What’s new?

 

In January we mentioned that we were planning some big changes for the year ahead. Behind the scenes, we have been coding thousands of new product, and have had successful discussions with new and existing suppliers about our ideas for the coming 12 months.

We will be making some minor changes in the next month to the current stock services website, adding new products, and grades of material, and will then be on track to develop our new website. The new website is due to be online by the autumn of 2016.

In the short term, we will be out visiting existing customers, discussing our increased range of materials that we can offer to you. This will include pipework in grade 310, UNS S31254 SMO as well as EU origin 304/304L, 316/316L, Duplex and Super Duplex material.

We will also be offering an increased range of seamless and welded fittings. This will include 310 and UNS S31254 materials, as well as a more comprehensive range of stainless steel flanges.

We will continue supplying difficult to source fittings and flanges from our overseas partners, so keep trying us for these enquires. We are experts in airfreighting hard to source items manufactured on quick lead times.

Stainless Steel Equal Crosses - Fast Manufacture times at Stock Services

Stock Services can supply you hard to find Fittings and Flanges manufactured fast, and airfreighted to site.

The new Website – what is it going to do?

 

We have been tinkering with several different ideas when it comes to our new website, and we have some ambitious plans including:

  • Increasing our stock ranges in both EU origin and NON EU origin materials available on quick delivery times.
  • A re-focus on piping products, with new ranges and grades, again available on short deliveries.
  • A client area which will allow users to log into their company account and request copy invoices, test certificates and despatch notes for your orders.
  • A continuation of the ‘request a quote’ function. As well as the ability to re validate quotations that have expired.
  • We will also be adding an online purchasing function, allowing you to place your orders online, making your payment by BACS, Credit Card or on agreed credit terms.

The idea is to make dealing with us – before, during and after a sale – even easier than it currently is! Surely not possible I hear you cry 🙂

 

Manufacturing online

Stock Services - We need your manufcaturing image.

Stock Services needs your manufactured stainless steel items, click to send us an email now!

We are also looking for UK and European manufacturers to contact us.

We plan to develop a manufacturing section of the website, which will allow users a quick way to request prices for items that are not commonly held in stock.

This will allow our clients, both new and old, to quickly receive prices and place orders for a whole range of steel products, including pipes, fittings, flanges, gaskets or valves to name but a few. We will endeavour as always to quote unusual grades or sizes of material, including items produced specifically to your drawings quickly and competitively.

For us to do this, we will need to know about your manufacturing capabilities. So get in touch with us to discuss what you do amazingly, and we may be able to open some new doors for you.

We have a few manufacturers onboard already, but will need more as we grow the website in the coming years.

Please share this article with anyone you think may be interested. Click the above image or here to send us an email about your capabilities and we will discuss them with you. Hopefully we can help each other sell more products online!

Speak to you soon, and thanks for reading 🙂

Stock Services 2016

After a very difficult year in 2015, Stock Services will continue to hold stock of fittings and flanges in our UK warehouse facility.

We have realigned all our prices to the current market levels (weeps) and are fully replenishing our Seamless Butt Weld Fittings.

 

What’s the plan for 2016…the ‘short term?’

We realised last year that we need to be able to offer a bigger range of products to be successful.

This year we are going to focus on increasing our range of products that we can supply to include the below:

  • Seamless and Welded pipes and tubes
  • Fittings in Welded and Seamless construction
  • Flanges in pressure ratings of 150#, 300# and 600#

All of these products, and full stock availability, will be shown on our online catalogue very soon. In the meantime please send us your enquiries as normal.

 

More airfreight jobs.

We are still supplying goods by airfreight, and took many orders in the run up to Christmas from new and old customers.

We are being most successful supplying large fittings both in seamless and welded construction and large uncommonly held flanges.

Don’t miss out on a potential order due to difficulty sourcing flanges and fittings, we can often have these items manufactured and delivered in 15-35 days. Uncommon grades, sizes and schedules are no problem for us 🙂

Image of Large Fittings and Flanges delivered by STOCK SERVICES by Air freight

Large Fittings and Flanges delivered by Airfreight | Stock Services | Typical delivery 15-35 days

 

Medium term – The website/shop.

