For Sport

What do you get if you cross an F1 car with a milk float?
Electric Karting!

By Emma Drew

February 11, 2014

What do you get if you cross an F1 car with a milk float?<br />Electric Karting!

On Friday 7th February a team of 12 mostly novice kart drivers from Perkins Slade were given 12 high powered electric karts and one of the largest indoor karting circuits in the UK; the result was some great lap times and racing, the odd crash and lots of fun.


By Sven Edwards

My initial thoughts of driving electric karts drew images of tiny milk floats pottering around a track with the drivers trying not to spill any milk. The reality however could not have been more different! The karts look identical to their petrol headed cousins but with more torque – ideal for a quick take off and pulling away from corners at speed.

After a full safety briefing we were split into two groups. Each group had three heats where the object was not to race but set the fastest personal lap time. After the heats the six fastest drivers and the six slowest drivers from either group went into separate races to settle who the night’s winners and losers would be…

So, who was the Fastest of the Fast?

To settle this question the six drivers with the fastest lap times started in grid formation. Pole position went to the pre-race favourite Nick ‘Double Quick’ Baker. True to form Double Quick Nick started and finished the race in first place.


And who was the Fastest of the Slow?

Starting in fourth position I was keen for a quick start, however, after a slightly undercharged run from the line, I was passed by Nick Tamblyn. Worse was to come; while taking the first hairpin corner, with some momentum I might add, I found Nick ‘The Spin’ had spun his milk float which was now stuck sideways, right on the racing line.



With nowhere to go I ploughed into his kart and, realising my already slim podium chances were finished, I may have muttered something along the lines of ‘gosh darn it’. However, those watching were quite able to hear my utterance, electric karts don’t make much noise you see, and contrary to my recollection, what I am alleged to have said is not suitable for this blog!

So, to sum up the ‘Fastest of the Fast’ was Nick Baker, Sports Small Business Broker, who later carelessly broke his winners trophy in the pub.

The ‘Fastest of the Slow’ was claimed by Greg Reynolds, Corporate Account Executive, whose trophy is rumoured to have taken pride of place on his parent’s mantle piece.

I can thoroughly recommend Karting, so why not check out the Teamworks Karting, Birmingham. Our thanks go to their team for looking after us on the night!



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Sherpa Tenzing, Sir Edmund Hillary, Chris Moyles and Laurel & Hardy – what do they have in common?

By Editor, Perkins Slade

November 1, 2013

Sherpa Tenzing, Sir Edmund Hillary, Chris Moyles and Laurel & Hardy – what do they have in common?

By Sven Edwards, Account Executive.

The answer is mountaineering. But that is really where the similarity ends. Tenzing and Hillary were pioneers in the field of climbing. Taking on mountains that had never been climbed, peaks that no man had set foot on, performing feats of endurance thought impossible at the time.


No doubt they inspired Chris Moyles and his celebrity cohorts to climb nearly 6,000 metres to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, for charity. Sounds impressive. The money raised certainly was. However the route Chris and his celebrity colleagues took to the top is dismissively known as the “Coca Cola route”. It has comfortable huts for tourists to sleep in, food and drink is for sale and the paths are thronged with climbers.

So Nick Baker and I, Perkins Slades very own Laurel and Hardy of the climbing world, joined the Birmingham Futures social group for another sporting taster event, at the Cube’s club and spa’s very own 8m climbing wall. While it was only 8m this was our Everest. This was our Kilimanjaro, and there were no shops or comfortable huts en route to the top!

After our safety briefing, along with 4 other intrepid explorers all climbing for the first time, we donned our safety gear and one by one made for the summit. It turns out that for the untrained the first ascent is always likely to be your best attempt. Because after that the muscles you did not even knew you had start giving you grief that you were not aware was possible!! I, Hardy to Nicks’Laurel, managed the full climb once (ahem!) while the whippet that is Nick was up and down the wall like the proverbial ferret up a drain pipe. My own further forays up the wall, along with the majority of the first timers I would add, were met with muscles that seemed to be less and less willing to help out.

