BBC Wins the F1 Battle!

The grass is always greener… Last week I wrote that the Sky coverage of the 2012 F1 season heralded a refreshing change; how wrong can you be? The new boys on the block lack sparkle, enthusiasm and any sense of fun whilst the BBC team are reinvigorated and seem really determined to stay on top. Right from the familiar sounds of Fleetwood Mac, which has stayed with the BBC, the opening credits were streets ahead of Sky and they were followed with a fabulous parody of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues by Jake Humphrey and David Coulthard , which set the scene for the start of the 2012 Formula One season. Just take a look at this:

Congratulations BBC, I am sorry I doubted you. Your coverage so far is absolutely outstanding. Murdoch eat your heart out!

To visit BBC F1 click on the logo:

The Plymouth Capsize Club

The America’s Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy in the world, having been first competed for in 1851 in a race around the Isle of Wight by British and American schooners. Today the competition has become a global event and this time it is being run in huge catamarans.

The race is divided into three phases, firstly an international series in AC45 boats to enable countries to develop the catamarans and learn how to sail them. This will be followed by the Louis Vuitton Trophy competition, also in AC45s, to decide the contestants for the final phase, the America’s Cup event proper, which will be sailed in catamarans twice the size of  the AC45.

The British leg of the first international phase was held in Plymouth Sound in September of last year in very heavy weather and this video shows some of the excitement:

The AC45 is a development catamaran, but nonetheless it has phenomenal performance and can reach speeds in excess of 30 knots. This second film gives some of the statistics about the boat’s performance and size:

The finals of the America’s Cup will be held in San Francisco in 2013, but in real monster catamarans. The AC72  is 72 ft overall with a wing sail height of 130 ft and an eleven man crew.  This picture gives an idea of the sheer enormity of the carbon fibre built machine. America’s Cup boats have always been at the forefront of technology but this time they are truly astonishing craft.

If you would like to learn more about the event and see lots more action packed shots, just click on the trophy:

Venture is Capital!

MX5 Owner’s Club member Darren Hart is the proud owner if a new limited edition MX5 Venture and we asked him to give us his first impressions of the car, and in particular to review the major feature of the Venture model, the integrated satnav and hi fi system. This is what he told us:

The new MX5 Venture special edition comes in crystal white, metropolitan grey and radiant ebony with Mazda’s NVA-SD8110 EU Live Tom Tom navigation and audio system as standard. Ebony can look black in certain lights and purple/red in direct sunlight.

The sat nav takes a long time to set the unit up with preferences but once done, it is an all in one unit which achieves a lot. In my previous Mk2.5 MX5 I used the cd/radio and a Tom Tom Via 120 live system which was stuck to the windscreen and had a power cord dangling down the dashboard towards the cigarette lighter.

The previous radio would not accept mp3s or iPod, this one can and does a lot more besides. The Tom Tom side of things will be very familiar to anyone with a modern Tom Tom with live services as the menus are identical and Mazda pay for 3 months live services which you have to activate yourself from the head unit. Updates and maps are done via the SD card which is easily removed and automatically updates itself once in a pc.

The head unit is voice activated by a microphone located bang in front of the driver through the steering wheel. This works well, but can get confused if the side windows are down or there is other ambient noise, pressing the touch screen is much more effective in this case. As with other high end Tom Tom units it is fully Bluetooth compatible with most mobile phones where your phone book is downloaded onto the unit, calls are hands free and even texts are read out.

The audio side is very impressive with FM, AM, LW, ipod and aux inputs. The ipod dock is just a long wire which is fed into the glove compartment, but once there all the menus are controllable from the touch screen. The sound quality is as good as any existing Mazda unit.

All in all a good unit combining navigation, audio and telephone into one compact system. The car, colour and navigation system is my perfect choice.

Many thanks to Darren for his excellent review, if you would like to contribute to MX5Roadster, please email your article using the contact link in the left hand column.

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