We are going to be redeveloping our website significantly in the coming 3-4 months and making some big improvements for you the customer.

The new website will allow users:

  • To log on quickly and easily
  • Request quotations for a larger range of products than currently offered
  • Save or revalidate your historic quotations
  • View your order history online
  • View/download your test certificates and invoices
  • You will even be able to place your orders online if you like

We will send out more updates about the website, before it goes live, and hope that some of you can help us with a bit of ‘constructive feedback’ on the test site, before the live version comes out later in the year.

 

2016 – A year of opportunity perhaps?

If 2015 was a difficult year for anyone who had an involvement within the petrochemical industry, it is highly likely that 2016 will be even more challenging. With that in mind we would like to thank all our customers for the support they have given us last year, and wish you all a successful year in 2016.

We plan to continue to make it easy for you to do business with us, so keep us in mind with your enquiries for stock and difficult to source items.

Good luck…and thanks for reading.

Seamless Pipes available from Stock Services

Are you looking for stock of stainless steel seamless pipes in grades 304/L, 316/L or 310?

Stock Services are now offering SEAMLESS stainless steel pipes to compliment our range of Stainless Steel fittings and Flanges that we stock in Birmingham U.K.

Stock Services are now offering seamless pipes in 304/L and 316/L

Seamless Pipes of Indian origin available on lead times of 3-4 days

Stock Services are a UK based Stockholder of Fittings and Flanges of multiple Origins – Our stock Materials are from China, India, Malaysia and Western European Origins.

What Pipes can we offer?

Stock Services can offer stock of seamless pipe and tubes in a variety of grades from 1/2 NPS up to and including 12 NPS. Stock material wall thicknesses include Sch 10S, Sch 40S, Sch 80S, Sch 160 and Sch XXS.

Tubes are offered with bright annealed surface condition up to 2″ and annealed and pickled above.

  • Stock Services can offer pipes in grades 304/L, 316/L and 310 as well as Duplex grades UNS S31803 and UNS S32750 & UNS S32760.
  • All our pipes come with 3.1 test certification free of charge.
  • Deliveries can be made worldwide by SEA or AIR freight as well as on standard carriers
  • We can also arrange for products to be packed in ISPM 15 Heat treated wooden cases for importation purposes.
  • Collections can be made via appointment from our premises in Birmingham
  • We can also offer non standard piping in cut lengths, or with specific wall thicknesses.

 

Seamless Pipes Image | Stock Services 2015

Seamless pipes leaving Stock Services 2015

What else can we offer you?

We also stock:

  • Seamless and Welded fittings in grades 304/L, 316/L and UNS S31803
  • EN1092-1 and ASME Flanges in the same grades.

We have over 70,000 pieces of stock available for delivery worldwide. Materials can be packed for collection or despatch the same day as an order is placed saving you time. Try us out for your requests. We can also produce non standard fittings and flanges on quick lead times, and ship goods by AIR freight or SEA freight from both European and Non European manufacturers.

Our full current stock range is shown on our website which you can access by clicking here.

 

Stock Services warehouse image - Stainless Steel fittings, flanges, pipes and tubes

Stock Services warehouse – Stainless Steel fittings, flanges, pipes and tubes available from stock.

Stock Services – Charity Boxing for Promise Dreams.

Over the last 40 years, Graham Comerford has been a major player in the UK Stainless Steel Industry. After cutting his teeth in his junior years at RGB, Graham has worked for some of the largest players in the UK stockholding and manufacturing industry including Uddeholm, Valen, Avesta and Glamal. Since 2002 he has been running his own stockholding business Stock Services.

There are many in the stainless steel industry who will know Graham well, you may have worked for him at some stage in your career, or you may have done business with him at some point over the last four decades.

Like him, or loathe him, the most important announcement in his long career follows here:

He’s about to slug it out in the boxing ring, and you are invited to come and watch ‘The Cockney Yammer’ have the fight of his life!

Image of Graham 'The Cockney Yammer'

Graham Comerford of Stock Services to box for Children’s charity ‘Promise Dreams’

What’s this all about?

After being offered the chance to join a team of novice climbers who were looking to climb to base camp of Mount Everest in 2015, Graham decided that the best possible way to get in shape would be to take up boxing.

