120 go karting crazy in Grantham

August 28, 2019

The UK’s premier insurance themed endurance karting event Insurance Endurance took place this year on Tuesday June 25. And what a day it was!

There were thrills, spills, and more insurance industry networking than any right-minded person either could or would wish to shake a stick at. You can get a fleeting impression by watching our mercifully brief YouTub video of the event by clicking here.

While the various members of 15 eight-man teams (or thereabouts) took turns to tear round the 1382m ‘A Grade’ track for six solid hours in Soddy GT5 karts, whose 390cc engines endow them with the ability to attain speeds up to 60mph, team hosts had their unsuspecting guests (potential business partners and prospects) exactly where they wanted them… trackside in Grantham!

The eventual winners of a hotly-fought contest hotly fought out on the UK’s largest outdoor karting circuit were the misleadingly named Not Fast But Furious team fielded by Take That Car Hire Ltd. 

Hosts (and last year’s most unsporting winners) Team Bunkstain were hard on their heels, mind, finishing less than a minute behind Take That, with rescuemycar.com‘s wittily named team, Rescuemykart, coming in a very creditable third.

The team from resucemycarp.com also scooped the pit stop challenge by changing some tyres on a retired race car faster than anyone else. AND they recorded the fastest lap time (1:29:38) – twice! That’s a literally staggering average speed of 34.5mph – even with all those wiggly bends.

As well as being a great day out, Insurance Endurance also raised more than £500 for richly deserving charity The Insurance Charities. And it’s happening all over again next year, when the event returns to the Public Finance Initiative Kart Track on Thursday 18 June 2020.

Registration is already open. So be sure to book your team place soon or flirt with the desolation and misery of missing out. Visit www.insuranceendurance.co.uk for further deats. 


Beware of tiny creatures

August 27, 2019

Hit wild animal. That’s not a suggestion or an instruction. Because hitting wild animals can be dangerous, as Bankstone News has found out to its cost on more than one occasion.

No, ‘hit wild animal’ is the ‘scientific’ term for the kind of motor insurance claim that arises when someone drives into a wild creature of some kind, resulting in damage to their vehicle.

According to Alcoholics Anonymous Insurance (AA), there’s a lot of it about these days. Hit wild animal motor insurance claims, that is.

Obviously colliding with wildlife whilst driving can be tiresome for the humans involved. But spare a thought also for the wild animals getting hit.

Britain’s woodland creatures have a lot to put up with. There’s being crudely caricatured in human children’s fiction. There’s having to move 500m north each year to allow for climate change. There’s plague-level tick and flea infestations thanks for warmer winters. There’s being gassed, shot at, and chased by dogs, and having your home dug up. Then – on top of all that – the poor little varmints now face the most life-threateningly challenging road-crossing conditions ever recorded, since records began.

If AA are to be believed (and naturally we’re making no judgements here), the number of hit wild animal claims has risen by 15% in the past three years. The negative effects of these incidents – aside, clearly, from the likely demise of any wild animals so hit – include an average £2,300 worth of damage caused to the vehicles involved.

That’s all well and good, you’re probably thinking (perhaps a little callously), but ‘wild animal’ sounds a bit generic. Precisely which animals are we talking about (and/or running down)? Bankstone News couldn’t be gladder you asked that question. Because we’re just about to tell you.

According to AA’s somewhat confusing statistics (as reported by Claims Mag, from whom we pinched this story), badgers and foxes top the RTI (Roadkill Traffic Incident) tables, at 51% and 48% respectively.

We say confusing, because if you think that leaves just 1% left for all the other wild animals, you honestly couldn’t be wronger. Pheasants come in next with 38%. Then you’ve got squirrels, and hedgehogs and boars.

Cows and sheep also get a look in – although, in Bankstone News’ experience, wild cows and sheep are none too common these days.

By now you’re probably feeling a little anxious about extra-urban driving. Reassurance could well be what you need. Well, here it is! The Department for Transport (Dep4Tra) has apparently addressed growing concern over animal incidents by unveiling ‘a new road sign advising drivers to look out for smaller animals’. As far as we can tell from the write-up in Claims Mag, AA don’t say where this sign is, but hopefully it will be a big help.

But why, you may ask, is this sign warning only about small animals? Another excellent question! It seems to be because large animals are easier to see than small ones (unless, as once memorably explained in popular clerical reality show Father Ted, they are ‘far away’). The smallness and lesser visibility of small creatures by no means nullifies the threat they could pose to your bodywork. A well-fed adult squirrel struck mid-leap can punch a pretty hole in any standard civilian vehicle doing 90 down some sylvan byway.

