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British Grand Prix Weekend 2011

I’m really lucky that I’ve got some good friends and the friend that I was going to Silverstone with was Korin.  Korin and I have been friends for about 4 years after working together.  Korin left a couple of years ago but we have remained really good friends.  Both love F1 so talked about it, Korin got permission from his partner Sarah (thank you Sarah!!) and decided to go to Silverstone for the 2011 Grand Prix.

We booked Club Silverstone tickets, which although fairly expensive have their benefits…a seat for the whole 3 days, it’s own little bar/restaurant/toilets. Big bonus, it was warm and cosy with tv screens when it was blowing a hooley and chucking it down with rain. A godsend I can tell you and not having to queue for the toilets and a brill view of the Red Arrows on the Sunday.

Korin doesn’t do “camping”,  I was quite prepared to pitch a tent in a muddy field for a few days but we ended up with a great big American Motor Home and had it delivered to the Marussia Virgin Camping at Stowe School.

Well I was so excited about going to Silverstone for the Grand Prix, I drove everyone mad with my countdown updates…Christmas onwards.  I decided to take 2 weeks off work so that I wouldn’t send everyone insane!!  Thursday came and it was time to pack up the car with food, bedding and clothes, anybody would think I was going away for a fortnight.  Car filled to the brim and after saying goodbye to my neighbours who were looking after Blue I headed off towards Stowe School.  I’d arranged to meet Korin at the school so as I got nearer I was looking out for him.  I got to the bridge over the river and there was Korin sat on a rock looking like a gnome, all he needed was a fishing rod, instead he had his phone in his hand! Well Korin travels pretty light, one little suitcase that he managed to squeeze onto my back seat.  Off we trundled to the school and parked up near the site…a bit earlier than we should have been as the site was still being set up, however our motorhome was there, waiting for us.  Both of us a tad excited, one actually being near to Silverstone for one of the biggest sporting events in the UK and two to see this huge motorhome!!  We looked for keys but couldn’t find any so after much scurrying around trying to find phone numbers using our phones to access the web as neither of us had the number of the chap we’d rented the RV The RV!!from, doh!!  We managed to get hold of him and arranged to go back up the road to a pub that I’d passed on my way to Stowe.  Off we went and found the chap, drove back to Stowe and the lovely lady owner showed us around.  I needn’t have brought so much stuff as there was bedding, tea towels, etc.  Well I was prepared just in case!! After they went we unpacked the car and put bits and pieces away and then went a did a bit of exploring of the site.  Teepees, Tents, Toilets and Showers, a big stage, massive screen, a food area and most importantly a bar!! Just in the corner peeking out of a delivery truck was Lightning McQueen from “Cars 2”!! Marussia Virgin had Pixar as one of their sponsors that weekend so there were a couple of the main characters there together with some other rather nice cars.  I’d cooked a cottage pie so went back to the RV and put that in the oven.  The heavens decided to open and it threw it down just as people were arriving to put up their own tents.  After dinner we headed over to the entertainment area and met up with some fellow Tweeters.  So nice to meet people you’ve corresponded with but have no idea what they look like and really nice when a nice man called Dave brought a home made Tiramsu which needed to be stored in the fridge in the RV…yummy, thanks Dave!!!.  We got talking to a few people and yes Twitter was a common occurance, more people added to the follow/er lists!  I must admit it was rather chilly and wet…July, more like bloomin March.  Anyway first night in the RV wasn’t too bad although I had the sofa which was supposed to have a blow up mattress…we hunted high and low, couldn’t find it, luckily it was quite a long sofa and pretty comfy.  I woke up fairly early and clomped around, making a cup of tea, got dressed and then shouted Korin who was tucked up in a nice cosy bed at the other end of the RV, made some breakfast, made up a bit of a packed lunch and then about 7 we headed off up to the bus to go to First Practice of the British GP 😀

