120 go karting crazy in Grantham

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. 


Bankstone’s latest charity ordeal described in detail

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.

 


Monkey-back madness returns

Far from being the kind of thing that causes outbreaks of flesh-eating tropical disease – or indeed that prompts calls to animal charities – Munching Monkeys is Bankstone’s latest charity fundraiser.

In what will be an improbable eighth outing for the Brighouse-based professional claims handling business (and friends), Munching Monkeys will see grown adults ride 300 miles round Yorkshire on undersized motorcycles.

It’s all in aid of life-saving charity Yorkshire Air Ambulance and in no way related to some weird and otherwise indefensible desire to spend a weekend riding in convoy round some of Britain’s most picturesque and underpopulated landscapes – on tiny little bikes.

Roadside eating has always played an important part in these events – right back to the early ‘experimental’ days of the ill-fated Monkey Monopoly back in 2007. But, this year, organiser DeKhan Tice-Oar has fully embraced the food theme, organising the multi-stop route around biker-friendly pubs and cafes where good things may be eaten (and possibly drunk – once the day’s ride is safely concluded).

But it won’t all be happy eating, Tice-Oar warns. Far from it: “This is a serious test of endurance, requiring stamina, concentration and the ability to shrug off the pain induced by hours spent in a cramped riding position, brutally inadequate suspension, and the jarring discomfort that comes from combining small wheels and big potholes.”

Participants can at least console themselves with the thought – a welcome fillip for anyone who finds themselves shivering in sodden leathers on some godforsaken moor, doggedly chewing on grisly greasy burger meat – that it’s all for a very good cause.

Don’t let their suffering be in vain, Dear Reader. Show your support and sympathy by visiting the Munching Monkeys Just Giving Page and donating generously.

On Ilkley Moor wi’ ‘at: Tice-Oar on a recent warm-up run

 


From keyless to carless in just 20 seconds

All the latest evidence suggests the UK may be moving into a new golden age for car theft.

Government figures recently revealed that total car thefts (TCF) were up almost 10% YoY. Cars with no keys have played a key role in this dramatic car-nick uptick.

Models

Back in the bad old days when cars mostly had the keys of the kind that have teeth – and with which things can be locked – TCF had dropped as low as the 70,000 mark (2013/4). But now, with more and more models dispensing with old-fashioned analogue keys, around 115,000 motors go missing each year.

Back in those days, only Range Rovers and other such ‘premium’ vehicles came keyless, but now, when even Ford Fiestas have outgrown the humble key, there’s a vast array of models from which bleeping criminals can take their pick.

Sensational

Now insurer body ABI claims car theft insurance payouts have risen by more than 20%, thus soaring to a sensational seven-year high.

And paying insurance claims doesn’t come cheap. Forking out for all those missing motors cost insurers a whopping £1.2bn in the first quarter of 2019, the ABI claims.

Body

Today’s tech-wielding vehicle thieves, the insurer body reckons, can get into your car in as little as 20 seconds. That’s almost eight minutes fewer than it takes to soft-boil a standard hen’s egg – which, coincidentally, is the same as the average time that elapses between one motor insurance theft claim getting paid and the one after it.

Exciting

Not only is exciting new technology making cars easier to pinch, it’s also making them more expensive to patch up post prang. No wonder motor insurers spend so much time railing bitterly about how cars just aren’t the classic key-operated thin-skinned death-trap tins they used to be and ‘why must it all be so complicated?’

They probably don’t do that really. But Bankstone News senses this story has probably achieved an adequate length now, and wonders absent-mindedly who could possibly blame it for lapsing into contrafactual incoherence. Surely no one reads these things right down to the final line, do they?




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