As AA’s Janet Connor explains, ‘Britain is blessed to have a variety of wild and wonderful animals, but while most drivers will be on the lookout for larger animals like deer and badgers, smaller animals like rabbits, hedgehogs and squirrels can cause damage too.’

And, you know what, Readers, she’s probably right about that.


Brits neglect to shop around shock

August 24, 2019

Bankstone News was fascinated to read within the pages of noted industry journal Insurance Rage about some intriguing new research from comparison site GoCompario.

According to the aforementioned comparison site – a competitor of sites like Compare the Monkey Supermeerkat and Confusing.com – more than 40% of Brits (4.1 million of them, all told) meekly allow their motor insurance policies to roll over when renewal time comes around. A staggering 13% don’t even bother shopping around for better deals before meekly rolling over!

This failure to shop around – or to shop around sufficiently – the comparison site claims, costs affected customers £982m a year. Not each, obviously, but collectively. Because if they don’t shop around and switch insurer every twelve months, they’re likely to be paying the UK’s notorious Motor Insurance Loyalty Fee surcharge. So probably, it would be best if they shopped around, and shopped around plenty – possibly by using a trusted comparison site.

So, what excuses did these lazy motorists who don’t shop around enough come up with to justify their self-punishing indolence? They’re mostly pretty risible, Bankstone News doesn’t mind telling you. According to the comparison site who commissioned this disturbing research, their excuses break down as follows.

Improbably, 22% of them have clearly never heard of MILF and naively assume that their current insurer will continue offering them the most competitive premium.

Meanwhile, 21% brazenly admitted that they couldn’t be bothered to shop around because ‘switching is a lot of hassle’.

Tragically, 19% failed to shop around and switch insurer out of pathetic loyalty to their current insurer – the same insurer who’ll now be milking them like a good ‘un to make up for all the cut-price deals it’s knocking out to get new customers on board.

Ten percent didn’t have the confidence to change (sad!); another 10% couldn’t face the hassle of cancelling a monthly direct debit (also sad!), and 7% (very, very sad!) just found ‘the thought of switching insurer difficult’!

The moral of this story couldn’t be clearer. Loyalty is for losers. Everyone must switch insurer every year. Otherwise their current insurer will probably apply MILF and put their premiums up.

They can do this because, according to the comparison site’s research, only 37% of customers bother to check their new premium against what they paid last year.

Instead of putting premiums up, sneakier insurers will simply trim the cover offered for the same price or add in higher excesses until there’s no way they’ll ever have to pay a penny out. Again, it’s easy to get away with because only 20% of customers check for changes to their cover.

So probably the best thing to do is shop around and switch insurer every year. Did we mention that already?

 


Bankstone’s latest charity ordeal described in detail

August 21, 2019

It’s 9.30 on the morning of Saturday 6 July. Ten riders leave the Brickhouse headquarters of leading professional outsourced claims handling specialist Bulkstone Limited on child-sized motorcycles (monkey bikes). But why? Why are they doing this?

Their self-imposed mission, codenamed Munching Monkeys, is to spend the weekend touring places in Yorkshire where food is available for sale. In the process, they’ll be raising funds for life-saving as-featured-on-TV airborne charity endeavour Yorkshire Air Ambulance, or YAA as they’re mostly known these days.

Namely, they are Paul Nokes, Dave Nokes, Richard Sharman, Garry King, Richard Neve, Eddie Moule, Clay Moule, Steve Pepper, Brian Whitfield, and Blankstone MD Dixon Tyson. Accompanying them are outrider Chris Losetzsky on a grown-up Triumph Tiger, Jenny Jones heading the convoy in the YAA van, with Dixon’s daughter Iggy Tyson navigating, and Tim Plantec at the back in the mobile repair unit van.

Trouble strikes when Dave Nokes’ over-eager monkey tosses him off shortly after take-off. But soon the doughty pack is on its way again, and, not long after, pulling up at stop one (Squires café near Sherbert in Elmer), where YAA Jenny shakes her bucket for coins while Dave Nokes glues back on his wobbly wheel.

Heading North, round York, past the infamous Elvington Airfield and Chelsea home ground Stamford Bridge, they soon reach stop two: the High-Weight Man Café in Stockton-ont-Forest.

Scarcely pausing for breath, they press on resolutely through fave biker hangout Helms Deep marketplace, up through Farndale, along Blokey Ridge, across the moors to lofty Rosedale Heads, back down through ill-named Bell End to snatch a late lunch (first-class bacon sandwiches and exemplary chips) at Graze on the Greed near Rosedale Abbey (stop three).

