Saturday, June 23, 2007

Goodwood 2007

On Friday I went to the Goodwood Festival of Speed with Mark Perry, Ed Altenburger and Rich Cumbers.

We all had free tickets from The Times. We arrived at about 10:45 and despite having driven through some heavy showers to get there, and we could see big black clouds in the distance, the ground was dry. That's important as the F1 cars don't like the rain.

After a quick look at some cars doing a run up the track (there isn't a circuit, it's a hill climb) we started our tour of the major manufacturers' stands. The Ford stand had 5 different versions of the new Mondeo. It has a suprisingly nice interior (for a Mondeo).

The Mercedes stand had more impressive, and expensive, cars. Nice...

Whenever there were cars on the track we'd go and watch. The Wacky Races cars were mildly amusing

After lunch - a tasty Indian kebab - we watched the modern supercars leave from the starting line. Some did massive wheelspins, some were a bit skittish under heavy acceleration, some just went very fast with no fuss (Bugatti Veyron) and one looked like the driver couldn't find 2nd gear.

Then we checked out the environmentally friendly concept cars...

and the trials bikes.

Then we went half way up the hill and watched the cars and bikes screaming up the track. As always the Formula 1 cars sounded just awesome. The modern superbikes were impressive too, with them being wheelied for at least 100 metres. When the Red Bull F1 car came back down it stopped about 10 metres away from our position and then did a massive burnout down the hill. Just superb :) Ed's got it on video, I'll add a link soon.

At one point it started to rain at the bottom of the circuit but was still sunny where we were (which partly explains my sunburn).

Then we went up to the rally stage and saw Peter Solberg in this year's Subura WRC car flying over the newly constructed jump. We also saw Colin McRae's car doing the rally stage and then later up close

On the way back down the hill we saw this year's Ford Focus WRC car do a double doughnut at the hairpin bend that is furthest down the hill. Very cool.

Finally we went past this year's main showpiece

to the back of the house to see the Ferrari exhibition and the Supercars.

I've normally got no interest in old cars but there was one that really caught my eye. It has a striking modern metallic light blue paint job that doesn't come through in the photo.

I'm sure I've missed out several other cool things, and I don't have that many photos as I decided that in general it's better to get the full experience rather than be half focussed on the camera and half on the action. Thankfully it seems that Ed disagrees as he's got some great stills and videos.

There's far too much to do in one day at Goodwood. If we can go again next year I'd like to get there much earlier to try and see a lot more of it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

This year's father's day was good. I got lots of well thought out presents:- I did choose some myself (Lindt balls, cafetiere, ball) but the surprise presents were great too.

After a lie-in until 9:30, I had a breakfast of pancakes with golden syrup. Mmmmm.

We went to see Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
at the Southampton Odeon which was quite good. It's a simple comic book action film that kept the kids (inc. me) happy. 7/10.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

New cash back credit card

Following Natwest's decision to stop providing cashback Airmiles on their VISA card I used to look for an alternative.

I must have previously tried applying for an Egg card as when I tried to apply this time it insisted on making me log in rather than creating a new account. Since I had no idea what the password is and I couldn't see how to get it mailed to me, I instead applied for the American Express Platinum card.

Amex Platinum offers 3% cashback for purchases made within the first 3 months, then tiered rates which will average out at about 1% for me, but it offers 1.5% for all purchases each year past £13,500.

It's also a good idea to have more than one supplier:- I recall VISA had some network problems earlier this year so having more than one card provider seems prudent.

I had heard that AMEX is less widely accepted than VISA but I used it today in Tesco, Frankie and Bennys and B&Q so it seems like it'll be OK.

Oh, and I got £10 cashback from QuidCo as I used their link to apply.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Jump Fest

We chanced the weather and won today with a sunny ride taking in the local jump sites. Not much hill climbing but we took in several woods and found jumps in 4 locations : mile markers 3, 7, 8 and 13 here. Total distance covered was about 16.9 miles.

We also went to the Otterbourne Hill woods on Tuesday where we conquered 2 new jumps, each about about 7 feet from the take off ramp to the landing slope. Scary but exhilarating.

I also cycled to and from work on Tues and Fri, adding 9.5 miles to the mileage total for each day.