It’s official, WGMW treasurer Ross Durkin has gone scats. 

As organiser of the annuual ALD Automotive/ Shell FuelSave MPG Marathon, he has changed the format of the autumn event, and which usually sees a few group members joining colleagues from other regions and The Guild of Motoring Writers.

Event organiser Ross Durkin said, “Ever since we first introduced the event in 2000 we have used a fixed route, as you would expect with a car rally. However, last year we were faced with a number of unscheduled road closures and unforeseen traffic incidents along the route which required drivers to find their own way round the problems and got us thinking about a change of format this year.”

In what is known in motorsport circles as a “navigational scatter”, competitors in the 2013 MPG Marathon will be required to find their own route between a series of fixed points, in much the same way that any normal driver would be required to do.

The minimum, straight-line distance between them will be 360 miles in total, but navigators will be allowed to choose a longer route if they feel it will result in a better fuel-saving performance.

“All cars will be fitted with TRACKER tracking equipment, so we will know exactly where each car has been and how far it has travelled,” said Ross. 

“The new format gives drivers the option to choose a route that is not necessarily the shortest distance, if they feel that by avoiding the traffic in certain areas they will achieve a better overall performance.

“Most cars in the event will be fitted with Sat Nav and by using the traffic avoidance systems they will be making decisions about their route in the same way that any normal driver would. Under the old rules, a deviation from the route could result in disqualification.

DIARY MARKER – The ALD Automotive / Shell FuelSave MPG Marathon takes place on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 October, based at Tankersley Manor, near Sheffield. 

Details of the event and application forms for potential drivers can be found at

“We were beset with traffic jams and road closures last year and drivers were forced to re-route around them – in one section a bridge collapsed on the morning of the event. But the data we got from TRACKER allowed us to calculate the exact extra mileage covered by each vehicle, so we have added this extra dimension in 2013 and the drivers I have spoken to so far have roundly welcomed it,” added Ross.

Robin Roberts
Robin Roberts

Robin is the longest serving chairman of The Western Group. He’s been vice chairman or chairman for over ten years and oversees the annual Western Group PR Driving Day each summer assisted by the group committee and supported by group members.

He contributes to a number of outlets in Wales and the UK, including the Driving Force editorial syndication agency feeding the biggest regional news and feature publishers in Britain.

Robin specialises in the Welsh automotive sector and motor related businesses with interests in Wales and publishes which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.

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