Thursday, December 10, 2009

V8 Supercar - Hot Lap

For anyone who has an interest in car racing at some point you would have dreamed about doing a hot lap around a racetrack. Yesterday, my dream became a reality when I was guest at the ‘888 Vodafone Racing Team’ sponsors day. At this point I must thank my very good friend for the invitation.

With the recent crowning of the drivers championship going to 888 racing there was a certain buzz in the air as we arrived at the track. I was a little naïve to what happened at these functions but when I seen people suiting up in race suits I had to wonder if my dream would become a reality. Sure enough, I was to get that lap.

After wandering the pit garages checking out the various teams offering their sponsors the same deal I was soon filling out the necessary paperwork and being fitted for a race suit, gloves and a helmet.

Time seemed to stand still as I waited for my turn but eventually it was my turn. Butterflies, anxiety, adrenalin and excitement all seemed to describe the way I felt. Here I was, being straped into the passengers seat of Jamie Whincup’s V8 supercar. After a few last minute instructions, we were off. Entering the track the first thing to hit me was the heat, with no air being channelled in my direction it quickly became hot and stuffy. Next thing was the acceleration and braking capabilities, its flat-out or stop in these cars and no sooner did we negotiate one corner, we were preparing for the next. The car is loud, very restrictive in personal movement and very quick. It took 3-4 corners before I had time to realise this boyhood fantasy was really happening. After that, I had time to have a look around, as best I could. I couldn’t see Jamie, I could only see his hands on the wheel, the shift changes, his legwork and the small telemetry display and obviously the view straight ahead.

As we roared around the track my senses were working overtime. The temperature, the smell of ethanol, the G-forces and the view seemed the make time now go so fast. The ripple strips were thumping under my seat, the lack of body roll is incredible and then theres’ the rush of speed as we thundered down the main straight. 250km/h is apparently how fast we were going, but with nothing to gauge speed against we could have been going more or less.

No sooner did my lap start and it was time to peel back into the pits and my 2 laps were coming to an end. After shaking hands with Jamie and thanking him I dragged my sweaty body from the car. “What a rush” but how do they do it, lap after lap.

A dream became a reality, thanks Rod.

Monday, December 7, 2009

V8 Supercars - Sydney

I’ve always been a fan of the V8 Supercars and on many occasions have made the trip to Bathurst or Eastern Creek. This year however saw the inaugural Telstra 500, held at Olympic Park, Homebush.

Looking at the schedule, Saturday looked like the best day to go, if we weren’t burnt out after a days car racing we could hang around to watch Cold Chisel. So with this in mind we arrived at Olympic Park nice an early on the Saturday. Great weather and big crowds were already present.

We soon heard the noise of the first cars roaring around the track and quickly took up a vantage point. The atmosphere of the event quickly sucked us in. This was exactly what Sydney had been looking for. After making our way through various pavilions we found a good spot on turn 1 to watch some racing. Here we could see the cars kiss the wall or opt out down the escape road.

In the afternoon we checked out a few more vantage points before settling on turn 2-3. This turned out to a crucial part of the track where drivers often out-broke their opponents into the dogleg corner.

After 74 laps Garth Tander was crowned the winner of the inaugural race. Our day ended watching a few more races and a walk through the merchandise tents.

A real Xmas tree

In my 40+ years of celebrating Christmas I’ve never had a real Christmas tree, that was until this year. Leonie's been suggesting for a few years now that we should get one, she grew up having them and recons they provide a welcome change.

With this in mind we headed off in search of fresh Christmas tree. The Santa Tree farm at Albion Park was the obvious choice. We soon had our bow saw in hand and were searching the row upon row of trees for our very own tree.

After debating the shape and size, the kids and I set about cutting it down. This is one of those times where you’ve never seen the kids happier. They both had a go of the saw and it wasn’t long before we stood proud atop our tree.

Back at home, the tree quickly found its new home and within a few hours it was decorated with lights, balls and decorations.

I must say, ‘it does make a welcome change’. Something we’ll have to do again next year.