing extra rear legroom. It is 3.7m long, making it fractionally longer than a Fiat 500 hatchback.  Read more on our Vauxhall Viva Forum

Mercedes GLC Forum

Mercedes-Benz’s second-generation GLC SUV will be launched in the UK in the middle of next year and will come in a right-hand-drive configuration for the first time, highly placed company sources have confirmed. Find out more as it breaks on our GLC Forum

Surprisingly, yes. It comes with three engines, plus a GLA45 AMG which we’ll deal with separately. The diesels are both 2.1 litres, and make 136bhp in the GLA 200CDI and 170bhp in the GLA 220CDI. The petrol GLA250 is a two-litre turbo of 211bhp. The low-power diesel is FWD only, but the other two come with 4WD as standard. The suspension is softish and the tyres not too road-aggressive, and there are capable and well-calibrated electronic grip aids and a downhill stability system that keeps you well in check. So you get surprisingly decent traction. And the ground clearance is good, plus the front and rear aprons don’t foul the ground. All in, I tacked tackled some reasonably rugged tracks and it did better than I’d expected.

Caravan & Motorhome Buyers

Glen Campbell Director of Preston Caravans and Motorhomes, comments, “It was a huge relief when the caravan was found and back at the dealership within five hours. If it wasn’t for the TRACKER unit, that caravan could have been lost for good. This incident has underlined the value of TRACKER’s SVR technology and we’d recommend it to all of our customers, as a security solution that increases the chance of police recovering a stolen caravan.”

Andy Barrs Police Liaison Officer for TRACKER adds, “TRACKER is the only SVR product that is used by the UK’s police forces and once again, this has proved valuable to helping police locate and return a stolen vehicle. This case highlights the value of TRACKER for dealerships, such as Preston Caravan and Motorhomes. Having a TRACKER unit fitted to valuable stock could be the difference between a vehicle being found and returned or taken by organised criminals and never seen again. TRACKER’s award winning technology stops thieves in their tracks, protecting dealers and their customers, if their vehicle is stolen.”

Unlike other devices, TRACKER’s unique technology can locate stolen vehicles anywhere, even when they are hidden in a garage or shipping container. TRACKER stolen vehicle recovery systems work like an electronic homing device. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle. There is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t even know it’s there.

Fiat 124 Spider Arriving In 2016

As part of the joint venture agreement with Mazda, both the Fiat 124 Spider and the Mazda MX-5 are to be made at Mazda’s factory in Hiroshima, Japan. According to our source, the agreement between Fiat and Mazda is that the MX-5 will launch first and take centre stage in 2015, with Fiat’s alternative offering coming 12 months in 2016.

Vauxhall Astra K Arriving Summer 2015

In the increasingly competitive segment of the compact hatchback, the 2015 Opel Astra K is the newest kid on the block, and it’s got the makings of a winner. Though it was slated to debut in September at the IAA 2015, a motoring publication from Italy jumped the embargoed information and published semi-official information of the all-new Opel Astra K prior to the unveiling event.

Opel responded to the leakage with an official release and photographs of the 2015 Astra, and boy you’re in for a plethora of goodies. First of all, the new model is based on the GM D2UX/D2XX platform that underpins the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze and Volt plug-in hybrid. The German manufacturer tells that the lightweight vehicle architecture ensures weight savings of 120 to 200 kg (264 – 441 lbs) depending on the model and trim level.

Audi Q2 Forum & Blog

So far only a concept version has been revealed to the public (Crossland concept shown above). The production model is set to be toned down slightly, featuring more usual alloy wheel sizes and less dramatic components and trimmings.

The design is likely to mimic the themes seen on the latest Q7 SUV and new A4, with a large front grille, sophisticated headlights, and defined panel contours. It will probably come with black or silver lower trimmings and wheel arches as well to give it that rough and ready look.

Underneath, the Q2 is set to use a modified version of Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform which originally debuted on the Audi A3 and then the Mk7 Golf. It’s understood the platform will be shortened to provide petite exterior proportions.

Powertrain options are expected to comprise of mostly front-wheel drive arrangements with quattro all-wheel drive only for the top variants, with power coming from turbo-diesel and turbo-petrol engines. There is also talk of TDI ‘SQ2’ and TFSI ‘RS Q2’ variants, offering around 170kW and 220kW, respectively.

Citroen Forums

Cool Citroen Cactus convertible concept car has a 3cyl 1.2-litre engine and 6-speed auto gearbox

The C4 Cactus is quickly becoming the face of Citroen. It’s proven more popular in the UK than the company predicted, and the crossover’s success will shape the future of the Citroen product range. The Aircross concept, unveiled at April’s Shanghai Motor Show, previews a larger and more practical SUV on the horizon, but the versatility of the Cactus has allowed the brand to delve into its heritage as well.

The Cactus M concept is a tribute to the classic Citroen Meharifrom the sixties, and Auto Express was lucky enough to be handed the keys. Only one, priceless example was built, so the car you see here on the coast just outside Lisbon in Portugal is the same one that appeared under the lights at September’