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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...


Under-influence Dundee bodybuilder smashed four cars

September 28 2016

A steroid-fuelled bodybuilder who wrecked four cars in a matter of seconds has been spared a jail term. John Bertie admitted a charge of driving under the influence of drugs following the smash in Dundee's Strathmartine Road. Bertie - who has twice before been banned for driving under the influence - was barely able to stand when he drove down the busy street and ploughed into a Volkswagen Polo - sending it crashing into a Ford Fiesta. Fiscal depute Matthew Kerr told Dundee Sheriff Court that Bertie then got out of the car to survey the damage. He said: "He was observed to be struggling to stand up and was staggering. He staggered back in to the driver's seat and drove off. "He continued for approximately 50 yards before veering left again and colliding with a Hyundai car. "The accused continued to veer left and then collided with the back of a Fiat 500. "He then exited the vehicle again and was observed to stagger on to the pavement. "He was found by police and gave a negative breath sample but was heavily under the influence of an unknown substance." Bertie, 42, of Smith Street, pleaded guilty on summary complaint to a charge of driving while under the influence of drugs on August 23 this year. He was on bail at the time of the offence having been released only the day before from Forfar Sheriff Court. Defence solicitor Scott Norrie said: "He accepts responsibility for the matter. "He had been taking steroids at the time - he is a bodybuilder and has been using them to change his physique." Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC banned Bertie from the road for four years, ordered him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work on a community payback order, imposed a year's supervision and ordered him to pay £1500 compensation. She said: "This is a serious matter - all the more serious because of your record."

Perth & Kinross

Perth bodybuilder crowned UK champion

May 2 2018

A Perth bodybuilder has been crowned one of the UK's best at a national competition. Dane McGregor, 29, was named top of his category at the Physical Culture Association (PCA) UK competition in Hull earlier this week. The bodybuilder, who took up the sport after a serious knee injury forced him into an early retirement from amateur rugby, beat off strong competition at the finals at Hull University in the muscle model class. Dane, who trains at the Body Academy gym on South William Street, said he was delighted with his win. His day almost ended in disaster after he tore a muscle in one leg, however he soldiered on through the pain and was able to come out on top. He said: "I have been bodybuilding for about five years now, but last weekend's competition was the first time I had competed in the muscle model category. "I got into bodybuilding after I damaged my knee playing rugby. There were around 160 competitors from across the UK at the show in Hull. https://www.facebook.com/physicalcultureassociation/videos/1615131235448185/ "As preparation, I have a strict diet of sweet potato and chicken to eat and train four times a week in the gym. I'm not allowed any variation on the diet, which means definitely no cheat meals. "Training really is the best part about bodybuilding. I am not a huge fan of the competition itself, but it teaches you so much about self discipline and helps improve your work ethic. "I would really like to thank my coaches, Guy Adison and Vicky McCann for their support and help in preparing for the UK competition. "I'm next competing for a classic competition, with the national qualifiers taking place shortly." Muscle model class bodybuilding competitions sees competitors judged on muscular appearance, symmetry, balance and body proportion. The athletes are also judged on how well-tanned they appear on the day, their on-stage etiquette, hair style and general appearance.    

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km


Bodybuilder over drink-drive limit as he crashed into Dundee waterfront roadworks

January 6 2015

A world-renowned junior bodybuilder from Fife drove his car while almost twice the limit and crashed into roadworks on Dundee’s waterfront development. Ross Kerr, from Markinch, had been out celebrating his achievements at a world championship event where he finished fourth, his solicitor Katrina Bell told Dundee Sheriff Court. However, the following morning hemisjudged the effect of the alcohol and drove his car at 7am while he was still well over the limit, she said. Kerr, 21, of Stob Cross Road, admitted driving or attempting to drive on August 10 on South Marketgait with excess alcohol (60 mics), while on bail. Depute fiscal Laura Bruce told the court the vehicle was being driven along the front of the Malmaison Hotel but as it approached the bend, it “careered off the road and went into a concrete trench. “The vehicle was seen to be tilted over, the accused and a friend tried to remove it but police arrived and they smelled alcohol on his breath.” Kerr failed a breathalyser and was taken to police HQ on Bell Street for a second test, which also proved positive, said the depute fiscal. Ms Bell told the court Kerr is abodybuilder who has had some success. She said he was a Scottish Champion and had competed in both the UK and World championships, finishing fourth in thelatter event in June. She said: “He doesn’t drink muchalcohol, his diet is very strict and he had some success in competition and had been out celebrating with friends the previous night. “He misjudged how long it would take for the alcohol to get out of his system.” Sheriff Alastair Brown fined Kerr £600 and disqualified him from driving for 16 months. Kerr competes in the National Amateur Body-Builders’ Association (NABBA) competitions in the junior category.

UK & World

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.


