2019 : When will we see another year its equal!

December 23, 2019

What a year 2019 was! We had Brexit, and Brexit, and Brexit, and who knows what else besides. We won’t see another year like that in a hurry!

No, indeedy! 2020’s sure to be a whole different kettle of fish. Apart from anything, we won’t have Brexit anymore – because that’ll be done by the end of January, with the very word officially retired from that date onwards. So we’ll just have to talk about something else.

But before we rush ahead and look at what the remainder of the coming twelvemonth has in store. Let’s take one last fond look back at some of the things that happened in 2019 that weren’t Brexit.

For one thing, there was Munching Monkeys, an event in which, please be assured, no monkeys were munched, nibbled or otherwise eaten (not even their brains), but in which a multitude of miniature motorcycles were ridden round Yorkshire for lifesaving charity Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA).

Also there was the latest annual instalment of the epic clash of karts that is Insurance Endurance 2019. What a day that was! Who could forget a day like that! And, even if they had, could they not easily refresh their memories by reading all about it all over again right here!

And that wasn’t all! There was also the heartcockle-warming sight of Bankstone top dog Dickie Tyzer raising aloft a trophy recognising excellence in fundraising, awarded by the very same YAA alluded to above.

To clinch this much-prized gonglet, Tyzer not only rode endless miles up hill and down dale on a very small motorcycle, but also endured endless hours of corporate golf, Yellow Yorkshireness and horse-racing hospitality to boot. Worthy winning at its unapologetic best!

How could 2020 follow a year like that? Surely only by promising such delights as the return of the insurance industry’s premier corporate karting event. Insurance Endurance 2020 takes place at the locally renowned PFI Racetrack on Thursday 18th June. And, to be honest, you’d better book now if you don’t want to risk missing out.

If that’s not enough to convince you that 2020 will be one hell of a year. There’s also the prospect of MORE monkeybike madness when [yet to be named, but the word monkey will be in there somewhere, as may very well be the word pub, or some synonym thereof] returns to the desolate wilds of supposedly scenic Jorviksområde on the 4th and 5th July. Again if you’d like to be involved, applying early is highly recommended. Your best bet on this one is to contact expedition leader Commander Dick ‘Dickie’ Tyzer directly by email.

So another great year is ‘getting underway’, as they say on the BBC.. In the meantime here’s hoping you’ve had the very merriest of Christmases and New Yearses, with much love from all of our extensive team here at Bankstone News!

 

December 23, 2019

It’s time we talked about the Equality Act.

Odds are you’ve never really given much thought to the (so-called) Equality Act. That’s probably because you’re a decent upstanding normal citizen who’s perfectly equal already. Never for one second would someone like you go begging to the Nanny State to make you any equaler.

Sadly, there are some still resident in this increasingly great country of ours who are hell bent on doing exactly that. A prime example of this phenomenon recently came to Bankstone News’ attention after lefty rag the Telegraph pointed out that ‘big brand’ motor insurers are charging people who were (ahem) ‘born abroad’ up to £850 more for their motor insurance.

Those of us not born yesterday know perfectly well that, nine times out of ten, ‘people born abroad’ is just a polite way of saying ‘foreigners’. And what exactly is wrong with making Johnny Foreigner pay a bit more for his motor insurance – especially if it keeps prices down for the rest of us?!

But, inevitably, trouble-making lawyers have wasted no time trying to make out that ‘PBA weighting’ is some kind of crime. John Halfords of Blindman’s Solicitors claims that slapping price-comparing overseasers with a modest premium uplift amounts to a breach of equality laws.

The aforementioned Equality Act supposedly makes it unlawful to ‘discriminate’ against someone – even a foreigner – because of their nationality or national origins, which are (get this!) ‘among the legally-defined protected characteristics of race.’

This is PC gone mad. This is Sheila’s Wheels all over again. If underwriters can’t discriminate – then what on earth’s the point of having them! Can it really be right, in this day and age, to hedge insurers in with soul-destroying thickets of unproductive, frankly antidemocratic, legal quibbling?

Sorry, but if PBAs don’t want to pay what they’re quoted, they can go drive somewhere else.

October 11, 2019

Not all doctors are psychopaths, insists Bankstone News’s favourite song ‘n’ dance physician Dr Harry Prunes. This assertion, quoted in publicity materials for the maiden transatlantic outing for his acclaimed stage show Dial Medicine for Murder, might sound oddly defensive. But anyone who’s seem DM4M, will readily understand how audiences might leave with that suspicion.

