The manic weekend at Thruxton

I should probably get around to writing a diary post for you, but it has been a very busy week.
It’s not every day that your best friend ends up winning tickets to a British Touring Car race, and I was lucky enough to be her plus one for the journey down to Thruxton.

Thruxton back in February.

Thruxton back in February.

The last time I went to Thruxton was for testing, when ice cold rain froze my hands after I left my gloves on the train. The weather could not have been more different this weekend. It was beautiful sunshine and boiling hot temperatures all weekend. I really could have used one of those “Cool It” sprays, but I wasn’t expecting to have to get those out so soon after the snow at Silverstone.

We headed down to Hampshire on Friday and began to plan for the weekend. I’d been speaking to the Harlow Star about writing race reports for the Formula 4 driver Ayrton Simmons, who would be making his debut that weekend, so I wanted to make sure we caught up with him throughout the weekend.

We were there, officially, as fans, but that doesn’t stop the journalist coming along with us.

Thruxton in May

Thruxton in May

Arriving early on the Saturday morning gave us time to have a wander through the paddock and say hello to the drivers we knew and to make a note of where to head to when we would be trying to find drivers later that weekend, before going off around the track to find a good place for my friend to take photos.

After the Formula 4 qualifying session, we rushed off to find Ayrton for a quick quote on how the session had been for him. It wasn’t a great start for him but, with it being his first ever race, he was still optimistic.

Enzo Fittipaldi is more "me" height than some drivers...

Enzo Fittipaldi is more “me” height than some drivers…

Later on, Ginetta Junior driver Enzo Fittipaldi got the same treatment. I’m not writing for any of Enzo’s local papers, but he was kind enough to let me interview him when it was first announced he would be racing in the series, so I wanted to catch up with him.

In his first ever race, Ayrton managed to score a rookie podium, which was lovely for me as it made the top line for my race report much easier to figure out.

Towards the end of the day was Saturday’s main event, the BTCC qualifying. Once it was finished, we went around the paddock to grab quick interviews with drivers. It was funny, looking through the photos, to see just how much taller some of them are. I think I’ll need to take a box to the next race.

Matt Neal is not "me" height

Matt Neal is not “me” height

After the day was finished, we headed back to the hotel, I got writing. The Saturday BTCC report for Inside Line Media was easy enough to write up. After that, it was time to transcribe interviews (not always easy when one of the drivers had a Scottish accent…) and try to make an article out of the BTCC ones. Ayrton and Enzo’s interviews were to be saved for later.

Sunday, we got to spend the day in hospitality, which meant a very lovely breakfast in the morning. No, this wasn’t my favourite part of the day. Ok, maybe. What can I say? I’m a student.

IMG_9418Hospitality was amazing, but it did mean that trying to fit everything into the day meant running around from one place to another to try and get everything done. For example, lunch (also fantastic) was served at the same time as the first Formula 4 race of the day. This did mean that we could watch the race on the television in hospitality, but it also meant we had to shovel the food down our throats and rush over to the podium to catch Ayrton after the race.

Once again, it was another successful race for the Essex driver, finish top of the rookies. Another fantastic line for the article.

Part of the hospitality prize was a grid walk with Laser Tools Racing. We were signed up for the second race of the weekend, which meant we got a lovely walk down the grid to the back, as Moffat didn’t have a fantastic first race. It was really interesting to watch them get the car ready on the grid, and to see all the cars go past. Watching the race in the garage was a little more exciting the first race than the second (when Moffat was pushing at the front) but it was still fantastic. You see how much everyone really cares about the race. It’s just lovely to be around people who are so passionate about racing.

After the race, there was pudding (cheers!) and a question and answer session with Moffat. It was interesting to hear about the driver’s past and what got him into racing.

Straight after that, it was off to wait for Enzo after his final race. I managed to have a quick chat with him as he and his brother pushed the car to scrutineering. I’ve yet to write up my quotes from Enzo, but I’ll get that done tonight or tomorrow morning.

There were spaces on the final grid walk of the day, which meant we got to wander down the grid again for the third race of the weekend. Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend the race with Laser as I had to run off to grab Ayrton for quotes from his last race.

Since the end of the day, I’ve been writing articles pretty much constantly, which is why I’ve only just gotten around to writing this up. But here it is, almost. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten anything huge.

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