lotus’ return to F1
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The St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow
10.I Am Legend
The Re-birth of the Lotus F1 Team
26.Mud And Ruts The new Range Rover Sport
Climbing Kilimanjaro the hard way
Hiking adventures in the Norwegian wilderness
54.Notes From Limewood New Forest's newest hotel
The Ferrari California
36.Reading Room 38.If You Go Down To The Woods Tonight Endurance mountain biking
42.Boot Camp Are you tough enough?
Puglia, Italy's hidden treasure
62.dining 64.Drinks Trolley
Neil Davey After 11 years in private banking, Neil Davey realised that he hated it, that the bubble was about to burst and decided to do something different. Having been proved right about the recession some, er, 12 years later, he's now a freelance journalist specialising in food, drink, travel, films and video games. Anything you can sit down and do, basically. In the meantime, he's also been a cheesemonger, an advisor to a project importing Chinese wines to the UK, attempted to assist a famous socialite launch a lifestyle website (with predictable results) and did a stint writing showbiz gossip for a famous lad's mag. Accordingly, he now knows more about Kerry Katona than any 41 year old man really should. Greg Hardes Greg Hardes graduated from NUSAD with a view to adventure, so he decided to cycle from Canada to Costa Rica. Upon his return, his legs needed a rest, and he is currently focusing his energies on surfing and waterskiing, in between chasing his dream of becoming a worldrenowned photographer/journalist/designer/footballer. Greg is a big believer in living simply and refuses to be caught up in the materialistic mentality of our society. Greg would one day like to purchase his very own Aston Martin DB9 and is currently saving for one of those new iPhones. Scott Smart There isn’t a single subject on which this professional motorcycle racer doesn’t have a better understanding of than you. If he doesn’t, he will simply make it up and argue with you until you give up and find the nearest carbon monoxide outlet. A reject of the London Museum of Bunsen Burners as a teenager, Smart has spent his entire adult life going round in circles, and that’s not just in his racing career. The 34-year-old began his life in the British racing paddock and has now, via some average performances abroad and several ‘clinics’, found his way back there. Although from a racing dynasty, that includes a man famous for 'splashing it on all over' Henry Cooper, in a not-at-all homo-erotic series of adverts, Smart tends to want his achievements judged on their own merit, which doesn’t take long!
new decade, a new dawn! Welcome to the first issue of 2010. As with any New Year, it’s all about setting new challenges, whether personally or in business. If it’s a personal mission you seek, the two features on hiking across the wilds of Norway or Kilimanjaro should wet your appetite. If it’s business, self-confessed challenge junky, Mike Gascoyne, along with Keith Saunt, have undertaken the enormous task of putting together a Formula One team, from scratch, in just seven months. Not just any team however, this one comes with the weight of an iconic name attached. The re-birth of Lotus F1, one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport… Read our extended special feature about Lotus F1 Racing mark II. Enjoy…
Suzannah Sorrell Publishing Editor
Snow Patrol The St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow is the worldâ€™s most prestigious winter polo tournament Writer: Simon Skeffington
very year since 1985, the polo fraternity and four high-goal polo teams descend on St Moritz, the renowned winter ski resort in Switzerland, to compete on a frozen Lake for the coveted Cartier Trophy. This year was no exception. We, along with 15,000 or so spectators, bore witness to the frenetic action that played out over four days, and despite freezing temperatures, the sun shone throughout. The teams competing this year were Cartier, Brioni, Julius Baer, and finally Maserati. With handicaps of the players ranging between 18 and 22 goals, Polo is the polar opposite to the game of golf; the higher the handicap, the better the player! The four teams fought for victory throughout the tournament, with fast-paced matches that exceeded all expectation, but it was the dramatic finale to the 26th St Moritz Polo World Cup on Sunday that had everyone out of their seats. With the scores tied at 3-3, the referees awarded Cartier a virtually unmissable from-the-spot penalty in front of the Julius Baer goal, with just eight seconds left to play. The most valuable player, Glen Gilmore, converted the decisive shot to wrap up Cartier’s victory, which sparked wild celebrations from their supporters. Julius Baer’s players were obviously unhappy at the decision, but the slightly controversial ending to the game did little to dampen our spirits, given we’d just witnessed an exceptional final with long periods of fantastic, fast and open polo, all with the enduring Engadin sun illuminating the event’s unique setting. At times the action see-sawed with such frequency from end to end we felt we were watching the simultaneously-occurring Australian Open tennis final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray, swivelling our heads left and right in a relentless and rhythmical cycle. Cartier was the deserving winner and proudly accepted the coveted
Cartier Trophy. Julius Baer took second, Brioni third and Maserati fourth place. Although Maserati patron Philipp Maeder’s team did not win a place on the podium, he nevertheless said he was happy with the result. “This was by far the best organised tournament I’ve ever played in.” Of course, the event isn’t just a top-class fixture in the sporting calendar; it’s an exclusive social event, which attracts royalty and personalities from the spheres of industry and politics, together with leading social figures that enjoy the unique atmosphere on the frozen lake. On the culinary front, we were treated to fare from no less than seven Swiss star chefs. With a total of 118 Gault-Millau-Points (similar to Michelin) between them, they celebrated regional cuisine at the very highest level on the lake. Reto Mathis, Roland Jöhri, Franz Faeh, Jacky Donatz, Urs Gschwend and Daniel Müller pampered visitors during the polo tournament with delicious regional specialities. Andreas Caminada, Switzerland’s 'Chef of the Year 2010', who was recently awarded 19 Gault Millau points, was responsible for the catering at the Gala Dinner on Saturday evening. The décor was also inspired by the region. The rustic ambience was modelled after Carigiet’s illustrations from the children’s book ‘Schellenursli’, which fitted in perfectly with the surrounding mountain panorama. In the morning the young Swiss alphorn player Eliana Burki, appearing for the first time in St. Moritz, provided musical entertainment. The 26 year-old musician delighted us by producing unusual jazz and funk sounds from this traditional Swiss instrument, proving her reputation as a virtuoso of the alphorn. For our first foray into snow polo, it was certainly a spectacular one in every way.
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I Am Legend Every year, ten teams travel the globe and spend millions of dollars to prove who has the fastest car and the best driver. This year things are a bit different; now there are fourteen teams, and one of the newest on the grid also happens to be one of the oldest names... Writer: Suzannah Sorrellâ€ƒ Photographer: Jarowan Power
10 . www.1degreeonline.co.uk
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The Season 1
BAHRAIN GP 14 March
11 GERMAN GP 25 July
2 AUSTRALIAN GP 28 March 3 MALAYSIAN GP 4 April
12 HUNGARIAN GP 1 August
CHINESE GP 18 April
14 ITALIAN GP 12 September
SPANISH GP 9 May
15 SINGAPORE GP 26 September
MONACO GP 16 May
16 JAPANESE GP 10 October
13 BELGIAN GP 29 August
7 TURKISH GP 30 May
17 KOREAN GP 24 October
CANADIAN GP 13 June
18 BRAZILIAN GP 7 November
EUROPEAN GP 27 June
19 ABU DHABI GP 14 November
10 BRITISH GP 11 July
Car Facts Width: 1.8 metres Height: 95 cm Weight: 620 kg (including driver and ballast) Engine: 2,400 cc V8, 32 Valves Transmission: 7-speed sequential
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n iconic name synonymous with Formula One’s glorious past. That name is, of course, Team Lotus – one of the greatest and most innovative Formula One teams in history; founded by one of the most respected engineers and visionaries of his time, the late Colin Chapman. Chapman, with his Team Lotus, re-wrote the parameters of Formula One car performance, and Formula One in its entirety, pioneering many of the aspects that have shaped modern Formula One; from the commercial sponsorship that drives the sport today to monocoque chassis construction, ground-effect aerodynamics, and the ‘twin chassis’ concept, together with active suspension. Chapman was also the consummate showman. When McLaren stole his thunder by launching the first carbon fibre composite chassis in 1981, Chapman countered by launching a more technically advanced carbon-fibre/Kevlar chassis a couple of days later. Never afraid of winding up his rivals and causing controversy, he commented that the McLaren was “a little bit out of date, I’m afraid.” During the team’s 37 seasons, they amassed 79 wins out of the 491 races they entered. They secured 107 pole positions, 71 fastest laps, 172 podiums, led 148 races, and totalled 1,268 points. Their first win came at the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix with Stirling Moss at the wheel. They collected their first team win, a year later, at the US Grand Prix. Their last win to date was in 1987, at the US Grand Prix with Ayrton Senna, although Peter Warr was by now at the helm following Chapman’s fatal accident in 1982. Team Lotus won seven Constructors’ Championships in 1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973 and finally, in 1978. They had an eye for picking the best drivers, and the list of race winners reads like a who’s who of Formula One; Stirling Moss (privateer), Innes Ireland, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jo Siffert (privateer), Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ronnie Peterson, Mario Andretti, Gunnar Nilsson, Elio de Angelis, and last but not least, Ayrton Senna, who delivered his first ever Grand Prix win with Team Lotus. It was with Scottish born Jim Clark that Chapman had the most success. They also created six World Champions, in the form of: Jim Clark – 1993 and 1965, Graham Hill – 1968, Jochen Rindt – 1970, Emerson Fittipaldi – 1972, and Mario Andretti – 1978. Despite not competing for 15 years, Team Lotus still remains Formula One’s fourth most successful team. To say they left a legacy is an understatement! Lotus Racing has a lot to look up to and live up to.
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The Chief Technical Director
s successor to Colin Chapman’s legacy, Mike Gascoyne, the man at the helm of Lotus F1 mark II, seems to be a worthy ambassador. He’s a bona fide engineer, passionate about Formula One, and most definitely a maverick. He’s a renaissance man. An F1 technical heavyweight who studied for a PhD in Fluid Dynamics from Cambridge, that led him to work for the likes of McLaren, Tyrell, Jordan, Renault, Toyota and, latterly, Force India over a 20 year period, but is equally at home cooking up a roast. “For me the perfect Sunday is getting up late, walking the dogs, and opening a bottle of wine at midday and drinking it slowly whilst I’m preparing the food.” In fact Mike cooks most nights, mainly because it relaxes him after the stresses of his day job as Chief Technical Officer. “Even if no one is hungry, I’ll still cook!” Motorsport aside, he collects whisky, loves to sail and hike – his biggest personal achievement to date is climbing in the Himalayas. He’s also an avid fan of Norwich City Football Club. “The one thing I do religiously is see how Norwich do on Saturdays; it takes my mind off everything. It’s funny, the worse they do the more I find myself getting behind them.” Back at his Oxfordshire home that he shares with his partner Silvi and three children, he has a menagerie of pets that include four Alpacas, some ducks and a couple of ex-race horses although not overly keen on the latter, but at the suggestion of re-homing says, “ I couldn’t get rid of them as it would upset the donkey.” Then there’s the dogs; Sophie, his Labrador (Jack, his beloved black Labrador, who was around during this interview, is sadly no longer with us), and now Max and Sam, two Old English Sheep dog puppies, all three of which can be found at Lotus Racing’s Norfolk HQ. “When I got the job I thought what am I going to do with the dogs? Then thought, I’m the boss, they can come to work with me…” Although totally at odds with the clinical world of Formula One, which conjures up images of white overall clad technicians obsessing over minute details, seeing dogs padding around the factory makes it feel more friendly, more honest even, and emphasises the differences between Gasgoyne’s Lotus and the rest of the grid. Having had enough of the corporate bulls**t that goes hand in hand with Formula One, he’s keen to run the team his way; if that means bringing the dogs to work, then so be it. Don’t be fooled by this. He’s not running some dog and pony show, piggy backing onto the Lotus name to gain cachet however; Mike and his team mean business and are infectiously confident ahead of their debut season. This is F1, but not as you know it. “I think Formula One over the last 10 years has gone through a period where it was just a spending contest, the big manufacturers pouring huge amounts of money into it; it was unsustainable. My hope is that it goes back to something where you can be innovative and can challenge by being better and cleverer than the opposition, not just by spending more money. Hopefully, this is going to be a good era for Formula One, and for me personally.” Dream job then? “Yes, I think it is my dream job. I’m a Norfolk boy who went to school five miles down the road from where the factory is, so after 20 years in the business, to come back to Norfolk where I grew up, and bring Lotus back into Formula One, I think is a nice way to end your career.” (Incidentally, the factory is the old RTN building, which was used by the successful Audi and Bentley Le Mans teams, so as omens go, it’s a good one.)