It got to the point where it appeared I was learning more about emergency abseiling (aka falling) than climbing. Our instructor for the evening, Sarah, was very nearly flattened by one of my speedy descents.

Nick, however, showed all the balance of a veteran mountain goat and won the praise of Sarah and acknowledgement as the evenings best novice climber.

After scaling our own mini Everest I think we both have total respect for Sherpa Tenzing, Sir Edmund Hillary, and even Mr Moyles!

If you want to have a go at climbing, or any fancy trying out any of the other facilities at The Cubes Club and Spa, why not take advantage of their complimentary pass for a day. For more information follow the below link:


Or, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous why not try a 4 week course with one of the instructors from Awesome Walls. 



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All in a weekend’s sailing…

By Emma Drew

August 12, 2013

All in a weekend’s sailing…

…a Sapphire, champagne, sharing a bunk, and being saved by a man in his pants!

By Sven Edwards
Sports Account Executive

When one thinks of yachting images of perfect blue skies, Monaco and supermodels are usually conjured up! When I tried my hand at sailing again recently, the reality was a little different.

Along with 4 friends I had chartered a 34ft Halberg Rassey sailing yacht which we picked up from Mercury Yacht Harbour, near Southampton, not quite Monaco and sadly for us, NO supermodels!

The Sapphire
This was the name of our vessel, and she was a beamy old girl (or quite wide as sea going folk call it), and could sleep up to 6 people in relative comfort. She had her own galley and dining area as well as bathroom facilities, as hygiene is still important when sailing – although a couple of the lads didn’t seem to know it!

Sapphire was the stuff little boys dreams are made of and having a friend who was qualified skipper on board meant the 5 of us were free to take her on unaided and wherever we wanted. Our plan was to visit 4 ports in 4 days…what could possibly go wrong?

Champagne Sailing
We set sail up the River Hamble to our first port of call, Cowes on the isle of White. In near perfect sailing conditions it took a few hours to get there. I am told these sailing conditions were referred to as ‘Champagne Sailing’ – the very best kind – we were lucky as each day saw the same perfect weather. Once we had safely moored we went to find the local curry house for dinner which was enjoyed with a fair few beers.

Sharing a bunk
Well, I can certainly say the party was slightly dampened when it came to the sleeping arrangements. Everyone had their own private quarters, except for me as I had taken along a newbie, called Ash, and as his friend, I was obliged to share the last remaining cabin with him.

My thoughts on this are that I do not recommend sharing a small cabin with your mate after he has just consumed a lamb Bhuna and 5 pints of lager. However, I was thankful for two things that evening; the hatch above our heads and the ear plugs I had taken with me – both vital as it turned out.

A man in his pants
What I haven’t mentioned so far are the 3 rules of sailing club:

1. The first rule of sailing club – don’t fall overboard 
2. The second rule of sailing club – don’t snore on the boat
3. The third rule of sailing club – don’t snag a fisherman’s crab pot on your rudder in the middle of the sea.

This first rule has never been broken. Hence we are able to return each year to sail again. The second as it happens is broken every night of every year we go sailing (hence the ear plugs). As for the third rule, well, no-one had ever suffered the embarrassment of making that schoolboy error…Until now!

It was when I took over helming, en-route to Poole Harbour, the first we knew of a problem was when Sapphire came to a complete standstill – despite full sails being up with a good wind (not from Ash this time…). When we looked over the stern it quickly became clear that our rudder had been fouled by a crab pots line and it’s buoy. We were going nowhere fast and unless we fixed the problem, with no damage to the rudder, our sailing adventure was going to end early, and on my watch too.

