Friday 29 March 2019

The Price of Potholes – Motorists' Repair Bill Surpasses £1.2bn

26/03/19 from Kwik Fit

The cost of pothole damage rises 32% in 12 months

11 million drivers affected by potholes in past year

Just £6.9million (0.6%) paid out by local authorities in compensation for pothole damage

The bill to the UK motorist for repairing pothole damage has skyrocketed to a total of more than £1billion, reveals research published today by Kwik Fit1, the UK’s largest automotive servicing and repair company. With more than 11 million drivers damaging their vehicle due to poor road conditions over the last year, the cost has reached a staggering £1.21billion – an increase of £296million (32%) compared to the year before.

This is continuing a worrying trend – in the year ending March 2016, the equivalent total bill was £684million, meaning that the cost of damage reported by motorists has risen by 77% in just three years.

The average cost to the individual motorist of repairing damage to components such as tyres, suspension and wheels has reduced slightly from £111 to £108.86, however, the number of motorists being affected has jumped by 2.9 million since last year. And the total cost is likely to rise even further as 1.4 million drivers say they have yet to have their vehicle repaired.

Almost a third of drivers who have hit a pothole in the last year had their car damaged by the impact, with the most common repairs being to tyres (5.9 million), suspension (3.8 million), wheels (3.7 million), steering (1.7 million), bodywork (1.3 million) and exhaust (1.2 million). 17% of motorists estimate they hit more than 30 potholes over the course of just one month – an average of one a day.

Regionally, Londoners’ wallets are being hit the hardest with an overall bill of £204,681,600, while in Wales the cost to motorists stands at £20,417,100 – a difference of £184,264,500.

Source: Research for Kwik Fit 2019 1

More than half (51%) of people travelling on UK roads believe they are worse now compared to a year ago, with 60% saying they are in a poorer state when compared to 5 years ago. This mirrors the annual ALARM report4 published today by the Asphalt Industry Alliance which states while a 20% increase in funds for road networks is welcome and will halt further decline, the one-off catch-up cost to fix UK roads will only continue to rise.

The ALARM report also reveals that just £6.9million has been paid by local authorities to compensate those affected by potholes despite the bill to motorists topping more than £1billion. This is reflected in Kwik Fit’s research as it found less than a quarter (24%) of people have complained about potholes in their local area to their council.

Source: Research for Kwik Fit 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019 1,2,3,5

Roger Griggs, Communications Director at Kwik Fit, said: “The cost of damage from potholes is hitting more and more drivers who are continuing to see their cash being spent on issues that are not entirely their fault. Fortunately, this winter has not been as harsh as it has been in recent years, however as we know with the Great British weather, conditions which would further damage our road network could still be round the corner.

“It is worth noting that damage isn’t always immediately noticeable so motorists should give their car a thorough check when they do hit a pothole. Damage can also often be internal so anyone concerned about their car can take it to one of our centres so the staff can put it on the ramp for closer inspection.”

Thursday 14 March 2019

February Bulletin - Oliver Winterbottom's Diary

4 February Thoroughly enjoying reading Bunty (see 29 January) which is as entertaining as expected. The book is easy to read for short periods as it has a collection of individual stories, all linked by time and the subject.

5 February I contact Veloce, regarding ideas for book promotion this year.

6 February A response arrives from an associate of Michael Humphries who has a Lotus Elite and wrote a robust letter to Club Lotus. He is 80 years young and hopes to join the Elite 45th anniversary celebrations (when they are finally organised). 

7 February Response from Veloce regarding marketing: It sounds like you have a busy schedule of events coming up, so best of luck with them all, and if you have the opportunity please do share any news or photos from them with us, we’ll happily share these with our followers on social media and in our newsletters, with a mention of the book, to encourage sales. I have nothing to do with Social Media – but many do.

Amazon UK now has 7 books in stock (more on the way) it was 8 since the 14 January.
I receive details of the BRM Association Test Day in April and mail my invitation by return. I sold a book there last year!

8 February Half past two o’clock and I finish reading Bunty, the biography (through many stories) of David Scott-Moncrief, dealer in fine second-hand classic cars. This Veloce book portrays a real English eccentric gentleman of the type probably long gone. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

9 February Agree to move the date of my talk to the Bourne Motor Racing Club to October 10th to avoid it being immediately after my return from the Dijon historic races in June.

