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I think it’s always better to know if your car is going to catch fire before you hop in it to take your children as well as some loved ones down to the local Dan Murphy’s for their Tour de Dan’s!

Eighteen readers, one friend but no family let’s all shout out together: “Bienvenue au Tour de Dan’s!”

Yes, it’s time to pack your passeport and tire-bouchon (no it means corkscrew not tyre pump you English rosbif!) for a wine-powered journey through some of France’s greatest wine regions. But don’t forget the Tour de Cooper’s in late March (if South Australia has opened its borders by then). And this weekend, the old bloke and I are behind the wheel and pace notes for the Tour de Mount Baw Baw (rally).

Anyway, we’re sure our 30-year old Beemer is not going to catch fire but we’d like to give you some warning on cars that might. Rocket Rod Sims, the petrol head’s friend from the ACCC, tells me if you have a 2015 to 2021 Hyundai Tucson there is a risk of an engine compartment fire, even when the vehicle is turned off.

“This could increase the risk of an accident, ­serious injury or death to vehicle occupants, other road users and bystanders, and/or damage to property,” Rod says. I’m not a safety freak but I’m not sure I would be following the advice that “you can continue to drive your vehicle” because RRS goes on to say: “However as an added precaution you may wish to park your Tucson away from structures, eg not in a garage.” Hmmm, don’t worry about the kiddies and the in-laws (well who does?) but let’s not risk the man and woman cave.

Now I know you are probably thinking: “What other things on wheels put me at risk of death or worse?” Well, you’re always close to the afterlife on a bike but RRS says some of the 2020-2021 Kawasakis “may cause … in some cases the engine to stall … increase (ing) the risk of injury or death to rider(s) and/or other road users”.

What about the Audi Q7, SQ7 and RS6 vehicles made between July and September 2020 and the 2021 model? Not so good.

“The operation of the side airbag, curtain airbag and/or belt tensioner, any delay resulting from a detached connector, increases the risk of injury and/or death to vehicle occupants.”

Of course, our friends at Stellantis, a global leader in sustainable mobility, can’t have any problems? Except for the 16,305 Jeep Grand Cherokee where a Kawasaki-type stall can cause an increased risk of an accident result­ing in injury or death to vehicle occupants and/or other road users.

There’s also Range Rovers, Discos, Beemers Konas and Outlanders on the list but you can read about them on RRS’s website.

In the US where the cars are often the same as sold here, the Feds have recalled 135,000 2012-18 Tesla Model S sedans and 2016-18 Model X SUVs, 267,000 model-year 2013-15 Nissan Pathfinder SUVs, 624,200 GM vehicles and 268,000 Honda CR-Vs to name but a few.

Talking of Rock & Roll and Stellantis, Jeep have pulled a sensational Super Bowl (a US football game that only stops for commercial breaks) two-minute TV ad because its alleged star, Bruce Springsteen, was arrested in November for drunk driving in the Gateway National Recreation Area on the New Jersey coast. Bruce copped awards from the fun police for driving while under the influence, reckless driving and consuming alcohol in a closed area. He deserves an award for driving a Jeep in any condition.

Talking of sucking up to friends with gratuitous publicity, WART member Garth Walden’s GWR has been appointed official Radical sportscars dealer in eastern Australia. Radical was started by rosbifs Mick Hyde and Phil Abbott. A simple idea: let’s wedge an over-powered superbike engine in the back of a featherweight race car, making it faster than a supercar but at a 10th the price and start our own race ­series for racing’s most user-friendly vehicle.

Lots of would-be racers around the world thought this was a great idea and by 2016 Radical had 140 staff and a $35m turnover. It was also losing about $300k a month and its bank wasn’t pleased. (Don’t they hate you having fun?) In comes former superyacht builder Joe Anwyll and five years later the company is in the black, producing nine models (including what’s meant to be a street-legal version) and exporting to Europe, China, Australia, Korea, the UAE, Kuwait, the US, Chile, Argentina, Sweden and Switzerland.

Garth is a legend on racetrack building, preparing, developing, transporting and maintaining fast cars for fast people like our own cardigan-wearing accountant Steve Champion. He’s fast behind the wheel as well. He was the 2016 world time attack champion, got some podiums in Radicals and punted Porkers quickly in the Porker Cup.

He’s most famous for starting Steve Champion’s and your correspondent’s career in Radicals (which in my case lasted about as long as my entry in the MX-5 Cup last week). However, with Garth’s help, Steve Brown Cardigan went on to win a championship. No such luck for me. But Garth has already sold a few of Radical’s new turbo-charged 300kw SR10s so maybe there’s hope yet.

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