Let’s go racing

A few people have asked me recently, how come I travel to so many F1 races. So before I share the silliness of this trip, a little background for those who don’t know the background…

A few years ago, I took my dad to the #BelgianGP in Spa – I’ve loved F1 for as long as I can remember, but I’d never been to a race, dad hadn’t been since before I was born, I could afford to buy the race tickets, so the deal was: if he could get us there, I’d get us in… Five months and a whole lot of excitement and planning later, we set off on his motorbike, complete with tent a camping kit strapped onto the back, and had a blast. During the obligatory post-race analytical celebratory refreshment process, we realised that if we continued to do one race each year, we’d complete the F1 calendar the year dad turns 80… well there’s a reason, if ever we needed one! And so began the annual pilgrimage of dad and I going to an F1 race together each year, now affectionately tagged as #letsgoracing

In 2011 we were drawn, like olive oil to balsamic vinegar, to the passionate, flamboyant home of motorsport… We joined the Tafiosi in a sea of Ferrari red, in the glorious Italian province of Monza for the #ItalianGp #trip2

In 2012 mum and dad went off round NZ in a camper van, like recycled grads on a gap yar, whilst I went off solo and explored Honkers and the East coast of Australia… Naturally, being so close, it was rude not to coordinate the trip with the #AustralianGP in Melbourne, right? #trip3

That being the first race of the year, by mid-season we were getting itchy feet, and because Melbourne hadn’t been just the two of us, and no motorbike was involved, it was only acceptable to do Spa again, right? #trip4

By this point I’d well and truly caught the bug, both for F1 and travel, and snuck in a few extras including the #SpanishGP in Barcelona, #MonacoGP in Monte Carlo, #HungarianGP in Budapest, #EuropeanGP in Valencia, #AbuDhabiGP on Yas Island…

One of the many advantages of living in Europe, is that travel is relatively easy (compared to other countries, where you can travel thousands of miles just to get out of the country). But unfortunately, the number of GPs in Europe is diminishing, as emerging wealth in other countries allows Bernie to demand more and more money for hosting a race. Don’t get me wrong; the newcomers are putting on some spectacular shows and justifying their place in the calendar, but the traditional venues are dropping like flies. A sad state of affairs. So whilst the long hauls are attractive, the iconic tracks closer to home are more so. So in 2013, dad and I joined the bikers of the F1 paddock (who, every other year, opt to ditch the first class lounge in favour of the Black Forest and take the scenic route) and rode to the iconic Nurburgring for the #GermanGP! #trip5

Last year, Bernie announced that F1 would be returning to Austria. I’ve never been to Austria dad… Haven’t you? That’s no good… No further discussion required (other than shall we fly rather than ride this time, to minimise time off work and potentially have time for another race later in the year…?) Three months later we fly out to Vienna, drive across to Graz (if you’ve never been, go, it’s so pretty!) and join a sellout crowd at the new RedBullRing in Spielberg for the #AustrianGP! #trip6

Whilst I’ve squeezed in a few more races (#CanadianGP in Montreal, #MalaysianGP in Kuala Lumpur, and old favourites Barcelona and Budapest), dad hasn’t missed out either – he’s done a few bike trips with his brother, but has talked for years about riding across Spain… I think there’s a ferry from Plymouth to Santander dad, and one from Portsmouth to Bilbao… Really?… And Google says you can ride from there to Barcelona in a day… I expect so… And the transport from Barcelona to the track is really good, the trains run direct from Sants to Montmello, it’s easy… Well… The next thing I know, I get an email from Papa along the lines of “Oooops! I hope your passport is still valid!”