Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Go to a race - like the Bathurst 1000

I sometimes wonder if a lot of people out there in internet-land who follow racing actually ever go to see any. Perhaps people are too far from a racing venue. Or perhaps they think they prefer the gossip and intrigue that surrounds forms of racing like F1, NASCAR and MotoGP. Or maybe they feel that TV communicates the drama and excitement of the sport effectively.

Whatever the reason, people who don't see racing live and in person are probably missing out on the bulk of the thrill that motorsport has to offer.

TV, internet coverage and live timing and scoring are for me surrogates at best, acceptable substitutes for the real thing. But nothing beats the incredible sensory experience of watching a grid of MotoGP bikes crest turn 1 at Laguna Seca, or the flash of lights and glowing brake discs on a prototype sportscar as it emerges from the trees at Le Mans at night, or even the cracking of a World Rally Car's antilag system as it approaches a spectator point through the freezing Swedish forests.

If you love motorsport, you must see it live.

I love Australian V8 Supercar racing. So I just bought my plane ticket to go to this year's Bathurst 1000 race.

For me Bathurst was always a mysterious event, living somewhere in my mind alongside the Isle of Man TT, Baja 1000 and Dakar Rally, as something very far away, very important but completely foreign to me. When I first got Speedvision (now Speed Channel) on my cable TV I got to see Aussie V8 racing during the winter months, and got my first proper look at Bathurst. I'd become hooked on the V8s the moment I saw the first race of that season, but Bathurst took it to another level. To see those mighty cars thunder around such a treacherous, magnificent track for seven hours was utterly captivating. Last year, thanks to the magic of Bit Torrent, I was able to see the race in its entirety for the first time. I promised myself there and then that next next year I'd be at the track. I tend not to break these kinds of promises....

By the time I reach the end of the year, in 2007 I will have seen the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Bathurst 1000, MotoGP, the American Le Mans Series (twice), AMA Superbike (twice), ChampCar and the Rolex Grand-Am series. Not a bad year. In my spectating career, I've been lucky enough to have also seen World Superbike, Formula 1, three WRC events, Group C sportscars, British Touring Cars, European Touring Cars, FIA GT, three other trips to Le Mans, Pikes Peak, CART, and numerous historic races. After Bathurst I'll have travelled to the UK, USA, Canada, Sweden, France and Australia specifically to see racing. Each trip has been the result of meticulous planning, significant expense and lots of vacation time from work. But I have never, ever regretted a single moment. Because when the green flag waves, or the lights go out, or the clock starts there is nothing that can match the excitement of watching a vehicle on the limit, under the control of other-worldly talented individuals flash past a few short metres from my face. On Sunday October the 7th I'll get that thrill again at the top of Mount Panorama in New South Wales, Australia. I can't f**king wait!

Stay tuned for more Bathurst-related posts...


DBT said...

I've been around the block a few times for MotoGP, BTCC, BSB, WSBK, LeMans series, FIAGT, even Top Fuel Drag - all in the Uk though.

My first trip abroad to watch a race WILL be the Le Mans 24. The wife and I have been talking about it for the last 3 years (and I've been dreaming about it since I was 5) so we HAVE to do it.
Especially after seeing some of what's on offer at the 6 hours of Silverstone last year (and again this when they come) we want to get there soon as - before they're all these bloody diesel's. My boss did Le Mans last year and said they were sooooo quiet.

Enjoy Bathurst, I'll be infront of MotorsTV.

FWIW the missus absolutely LOVES motorsport, but only when we're there.
She can't stand watching it on the TV most of the time, even for 25 minutes of WTCC!
But when she's actually there she's hooked - I was amazed at her staying power for the 6 hours of Silverstone.

Nicebloke said...

My partner also enjoys going to see races, but she's happy watching them on TV too. She came with me to see the WRC in Wales in 2003, Le Mans this year, and numerous races here in CA. If you can have fun in the freezing fog of the Welsh forests or in the middle of a French thunderstorm you certainly qualify as a true fan!

I did a series of posts last year describing my first three Le Mans trips - check them here, here and here if want to whet the appetite.

Brandon Watts said...

I still haven't seen a race live, but I plan on doing so sometime soon.

Brandon Watts
Criteo Evangelist

Anonymous said...

Good Onya Mate for coming downunder for the Bathurst 1000. I agree that it is one of the best in the world. And did you know that the course is a public road when not in use as a race track. Although 60Km/h applies and 2 way traffic stops you from doing anything silly. I did a few laps there a few weeks ago and it amazing how narrow the track is and how steep ist is coming down off the mountain - amazing that they do 200km/h+ thru these sections.

See you there.


Anonymous said...

I'm just over the ditch in NZ, and intend on getting to Bathurst in a couple of years.

I've been car mad ever since i was a kid, and every year much to the families disgust i would hog the TV for the whole day to watch bathurst.

In 1984, I was introduced to live motorsport in the form of the Nissan Mobil 500. A now defunct 500km waterfront street race Comprising the shortlived WTCC and the Group A touring cars.

I still get goosebumps thinking of those years!

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