Chance meeting with Colin Farrow in the Barnham Broom Bell after 38 years! I wonder if I looked the same back then, as he recognised me! Attempted to 'sell' him a book through the advert on the pub wall - not sure if I succeeded!

Richard Woollaston posts information on that I am giving Club Lotus Avon a talk on March 5th. Thanks Richard, the more the merrier!

11 February I receive a cheerful message from Emily at Veloce explaining that Paul Shipley from PJS Sports Cars is interested in my giving a talk and book signing for their customers. I would be delighted and contacted Paul to say so. I had a positive response that evening, so now things are in the planning stage. Interestingly, they are located near my Prep school (that I first went to 67 years ago).

12 February Very efficient response from Paul Shipley that sets the date for a talk and book signing as 1 May. The event will pass any profits to the Air Ambulance. Paul will organise the books for signature so all I have to do is sign them and deliver a scintillating talk. I supplied him with two promotional displays.

13 February Visit my local Citroën dealer in preparation for the arrival of my new Citroën Cactus next week. Yes, its not sporting, perhaps, but comfortable. I take a copy of my book to attempt to entice the staff to buy some. (Failed!).

14 February Start preparing my slides and talk for the PJS Sports Cars talk on 1 May.

17 February Much discussion with Mike Kimberley (ex-Jaguar, ex-Lotus CEO) on whether Colin Chapman said “Simplicate to add lightness.” I am sure I heard him say it and did not know of the word simplicate. A web search reveals it was first said by William Stout, an American who had a motor company in the 1930s. All part of my research for the talk to Club Lotus Avon.

The club advertise my talk to Club Lotus Avon on 5 March. That should hopefully help fill the pub up!

19 February Message from Kevin Atkins at Veloce with a proposed book marker featuring my book. It looks superb so I hope it will ‘go into production.’ It would act as a long term reminder of the great work!

20 February Take delivery of my new Citroën Cactus, whoopee! The experts at the pub all agree, it looks superb. 

24 February It’s my birthday, as anyone who has read the first pages of my book will immediately know!

Nia, my Granddaughter is working two evenings per week at the Shapla restaurant in Wymondham as a rest from her Pure Mathematics. She tells me a group of Lotus engineers visited the local Indian on Saturday evening. She asked if they knew her Grandad and a couple did while the others had heard of me. Oh goodness, I am famous!

26 February Today the window cleaner praised the Citroën Cactus. That makes 100% approval of it so far. “At least it's not a grey VW” has been commented.

27 February I am delighted to find a notice in website advising of my evening with PJS Sports Cars on 1 May.

28 February Delighted that my book flyer is still on display in the gents' toilet of the Hethersett Queens Head, thank you Richard and Phillipa. Richard also asked to be brought up to date on this bulletin. I explained that Veloce published it but have sent him a copy anyway.

I print out the notes for my talk 'Lotus DNA', which I will deliver 5 March.

Wednesday 13 March 2019

January Bulletin - Oliver Winterbottom's Diary

3 January An enthusiast friend sends me a New Year message. We go back to the 1960s and the temporary buildings of Coventry Art College. He makes the point “there must be another book [in me].” No, there is not, although some of the events mentioned in my book probably could’ve gone as far as a court case!

3 January Today I received and accepted an invitation to Classic Team Lotus for the launch of a new book, Black & Gold. Published by Coterie Press (apologies to Veloce), the venue will feature at least 15 JPS liveried F1 cars. I am looking forward to the evening of the 25 January.

4 January Amazon UK have the price back at £37.50 with 6 books left in stock.

4 January Discover that a young lady at the Barnham Broom Bell is the daughter of an old buddy of mine from the 1980s. He is currently up in Wensleydale (an area I know well), but I have recommended my book as the next birthday present for him.

7 January I guess Amazon must be either buying books back or constantly restocking. Hopefully the latter. They have 7 books in stock on the 6 January and now 9 books in stock on the 7th.

7 January I am delighted to get an unexpected envelope forwarded from Veloce. It contained a letter from a German who had read my book. But better than that, he has a 1980 TVR Tasmin that was the 77th built, and from the photo, is in superb condition. He says he has an education in design and appreciates the completeness of the “masterpiece.” He loves it and asks for my signature, which will be on its way shortly. I do enjoy a bit of praise!

