TOPS NEWS January 2009

The proposed British Grand Prix at Donington will be held without fans being able to drive into the circuit. Spectators will take special trains to a new East Midlands Parkway Station or fly to East Midlands Airport. Buses would take fans to the circuit. Planning has been granted and work will take 10 months. Gillett says the credit crunch has actually helped him as more builders are now available.

Sam O’Shea, 10, was banned from cycling to school unless his mother drove behind him ‘because the road gets extremely congested’.

The Italian police have bought the new Lamborghini Gallardo capable of 200 mph. Nick Wigley’s company did the press launch for an entire month in Las Vegas – so it must have been successful!

A Bristol student was arrested after wrecking his Mini in a drunken attempt to recreate a scene from The Italian Job by driving down a flight of steps. 6 security staff, 2 police cars and a helicopter were sent to arrest him.

Andy Green and Richard Noble have started work to try to reach 1,000 mph by 2011 in Bloodhound SSC using a combination of jet, rocket and piston-engined power.

Ferrari have confirmed that they will not turn to diesel in order to try to reduce carbon dioxide emissions on their cars by 40%.

1200 foreign drivers were caught without road tax during just one weekend in the summer in the UK.

Because of high levels of carbon dioxide being emitted from a lorry returning from Nürburgring, UK Border Agency officers examined it and found 4 Iraqi men sitting in a Bentley GT on its way to Bentley's factory in Crewe. "Last year we searched over 1m lorries and prevented 18,000 foreign nationals from crossing the English Channel without permission" said an officer.

Tom-Tom and Navteq are working on a new system which would criticise a driver for taking corners too fast, tell them when to change gear and alert of road difficulties ahead. Perhaps they will also stop the satnav sending vehicles the wrong way - police, fire and ambulance services rushed to a lake in Poland to find the driver of a minivan and his passengers perched on the roof. "There used to be a road there until last year when the local water company flooded the valley to build a new reservoir."

Swansea Council put up a Welsh-language road sign to bar heavy goods vehicles but it read "I am out of the office at the moment.”

Last year Police Vehicles activated speed cameras 107,000 times but only 150 drivers were fined despite only 25% being emergencies.

Affluent Romanians have started shopping by helicopter at The Real supermarket in Bacau. Car drivers are not happy about the air turbulence caused.

The Transport Secretary has suggested that ‘average speed’ cameras may replace ‘spot’ cameras. Average speed cameras on a 10-mile stretch of the M1 caught over 400 drivers in a month bringing in £1m.

Andrew Mackelden offered a new Aston Martin DB9 V12 to the first person to buy one of his four homes in Eastbourne.

A Belgian car dealer in Antwerp offered a car deal for December - Buy one, get one free. Customers could choose from a range of new, full-price cars and then pick a second free vehicle from a selection that goes up to 14,000 euros. Belgian new car registrations fell 16.4% year-on-year in November. In Spain, sales nearly halved.

Boris Johnson will scrap the extended congestion zone in London – from 2010.

Maggie Gebbett displayed a parking ticket but it fell off the window and she received an £80 fine so she paid in 1p and 2p coins to Bromley council.

Sir Stirling Moss has been made “Vice President for life” by the BRDC in recognition of 60 years membership.

Sales of electric cars are down 58% and the Nice Car Co in London has gone into administration. The G-Wiz is really a quadricycle and does not conform to the safety requirements imposed on cars.

255 million vehicles are registered in the EU and only 1.5 million are classic vehicles. Of those about 1.05 million drive less than 1,500 km p.a. Only 0.07% of the total km driven in Europe are driven by classic vehicles. Therefore classic vehicle owners are not significantly contributing to climate change. The production of a standard personal vehicle requires apx 40 tons of new materials and pollutes 932 Mio cubic meters of air. The scrapping of the same s.p.v. (as has been suggested in some countries, after 10 years of use) creates another 26.7 tons of refuse and 102 Mio cubic meters of polluted air. A classic car owner who cares for and maintains his vehicle has a substantially reduced adverse impact on the environment as compared to the frequent new car buyer.

Motorists are now to be allowed to display national flags on their number plates after the Government removed Northern Ireland from the legislation.

The Isle of Man has celebrated Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 F1 World Championship with the issue of a set of six postage stamps, featuring images of his championship year. And the Boavista circuit in Portugal has issued a set of historic stamps to celebrate 50 years.

The Government advised Manchester city council that if they refused to introduce ‘pay-as-you-drive’ tolls they would lose £1.5b in public transport funding which it requires for its tram system.

In a tit-for-tat with Luca di Montezemolo, Bernie Ecclestone announced that they bought loyalty from Ferrari by paying them £54 million p.a. more than the other teams, ever since a deal in 2003 to stop them joining a group who were threatening to split-away from F1.

Silverstone has announced that is has signed a five-year deal to host the British Motorcycle Grand Prix from 2010 onwards.

The organisers of the Silverstone Classic 24 – 26 July have once again changed. The event is to be managed by Racing at Silverstone Ltd who have a frightening idea of the value of a race.

Richmond council is to charge motorists with 4wd cars £1.90 to park at a meter compared with £1.20 for smaller ‘cleaner’ cars. Richmond council charges residents’ parking permits according to carbon emissions.

The historic Reims circuit buildings (race control, pits and grandstands) have passed the second stage of the three required to become a listed heritage site. This will prevent demolition and redevelopment.

Motorists involved in minor accidents currently resolved by swapping insurance details could face prosecution under new controversial proposals drawn up by the Department of Transport. Action could also be taken against people who commit trivial offences, such as eating, drinking or smoking at the wheel, tuning a radio or inserting a CD.

Compiled and edited by Trisha Pilkington - an abridged version