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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk


Fife event to mark 50 years since Jim Baxter’s swagger at Wembley

March 2 2017

Fifty years on from arguably Scotland’s greatest victory, the stunning performance of one of Fife’s favourite sons will be marked at a special event. Jim Baxter is already immortalised with a statue in Hill of Beath, where he lived and played football in his early years. Raith Rovers, his first senior club, plan to celebrate half a century since his iconic showing at Wembley when Scotland became unofficial world champions at a star-studded evening in Kirkcaldy next month. The show, which will take place on April 17 at the Adam Smith Theatre, will feature film footage of the famous 3-2 win over the England in 1967 and other memorable Baxter moments, as well as input from celebrities who had connections with ‘Slim Jim’. They will include Willie Henderson, one of Scotland’s greatest wingers and a lifelong friend of Jim’s; Jim McCalliog, who scored in the victory over England; ex-Scotland manager Craig Brown; former Prime Minister Gordon Brown; and crime writer Val McDermid, whose father initially brought Baxter to her beloved Raith Rovers. Raith Rovers director Dave Wann hopes as many people as possible will turnout for the event, as it will also help develop local footballing talent hoping to follow in Baxter’s footsteps. “One of the purposes behind the event is to raise funds for the Raith Rovers player development squad so that the club can aspire to find and nurture the next generation of young players with some of Jim Baxter’s skills,” he explained. “Our current national team has struggled in recent years and this event is an opportunity to remind ourselves of a time when Scotland had truly international quality players — a time when we could even brag about beating the world champions on their own turf." Baxter’s swagger during Scotland’s win over England at Wembley on April 15, 1967, remains the stuff of legend, and those who were in attendance were left mesmerised by his performance over the 90 minutes. His keepie-uppie with the ball on the touchline as the clock ticked down is one of the most iconic moments in Scottish sport. Baxter, who played for Raith between 1957 and 1960 before moving to Rangers, died aged 61 in 2001 a and the statue was erected in his honour two years later. Mr Wann said the evening promises “entertainment and nostalgia in equal quantities” and tickets are available via the Adam Smith Theatre box office by calling 01592 583302. Standard tickets are £20 and VIP tickets are £30 which include a pre-show pie and a pint and the opportunity to meet the celebrities.

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.


Scotland fans have chance to own shirt Jim Baxter wore against England at Hampden

May 20 2015

A rare piece of footballing memorabilia is up for sale. The jersey worn by Fife legend Jim Baxter in Scotland’s 2-0 win over the Auld Enemy at Hampden in 1962 will go under the hammer in Glasgow next month. Slim Jim’s shirt, which has been on display at the Scottish Football Museum since 2012, is considered one of the rarest football items to come to auction in recent years. Specialists at McTear’s Auctioneers are valuing it in the region of £4,000. “All memorabilia associated with Jim Baxter is guaranteed to attract interest but an item like this is something else entirely,” said McTear’s managing director Brian Clements. “Slim Jim is one of the greatest Scottish footballers of all time and his matches against England are the stuff of legend.” Coming a year after Scotland’s 9-3 thrashing at the hands of England at Wembley, the 1962 game was Baxter’s first match against the Auld Enemy. https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ixdhnro0mU8?rel=0 Played in front of 132,000 fans, the Hill of Beath wizard put in a brilliant display during Scotland’s victory. Mr Clements added: “Baxter’s jersey from the match is steeped in football heritage and I have no doubt it will attract a huge amount of interest from football fans at home and overseas when it goes under the hammer on June 2.” The jersey is being put up for sale by lifelong Scotland fan Robert Ross. He bought it in 1992 and had it signed by the great man himself the following year. “Jim Baxter was my football hero when I was growing up but unfortunately I only managed to see him in action once, late in his career,” he said. “I have had the top for more than 20 years now and I think it is time for someone else to get some enjoyment from this fantastic piece of football heritage.”.

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Business news

Prestigious BP oil contract for Dundee project management training company

June 7 2017

Dundee-headquartered training provider 20/20 Business Insight has won a prestigious contract with one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies. The Broughty Ferry-based company, which also has offices in Aberdeen, London and the USA, has been awarded preferred supplier status under a master contract by BP for providing project management training globally. Ironically, the prestigious account has been won after 20/20 stepped away from its previous focus almost entirely on the oil and gas sector – adding BP to a diverse client portfolio that now includes Wood Group, Centrica, Balfour Beatty, British Aerospace, Hinckley Point, Network Rail, Diageo and Wm Grant. Chief executive officer Tony Marks, who said the new status came off the back of recent big contract wins within the nuclear power industry, added: “20|20 are delighted to have been awarded preferred supplier status under a master contract by BP for providing project management training globally. “It’s a great team performance in demonstrating our international capability and upstream oil industry experience to win this prestigious account.” 20|20 Business Insight, which employs 26 staff and had revenues of £2.84 million last year, is a full service, project management, business and leadership training and consulting company who deliver training courses and consulting services throughout the world. It is the largest independent provider of project management training courses in the UK. The consulting team work with companies to analyse competence baselines and deliver maturity assessments, design bespoke and accredited training programmes, create handbooks and manuals, implement project management procedures and protocols and then measure and report effectiveness. Mr Marks said that crucially, they had the ability to deliver internationally-accredited training and consulting anywhere in the world, primarily in oil and gas, engineering and construction, utilities, nuclear, food and drink However, despite an international outlook, they remained proud to be rooted in Dundee. “We are big fans of Dundee and supporters of the Tay Cities Deal to bring jobs, including de-commissioning, to Dundee,” he added. “When we started in 2003, we were almost exclusively in the oil and gas sector before diversifying into other sectors. We were lucky because two years ago the oil and gas sector started to decline, and accounts for around 10% of the work we do now.” Mr Marks has been involved in business for 27 years and has seen four or five cycles based on the oil barrel price changing. During that period, the level of business has come back smaller each time. “So it’s quite interesting we are back in the oil and gas sector now,” he added. He said the BP deal had been going on behind the scenes for nine months and “should mean quite a jump in business for us.” He added: “It’s not a guarantee of any level of work. But the revenue should be significant and comes off the back of other big contract wins.”