“I think Formula One over the last 10 years has gone through a period where it was just a spending contest,”
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“It’s an iconic name in Formula One. It’s the fourth most successful team despite the fact that it hasn’t competed for 15 years.”
Above: A part built scale model of the Lotus' 2010 contender. Above Right: Mike Gascoyne talks with CEO Riad Asmat, during a vist to their wind tunnel facility in Italy.
But, before he retires, there’s still a lot of work to do. Just as his expectations of his team are high, so too are his aims for Lotus Racing, “There are four new teams in Formula One who have the same challenge that we do. Actually, we have even more of a challenge because we didn’t get our entry until three months after they did, but they are our direct competition so our aim has to be clear. We have to be the best of those new teams from day one. I think we have the package in place to do that, but by the end of the season, by the end of this year, I want to be beating several of the established teams. That’s a big ask… but first we’ve got to be the best of the new boys.” Does he think Chapman would approve? “I hope he would approve. As an engineer, its a great thing to look up to and live up to!” Some might say he even shares a similar temperament with the late Chapman, and is equally as demanding of his team. “I think I have a reputation for being quite fierce, and whilst I’m pretty direct with those I work with, if people are doing their job and things are happening then I’m very relaxed and let people get on and do things. Let me put it this way, if people have said they are going to do things, it’s best they’ve done them!” Before fixing me with a no doubt wellrehearsed stare that would make even the most confident person shrink back with the understanding that he’s not a man to mess with! He didn’t earn the nickname ‘Rockweiler’ without reason it seems. This management style obviously helped him land the role of Coxswain in the women’s college rowing team, whilst at Cambridge University, and steer them to success. “Yes, I think it did. I actually married one of the girls in the crew… I hated rowers actually… (laughter) Obviously I’m not the biggest guy in the world, nor was I light. You’re meant to be light! I was in the bar one night and I’d imbibed slightly one too many beverages, when two very tall, attractive ladies (he seemingly has a penchant about tall women) suggested that I might like to Cox for them. I decided that I would. Actually, a lot of Cox’ are chosen because they are small and useless (more laughter) or just because they are small!” Mike stands at just 5ft 3in tall, or as he puts it, “I’m one inch away from being a midget! Coxswains tend not to be sporty people, but I’d done loads of sailing and captained the rugby team. We ended up having a great time; head of the river in Cambridge, won lots of Regatta’s and other events. It was great fun, and shouting at four or
eight sweaty women all the time was brilliant!” When I mute that it sounds like another dream job, he agrees wholeheartedly. “Yeah, my absolute dream job, yeah, absolutely, and one that obviously stood me in good stead, didn’t it?” Starting an F1 team literally from scratch is one thing, but having the Lotus name must surely add to the pressure? “Yes, I think it does. It’s an iconic name in Formula One. It’s the fourth most successful team despite the fact that it hasn’t competed for 15 years. The Chapman family are very supportive of us and they’ve lent us some of the classic cars that are around the factory today, but I think it does give an added pressure. We aren’t just a new team that everyone expects to be at the back of the grid, we are Lotus! There’s the Lotus brand. They don’t want their brand being associated with a team at the back of the grid so there is that pressure, but it’s a good pressure.” So you’re rising to the challenge then? “Oh yes, bring it on!” I wondered if he is likely to be as controversial as his predecessor, who was famous for saying “Rules are for the interpretation of the wise and for the abeyance of fools”. Will you be pushing the boundaries of technology and possibly the rules, I asked? “Yeah, I mean you’ve got to interpret the rules and use the rules as you can. Colin was a great innovator, but obviously there was much more freedom back then. Now you have much bigger teams, everyone is optimising everything to the nth degree so you are probably less free to be able to do that, but hopefully we’ll be using our brains, and I think we are putting together a really good team of people here, people that I’ve worked with before and I know can do a great job, so I’m optimistic.” You have to admire his ambition and determination; it’s the last job he’s intending to have in Formula One before retiring, so he’s going to make damned sure he silences the doubters and goes out on top. Not that he’ll be signing up to a sedentary life once he’s retired. His partner Silvi says, “he wants to embark on a solo sailing trip around the world or hike up another mountain.” He’s the ultimate challenge junky then, which probably explains why he’s taken on the biggest challenge of them all, to fill the boots of possibly one of the most influential figures in the sport, ever! “Bring it on!” says Mike.
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The Chief Oper ating Officer
ou may not have heard of Keith Saunt, unless you are an avid follower of this magazine or within the inner circle of Formula One. To the uninitiated, Keith Saunt, in his role as Chief Operating Officer, makes the wheels go round within the team. Reporting directly to Chief Technical Director, Mike Gascoyne, Keith is responsible for managing the team’s facility in Hingham. He controls the budgets for the car build programme, and he’s responsible for all the systems, processes and people that are involved with producing and delivering their only product – formula one racing cars. He sets the schedules, the IT strategy and looks after the IT department, along with manufacturing, production, purchasing, and factory-based gearbox, subassembly and hydraulics staff. In essence, Keith is the metronome that keeps the team on time and in tune. He’s measured, considered and calm, or at least on the outside. “You need a good memory – a sense of humour and a good memory – to be a Chief Operating Officer” according to Keith. He should know, having carried out the same role at Red Bull Racing, and before that, headed up Manufacturing for Renault F1. By joining Lotus Racing, which is literally on his doorstep, his career has gone full circle; Keith started his Formula One career with none other than Team Lotus International, working closely with the late Colin Chapman’s son, Clive. But what coaxed Keith out of semi-retirement and back into the Formula One frying pan? “Press reports about a possible Lotus/ Lightspeed Formula One tie-up caught my attention towards the middle of 2009, which prompted me to talk to fellow Norfolk boy, Mike Gascoyne. As the real substance of the project started to take shape, my interest piqued. Being a local living just north of Norwich, the thought of a fully operational Formula One team virtually on my doorstep was too much of a temptation to resist.” “It was mid September when I arrived at our Hingham facility; there were three of us having a meeting in a factory of around 50,000 square feet. There was definitely a pervading feeling of the ‘Overlook Hotel’ to it. Resisting the urge to tricycle around the corridors shouting “Red Rum”, a full tour quickly demonstrated the potential of the site. There was a great deal of equipment and space, and ergonomically it all made sense. It was only the start, but it did look very promising indeed.” Fast forward... “The last few months have been the proverbial whirlwind. The machine and composite shops are flat out making car componentry, the building is alive with the sound of people making racing cars. I know it might sound like a cliché, but we really are one big family in our ongoing quest for Formula One success. All the major functions are now established and each new week brings more people and more experience into the building. With the start of the season nearly upon us I am confident that we are in the best shape that we could hope for. We started comparatively late and from scratch – for some of the bigger teams, up to 30% of ‘last year’s car’ gets carried over into the current contender. We don’t have a ‘last year’s car’, so every wing, wheel, bolt, o-ring, shim, and even sticker, is brand new – it’s quite a project! The task ahead is as big as it ever was but we now have a real, tangible tool-kit, in the form of experienced, talented staff doing what they do best, throughout the organisation. Considering the attitude, energy, and pure calibre of our team members across all departments, if you had asked me back in September where I might dare to see us operationally in early 2010, I would have been happy with where we are right now.”
Above & Below: Work carries on at a pace, despite the fact that some areas of the Lotus F1 HQ were still under construction.
“for some of the bigger teams, up to 30% of ‘last year’s car’ gets carried over into the current contender. We don’t have a ‘last year’s car’, so every wing, wheel, bolt, o-ring, shim, and even sticker, is br and new - it’s quite a project!”
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The Drivers New teams often find themselves with inexperienced, unknown drivers, but calibre is high in the Lotus camp…
eikki Kovalainen is a Finn with renewed vigour; optimistic about his future in Formula One and excited to be part of the Lotus’ rebirth… The past two seasons, however, haven’t gone Heikki’s way. Forced to play second fiddle to Champion Lewis Hamilton, it can’t have been easy accepting that the McLaren prodigy would have the better car, get mid-season upgrades, and anything else needed to aid him in winning the Championship. With Lotus Racing all that’s behind him. Chief Technical Officer, Mike Gascoyne, is quoted in Autosport as saying, “One of the first things Heikki asked for when we were discussing contracts was, ‘Can I have parity of equipment? Can I have parity in every respect, like with strategy? Will I get this? Will I get that?’ We were looking at him and saying, ‘well everyone gets that, what the hell are you talking about? That’s just the way it is in a properly run, English racing team.’” Before adding, “I think he’ll relax here and that will help him get the best out of himself. Whatever anyone says, it isn’t the easiest environment at McLaren.” That said, Heikki says the McLaren experience wasn’t all bad. “I learned many things from my time with McLaren, not only from Lewis but from the team, how they operate and how the team works. It’s a fantastic racing team and there’s a lot of power in the team; they have a big group of people and they can do a lot of things in a short time. The way that they go racing is impressive. They are very motivated, set very high targets; always aiming to be the best, so I learnt a lot and I can bring a lot to this team.“ So with a guarantee of equality between him and his more experienced team-mate, Jarno Trulli, he appears relaxed, re-energised, and pleased to be with a less restrictive, yet equally focused, team. Visibly, the changes in him are evident. The close-cropped militarystyle hair cut is gone in favour of a trendier, longer cut; he sports a sun tan and has a glint in his eyes which suggests he’s happier all round. “For me, it feels like a fresh start for my career. I’m very excited about the prospect of building a team, being part of it from the beginning. Mike Gascoyne and Tony Fernandes convinced me that they are very serious about the project. I think we can achieve some really good results in the medium term, so that’s very important to me, and I wanted to be part of it. I’m very positive, although I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead.” We may not yet have witnessed Heikki’s full potential in Formula One, despite him taking his maiden victory at Hungaroring last year, but if his form in the 2004 Race of Champions is anything to go by – he beat seven-times F1 World champion Michael Schumacher in the semi finals driving the same car, a Ferrari 360, and beat six-times World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb in the finals, to take overall
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Ut niam, sum quam, volut vel ero commy nostrud dolorem at. Ut nonsequiscil er augait erate commy nim iriustrud tate conse voloreet veratie diamconse delisit utpat lam vero con ut aliquamet num quam vel ut adigna feum volor aut ilisi et, velis dolobor victory – he certainly has it in him! It’ll interesting seeacipsustio how the tionsequatie et,be volessi smoluttonos pairing get on once thedolorpercin season is inercipis full swing. nulla facinim ex eriustrud Talking of which, Mikemodiat. Gascoyne has saidam thatdolumsa he wants to be at Duisl utem ndignim vel the forefront of the fourdonew teams, and by the end of the season, consent lobortinim dolore magna feum running midfield. Does exeros he feel nisit that’s “For sure, we need lorrealistic? ipis alit la commolutem vel to be ahead of the other new teams. I think weacipit needaliquat to show dit etum nulput laor ameverybody alisis that we are racing everyamet, weekend a professional group of dunt cortielike conulput alit utpat volore people; that’s the first target.” people around Mike volenibh The eumtechnical etum veniam delis ea feugiamet are very strong, so I would be surprised the careugiam they have designed laorem zzrit er sitiflandip et, quip etum isn’t instantly reliable and performs well. But niametu something venibh enim reasonably in vullaorerit eniam would be wrong if we were as quick as praessequat the McLarensipis or doloreet Ferraris. It’s msandit aut aut not realistic. It would certainly them a shock wouldn’t it…?” ullamcogive rtionsectem numsand reetumsan (laughter). “It certainly would!” said Heikki. hendre diamconse ming exer sustin utat. Heikki may have his work for the ahead, but so too Putecut minout henit, sim season quat, sum niatin has his English girlfriend, Caroline Hyde. Then again she has studied utpat, suscip eugiation hent pratie sports psychology… “She helpscommy me a lot. tolerated me really magna nosShe’s aliquipsum illam well (much laughter) sovulput a lot ofluptatue credit goes to her.zzrit, I don’t think many veliquisim quat lam, people would have taken all the feelings thatdunt I’ve had and the ups commolut vel ut velis illaoreet wissi. and downs. She can beSustis quite exero neutralodio andelit knows when to ut justwis leave lutpatumsan dunt me alone or when I need liftingvelent up, she’s been fantastic. I think dolore luptatumsan vendiat. Um iustrud it definitely helps that she understands psychology exero consenim sports volorem ad tet vel and utat.is interested in that area. She’s also tat, studied criminology, so vel she’s Faciduissi qui enim exeraestie ut really interested in CSI. Sometimes watches really hardcore TV exercinshe cidunt numsome zzrit vel ulput prat diam, programme showing bones andiuscin cuts.ute She’s like, ‘look sim ver magnim zzritatvelthat’, ulputand I’m like, ‘no thank you.’ She’s been my biggest supporter!” lore doloreetum dolore min ut nonsed dit lummy nulput wis do conulluptat. Ut ipis dolessi smolenit aut aciliqu ismoluptatie
“I’m very excited about the prospect of building a team, being part of it from the beginning.”