Unfortunately the Everest trip was cancelled early this year, but he continued with the boxing training, and has now accepted a fresh challenge of stepping into the ring to raise money for the charity Promise Dreams.

Being paired with another novice boxer about 30 years his junior Graham will be fighting on May 16th 2015 at ‘Sampson’s Banqueting Suite’ in Oldbury.

Check out his training regime for the big fight by clicking the link – Graham training pre fight

Can I come along?

Of course you can join us. You can get in contact with us by telephone or send us an email here. Tickets for this event will sell quickly as there are 14 boxers competing on the night all with friends and family coming along to make some noise. Please let us know if you would like to attend as soon as possible so we can add you to our tables.

How can I make a donation?

If you cant make the event, but would like to make a donation, then please follow the link here. All donations will be going to Promise Dreams who are a national registered children’s charity launched in 2001 to make the dreams come true for seriously & terminally ill children, and their families, across the UK. For more information about the charity click the image below, or just here!

Promise dreams charity logo

Find out what we do by clicking here!

Where can I get seamless pipe from?

The UK market has a small number of  stockholders carrying seamless stainless steel pipes and tubes. This can make it difficult to source all your material requirements from one place!

As of 2015, you can now add Stock Services to the list of possible suppliers for this material. Stock Services can now supply stainless steel seamless pipes and tubes into the UK market on a short lead time of 2-3 days.

So next time you have a job to quote for, please get in touch here.

Image - Stop doing it the same old way - try stock services for seamless pipes and tubes

Maybe, we could try something different?

How can Stock Services help.

  • Stock Services are now offering Stainless Steel Seamless Pipe and Tube
  • Material is available for sale into the UK market on 2-3 day lead times.
  • We will not sell to end users clients, but can deliver direct using plain labels.
  • Remember we can help with your requirements for fittings and flanges.
  • We can also offer welded pipe on 2-3 day deliveries.

So what can you offer?

We can offer for sale Seamless Pipes and Tubes in 304/L and 316/L dual certified, in the below sizes.

ASTM/ASME Pipe range:

  • 1/4″ through 12″ in Sch 10S – 40S – 80S
  • 1/2″ through 10″ In Sch 160
  • 1/2″ through 4″ in Sch XXS

ASTM/ASME Tube range:

  • 4.00mm OD – 168.30mm (6″) OD in a range of wall thicknesses.

The surface condition of the Tubes up to and including 15.00mm OD are Bright Annealed (BA). Above 15.00mm all tubes are annealed and pickled.

 

Stainless steel seamless pipes avaiable from stock services

Caution – It’s a generic image of Stainless Steel Pipes!

So where is the material coming from?

All the pipes and tubes are from ISO and PED approved mills in India and Korea and all the mills have approvals from European auditing companies such as Lloyds Register.

 

Our full stock range will become available on our website shortly, but in the meantime if you have any enquiries please get in contact with us here.

The Golden Rules of Stainless Steel Flange supply

Flanges are amongst the most critical components in a pipeline. They are used as connections for pumps, valves, strainers etc. and for pipework which has to be regularly dis-assembled and re-assembled.

It is critical that the correct flanges are supplied that can cope with the pressure of the system and are compatible with all the components which are connected in the pipeline. A flange is specified by the nominal pipe size and the pressure rating. However, there are distinctly different types of flanges depending on the plant design. In the offshore, petro-chemical, power and nuclear power industries they are generally designed in the USA, UK or Germany. There are of course flanges required for the paper pulp, water, brewery industries etc. but the rules of suitability remain the same.

Those who are regularly involved in the buying and selling of flanges, will be all too aware of how easy it is to supply the wrong flange if the correct questions are not asked. In this short piece we outline the do’s to supply the correct flange which will avoid delay, frustration and most importantly costly mistakes!