Performed as a double-act docu-drama with Harry’s former med-school mucker Dr Andrew Johns, Dial Medicine for Murder tells the grimly fascinating parallel stories of Drs Harold Shipman and John Bodkin-Adams, collectively suspected of having murdered at least 600 people. It highlights striking similarities in Shipman and Adams’ approaches and psychopathologies.

This unusual entertainment has been metaphorically setting stages alight up and down the UK ever since it proved a sensation a few years back on Edinburgh’s famous Fridge festival. But this year saw Prunes and Johns’ big chance to ‘break the States’. It all came about when a hot-shot US theatrical ontropronoor caught the pair live on stage at London’s Greenwood Theatre and invited them to take DM4M stateside.

The upshot was shows at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Charlotte NC, on 19 September and the not-too-far-off-Broadway Norwood Club, NYC on the 23rd. Not since the Beatless, it is almost certainly true enough to say, has a British act made such an impression east of the Atlantic. Flirting, as it so sensationally does, with the popular North American fantasy that most Brits are mannerly psychopaths, the show seems certain to return to ex-colonial shores before long.

In the meantime, Bankstone News readers can catch the acclaimed DM4M closer to home at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow on 13 October, or London’s RAC Club on the 24th. Or at least you could if both shows weren’t already sold out. You see, tickets to see the intercontinental sensation that is Harrandrew are like gold dust these days. But, if you keep your eyes peeled on the DM4M website you might just get early wind of a forthcoming foray and somehow nip in ahead of the hordes.

Click on the pic to view tour trailer

October 10, 2019

Ripping off policyholders who neglect to change insurer every year is a bit like smoking crack cocaine. That’s the view of Ian Huge, CEO of data analytics company Consumer Intelligence. And you’d assume he knows what he’s talking about.

The problem with crack cocaine, it seems, is that, once you’ve developed a taste for the crystalline off-white powder, it’s hard to kick the habit. Huge reckons quoting low to switchers while fleecing loyal customers has a lot in common with use of the infamous rock candy.

Or maybe so-called ‘dual pricing’ is more like taking performance-enhancing drugs. Athletes know they shouldn’t really dabble, but they look around, see everyone else doing it, and conclude – not unreasonably – that they’ll never compete and win if they’re the first to go clean.

It’s been going on for years, of course. Price comparison sites like Compario the Monkey Super Meerkat have been urging punters to shop around more or less since time began. But we can’t blame them entirely for our tendency to focus on price. That’s natural enough in a world where money doesn’t grow on trees.

It has recently come to the notice of regulatory ‘body’ the FCA that the interests of motor and household policyholders are perhaps not being best served by the industry as it is currently constituted. Penalising loyalty, the FCA has now suspects, might be a bad thing.

Naturally enough, the regulator’s plans to grasp and neutralise the dual pricing nettle again tend to focus on price. Cold turkey type solutions like outlawing dual pricing altogether or banning automatic policy renewals have startled and alarmed insurance folk.

But if insurance providers now urge caution on the regulator’s part, it’s not just because they’re pathetic sweaty addicts, quaking at the proposed denial of their latest fix. It’s partly, at least, because they’re starry-eyed idealists dreaming of a world where insurance isn’t all about price.

An unnamed broker, quoted in industry journal Insurance Rage this week, warned against anything that might ‘encourage people to shop around based only on price without taking account of value and service’. Presumably the fear is that the FCA’s well-meaning attempts to stop less fickle policyholders paying more might simply exacerbate our obsessive preoccupation with paying as little as possible.

‘Just moving for the sake of saving a few pounds without looking at the other elements of the offer,’ the anonymous broker warned starkly, ‘may be counterproductive.’ And, let’s face it, counterproduction is the last thing the insurance sector needs right now.

Insurers too are gravely concerned that the denial of their drug of choice might have unintended consequences. Banning automatic renewal might prompt customers to save themselves from loyalty abuse, but according to one insurer spokesperson, it could also result in the loss the ‘vital and often legal protection’ their policies provide, should they fail to replace lapsing cover.

Similarly, taking action against dual pricing could accidentally ‘stifle competition and innovation’ which would surely be akin to jettisoning a particularly precious baby along with some not especially dirty, and actually still quite warm, bathwater. Also, another insurer has queried, what chance would there be for new entrants in a market where they couldn’t dangle cut-price premiums in front of future fleecees.

