I really can’t believe it’s been a year since I competed in the MPG Marathon! Two weeks before this event I hadn’t passed my test, driven on a motorway or tried ‘economy’ driving. This was an amazing opportunity for both me and my co-driver Rory Carmichael, and although it was a competition we had a lot of fun.
The MPG Marathon is an annual test of ultra-economical driving, and was a useful addition to my driving experience. The event covers around 400 miles over two days. You pick your own route, although there are mandatory way points you have to stop at. We were lucky that, although we were competing against our Under 17 Car Club instructors Paul Clifton (BBC South Transport Correspondent) and Shaun Cronin (Chief Instructor and now IAM’s Regional Service Delivery Manager South), they were our team mates too so around to support us. Paul had also helped prepare us by taking us out the week before the event for a few hours practice.
The focus of the challenge is on achieving the best mpg possible, without resorting to dangerous practices such as slipstreaming or coasting. Although we were perceived as underdogs due to our age, Rory and myself had, had a lot of experience with the U17CC which really helped us.
We were also very fortunate to have been sponsored by Honda, who put a lot of faith in us, and grateful to Paul Clifton who persuaded Honda to give us the opportunity.
Before the event Honda hoped we’d finish in the top half of the 24 vehicles competing, and that it would be excellent to be in the top 10. We came 5th with an impressive 93.8mpg – almost a 20% uplift on the published MPG figures for the Civic we drove, proving it’s the right attitude towards driving that matters, not how many years you’ve had on the road.
Although it was a lot of fun and we were extremely happy with our result, driving in the event encouraged us to focus on our skills and drive as economically as we could. Since the event we’ve also had the bonus of saving money on fuel for our day-to-day driving.
Today is the first day of the 2016 MPG Marathon. It’s slightly different this year, as there are different vehicle classes, including the “luxury and efficiency champion” and an “efficient hybrid hero”. This should tempt a wider variety of vehicles to enter and it promises to be very exciting!
Paul and Shaun will be competing again with Honda and I know I’m looking forward to seeing how they do.
Good luck to all competitors but especially to Paul, Shaun and all in the Honda Team!
You can also take a look at one of my previous blog posts where I explain more about my background and how I got involved in the MPG Marathon. Plus the Press Release put on IAM RoadSmart’s blog.
Eloise Peabody-Rolf, IAM RoadSmart young driver ambassador