Trouble strikes, however, when Richard Sharman’s bike declines to start and must be consigned to the back of the van. The nine press on. Miraculously, all survive the precipitous ascent of winding Rosedale Chimney, pose for pics, then putter off across Spaunton Moor, through Hutton le Hole, and back to Helms Deep.

Eschewing scenery for speed, the nine wend down from the moors at Sutton Bank, skirt Ripon and Harrogate, then take in the famous Balls of Menwith, to the day’s final stop: the Route 59 café near Bolton Abbey station, where our nine late-running bikers find solace in one last chance to stretch their weary legs and ease their straining sphincters.

Arriving back in sleepy Brickhouse, they eat and drink, then drift off into dreams, where, fortunately, we cannot follow them.

The following morning, with Clay Moule down with ‘tennis elbow’, the convoy, consequently down to eight, leaves Bighouse around nine, heading for the Yorkshire Dales.

Trouble strikes when Eddie Moule’s silencer falls off into the path of fellow riders somewhere twixt Keighley and Steeton. Happily, nobody hits it, and Eddie continues unsilenced. No-one can tell the difference. The eight all make it through to day-two first stop, Root 59 (again).

Day-two stop two, further up the A65, is Elaine’s Tea Room at Feizor, where Elaine herself, noneother, redirects all monies paid by our hungry monkey bikers from her tills to the charity buckets.

After stopping for fuel at Ingleton, the eight wend onward to Devil’s Bridge, where the Nokeses don monkey and banana suits respectively and shake buckets at the carpark-thronging biker hordes.

Soon they’re off again, up through Barbondale and Dentdale, past Britain’s highest railway station, through Hardew and on up the switchback to Buttertubs Pass, half a km above sea. They then swoop down to cross Stock Dale at Thwaite, thence on through Keld and Stonesdale.

Trouble strikes when Steve Pepper’s left hand finally succumbs to a very stiff clutch. Eight becomes seven.

Seven monkeys straggle onward to the UK’s highest public house, Tan Hill Arms at 1732 feet.

Trouble strikes when time runs out for Clay and Eddie who must peel off and head home to the New Forest, via a work-related stop-off in Birmingham. That’s one more rider lost (with Clay already driving, not riding), and seven monkeys are now six.

Trouble strikes anew when outrider/shepherd Chris also notices the time, and also has to head off Brumward.

With six monkeys still on the road, the convoy heads eastward to Arkengarthdale.

Trouble strikes, however, when Paul’s bike develops a fault. A fault, as it turns out, that involves an engine rather loosely attached to its frame and a full-on dangling carburettor. But six remains six as Steve Pepper lends Paul his stiff-clutched monkey, a loan he may later regret when the bike comes back sans toolkit and side panel.

The six grind on through Reeth and Grinton, up Ellerton Moor with views across the Bellerbys. They skip the stop at Manor Barn Tearooms, heading straight for a fuel stop at Leyburn.

Then south across the Ure by the castellated bridge, through Middleham, past the Forbidden Corner, through Whorehouse, into Coverdale, through Kettlewell and past Kilnsey Crag climbers to the final stop at Threshfield.

Trouble strikes when Dave Nokes’ monkey gives up the ghost and goes into the van somewhere short of Skipton.

The five then split, with Paul Nokes and Dixon Tyson peeling off to follow the YAA van straight back to Brickhouse, Richard Neve heading for a rendezvous with rescue in the shape of his car, and Brian and Garry soldiering on in the general direction of Keighley.

Trouble strikes, however, when five miles short of Eric Pickles’ birthplace, and a mere 370 miles on from Saturday’s start point, recent CBT graduate Garry has the ironically timed misfortune of having his monkey die under him, stricken by the same alarming fault as Richard Sharman’s the previous day: a swinging arm come unattached.

When a solitary Brian makes it back to Brickhouse, three riders out of ten (eleven if you count Chris) have made it back – just two of them on the same bike they started out on. It’s been a truly gruelling weekend. But all for a very good cause, with thousands raised for YAA.

Trouble strikes when Dixon Tysoe, now hobbling like an arthritic John Wayne, announces his intention to do it all again next year – accompanied by a hollow promise to limit the route to ‘just 300’ miles this time.

No one wants to talk about that right now. But they’ll be back. How could they not, when there are lives to be saved by Yorkshire’s Helicopter Heroes, and ridiculous little bikes with poor reliability waiting to be straddled by great big strapping men (or women!)

You’ll probably want to be involved yourself next year. In the meantime, you can do your bit by heading to the Munching Monkeys Just Giving page and donating generously to this excellent cause.

 




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