Monday 3 July 2023

100 MPH

 On holiday recently in Gibraltar, I noted that all road signs are (much like the majority of Gibraltar) British - using the Transport font developed for use on the first standard road sign collection in 1957, and the speed limits are displayed in Miles Per Hour.  But ... they also drive on the right side of the road and all the cars are left hand drive.  As a result, all these cars will be sourced from the European manufacturers and be fitted with speedometers that show Kilometres Per Hour.  Confusing, but is it's such a small place, it probably does no real harm.

As every driver knows (although many seem to think these numbers are purely advisory), the speed limit in a built up are is 30MPH, the national speed limit on a single carriageway road is 60MPH, and on a dual carriageway and motorway the maximum speed is 70MPH.
The earliest speed limits for powered vehicles date back to 1865 and was set at 2MPH in built up areas and 4MPH anywhere else.  You were also required to have someone carrying a red flag in front of you.
By the late 1870s, the Red Flag requirement had gone and the speed limit raised to a giddy 14MPH.
It jumped again in 1903 to 20MPH, but many cars could easily exceed this limit, and no-one really paid attention anyway.
The 1930 Road Traffic Act removed all speed limits, but by 1934 saw fit to introduce the blanket 30MPH limit in built up areas.  Open roads (ie those not in towns) remained unlimited.  With more open roads, better surfaces, and by 1958 the first motorway, it seemed that the unlimited speed might need taming.
The 70MPH limit on motorways was introduced in mid-1967, following 18 months of deliberation and investigation.  And as most family cars of the 1960s would struggle to top out, or maintain that speed without exploding at some point, 70MPH seemed to be a suitable limit.
There was one slight revision during the Oil Crisis of 1974, but the standard as defined by the Road Traffic Act and Highway Code has remained in force since 1977.

Like many of those 1960s cars, I was thrilled if my first car exceeded 70MPH, and the first time I drove a car at 100MPH was in a friends Ford Capri. Ford speedos were not the most reliably calibrated, so I was probably doing about 80 really.
My current car - a Vauxhall Insignia - has a quoted top speed of 138MPH (ie basically twice the legal limit), and I admit to being heavy footed once or twice and have gone into 3 figures, but 77MPH (yes Officer - no more than 10% above speed limit) is ample.

Vardis were a 3 piece band from Wakefield led by Steve Zodiac (note: it's not his real name, but Stephen Hepworth is not really a Heavy Metal name is it).
Playing the pub and club circuit tightened the band's sound to a collision of high speed, high energy, glam rock boogie heavy metal (sort of Slade meets Motorhead with a bit of Hawkwind and Status Quo in the mix).  With the look, the sound,m and the following they found themselves in the right place at the right time to benefit from the burgeoning New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.
Their first album was a live affair titled '100MPH' and in apt description of the content.  It also bore the legend "Guaranteed No Overdubs" - so it was straight from the mixing desk to the tape.
Underpinned by relentless touring, and some minor success, the second Vardis album 'The World's Insane' came in 1981 followed by 'Quo Vardis' in early 1982.
By the mid-80s, Vardis still weren't getting paid, and Steve Zodiac entered into lengthy legal disputes and the band disbanded.
They may have been at the edges of NWOBHM, but do warrant a mention in most write-ups of the period and have been cirted as one of the bands that occupied a place in Metallica drummers Lars Ulrich's collection - maybe not as mentioned or lauded as Diamond Head, Samson, Tygers Of Pan Tang or others who shone albeit briefly, but no less important to the movement and development.

Vardis - 100MPH
(complete with Vim Fuego-esque Guitar histrionics)

Vardis - Silver Machine

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I think they should bring the red flag system back asap.