Thursday, May 28, 2009

Le Mans is coming soon

I'm totally fucking excited, even if it's one more year that I'm not there. I've established a pattern of going to the race on any year that ends in a 7 or a 4 ('94, '97, '04 and '07). That means it will be a bit of a wait before I go again, so I must make the best of it whilst being stuck in California for the weekend.

I schedule my work week around the evening qualifying sessions (or test sessions as one will be this year) so that I can listen to the commentary and perhaps catch some webstreams via proxy servers.

For race day, typically we've set up the TV in the bedroom the night before so that we can watch the first couple of hours (starting at 6am) from the comfort of our bed. We make coffee (a rarity for us, since we're tea drinkers) and purchase croissants for the full Le Mans Breakfast Experience (TM).

We have a laptop on hand with live timing and scoring, chat on the Ten-Tenths forum, and the inimitable Radio Le Mans providing audio.

During gaps in Speed Channel's coverage we find webstreams of the Eurosport coverage.

As the day progresses, the TV gets moved to the kitchen where we prep food for the evening's party. That food includes tartiflette, merguez sausages, homemade fries and roast chicken, all things you would find at the track. Party guests arrive in the evening, and we hang out, eat the food, drink wine and French beer (Kronenbourg 1664), and keep our eyes on the race.

In the past we've tried to stay up till the end of the race at 6am. This always fails (see above picture) and we end up recording the rest of it and watching it on Sunday without the Radio Le Mans commentary. This feels like an anticlimax. So last year we decided to go to bed at 11pm and get four hours of sleep so that we could check in for the final two hours. This worked well.

The major change this year is that there will be no party. This is for two reasons: first, I've found that all the party planning, as well as the entertaining of guests and cooking of food, means you actually miss what is going on with the race. Second, since we're expecting a baby in three months we have neither the energy nor motivation to go to such lengths and are opting for the easiest way out (like with pretty much everything we do in life at the moment).

However it happens, the Le Mans 24 Hours is always a big highlight of the racing year, and with such a great field this year it should be another cracking good time.

(I just took another look at my video of our 2007 trip to Le Mans - man, it send shivers down my spine. What an amazing place, and an amazing race!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Motorcycle racing is dangerous

Well, duh. Except it's pretty amazing how many riders are on the sidelines right now thanks to injury...

  • Regis Laconi, WSBK, DFX Ducati: injured in South Africa, being replaced by Lorenzo Lanzi
  • Sylvain Guintoli, BSB, Crescent Suzuki: injured at Donington, replaced by Michael Rutter
  • John Hopkins, WSBK, Stiggy Honda: injured at Assen, replaced by Jake Zemke
  • Max Neukirchner, WSBK, Alstare Suzuki: injured at Monza, replaced by Fonsi Nieto
  • Makoto Tamada, WSBK, PBM Kawasaki: injured at Monza, replaced by Jamie Hacking
  • Neil Hodgson, AMA, Corona Honda: injured playing around on a motocross bike, replaced by Jake Holden
  • Troy Corser, WSBK, BMW: injured at Monza, replaced by Steve Martin
It's a good time to be a good rider without a ride, if all the "regulars" keep throwing their bikes down the road and breaking their bodies in the process...