7 January A busy day today! I receive an email from Peter Riches (ex-Lotus) who read my book over Christmas and asks for my contact details. This is because Ken Heap, who did a superb job on Lotus suspension design in the late 70s-early 80s, at Lotus had my book for Christmas, and wishes to get in touch. I look forward to that, as I have not seen him for many years.

8 January A response from Ken Heap tells me that he enjoyed my book. He had returned to Jaguar after his time at Lotus and he told me “I finished my working life at Jaguar at the end of 2003. I'd been there for 18 years, and in that time was a Chassis Senior Manager responsible for suspension and brakes engineering, and for the chassis load and stress analysis department.” Well done and deserved, Ken. I hope to meet again this summer.

9 January I responded to the TVR owner in Germany, and mailed a signed photograph back to him.

11 January A nice message from Germany, saying the letter and signed photo had arrived safely. Satisfied customers of both car and book are always much appreciated.

11 January 2 years ago on this date, I received one of the first 10 pre-production copies of the book. A fondly remembered day of excitement at Veloce. It also made the face-to-face meeting with the book editor Lizzie, who did such a good job. Sadly, she has since left Veloce. I have always loved the customer review of my book (in the USA) where the English text was not apparently correct. Lizzie has a First in English from Oxford University - but not in American English!

14 January Amazon have sold one! They now have 8 books left. Hooray!

15 January Ken Heap (see 8th January) sends me very interesting information on the Cresswell, which became very successful in Clubmans Formula racing. I was involved with this project at its birth, but moved from Jaguar to Lotus shortly after the design was solidifying, so had to stop helping. It’s all in the book.

16 January Veloce contact me to introduce Ellen, their new Marketing Assistant, who will be looking after my Book Bulletin. Welcome, Ellen.

19 January I send talk title ‘Lotus DNA Some Views on Colin Chapman’s Philosophies' to Club Lotus Avon for my talk on 5 March. I have felt the need to correct some historic statements made by recently replaced executives.

21 January I receive the Statement for the Public Lending Right which collects royalties from public libraries. Some technical books can generate a lot of money. My book was lent 24 times between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018 generating a magnificent £2.04. Whoopee, I’m out on the town now! (That works out at 8.5 pence a time).

22 January Down at the Barnham Broom Bell, I happily supply a signed copy of my book to Vincent's daughter ahead of his birthday (see entry 4th January). She is looking forward to reading it first!

25 January 5:00 pm and I arrive as invited at Classic Team Lotus HQ for the launch of a new book, Black & Gold. It traces the history of the famous JPS Lotus racing cars. The evening was also an opportunity to tour the new workshops which restore and maintain a huge number of classic Lotus racing cars. The event concluded at the Wrenningham Bird in Hand, where I could meet many characters from years back. A superb event. 

Some of the 15 JPS Lotus racing cars on display

28 January I learned last night that a book customer, and ex-colleague, had lost his copy when he left it in a hotel in Amsterdam. Well done J M! At least it should help spread the word, although to whom in downtown Amsterdam may be questionable.

29 January Order the new book Bunty, about David Scott-Moncrieff, the charismatic, ‘interesting' car dealer, from Veloce (released 1 February). Looking forward to an amusing read.

Richard Woolaston has been in contact, as he plans the 45 year anniversary celebration of the Lotus Elite Type 75, and Eclat. I hope he can reach as many owners of these vehicles as possible. I am ready to support a celebratory event.

31 January I respond to a delightful letter praising the 1974 Lotus Elite, in the Club Lotus News. To read such a positive narrative after a number of negative articles in the motoring press that were obviously written by authors using public bar jesting information, was most welcome.

His comment that the 1974 Lotus Elite was 30 years too soon, was most flattering! Aerodynamically, I suspect the Elite was the first production car to utilise a fully ducted cooling system which greatly assisted the low front axle lift performance. In these days of cars trying to achieve high axle downforce at speed, the Elite was not looking for that. We were trying to ensure the lift figures were small but almost more importantly, balanced at the front and rear  with very low yaw so that the handling did not change with increased road speed or in crosswinds. As Mike Kimberley has said, “The Elite was the most stable car I have ever driven at high speed and in horrific cross winds.” The author appears to have read my book, A Life in Car Design, which gives the inside story of the vehicles creation. Thanks Michael Humphreys.

Today is very cold and foggy so I was delighted that my book order from Veloce is delivered safely on time.