Friday, 25 July 2014

Top Tips for Driving with Sun Glare

Usually when it comes to safe driving tips we think of cold weather, icy roads and dense foggy conditions. However it's very important to remember that it's just as critical to stay safe on the roads in times of sunny, warm weather, and make sure that the glare of the sun doesn't effect your vision when making your journey. Here are our top tips on how to minimise any problems:


1 - Clear windscreen - Ensure that your windscreen is spotlessly clean both inside and out. Dirt or grime on the outside or inside of the wind-shield causes the light to scatter, increasing the glare. Clean your wind-shield before setting off so you are not blinded by the reflection of the drops of wind-shield washer fluid in challenging light conditions.

2 - Windscreen washer fluid - Make sure your windscreen washer bottle is fully topped up and you have some solution added that helps clear the windscreen of dirt, bugs and grit that will land on the windscreen

3 - Dashboard polish - Keep your dashboard clear and avoid using high-gloss products that can increase reflection.

4 - Wear sunglasses - Have a pair sitting in the car at all times, and if possible a pair of polarised sunglasses, as they help to reduce the glare more than ordinary.

5 - Slow down - Goes for all driving condition but even more important if driving into low lying sun as it can be difficult to see the brake lights of the car in front, so make sure ample distance is left between you and them. (remember the 2 second rule!)

6 - Sun visor - Utilise your sun visor, that's what it's there for! 

7 - Road markings - If you're having trouble seeing the road, use the road markings to help guide you

8 - Extra time - Leave extra time so that you don't feel rushed getting to your destination.


Words by John Smyth, MicksGarage Marketing Guru!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Engine Room Show Live Podcast - Episode 87

The Engine Room Show lads return for yet another recording at the MicksGarage HQ and this week they chatted to some of the lads from the office - John Smyth & Vinny O'Brien. They talked about MicksGarage's world wide stamp, how we source new products, the concerns around the MicksGarage name and also give Steven Cooper a job interview! A great listen as always...




You can see more stuff from Dave MooreDave Humphreys & Steven Cooper by checking out The Engine Room Show Facebook page, Twitter and their very own website which you can find over here. They also do random things on YouTube!

Words by John Smyth, MicksGarage Marketing Guru!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Father's Day Supercar Competition


Back in June we launched our Fathers Day Supercar driving competition through JOE.ie and our Facebook page. We had loads of entries and understandably so, the prize was awesome! The winner would get the chance to tear around Mondello Park, Ireland's premier racetrack with ArĂ³n Smith, professional British Touring Car driver in a selection of high performance machinery including a Porsche 911 and full-on Lola racing car.

We picked a winner from the virtual hat of randomness and Declan Reamonn from Wexford came up trumps! The date was set for July 18th and we all waited impatiently!

 
The 18th arrived quickly enough and myself, Rob our cameraman and our tame racing driver, Aron met up with Declan and his wife Gina in the Johnstown inn in Naas (which is highly recommended by the way) for quick bite to eat before heading over to Mondello.
Dec had sprung the news just half an hour previously that he would be handing over his prize to his wife, who was an even bigger petrol-head than himself! The nerves had clearly set in but both were buzzing with excitement which was great to see.

When we got to Mondello the 3 gleaming cars Gina would be driving were all lined up and ready to go. We headed up to the suites above pitlane for a one-on-one briefing session with Aron but something was going on because both Gina & Declan were getting briefed.

Sure enough, 2 crash helmets appeared..... Turns out a space in Mondello's schedule had free'd up and they were going to get both Gina and Declan out on track! Fair play guys, you're absolute legends!! :)

First up was the Mazda 3 training car, completely stripped and decked out with bucket seats, racing harnesses and a full roll cage. What the little hatchback lacks in outright power, it more than makes up for in handling. 
 Grin-Factor: Off the scale!

