Gold Coast Racers & Grid Girls
A race weekend as you would imagine it - in the scorching heat of 30 degrees and relentlessly few rest areas, we headed into the pit lane and worked our way through the grid from there. The Indycar Racing Event, which took place for the first time in Australia during this Sunday, enticed us to welcome it at the last day of racing, with its motto "The Heat is on". The Gold Coast was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience racing under palm trees and over a racing track reflected in the heat in a corset narrower than the pavement of Monaco, flanked by narrow canyons of high-rise buildings.
Keith, Paderigh and I, two Irish and a German, decided the night before for the race after our weekly golf event - sayings fell like - "we go off to a race" (to make yourself smart for going out). Never before have us men been there at a race weekend. At the box office we didn't opt in for the $500 Gold Grandstand tickets at short notice, so we didn't have the benefit of watching the race from the grandstands. So we had to stay in the lanes on the edge of the racing track, the former Goldcoast Road, which meanders closely along the track. After the obligatory hot dog on a stick (once again terrific, Australia, arr), there was of course - what else is missing in a decent race - a debut at the beer stand - XXXX, Hahn and Rum Cola.
There at the beer stand, we were surprised, it seemed like the world was collapsing, the all-pervading sound of the firefighters, who were presented by the Australian Air Force in full combat gear using the latest technology. Due to the speed there are no photos of them. But over the entire beachfront backdrop, there were constant helicopters - transit flights were available for $120 - and flagged helicopter advertisements, the sky was full of manned flying objects.
The race surprisingly was not strenuous, and with the good beer and the heat it seemed only to be a side issue. The cars and good pictures from the pit were particularly interesting here. The Aussies were still calm and composed after the Australia Fair and Waltzing Matilda, the camp chairs stayed by the wayside for the rest of the race - four-day campers abound here - and the race itself was surprisingly really full, who would have thought that - because there are many, many favorite sports for Australians - car racing is not one of them.
It was the first Indy Racing 300 event after Unification in Australia and was unanimously celebrated with a real surprise - we'll get to that in a moment. Earlier this year there was "Racing Unification," an agreement to expand America's two-tier racing world internationally under a unified racing series (formerly the Champ Car World Series and the Indy Series). The crowd cheered unanimously, not exaggeratedly or patriotically, when in the end, for what was probably the first time in Indy Racing Series history, an Australian - Ryan Briscoe - won. But we didn't make it to the bar and the trophy presentation, that was too crowded and rough for an Irishman who needs some harmony.
Although a bit expensive, a race weekend is something that the common man has to do once in his lifetime. By the way, just a comment by me: you can't get through the racing track without falling into the arms of pit girls, so none of you should be surprised about the resulting pictures ;)
Back to everyday racing in the office - have a nice week - wishes, crushed down Alex