MPG Marathon champions to defend title

MPG Marathon champions, Nick Chapman and Rosemary Homer from Leicestershire County Council, have confirmed they are to defend the crown they won in last year's eco-driving event.

Chapman and Homer, who achieved an amazing average of 88.69mpg over the total route of 339.3 miles, drove a Ford Fiesta ECOnetic 1.6 diesel-engined Titanium model, and out-performed the field of 23 other vehicles with a dazzling array of lean-driving skills.

They have now confirmed they will be entering this year's event to try and retain their hard-won title - a feat which has only ever been achieved once before.

Event organiser, Ross Durkin, said: "We are delighted that Nick and Rosemary have decided to defend the title they so ably won last year in the country's leading eco-driving event.

"Eco-driving remains an important aspect of fuel management due to the continued high pump price. And councils, and other fleet operators, can save substantial sums by implementing eco-driving techniques which have been shown to cut fuel costs by up to 10%.

"On a typical fleet of 500 cars doing around 25,000 miles a year and reimbursed at 15p per mile, that amounts to an annual saving of more than £187,000, figures that can make a real difference to the cost of operation."

This year's MPG Marathon event, which is again being sponsored by ALD Automotive and Shell FuelSave and organized by Fleet World magazine, is already attracting a huge amount of interest.

In previous years, the UK's most prestigious lean-driving challenge has attracted celebrities, motoring journalists, academics and senior figures from the automotive industry, all striving to see if they could complete the chosen route using as little fuel as possible.

This year's event is again open to fleet managers, representatives from fleet services, contract hire and leasing and fleet management companies, and from the motor industry, plus anyone associated with it.

The fourteenth MPG Marathon takes place on Wednesday, October 8 and Thursday, October 9, when it will be based at the luxurious Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

This year's 360-mile route begins at Cirencester and takes in the Brecon Beacons in Wales plus a number of points in between, but contestants are allowed to plan their own routes, provided they include a number of pre-agreed, fixed points, which makes keen navigational skills very important.

For the first time this year, electric and hybrid vehicles are being included in three new classes: for pure electric vehicles, for range extenders and for plug-in hybrids.

They will be joining the more familiar diesel and petrol engined cars and vans that traditionally take part in the event.

There are eight main classes of passenger cars and vans, restricted to a maximum carbon ceiling of 190g/km, and five classes of light commercial vehicles, which will not have a carbon ceiling.

Ross Durkin added: "We have introduced three new vehicle classes to this year's event in order to reflect the growing relevance of electric and alternative fuelled vehicle.

"It will be interesting to see how the very latest developments in alternative fuelled vehicles fare against the more conventional but increasingly fuel-efficient internal combustion engined models.

"This year's MPG marathon will again demonstrate how both vehicle and driver can make a massive difference to fuel costs and emissions and just how effectively that cost can be managed by achieving exceptional fuel consumption.

"This year's course will again have a minimum, straight-line distance of around 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 - by avoiding congested town centres, for example.

"All cars will again be fitted with Tracker tracking equipment, so we will know exactly where each car has been and how far it has travelled.

"Entries are now starting to come in and we look forward to welcoming a varied but highly competitive field to this year's event," said Durkin.


Peter Thomas

Author:Peter Thomas
Date Updated:30th Jul 2014

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