Listed is a short tick list of the relevant questions for the correct identification of a flange

Golden rules for flange identification

  1. Stainless Steel Grade: 304L, 316L, 1.4306, 1.4404, 31803, 254SMO, UNS 31254 etc.
  2. Pipe Size: NB (Nominal Bore), NPS (Nominal Pipe Size), DN (Diameter Nominal)
  3. Dimensional specification: ASME B16.5, EN1092-1, BS4504, BS10, API605 etc.
  4. Pressure Ratings: 150#, PN16, Table E etc.
  5. Type of Face: RF (Raise Face), FF (Flat Face), RTJ (Ring Type Joint) etc.
  6. Quantity Required

Remember

  • There is no such thing as a ‘better grade’ of steel, and a higher price does not mean better quality or performance. Instead steel is manufactured to internationally recognised specifications to fulfil a particular application. Material grades may or may not be interchangeable, but it is essential that the grade of steel is fit for purpose. You must find out exactly what grade of material is acceptable before supplying or purchasing a stainless steel flange.
  • Flanges of different dimensional specifications and pressure ratings are not interchangeable.
Image of Stock Services Chris Price puzzling over a weld neck flange.

What’s this then? I think it is written on the side Chris?

Flange manufacturing materials

Dimensions Base Material Pressure Rating
ASME B16.5 ASTM A182 (Forgings) ASTM A240 (Plate) 150#. 300#. 400#. 600#. 900#. 1500#. 2500#.
API 605 ASTM A182 (Forgings) ASTM A240 (Plate) 150#. 300#. 400#. 600#. 900#. 1500#. 2500#.
ASME B16.47series A & B ASTM A182 (Forgings) ASTM A240 (Plate) 150#. 300#. 400#. 600#. 900#. 1500#. 2500#.
EN1092-1 ASTM A182 (Forgings) PN2.5. PN6. PN10. PN16. PN25. PN40. PN63. PN100. PN160. PN250. PN320. PN400.
BS4504 BS970 (Bar)ASTM A240 (Plate) ASTM A182 (Forgings) PN2.5. PN6. PN10. PN16. PN25. PN40. PN63. PN100. PN160.
BS10 BS970 (Bar)ASTM A240 (Plate) ASTM A182 (Forgings) Table D. Table E. Table F. Table H. Table J. Table K. Table R. Table S. Table T.

 

Typical Stainless Steel 18/8 Grade Designations

ASTM BS DIN EURONORM
304 304S15 X5 Cr Ni 18 10 1.4301
304L 304S11 X2 Cr Ni 18 9 1.4307
316 316S31 X5 Cr Ni Mo 17 12 2 1.4401
316L 316S11 X2 Cr Ni Mo 17 13 2 1.4404
321 321S31 X6 Cr Ni 18 10 1.4541
316Ti 320S31 X6 Cr Ni Mo Ti 17 12 2 1.4571
SMO 254SMO X1 Cr Ni Mo Cu N 20 18 7 1.4547

 

The information contained in this article is intended to help you to supply the correct flanges contained in the golden rules. It is not intended as a comprehensive guide to all the flanges that are available.

IF YOU ARE NOT SURE THAT YOU HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION TO SUPPLY THE CORRECT FLANGE ALWAYS REFER BACK TO THE CLIENT AND THE SPECIFICATION.

Should you like to send you next enquiry for stainless steel flanges to Stock Services, please send us an email.

Large PN flanges available on quick manufacture times

It’s another flange…a little bigger than the last.

Where can I get big stainless steel fittings and flanges from?

On many occasions you will quote a job, and then be asked for a re-offer (or three) before a job eventually goes live. Just when you think you are about to get your order, another engineer decides to have a look pushing the job back a couple of weeks or months.

As is normally the case, a job that seemed relatively simple at the outset, can become a huge rush, and the supply of materials may be problematic. When your client cannot wait for 2-3 months for delivery, the only option remaining to them, is to pay a premium price for the required material to be manufactured locally on a quick lead time.

Stock Services have been delivering material for just these type of scenarios for many years. We have expertise in supplying large volume, or non standard and oversized products manufactured on quick lead times from a variety of our approved mills in China.

Image of an Equal Cross (seamless) that are available to order from Stock Services

Seamless Equal Crosses manufactured and delivered in 3 weeks by Air freight

How does air freight work?

Sending goods by air freight, is not really any different to sending goods by sea fright. Materials still abide by the standard INCOTERMS, and require a bill of lading, go through the same customs entry process with duty, VAT and handling fees added. The benefit of air freight is purely speed.

Although air freighting goods is considerably more expensive than sea freight, goods can be manufactured and then shipped by air anywhere in the world often within one week of a product being completed.