arno Trulli was probably the least surprising signing of the 2010 Formula One drivers; Jarno and Chief Technical Director, Mike Gascoyne, are known to have developed a good rapport when they were both at Toyota. As soon as announcementswere made about the forming of Lotus Racing, Jarno’s name was immediately linked to the team; and sure enough, the race winner was pencilled in very early on by Gascoyne, who was quoted in F1 Racing magazine as saying, “We’d always targeted Jarno because the one thing you know is how quick the car can go at 3pm on Saturday – being quick over one lap is what Jarno does. It’s a big ask for him to step to the back of the grid, but it’s a great sign that he believes in us.” Jarno seems equally pleased to be joining the team. “It was quite a difficult situation at the start of November with my former team withdrawing from Formula One, but I was convinced I would stay in Formula One. I was in contact with Mike about the possibility of joining the new Lotus team and it quickly became clear that it would be a very good opportunity for me. I have been in Formula One for many years, but there is something extremely motivating about helping to build a team from the ground level up, especially one as special as this. It’s a big brand. In the past they’ve done great things and now they are back in Formula One, so it’s a big responsibility.” Does it add to the pressure? “Yes, but I’m used to that and I am really looking forward to the challenge.” Despite wishing to stay within the sport, Jarno did take the opportunity to test one of Michael Waltrip Racing’s Toyota Nascar sprint cup cars, at the end of last year, along with Mika Salo. Of the experience he said, “It went really well, I really enjoyed it. It was a very different experience from Formula One. I had a great day driving that car. It is part of my experience; not many people have done it. Asked whether he could see himself swapping formulas one day he says, “Racing is racing, no matter what you race. At the moment I’m committed to Formula One and Lotus Racing, but you never know what will happen in the future.” As a Formula One veteran, having worked for Minardi, Prost, Jordan, Renault, and latterly, Toyota for over a decade, Jarno brings an experienced head to the team as, unlike his younger team-mate Hekki Kovalainen, who is entering his fourth season, there can’t be much that Jarno hasn’t done, seen or heard in the world of Formula One. One thing apparent when you speak to him, however, is that he is clearly frustrated by his past form. He has only ever won one Grand Prix race, back in 2004 at Monaco with Renault, which probably explains why his favorite memories still come from go-karting, and the German Formula Three Championship. “I had the chance to fight for the top and eventually succeeded. In Formula One I’m still looking for a good chance…” Something that fellow racer, Michael Schumacher, rarely has to deal with nowadays! Was Jarno surprised to hear he was coming back? “I think it’ll be good for Formula One and interesting…” How well do you think he’ll do? “It’s difficult to say, but I guess he’ll struggle a little bit to get back to racing rate; but apart from that he’ll be back on pace. He’s lucky enough to be driving for the World Championship winning team… he’s got an easy task ahead.” So what of Jarno’s reputation for being a truly spectacular qualifier, can he offer any insight? “No,” he says with a slight
“there is something extremely motivating about helping to build a team from the ground level up, especially one as special as this.” laugh. “I ask myself that a lot!” Another frustration is being required to give press interviews, although if you ask any driver, they all say dealing with the media and sponsors is the worst part of the job. On the day I met him, he certainly gave the impression that he’d rather be anywhere else than talking to me. If he doesn’t want to answer a question, he won’t, simple as that, but I’d like to bet his overall demeanour would vastly improve if he was given a car that would allow him to realise his full potential. To be fair, I don’t think I saw the best side of Jarno. By the time I was introduced to him he’d already had to deal with the tedium of a three-hour long race-seat fitting, with attendant media, and given four other press interviews. He was also tired, after spending a no-doubt sleepless night in a nearby hotel. This made me recall a funny conversation during my time in Puglia. According to my femmina Italiana, “one of the most frustrating things about Italian men is that, whenever you meet them, they always say ‘I’m tired!’” Whether this is true or not, I couldn’t possibly say. There was, however, a definite sense that he’d been here a thousand times, knew the drill, and just wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible so that he could return to his young family; and then retreat to his private vineyard in the Abruzzo region of his Italian homeland, before the season kicks off royally. By his own admission, he is “a quiet man, who likes simple things,” albeit with big engines… Once the tape is turned off however, you soon see a completely different side to the Italian. Ask him about his vineyard and he becomes a lot more ebullient. As the grandson of a notable wine producer, Jarno took the decision to follow in his footsteps in 2000 by buying the 32-hectare Podere Castorani Estate, which sits on foothills overlooking Pescara and the Adriatic, and produces around 800,000 bottles of prestigious Italian wine per year. “It’s now quite an established wine producer,” says Jarno. “I’ve always sought perfection in everything I do – in a racing car where split seconds make the difference, and in the vineyard where it takes years of hard work to give our wine it’s special character and originality.” It’s a sentiment that could be applied to his new team. Lotus Racing has all the ingredients of a great team, they have heritage, passion, determination, skill and tons of experience, but ultimately, only time will tell if it will be another great vintage.
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Mud and Ruts Is there a place in the fuel-starved ‘teenies’ for the world’s best 4x4? Writer: Suzannah Sorrell
and Rover has had a tough time of late. With the dismal economy, the ‘greenies’ continued war on SUVs, and the government’s emissions tax, it can’t have been a bundle of fun down at the Gaydon factory. Until, that is, the heavens opened at the beginning of the decade, dumping tons of white powdery stuff over the entire country. With severe weather warnings in place, lack of grit and inches of snow, Land Rover and the rest of the 4x4 brigade must have had a quiet laugh to themselves as they drove around with relative ease, whilst the G-whizzies lost their fizz. The question is, will this brief period of respite mean that the latest Supercharged Sport will be saved from extinction? Probably not, but we thought we’d take it for a spin anyway. The last time I properly drove the Supercharged Sport was when it first burst onto the scene in 2005, and to be honest I’ve been in no hurry to drive it again. I still have vivid recollections of a bright yellow rape field, followed
by that horrible stomach-churning feeling you get when you don’t think you’re going to make it round the corner because you’re in too hard. I was up in the North Norfolk Coast, where lots of the so-called ‘Chelsea tractors’ studiously ignore mud and cud. The more time I spent with the vehicle, the more I found myself asking what is the point of a super-quick road-going 4x4? And, do we really need it? Although the first question remains unanswered, the second is really aimed at our German counterparts who obviously felt we needed a ballistic tractor when BMW launched the X5 in 1999, spawning our SUV obsession. Since then we’ve witnessed a game of one-upmanship amongst the manufacturers, with each producing ever more powerful versions; the most notable SUVs being VW Touareg V12, Porsche’ Cayenne GTS, Audi’ QS7, and finally, Range Rover’s Supercharged Sport. Nowadays, with even bigger engines, you can expect 0-60 times to be as low as 5.7 seconds from the GTS and 5.9 seconds from the Sport.
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To put this into perspective, if you took the 0-60 times of a 1987 Lotus Esprit (5.4 secs), a 1985 Lamborghini Countach (4.9 secs) and a 1989 911 Turbo (6.7 secs), and compared them against the new breed of hyper SUVs, you can begin to understand just how quick they really are. And, unlike the sports cars, you can carry a Labrador, luggage and laptop, even in the snow! But what of the CO2? All are working like crazy to bring emissions down, but let’s be honest – you’re never going to turn a barge into a delicate dancer. Off road capabilities? This is where the Sport wins hands down over its rivals. They are absolutely outstanding off-road, as they should be given Land Rover’s heritage. Actually, I should clarify that last statement. The Diesel has awe-inspiring off-road capabilities, and the Supercharged Sport has been transformed by some exceptionally clever engineering. I know this having spent two days up in the wilds of Scotland with Land Rovers’ finest, driving both the V8 Supercharged 5.0 Sport and the TDV6 Diesel. My time with the Supercharged Sport was brief to say the least and mainly on tarmac, but long enough to ascertain that with its new engine, some chassis refinements, and the addition of Adaptive Dynamics – a system that uses predictive electronic dampers in
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place of conventional ones – means handling is greatly improved and there’s less likelihood of the stomach churning moments I mentioned earlier. So much so, that on a wet handling pad you could throw it around with all the exuberance of a 12-year-old with a swing ball and it dealt with it admirably, although it was at speeds of five miles an hour! Mostly I drove the 3.0 diesel because this was the version Land Rover gave me to drive, across vast muddy fields, through woodland and in some fast flowing salmon rivers, the type that costs thousands of pounds to fish for a day, (hopefully without a bunch of ‘Landies’ disturbing the fish!) without so much as a wet toe. Hour upon hour of mud-flinging fun was had across some rather splendid grand Scottish estates, up some fairly steep banks and down some sheer drops, where no man or vehicle had feared (or been daft enough) to tread previously let alone a Sport! After two days of demanding off-road excursions, the mud was washed off and I headed to the rather trendy business hotel Dakota, where I met up with our photographer, who’d ever so kindly brought up Ferrari’s new California for me to test. The diesel Sport would now be doubling up as our photographic support vehicle, much to the delight of our photographer.
'With severe weather warnings in place, lack of grit and inches of snow, Land Rover and the rest of the 4x4 brigade must have had a quiet laugh to themselves as they drove around with relative ease, whilst the G-whizzies lost their fizz.'
Apparently the self-levelling suspension creates less vibration, making car-to-car photography a doddle. Oh, and the split tailgate makes it less dangerous, as he can close the boot, flip open the top half and take a snap of a following car, lessening the risk of him falling out – a serious occupational hazard! In a health and safety-obsessed nation such as ours, this is obviously a serious consideration. Why didn’t I take the V8 I hear you cry? Believe me I wanted to, but as more and more of you are opting for the filthy black liquor I thought I’d better test it fully, and besides, the V6 has received a lot of development and is therefore pretty impressive. Although the performance is completely different from the petrol, the silky smooth V6 doesn’t leave you feeling inadequate. The thing it lacks and needs badly is the electronic variable damper system. That, my friends, is what makes all the difference, and ordinarily I’m not the kind of girl swayed by electronic wizardry to keep things in a straight line or around corners, but on something as large and as fast as the Sport, it needs it. Otherwise you’ll find yourself tunnelling along at stupid miles an hour… Whether we need a 4x4 to out-sprint a Porsche is remains questionable however.
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The Californian Conundrum If we were living in Dickensian times, the floor would be strewn with paper and I’d be hunched over my desk, quill in one hand, the other subconsciously scratching my furrowed brow… Writer: Suzannah Sorrell Photographer: Jarowan Power
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'Usually it’s easy to write about a Pr ancing Horse, you just put ‘It’s awesome.’
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n 2010, however, the reality is somewhat different. A laptop replaces quill and paper and three, okay five, possibly six iterations of the same story exist within a folder marked California. That’s six unflattering articles about Ferrari’s latest GT. How can this be? Night after night I ask myself, ‘why am I not impressed with Ferrari’s new offering? Usually it’s easy to write about a Prancing Horse, you just put ‘It’s awesome.’ Maybe, despite my electronic paper, I am old school at heart, or maybe I’m suffering from Ferrari fatigue, given I’ve tested/written about all of the current models during the past 18 months, having previously only driven one in ten years. Perhaps that’s what they mean by ‘too much of a good thing…’ Possibly, it’s because I’ve already found my perfect Ferrari – the formidable 430 Scuderia – and nothing quite lives up to it. (Although I suspect the new 458 might, but I won’t find out until Autumn.) I suspect, however, it has more to do with the fact that one of the greatest sports car manufacturers of all time has produced a seemingly dumbed-down ‘female friendly’ (sorry chaps) car; complete with rapid (14 seconds) electric folding roof, an essential female requirement if ever there was one (think of the nails darling!). Trouble is, knowing the California was designed with me in mind I immediately want to hate it. Irrational? Probably! I forget that I’m in the minority. I spend most of my days testing cars. I don’t do fashion; too tall for most brands. I’m not interested in the latest handbags or hairstyles. I could get into shoes… So cars it is. I’m not into posing in them, however. Take me to a track and I’ll be in my element. I loathe traction control, ESP and overly assisted steering. I prefer that only the rear wheels do the driving and the engine be in the middle, but as I said, I’m in the minority, especially among my sex. I still recall a conversation with a nurse at my doctor’s surgery. “I’m thinking about changing my Audi TT for a Mercedes SLK, but I’m worried that it’s not four wheel drive… Are they safe?” She asked, “Well, I had one and I’m still here!” I replied. Let me be clear, it’s not the car per se. The California is a great modern sportscar. Easy to drive with candyflosslight steering, a raucous 4.7 litre direct-injection V8 engine beneath its bonnet, (a first for a front engine Ferrari) and an intoxicating engine note. Perfect for Rodeo Drive and Route 66! The California is also relatively comfortable, has some stunning interior design features and, of course, there’s its concertina roof, similar to that offered by Mercedes – which when opened within an underground carpark, can reduce friends to quivering wrecks, as they witness it unfold. “You wouldn’t believe how close you just came to hitting that bollard…!”