Next up was the Boxster and the 911. With more than 3 times the power of the Mazda, the Porsche's really got the adrenalin pumping and there were some shaky hands and sweaty palms when the pair stepped out after their laps!
The times tumbled under the expert guidance of their instructor, culminating in a highly respectable 1:12.6, a full 10 seconds quicker than the 1st lap!
After the Porsche's it was time for the pro to take over! We strapped Dec into the passenger seat of the race prepared MX5, The revs rose and Aron dumped the clutch leaving 2 thick black lines of rubber down pitlane as he headed out on track for some Hot Laps. Watching from the sidelines it was clear he wasn't messing about, he was trying pretty hard! The pasty face and nervous laughter from Declan certainly backed that up when the pair returned to the pits!

The last car we had lined up for the guys was in a different league altogether in terms of performance. The Lola (above) is a proper racing car. It has a 300bhp race prepared engine, 6 speed sequential gearbox, racing brakes, slick tyres and bodywork that produces downforce....in short it's bloody fast! Couple that with a world class driver and you're in for something a bit special.
As the Lola accelerated out of pitlane the difference in speed was immediately apparent and in just a few hundred yards they were up to 6th gear and really shifting. I got a couple of laps in the car myself and apart from the outright speed and Aron's car control it's the way that the Lola pulls just as hard in 6th as it does in 2nd or 3rd that really impresses. To put it in perspective, the Lola lapped the track a full 15 seconds faster than the 911 and 911's aren't slow!

I think I can safely speak for everyone and say a fantastic day was had by all!  Huge thanks go to our competition winners Declan and Gina, a sounder couple you are unlikely to meet! Mondello Park who went above and beyond to put on an experience that won't be forgotten in a hurry, Aron Smith for frightening the living daylights out of us and JOE.ie for spreading the word. Fingers crossed we'll be back with another competition in the near future! Watch this space





Friday, 18 July 2014

The Engine Room Show Live Podcast - Episode 87

The lads are back for their 2nd week of residency at the MicksGarage.com, where they are joined by Laura Condron, Senior Brand & PR Manager from Opel Ireland! They discuss the official warning Dave Moore got from Opel, quiz Laura on previous Engine Room Show episodes and talk what she loves about her job in Opel! Laura also gives Cooper a jaw dropping insight into adaptive cruise control - worth a listen as always!

Engine Room Show Podcast - MicksGarage.com
Laura Condron ,Opel Ireland Joins Stephen, Dave & Dave! 


You can see more stuff from Dave MooreDave Humphreys & Steven Cooper by checking out The Engine Room Show Facebook page, Twitter and their very own website which you can find over here. They also do random things on YouTube!

Words by John Smyth, MicksGarage Marketing Guru!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Wicklow Warriors Win in Mondello Stunner


The atmosphere was electric for this second visit to the Co. Kildare track for the second time this year. With a packed venue and all eyes on them, the Micksgarage.com Formula Sheane Championship certainly didn’t buckle under the pressure; instead they put on what was renowned by Motorsport Ireland as the racing of the weekend. The series has been credited with that honour at every track it has visited this year and long may it continue. Testing on Friday had its victims, Chris McCabe succumbed to engine woes early in the morning but he and his crew worked relentlessly to change the engine and get the car back and race ready for qualifying the next day. The track its self was very uncharacteristically slippy some suggesting that it was from the drift cars the week before but that meant that every single car was on the exact same pace and no one driver was able to bang in super quick lap to set the pace, every session bringing with it a different pace.


 Qualifying
The drivers arrived to a wet and changeable track on Saturday morning with many spending it contemplating what wet set-up they would run if it didn’t dry out by the time qualifying started. Luckily enough several other classes were out beforehand to clear a nice dry line which meant that the drivers could push on and go for that one quick lap to secure pole. All the cars lined up in assembly ready to go out with all eyes on the sky praying it would stay dry the whole way through. Qualifying being the fiery devil she is took no prisoners right from the start in the form of driveshaft failure for Gary Corcoran who didn’t manage to get a single lap time in sealing is fate to the back of the grid for both races. Usual business resumed for the battle for pole between the top in the championship, Dave Parks setting the pace early on before suspension failure brought is qualifying to an end and a red flag to the session. With Parks car removed the rest of the grid positions were battled out in the same manner we know and come to expect from these guys. Sheane snatching the pole position only for a second before the Master Hearty snatched it off him. Allen then banged in a lap to put Sheane to 3rdwith Hogg in 4th. Sheane then put in a lap that couldn’t be measured with a microscope, only .015 of a second behind Hearty. Hearty went on to set an even quicker lap time and extend the gap slightly with Hogg snatching 3rd of Allen. Parks early pole time was good enough to see him take 5th on the grid with Kearney, Paul McLoughlin, Newcomer to the class Sean Doyle only managing 8th after struggling with set-up, Linnane and Carr rounding out the top 10. True to form, Sheane blasted in a last ditch pole lap and reclaimed the top spot on the grid from Hearty.