It’s a fair point, Bankstone News feels sure you’ll agree, and one the regulator will hopefully bear in mind when it decides it’s all too complicated and leaves a grateful industry in peace.

October 10, 2019

Bromley-based Direct Lime offshoot Churchill has done something a bit weird. Its nodding-dog avatar has been reincarnated as what appears to be a living, breathing, skateboarding bulldog, but is in fact a CGI facsimile.

If you haven’t already had the pleasure, you can catch the old dog up to its new tricks here.

Gone is the relentlessly positive affirmation of the canine’s previous persona. In comes something suspiciously reminiscent of the (real) skateboarding bulldog who was such a sensation on social media a while back.

But why throw out a popular and widely recognised brand mascot in favour of a non-speaking dog on a board? Why abandon the former version’s sturdily traditional British demeanour, for something suspiciously millennial and metropolitan?

Paul Jordan of Engine Creative explains. ‘Churchill is one of the nation’s most loved brands, but brand love can slip into overfamiliarity.’ Unforgivably, ‘Churchie’ had been allowed to stand still (if you overlook the nodding).

Where previously Churchie had been content to sit around bantering with minor celebrities, now he must be set to work evincing the spirit of ‘chill’ as in ‘relax’ rather, presumably, than Netflix and chill.

Clearly the new-look Churchie character has legs. Short, stubby legs. But legs just the same. Imagine for yourself the many and varied ways in which the now mute mutt can be deployed to suggest how relaxed you too could feel if you only insured with Churchill.

Got anything yet? No? Never mind. Bankstone News feels sure those resourceful chaps at Angina Creative will think of something sooner or later. Or perhaps he could just carry on skateboarding. Maybe get one of those motorised ones though – so chilling doesn’t seem too strenuous.

It seems Britain’s best-loved insurance avatar had come to be seen as merely ‘dependable and reliable.’ But Churchill marketing person Lucy Brooksbank felt customers’ brand relationship was only ‘skin deep’ and ‘heavily reliant on love of the dog.’ The new look decisively breaks that dependency, cutting Churchill loose to leg-paddle itself around an anonymous urban environment for no apparent reason.

The ‘supercharged’ skateboarding dog, Brookspank claims, will ‘deliver greater substance to the brand by reigniting customers’ emotional connection’ and ‘radically changing how people see Churchill.’

Here at Bankstone News we say: uh-huh.

Click on the link to see WikiHow’s extremely helpful step by step guide to creating your own skateboarding dog.

October 8, 2019

Out go burgundy passports. In come green cards.

With just days to go until we may or may not be making a clean break from the European Union. insurance provider Admiral has warned motorists that even a pure, final-solution Brexit may not entirely deliver us from the scourge of non-blue travel-related documents.

That’s because anyone planning to drive, in a UK-registered motor, on the Continent (or indeed in the Republic of Ireland) from Halloween onwards will need one. A green card, that is.

But what is this ‘green card’ (and is there any good reason why it couldn’t be blue), you’re probably wondering. That’s an excellent question (and an equally excellent sub-question). Perhaps we’ll come back to that, if we may.

Any Brexit worth of the name will surely rid us of the much resented burden of so-called freedom of movement. No longer will we have to make do without the bureaucratic niceties that mark Brits out as special and different.

If you want to drive au continent (or head south of the no-hard border, if you’re starting from somewhere in Norn Ireland) you’ll now have the chance to apply to your insurance provider (two weeks in advance of your trip) for a special green card (see above) that proves – assuming that’s the case – that your UK motor insurance provides the minimum level of cover required by whatever countries you’re planning to drive in or through.

And if you have a trailer or a caravan or whatever, you’ll now be able to apply for a separate (compulsory) green card for that!

And if your existing insurance policy is likely to expire while you’re driving outside the UK, you can (in fact, you’ll have to) get a separate green card for the new policy.

Ditto the trailer or caravan or whatever.

Depending on which parts of Euroland you plan to pass swiftly through, you could also now qualify for an international driving permit

As a Brit abroad, you could also be eligible for ‘additional checks.’

And of course you’ll get to decorate your shiny new Aston Martin with a lovely acrylic GB sticker free from any of that loathsome federalist yellow-on-blue nonsense.

All in all, we’re well on the way to making Continental journeys special again.

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. 

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.

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?

 

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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