Stock Services have long standing relationships with a number of mills producing fittings and flanges, meaning we can quote you very quickly, and have materials produced on short lead times of 10-25 days ex mill China. This service has allowed many of our clients to win jobs before their competitors have even been able to make a bid.

How expensive is it to send goods by air freight?

There is no real rule of thumb, as both the volume (size of package) and gross weight will need to be considered when calculating an air freight fee. You will also need a reliable agent to clear your goods once they arrive into a port.

There are a number of costly errors that people can make when organising air freight, often these come in the form of paying high deferment fees, (which can often be charged at a percentage rate of your overall order value) or by instructing mills to ship goods by air on CIF terms. By instructing a mill to ship your goods, you have no control over the carrier used, delivery time can be longer than anticipated if a shipment travels on multiple flights to a location, and fees charged by import agents when goods arrive may be un-negotiable.

Image of 180 short radius return bends. Avaiable for purchase from stock services

8 NPS short radius return bends manufactured in Grade 304H. Air freighted to client within 5 weeks of order.

 

How can Stock Services help?

  • Stock Services have become experts in air freighting goods by making all the mistakes listed above (and more besides). We offer quick, competitively priced air freight services to the UK, Europe and elsewhere.
  • We fix the price meaning there are no unwelcome additional costs when the goods arrive at your works. The price we offer is the price you pay, inclusive of all handling and duty fees.
  • We can offer you prices next day for your fitting and flange requirements in many grades and sizes, and delivery can often be made in 15-40 days to your works depending on requirement.
  • Once you have placed your order you can rest assured that it will be delivered on time as per your order requirements.

If you would like to send us your next urgent enquiry, send us an email.

Seamless Reducing Tees - Non standard sizes available from stock services.

Non standard stainless steel seamless reducing tees via air freight

Thanks for reading 🙂

Now in stock – welded stainless steel fittings.

It has taken many years…about six in fact…BUT Stock Services has finally begun stockholding welded stainless steel fittings.

When we set up our stockholding division ‘Stock Services’ in 2008 we begun with the goal of becoming one of the top three distributors of stainless steel SEAMLESS fittings in the UK. Since then we have developed our range further to include ASME Flanges and more recently EN1092-1 flanges (PN 16/3 and PN 16/8). Our range of seamless fittings and flanges are held in dual certified grades 304/304L and 316/316L, and our accurate stock levels can be found here on our website.

Since moving to larger premises in late 2014, we have taken the next logical step and increased our stainless steel fittings portfolio to include WELDED stainless steel fittings. We can now provide fittings and flanges in one package, and with our experience in distribution, can ship these articles all over the world on quick lead times. Send us your enquiries here.

Image of stock services warehouse - now stocking welded butt weld fittings

Welded fittings are now in stock – Grades 304/L & 316/L

Stock Services – what are we now holding in stock?

Stock Services carry a range of stainless steel fittings and flanges in our UK-based warehouse. Our range of material is as follows and is shown on our website in full allowing you to request quotations as well as just check stock availability:

  • Seamless stainless steel fittings – 90 LR and SR elbows,  Concentric and Eccentric Reducers, Reducing and Equal Tees, as well as 45 LR Elbows and End Caps in grades 304/L and 316/L.
  • Welded stainless steel fittings – 90 LR Elbows, Concentric Reducers and Equal Tees in grades 304/L and 316/L
  • Duplex UNS S31803 Seamless Fittings (UK Origin) – 90 LR and 45 LR Elbows, Concentric and Eccentric Reducers
  • ASTM/ASME Flanges – Slip On, Weld Neck and Blind in grades 304/L and 316/L
  • EN1092-1 PN16 Flanges – Slip on and Blinds in grades 304/L and 316/L

Click the above links to be taken direct to our website to see stock levels and request a quotation.

 

Where can I buy non standard stainless steel fittings/flanges?

If you cannot see what you are looking for on our website then please contact us here. It is almost impossible to stock every item of fittings and flanges that are required, but we are very experienced in supplying non standard, large quantities or oversized items on quick lead time from our mills in China. We also have a number of local suppliers that we use to build packages for export, so let us know what you are looking for and we will endeavour to source the material for you.

