VALENTINE businessman Darren Nicholson was used to racing high-powered superboats.
That is, until he decided go ‘‘old school’’ in the name of the Monte Carlo Rally.
Nicholson will switch to a 1979 Holden VB Commodore when he heads up one of two Australian teams taking part in the 2013 Rallye Historique route from January 25 to February 1.
It is 60 years since the first and only fully Australian entry took part in the Monte Carlo Rally.
Craig Lowndes will head up the team that will drive the replica of the FX Holden that was entered in 1953.
Nicholson will drive the restored 79 Commodore – the model was the last car built by Holden that is eligible to compete in the rally.
Both teams will retrace the 1953 route, visiting some of the same towns.
For Nicholson, who is used to offshore power boats and a Shelby Cobra sports car, the 1979 Holden is going to take him way back.
Topics poked its head into the vehicle yesterday and discovered wind-up windows, no air-conditioning (in fact no electronics of any kind) and a fuel tank that takes leaded petrol.
‘‘There’s nothing refined about it,’’ Nicholson joked.
The Aussie drivers will spend three days in Helsinki, Finland, learning how to drive in severe icy conditions before they start.
Nicholson said the aim was to bring the car back in one piece and display it at Hunter car parks.
When it’s wheelie a bin
THEY’RE only wheelie bins if they have wheels.
That’s the message from a group of Merewether residents who have rung Topics to voice some interesting observations during the collection of their yellow recycling bins.
The bins are being replaced throughout the Newcastle City Council area in coming months, after the council switched to a new recycling contractor.
Residents watched with wonder as a small army of men came along and removed the wheels off the bins on Tuesday morning.
Hours later another truck come along and picked up the wheel-less and rather rickety bins.
While we don’t claim to be bin aficionados, Topics did hear that the bins stack easier without their wheels.
Bring your own saddle
IF A wheelie bin becomes just a bin without its wheels, then what’s a bike without a seat?
Topics spotted two such bikes chained up on Hunter Street.
Perhaps the owners decided that even if thieves used bolt cutters, they wouldn’t be making a quick getaway.
Alternatively, there could be some new bike seats for sale on eBay today.
A dog’s just gotta do
FORMER NBN news man Ray Dinneen (pictured) was travelling along Richmond Road in Sydney, after turning off the M7 this week, when he hit a major traffic snarl.
Crawling along at 40km/h, he thought there had to be a terrible accident
‘‘All the signs said traffic incident ahead,’’ he said.
‘‘Then we saw a traffic control truck had stopped to let a dog do a poo.’’
Topics hopes the driver remembered his pooper-scooper.