 Race One.
18 cars lined up in assembly for the first race of the weekend for the series, all looking fantastically turned out and ready to race. The cars all had a quick green flag lap to find out where the grip was on the ever changing track conditions. The packed grid all took their positions, the rev’s raised in deafening anticipation of the lights going out and as they did Keith Hogg, from the second row of the grid took off like a bullet out of a gun and picked of Hearty and Sheane to lead into the first corner. A fantastic start from Doyle put him into the action fast and onto the back of Allen’s gearbox as they turned out into the country, simple driving around cars on the outside to slot in behind the leading pack. Around the cars came all noses to tail like they were stuck together Hogg leading from Sheane, Hearty, Allen and Doyle who was quickly lining up Allen with his eyes on Hearty. The rest of the field thundered through a few cars missing in first lap incidents and all scrambling for places. Gary Corcoran coming from the back of the grid was already inside the top ten, an absolutely incredible first lap by the County Wicklow man. Doyle moved up to 3rd after making the moves on Allen and Hearty and the battle for the lead changed as Sheane snatched it away from Hogg. Sheane got the head down and set about building his lead from the chasing pack. Parks managed to take Allen for a few laps before Allen re-claimed the 4th position from him. Doyle set his sights on Hogg and more ultimately Sheane in 1st but he had forgotten one thing the man who he had just overtaken, Hearty who threw every year of his experience at Doyle to take the place back. That battle raged on for a few laps with both touching at nearly every corner of the track which ended in the only way it could like that, Doyle’s throttle sticking open coming into the esses saw him drive into the back of Hearty and push him around the corner causing both terminal damage that saw them both retire a few laps later. That promoted Allen and Parks to 3rd and 4th positions which would soon be 2nd and 3rd as Hogg developed an engine problem that he tried to nurse home in the effort to grab some points but would eventually retire a lap from the end. Battles raged all the way through the field and other cars ran into problems in battle which promoted Paul McLoughlin up into 4th with drive of the day driver Gary Corcoran driver bringing his car home in 5th. The 2nd Micksgarage.com car was brought home in 6th spot in the hands of guest driver Michael Sweeney. Brendan Carr and Gilbert Clancy managed to keep their noses clean and avoid all the trouble to work their way through the field. That’s how the race ended, Kevin Sheane, Robbie Allen and Dave Parks the big winners in points for the battle for the championship. This one race has blown the whole championship open and made it a 5-way battle at the top as they all closed in on Hearty. After all that excitement the crews and supporters peeled themselves away from the track to which they had been glued to congratulate the podium winners up in the scrutiny bay. That was all the action for the Saturday, race wise anyways and good few teams having to work on into the evening carrying out repairs for the race on Sunday.