With the traction turned off, it can reward hooligans like myself with perfect power slides, and it looks, for all intents and purposes, like a so called man’s Ferrari, whether you like the styling or not. So what’s the problem…? It just doesn’t make you feel all tingly inside, that’s all. The Ferrari California doesn’t scare you, doesn’t turn you into a drooling loon – I mean, its got cruise control for pete’s sake! No, it just goes incredibly fast and turn’s heads, like every other Ferrari, which I’m sure is what the average Ferrari owner wants, and in that the California delivers in spades. Which brings me back to my point, it’s not the car that’s at fault, nor Ferrari, as it turns out, although Pininfarina, responsible for all exterior designs of Ferrari, should hang their head in shame for its enormous ugly derrière. (Perhaps they should have consulted with Ian Callum over at Jaguar, given he and his team are responsible for some of the best rumps in the business!) You see, Ferrari don’t build cars that no one desires, they build to demand. They are in the enviable position that every luxury goods manufacturer would give their eye teeth for, they pre-sell every car they make. You won't see a disused runway with hundreds of unsold Ferraris anytime soon. The California is what the new breed of Ferrari customer wants. Apparently, it’s no fun having a sports car that’s challenging to drive; one that threatens to spit you off the road should you brake mid-corner, or one that gets wedged on sleeping policemen. Nor is it fun when the clutch cooks itself in heavy traffic leaving owners red faced and fuming, in full view of envious onlookers who gleefully film them on mobile phones, ready to upload to YouTube at the first opportunity – once they’ve stopped laughing that is. No, what the new supercar customer evidently wants is German reliability and modern technology, with Italian prowess. It’s out with the manual gearbox, heavy clutches and race-style interiors, and in with dual-clutch transmission, traction control, launch control and overassisted steering, heated seats, neck warmers and swathes of leather... And who can blame them? They’ve got used to German offerings that deliver flawless performance. What they lack, however, besides soul, is the prestige associated with the prancing horse badge. With the California, Ferrari might finally be able to penetrate the lucrative Mercedes SL/SLK, Porsche 911 and Aston Martin territory, which in turn will ingratiate them further with Ferrari’s emerging market, women. In particular, Chinese women, who view a Ferrari as the Yves Saint Laurent suit of old. Lets face it, no brilliant cut diamond, Ginza Tanaka ‘platinum’ handbag costing £1 million, or couture outfit, could ever scream ‘I’ve made it’ quite like a Ferrari does.
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© Leo Fuchs / www.leofuchs.com
An icon, an actor, and a race car driver... Writer: Scott Smart
year on from his death, an exhibition of photographs shown at the Proud gallery tries to add insight to the person that was Paul Newman, the person that we saw and knew onscreen, and also to hopefully show just a hint of the person behind those piercing blue eyes. It intrigued me to see how much you can learn from a character by simply looking at static images, and Paul Newman is a man of motorsport so I like to feel that I may have the ability to understand him on some level. Let me explain why... I come from a background of motorsport with a Dad who has won many times at International level, and who in fact put Ducati on the road map back in 1972.
My uncle also happens to be a multiple World champion. He is the late Barry Sheene, one of British Motorsport’s icons. Britain aside, he was one of the most famous and well publicised motorsport figures in the World; depending on your age you may or may not know that. With this pedigree, it's not surprising that I also race bikes and have spent a few seasons in the British Superbike Championship, gamely trying to get back to the same place as quickly as possible time and time again, which is the aim of most forms of track motorsport distilled to its most simple element. Growing up amongst these ‘stars’, who were simply dad and uncle to me, I've had a glimpse at the difference between the person
and the persona, and I must say that they are not always the same. You always have a feeling about someone, and with my limited knowledge of Newman my assumptions would be of a focused and dedicated person, and a person with powerful convictions. It is, after all, these attributes that characterise most successful sportsmen and businessmen – people who are prepared to take a chance but are also driven and focused when things aren’t going their way. Looking at still photographs however, you never quite know if you are seeing the real person, a pose, or simply what the photographer wants you to see. I guess then that it also pays to consider the man behind the lens. He was Austrian Leo Fuchs, a famed Hollywood producer who had actually arrived in the states as an aspiring photographer. Starting his career in photography by making his first sale at the tender age of 14, he moved through the army as a photographer, and soon moved into documenting the events during the process of filmmaking. Helping establish his international repute, he earned the trust of those he worked with by allowing them to see the shots before they were sent to his agent and syndicated around the world. This resulted in him being one of the rare people allowed access to the more intimate and private side of the stars lives, and he got to capture real glimpses of his subjects. These photographs, amongst many others, were hidden away in boxes for over 30 years and were rediscovered eight years ago by Fuchs’ son. There were also shots of other stars of the era, including Marlon Brando and Audrey Hepburn. Apparently Fuchs’ son was shocked, as he only knew his father as a producer. Alexandre Fuchs will never get to ask his father about it now as Leo Fuchs passed away in January of 2009. The shots included in the exhibition were mainly captured during the filming of Exodus in 1960. This film meant a lot to Newman. Being Jewish, with Polish, Hungarian and Slovakian heritage, it made a connection for him. Newman played the role of Ari Ben Canaan, a Palestinian Jew, who helped many homeless Jews in Cyprus escape to Palestine, and forced the hand of the United Nations into creating the state of Palestine (little did he know how much trouble that would cause later; I am married to an Egyptian Arab!). Apparently Director Otto Preminger, a Jew himself, cast Newman in Exodus because he wanted someone of Jewish heritage who didn’t 'look Jewish'. The film was shot mostly in Acre (Israel), Jerusalem and in Cyprus, and the photographs include both on and off set shots. It’s the off set shots that resonate the most. Many shots include his second wife, Joanna Woodward, and show him exploring places significant to his cultural background. He looks almost shy in front of the camera – although he claimed himself it was wariness – yet Leo Fuchs had obviously become a trusted and valued friend to even be allowed access to these moments. It seems Newman was a person who valued his privacy – he didn’t allow much access to his personal life, yet he genuinely lived by his convictions. Upon meeting his second wife for the second time he realised he was meant to be with her, and he was until the day he died. His powerful convictions also led his political activism, having been a staunch democrat and civil rights activist. His business acumen seemed astute too; his company, Newman’s Foods, being very
© Leo Fuchs / www.leofuchs.com
successful and donating all post-tax profits to charity. Newman said of it “It’s all been a bad joke that just ran out of control. I got into food for fun but the business got a mind of its own. Now – my good Lord – look where it has gotten me. My products are on supermarket shelves, in cinemas, in the theatre – and they say show business is odd. Once you’ve seen your face on a bottle of salad dressing, it’s hard to take yourself seriously!” Add this to the other large charitable donations Newman made and no one could have failed to take him seriously. His racing career was also enviable. He didn’t start racing until he was 37 and was still racing at the tender age of 80. His last win was at Daytona Raceway Florida in 1995 aged 70! But even his personal career was overshadowed by the efforts of his Indycar Team – Newman/Haas Racing. As a team they became one of Indycars most famous and successful teams, much like its founder! Newman loved racing as much as his wife didn’t, and he said on the matter “I like racing but pictures and food are more thrilling. I can’t give them up. In racing you can be certain to the last thousandth of a second that someone is the best, but with a film or a recipe there is no way of knowing how all the ingredients will work out in the end. The best can turn out to be awful and the worst can be fantastic. Cooking is like performing and performing like cooking.” So... a man who relished a challenge without limits. Newman’s acting career outlasted even his own predictions. After announcing his retirement in 1995 and again in 2007, he continued working narrating the film Dale, about the Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt. His voice can also be heard this year as a narrator to the documentary ‘The Meerkats’. Newman was due to make his stage directing debut in 2008 but stepped down due to illness and he passed away last year after privately fighting to the end. I will never know Paul Newman, but in all his deeds, he seemed a great man. And after all, he himself said, “A man can only be judged by his actions, and not by his good intentions or his beliefs.” All the images shown, and more are available to buy from the 'Remembering Paul Newman' exhibition – a man of great deeds, a family man and an inspiration. Proud Gallery , 32 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6BP www.proud.co.uk
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Three points of contact
Chicken & other birds Former Masterchef co-presenter and judge, John Torode, is so passionate about English birds that he’s dedicated a 256-page book to them. We are, of course, talking about birds of the feathery kind. ‘Chicken and Other Birds’ celebrates all things fowl and is a comprehensive collection of recipes and advice, to give you the confidence to turn the fantastic poultry and game we are blessed with in this country into something delicious to eat. “Low in fat, full of flavour and a superb source of protein, chicken is arguably the most commonly eaten meat, yet despite this many lack confidence when it comes to preparing and cooking chicken,” according to John. Whether its guinea fowl or quail, pigeon, partridge or turkey, his recipes are down-to-earth, tasty and easy to make. From the Jewish family staple chicken soup to spicy guinea fowl jungle curry, spatchcock poussin with garlic to demonstrating that turkey isn’t just for Christmas, ‘Chicken and Other Birds’ includes classic and contemporary dishes from around the world. “For me, the best poultry and game comes from Britain, so lets make best use of it!” says John. Published by: www.quadrille.co.uk
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Three Points of Contact is a dramatic series of portraits that reveal how the world’s greatest drivers use their eyes, hands, and feet to control their cars, outpace their rivals, and become champions. Renowned director and photographer Jeff Zwart created these images at The Race of Champions, held in Paris and London, where top drivers from Formula One, the World Rally Championship, NASCAR, X-Games, and other series, compete directly against each other, driving identical cars. Each driver is recorded in amazingly vivid detail, from seven-times Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher to NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson. Zwart’s meticulously produced portraits focus on the eyes, hands, and feet, the three points of contact that every driver employs. The book’s large 13-inch by 11-inch format and high-quality printing bring out all
el mir age
of the nuances of Zwart’s close-up, de-saturated color photography. Each one of the 24 drivers in Three Points of Contact is profiled in six-pages of photographs and commentary. These profiles include a statistical career summary, as well as personal observations on how the three points of contact define each one’s driving and success. A concluding chapter presents The Race of Champions in words and photographs. Other drivers featured in the book include Formula One stars David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Heikki Kovalainen, and eight-times Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, X-Games and Rally America Champion Travis Pastrana, and 1995 World Rally Champion Colin McRae. This limited-edition book is just one of 1,500 copies, and is presented in a handsome cloth-covered slipcase.
Eighty miles outside of Los Angeles, on the edge of the Mojave Desert, sits a barren, dry lake bed known as El Mirage. For more than 75 years, its five miles of uninterrupted expanse has been the holy ground for land speed racers.
