Thursday, 8 October 2015

Race Day in Angoulême

Event poster
‘..and the sun is shining here in Angoulême for the Circuit des Remparts.  And Britain’s only hope for a win this year is the little lady in the black Morgan – that’s car number 7 ladies and gentlemen.  She’s in second place on the starting grid and….’
Vroommmmmm.  I’m at the wheel of this magnificent machine from the 1930’s.  I’m on the grid.  I’m focussed.  I’m watching the man with the green flag.  I'm blipping the accelerator; holding the handbrake – vroommmmm – just keeping the car on its line but hungry to go.  Guy Villeneuve is in pole position; need to keep my eye on him.  And we have the flag!  I floor the accelerator and release the brake and I’m roaring down the straight towards the monument.  Guy is still ahead and pulling away.  I cut right into the seventy-left and gain a second or two along Avenue Clemenceau.  I blast down the short straight of Rue Carnot to the ninety-right into Rue Desbrandes.  I cut right and hand-brake the car to gain another second.  I’m on Villenueves’ tail now as we head straight down Avenue Verdun and into the sweeping seventy-right.  I cut left to overtake but the Frenchman is hogging the centre of the road.  No gent this bloke so I have to eat his smoke. 

One of the modern cars on display
  Into the long straight and I slam the accelerator right down and the V8 isn’t even breathless.  I cut right to take Villeneuve on the inside but can’t make it.  I tail him through the hairpins and back up to the grid for the last lap.  I’m up and down the box and then I power out of the last bend into the long straight and Villeneuve is history. 
A cute blue one!

Into the hairpins and I notice Senna is on my tail.  I cut left and right and middle to keep him out.  I take the last hairpin as a handbrake and gain a second then I blast down the final straight to take the race.  ‘Eat my smoke’ I shout as the chequered flag falls in front of my car.  I cruise the straight in triumph…..’

‘OK, I’ve taken the photos,’ says James.  He taps me on the shoulder.  ‘I’ve got the pictures.’
‘What?...Oh sorry.'
‘You can get out of the car now.’
‘Oh right.’  I clamber over the side.  ‘What a lot of people.’  I say, noticing the four deep crowd around the Morgan for the first time.  ‘That was brill!!!’  A self-satisfied grin spreads across my face, but James grabs my arm and drags me away.
‘Apparently,’ he says as we continue walking through the paddock.  ‘Just a couple of small points,’ he says.  ‘Gilles Villeneuve was a Canadian Formula One driver and Ayrton Senna is dead.’
‘Oh,’ I say.  But my attention is suddenly taken by something else.  ‘Wow, look at that cute blue car over there can we…’
‘Absolutely not!’ says James with a finality that takes me by surprise.  ‘You’ve embarrassed me enough for one day.’  So we walk on in silence.

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