The show on the road
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RECISELY 09.30 on Monday, 18, David Eckles, publishing 3tor of CM, flagged off a ford E290 on the premier leg le first CM 1,000-mile roundlin economy run. Stage one to prove relatively easy orway work, but tough days a ahead for drivers and ?rvers.
ie previous afternoon CM's nical section staff had super:1 the weigh-in of each unit trailer which was carried out neans of a single-axle weighge supplied by Hawkley, of I Liss, Hampshire. Even at early time tension was ling, with each contestant tinising the gross and axle ghts of all the other petitors. Then it was time to ..lp the fuel tanks, an operation :h was to be repeated each t and carried out by Barney erton and Arthur Stroud of BP, :h supplied the fuel and cants. This was to be a real for BP's new Vanellus FE and :igear FE lubricant.
le vehicles were parked up the fuel-tank locking-cap keys .1 taken into custody by our marshal Bryan Jarvis.
'hen the vehicles rolled out on day they presented a splendid sight and an image to make the industry proud.
One of our greatest worries, which, in the event, proved illfounded, was that roadworks would create bunching. Almost with clockwork regularity the lorries reported at the Truck Inn at five-minute intervals. This had been planned for by Bill Brock.
Each vehicle carried an independent observer supplied by another manufacturer. It was their job to observe speeds, and confirm any claims of unusual circumstances during the stage.
We also asked them each to pass on their opinions of their competitor's vehicles. Despite the tension and competitive spirit which attended stage one, the comments were in the main complimentary.
Peter Bryson of Bedford said he had a first-class ride" in the Daf 3300 driven by Richard Kingston. In his view if the driver understands Visar it is an excellent aid and the Ecosplit made half changes easier. Peter criticised the rubber mats and plastic trim in the cab but praised the suspension and gave the Daf a good plus rating.
Mick Painter's Bedford E290 passenger seat was uncomfortable, according to Geoff Morgan of MAN. The roomy cab shook when the exhaust brake came in and there was a constant transmission drone, he said.
The Foden driven by Stuart NancoIlls was, said Clive Burnett of Scania, fast and powerful but gave a bumpy ride with a high degree of cab nod.
Gordon Reed, ex UBM and representing Bedford, was full of praise for the lveco 190/30 dr by Ian Metcalfe. He considE cab access and comfort to be class; the noise level was low he "had a good ride".
Peter Bolden, driving the Sci 112, was accompanied by B Lowe of Leyland. At 60mph the route Brian "had a good ri He probably found the reasor the cab's nodding. "It took p where concrete sections of r were joined by tar strips", he E
Tony Smith of Iveco, trave with Ron Bowie in his Volvo was riding for the first time ir outfit with a tri-axle trailer. He experienced cab nod but thor that the cab was comfortablr ambient temperatures of 28°C more than appreciated the Vol air conditioning but the passel seat was set too high for a ma his stature.
Joe McKee of Volvo kept eye on Ron Sinclair who driving a Daf 2500. Joe found access not easy" but once in the cab he was comfortable. Daf, he thought, was sluggisl Shap.
Tony Oakes, driving for had Norman Poulson of Daf ir passenger seat. He thought the quiet, low-revving Gar engine pulled up hills wel 1,300rpm. "It kept going and a from restricted leg room, wi comfortable ride".
The Bedford with Cummins engine, with John Lawlor up, observed by David Curley of who thought it was "a good noisy tool for the size of engine". He criticised the b trim and the seats without pension.
Tony Leggat's MAN with / Allcock of Sandback Engine( riding shotgun was "quiet al solid ride". It took the hills dropped only two gears on E and overall was "not a motor". He could not fault it.
The lveco of Phil Bright impressed Barry Simm of ER maintaining a steady 55-60 over the course and becau: overtook the Seddon Atkinsor the Detroit Diesel-powi Bedford. He was hurrying or lunch.
Gardner engines still appe seems, and Jim Button was in his praise of Derek Hee' Gardner-powered Leyland, eN that he found the noise level high.
