Economy driving record tumbles once again
The highly competitive annual economy driving event, now in its eleventh year, aims to get motorists thinking about the way they drive, and the impact this has on their vehicle’s fuel consumption.
The event challenges the country’s leading eco drivers to get the best possible miles-per-gallon performance from their vehicle and the winner for the third year in succession was the SMART for-two CDI driven by eco-driving champion and former racer, Mick Linford.
Mick Linford and co-driver Ella Flynn needed less than four gallons of diesel to cover the 370-mile course, clocking up an astonishing 99.24mpg in the process. His performance left Mick agonisingly short of the 100mpg barrier, which has never been broken in the history of this real-world driving event.
Second place in the competition for Best MPG went to motoring journalists Peter Cracknell and Dave Randle who clocked up 86.4mpg in a Suzuki Swift 1.3 DDiS, while former BBC Top Gear presenter Sue Baker turned in a truly remarkable performance in the family-sized Skoda Octavia Greenline, achieving 85.98mpg.
Drivers also sought to find who could register the greatest percentage improvement over the motor manufacturers’ published fuel consumption in the sternest test of skill and anticipation. Clear winners in a Vauxhall VXR8 were Andrew Duerden and Chris Mooney who with 32.14mpg crafted their way to a 53% improvement over the car’s combined cycle figure of 21.0mpg.
Second place in the percentage improvement class with a 48% uplift went to twice former winners David Madgwick and Ashleigh White in a VW Golf R 4 Motion, with Cracknell and Randle also claiming a rostrum position here with a 28% improvement on their car’s 67.3mpg combined cycle figure.
MPG Marathon organiser Ross Durkin said: 'Mick Linford’s performance was up to his usual incredibly high standard and we were all holding our breath at final refuelling, but the dial clicked agonisingly past the vital point. There were plenty of other notable performances with almost every team taking part beating the manufacturer’s published figures for their vehicle – something that every car driver should aim for.
'The people who took part are some of the best economy drivers in the world. But the overall aim of the event is to raise awareness among normal motorists that a few simple techniques – such as better anticipation of the road ahead, smooth acceleration and correct use of gears – can bring about significant savings at the fuel pumps,' he added.
There was equally stiff competition in the light commercial vehicle section. No less than 11 vans took part in the event which saw the LCVs competing in gross vehicle weight classes, as well as vying for the overall award for the best percentage improvement over published figures.
Overall winner by the slimmest of margins in the percentage improvement class was the Renault Trafic dCi 115 piloted by driver training experts Martin Carter and Alison Miller. Their 59.11mpg was good for a 54.73% improvement over Renault’s figure of 38.2mpg and just pipped fleet safety managers Les Stiff and Ian Marginson into second place with a 53.65% uplift in an identical Renault van.
Fierce rivalry saw John Kerswill pip Van Fleet World editor John Kendall in the race for the best outright MPG by a van, with 82.96mpg and 81.79mpg respectively in their Fiat Fiorino and Citroen Nemo vans.
There were also some impressive class wins for Ford’s mighty Transit Van, claiming first place in both 2800kg and 3500kg classes.