Published by David Bull Publishing, via: www.haynes.co.uk
El Mirage is a personal project by renowned commercial and editorial photographer Lee Powers. The book documents the place, the people and, of course, the cars. The book is available to buy directly from Lee Powers, and is exclusive to 1º readers. Just mention us when ordering. For more information e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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If you go down to the woods tonight You're sure of a big surprise... but there won't be any teddy bears, just the odd muddy fox... Writer: Suzannah Sorrellâ€ƒ Photographer: Jarowan Power
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f you go down in the woods tonight, you're sure of a big surprise… Especially if you happen upon the headlights of one or more of the muddy two-wheeled human-powered machines that will be whizzing around Eastnor Castle Deer Park, or Thetford Forest, this year. Mountain biking was made popular in California in the mid 1970’s by a few dedicated cycling enthusiasts, the most notable being: Gary Fisher, a bicycle racer turned founder of Fisher Mountain Bikes; Charlie Kelly, a rock band roadie turned promoter of the Repack Downhill Race, the first and allegedly greatest mountain bike event ever; Joe Breeze, a bicycle designer and bicycling advocate; and finally Tom Ritchey, a bicycle frame builder and founder of Ritchey Design. After meeting one another in Marin County during 1976, these pioneers began laying the foundations of what would become the worldwide craze known today as Mountain Biking. In their day they generally used highly modified Schwin Excelsors; mostly five or ten-speeds with front and rear drum brakes, motorcycle brake levers, motocross bars, and the biggest knobby tyres available. A few reactionaries clung onto their one or two-speed coaster brake machines, but drum brakes and ten speeds were all the rage. These off-road machines were referred to as Clunkers, Bombers or Cruisers, and only a few hundred of the advanced models existed at that time. The term ’mountain bike’ had yet to be coined. These young bicycle experimentalists belonged to the same breed that skied down cliffs, jumped out of airplanes, or rode skateboards down Everest; they developed their own unique athletic challenge, a race known only to a few dozen and referred to as ‘Repack.’ Their racecourse was 1300 feet of elevation in the two miles from top to bottom. In addition to its incredible steepness it featured off-camber blind corners, deep erosion ruts, and a liberal sprinkling of fist-sized rocks. The name ‘Repack’ stemmed from the coaster brake era; after a trip down the hill all the grease in a coaster brake would turn to smoke, so you had to repack the hub before each run. Repack events were not scheduled and were held only when the cosmic alignment was right! According to Charlie Kelly, it would take them around 35 minutes of hard climbing, scrambling and pushing, until they reached the top of the hill, where the road they were on intersected with another rarely used fire road. They would be met by a further fifteen or more riders, which included a couple of ‘high-energy’ ladies. The road became a tangled jumble of modified machinery as riders piled their bikes around the intersection whilst waiting for their allocated start times; depending on their experience and how well they placed in the previous event would ascertain when this would be. A respectable time to complete the course was five minutes, but when the authorities complained and successfully managed to stop the Repack in 1984, Gary Fisher’s time of 4 minutes and 22 seconds was the fastest, and still stands today. That was then, but today, due in part to the aforementioned bicycle-engineers, mountain bikes are more sophisticated than ever, featuring lightweight frames, suspension folks, disc brakes, and some with as many as 27 speeds… The ultimate test for anyone seeking challenge and competition is Mountain Mayhem, a 24-hour race held annually since 1998, that usually takes place on the weekend nearest to midsummer around the
grounds of Eastnor Castle in the Malverns. Completing the eight-mile off-road course for 24-hours requires excellent fitness, stamina, and if part of a team, strong teamwork. The race is open to anyone who wishes to ride in it, but be warned..! According to organiser Patrick Adams, the event sold out in two days last year, which saw an estimated 2500 riders take part. “Since it’s beginning, the event has grown and developed into the biggest 24-hour mountain bike endurance event in the world.” If all that sounds like utter madness, then perhaps the 12-hour Dusk ‘til Dawn race is more your style. Staged against the fantastic backdrop of Thetford Forest in Norfolk, this grass-routes competition is a real hoot, and there is a great feeling of camaraderie amongst the competitors, whether you are a seasoned pro or a complete novice. Although only 12 hours compared to Mountain Mayhem’s 24, it still tests rider’s skills to the absolute max; well Marin Mountain Bikes wouldn’t sponsor if it was a namby pamby event now would they? The course covers more than 11 miles of fire roads and flowing single-track intertwining through the forest – a 'good' average lap time is around 50 minutes. If you feel up for the challenge of either of these events, log onto www.osmountainmayhem.co.uk or www.thetfordmtbracing.com You’ll be pleased to know that you can enter individually or as teams of four, five and ten. If we were doing it, and we may well be, we’d opt for the latter!
‘These young bicycle experimentalists belonged to the same breed that skied down cliffs, jumped out of airplanes, or rode sk ateboards down Everest’ Right: Man, woman and machine are pushed to the limits after twelve hours in the saddle.
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Boot Camp Writer: Greg Hardesâ€ƒ Photographer: Darren Gee
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was intrigued when my lovely editor suggested I take part in a Boot Camp. “A Boot Camp? I rarely wear boots, but do enjoy camping,” I said. The name conjures up images of bunks, boot-polish and berating – and a large alpha-male screaming unrealistic demands for one more push-up, his pectorals ripping through his tight t-shirt as he soaks you in spittle; his eyes bulging, his teeth grinding, as a giant vein throbs from the side of his tree-trunk neck. I think of the various TV shows in which celebrities sacrifice their dignity in an attempt to lose a few pounds and win the viewing public’s affection; and poor Rik Waller, standing on the scales for the first time in ten years, acting surprised that his body mass index is comparable to that of a walrus. The military way of life is something Joe Public rarely gets to experience. The peak physical condition a soldier must maintain is admirable, and there is something to be said for their strict, disciplined way of life. However, I have never seriously considered signing up, as I don’t really fancy killing anyone, so I wondered how I would handle someone barking instructions at me. Many people resent being told what to do by an authoritative figure, and I am no exception. The concept of total subservience in any situation is unnerving, as it goes against our fundamental principles of individuality and freedom. Whoever would be putting us through our paces for the weekend was going to have to be more than the simple-minded Sergeant Slaughter of my visions. As it turned out, he looked uncannily similar. Buzz-cut hair-style, black muscle-hugging t-shirt, khaki cargo pants and shoes you could style your hair in, he looked like an over-sized Action Man. Even his name had a regimented ring to it – John Stratford. Everything about John screamed ‘military’, yet within a few hours in his presence one noticed signs of a subtler personality than his soldierly demeanor suggested. His stern, even voice carried warm undertones. His eyes seemed to constantly be on the lookout for signs of fatigue or disillusionment from his trainees. Whenever this was apparent, John applied his uncanny ability to identify each individual’s strengths and weaknesses to good effect. When I mentioned I was planning on hiking in Norway, the PTI told me of the Royal Marine training undertaken in the Arctic Circle. As part of the course the trainees, after cross-country skiing all day, would have to cut a hole in the ice and jump fully clothed into the sub-zero abyss. From that point on, the pain induced by the relentless exercise seemed less significant. Whether it was a beach circuit, tug-of-war, a Marine endurance course or simply an insane number of push-ups, everything carried with it an intensity few of us had experienced before. But however excruciating the burn was, I knew that the Marines had been through infinitely worse, not just in battle but also in preparation for such situations. I developed a stoic resolve that allowed me to push myself past the pain barrier. Upon looking around at my comrades, I could see the exact same determined appearance etched across their faces. It was as if we all wanted to prove that we had what it takes to be a Royal Marine. We secretly wanted John to take us to one side and say, “listen son, I think you’d be an asset to Team Marine – your country needs you.” I would of course graciously decline, sighting commitments and various career aspirations, but thanking him for the offer. At this point John would try to talk me round, before reluctantly accepting my decision and making clear that the door would always be open for someone as strong and resilient as myself. My fellow civilians and I got a taste of the military experience for a weekend, albeit diluted by the comfortable Devonshire accommodation, good quality cuisine, and the distinct lack of any firearms, tanks or grenades. You could of course go to the Caribbean or book a spa break in Sardinia for a more relaxing experience, but if it’s action, adventure and extreme muscle fatigue you’re looking for, then look no further than the Ultimate Boot Camp. I’m off to have an ice bath before settling down to laugh at re-runs of celebrity fit club, and watch The Waller attempt in vain to run the length of a football pitch. Entertainment at it’s finest!
Above: Greg demonstrates his true grit and determination, but resists the temptation of a buzz-cut hair style!
‘I developed a stoic resolve that allowed me to push myself past the pain barrier. Upon looking around at my comr ades, I could see the exact same determined appear ance etched across their faces.’
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There are two ways to climb Kilimanjaro â€“ the tourist way or the local way. Our intrepid hiker chose the local wayâ€Ś Writer / Photographer: Barney Hatt
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t’s 3.30am and I’m woken by the sound of footsteps approaching the tent. Woken is an optimistic description since it implies sleep. This has been largely absent for the past four nights thanks to the combined efforts of altitude, cold, uneven ground, and, most irritatingly, the contented snores of my tent companion, Anna, who appears wonderfully oblivious to the discomfort. The footsteps belong to Mayunga, our beaming guide, and this morning he comes bearing gifts in the form of hideously sweet tea and stale biscuits. The purpose of this special treat is to provide fuel for our imminent ascent of The Western Breach, a somewhat precarious 800 metre scramble to the crater rim of Mount Kilimanjaro. I’m worried. In pure mountaineering terms the Western Breach is a piece of cake. It’s not technical. It doesn’t require the use of ropes and can usually be scaled in three to four hours, but I’m no professional
mountaineer. I’m a tourist who’s already weakened by the early symptoms of altitude sickness, and one who has just the right amount of inexperience and summit ambition to get himself into real trouble. But hey, what’s the worst that can happen? Hmmm… It’s about minus 20’C but, thankfully, a windless and stunningly clear night. Having made the strenuous transition from sleeping bag to Homo erectus (just pulling on boots at this height is a dizzying affair) I’m now free to wander the rock strewn camp. The moon is nearly full and bright enough to navigate the sloping ground without a head torch. As I look down the cloud layer that shrouds the lower slopes is just discernable, a distant grey sea lapping at the shores of this conical island; above me the solid blackness of a wall of scree and rock crowned by the silvery lips of moonlit glaciers far above. I feel very small, but quite intoxicated by the remoteness of my position.
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Along with fellow climbers Steve, Julee, and assistant guides Daniel and Moses, we start to ascend and I immediately feel exhausted. A slow shuffle is all that’s required on this loose shale. I’m keen to instigate a calming rhythm of one step/one breath, but it only takes a small stumble or a slightly increased stride to clear a rock and that threshold is breached, leaving me hunched over my walking poles, nauseous and gasping at the ground. Under casual but persistent interrogation the day before, Mayunga eventually conceded that the upper section of the Breach was “a little steep”, and these understated words now combine unsettlingly with the realisation of just how weak I feel. Given how far we’ve yet to climb, I already know that this is going to be tough. My memories of the next four hours are confined to sporadic blocks of information; the rolling patch of illuminated ground immediately at my feet and my unwillingness to confront the towering blackness surrounding it; being maddened by the effort required to take off my rucksack to retrieve my water bottle; the sudden sense of scale afforded by the sun rising on the other side of the mountain, and the resultant shadow of Kilimanjaro being cast across the clouds below. Overall though, I was just locked into my own personal battle with fear and fatigue, quite unable to consistently assess my surroundings. I have very little recollection of conversations with the others, took few photos, and had no particular sense of the consequences of falling – I just wanted the suffocating exertion to end! Promise came with glimpses of orange light picking out the rear facing edges of the spires above, and the dawning (literally) that we must be approaching the lip of the crater. A quick check with Mayunga confirmed that we were indeed nearing the top and that another hour or so should do it. ‘What?...you’re joking?... another hour?!’ What appeared to be only 100ft away was grossly misleading. I’m used to the way in which photos of steep terrain fail to capture it’s inclination and scale, but I’ve never known the reality to be as deceiving. Clearly Norfolk has some shortcomings in it’s ability to prepare people for such places. The final section of the Breach is indeed ‘a little steep’. The journey so far had been a seemingly endless succession of tacks up a 45-degree slope of loose scree and rock of steadily increasing size, but arriving at the base we encounter a far sheerer wall of giant blocks stacked roughly on top of one another. The slightly offset nature of their relative fit provides an improbable and, in places, highly precarious stairway of sorts and this we now negotiated. Fortunately, the very real possibility of falling off, rather than just down, Kilimanjaro seemed to clear my head slightly and allow me to fully appreciate one of the most unexpected and extreme changes of scenery I’ve ever witnessed. As my head popped over the edge of the rim, the frigid vertical world of granite I’d been face to face with for
'I was just locked into my own personal battle with fear and fatigue'
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so long instantaneously transformed into a panorama across a mile wide crater of gently dished grey ash bathed in intense sunlight, and not more than 50 metres in front of us a pristine white glacier gently sweating against a brilliant blue sky. The emotional relief of having attained a position from which a far easier descent route was now possible, combined with the complete visual contrast and sudden reprieve from physical labour, was totally overwhelming and I lay in the dust panting and staring at the sky for quite some time. The actual summit of Kilimanjaro sits rather ambiguously on the adjacent rim edge, and our shuffle towards it led us through a fantastically surreal world. Just walking on flat ground at this altitude was strange, and the contrast of the arid lunar landscape dotted with what appeared to me as misplaced icebergs seemed almost dreamlike – surely we’d stumbled onto a Pink Floyd album cover! Our spirits lifted by these new surroundings and the proximity of our imminent goal, we padded drunkenly across the crater; Anna even making a small detour to lick a nearby glacier for refreshment, the rest of us musing the not inconceivable scenario of her tongue freezing to it and what actions we might need to take to unstick her. There was beauty here too; having long since out-climbed the upper reaches of vegetation, we’d inhabited a barren world of shattered stone, the brooding malevolence of the volcano seemingly conveyed by the jarring terrain. But here were wide vistas of gently sloping shingle and wind sculpted ice, the soft organic forms at least suggesting life even if none was present. At around 11am we reached Uhuru Peak, at 5895 metres the highest point in Africa. Compared to the emotional turmoil of our ascent to the crater lip, and the revitalising shock of the glacial backdrop, arrival at the peak was a curiously muted affair; more a respectful appreciation of the enormity of this desolate place than any feeling of having really conquered it. ‘It’ was definitely the boss here and I had the distinct impression that success had only really been granted for good behaviour and dogged determination, rather than out and out skill or endurance. Certainly I felt it was a close run thing; the spirit-sapping flat light of a cloudy day or more wind could easily have broken us, but we had made it and I couldn’t deny the warm sense of achievement that brought. So was it all worth it? Well, I’ve climbed smaller, more picturesque mountains for sure, and the physical ordeal of the Breach had me seriously questioning the wisdom of this venture on many occasions, but the strange paradox is that the hostility and remoteness of such lofty places is often what creates their beguiling character and the harshness of the challenge is what makes scaling them so rewarding. I’m in no great hurry to rush up the next petulant mountain, but I know that at some point in the future, sleepless nights in a freezing, wind-lashed tent will suddenly seem like a good idea.
