Spa and ZandvoortLast week the BaT team made the annual summer trip to the ever popular Spa and Zandvoort circuits for some on track fun in what we hoped would be glorious sunshine. With just one day at each circuit it was important that everything run like clockwork and we weren't disappointed.
For some of the BaT team it was a fairly leisurely start to the trip, flying out around lunchtime and arriving at Schiphol Airport early Sunday afternoon, followed by a steady drive to the hotel near Spa - it was certainly different to the early start we've come accustomed to. For other members of the team it was far from leisurely. With the 25 hour Funcup race in town a number of our team members had been living at the circuit from earlier in the week. After some hard grafting there was cause to celebrate, as the team arrived at the chequered flag with a podium finish, and arrived at the hotel Sunday evening to a round of applause.
After an early dinner, some of the BaT team departed for the circuit to unload the three trucks and set up as much as possible ahead of Monday morning. Upon arrival at the circuit on Monday we quickly slipped into our usual roles. Before we knew it signing on had finished, the driver's briefing was in full swing and we were quickly heading towards the sighting laps. Many of our customers hadn't been to Spa before, so the sighting laps were invaluable as ever.
Armed with my umbrella I set up camp at the pit exit, nervously watching the dark clouds above me. Before long the track day was well underway, but it wasn't long before the rain came. A light drizzle soon turned into a heavy downpour, but with sensibility prevailing, everyone out on track managed to keep their cars on the black stuff. The rain finally eased during the lunch break, and didn't return for the rest of the day, much to our delight. In fact by the end of play at 6pm the sun was shining and the blue sky that surrounded us made the morning rain a very distant memory. And the icing on the cake of a brilliant day? Not one red flag all day. I'd call that a resounding success. At the end of the day there was a massive team effort in getting everything loaded back into the trucks and ready for the journey to Zandvoort the next day.
Tuesday was again very different to what we're used to here at BookaTrack. Following another leisurely start, we piled in our cars and headed back out on the road - destination Zandvoort.
As the BaT team began to arrive, we headed down to the beach for some lunch (it would have been rude not to really). Afterwards, Jonny, Sarah and Amy headed back to the hotel to catch up on work, while the rest of us enjoyed some free time down by the beach, and we even squeezed in a paddle in the sea.
After a relaxing day, it was time to switch all attentions to Wednesday and our second track day of the trip. An early start on Wednesday morning led us towards the Zandvoort circuit, which was basking in beautiful 20 plus degree heat - even at 7am. Again, having already unloaded the previous evening there was little to do in the way of setting up, meaning we could get straight into the signing on process, garage labelling and catering organisation.
At Zandvoort we carried out two driver briefings - one for those who had been to Spa and needed a few pointers about the Zandvoort circuit, and one for those who were only able to do Zandvoort. With the briefings completed it was time to head back out on pitlane, this time armed with sun cream, bottles of water and an umbrella to use as a parasol.
After two groups of sighting laps the track was handed over to the drivers for another day of open pit lane driving. However, the fairly steady start to the day coupled with the searing heat had everybody biding their time before dashing out on track, meaning participants were able to enjoy a relatively clear series of laps. Lunchtime soon came and went and we were already into the afternoon session. We appeared to be having another faultless day, until the recovery unit was called for out on track. It was hoped the recovery team could carry out an active recovery to avoid a red flag and continue our legacy of the perfect trip, but the red flag was thrown with two hours left on the clock.
We were soon given the green light to continue with our day, and once again all was running smoothly. However, as we dived into the final half an hour or so another incident called for an active recovery. Once again the circuit staff had to throw the red flag as it looked set to be a lengthy recovery process. With just 15 minutes left on the clock to the end of the day we were forced to finish early, due to the length of recovery time.
It was a massive shame to have ended the way it did, but to get through one full day at Spa in which the circuit conditions were very tricky without a single red flag is an impressive feat. Not to mention getting through most of our day at Zandvoort without incident as well.
We all knew the BaT team had enjoyed themselves on the Summer European trip, but after speaking to drivers in the pitlane it was clear it had been a success. Those I spoke to raved about the tracks, the weather, and how smoothly the entire event was carried out. Another huge thank you to Jonny and Sarah for organising another spectacular adventure, and of course to the rest of the BaT team for all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of these trips.
Hope to see you soon,
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21 July 2014
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