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Re: [TrackChasers] European Vacation--part five

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  • Bruce Eckel
    Will, WOW!!!! That has to rank as a big disappointment!!! Driving to Switzerland and having the race canceled. At least you got to see something else that
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 8, 2003
      Will,

      WOW!!!! That has to rank as a big disappointment!!! Driving to
      Switzerland and having the race canceled. At least you got to see something
      else that day. Keep up the reports. We enjoy them. Bruce
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Will White" <ned98@...>
      To: <TrackChasers@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, August 04, 2003 9:53 PM
      Subject: [TrackChasers] European Vacation--part five


      > **Saturday, July 12th, 2003**
      >
      > Before 4:30 am Roland & I were off on our way to Switzerland. First stop
      > just down the street was at a cash machine where I would procure my first
      > ever Euros. This new currency, which will soon be used by about half the
      > countries in Europe, has increased in value dramatically in the past year
      > compared to the US Dollar. So much so that it is now about 30% more
      > expensive for Americans traveling in Euro countries than it was just
      twelve
      > months ago.
      >
      > Roland adhered pretty strictly to the speed limits as we went, stating
      that
      > one more speeding fine would result in the loss of his driver's license.
      He
      > also said that his last conversation with a French officer did not go
      well,
      > so if he got stopped again he didn't speak a word of French.
      >
      > While traveling to many countries Roland developed quite an international
      > music collection. We listened to his CDs throughout the trip and I enjoyed
      > them all.
      >
      > France is a very rural country to drive through; lots of farmland. There
      is
      > a lot more open space than in England and Belgium. Unlike many other
      > countries, France's motorways are toll roads. The tolls are extremely high
      > and so we only used the motorways sparingly. Good time can be made on the
      > other main roads in between towns. Most of the time you go through the
      towns
      > though which can slow you down.
      >
      > As we got close to Switzerland progress was slowed because the road
      twisted
      > back and forth as you climbed the mountains. However we reached the Swiss
      > border before noon and were then just about six miles from Bure, the
      > location of today's races.
      >
      > Unlike most western European countries, where you just keep driving from
      one
      > to the next, Switzerland maintains a border checkpoint. It was no worse
      than
      > a typical US/Canada crossing, just show passports and answer a few quick
      > questions.
      >
      > Field tracks are in the majority in Europe. Usually only a village name is
      > known. Roland says he just drives to the village and looks for signs which
      > are usually posted on race day. If no signs are found he then drives
      around
      > the neighboring roads, and if that fails he stops and asks someone.
      >
      > Bure wasn't too big a place. We tried one road with no luck, then a second
      > one had us heading to the border so we turned around again. Returning
      > towards Bure we were stopped by a Swiss border officer who thought we were
      > just entering the country. Roland asked the officer if he knew where the
      > autocross races were held. He didn't know about it but sent us to ask at a
      > restaurant in the village.
      >
      > At the restaurant we learned that they were the caterer for the races, but
      > unfortunately the races had been cancelled (no reason was given). What a
      > disappointment to drive all the way to Switzerland to find that the main
      > reason for my entire trip was cancelled. Roland said he felt bad for me
      > because he had previously seen races in Switzerland whereas I hadn't.
      >
      > Luckily the day was not a total loss as we had a back up plan. Roland had
      > originally planned to go to the Historic GP meeting at Dijon, France, on
      > Sunday before I found the Luxembourg race and wanted 3 countries. Dijon
      was
      > a two day affair and easily reachable from where we were, so off we went.
      >
      > We arrived at Circuit Dijon-Prenois at 2:25 pm, about 4 hours after the
      > scheduled start of the day's racing activities. Upon entering and parking
      it
      > was a short walk in to the main covered grandstand at the start/finish
      line
      > of the paved road course. Prices were very reasonable for this meeting
      with
      > general admission just €5.00 (about $5.75) and paddock another €5.00. The
      > paddock allowed admission to the pits and you could even go out to the
      > starting grid. I just got general admission but Roland later loaned me his
      > paddock pass for a tour of the pits.
      >
      > We watched most of the race that had started on our arrival from the
      > grandstand. It was nice to sit out of the sun as it was a clear and hot
      day,
      > but you could only see the main straight there so it got dull pretty
      quick.
      >
      > The neat part of this event was that they had GP cars from various periods
      > of history in competition. The first race we saw had newer rear engined
      > cars. After that race we walked through a tunnel and into the infield of
      the
      > circuit. On the back side the terrain was hilly and if you chose the right
      > spot you could see a few turns at once.
      >
      > The next race featured pre-1961 (front engined) GP cars. There was an
      > interesting mix among the 18 starters. Each of the 2 GP races was 14 laps.
      >
      > The second race ended around 3:30 then they had a 30 minute practice
      session
      > for GT/GTS/GTP cars, during which time I walked the pits. Between 4:30 and
      > 5:00 they ran a 15 lapper for a 21 car field of Formula Juniors. We
      returned
      > to the grandstand for this and mostly talked TrackChasing. It was very hot
      > and Roland wanted to leave and look for a hotel for the night.
      >
      > So, track #534 gave me my 10th country, France.
      >
      > Roland knew a couple of hotel chains that offered reasonable prices, so we
      > looked for one of them. He stated that he wished they had the signs like
      the
      > American highways have that tell you what lodging, food and gas is
      available
      > at each exit. Alas, in Europe you have to drive into a town and look for
      > something.
      >
      > Not finding one of the cheaper chains we ended up going into a village and
      > finding a hotel. I had to pick an unusually hot French weekend to visit,
      and
      > after sweating in the hot sun at the races I found that there was no AC at
      > the hotels. Oh well, it just adds a little to the experience.
      >
      > Traveling with Roland made everything so easy for me and I even got to
      have
      > dinner at a real French restaurant. The doors didn't open until 7 pm.
      Roland
      > said if I thought they ate late there I should try Spain. When he was
      there
      > he tried to have dinner at 9:00 and was turned away because the restaurant
      > didn't open until 9:30 pm!
      >
      > Dinner was a 2 hour affair with a 4 course meal and of course wine. Other
      > than the main course (mackerel in lemon) being a bit too sour everything I
      > had was good except for the third course. There was an assortment of
      cheeses
      > from which you chose two kinds. Since I didn't know what any of them were
      th
      > e server just gave me two. One of them was truly disgusting. It not only
      > stank but it tasted even worse. Somehow I managed to eat it all and not
      make
      > a face that would convey my disgust to Roland as he talked.
      >
      > Coming up the next day would be a return to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg,
      > which we had passed through on our way to Switzerland, for some stock car
      > racing fun.
      >
      > Will
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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