 Race Two
Sunday morning, and as the drivers, crews, families and supporters arrived they were greeted by a very overcast Mondello Park but again most importantly it was dry which set the race up to be as fast paced and action packed as the day before was. A few slight changes in grid positions for the start, the biggest being Hearty taking the pole position spot from Sheane. The tension was high and everyone was on tender hooks as the cars rolled up to the grid for the start. The lights went out and another blistering start by Doyle off the line, Sheane got the drop on Hearty as they approached the first corner. Hearty seemed to have a problem initially as Hogg got the overtake finished before turn in, Allen took avoiding action to the left of Hearty, Doyle to the right and out over the pit line to slot in in-behind Hogg for the corner. As they went out into the country for the first time Hogg did everything in his power to hold off Doyle who looked everywhere for a way around but couldn’t. Sheane scrambled to get the head down and try pull away whilst the others squabbled over the positions. Doyle threw it up the inside of Hogg coming into the last corner and made it stick; now he set his sights on Sheane. Across the line Sheane took the defensive line into turn one but again Doyle drove out onto the pit lane and around Sheane to take the lead. That was 7th to 1st in 8 corners…not bad for only his 3rd race in the series. Allen tried to make a move on the outside of Hogg going into turn one which resulted in him running out of track and that was the end of his days racing. That off brought out the safety car, not exactly something you see every day in Irish Circuit racing but was needed none the less as Allen’s Car was in a dangerous position. The Safety car gathered the cars up and they awaited the green light to go racing again. The midfield battles were sensational too, Gary Corcoran and Sean Hynes Slicing their way up the grid from the back with Clancy, Sweeney and Carr all swapping positions anywhere they could. On the restart Doyle lead the train of cars across the line into the first corner. Doyle set about trying to pull a gap but Sheane and Hogg had set themselves up right under Doyle’s rear wing where they stayed throughout the rest of the race never letting him more than a car length away. The Chequered Flag dropped and Doyle took the win from Sheane in 2nd and Hogg in 3rd. Brian Hearty was in 4th just in front Parks who claimed 5th from Mayo man Sean Hynes in 6th. Corcoran with another incredible drive finished 7th from the back of the grid. Paul McLoughin slotted in 8th John Linnane made it home in 9th after a great drive from him in his immaculate machine. Brendan Carr rounds out the top 10 positions.


 And that was it rounds 7 & 8 were done and dusted and the series was leaving the track with 2 more winners this year which brings it to 5 different winners from 8 rounds, that alone goes to show how close this class is in terms of pace and quality. The Second race on the Sunday was credited as being the best race of the weekend which is another accolade that the series can take, Formula Sheane has now been the best racing at each of the 4 race weekends it has attended this year so far and with the championship after been blown wide open with those results you can be sure that they will take that title at the next 2 in Kirkistown and Mondello Park. As Doyle was not involved in the Main Micksgarage.com Formula Sheane Championship he will not be awarded points for the win, Everyone below Doyle will be bumped up a place in the final race positions for points meaning, Sheane takes full points for race 2, Hogg takes 2nd and Hearty moves up to 3rd to round out the podium positions and likewise throughout the rest of the field.


Formula Sheane would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Drivers, the Crews, the Marshalls, the Organisers, the Families and the Fans of the Series. Without any of you none of the class would be possible and we love putting on the show for you. Everyone certainly felt the support this weekend. The Micksgarage.com Formula Sheane championship proving time and again (and at every race circuit this year!) why it is Ireland’s Premier Racing Series. You will not find a higher calibre racing in Ireland. There’s a long break now until round 9 but let it Roll on and let these guys continue in the fight for the Honours in Irelands Top Tier racing series!!! 

Image credit: James Foley

Friday, 11 July 2014

Eyes On The Road - Volkswagen Safety Campaign

Mobile phone usage while driving is something that is being cracked down on worldwide. It is currently one of the biggest attributing factors of road deaths. From the 1st of May in Ireland new legislation was passed into law which means people caught texting on their phones will be subject to hefty fines and a possible court appearance.

Volkswagen have taken a different approach to show a group of unsuspecting young people just how distracting checking a text message while driving can be.


It's highlighting the point that it only takes a few seconds of distraction for accidents to happen. Don't let yourself be distracted, keep your eyes on the road! No life is worth losing over a text message.

Words by Lisa, That's What She Said!

What The Stars Think You Should Drive!

