Le Mans 24 Heures
Danny Watts, Nick Leventis and Jonny Kane
Not only did this year see the 80th edition of what many unitedly call 'the greatest race in the world' but it also paid witness to the first time attendance of the girl and myself.
In the midst of men, motors and competition we had the very best of times.
In every other sense we acquainted ourselves with all of the unwritten codes that stand for those who should attend, all but for the little matter of where to accommodate oneself.
Contemplating the ideals of camping for only a mere moment, we came to the unanimous decision that a 'top secret' location, hidden away in the village of Loire would probably be better suited for us girls. With hours to spare until check in, we grazed through traditional streets and picturesque cafes.
The architecture is wholly admirable and their simplistic way of life is somewhat desirable. We couldn't help but smile as we strolled past the local artist with their paint, canvas and overalls.
Having succumbed to the world of poison early, we continued as we meant to go on throughout the 'long weekend'.
Arriving at said accommodation by six, we were greeted by all sorts of animals, racing fanatics and cold beverages. The location was more than ideal and the company, homely and heart warming.
We've made our reservation for next summer.
Saturday saw the start of the race, by which point we had decided upon our somewhat biased number one. Audi were not only expected to win but they happily obligued with all four of their machines having topped the competition within the last few timed hours. Despite this looming outcome, we flirted with the ideals of number 21 and Strakka Racing. Racing around the eight mile track in a HPD ARX 03a Honda, Danny Watts, Nick Leventis and Jonny Kane did us proud. Hiding away during the first hour, the Strakka team made their way into the top ten, pinning down eight position within the 20th hour. Sadly for reported 'water pressure,' the GB team had to pull back into their pit stop for safe keeping until nearer the end when they could guarantee a run across the finish line.
Fingers crossed for next year boys.
As a treat to the engine enthusiast, it's ordered that all pit stops will be open to all ticket holders the day before the big event. Papa A said that this would be our only opportunity and so we should take full advantage.
Now, in all my efforts to oppose a certain level of smugness from within, I'd like to inform you as to how number 21 came to our attention.
Saturday morning and us girls were told that we would be accompanying two gentlemen as they also made their way to said destination. As these things go in all variations of tall tales and storyboards, we were more than delighted to find our that these two chaps just so happened to be the father and brother of one Danny Watts (scroll to the top of this post and I promise that you'll catch on).
They really were just the nicest boys that we could have possible bumped into. As any gentleman would, they insisted that a sneaky peak into the Strakka garage was necessary and it would have been oh so rude to resist...
I have to admit, my butterflies would not go to bed as we shared smiles with the minds behind the mechanics. Nor did they settle as we made our way past the tried and tested tyres, the anxious monitors or the qualified engines.
He said he was only pleased for us and that jealousy doesn't come into it but we know that in all his years of membership and attendance he's never come as close. Poor Daddy Austin. I'd like to say that I would have switched position with him if it were possible but in all honesty, I couldn't say that I truly meant it. You boys gave us such a wonderful time and we really couldn't be any more grateful.
We're sure that you'd be biased too.
Our memories of Le Mans are grand. Let's hope they continue to grow as the years go past.
Here's to seeing you next summer, 2013.