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Be Prepared Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Jacket Helly Hansen put 130 years of experience, and three years of intense development and testing into creating the Odin collection of outdoor clothing, which is designed to excel in challenging conditions through multiple seasons. The Odin Mountain Jacket has an attached multiadjustable hood, welded shoulder reinforcements to minimise abrasion from pack straps or tools, and waterproof welded pit zips for ventilation. Also shown here are Helly's light and functional hiking pants, extra warm and comfortable thermal socks, and a pair of fully waterproof premium leather Norse 2 Boots. www.hellyhansen.com
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Victorinox Swiss Army Active Night Vision II Watch This modern-minimalist watch features an integrated LED flashlight, (why don't all watches have one of these?), a locater beacon, and is water-resistant up to 330 feet. www.swissarmy.com
OverBoard Waterproof Backpack Nobody wants a soggy bag, so these robust 20 and 25 litre packs from OverBoard are the perfect solution. With welded seams and a dual closure system, they are completely water tight, so much so that if you accidentally drop one in the river or out at sea, it will actually float! www.over-board.co.uk
Leatherman Skeletool CX Skeletool CX is a multi-tool/knife hybrid that is no larger than a pack of chewing gum. It boasts only the most vital of features such as; a stainless steel blade, needlenose pliers, wire cutters, a carabiner clip and bottle opener. The skeletool is the perfect wilderness companion! www.leatherman.com
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Four chaps leave their comfortable lifestyles behind and take a manly hike in the Norwegain wildernessâ€Ś Writer/Photographer: Greg Hardes
“We could book some flights to Oslo, backpack through the Norwegian wilds and take advantage of their pro wilderness camping rules. Fish, hunt, build fires. Be MEN MEN MEN!”
att’s email – the one that got the ball rolling – our traditional annual road trip in the campervan having been scuppered by time constraints. This ill-researched scheme coming from the ‘man’ who moisturises daily and once brought a pair of gaspowered hair-straighteners on a surf trip to the West coast of France. Matt, the elder of two brothers, known as Jimmy Hill for his prominent chin, epitomises the new age ‘metrosexual’. If ever there were a ‘wilderness off’ between Matt and Jonathan Ross, the peacockish presenter would probably win! Andy, or ‘Toad’, as he is affectionately known, is a city slicker at heart. Having spent the past year working in the city of London, he looks strangely unfamiliar in anything other than an impeccably cut suit. He doesn’t mince his words. Especially it seems, when it comes to expressing his dissatisfaction with Norwegian… quirks. The younger sibling can be equally vocal with his grievances and is also renowned within the group for his above-average ability to build fires. Unfortunately, it transpired that this adroitness was largely worthless, as trees, or indeed any sort of vegetation, were scarce. I looked back on our departure the previous week, and wondered where it had all gone wrong. Embarking from our accommodation in Finse into the dull morning mist, our collection of wannabe Ray Mears explorers vacated with vigor reminiscent of the Vikings who graced these shores centuries ago. A clear path, not too steep. Bags heavy, but manageable. And the weather would improve, right? Seven hours later we were lost. Certain we were next to a big area of water and some large rocks, exactly which ones was anyone’s guess. Prediction wasn’t necessary when some fellow hikers (Norwegian as it happens), took out a completely different map to ours. This alien map illustrated that we had taken a wrong turn six hours earlier, at the ‘quite big rock’. Our disregard for compass bearings had cost us. Our reward was a wooden-shed. Too far to turn back and nothing but uncertainty ahead, we were stuck between a rock… and some more rocks. With no other options for shelter, we broke into the shed in a valley called Fagernut. Complete with stagnant ‘Utedo’ (Norwegian for ‘toilet’) and some resident rats. Our stay at the Fagernut Hilton did not surpass expectations. The following morning, many of us questioning what we were doing there. We also questioned why Matt looked like he had spent the night face humping a toilet plunger. Red and swollen, we observed our gangly friend with a mixture of pity and amusement – the latter far outweighing the former. Our situation that evening however, was far from comical. Swathed in darkness, the four conquerors shuffled blindly down a cliff-face. For the second night in a row, we had got it wrong. Very wrong! Matt later admitted to being fearful of our lives. Although a tad melodramatic, from the man whose face now looked like a scolded puffin, I conceded that our plight was far from ideal. Earlier in the day, after stopping for some well-earned super noodles, our suspicions were aroused as some hikers coming from our intended destination passed us. Their skin was haggard like old leather boots, each facial line no doubt representing a treacherous mountain route they had once scaled. As Tom told them where we were headed, their wrinkled faces contorted into looks of apprehension. Far from serving as a warning, this negativity merely galvanized our over-inflated egos. We pushed on. Our second mistake in as many days! Tom and I wanted to ‘Ray Mears it up’. We even debated whether to purchase an air rifle from one of the many ludicrously expensive
‘outdoors’ shops in Oslo. It wasn’t just these stores that stretched our wallets. Norway is the second most expensive country in the world – a point we failed to fully appreciate before seeing a Mars bar priced at the equivalent of £3.50. Pricey sustenance was yet further motivation for Tom and I to try some hunter gathering, endeavoring to fish for our food at every opportunity. Our rods had come in vacuum-formed plastic packaging, a hallmark of quality if ever there was one. After each attempt we would return from the waters edge to our expectant wives, Andy and Matt, empty-handed. Each time we would claim that lack of fish made our task impossible. In the back of our minds, we recalled the countless tales of tourists doing little else but compliment the fish on their shiny scales to coax them onto the dinner plate. What were we doing wrong? To survey a map of the Hardangervidda region – or indeed any of Western Norway – is like observing a Jackson Pollock painting. The rocky canvas is spattered with thousands of blue specs, each fjord impossibly unique in form and volume – products of the end of the ice ages, when the glaciers cut deep grooves into the land and flooded the vast, rolling fells. Though, according to the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it was Slartibartfast, the designer of planets, who created these natural wonders, and for which ‘he won an award.’ When Earth Mk. II was being made, Slartibartfast was assigned to the continent of Africa. He was unhappy about this because he wanted to make more fjords, arguing that ‘they give a continent a baroque feel.’ The largest of the remaining glaciers, Hardangerjøkulen, set an imposing figure amongst the jagged horizon. The westerly winds whipped off the peak – inescapable, relentless – the plateau’s commanding presence always felt as we attempted to circumnavigate the 1,863 metre turret. A baron, treeless moorland (not dissimilar to
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Mordor in Lord of the Rings) surrounded us. It was slippery underfoot and the lack of any colours, only neutral greys, was starting to take its toll on the moral of the group. However, to the west side of Hardangerjøkulen, the landscape finally began to transform, becoming much flatter and vegetative. The afternoon sun made a welcome appearance, transforming the many pools and lakes into mirrors, and casting a warm orange glow on everything it touched. This was all very idyllic, but we were yet to see any sign of our cozy cabin. Tom’s knee, outraged by the steep gradients and his heavy bag, was beginning to cause him discomfort. He grimaced with every jarring movement as he tried to keep up with the group’s anxiously swift pace. Matt had become disconcertingly silent. His usual array of witty comments set aside to concentrate what little energy he had on forward motion. By contrast, the city boy’s energy was unwavering. Office life had clearly not dashed his enviable natural fitness. Nightfall became a stitch in our side, impossible to ignore. A handpainted sign balancing between a small pile of rocks told us that the cabin was close. Another Norwegian prank? Or was it really nearby? “No amount of money could persuade me to walk back to Finse right now” Tom remarked; one of those comments that despite being unrealistic and inconsequential, was still worth considering. I decided five million (after tax) would have done it. Not a penny less. To Andy’s utter disgust, the warm glow of one of Hardangervidda’s communal cabins did not materialize before us. Instead, we were forced to shuffle sheepishly down a near vertical mountainside that would have been sufficiently tricky in full daylight. It was at this point that Matt further hindered our chances of future fishy glory when he dropped one of the rods into the black abyss. Despite the fact he would probably have fallen to his death had he tried to rescue the doomed instrument, the two hunter-gatherers were enraged by his clumsiness. The dangerous decline smoothed out into a more defined path, yet there was still no suggestion of the hallowed cabin. Dispirited and dishevelled, we finally gave in, settling on the first suitable camping spot, the first patch of grass we had seen all day. A tasty, caramel
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flavored hot chocolate was scant consolation for thwarted dreams of a crackling fire and a dry bed. Morning brought sunshine and breathtaking scenery. The cabin, which turned out to be just over the hill, was heaven – truly worth the intense muscle fatigue we were all now feeling. The two adjacent cabins had all manner of luxuries. A gas stove in one, the other, an unimaginable wealth of food in its larder. Shelves were lined with tinned fish, pasta and sauces. Cans of meatballs accompanied powdered mash and a variety of tinned meats with names like ‘Bog’ and ‘Sag’; further examples of the Scandinavian sense of humour! Biscuits were plentiful – fish not so. Despite our best efforts, they continued to elude Tom and I. And we began to worry that we were not hunters at all, merely hapless...
‘Never before had we experienced so much r ain. It was inescapable. Even when we decided to set up camp early, the best pitch available was ankle deep in marshland that seeped through the tent floor.’
The lack of running water in the cabin was a minor inconvenience, but regular forays to a nearby stream solved our sanitation issues. The sight of four English guys, theatrically tiptoeing back from a refreshing dip, was surely Norwegian comedy at it’s finest. Our highpitched screams were like pigmy yodels echoing through the valley, our shriveled manhoods barely visible in the crisp open-air. This method of cleanliness was less viable when other hikers began to arrive; notably Hans and Julia, a German couple taking a weekend break from their studies in Sweden. Hans was the trekker I longed to be. His full beard, (probably grown that day) partially covered his sickeningly chiseled features. His giant feet propped up his bulging calves. He spoke casually of the treacherous journey we were still recovering from, prompting looks of incredulity from Andy. Julia looked fit enough to keep up with what must have been a rapid pace. We respectfully admired the impressive curvature of her toned buttocks in long-johns... After a few days of relative indulgence, we begrudgingly moved on, bidding farewell to warmth and comfort straight into the arms of damp disillusionment. The precipitation persisted, as we struggled south up a climb every bit as challenging as before. Our puffy-faced friend blundered on a ledge, sliding backwards for several metres, before landing with a thud on his ‘tortoise shell’ bag. Later, as the ground afoot alternated between glassy rock and boggy marshland, Andy sank waist deep into a quagmire, requiring to be dragged free with a stick. While this did nothing to improve his mood, it provided the rest of us a rare moment of entertainment. We wondered if the Norwegians appreciated slapstick. Never before had we experienced so much rain. It was inescapable. Even when we decided to set up camp early, the best pitch available was ankle deep in marshland that seeped through the tent floor. A leaky ceiling ensued shortly after; it seemed our accommodation wasn’t built for anything beyond a light spattering. Fortunately, Andy had a tiny pair of iPod speakers, so the four of us laid intertwined in our damp cocoon, eating a boil-in-a-bag sausage casserole, listening to old Ricky Gervais Podcasts – chuckling in spite of our sodden situation.