The below 36 NPS 900# flange was manufactured in under three weeks from our flange mill in China and was subsequently airfreighted to the UK direct to a client in under four weeks.

36 NPS 900# Flanges - Manufactured in 3 weeks - Stock Services

36 NPS 900# Flanges – Manufactured in 3 weeks

We also sell large and unusual seamless and welded fittings, often on quick delivery times of 2-3 weeks, so try us out with your enquiries. The below item was manufactured along with about 3 tonnes of other fittings in grade 321. Sch 100 stock material is not commonly held in stock, and the requirement for grade 321 meant our client was struggling to find a suitable supplier to source this material on a short lead time. We managed to have the below material manufactured on a 3 week lead time plus standard delivery into Europe satisfying our customers requirements.

10*8 Sch 100 Eccentric Reducers in grade 321 manufactured and delivered in 4 weeks

Grade 321 Schedule 100 Eccentric Reducers – Fast Delivery available!

Thanks for reading 😉

Fantasy Football Returns

Join us for the 2014/2015 Stock Services Fantasy League competition.
Win or lose, it’s a bit of fun each week, and the eventual winner will be joining us for a trip to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, courtesy of Stock Services. After three wins on the bounce, Norman Lester of HPF energy Services Ellesmere Port will be in the mix again I am sure, but who thinks they can beat him this time round?! Andrew Charlesworth of Berkeley Stainless, finished dead last in the 2012-2013, but with a bit of effort he finished third last season, and was our most improved competitor.Can you beat the competition this year, or would you just like join in on the fun?

The Prizes

First Place – Trip to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, including Hotels, Meals and Transport.
Second and Third Places – Trophies/Awards to be decided upon…
Last Place – ‘The Wooden Spoon’

Last Year’s Awards

See below the images of the winners and loser from the 2013/2014 Stock Services Fantasy League competition.

The top three received engraved beer tankards, and the lowest scoring competitor received the Wooden Spoon!
Norman Lester - Stock Services winner 2013-2014

Tony Smith - Stock Services second place 2013-2014

Andrew Charlesworth - Stock Services third place 2013-2014

Steve Brooke - Stock Services Wooden Spoon Winner 2013-2014

How do I enter a team?

  • If you competed previously, just log back on here using your username and password and you are automatically entered into our league
  • If you are a new entrant, then follow the steps below to join our league.
Click here to join the competition.There are a number of information screens you are required to fill in before entering your team. Once you have completed the information you will get to a Squad Selection Screen. You can pick auto complete and pick the side at a later date, or carefully choose your 15 man squad to compete in this years competition.
Remember you will be able to make changes to your side every week, including picking different captains (who get double points) and also make transfers throughout the season to keep your side racking up the points!After selecting your side, choose a team name, confirm the terms and conditions and then enter your team.

How do I enter the competition league?

After you have selected your team and name, you then need to join our competition league.
  • You do this by clicking on the LEAGUES TAB at the top of the screen
  • You then need to click JOIN A LEAGUE, click PRIVATE LEAGUE and then click NEXT.
  • You will then be required to enter a league code.
  • Enter code 948695-226901 and you are in the league!
Good Luck, and maybe next year it will be you choosing the colour of the Limousine!

A big thank you.

£5,816.51 was JUST enough to give us the crown as this year’s highest Scumrun fundraisers by a huge four quid! I would like to say a big thank you to all those that sponsored us either personally or from a business! We originally targeted £3,000 as a team, but generated £3075.01 from stainless steel stockists and traders alone, meaning we were able to eventually beg, steal and borrow our way to the top of this year’s fundraising tree!

The charity Tommy’s has almost raised its target of £100,000 (currently £94,500 received) to help build a new research centre which will carry out vital research investigating the causes of miscarriage and stillbirths. This is really crucial work and affects as many as 1 in 4 people, who will suffer pregnancy related issues. The fundraising ends this month, so if you forgot, didn’t have the time, or would now like to donate to this great cause, then please feel free to follow this link.

Winning team photo - £5816.51

Team ‘Super-Furry-Animals’, the top fundraisers at Scumrun 2014!

Scumrun 2014 – What’s it all about?