Capricorn

December 23 - January 20
Capricorns tend to be conservative, but they are also hard working. They deserve to reward themselves for that hard work, and sometimes that is reflected in their cars. Cars Capricorns tend to drive are:
  • Nissan Navara
  • Range Rover Evoque
  • Hummer H2
  • Lexus GS300
  • Bentley Continental GT
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Toyota Camry 


lamborghini_aventador_lp700-4_523d16d80bc78.jpg (1280×850)

Aquarius

January 21 - February 19
Qualities that describe the quintessential Aquarius are adventurous, independent and progressive. They like innovative cars that let them express their individuality, such as:
  • Lamborghini Aventador
  • Ferrari Daytona Spyder
  • Alfa Romeo 4C
  • Lexus RX 450H
  • Chevrolet Cruze
  • Toyota Prius
  • Toyota Celica
  • Volkswagen van
  • Smart Fortwo





Pisces

February 20 - March 20
Those who are born a Pisces tend to be dreamy people who get bored easily. They also need reliable cars that are low maintenance. This lends them to the following cars:
  • Lexus LX
  • Audi TT Coupe
  • Honda Accord
  • Toyota Camry
  • Ford Focus
  • Honda Insight
  • Volkswagen beetle
  • Mitsubishi Lancer
  • Kia Sportage

Aries

March 21 - April 20
Those born under the sign of Aries tend to be bold and love speed. They would have fun in a:
  • Maserati Grand Turismo
  • Porsche 911
  • Chevrolet Corvette
  • Mazda RX-8
  • Vauxhall VXR8
  • Chrysler Crossfire
  • Mitsubishi Lancer
  • Ford Ranger


Taurus

April 21 - May 21
A Tauran tends to like comfort and luxury, but they are also practical. Cars that mix both of these qualities are:
  • Land Rover Discovery 
  • Hyundai i40
  • Ford Focus
  • Toyota Prius
  • Lexus GS300 Hybrid
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Forester
  • Ford Mondeo
  • Volkswagen Beetle

Gemini

May 22 - June 21
Geminis tend to be very social, so they need a reliable car for all of their travels that is still fun like them. Good cars for a Gemini are:
  • Mini Cooper
  • Mercedes ML
  • Jaguar XJ
  • Corvette ZR
  • Volkswagen Eos
  • Volkswagen Passat



Cancer

June 22 - July 22
Cancers are very emotional and family centered. That usually means they like cars that are very safe. Cars a Cancer might choose are:
  • Audi A4 Avant
  • Nissan Murano 
  • BMW X5
  • BMW M3 
  • Volvo V70
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Toyota Camry 

Leo

July 23 - August 21
Leos tend to be very dramatic, and that almost always is reflected in their choice of car. Vehicles that will appeal to a Leo are:
  • Ferrari 458
  • Porsche 911
  • Bentley Azure
  • Nissan Qashqai
  • Range Rover Evoque
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • Honda Civic

Virgo

August 22 - September 23
Virgos like cars that are practical with great fuel economy. Here are a few cars that a Virgo might like:
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Lexus GS300 Hybrid
  • Lexus RX Hybrid SUV
  • Honda Accord
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Prius
  • Honda Civic Hybrid
  • Ford Focus

Libra

September 24 - October 23
Libras tend to be artistic and social, so they need a car that meets those tastes and needs. Here are the best cars for a Libra:
  • Bentley
  • Rolls Royce
  • BMW 7 Series
  • Mercedes SL Convertible
  • Chrysler Grand Voyager
  • Volkswagen Jetta 
  • Toyota Rav4
  • Honda Civic
  • Mercedes C-Class

Image courtsey of autokarma.de

Scorpio

October 24 - November 22
Scorpios tend to be emotional, mysterious and sexy; and they like cars that match these qualities. Good choices for a Scorpio are:
  • Mazda 3
  • Toyota Amazon
  • Dodge Viper
  • Rang Rover Vogue
  • Audi A6 Avant
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Jeep Commander
  • Ford Mondeo

Sagittarius

November 23 - December 22
Sagittarius loves to travel and explore. They also tend to have lots of friends, so they need room for everyone in their car! Good cars for Sags are:
  • Honda S2000
  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Land Rover Discovery
  • Porsche 911
  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Hilux
  • Kia Sportage
  • Nissan Qashqai
  • Classic Ford Mustang
Words by Amy