The weather had won. It was time to return to civilization with tails between legs. We saw out the week staying in various hostels – each more expensive than the last. In an ultimately feeble act of retribution, Tom and I borrowed a boat from a particularly pricey establishment, whose corridors resembled a mental asylum. Nabbing the canoe was simple. Finding oars was not. Eventually settling on a soggy piece of driftwood and an old waterski, we scurried along the bank and set sail, sniggering as if we had just spelt a rude word on our calculators. Within minutes we were swept to the other side of the fjord, resulting in an hour’s frantic paddling with our makeshift instruments of velocity. Needless to say, dinner did not contain fish that evening. The next day was our last, so we spent it standing on the sea wall, looking out across the large historical harbour of Bergen, in a last gasp attempt at that elusive catch. It was raining, as usual, and we were half an hour from giving up for good. It was then I felt the unfamiliar yet unmistakable tug. A glorious battle ensued – one that has already begun to be exaggerated in accounts of the event. The relief was spectacular – the celebratory dance, majestic. Fresh fish was finally on the menu and we were no longer hapless, returning to a dry England with at least a shred of dignity intact. We wanted to hate the Norwegians. Their Mars Bars were ludicrously pricey, their maps misleading and their country did not stop raining. The trouble was, it just so happened that our true experience of our Scandinavian neighbours had been nothing but positive, a point exemplified by a lone hiker we met on our way to Rembesdalseter. As we approached, he greeted us cheerily, explaining in broken English that he was staying in a cabin with some friends in Finse – hiking by day, drinking and playing poker by night. We were envious. Beers were heavy to carry, but to our delight he took a spare tinny from his backpack and handed it to Tom. Our new best friend left us to savour the sweet bitter taste of the Norwegian brew atop a rickety footbridge, swinging our legs freely above the torrential river. “Norwegians are great”, Tom remarked. I agreed.
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Notes From Limewood The ultimate indulgence in the New Forestâ€Ś Writer: Suzi Sorrell
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fter leaving the M27, head into Lyndhurst. Once you’ve passed the pub that proudly declares ‘Recommended by Jeremy Clarkson’ on its chalk board, turn left at the cross roads, followed by a right onto Beaulieu Road. Do not, whatever you do, follow my lead and turn around a few hundred yards down the road, even if it’s pitch black and the Sat Nav lady says you’ve arrived. You haven’t! And don’t, for goodness sake, ask anyone for directions, as most people wandering around the pretty Hampshire town are likely to be tourists. Most importantly, make sure you keep an eye out for the beautifully sedate New Forest Ponies as, just like the sacred Hindu cows, they are free to wander across the road whenever they feel like it, so drive the next 800 or so yards at a snail’s pace until you spot Limewood’s discrete sign on the right, otherwise you won’t endear yourselves to the locals. Nor will you make the right impression if you arrive at Britain’s new über hotel with pony remains all over your bonnet! That said, the staff are so accommodating they would probably be gracious and say something like, “don’t worry, we’ll deal with it,” before trotting off in their flat caps and britches to fetch a bucket and sponge – their attire emphasising the relaxed nature of the hotel. Think Babington and Soho House, and you’ll be along the right lines. I mention these mainly because of hotelier extraordinaire Robin Hutson, who was brought in at the last minute to consultant on the £30m plus project by owner Jim Ratcliffe. Robin co-founded the successful Hotel de Vin group, along with Gerard Basset, and up until 2008 sat on the board of the Soho House group, so he knows how to deliver. According to former Michelin-starred resident chef Alex Aitken, (the original owner of the Georgian property) Hutson brought a fresh pair of eyes to the project, which has been in the offing since 2004. “I thought I paid attention to detail, but he’s pushed all of us to a higher level of quality.” Ironically Robin’s former partner, Gerard Basset, owns the more modest Hotel Terravina (reviewed in issue 6), just two miles down the road... In a bid not to put his nose out of joint, Robin brought him in to consult on Limewood’s wine list, which as you’d expect from a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier, is fantastic. Others on the project include architect to the Royal family (expect no carbuncles in his portfolio!), Charles Morris, contemporary interiors master David Collins, cocktail supremo Massimiliano Romano, and last, but certainly not least, Hotel Director Justin Pinchbeck, formerly of The Zetter in London. With so many industry heavyweights involved, it’s not surprising that the 13th century former hunting lodge has been given a new lease of life. The suites are expansive, luxurious, and cleverly laid out around a central arcaded courtyard, with stone columns and arches in English Palladian style, fully covered with a glass retractable roof. The real pièce de résistance for us, however, is the garden lodges within the beautiful grounds. Simply stunning, they would give that ultimate ‘home from home’ experience. As if it couldn’t get any better, they accept dogs in most of them. Well, it wouldn’t be right to leave your friend(s) with sitters when there’s the National Park literally on your doorstep. Alternatively, it’s a great area for cyclists. Limewood, it seems, answers most of the little niggles, irritations and frustrations you so often associate with hotel stays, be it boutique or chain. In essence, Limewood is the benchmark – the blueprint for country house hotels of the future.
‘The 13th century former hunting lodge has been given a new lease of life.’
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Bloomsbury Hotel If you were choosing a hotel based on it’s building, then the Bloomsbury Hotel is one to consider. Originally the headquarters for the first YWCA, it was designed by the late Sir Edwin Lutyens, one of the most important English architects of the early twentieth century. Aside from outstanding domestic commissions such as the one the Bloomsbury now inhabits, he’s probably best known for designing the layout and planning of India’s capital city, New Delhi. The most important building he designed there was the Viceroy’s House. After a multi-million pound overhaul last year by current owners, the Doyle Group, the imposing neo-Georgian listed building has been brought bang up-to-date, and now offers all you’d expect from a five-star hotel in a major city. Great care has gone into making sure that all the comfortable and stylish rooms and suites are kitted out with beautiful products produced by talented British designers. This attention to detail extends to business travellers, as all suites are fitted out with the very latest audio/visual installations. This means you don’t have to worry about whether you’ve remembered to pack your converter plug, and you can connect your iPod or laptop to the in-room TV, listen to your own music or watch a film you want to see, rather than some dreadfully outdated offering being shown on the hotel’s movie channel. It has to be said however, that relaxing in the newly created wood-panelled Landseer bar, is preferable to a movie any day. www.doylecollection.com
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Templeton Place Templeton Place is a new-build 30-suite luxury apart-hotel located in a picturesque, residential street of the same name right in the heart of Earl’s Court. Hold on, luxury at affordable prices… in a place renowned for attracting Aussies by the masses… I smell a rat… But, there are no rats within the confines of the super cool Templeton Place, just a paper mache Giraffe's head adorning the reception area, and cheeky contemporary art stating things like, ‘Yes I know it is’ and ‘Give me an offer I can’t refuse’ on orange canvasses above the beds… and in the sitting areas, meaning they obviously pre-empted what most peoples reactions would be as they open the door to their airy suite or one bed apartment. It may all sound ever so slightly pretentious, but when you are there, you are just genuinely surprised that the suite you booked is just as described, and that the enticing photographs offer a true representation of the contemporary offerings, with their light grey with hints of orange interiors. How many times can you say when it comes to the more centrally located properties? Not many eh?
The Roxburghe If you’re sick to death of contemporary interiors, and can’t stand the sight of another Barcelona chair, then staying at the traditional Roxburghe Country House Hotel, on the Scottish border in Kelso, will be a much more enjoyable experience. Situated within one of the finest estates in Scotland – the Roxburghe Estate – a large agricultural and sporting estate and family home of the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, offers visitors a wealth of country pursuits: championship golf, world-class trout fishing, pheasant, grouse and clay pigeon shooting, to name but a few. The grounds also allow for some interesting walking and mountain biking, should you have the energy. If not, head to their well-managed spa for a well earned lie down. Floors Castle, the largest inhabited castle in Scotland, is well worth a visit and, although we weren’t allowed anywhere near it, horseracing fans might be interested to know that the Duke’s on-site 132-acre Stud reared the dual classics winning mare, Attraction. This outstanding horse became more sensational as she appeared to have legs everywhere when galloping, an unusual action; but because of this, Attraction really was exceptional and landed a clutch of group one races, including the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Irish 1000 Guineas. Roxburghe’s 22 bedrooms have been mostly designed by the Duchess and are amazingly cosy. Some feature four-poster beds, earth closet toilets and log fires. Ah the fires...! That will be the lasting impression of your stay, we promise; that and the crisp clean air. Walking around the grounds after a delicious meal, and one too many whiskies from their impressive whisky bar, with the smell of a real fire, is what this kind of destination hotel is all about. www.roxburghe.net
Featuring comfortable King-sized beds; well-equipped bathrooms with powerful showers, a fantastic kitchenette containing everything you could wish for, a dining table, good-sized sitting area with decent TV, effective mood lighting etc. My only complaint, if I were pushed, is that the bed linen was too scratchy, but what’s a bit of exfoliation between spa visits? As if to remind you that you are in Earl’s Court, albeit a rather upmarket part, Templeton Place even has it’s own Australian, in the form of General Manager Danielle Bajada, who is quite simply the sweetest and most amenable person you could possibly wish to meet. Her level of patience whilst we chopped and changed our date of arrival for the nth time was truly astonishing. Spending two nights at Templeton Place was, surprisingly, a pleasure. It’s bright, feels homely enough that you don’t mind staying in if you have work to do, and is quiet, which is a real treat in London. www.supercityuk.com
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Simple Pleasures If you find yourself wishing the week away so you can escape to the countryside for peace and quiet, and some delicious cuisine, then Puglia, the rural ‘heel’ of Italy, is the place for you. Writer: Suzannah Sorrell
cross between Cornwall, Norfolk and Lincolnshire, this rural agricultural idyll, spread along a narrow peninsula mostly occupied by plains and hills, is where 50% of Italy’s entire food production comes from – vegetables, potatoes, olive oil, almonds, wine, etc. Come August, when the whole of Italy closes for business, Puglia is where many of Italy’s wealthy inhabitants choose to spend their summers, and who can blame them? It's rustic charm, coupled with the area’s pure and simple so-called ‘peasant’ food, and its rich source of wonderfully quaffable wine, is a major draw. In fact, Puglia produces almost twice as much wine as the whole of Australia! Now that’s impressive from a region spanning just 360 kilometres. Mix in the sun, the sea, and some spectacular caves, and its easy to understand why it’s a truly majestic summer destination, but once winter sets in the high flyers leave their second homes and head north, along with the birds, as quickly as they arrive; Japanese tourists pack up their cameras and calm is restored to the area once more. The windy, narrow and often lethal roads, flanked by olive groves and almond trees, become quiet. As do most of the regions hotels, restaurants, bars and vineyards, meaning if you don’t mind cooler temperatures and the possibility of rain, it is a great time to visit and experience first hand the culinary delights this idyllic region has to offer. Although very little English is spoken amongst the locals, they are incredibly friendly and hospitable people, much more so than in the north of the country. The region is spread out, so it’s worth hiring a car, preferably something exotic and Italian (www.noleggiodreamcars.it), to explore some of the picturesque towns and seek out the many vineyards. A worthwhile pursuit, particularly as Puglian wine is, for the most part, exceptional. Try Cantina Del Locorotondo www.locorotondodoc.com, the owners are gracious hosts. The town of Alberobello, famous for its Trulli houses, boasts the highest concentration of Trulli’s in Italy. These rather quaint little houses are of architectural interest. The conical structures were constructed without the use of cement or mortar, to avoid taxation, with multilayered roofs, using limestone boulders and limestone slabs laid next to one another in cylindrical formation, and held in place by a keystone. Although cute, look a little harder and you’ll see echoes of the towns past, with many displaying signs warning off witches...
Having been reminded of Puglia’s masculine leaning, wander around the lanes, pop into the catholic church and visit one of the many converted Trulli shops selling local artefacts, like ceramic whistles, fine foods and drink. Keep an eye out for the white almond liquor and sweet melon liquor, both are lethal in their deliciousness! As trade is slow during winter, shopkeepers will be keen to invite you into their domains to encourage you to sample their wares, and take orders for overseas shipments.
