I’ve been a follower of F1 for many years now. I started out watching it at my dad’s house on a Sunday. I grew up with the voices of Murray Walker and Martin Brundle on the weekends. The Chain by Fleetwood Mac always signalled the beginning of next few hours of fun.
I stopped watching F1 for quite a few years after the coverage moved to ITV. I hated having the adverts, I disliked the change of staff. The BBC has got it right in the last few years. I have become a proper fan again. To cement my fandom I have finally attended my first ever race.
6AM has never felt as early as Sunday morning. Cheryl and I had rather stupidly spent the night at a party and only managed to get 4 or 5 hours of sleep before having to get up to catch a train. Parts of the tube were surprisingly busy any shoulders began to ache before we’d even got off the first train thanks to having to stand for the journey.
We arrived at Euston station about 10 to 8. We got the tickets and then sat around waiting for other people to show up. Everyone JonP, Emma, Rachael, and Stephanie showed up at around 8:10 and the train pulled into the station a couple of minutes later. We all got on board and 4 of us went one way and Emma and JonP went the other. Oops.
The train to Northampton is basically the slowest train on the face of the planet. The fact that it was delayed by 20 minutes didn’t help it seem any faster.
When we got to Northampton we decided that a taxi would be better than the shuttle bus. The shuttle bus would come to £14 return for each of us and the taxis would come out to only a little bit more when split 6 ways. The taxi dropped us off just outside an entrance and we were all pleased to finally be in the right place. We all got our tickets out and walked through the gate and we were in!
Dave and Hayley were already there so we decided it would make sense to go and meet them at Vale. We walked down along the side of the straight while a Porsche race was going on. There was a brief stop so that people could buy merchandise, and then we carried on to Vale. We picked a place and walked onto the grass. We eventually decided on a place to sit and put our stuff down. Literally 2 seconds later we turned around because Dave and Hayley were calling us from about 5 metres away. Pretty good positioning.
Cheryl and I set up our chairs and everyone else got settled on the floor. That was when we first noticed that there were spiders and greenfly everywhere! Cheryl was not very happy with this, but there wasn’t really anything we could do about it. At least we weren’t on the floor.
The Red Arrows turned up after a few minutes and performed a pretty awesome show for everyone. I completely failed to get a decent picture of one of the arrows as it flew over, but oh well. Hardly surprising when they’re moving so quickly!
Towards the end of the Red Arrows’ show it began to rain. Cheryl and I moved our seats closer together and huddled under a big umbrella to keep the rain off us. Sadly the umbrella wasn’t quite as wide as both of our seats, so we both had a wet side of the seat to contend with. The rain didn’t last very long, and then the sun came back out and helped dry off the seats, but parts of the track remained wet. JonP was very happy about this.
People generally just stood around chatting or went to buy drinks and stuff like that before the first F1 cars came around. I was expecting them to be a lot louder than they were because of a warning from JonP. Don’t get me wrong, they were very loud, but I think we were quite lucky in our placement. They were loudest after they’d gone through the corners and had moved quite a distance away from us.
The whole race went by pretty quickly for me. It was interesting trying to keep up with what was going on as the cars came by us on the track so we were very pleased that there was a big screen that we could watch to keep apprised of events on other parts of the track.
The best bit of the whole event was watching Hamilton and Massa fighting for position at the very end of the final lap. They went by us side by side and stayed that way as far as we could see until Massa went wide onto the straight to let Hamilton through. The crowd all jumped up and down and cheered. It was pretty awesome.
After the race the track was opened up to everyone. Cheryl and I stayed with everyone’s bags and jackets while everyone else ran onto the track with the crowd. Some of them came back for their stuff a little while later and we went down onto the track to meet up with the others. It was pretty cool to be standing on a track I remember driving around on so many computer games over the years, and a track where, a few minutes earlier, F1 cars had been driving around at a couple of hundred miles per hour.
We walked up the new start/finish straight along the new “wing” of Silverstone and had a couple of big group photos taken. We carried on heading towards the after-show events off to the side of the end of the straight. Before we got there Dave and Hayley decided they were going to get going home. I think they were both pretty knackered, and Dave still had blisters from when he was walking around London the weekend before, so more walking seemed like a bad plan for them. Sadly I heard they got stuck in quite a lot of traffic and it took them hours to get home.
The remaining group sat around for a few hours watching bungee jumpers jump from a crane. One man even did it naked, which was… interesting.
We watched David Coulthard up on stage for a little while. He was really funny. A hell of a lot more 18-rated than he is on the BBC!
It began to get cloudy and windy so once the girls had finished eating we all headed over to where the buses and taxis were. At first the taxi driver told us he couldn’t take us, but then he asked if we could pay £50. When we said we could he changed his tune and we all piled into his car.
He spent the first 5 minutes of the drive texting one one of his 3 mobile phones. I was not very impressed by that. If someone is being paid £50 to drive for 20 minutes the least they could do is avoid breaking the law in a dangerous manner while doing so.
We didn’t have a long wait for the train at Northampton station and we managed to get 6 seats together on the train. That’s when things got silly. We were all really tired and so we had a serious case of the giggles. Everything everyone said was funny, and there was usually no reason for it. It was a long journey to Euston station!
Once we’d got to Euston we separated ways with Emma and JonP and went down to the northern line where they somehow caught up with us again and we parted ways with Stephanie and Rachael.
We waited for the train to turn up for a couple of minutes and then a random drunk guy walked through the crowd and stood directly in front of Cheryl at the front of the platform. We didn’t say anything because it’s not worth it. He was rocking backwards and forwards on his feet while he stood there, so we knew he was wasted. The train arrived and he made sure nobody got in front of him. We got ready to get on behind him and as soon as the door opened he put one foot forward and tripped over into the crowded train. He was sprawled out on the ground with his jeans pulled half way down his ass by the trip.
We managed not to laugh, but I caught the eye of some of the other passengers in the carriage and they found it as funny as me. A few seconds later the train set off and the door between carriages came flying open right beside me. Everyone looked at it and then looked at me like I’d done something. Obviously the drunk guy had knocked the handle as he was falling or something. The guy got off at the next stop and the rest of the journey home was very uneventful.
That’s the story of Silverstone!