After a year off for good behaviour the only biking awards which matter – The Making Progress Blues Awards – are back!
Welcome everyone to the glittering ballroom of the Premier Inn, Chepstow, where we’re joined for the 2013 awards by the great and good from the world of two wheels, alongside a scattering of second-rate celebrity guests fed on a diet of PR company provided ego and cheaply cut street grade cocaine.
Afterwards there’ll be lots of time to drunkenly attack paparazzi photographers and attempt to secure sexual favours in the toilets from what will later turn out to be undercover Daily Mirror reporters, but for now let’s get going with the award they all want to lose…
The “Yeah, I’m In The Car Mate” Award for Worst Driven Car of 2013.
A tough category to excel in, and one which has been dominated since our first awards in 2010 by the Audi A4. Let’s hear the nominations for the vehicle driven most often with the least care, attention or skill on British roads.
1. The Audi A5. The German giant has done it again, producing a car which looks fast but very much isn’t and charging a fortune for it; thus leaving drivers with everything to prove behind the wheel.
2. The Vauxhall Insignia. Flared arches, air scoops, bonnet bulges, splitters, wide wheels and the engine from a sit-on mower. Drivers have to supply their own yellow-tinted Oakleys and coat hanger for the suit jacket.
3. All 57 varieties of Mini. Coupes, soft-tops, sort of van things: the one thing which binds them all together is the driver: male or female, always too busy checking themselves in the mirror to look where they’re going.
And the winner is…
The Vauxhall Insignia! An amazing achievement, finally knocking Audi off its perch as the bellend’s car of choice. Screaming the nuts off it in third, tailgating and pretending it’s a 911, the Insignia driver is the new greatest danger to life and limb. Congratulations!
Let’s move on…
The “Waste Of Space Which Could Be Used For A Filing Cabinet Instead” Award for Prat or Prats of the Year.
Let’s have a look at the work of this year’s nominees:
1. Local Councils: too busy counting the size of their index-linked final-salary pensions to either fix the collapsing roads or stop haulage companies spilling diesel all over the them. Trebles all round!
2. Dorna: the company which owns the rights to Moto GP. Seeing a huge rise in the sport’s popularity and winning millions of viewers from F1 they have flogged it to BT Sport, ensuring nobody will ever be able to watch it again.
3. The European Commission: Before getting back in to their chauffeur-driven S500s, unelected regulators achieved another top year of lunatic rules aimed at forcing bikers off the bikes they want to ride and on to £13,000 machines dripping in “essential safety equipment” they may or may not want.
And the winner of the arse-shaped trophy this year is…Dorna!
A great achievement. Having waited years for bike racing to catch the public imagination they cashed in immediately and sold it down the river. The judges said: “What a bunch of selfish twats, well done!”.
Our next award is The “Bit Of Kit Award” for Bit of Kit of the Year.
And the nominations are:
1. HJC R-PHA 10 helmet: lighter than an Arai, better built than a Shoei, half the price of either. The American manufacturer, having bagged Jorge Lorenzo as chief wearer, is here to stay.
2. Alpinestars Tech Series motocross boots: still the pack leader, constant innovation and they make the wearer look like an extra in Mad Max. Classic quality.
3. Triumph HS2 waterproof leathers: comfy, well made, actually waterproof and reasonably priced – not the company’s top seller for nothing.
Congratulations to…HJC…quality and price, and bringing competition to the market. Mrs Thatcher would have been proud.
Always popular, let’s see who wins the dildo-shaped trophy this year for “The Proper-Sized Penis Award” for Best Driven Car of 2013.
This category, which recognises the vehicle least likely to do something stupid and to be driven by someone actually making an effort, is much sought after; previous winners have included the Caterham 7 and the Porsche 911. The nominations are:
1. The Maserati Quattroporte: speed and style, the modern standard-bearer for “making progress tastefully”.
2. Bloody great lorries: first nominated in 2011, truckers’ new-found willingness to help bikes along is welcome and enthusiastically recognised by the judges.
3. Morgan Three-Wheeler: a controversial choice from the judges as it’s usually slightly out of control, going too fast and carrying a Labrador wearing goggles, but the panel felt the overwhelming old-fashioned charm and impressive manners of drivers as they gave a good natured wave before leaving the road should be recognised.
The winner, and it’ll be popular in the room, is The Morgan Three-Wheeler!
Good show chaps, grab your hip-flasks and we’ll come back with the Landie later and pull you out of the hedge.
The “Yes, I AM Marc Marquez – Kneel Before Me!” Award for Road of the Year.
As usual this award is only open to roads the panel had ridden in 2013. After much discussion/many pints, the nominations are:
1. The A4260 Oxford to Banbury road. Fast, sweeping, un-technical, one of those roads which make a rider feel like Nicky Hayden without the need for any skill whatsoever.
2. The B3212 across Dartmoor. “Brrrraaaaaaaaaaaap!”, said our panel.
3. The A417, from Oxfordshire to Cheltenham through the Cotswolds. Our panel said: “Mrrrrrr, mrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, mrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, oh look, a tea shop!”
The winner….the A4260. Any public road with a banked set of corners is hard to beat.
The “Cost Of Divorce Award” for Bike of The Year 2013.
A hotly contested category again this year. Let’s see the metal you’d sell the kids for:
1. Yamaha MT-09: Returning to what biking used to be all about – a cheaper, more fun alternative to driving. The MT flicks the bird at the £13,000 super bike and insists you can have as much fun for half the price.
2. Ducati 899: The affordable, okay perhaps “affordable”, Duke super bike. All the fun, all the handling, slightly less of the grunt and certainly slightly less of the kids’ college fund.
3. Ducati Hypermotard: Not really new, not even very clever. However, in a world of practicality and safety aimed at the older rider the judges decided that the Italian supermoto’s stated aim – “Total hooligan tool which will put you through a hedge then shag your wife” – should be applauded.
And the winner….the MT-09…not an exciting choice but there to put people on bikes in numbers. Amen.
And now, as is traditional, our final award – The Making Progress Blues Biking Personality of the Year.
This award goes to the individual who’s had the greatest impact on bikers this year. In 2011 we said “no nominees, no spiel, no jokes, no fucking justice” before naming Marco Simoncelli. We also said we hoped we could end on a gag next time around.
No gags, sadly.
This year we remember Kevin Ash, brilliant journalist, annoying bugger, loving father and husband, much missed friend of very many.
That’s it for 2013 ladies, gentlemen and those of you who work on motorcycle magazines and are, thus, a little of both.
Join us next year at another glamorous venue near the M4. Until then, ride safe.