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Puglia was once a prosperous and important food harvesting and fishing region. Latterly, however, because of fishing bans, climate issues, and the fact that the new generation is no longer interested in maintaining their forefathers crops, opting instead for a more exciting life in the nearby city of Bari, production is at an all time low. This unfortunately means Puglia needs to adapt fast to survive, which is why they are looking to tourism to boost their coffers. Gearing up to transform itself into a smart tourist destination has been the catalyst for the birth of the stylish boutique hotel. Borgobianco is one such place. Reached via a rough unmade road, sports car drivers take note, the setting is beside the sea, within a Masseria – an old fashioned farmhouse that resembles a castle – typical of the area. Borgobianco, which roughly translated means ‘white village’, has a simple ethos; to serve its guests with food from the locality; seasonal, healthy and delicious traditional Puglan cuisine, within a relaxed and stylish abode. As Antonio Carluccio puts it, “What you might call the ‘industrialisation’ of food doesn’t exist in Puglia: food comes straight from the land or sea to be eaten. It isn’t processed; it’s simply fresh and delicious.” To execute their mission they’ve recruited one of the youngest and perhaps most inspiring chef, who actually originates from the region, to create traditional dishes with a twist. Gianmichele Pagone’s rabbit stew, cooked slowly (all day) in a clay pot, in a clay oven, is exceptional. His Orecchio (ear) and Orecchiette (little ear) pasta, unique in the Puglian region, is the epitomy of simplistic perfection and surprisingly simple to make. During your stay, it’s worth booking a cookery course with Gianmichele to learn about the many varieties of olive oil produced in the area, and how to make Orecchiette pasta and Foccacia bread. You’ll also get to explore his extensive kitchen garden. Be warned though, Gianmichele is passionate about the abundance of quality local ingredients at hand and will tempt you into trying raw mussels, clams and squid brain. Unless you’ve got a constitution of an Ox, you may wish to pass on the experience, otherwise you may sorely regret it! What is palpable during a stay at Borgobianco is how good-natured the staff are and just how peaceful the place is. You’ll sleep night after night, like a baby. After sampling Gianmichele’s exquisite cuisine, you may wish to venture to the gym, or more than likely the spa, for a bit of a lie down. Although unnecessarily expensive, the treatments to try are the Grain de Sel, that’s an all over body scrub to you, followed by a ‘Porzia’ Classic, which is actually a special 1º amalgamation of a ‘complete classic body massage’ and ‘lymphatic drainage’ for tired legs. The small indoor pool provides the perfect pre-amble to treatments and there’s a small steam room and sauna. Despite the size, it’s a relaxing space within a stylish crypt formed out of natural local stone, which is used in abundance throughout the property. Away from the hotel head into Polignano a Mare, a stunning costal town of greek origin, built upon the cliffs of the Adriatic shores and home to some incredible caves and a stunner of a restaurant. A table at the Grotta Palazzese restaurant (summer months only) is unbelievably romantic, as tables are arranged in the unique environment of the Palazzese cave – it’s just you, the cave and the clear big blue. There is also an exclusive American Bar on site. If you happen to be an ice-cream fan, no visit would be complete without popping into II Super Mago del Gelo. We recommend the Caffe-Nocciola or the Nutella ice cream. It’s lick-olicious! It was particularly amusing to see old Fiat 128s still being used by
'We were particularly amused to see old Fiat 128s still being used by the local Polizia' the local Polizia – not much hope of them catching you in a Ferrari – although the roads are so bad I’m sure the prancing horse’s suspension would be shot afterwards! And finally, before you fly out from Bari airport, make your way over to Conversano to the delightful il ristorante Pasha for an incredible and unforgettable dining experience – one that is likely to include donkey chop, liver wrapped in calves stomach and all manner of weird and wonderful local delicacies. There’s no doubt tourism will be great for the local economy, but I’m convinced those who have been visiting Puglia for years, would rather it remain an exclusive destination for the well-heeled. Having been bowled over by its simplistic beauty, it would be a shame to think it’ll become another Amalfi Coast with busloads of tourists clogging up the joint, or worst still, St Tropez. That would be a travesty!
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Vineria A stones throw from Abbey Road recording studios in St John’s Wood you’ll find Vineria London, a contemporary Italian restaurant that has its roots in Venice. Yes, I know it sounds like a something you need an antibiotic for, but stay with me on this one… The ambience is relaxed, the décor polished. With white walls, modern art, and plenty of natural light thanks to a conservatory that spills out onto a large terrace for that authentic Mediterranean ‘A l Fresco’ dining experience, we all know and love. If only we had the Italian weather...! That said, the terrace is not just confined to summer months; it’s open all year round. To begin proceedings, general manager and owner, Simone Trombini, presented us with a glass of satisfyingly crisp and dry Prosecco ‘Vineria’, from Vineria’s vineyard in Italy. This being just one of 150 prestigious Italian wines available in-house. Head chef Francesco Di Noia, previously at the Baglioni Hotel, has been with the Vineria family for over three years now and has made it his mission to experience and understand key typical Italian regional cuisines, so his repertoire is vast and impressive. Starting with his homemade tagliolini with white truffle, superb in its simplicity, and sea scallops with tomato pesto and crunchy vegetables, these were followed by Caciuccio, a Tuscan fish stew with garlic-toasted bread. This simple dish was surprising as it’s not at all what you expect. Think of a stew and you immediately conjure up a hearty dish with thick gravy and lots of cannelloni beans, but Vineria’s stew is light and soup-like, the flavour is exceptional. We also tried the Venison with a berry sauce and mashed potato, which was also good. The homemade tiramisu and chocolate mousse are both devilishly delicious, just as you’d hope for! All were washed down with a bottle of Podium Verdicchio Superiore dei Castelli di Jesi and a couple of glasses of Sigognac bas Armagnac 20 ans, warmed to perfection! www.vineriarestaurant.com
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ne of the first Indian restaurants to receive a Michelin star, Tamarind has subsequently been joined by several others. Some of these are good, to be sure, but many are yet to prove their consistency – particularly as and when their key staff move on. Tamarind, however, has held its star for nigh on nine years and survived the departure of original head chef Atul Kochhar. In the culinary world, that speaks volumes. I first visited Tamarind in 2001, about a fortnight before it got its star and again a year or two later, after Atul had
The Neptune moved on and young Alfred Prasad had taken over. The recent lunch was thus my third visit – and my first without my wife, but hey, I won’t tell her if you won’t. Three meals clearly doesn’t put me in the same league as many a Mayfair regular, but it does, I hope, give me a certain critical perspective on the place. And on that basis it’s one of my favourite destination restaurants in London. Atul was, and is, a genius, and probably did more to reinvent Indian food in London than just about anybody else. Alfred though has picked up the gauntlet and run with it. Hang on. That’s more baton than gauntlet then, isn’t it? No matter. Whatever it was Atul passed on, it’s been in very safe hands. The thing that strikes you most – well, after the charmingly formal setting and relaxed efficiency you’d expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant – is the depth of flavour. Even the Channa Chaat, that refreshing, zingy snack, is elevated to new levels by Alfred’s spicing; the blueberries that dotted this and a couple of other dishes were also a revelation. If he can do fresh things to street food, you can imagine what the man can do with a Tandoori and a marinade. Ajwaini Jhinga – Tiger prawns marinated with ginger, yoghurt, paprika, ground spices, dried mango and ajwain seed – was good. Chegezi Champen – lamb cutlets marinated with malt vinegar, garlic, raw-papaya, paprika, ground spices and cream – was better; the sort of dish that has you returning to the bones several times to make sure you haven’t missed a morsel of flesh! Of the curries sampled, Bhuna Murgh ticked most of my boxes: achingly tender chicken (just once in my lifetime I’d like to cook meat that moist) and a rich sauce of onion and mouth-filling spices that demanded to be mopped up by the impeccable date and poppy seed-stuffed naan. Mind you – and here’s a statement you won’t read in my copy very often – the vegetables were almost unbeatable. Tadka Dal was an exemplary version of this comforting dish, while cumin, red onion and peppercorns brought out the best of the broccoli, asparagus, red peppers and baby corn in the Tarkari Handi. Hell, it even gave cauliflower – surely the most pointless of vegetables? – a reason to exist. Another reason to give Tamarind a star is its ability with a pudding. Never what you’d call a strongpoint with Indian restaurants, dessert here is a worthwhile venture although you could question the authenticity. Stewed pear with masala tea ice cream? That’s a western/eastern hybrid, surely? It was also slightly underpowered, although that may just have been because we were cooing over the more traditional, moreish delights of Shahi Kheer, an Indian rice pudding flavoured with cardamom and rose that, had they let us, we’d have eaten all afternoon. Admittedly the Tamarind experience doesn’t come cheap: our experience, with wine, touched the £200 mark. For those of us without Mayfair postcodes, that probably leaves Tamarind in the file marked ‘special occasions only’. Happily though, you can depend on the fact that a meal there will, indeed, be a special occasion.
We first visited the Neptune back in 2008, just after owners Kevin and Jacki Mangeolles had bought the 18th century former Coaching Inn and prior to them gaining a Michelin star. It was obvious from that initial visit that they would have a star within 12 months. Low and behold, not six months later we received an email from a pleased-as-punch Kevin informing us of his achievement. We promised to go back.
Although it took us a year, a week before Christmas we braved the onslaught of snow and ice and drove for three hours to the coastal town of Old Hunstanton in North Norfolk; it usually takes us one! This time we decided to stay over, checked into one of their comfortable rooms and headed for the bar. We quaffed a couple of welcome glasses of Tattinger with gusto, and enjoyed the intelligent accompaniment of black and green olive puree, whilst lingering over the tantalising menu. After prizing ourselves away from the comfort of the bar we made our way to our table. With the wine chosen from an impressive list, we tucked into some moreish homemade bread until we were presented with our appetiser; a wire rack of smoked salmon; ingenious! We made light work of the starters and demolished delicious strips of pan-fried and braised Aberdeen Angus Rib Eye, served with a spinach puree, sautéed potatoes, and a beef tea presented in a tiny tea cup. That, and a moist and flavoursome Gressingham duck, accompanied by almond praline, Savoy cabbage and dauphinoir potatoes. Whilst we waited for our desserts to arrive we discussed the cost of our meal. Now this isn’t a normal activity, but the thing with the Neptune is just how good value it is given its starry status. We’ve eaten in more expensive gastro pubs which, try as they may to be fine dining establishments, they are mostly just confused and overpriced boozers. The Neptune, however, serves creative, but thankfully not challenging dishes, that you’d expect to consume in a major city complete with inflated price tags to match. By keeping their prices keen yet still delivering outstanding quality, Kevin and Jacki are effectively producing Michelin-starred fare for the masses. Genius, especially in these times of austerity! www.theneptune.co.uk
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ondon’s newest independent spirit producer is the first Copper distillery to open in London in 189 years. After being in business less than a year they are already producing some of the finest artisanal Gin on the market today. In fact, they already have a string of awards to their name and, in true artisan style, Sipsmith’s nerve centre, which houses Prudence, their bespoke copper pot, is in an old car garage down a quiet residential street in London… Using a blend of 10 botanicals, of which liquorice root, crushed almonds, and intense Seville orange peel feature, before being distilled in Sipsmith’s English barley spirit, it offers up on first sip a wave of juniper, lemon tart and orange marmalade , then delivers dryness and intense citrus and juniper notes in the finish. Mmn..! www.sipsmith.co.uk
Las Mor as vida nova Sir Cliff Richard’s Vida Nova Reserve 2007 from Portugal has just been released and is packed full of cherries, berries and cinnamon. Roll on 'Summer Holiday...' www.mollybrownswinelist.co.uk
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Finca Las Moras, or Las Moreish more like, is a sophisticated full-bodied 2005 Gran Shiraz from Argentina. This award-winning wine is big and bold, just the way we like it. It’s also the perfect accompaniment for an Argentinean Rib Eye. Check out our website www.1degreeonline.co.uk for a great recipe. www.mollybrownswinelist.co.uk
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1 Degree | Issue 7 1 Degree M agazine
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FRONT COVER Image: Courtesy of Lotus Racing All About the jour ney
Snow Patrol www.polostmoritz.com I am legend www.lotusf1racing.my
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lotus’ return to F1
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Published on Feb 21, 2010
New Breed of Gentlemen's Lifestyle Magazine, featuring premium cars, Formula One, interviews, hotel reviews, michelin-starred restaurant rev...