Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ex-F1 champ takes driving lessons

Former triple Formula One motor racing champion Nelson Piquet has been sent to driving awareness school - for repeated speeding and parking offences.
The Brazilian lost his licence after racking up too many penalty points, reports the BBC.

Piquet and his wife Viviane, who also had her licence revoked, must attend a week of lessons to learn good and safe driving conduct, and then pass an exam.

Only then will Piquet - F1 champion in 1981, 1983 and 1987 - be allowed back behind the wheel.

"I think we have to pay for our mistakes, It's not just a speeding problem, I got tickets for all kinds of reasons, like parking where I shouldn't," Piquet told Brazilian media.

The 54-year-old had been seen speeding around the streets of Brasilia in various high-performance cars, including a BMW convertible.

The classes in the Brazilian capital are covering defensive driving, first aid and rules of the road.

Videos highlighting the often tragic consequences of reckless driving are also shown to offenders.

"We're going to make good use of this course and learn something," Piquet said as he and Viviane began their classes on Monday.

Piquet was one of the best-known motor racing drivers to come from Brazil, along with Emerson Fittipaldi and Ayrton Senna.

Piquet's son, known as Nelsinho, is also making a name for himself in motor racing and is the reserve driver for the Renault Formula One team.

Monday, July 09, 2007

SONKAJARVI, Finland - Estonians took gold and silver at the world wife-carrying championships in Finland on Saturday, defying rain and exhaustion to stumble along a path with women clinging upside-down to their backs.

They were among 44 couples from 12 countries competing in the annual event in Sonkajarvi, central Finland.

The race, held for the 12th time, is intended to evoke the spirit of a legendary Finnish brigand, Rosvo-Ronkainen, who made those who wanted to join his gang run through a forest carrying heavy sacks on their backs.

Estonia's Madis Uusorg carries his wife Inga Klausen to win the Wife carrying World Championships in Sonkajarvi, central Finland, July 7, 2007.

In the modern version, couples race along a 250-metre track, tackling a pool and several hurdles, with the men carrying the women on their backs.
Estonian Madis Uusorg finished first, in a time of 61.7 seconds, despite having Inga Klauson on his back upside-down with her legs around his neck.

Madis Uusorg is the brother of last year's winner, Margo Uusorg, who holds the world record for the event of 56.9 seconds.

"I'm feeling really great because we won," Madis said afterwards. "It was my fifth time here, second time to win this competition. And it was the first time to beat my brother!"
Margo won his fifth world championship in 2006 and said at the time it might be his last.

He could not resist turning up again this year, carrying a rather heavily built Julia Galvin from Ireland, but the pair could only manage 29th place.

"I kept my promise, having won last year, of carrying Julia this year," he said.
John Keerie, a Briton living in Helsinki, ran the race dressed as convict. He carried his wife Aino Telaranta-Keerie into 19th place.

"I drowned in that pool, but at least my wig is still in place. Now for beer," he said.
The winning couple received plasma televisions and Klauson's weight, 49 kilograms, in beer.

"My goal was to have fun. But not only did we have fun, but so did our kids and the people here had fun," said American James Lafferty from Ohio, who carried his wife Susan into 33rd place.
The purpose of it all? So the town of Sonkajarvi can spread a little happiness, said organiser Veikko Tervonen, with a smile.