Day at the Races
know, if there’s one thing you can say about the British people, it’s that we’re
stubborn. For example, on Sunday I had to take a trip to Tescos, and in the
section for skincare products, I noticed that there was plenty of sun cream,
and hardly any after-sun cream. So, despite the fact that we all know that if
we go out in this glorious weather without putting sun cream on we will end up
looking like a raspberry ripple ice cream, we still do it. Hence the overstock
of sun cream, and the lack of after-sun cream. Which, of course, is what I was
after, to treat my almost purple, blistered arms. Because as with the rest of
the country, even though I know I was going to be out in the sun from about
09.00 to 18.00 on Saturday, in a place with very little shade, I decided that I
couldn’t be bothered to put sun cream on. So I paid the price. And yet, it was
so totally worth it.
at Jemmett Fox Media, we have the best clients. Not only do they challenge us
with interesting and often left-field jobs, but they also make our days more
interesting by giving us rides in articulated lorry cabs, treating us to Chinese
food, and adding danger to photography shoots by releasing the geese and
pointing us out to them. Most recently, coffee fan and not-at-all-mafia-member
Lee Spelzini treated us to a full day of British Superbikes at Snetterton
on to find out more, and see a sample of the pictures taken by our resident
turned up at just past 09.00 on Saturday, in glorious sunshine, just in time to
watch the qualifying session for the 125cc class. Immediately, someone crashed,
and lay still as the marshals rushed over to him and the yellow flags started
to wave. 5 minutes later, he was on a stretcher being taken to the sidelines,
where he promptly sat up, got off, and sat up on the barrier and waved to the crowd.
The bikes kept going round, with occasional wobbles.
the session finished, an ambulance and a van came tootling over to pick up the
rider and his bike. Two marshals simply picked the bike up and slung it in the
back of the van. Our resident bike expert told us that, since it was a 125cc
bike, it only weighed about 60-70 kilos. I wish my bike weighed that little...
up was the final practice for the British Superbikes. Standing next to the
track you could genuinely feel the air pressure changing as the bikes came
past, and the angles of lean these riders were capable of was astonishing.
it was time for breakfast, so we headed to Tyrell’s cafe, and had a full
English. Well, pretty full anyway. Along with drinks. On the way, we poked
around the pit areas and the stands, which were all selling exciting motorcycle
gear and other paraphernalia. I bought a hat. Which was nice. Then, back to the
action on the track, this time from a different viewpoint. A man walked past us
swigging from a coca-cola bottle and wearing a red t-shirt and slacks. Our
wonderfully knowledgeable friend Lee nudged us, and proclaimed that the legend
who was Neil Hodgson had just walked by. Yep, even legends drink coca-cola and
amble around with the crowds. Less than an hour later he’d been caught by
someone and dragged up to the commentary box to give an interview... poor man,
just came to watch some racing...
next sojourn took us back down to the pits, where we had the remarkable opportunity
to visit the Quattro Plant Kawasaki pit garage, and get a look at the innards
of their actual race bike before the bodywork was put back in place for
qualifying. We also met the crew chief, Tim Broom, who chatted to us about the
tyres that the teams were using, in terms of getting a good position in
qualifying compared to race pace. We left just as the mechanics came back from
lunch to start preparing the bike for qualifying, but it was a great
experience, and we’d like to thank the team and especially Tim for giving us
the rare chance to get a glimpse of a professional British Superbike team
garage. Later we got a great picture of their sole rider that weekend, Gary
Mason, during qualifying.
We then moseyed back to the hill overlooking
Palmer corner for the Superbike qualifying, and witnessed one of the closest
qualifying sessions ever in British Superbike history, with pole position just
0.001 seconds ahead of 2nd on the grid. A couple of the riders then
decided to do some fancy tricks and practice starts down the straight in front
of the waving crowd. Which was very nice of them.
When qualifying had finished, we walked up onto
the Agostini banking to take some wide-angle photos, where a young lady asked me
very politely if we were going to stand in her way for the racing session, as
she and her hubby had got to the track early to get some good seats. So we ran
away. Sort of. Actually, we hovered in front of them taking photos first, then
we slowly strolled away. Didn’t interrupt a single moment of viewing for the
lovely couple who obviously were the King and Queen of the Agostini hill, and
made sure that no-one came within a 5 metre radius of them.
Making our way back through the stands and paddock
area, we took a look into the Pirelli garages, where the tyres that had been
used already that day, some for only a couple of laps, were all stacked up.
Our next meeting was with Griff Wooley, who had
been up for a very long time completely rebuilding a SuperSport bike for one of
the support series, followed by a lovely lady who runs advanced motorcycle
riding courses and rides a nice, big bike herself. Then, we got an ice cream.
Then, another highlight. We were taken into the JL
Racing team tent to meet the riders and check out the F1 Sidecar they ride in
the Eastern Airways British Sidecar Championship (what a mouthful!). These
machines are beautifully put together; looking like 3-wheel Formula 1 cars
(which is almost what they are, just with smaller engines!).
After this, we headed back towards Bentley
Straight, where we watched the Ducati 848 race, along with the early stages of
the Sidecar race, where one of them spun off on the first lap.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was that. Our day
at Snetterton, from where I came home with a baseball cap, and nice thick
jacket perfect for the weather we are having, and arms the colour of radishes.
We’d like to extend our greatest thanks to
everyone in the teams who made time to see us and accommodate us, and our
special thanks to Mr Lee Spelzini, who most definitely is NOT a member of the
Until next time!
photos and text © Jemmett Fox Media. If you steal them, and we find out, we
will come after you with pitchforks and fire. If you ask nicely, we may give
you some nice photos since we took so many.)