incorporating Wessex Wheels, the regional motoring magazine

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About Gear Wheels


Although Gear Wheels, the online motoring magazine, has been established for some years, the publication has its origins in the well-respected printed title Wessex Wheels. The latter has been fully incorporated into the present magazine.

Having its roots firmly in the south west of England and inheriting the spirit of the old title, the magazine is published for those interested in all forms of transport where wheels or gears are involved. The title, therefore, embraces most conveyances from a bicycle to a paddle steamer and includes cars, motorcycles, classic vehicles, locomotives, trams and even trolley buses; it also takes in historic aircraft, military vehicles, traction engines and historic racing machinery, etc. Even such diverse mechanisms that operate cliff railways, or water mills, are within its remit.

Abandoned railway tracks, ancient coaching routes, long-gone racing venues and other subjects from the past are also given an airing, as to many these are nostalgic aspects of a bygone era rapidly becoming a distant memory. But we haven't forgotten new technical innovations which we try to explain in terms that can be easily understood.

Interviews with well known personalities connected to motorsport are featured from time to time. In the past we have talked to Nigel Mansell and Murray Walker, to name but a few.

Gear Wheels online will be constantly updated and written in an interesting and informative manner by journalists with impeccable credentials. As you traverse the gearwheelsmag.co.uk web site you will notice the gear wheel symbol that appears as the page background graphic. It is taken from the original Wessex Wheels logo and serves to remind readers of the origin of the title.


Editor: David Simpson
Founder of Wessex Wheels and the 'driving force' behind Gear Wheels magazine online. An apprentice served engineer who has held posts in many spheres of mechanical engineering, David turned to motor journalism in the early 1980s working for IPC Magazines where his hands-on technical skills were employed on the leading practical diy publication of the day. By the early
Nineties he had returned to his engineering roots where he became involved with consumer and litigation issues, while at the same time attempting to persuade one of the UK's oldest breakdown organisations to publish a motoring magazine, an idea which eventually led to Wessex Wheels. He is a member of The Guild of Motoring Writers and is a registered Incorporated Engineer.

Contributor: Stuart Bladon
After 26 years on Autocar magazine, where he was deputy editor, Stuart became a freelance writer in 1981. His interest in economy driving dates from a first attempt at the Mobil Economy Run in 1961 with a Rover 3-litre, and in July 1984 he achieved an entry in The Guinness Book of Records by driving an Audi 100 turbo diesel from Land's End to John o' Groats and back as far as Falkirk without refuelling. Total distance was 1,150.3 miles, at 59.27 mpg. When the record was broken by a Toyota Land Cruiser fitted with an extra fuel tank, he tried again with the later Audi 100 turbo diesel, and retrieved the record by going from John o' Groats to Land's End, and back to Scotland, all on one tankful, 1,338.1 miles at 75.94 mpg. The tank finally ran dry on A74 at the then-little known town of Lockerbie. He also established the world record distance for production car economy, covering 112.01 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel with a CitroŽn AX 14DTR. But he claims that his most successful economy drive with a petrol car was in October 1997 with a Mitsubishi Carisma GDI. Flagged away from Earls Court on the opening day of the Motor Show, the Carisma traversed France without refuelling, and then went right across Spain and over the ferry to Tangier. Total length of the London-Morocco journey was 1,658.4 miles, at an average fuel consumption of 65.06 mpg. Total fuel used was 25.49 gallons - less than two tankfuls. Stuart's
experience as a Road Tester began soon after joining Autocar 46 years ago, and included testing a Lamborghini Miura at 172 mph. He drives about 80 different cars a year, averaging a total of 28-30,000 miles, and has been Road Tester for Wessex Wheels from the first issue of the magazine, which has now grown into the web publication Gear Wheels at www.gearwheelsmag.co.uk

Contributor: Roland Holt
Artist and historian is the best way to describe this ex-BMC trained engineer who in recent years has combined his passion for racing cars with an artistic talent and eye for detail. Painting in miniatures or larger format, he specialises in racing cars and track scenes as well as detailed technical 'cut away' pictures of racing machinery. Highlights in his career include working on racing Ferraris and researching the pre-war Auto Union Grand Prix team from the 1934 A-Type to the final D-Type of 1939, with separate focus on the V16 and V12 engines of the era. Additionally, he has produced a series of paintings titled 'Drivers and Cars' which include Fangio in an Alfa Romeo Type 159, Stirling Moss with a Mercedes W196 and John Surtees in a Ferrari; other recent projects committed to canvas include the Miller 4WD Indianapolis
car and the 8CTF Maserati. But it is not just the brush and easel where Roland excels, his artistic talent is complimented by an extraordinary knowledge of historic motorsport events and venues in and around the ancient 'Wessex' region of southern England, as well as a wide knowledge of other facets of transport from motorcycles to monorail systems, and the like.

Contributor: Charles White
Contributor Charles White's career has been somewhat chequered to put it mildly. After an early career in which he tried many different jobs including an apprenticeship as a surgical instrument maker, a spell as a warehouseman for an American company in the Persian Gulf and a stint as a computer operator for NCR in London. During the 1960's he took part in many motorcycle road races on Royal Enfield, NSU, Ducati and Bultaco motorcycles and twice competed in the Manx GP in the Isle of Man. In the 1970's he joined Home Tune where he amassed a huge technical knowledge on tuning motor cars and developed a very successful mobile engine tuning business to boot. During his time with Home Tune, he wrote a number of technical articles and a carburettor manual for internal use; and he was involved in training other Home Tune franchisees. Charles finally sold this business in 1988 and was involved as an independent trainer for various Test Equipment manufacturers until the mid 1990's. In 1984 Charles started writing for Practical Motorist magazine (answering readers' queries) and during this time he became friends with David Simpson, Rodney Jacques and Graham Macbeth. Very soon he was writing technical features for Practical Motorist and enjoyed his own column called 'Tuners Tales'. Features for AutoTrade magazine followed and he wrote several very successful Trade Buyers Guides on 'What Diagnostic Test Equipment should I buy'. During the early 1990's he wrote a series of carburettor manuals for Haynes publishing and in 1994 he launched a new company called Equiptech. Equiptech developed the CAPS technical database, on CD-ROM, that provides technical information to independent garages on modern electronic systems. Equiptech also produced a number of books for Haynes on engine management and wrote the support manual for the Lucas Laser electronic diagnostic tool. Crypton and Sykes-Pickavant were other Equiptech customers for whom technical
manuals were written. Equiptech was acquired by the Omitec group in September 2000 and, after a stint as Managing Director, Charles stepped down to concentrate on Motorsport journalism for the sport that he has always loved. He attends many car and motorcycle events each year including a number of classic race meetings. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers.

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E-mail: editor@gearwheelsmag.co.uk

 

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