Teammates of football legend Jim Baxter hail his special talent ahead of BBC documentary

September 23 2015

The life and times of one of Fife’s greatest footballers is celebrated in a new documentary. Two of Jim Baxter’s former Raith Rovers teammates were at Stark’s Park ahead of the broadcast of a film chronicling the legendary winger’s life. Simply titled “Jim Baxter”, the portrait is to be shown on BBC Alba on Thursday night in what is described by its makers as an “intimate” account of one of the nation’s greatest sportsmen. Ahead of the broadcast, two men who played behind Baxter during his time in Kirkcaldy, goalkeeper Jim Thorburn and defender Denis Mochan, hailed a special talent. “Back then we had our senior players and our junior players,” said Mr Mochan. “I would say that he learned his skills under those senior players and by the time he left here and went to Ibrox he was already a journeyman. “He wasn’t a great tackler but if you gave him the ball he would just float into space with it and that would give him time.” “If we were under pressure then I would just throw the ball to Baxter,” added Mr Thorburn. “He would take it for a walk and that would always give us a break.” Born in Hill of Beath in 1939, Baxter was a miner before he made his Raith debut in 1957, making 62 appearances for the Kirkcaldy club before leaving for Rangers three years later for what was a Scottish record fee of £17,500. After five years at Ibrox, his career would later see him enjoy spells at both Sunderland and Nottingham Forest, as well as a short stint playing in Canada. He retired in 1970 after a final season back at Rangers. Despite a highly successful club career, the winger is probably best known for his showboating at Wembley against world champions England in 1967, using his ball juggling skills to taunt the Auld Enemy. Such was his talent, both George Best and Ferenc Puskas, regarded as two of the greatest players in football history, hailed Baxter’s ability. But despite his natural talent, over indulgence off the field meant that his career was effectively over by the age of 30. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2001, age 61, and is immortalised in a statue in his home town. Director of “Jim Baxter”, Margot McCuaig, added: “He was a working class hero and his story is an integral element of Scottish popular life. “His story is both inspiring and tragic and I am sure it will have an impact on the audience.”

Man bailed in M20 murder probe

February 23 2018

A man who was arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of a woman was found on the M20 has been released on bail.The body was discovered by police on the London-bound carriageway near Ashford at 6.05pm on Tuesday. The road was closed between junctions 9 and 10 for nearly 24 hours while the scene was investigated.Officers appealed for the driver of a silver Nissan Qashqai to come forward and a man handed himself in at a police station on Wednesday evening, Kent Police said.On Friday morning the force said the man had been released on bail until March 15.The circumstances surrounding the death of the 32-year-old from Kent remain a mystery and detectives are continuing to investigate.A post-mortem is expected to take place at midday on Friday.Police are still appealing for drivers who were on the road at the time to check their vehicles for signs of a collision, and for anyone with dash cam footage or who saw a Nissan Qashqai with the registration KY15 WWX at the time of the incident to come forward.

M20 body identified as man arrested in murder probe

February 22 2018

Police have identified the body found on the M20 as a 32-year-old woman from Kent.A man arrested on suspicion of murder remains in custody, Kent Police said on Thursday afternoon.Officers discovered the body on the London-bound carriageway near Ashford at 6.05pm on Tuesday. The road was closed between junctions 9 and 10 for nearly 24 hours while the scene was investigated.Officers initially appealed for the driver of a silver Nissan Qashqai to come forward and a man handed himself in at a police station on Wednesday evening.The incident caused hours of delays with between six and seven miles of queues stretching back to junction 11 and a diversion was in place.The road reopened shortly before 3pm on Wednesday.An accountant from Ashford told Press Association of his shock at the scene he saw while driving on to the coastbound stretch of motorway at about 6.20pm on Tuesday while emergency services were on the opposite side of the road.The 21-year-old, who asked not to be named, said: “As I entered the motorway I expected to see a crash, when I suddenly realised that it wasn’t and unfortunately it appeared to be a body lying in the central lane with police and ambulance staff around it.“Because of the torches being shone by police (I could see) it appeared that the body had been struck by vehicles.“It was very shocking. It is not a sight I would want anyone to witness.“My condolences are with the family of the deceased.”Police are still appealing for drivers who were on the road at the time to check their vehicles for signs of a collision, and for anyone with dash cam footage or who saw the Nissan Qashqai with the registration KY15 WWX at the time of the incident to come forward.