2013 TrackChaser Report #44--Pannoniaring, Sarvar, Hungary
On Thursday Pam and I drove to JFK Airport in New York City to resume our tradition of an annual European holiday with Roland. We had visited him on the continent in 2010 and 2011, while in 2012 he met us in Ireland where Pam was presenting at a Speech Pathology conference.
We flew from NYC to Dublin, Ireland; then on to Vienna, Austria where we met up with Roland. Friday night we stayed in Austria, and in fact ended up at the same fish restaurant in Fischabend that we ate at two years ago. I got a bit adventurous and ordered sauteed eel, which is chewy but turned out well, although the restaurant is quite pricy.
Saturday we drove to the former communist country of Hungary. Our destination was the Pannoniaring, a paved road circuit. The track was built for motorcycle racing, and is a testing circuit for Ducatti. Michael Schumacher tested a Superbike there in 2008. They sometimes have cars race on the track as well, but not that often. It's a pretty big track, nearly three miles per lap. Roland had been there in 2003, and said they raced on a smaller version of the circuit that cut off almost half of the full circuit that was used today.
They would not accept Euros for admission, but required Hungarian Forints, of which we had none. Luckily, the track restaurant exchanged some currency for us. Admission was very inexpensive, the equivalent of only about six US dollars. In my wallet, I now have a Ketezer (2000) and an Otszaz (500) leftover Forint notes
Roland was surprised to find that the track had been very much upgraded since his visit ten years ago. We speculated they had to match the Slovakiaring, where we went two years ago and a track that is not that far away, or face losing business to them. There had been no spectator grandstand during his previous visit, but there is a very nice and brand new looking one now that offers a view of well over half the course.
The weather was very hot, and as usual I did my "human pinball" act as Pam calls it, taking pictures from all different locations. I got on the roof on top of the pit garages to see and photograph the part of the course that could not be seen from the seating, which included the start/finish line.
We arrived in the morning and saw qualifying for the Suzuki Swift Cup, Lotus Ladies Cup, and the single seater E2-2000 series. We saw two complete races, each 25 minutes plus one lap. The first was for the Lotus Cup Eastern Europe, which started about 15 cars. The second race was for the Seat Leon Cup, with eight cars.
We left when they broke for lunch. In the afternoon, there would be three more races, for the three classes we saw qualify, as well as to more qualifying sessions for additional classes that would be racing on Sunday.
Having the run of the paddock made things a little more interesting. As the entire facility was upgraded significantly since Roland visited in 2003, and the entire experience was better than anticipated based on what we had been told to expect.
Hungary was my 20th and Pam's 18th country to have seen racing.
After leaving the Pannoniaring, we drove back to Austria, and then into the Czech Republic where we found a charming hotel for the night. At the adjoining restaurant, we had an excellent meal for an incredibly low price.
Guy & Pam Smith 2013 Summary
2013 New Tracks--Guy 29 / Pam 17
2013 Events-- Guy 42 / Pam 21
2013 Total Tracks-- Guy 43 / Pam 22
2013 Additional new Non TC Tracks--Guy 2 / Pam NA
Lifetime Total Tracks--Guy 1,506 / Pam 854
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