Commenting on the Detroitengined TM Bedford driven by John Hutchinson, Ron Akehurst of lveco thought it was too low rated for a 38-tonner and required another split between sixth and seventh and eighth gears. The ride was choppy but comfortable.
Ron thinks that the engine could and should be uprated to about 300bhp. The Jake break, he said, performed well.
The Volvo F10 driven by Jim Hutchinson and observed by George Beaston of Seddon Atkinson had not much guts". It was quiet and handled well, he thought. This was the only vehicle in the run fitted with a reversing bleeper. Pity there was no award for additional safety devices.
The second stage took us over to Newcastle via Brampton and Haltwhistle; no doubt as would be fitting this was an instruction to the railway engine drivers of yore.
But this is the day of The Juggernaut". At least, that was how a BBC tv presenter described the 38-tonners when he came to interview lain Sherriff for Nationwide's Tuesday evening programme.
CM's editor was asked how he would answer the critics of heavier lorries on the grounds of noise, pollution and damage to roads and buildings. Sherriff spent the next seven minutes disabusing the viewers of any ideas they had on the subject. When asked if we could expect "even heavier lorries shortly", he suggested that 40-tonners were a possibility in two years' time,
whereupon the interview was closed.
After Newcastle, the vehicles headed north for Edinburgh, over Carter Bar. We take no credit for the lone piper who played them over the border. He was obviously a lorry man.
Lying in wait was a group of environmentalists demonstrators in Edinburgh. Wherever did they get to? If they were parading in Princes Street they missed us. Like all good transport operators, we went round the ring road. Perhaps the protesters were on the ring road and failed to recognise the "juggernauts" when they saw them.
The route to Perth was moderately heavy with holiday traffic, but not once did we delay other traffic nor was there any bunching.
The final leg of stage two was down and round Stirling and on to Bothwell where again we attracted a great deal of attention from drivers and others using the services.
With the first 500 miles completed we held a post mortem. Tim Blakemore and Brian Weatherley had taken up vantage points on roundabouts, bends and narrow roads, ready to photograph and report on anything untoward. They had nothing to report. End of inquiry.
By now the drivers, their independent observers and the manufacturers' representatives had come together and were obviously indentifying themselves as transport ambassadors. That esprit de corps did not take away from the rivalry.
Each night after the vehicles had been fuelled and the tachograph charts were analysed, the CM men got down to producing provisional results.
They gathered around the Mercedes-Benz Camper which served as the office, mostly waiting patiently — some not so patiently — for the results to be posted.
Day one had seen the SA 401 and the Daf 2500 head the fuel consumption table with a creditable 7.97mpg. The Oaf returned the best average speed of 54.72mph.
On day two the 401 held its lead with 7.15mpg. The average speeds had dropped, now that we were off the motorway. The Volvo F12 took pole position with 37.16mph.
This was a good time to look at the cumulative average fuel consumption. The 401 returned 7.36 over the 500 miles, closely followed by Leyland's Roadtrain on 7.30mpg. The poorest performance was that of the Bedford with Detroit Diesel engine. His competition number was 13. Hard lines.
On Wednesday we went south again — to Carlisle, Penrith, Brough Moor, the A1M, M18, M1 and into National Carriers at Brightside Lane, Sheffield.
By the very nature of the route, average speeds had dropped, but . consequence the fuel conption improved. On this leg, Daf 2500 edged in front wed by Leyland's Roadtrain. isingly the Bedford L10, MAN SA all clocked the same fuel iumption to occupy joint third 3.
insion built over this part of route. The temperature was !riving speeds were down and Ls to prove to be a long day. long day was one thing, but -Ltside Lane could not be libed as the end of the )OW. However, before arriving le National Carriers yard 250 s had to be covered.
le A74 with its mandatory ph kept the cavalcade at lar intervals. Once on the M6 leaders Volvo's F12, the Lie and the lveco 190-38 ied the gap and so it stayed the end.
ier Brough Moor small ons of road were under ir. Temporary traffic lights I have caused delays they t.
le run was so planned that the )rs' first four-hour stint finished at Stain moor cafe or close by. This statutory break opened up the field. There was one out in front Ron Bowie's beefy Volvo F12 made Scotch Corner before he had to pull in.
