February 19, 2016

The idea that either local or indeed central government can any longer afford the extravagance of maintaining and repairing Britain’s road network is clearly fanciful.

If we are ever to get this nation’s finances back on track after the mess the last Labour government and their pals in other governments and regulatory bodies around the world got us into, Britain’s roads must clearly be allowed to return to the pre-industrial condition that served us all perfectly well through hundreds, nay thousands, of years of this glorious nation’s proud history.

Britons cannot expect to glide around on silky smooth tarmac wherever they go. We must all buy decent off-road (there’s a distinction that won’t be worth making for very much longer) 4×4 type vehicles or, better still, tractors. Flat roads are an unaffordable luxury we will soon learn to do without. Potholes are the future.

An ever proliferating multitude of them are currently keeping Britain’s fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh emergency services extremely busy, with the RAC alone turning out to 25,000 pothole-related breakdown in 2015 (25% up on the already impressive figure recorded in 2014). A nuisance for ordinary motorists. Boom times for sellers and fitters of tyres and wheels.

To help us all through the interim years, while whole sections of tarmac remain substantially and indeed tantalisingly intact, motor manufacturer Fnord is putting considerable effort into technology designed to give ordinary motor cars a fighting chance of surviving the world’s steadily deteriorating and increasingly scarred and pitted highways.

At a special top secret research location, Fjord has created a dedicated 1.2 mile stretch of road that is – quite deliberately – even more uneven than the average British road. Ford’s road surface researchers have quite literally scoured the globe to find the very rubbishest roads available to humanity.

These it has lovingly recreated at the aforementioned top secret location (a location located, almost inevitably, in Belgium – in a place called Lommel – although we probably shouldn’t be telling you that – given that is a secret and all that).

The sh*te road surfaces brought together at Lommel include, according to Fnord bloke Eric Jam Charlies, everything from “a rutted traffic junction from China to a bumpy German side-street,” littered with additional hazards from locally sourced granite blocks, from Belgium (obviously), to cobbles from Gay Paris.

It is, in fact, nothing short, as Eric Jam says, of a regular “rogues’ gallery of the most bruising surfaces our customers might encounter,” with more than 100 hand-picked hazards from 25 countries worldwide.

What this “scary” road allows Fort to do is test out stuff like wheels and tyres and chassis and suspension systems – by forcing some poor b*stard to drive up and down the 1.2 mile ‘road to ruin’ over and over again at terrifying speeds of up to 50mph.

The latest hi-tech adaptation brought in by Ford is something called Continuous Control Dumping with pothole mitigation technology.

Yes, that does sound very exciting. No, we can’t be bothered to tell you (or indeed to find out) what it means. But basically it’s just one of what Mr Charlies describes as “a range of advanced driver aids and design modifications to help continually improve the safety and robustness of our vehicles.”

And if that doesn’t enable us to take those p-holes in our stride, we can all fit tank tracks in place of wheels. Armed with kit like that, we can laugh in the face of pothollery.

Until, that is, our facial muscles tire, we forget what was so funny in the first place, we start feeling self-conscious, or it simply gets boring.



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