Part 2 of Badger writer Benson Jammichello’s trip to the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa with IntentsGP, purveyors of pre-set up tents at various Grand Prix weekends. You can find them on twitter too – @IntentsGP – Read Part 1 of this account here
Saturday, 27th August
Wake up early again. What used to be a novelty now turning into a drag. Walls don’t let in light like a tent does.
Not quite as groggy as yesterday, but still want to get to the circuit in good time for qualifying. Decide to sit at Pouhon again.
Portloos at the campsite still clean and usable. Marvel at the wonder of the space/time/campsite vortex that has allowed this to happen.
Put on waterproof trousers and long johns prior to departure. Pat self on back for foresight. Get shuttle bus again with a very porty, genial Belgian driver. Straight on, straight off. Impressed.
Motor up to Pouhon, making sure to take the racing line while walking. Get exactly the same spot as in practice. Pleased. Circuit quite busy at 8.30 in the morning. Where were all these people for first practice yesterday morning? Feel smug that I’ve been here all weekend which automatically makes me superior. Feeling lasts all of five seconds as I realise I’m still sitting on the side of a hill in the rain.
While waiting for qualifying activities include: watching FP3, reading my magazine, cowering from the rain, and eating cereal bars. Not necessarily in that order.
Heavy downpour. Realise I am sitting in the middle of some sort of natural water run off area for hill. Feel miserable, but pleased I have waterproof trousers on. Note waterproof trousers slightly too small as develop wet feeling on small of back. Adjust coat/waterproof trouser relationship accordingly. Worry about being the victim of a landslide.
Qualifying good. Jenson bad. Lewis impressive. Red Bull boringly good.
Leave straight away again. Body aches. Promise self a grandstand seat for next year.
Back to the campsite. Shuttle bus works like a dream again. Have a nice sit down and a cup of tea. Play scrabble with Mark and Alex. Am winning when Alex pulls out a word with an ‘h’ and a ‘z’ on a triple word score. Feel aggrieved, but lose with something approaching dignity. Know this will scar me.
Main marquee filling up with IntentsGP guests.
Real action starts when X-Factor comes on the television. After 20 minutes or so an unusual sight develops. 20-25 F1 going men sitting round watching the warblings of some teen Lady Gaga wannabees. Have a really good time. Drink beer, make merry and socialise with other guests. Ask two Australians where they’re from in New Zealand. After initial embarrassment fades, tell them I will be heading to the circuit for the race at the same time as I did for qualifying.
Go to bed. Sleep soundly.
Sunday, 28th August
Wake up early for the race at about 6ish. Feel bad about the Australians, but want to secure the same spot as the last two days.
Camp site portaloos STILL in great nick. Bowled over in shock. Wonder how it can be.
Try to get shuttle bus from campsite. Very busy. Have to wait for 10 minutes. Consider worse things have and will happen in the world.
Find my way to Pouhon. Top of the hill very busy, but side still under populated. Maintain exactly the same seat as Friday and Saturday. Glare at some people for hitting me with beer cans they’ve thrown down the hill. Settle in for a long wait.
Pouhon fills up quickly. A man in an all in one blue lycra suit proceeds to waltz past. Try not to think about it too much and focus on a newspaper article about corruption in India.
Race an hour away. Some French men come and sit directly to my left in chairs. Block my view. Annoying. After a brief conversation, we come to an accomodation. Move forward three feet and find my view is significantly better than it was before they arrived. Feel relieved and promise self once again to pay for grandstand seat next time.
Race very good. Disappointing lack of rain. Jenson Button gets loudest cheers as he drives past. God Save The Queen.
Return to campsite. Have another cup of tea.
Play Transformers Risk at behest of Alex, who has never been able to play it with anyone before. It is one of the most complicated games ever devised by mankind. Get through two tortuous goes and then call it a day.
Go into Stavelot with IntentsGP and have a nice meal. Drink too much strong Belgian beer. Retire early.
Monday 29th August
Get up the latest I have so far. Mark and Alex already hard at work taking things down. Have breakfast. Sit down. Feel hungover. Join them in packing things up. Easier than putting stuff up.
Locals return. Still not brilliant, but better at disassembling tents than assembling.
Generally potter round.
All packed by 12ish. Drive to Brussels. Wander round Mercedes museum/shop. Go on Gran Turismo with a steering wheel. Am rubbish. Try to pretend steering wheel is broken. Don’t think anyone is buying it.
Get stuck in heavy traffic. Quick run to Carrefour. IntentsGP buy a lot of Belgian beer.
Reach Calais. Miss scheduled tunnel crossing. Swap from one van to the other. New van smells of diesel. Wonder if I will be overcome and go into a coma. Not the case. Come through tunnel.
Drive back to London. Mark kind enough to drop me at my front door.
Sleep. For ever.
A special thanks to IntentsGP for taking Benson all the way to Belgium, you chaps are fantastic!
If you’re thinking of heading to a grand prix soon, or next season, read more about IntentsGP and their services over on their website here.