Check out the latest Life on Cars

Check out the latest Life on Cars

by David Simister (January 2022)

IF YOU’RE reading this column then chances are that you’ll know what a donut is – and I don’t mean the sort that widens your waistline if you over-indulge. 

Nope, I’m on about the screechy, rev-happy variety, because it’s under the spotlight in West Lancashire Borough Council’s consultation on car meets in Pimbo. For those of you not up to speed – as it seems, the people taking part in the meets most definitely are – there’s a campaign at the moment to crack down on cars from right across the North West converging on the area. They are, in the words of West Lancashire Chief Inspector, Chris Abbot, behind “significant anti-social behaviour and nuisance caused by the manner of driving, races, burn outs and associated noise.” 

Basically, these drivers are seen as a pain in the arse and the council, police, and a lot of rightly peeved residents want rid of them. It’s also entirely right that my colleagues at the sharp end of The Champion are reporting on the various twists and turns of the consultation, which runs until February 19. But I’m also a car enthusiast, and so are the people behind the Pimbo meets. 

So not only did I read the consultation, but I went and watched some clips from the Pimbo meets and found the Facebook pages their protagonists use.

I’m not, for a second, about to defend the legality of what’s going on here, as there’s no way, under even the haziest understanding of the Highway Code, that drag racing a chipped Focus ST against a modded Audi or BMW has any place on a public road. But my worry is – as with anything railed against as reckless, anti-social yobbery – is that as soon as it’s clamped down in Pimbo, it’ll pop up somewhere else. 

So why not give these cars somewhere to go? 

This isn’t the council’s responsibility or that of Lancashire Constabulary, but I reckon there ought to be somewhere, here in the North West, that actually allows people to converge with cars legally and burn a bit of rubber. Fancy drag racing your own car? Santa Pod is an awfully long way from Skem, as is Elvington Airfield. Surely some petrolhead-minded entrepreneur, working with the powers-that-be, can turn their hand to creating a safe space where car nuts can enjoy their hobby without winding everyone else up?  

With soaring petrol prices, emission zones in big cities and plans to ban the sale of new internal combustion vehicles within a decade, there’s never been a more pressing time to defend being a petrolhead as a legitimate hobby – and illegal meets are prime ammo for the anti-car lobby. 

Something, somewhere, needs to change. People who enjoy donuts of the Krispy Kreme variety shouldn’t need to worry about those who prefer the Pirelli-shredding sort. 

David Simister is the editor of Classic Car Weekly 

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