I have had a lot of contact with customers and suppliers right up to and after this year’s event, all asking what we were doing and why? About 6 years ago I heard about this charity event and decided along with a mate of mine that we should get involved. Having let life get in the way of a good idea, I had to wait until this year to eventually take part. I discussed the event over the Christmas holiday with 3 other friends from RS Motors and Rippedbody.jp, just like me, they were instantly up for an excuse to go on a glorified holiday!

The aim of the Scumrun event is SIMPLE. Get a large group of car enthusiasts together, buy a load of bangers (cars under £500), and then have an organised road trip across Europe. The destination and checkpoints for each day of the event are not released until each morning making the trip even more interesting. The competitors are then challenged collectively to raise £100,000 for a nominated child or baby charity. This year, the charity was Tommy’s.

Our team had decided on an 8 year old Renault Laguna as our cheap chariot, and with a little help from Vision Media and RS Motors, the car had its ‘go faster stripes’ and company logo’s added in typical bloke fashion – i.e. the night before the journey. We left Birmingham the day before the event begun and headed down to the meeting point – Brands Hatch race circuit – to meet up with the 350 other competitors. After a bit of a meet and greet in the car park on the evening, it was off to bed ‘early-ish’ to get set for the start of the event.

Brands Hatch - Scumrun Start May 2014 - Tommy's Cheerleaders

Making Friends on day one – The Tommy’s Charity Cheerleaders

Day One – Thursday 8th May

On Thursday morning we met back at Brands Hatch circuit, and took in a few laps with all the other teams. This was our first chance to see some of the opposition vehicles taking part in the event. Due to the sheer number of vehicles that were on the track we didn’t get much chance to stretch the legs of the ‘viper stripped’ racing Laguna, but we did spy a number of heavily modified BMW and Audi motorcars, as well as a couple of Jags, a SHED complete with picket fence and pot plants and even a Rolls Royce!

After signing in, we got to meet 5th Gear’s Vicki Butler Henderson, the Tommy’s charity crew and the Scumrun events team. We then cruised down to Dover ferry port for the first leg of our journey. 

On disembarking in France, we were set a challenge to reach a campsite in Nancy France but had to try and cross as many EU boarders as possible and take accompanying photographs as evidence. We took in only Belgium and Luxembourg and arrived at the camp site about fifteenth in some truly horrendous conditions. Some teams took in Holland and Germany as well, and arrived considerably later that evening, considerably wetter, and considerably hungrier!

#Selfie #VBH

#Selfie #VBH

 Day Two – Friday 9th May

After a good night’s sleep the question on everyone’s lips was, ‘Where are we going to be going today?’ I was hoping we were going to be going further south, and I was not disappointed when after breakfast, we were told to make our way down to Milan! Not only are we going to be going to Milan tonight, but we are given a couple of tasks include finding a car show in France, and to set our sights on the largest plain water waterfall in Europe on the river Rhine in Switzerland.

Scumrun 2014 - Rhine Falls in Switzerland

Rhine Falls – Switzerland

After dispatching the first two missions in good time, we noticed on our route map that we could take either the Gotthard Tunnel, or the Saint Gotthard Pass. Quick vote, 100% in favour of the pass. Unfortunately we didn’t notice that the pass was closed at this time of year and after excitedly whizzing round hair pin bends for a couple of miles with a few other scumrunners, we were forced to turn around. Rather than turn back for the tunnel we instead tried the Furkapass made famous by a car chase scene in the James Bond Film ‘Goldfinger’ featuring an Aston Martin DB5 and a Ford Mustang. We were not able to replicate the film as travelling at any great speed was made impossible due the amount of melting snow and ice water flowing all over the road!

As you can see in the image below, there was still a fair amount of snow on the ground and we were unable to pass the summit where the snow was still a good 6-8 foot deep!

Therefore our only option was to join the traffic jam slowly filtering through the Gotthard Tunnel.

Scumrun 2014 - Furka Pass Switzerland

Furka Pass was closed before the summit due to Snow…how annoying!

Arriving at about 9pm in Milan was not ideal, but after a pizza (‘When in Rome’, or Milan in our case) we were straight out on the town. After spending several hours in the town centre we noticed a group of trendy looking youths boarding a tram. We decided that this must be where the party continued and so boarded the tram ending up about 6 miles outside of the city and wandering through what seemed like any ordinary suburban housing development. Our new found ‘mates’ seemed baffled that we had driven from Birmingham to Milan and boarded a tram with a bunch of strangers in search of a nightclub.

