2011 TrackChaser Report #50--Brands Hatch, GBR
After we watched the third of the six races at the track in France on Sunday morning and early afternoon, Roland suggested we try to do something not done before. That was to see a race in the same afternoon in two different countries that were separated by water. As we were planning on stopping at Brands Hatch on Monday morning before heading to the airport for our afternoon flight home, Pam and I were game to try.
We left the track in France slightly before 12:30, and drove to Calais. There we drove the car onto one of the ferry boats for the crossing of the English Channel. The crossing was uneventful, and we got a decent view of the White Cliffs of Dover as we pulled into England. We thought it was worth a try to go to Brands Hatch on Sunday, but there was no pressure since we were planning to go on Monday morning anyway. For this idea to work, everything had to go smoothly, and it did.
I knew that the last Historic Car race on Sunday at Brands Hatch was scheduled from 5:10 to 5:40. We walked in a couple of minutes late. They were no longer charging admission. I thought we would have missed the start, but in the previous race a car had hit the tires and they were repairing the barrier. Thus we got to see the complete final race of the day at Brands Hatch, a scheduled 30 minute race that just made it before the track curfew.
We completed the two-country, one-afternoon double successfully. Thus ended this year's adventure in Europe. The final tally was 8 races at 8 new tracks in 7 countries, 6 of which were new and 2 of which we were the first from the US to visit. Roland added 3 new tracks as well, plus an additional new track on Monday after we had gone. There were 6 paved road courses, one dirt road course, and one dirt oval. Between the fact that some of the races were free, at a couple of the races we were guests, and that at the first Italy track we couldn't find anyone to take our money; we ended up seeing 6 of the 8 races for no charge.
After the races we headed to one of Roland's favorite Indian Restaurants. I can't even tell you what I had there, as the names of the dishes were all unfamiliar to me. I know that my two main dishes were a chicken in a curry and coconut sauce, and mushroom rice. I also know it was good. Monday we few from England to Reyjkovic, Iceland; and then back to Newark. When I came home I stepped on the scale and was 11 pounds heavier than my lowest weight of 2011. I've got some work to do.
This ended year two of what was originally planned as a three year trilogy of visits to continental Europe with Roland. Pam and I have grown quite fond of Roland, and he to us as well it seems. Up until last week, I envisioned my career country total to end at about two dozen. Now it seems like Roland would like to take us to see races at all the countries in Europe where he has been for racing. It's hard to beat a vacation to foreign countries when your travel agent is also your tour guide and also your driver and most importantly a dear friend. So I won't rule out any of the European countries that Roland proposes that we visit together. At the least I might shoot for 31 lifetime countries now. At the most, who knows? We will take it one summer at a time.
On Tuesday I put Pam back on a plane as she is presenting at an international conference this week in Fort Lauderdale. She got to spend exactly eight hours at home. That evening, I headed to Grandview for the USAC National Sprint Car Series, which will be the subject of Report #51. I hung with Kevin Eckert, who reported another new track from this past weekend on his way east for the USAC races, but I could not find Gordy, although I looked several times. Grandview was good, and I can't wait for Port Royal on Saturday.
Guy Smith 2011 tracks--37 New, 49 Total. Lifetime total tracks--1,373
Pam Smith 2011 tracks--24 New, 25 Total. Lifetime total tracks--735
Roland Vanden Eynde 2011 tracks--27 new, 32 total. Lifetime total tracks--878
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