With minimal tools and no experience in dealing with a problem like this, after all no-one had been silly enough to break the third rule of sailing club before, we were in a spot of bother, to put it mildly! That was until a friendly fisherman named Andy came speeding towards us, and soon became the unassuming hero of the day.
Andy a professional crab fisherman, clearly didn’t like wearing too much in the way of clothes in the sunny weather as he had nowt on him but a pair of pants! If I had a flat tyre on the M6 and a man wearing only his pants stopped to help I would say “thanks but, no thanks” and send him on his way, but this was no puncture, and we weren’t on the M6!

Andy rafted his fishing boat to the Sapphire, jumped aboard, assessed the situation, advised he could not understand why we bothered wearing shorts and t-shirts in this heat, asked which “plonker” had done this – cue recriminating looks in my direction – and said he could “fix our problem” – the fouled rudder that is, not our penchant for clothing!

After donning his wetsuit, some lead weights, a diving mask and strapping his boot knife to his leg he dived in and swam round to the back of our boat. Within seconds Andy had freed the line from our rudder with no damage to either the boat or the crab pot!

Back on board his boat, Andy stripped back to his underwear, untied his boat from ours and powered off to continue his days work. Of course we had thanked him and asked if we could give him anything for his services (some money, a bottle of wine, clean pants even) but he wouldn’t accept and said he was just happy to help. I never thought I would say this, but I have never been so happy to be saved by a man in his pants!

If you fancy trying your hand at sailing why not try one of the many sailing schools to be found in the UK


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Perkins Slade Thrust, Parry and Riposte!

By Emma Drew

June 5, 2013

Perkins Slade Thrust, Parry and Riposte!

By Sven Edwards
Sports Account Executive, Perkins Slade

Sword fighting dates back thousands of years but before last Thursday night’s fencing taster session, organised by Birmingham Future and Birmingham Fencing club, the closest I had ever got to sword play was as a small boy duelling my brother with our plastic pirate swords.

In common with those early swashbuckling experiences, myself and 11 newbies were introduced to our evening’s weapon of choice – a plastic sword! These, however, were no toys. They were, in fact, specially designed plastic training ‘foils’ that allow safe training, especially for new comers. After all, no one wanted to leave the session missing an eye or a little pinkie!

Duelling to the death among the aristocracy is a thing of the past these days and Fencing is now an Olympic sport that has been contested at every Summer Olympic Games since its birth at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens.

The taster event was held in the large marble hall of One Snowhill, Birmingham, and our coach for the evening was Roger Simmons who injected a bit of fun into the event. Clearly a skilled fencer in his own right he was great at imparting his knowledge in a clear and easy to understand manner. After a brief warm up session, and before we got our hands on the practice weapons, we first had to learn a few basics:

  • Safety – carry your sword point down and always wear the foil mask to protect the face when in combat!
  • How to stand in the classic fencing pose – called ‘en garde’. Think of the Three Musketeers and their pose before commencing a duel and you won’t go far wrong!
  • How to advance and retreat in the said en garde posture. Easy? Well it was before putting it into action with an attacking opponent with foil in hand!
  • How to grip and hold the foil, at an angle with the tip at shoulder height
  • How to attack, defend and counter attack or to use the correct terminology – thrust, parry and riposte!

Once we had got to grips with these we broke off into groups of three and put our new found skills to the test! While one of us acted as referee the other two went to battle. The actual sword play was surprisingly fast paced and tactical, but was actually quite easy to get to grips with.

Scoring with hits from the rubber tipped foils to the torso, we went about the to’s and fro’s of trying to prod and poke each other while still trying to defend our opposite number’s attacks and counter attacks.

Even though I was told before the event, by those who shall remain nameless, that I would present ‘something of a large target’ to the opposition I would like to think I scored more times than I was hit!

So, would I do it again?

Absolutely! It was really good fun and if you want to give it a try yourselves check out the Birmingham Fencing Club website as they have a Foil Fencing Course for beginners starting on 10th September

I shall let my brother know!


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