What we found was quite spectacular, Armani Prive is an open air private members club which has played host to many celebrity clientele over the years including Beyonce et al. Suffice to say, we were not the A list type, and looking at the Queue we made the decision that our only chance of entry was to scale the fence, hide from the security in the bushes, and then slide in through the semi open walls of the nightclub. Unfortunately we were spotted and rather unceremoniously escorted out via the garden water sprinkler systems. Not to be defeated, we collared another doorman and on showing him our trip photo montage, he decided that it was better to let us in, than listen to any more of our inane ramblings!

Scumrun 2014 - Milano nighclub image

We got in – Club Prive Armani – Just Cavalli Milano

Day 3 – Saturday 10th May

After a late night, the early start the following day was not welcomed with rapturous applause. Instead our designated driver shoe horned us into the car and began the journey to Lyon our destination for that day. Being in Milan, we were given a couple of tasks to complete, and duly took in the San Siro and Monza race circuit before beginning the journey into France.

Scumrun 2014 - Gendarmerie

The Gendarmerie stinging us for 90 Euro on the way to Lyon – Suffice to say we were comfortably first to camp today!

It seems like some of the spirit of Monza had rubbed off on us and we were relived of 90 Euros for speeding when only a couple of miles away from camp! After two long days it was a welcome relief to arrive at our destination in the afternoon, and we spent the afternoon relaxing and chatting to fellow competitors and the organisers about the trip so far.

We also found out that we were three cars lighter, after two BMW’s and the Rolls Royce had all had major engine failures and had been replaced with courtesy cars for the remainder of the event!

About 200 of us were then collected from the camp site later that evening and spent a good three to four hours in Lyon’s main square before returning to a nightclub nearer our campsite for a nightcap. It seemed to be a much more relaxed night, but later that evening the locals began an impromptu breakdancing competition, and I cannot wait to see the video footage, IF of course, it makes the final cut!

Day 4 – Sunday 11th May

Rather sensibly, the final drive in our journey was a relatively short three hours to the Bordeaux region of France. Rather than spend time sampling the vineyards of this famous part of France, we headed straight to our camp site, which came complete with a large Jacuzzi hot tub and outdoor swimming pool.

The organisers had sensibly arranged for us to arrive early so we could have a party and BBQ that afternoon resulting in many people getting a much needed early night before the long drive back home the following day.

Scumrun 2014 Fifty Shed's of Grey!

Convoy with one of the more exotic sheds in our party – ‘Fifty Shed’s of Grey!’

Day 5 – Monday 12th May

The long and winding road back to Dunkirk was despatched in a little over EIGHT hours without any major drama, and after a couple of hours spent at the ferry port, all of the remaining cars boarded the ferry back home.

The most important part of the trip was coming up on the way back home, when prizes were given out for Best Modified Car, Best Dressed Team, Completion of all Tasks Awards and then the big one. The top three fundraisers!

As you already know, we managed to claim the title by a couple of pounds and won a signed replica Mercedes Formula One Car signed by Sir Sterling Moss and Lewis Hamilton! Happy Days 🙂

The fundraising ends on the 16th of June, so if you have a few pounds you would like to throw into the pot, then please use this link.

The racing Laguna in France - Scumrun 2014

The racing Laguna in France!

Overall Experience

I feel we have in our own way done our little bit to reinforce the stereotype of the Brit/Idiot Abroad.

The whole journey was over 2300 miles, but the car journeys flew by in the ‘racing laguna with added viper stripes’. At every checkpoint or service stop you bumped into other competitors and regularly ended up in convoys traveling on motorway, country lanes, or mountain passes.

Next year will be the tenth anniversary of the Scumrun, and it is likely to be the biggest event yet. I for one am eagerly looking forward to the adventure…is anyone else in?!

If you would like to make a personal donation to Tommy’s, please use this link, and thanks for reading 🙂

In car image - Scumrun 2014 - Stock Services

The Super Furry Animals – Team 49 – Scumrun 2014!