Fourth success for ex-rally driver in annual MPG Marathon
Three-time former champion Mick Linford has added to his haul of
eco-driving trophies by taking first place in a highly competitive 2015 MPG
Marathon, sponsored by Barclaycard Fuel+ in association with TMC, in a Peugeot
208 Active Blue HDi.
The former professional motorsport manager and rally driver, now an
automotive events specialist, clocked up 104.5 mpg overall in the Peugeot,
alongside part-time rally co-driver Jemma Champion.
Mr Linford, who won the event three times from 2009 to 2011 said he was
“over the moon” with the performance.
“I had no idea we had done so well. This is the highest MPG I have ever
achieved in the event and I’m absolutely delighted to win it again,” he said.
Mr Linford and Ms Champion finished just ahead of motoring journalist John
Kerswill and co-driver, Ian McKean, who recorded an equally impressive 103.42 mpg
in a Mazda 2 1.5 litre 105ps Sport Nav diesel.
They in turn were only just ahead of third placed drivers, John Kendall,
editor of International
Fleet World, and Paul Nieuwenhuis of Cardiff Business School, who recorded 103.28 mpg
in a Citroen C4 Cactus Feel Blue HDi 100.
Alongside the competition for the best outright MPG, the Marathon also
challenged drivers to improve on the manufacturers’ official fuel consumption
figures for their vehicle.
Claiming first place in that category were Paul Clifton, the BBC’s
transport correspondent for southern England, and former police inspector,
Shaun Cronin. Behind the wheel of a Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SE (2WD), they
recorded 84.34 mpg, a 31.37% improvement over the manufacturer’s stated
In second place in the category were the overall winners Mr Linford and Ms Champion,
whose outstanding performance was 29.49% better than the manufacturer’s
official fuel consumption figures for their vehicle.
And in third place in this section was last year’s overall winner, Honda
engineer Fergal McGrath who, with co-driver Rick Rowles in a Honda Civic Tourer
1.6 i-DTEC, achieved a highly impressive 90.46 mpg, 24.94% better than the manufacturer’s
Retired fleet manager Doug Powell won the new title of
‘most efficient fleet driver’ at this year’s MPG Marathon.
Driving a BMW 320d ED Sport Saloon, with co-driver and
navigator Richard Holt, Mr Powell clocked up an overall mpg of
72.65, some 10.57% better than the official manufacturer stated figures
for the vehicle of 65.7 mpg on the combined cycle.
Afterwards, Mr Powell said he’d relied on the eco-driving
skills that he had learned from entering 14 of the previous 15 MPG Marathons.
He said: “Eco-driving is all about planning and anticipating ahead, with as
light a touch on the throttle as possible. You need to try and keep the car
rolling at all times, especially when approaching traffic lights when you need
to ease off well in advance, so that ideally you arrive just as the light turns
In the light commercial vehicle category, Van Fleet World editor Dan Gilkes
turned in another outstanding performance. Behind the wheel of a Renault Traffic SL27 Energy dci 120 Sport and
alongside regular co-driver Ray Penford, the van specialist recorded an overall
mpg of 57.65.
That was a
20.35% improvement over the manufacturer’s stated fuel consumption figures of
47.9 mpg on the combined cycle, and gave the pair a comfortable overall win, to
go with the first place they achieved in the light commercial vehicle category
in last year’s event.
In second place
was another van specialist, Neil McIntee, who was driving a Citroen Berlingo
Blue HDi 100 S/S in conjunction with co-driver Peter Thompson. The duo achieved
an overall mpg of 68.64, some 1.98% better than the manufacturer’s stated
figures of 67.3 mpg to claim the runners-up spot.
In third place
was RAC ‘Patrol of the Year’ Ben Wilson, who was valiantly taking part in the
Mercedes Vito van that he uses every day in the course of his patrol duties,
including a full load of 500 parts and tools. Alongside co-driver, Zainab
Rahman, PR executive at the RAC, Mr Wilson drove his Vito 116 long diesel
116CDi Bluetec model, which bears the personalised registration plate, P1 RAC,
to an overall mpg of 47.57 mpg. That was almost identical to the manufacturer’s
stated figures of 47.1 mpg on the combined cycle, and was just 1.01% better
than the official figures.
Event organiser and Fleet World publishing director, Jerry
Ramsdale, said: “This was probably our best MPG Marathon to date in terms of
mileages achieved by what were, in all cases, standard production cars.
“Above all else, this year’s event showed conclusively that the current
generation of modern cars and vans is more fuel-efficient and more
environmentally friendly than ever before. It is an outstanding testimony to
the achievements of all the participating motor manufacturers.”
This year’s MPG Marathon comprised a combined total of approximately 380
miles across the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire/Hampshire countryside. Contestants were
free to plan their own routes, provided they included a number of pre-agreed,
fixed points, which made keen navigational skills essential.