Another installment of the popular series: Chasing Cars.
Normally it takes weeks - no, months - to plan one of my infamous 'Chasing Cars' roadtrips. This one didn't take months, it took about five minutes. And it was one of the best yet.
It all stated last weekend when a couple of friends came up to stop at my place en route to Donington where we all had tickets for the World Series by Renault raceday. I'd not seen either of them for months and had been looking forward to catching up when they arrived. Unfortunately they were delayed arriving and didn't make it here until 11pm so, by the time we'd done catching up, it was getting light and we'd done a case of beer and a bottle of JD.
Needless to say we never made it to Donington the next morning. Instead we settled for a lie-in followed by a stroll around the lake and a roast dinner back at my house whilst we watched the Grand Prix from Monza on TV. No alcohol for us today - we're getting old and were still suffering a little from the night before - but the meal was somehow good without it. Which is surprising for something that I cooked.
If there had have been a supply of alcohol then maybe the random suggestion that "hey, we should go to the Grand Prix at Spa next weekend" would have received the usual smile and nod of the head. And then been politely laughed off but the idea somehow stuck. Twenty minutes later we had booked three race tickets and a ferry crossing. Then we got the map out to see where Spa actually was. It all seemed rather odd to be heading off to watch a series that we didn't have any massive interest in. My usual destination would be Nascar and I can't wait to get to the race. As soon as I've booked my tickers the excitement builds. This time something seemed to be missing somehow.
Fast forward a few days and (my local F1 team) McLaren are fined $100m for being naughty boys. No-one disagrees that they shouldn't have received the infamous dossier but, hell, this is F1 and this sort of thing is the norm. Even for F1 that level of fine is most certainly NOT the norm. It wasn't about about what they had done at all. It was politics. And people don't like politics in sport.
Feelings were running high amongst fans of both Ferrari and McLaren and suddenly that interest level started picking up. Controvesy sells. I called Simon later that evening and plans were forged for for a protest against the whole thing. Suddenly I was feeling that excitement!
Friday came and again I was waiting up for Simon and Tabby to arrive. No JD this time - we had a horribly early start the next morning - but we did manage to stay up til 130am chatting and realising just ho unprepared for the trip we actually were. We had no idea where we were set to collect our tickets from, no real idea where the circuit actually was (we typed Spa into the satnav and went for it!) and had no campground booked. The last one was really worrying me but, hell, no point worrying now. There may be 100,000 people trying to find accomodation in a small town in a small European country but there'd be room for us, right?