Arrived at Silverstone, all wrapped up as it was cold and wet.  Made our way to Club Silverstone, past the heliport and went in to get a cup of coffee.  Impressed with what we saw, picked up our caps and programmes and then headed off up to the stands to watch P1.  The theme of the Silverstone weekend appeared to be rain and wind.  P1, I lasted just over an hour, poor Korin was shivering and decided after 3\4 hr he needed to go into the warm.  We ended up watching the rest of P1 in the bar, together with the GP2 and GP3, bit bloomin chilly in those stands!!  P2 came along and off we went to our seats again.  Sat down, 1st couple of cars came out and bam…rain, hail stones, wind. No cars on track so that was it, back to the bar!! We went back to Stowe after P2 and warmed up in the RV then later on Meet the Driversthere was live music and food in the entertainment area.  Pretty good music.  A bottle of brandy and coke in pocket and yes wrapped up warm again as it was again raining and a couple of hundred people huddled under a big tent like thing.  We were waiting for Crofty to come on stage and introduce Timo Glock, Jerome D’Ambrosia, Sakon Yamamoto and Robert Wickens.  Well Crofty made the “Meet the Drivers” bit very funny and it was nice to be able to get up close to the drivers.  They came down after and spoke to lots of people and Korin managed to get his photo with Timo, chuffed isn’t the word!!! I headed off to the RV to warm up and have a cup of tea.  Korin stayed and had a few more beers and then stumbled back to the RV about an hour later!

Saturday morning and Quali day, up again early and out the door up to the bus. We walked from the drop off point and decided to walk the other way round to Club Silverstone which was the long way round!  Silverstone WingPast the new Silverstone Wing, quickly went up into the stands opposite and saw what it would be like overlooking the pit area, pretty spectacular!!  Carried on walking, past some stalls where Korin bought a couple of Lotus caps.  The sun was out and the coats were off.  We kept on walking and managed to get up pretty close to the track where the GP2 and GP3 were qualifying for their races later that day.  Got to Club Silverstone, cup of coffee and sat down for a bit.  P3 started so off up to the stands to our seats.  P3 over and we managed to meet up with some more fellow tweeters.  Qualifying time, back to our seats…and guess what rain again.  Still pretty exciting though!  After quali we headed off to meet Kayleigh, one of my first followers on Twitter and someone I now count as a friend, we met with a big hug and then went off to find Dom, who once again a fellow tweeter and I’d met last in 2010 at Britcar. We had a wander then stopped had a quick drink and a chat and then said our goodbyes and Korin and I headed back to Stowe.  We didn’t really join in with everyone at Stowe, both pretty tired so Korin sat in the Captains chair and me on the sofa chilled and watched TV.  One of the home comforts of the RV.

I knew I wouldn’t sleep very well, was so excited about race day, up early and I really wanted to get on that first bus out at 7am. Thank you Korin for going along with my early morning madness!!

We made our way to Club Silverstone, past all the people who were already set up in the General Admin areas, past the heliport where helicopter after helicopter was landing, talk about busy and past all the people queuing up to get their bacon butties and coffee. We went up to the stands to watch the first races of the day before the BIG one.  A great morning and the sun was shining.

11.30am and it’s time for the Drivers parade, laughter all around the circuit as images of Alonso on the big screens running to catch up as they’d left him behind!!!  The noise was huge when the drivers went past the various stages of the track.   Quickly back down to the bar for a drink to steady the nerves before the start. Red Arrows Over flew the Red Arrows and did an amazing display…out came the drivers to go round to the grid and guess what…yes it started raining on our side of the track…if I remember Pasta Maldonado decided to have an off just in front of us and had to be taken back to the pits.

1.00pm race time, excited…drivers off on the parade lap, all lined up on the grid, as the red lights come on, the engines get louder and whoop it’s GO GO GO…I managed to phone a friend as they were going round on that first lap as I knew he wasn’t able to watch live.  Well as the race got under way and overtaking was happening, it was hard to keep up with who was where, thank goodness there was a tv screen and Korin had the little tv thing.

Jenson into the pits…omg, noooooo he was doing so well and the bloomin wheel fell off…gutted…Korin said my face just fell…I just wanted to crawl over everyone and go get a brandy.  However I did stay and I didn’t see a Vettel win but I did see an Alonso win!!

After the race we went and got a drink and then luckily, we were able to walk along the trackTrack Walk and pick up some tyre marbles.  Headed back to wait for the bus back to Stowe.  An hours wait and then an hour for the coach to drive the 4 miles back to the school. Once again, pooped we didn’t partake in the entertainment, just chilled and watch the F1 hilights, packed up and got ready to head home the next day.

Well that was about it really, an amazing weekend at the 2011 British Gp.  Made lots of new friends, had a good laugh and saw first hand the sport that I love.

Big thank you to Korin for a great weekend and to his partner Sarah xx

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