Events, Xan & Bob

24 Hours of Le Mans

We love motor racing! For over thirty years Bob has been designing and building racetracks as well as running race events. We met at Laguna Seca where I worked as the Ticket Manager. We got married on the start/finish line of his first track, the Australian Formula 1 track in Adelaide. So yes, we love racing. We are partial to Formula 1 and Sports Car racing. Our favorite race is the…

24 hours of Le Mans in France

The race was on this weekend but for the first time in a very long time, we didn’t watch the entire race. In fact, we saw very little of it. Bob was in the States last week for work and was flying back home overnight Saturday and arrived Sunday morning. As soon as we got to the house we turned on the TV to watch the last four hours of the race. We usually pay for live streaming coverage but didn’t this year. We won’t make that mistake again. Eurosport coverage…well…it…sucked. Seriously, glad we didn’t watch the entire 24 hours with their awful coverage. Anyway. As we always do we listened to the commentary from Radio Le Mans on our laptop.

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We have had the pleasure of attending the race twice and the first time was pretty special. In 1998, Bob was running Road Atlanta and they had been granted the first ever Petit Le Mans. A ten-hour race instead of twenty-four hours. Part of the agreement with the ACO of Le Mans was that the key people needed to attend the race in Le Mans to observe how things were done. Bummer, huh? A trip to France and to see the race that Bob had wanted to see since he was a little boy.

So, off to France, we went. There were five other guys with us and none of them brought their wives. Well, I guess not all wives love motor racing as much as I do or maybe it was that they wanted to get away from the wives…who knows. We stayed in a three-hundred-fifty-year-old chateau and the couple who owned it gave us the master suite since we were the only couple in the group. It was magical.

At the race we were VIPs and we enjoyed every minute of it. They set us up with a pitlane suite with an incredible view of the winner’s podium.

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Bob worked in Race Control the whole twenty-four hours. Me? Well, I had the suite to myself as the rest of the group went back to the chateau to sleep! WHAT?! They were there to learn and it is such an amazing event that I can’t imagine leaving for almost half of it. Crazy. But I enjoyed the suite and the view all by myself.

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The other amazing part of the event was that Bob and I kept being put in the Course Car, a Bentley Arnage, almost every time it went out it seemed. It got a bit embarrassing, but our French hosts kept insisting that we go instead of others. Our special time was at the end of the race when the checkered flag was shown and we drove out of pitlane to reopen the track with the Chief of Police and the Tricolore to do a lap through three hundred thousand crazy fans and all the marshals at the edge of the track waving their flags. Let me tell you, we were in tears. What an amazing experience!!

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Now when we see the checkered flag all these years later all the emotions and memories of that trip come back.

In 2008, we returned to the event while on a wonderful two-week vacation all over France.

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Where has the time gone that it is now eleven years since that trip? Perhaps it is time for a return visit especially as we live so close now. Hmmmm.

 

 

 

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