At regular intervals the outfits pulled into a railway loading shed in the Sheffield depot. The two BP men, who were by now very much involved, got down to the task of refuelling with Tim Blakemore and Bryan Jarvis.
This daily ritual attracted the attention of everyone; so much so that eventually we had almost to get in police crowd control to hold them back.
The main interest centred round the Seddon Atkinson's consumption. Would it take more than 131 litres?
At 128 Bryan Jarvis asked for another litre; he re-measured and signalled for one more. There was a murmur from the crowd. With tantalising precision the CM man measured again and called for one more. The crowd clapped with glee. Jarvis appeared to be enjoying his tension-building role and he inserted the dipstick, shone his torch into the tank and signalled for "half a litre"; the applause was louder.
In order to be certain beyond doubt that another half litre was required, he called in a second opinion. With all the deliberance and solemnity of Judge Jeffries, Tim Blakemore nodded his head was the tank full? "Another half litre," called Bryan. The crowd exploded with applause. The SA had not made the treble.
Daf took the day's honours with the 2500 attaining a creditable 8.87mpg.
The crowd dispersed only to meet later in party mood and prepare for the final run home.
Stage four was to take us back to the NEC on a figure-of-eight route across country to Oxford along the M4, up the M1 and home by MB.
Ron Bowie, in his accustomed pole position, set off at 7.50am in the cool of the day. It was not long before the temperature was up in the high eighties and the te was equally high.
Much of this leg co "country lanes," but no prot occurred. Even an Oxford t jam did not hold us back.
In the meantime, the stel■ had an additional task to oc their minds. Conscious o• productivity award which later to be calculated by L Keinzle, the manufacturers looked very closely at the vehicle weights we had against them.
Two of them objected ti calculations, arguing that were 300 kilos too high. Bill I had discussions with all inv to find a solution.
Re-weighing on the day ruled out because of the factor. He offered the alterr of manufacturers re-weighir dependently. This was reject! the grounds that there cou some "manipulation".
With admirable diplomaq brought in another option: reduce all the weights by kilos," he said. Done. No could argue against his logii So it was on to the Nat Exhibition Centre, Birminc for the all-important measurement.
As they had done every da BP support team erected finish-line banners. lveco's agents appeared with their hospitality unit with bread, cheese, 100 pints of beer, soft drinks, tea and coffee for all to consume. Arthur and Barney set up the fuel tanker on level ground under Tim Blakemore's watchful eye. And then we waited.
At 14.40 hours Ron Bowie's F12 rolled in, having completed this leg with an average speed of 43.23mph and a fuel consumption of 7.09mpg. He was closely followed by the two lvecos and the Scanias.
Thereafter, there was a steady stream of vehicles arriving and forming a semi-circle facing the spot where the results would be posted.
Following the routine already set, each vehicle was left for one hour to allow its tank to cool. Then came the last fuel measurement.
In the blazing afternoon sun the drivers, observers and others crowded round the BP tanker; pens and paper were at the ready to note each successive meter reading. This operation took two hours inaccuracy would have been disastrous.
Unbelievably, when the final calculation was made it found that the 401 had d again. But had it won ove could the 2500 get its n( front? Where would productivity award go?
These were the questions asked until yesterday, wh( made the announcement presented the awards.
The productivity award sponsored by Lucas Keinzl its representatives, meticulous accuracy, had vi out average speeds each nil the end they took the charts for more detailed analysii their report follows.
What did the 1,000 mile ecc run achieve? It produced f and comments which manufacturers must find than useful. But it did more Hundreds of thousan( people saw the 38-tonners c road and would never recognised them if we ha publicised them.
Many more heard about tl and the 38-tormers over morning radio programmes West Midlands, Cumbria Scotland. Look North, part BBC Nationwide progra gave us about seven minu. screening at the peak vi time.
It was almost like the e term when the drivers, obst and support teams took leave of each other in car rN at NEC. Without exception asked us if we would orc another contest next Gentlemen, you've got it, TIwill try to make an annual e