Re: [TrackChasers] European Vacation--part five
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@...>
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
> months ago.
> Roland adhered pretty strictly to the speed limits as we went, stating
> one more speeding fine would result in the loss of his driver's license.
> also said that his last conversation with a French officer did not go
> 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
> 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
> though which can slow you down.
> As we got close to Switzerland progress was slowed because the road
> 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
> to the next, Switzerland maintains a border checkpoint. It was no worse
> a typical US/Canada crossing, just show passports and answer a few quick
> 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
> 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
> 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
> was a short walk in to the main covered grandstand at the start/finish
> of the paved road course. Prices were very reasonable for this meeting
> 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
> but you could only see the main straight there so it got dull pretty
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> American highways have that tell you what lodging, food and gas is
> at each exit. Alas, in Europe you have to drive into a town and look for
> 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,
> 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
> dinner at a real French restaurant. The doors didn't open until 7 pm.
> said if I thought they ate late there I should try Spain. When he was
> 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
> from which you chose two kinds. Since I didn't know what any of them were
> 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
> 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.
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