When one door closed, another one opened for bodybuilder Arron

August 12 2017

When a serious knee injury brought Arron Simpson’s successful judo career to an abrupt halt, the 19 year old was left without a hobby and a goal in life. “Judo was a big part of my life,” Arron, now 24, recalls. “I’d won the British championships three times and trained in Japan where judo is a national sport.” He continued going to the gym – the Body Academy in Perth – where owner Vicky McCann suggested he tried competitive bodybuilding. The discipline he’d developed with judo transferred well to his new sport and he was hooked. “Becoming a bodybuilder involves a lot of hard work, time in the gym and time preparing meals for the next day,” Arron explains. “It’s vital to do it in a healthy way and make sure you’re enjoying what you’re doing, and of course rest and sleep are important too.” Arron’s day job – he’s a grounds worker at a local building site, laying roads and sewers. – helps keep him in tip top condition but that’s no reason for complacency. “Dedication is important and I train on a different part every night – body, chest, legs, back, shoulders,” he says. “I concentrate on weightlifting. I’m 5ft 2” and weigh 65 kilos but can bench press 140 kilos – twice my body weight – which is quite unusual.” A clean diet of porridge, sweet potato, chicken, spinach and broccoli helps keep him lean. His favourite bodybuilder is Franco Columbu, an Italian actor who, at 5ft 4”, won the title of Mr Olympia in 1976 and 1981. And Arron himself is no stranger to fame. “A couple years ago I came second in the British National Bodybuilding Federation (BNBF) championships in the junior category and this year I placed first in the lightweight men’s category. My mum was so proud she was crying,” he recalls. Although he spends much of his spare time at the gym, he doesn’t feel he’s missing out. “It’s more than just a gym. It’s a good laugh and there’s always a bit of banter – everybody’s really friendly and knows each other. The staff are brilliant there and would help anybody – they’re always happy to give advice,” he says. Arron, who is aiming to compete and place in this year’s BNBF finials in Birmingham on October 1, reckons bodybuilding has changed his life as well as his physique. “I’ve always enjoyed keeping in shape and when one door closed, another opened. Bodybuilding pushes me physically to be the best version of myself and has really helped give structure to my life, as well as keeping me on the straight and narrow,” he says. And he may not be the only member of the Simpson family to give the sport a try – his youngest sister, 10-year-old Molly, has been to a couple of shows. “Molly is fascinated by the women in their bikinis and high heels,” he says. “You never know, she might go into female bodybuilding when she’s older.” www.thebodyacademy.co.uk  


City bodybuilding contest success

August 2 2010

Dundee held its first bodybuilding competition in more than 20 years yesterday, with participants travelling from across the UK to attend. The UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation North East Scottish Championships were promoted by local bodybuilder Harry Ogg (43) and took place at the Whitehall Theatre. Special guests included UKBFF super heavyweight Daz Ball and professional bodybuilder John Hodgson. Harry's wife, Angela, booked her place at the British finals in October after winning her class at the event. This means both of them will be competing for glory in Nottingham. He said, "This is the first time I have promoted an event like this and I have had lots of positive feedback, so I can build on this for next year. I'm delighted Angela will be accompanying me to the British finals."

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

Angus & The Mearns

Angus bodybuilder beat illness on road to stardom

July 3 2013

An Angus man has gone from being at death’s door as a child to becoming one of the brightest young bodybuilding stars in Scotland. Joshua Batchelor, 19, from Carnoustie spent six months in Yorkhill Hospital as a 12-year-old after contracting E.coli. The bug attacked his internal organs and he suffered liver and kidney failure before medical treatment eventually saved his life. Upon leaving hospital doctors advised Joshua to go to the gym to start building himself back up again after the condition had eaten away at the former St John’s High School pupil’s muscles. During his rehabilitation Joshua caught a different type of bug the gym bug and has now transformed himself into a bodybuilding champion contender, who is in the running to compete in the British Natural Bodybuilding Federation (BNBF) finals in September. The teenager, who works at Burtons in Dundee and Visocchi’s in Broughty Ferry, recently competed at a Scottish qualifier in Perth and is set to test his skills against the best the UK has to offer in just two months. “I have always been interested in the gym since I got out of hospital and had to build myself back up,” said Joshua. “At the start I was just doing a lot of cardio to get my fitness back up when I left hospital and it was only really this year that I got into body building. The gym stuff was on doctor’s advice as the E.coli had eaten away at me. “I started to develop pretty quickly and my best friend went in for a competition last year and just seeing him do it got me interested. “As soon as I spoke to my friend he put me on a diet, and over the last 11 months I have grown a fair amount. “I’m in the teens class and I came third at the Scottish qualifiers for the British championship, which I was pretty pleased with although I would have liked to have come higher. “But I’m glad I qualified.” Joshua’s dedication to his goals has brought about a dramatic turnaround in his physique and minor success in his early days in the bodybuilding world. However, that comes at a price as he describes the discipline as a “selfish” sport that takes up a lot of time. “Over the last 11 months I have been eating on the hour, every hour,” said Joshua. “Some people call it a sport and I think it is but to me I love it as a hobby. I enjoy going to the gym. Bodybuilding disciplines you a lot, but it is hugely time consuming. “It’s quite a selfish sport for a while when you get started because you have to commit to not going out with your friends and have to go to bed at the right time. “It also swallows all your money. I was OK with things like the tan. I knew it was just something I had to do and everyone else would be doing it too. However, the posing trunks were a bit different. “That was a big confidence step, but once you get there you realise everyone else is wearing them too and the people who are coming to see it expect you to be wearing them. “I definitely feel that it’s worthwhile and I really enjoy it. It’s a great feeling. “I’ve been training at the Body Academy in Perth and there are still another three or four qualifiers to go through, so I will need to see who comes through that. “I feel hopeful about it.”