Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Notes from a Weekend
Le Mans, FR. 12-13, June, 2010

It was still dark when I woke, but soon the sky began brightening with the coming dawn. Listening, I heard the rain softly falling and wondered if it would continue all day.

He sleeps so peacefully, exhibiting no anxiety or worry about the upcoming day. Perhaps it’s my role to worry and be concerned about what could happen on the track.

I’d forgotten about him, well sort of, if I thought about being here last year I had fond memories of the weekend, but at the time my relationship plans were different. At the auto show in Geneva I ran into him, the charming rake that he is made me smile. He asked if my partner was with me and when I shared that I was unattached he asked me to dinner. Dinner begat an invitation to join him for a weekend and soon I was contemplating another long distance (he lives in Switzerland) relationship. Most our time together has revolved around an automobile races, an activity that doesn’t allow idle hands, so I was given a duty, a duty that required that I be in the garage a seven. The birds were beginning to chirp as I slipped from the bed, washing and dressing quickly I took a last look at him before leaving to find some breakfast.

The atmosphere in the garage was relaxed as the team was very happy with the cars performance in qualifying. One of my duties is to collect the weather reports. The team has contracted with a forecasting service, but like all obsessive organizations they want all the information.

Around seven-thirty the racer entered the garage, he looked up and found me in my perch on the mezzanine and blew me a kiss, that I returned and then be entered a conversation with the other drivers and the team manager.

The morning warm-up period would soon start and the pits became filled with the sound of engines, at nine, the cars began pulling out on to the circuit. It hasn’t taken me long to know how long it will take for his car to lap the track and when he doesn’t pass as expected, my eyes scan the monitors for information. One evening thinking about racing before computers and car monitors and I considered the stress that was placed on the team when a car failed to appear when expected and there was no information.

The cars are lining for the start and the anticipation is building in the crowd

There off, everyone is standing, the pits and the grandstands, even the vendor have stopped to watch. During week I watched some films of the race from the 50’s and 60’s when the start began with a foot race across the track to the cars. I asked the racer why that was discontinued and he said safety. Makes sense, but it was exciting.

Three to four hours after the start, the crowd begins to lose interest and drifts off for food and other entertainment. Even the cars seem to succumb to the monotony and fall into a parade by class, saving the resource till the morning.

We’re in the sixth hour now. Secretly I’ve been rooting for the Ford GT, driven by a team of women drivers; Natacha Gachnang, Cyndie Allemann and Rahel Frey. The car is out now having caught fire on the course. A crowd favorite, the BMW Art Car is also out. The concert has started

Back to the trailer for some rest, I need to be back at two. Glad I brought ear plugs and a mask.

I’m awakened and I realize that someone is in the trailer. I ask who’s there and the racer answers, I relax. He comes to the door and tells me the car is probably out, though they are working on it. I get up and join him at small table, we talk and I make him something to eat. The trailer is supposed to be provisioned, but its only prepared foods, as most eat in the garage area.

When I return to our garage the decision has been made to withdraw. Everyone looks so forlorn, as if a family member died.

Off to breakfast with a couple of the women, girl talk ensues.

Racer finds me and wants to go back to the hotel in town. We watch the finish on TV.



Anonymous VJ said...

But you survived all the rains too. That was impressive. We finally had our 'X-Mas party' last night. That's how crazy our year has been, Very busy so far. We've not a clue why, or when it might end. So many young faces around the table of our crew. Several fiancees. Sweet, smart young things. Stylish too. We barely held our own style wise by comparison, always dressing down. But as they say, we own the place, so we dress as we choose. More comfort always beat style in our house. That's just the way we roll.

But it sounds like you had an exciting weekend. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

9:56 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home