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1  Club Arnage / General Discussion / First Time Le Mans Newbies and Preparation! on: June 06, 2018, 06:33:20 pm
First Time Le Mans Newbies and Preparation!irst Time Le Mans Newbies and Preparation!

What a beautiful day! I am sat in my garden, I have crisps, a glass of wine, sunscreen on and of course radio Le Mans on my blue tooth speaker. And after all the negative things I have written about this years Le Mans I can honestly say I am excited now.
It's the same every year, even after nearly forty visits to the great race I get goosebumps once I hear the test day on the radio. You could say this is my test day out in the garden.

My friends that are travelling with me next week think that I am all cool and low key but once they read this they will realise that deep down I am just a little boy inside!
Next week I will be obsessed with prep! I am sure I am not alone on this one. All across the country Le Mans fans are readying! But what about Newbies?

If you are a Newbie it usually starts down the pub when you are sick to death of your new friends who go to Le Mans every year. The seem to only able talk about one week in June! Trying to change the subject is absolutely futile.
Talk about the Footy World Cup, and the boys reply
"Fantastic! We will be watching the first match at the Harlequin bar in Arnage. The waitress there wears Tres Bonn Lycra as she serves seize-soixante-quatre".

Oh no not again! You try movies " Seen any good movies lately boys? "
"Yea saw Bullet and Great Escape! Did you know the bike was a BSA?"
Another will chip in with "I saw Towering Inferno and Papion".
Change the subject quick! I know lets try the weather, but alas you are more likely to hear, "I looked at Accu-weather for 51 week ahead forecast and its looking good for France in June".
"Alright, alright boys can I come?"
"Never thought you would ask, £100 deposit that will do nicely!"

From this point on some things will seem quite unusual and your friends behaviour on the build up to Le Mans will seem quite bizarre.
Vehicle preparation can not be underestimated. When you go on holiday you pack the car the day before you leave, but not so the team bus. The first items like tents, gazebos and patio furniture have to be in there at least two weeks before. And cleanliness is paramount, it may be the only time in a year that it will be washed and valeted, but for one week June it becomes a "classic transit". The music system needs the big speakers fitted, the public address system needs to be installed, racing stripes and team logo must be affixed.

Also team preparation is very important to the Le Mans regular, it is something you can only understand once you are broken in. Already in shock after chipping in for some stickers embellishing Steve McQueen giving you the two fingers. You will wonder why you are chipping in for a paddling pool, high powered water pistols, rubber ducks, Christmas lights, a Satellite TV, a fridge and a fecking microwave! How much is this weekend in France going to cost. "More than you would believe young man".

Once you sign up to go to the great race your jaw will drop when team leader requests your measurements for your uniform (well team tee shirt) and he intends to have Chris the Knob the Le Mans Lemon written on the back! You may think you have made the worst decision of your life and you have fallen in to some strange occult group. Don't worry you have, and he has your deposit so you have to go.

The Le Mans regular will know that as the days slowly tick by and the leaving date gets closer the excitement builds up. Team meetings are not weekly but nightly as every minute detail needs to be planned. Wive's and girlfriends will fail to understand the phone ringing hourly with requests like have you a spare fridge, TV aerial or a hose fitting. They just don't get the constant checking of the internet for weather, traffic and forum news. Some partners don't even understand why you need a small mortgage to just watch cars go around and around. How silly is that?
This being your first Le Mans you try to engage with the group as much as possible. You offer your second fridge from the garage as Stu thinks fridge and freezer are a great idea. Your partner thinks taking white goods to a field in France is crazy but still lovingly empties and washes it with you and then threatens to kill you if it doesn't return in the same condition. Like a scalded child you promise to be a good boy.

When the big day finally arrives you are to meet at the pub at four. Your wife offers to drop you off. As you pull into the pub car park she sees the team bus for the first time. A look of puzzlement and a glance at you "Why is Steve McQueen on there doing that? And RAF circles? What's drinking for England mean? What kind of trip is this? ........You said it was just a Motor Race in France!"
Then she bursts into tears and starts to wail manically and begs for you not to go on the asylum outing. You lean over towards the drivers seat, place your arms around her and hold her tight as she sobs. As you console her like a knight in shinning armour you notice out the side window a couple of the lads have walked over to see what the noise is and they start to mimic being sick and are gesticulating for you to come on. Board with the melodramatics you release your arms and explain the sooner you leave the sooner you will be back. Not strictly true but it does the trick and you smartly jump out grab your bags and don't look back. "


Once in the pub you kindly accept a pint and sigh as the lads grill you on what was going on in the car.
"What did you do to make her wail like that? "
"Hang out with you gits" you retort.
The time has come for Tee shirts to be handed out and the team members are excited to see what name they have on the back this year.
Derek has "Team Leader 35 and counting"
Stuart has "Pissed Stu"
One of the group you have never met before a beefy bloke who rather resembles one the Hairy Bikers has "Scary" on the back.
Dave has "Posh Git".
Jonathan has "Wine Expert" which is a bit of a puzzle to him and you.
The youngsters have "Twit 1" and " Twit 2" and being youngsters are delighted with there derogatory aliases. Last but not least it is time for yours. You feel trepidation but Derek has been kind Newbey".
You feel quite a relief and take to your new alias easily.
A couple of hours later and team leader Derek is pleading to load the van or miss the ferry. Stu is pissed already and Dave is not far off, but everybody is ready for taking there places. But what's this eight of you travelling and only seven seats. You are far to polite and by boarding last you find you in the plastic patio chair! It is carefully wedged in between the beer crates and tied off with a piece of rope to the back door. Definitely not legal in the UK but pissed Stu is adamant it is legal in France and you can't argue with that can you.........................

Motoring-Man is a lifelong fan of Motor Racing and has a memorabilia passion / business
And loves to write!

Check out my new Blog and Web page
2  Club Arnage / 2017-18-19 / Re: 1 General Entrance ticket at ACO rate on: May 23, 2018, 10:23:17 am
I am interested if powerman does not buy. He was first to message
3  Club Arnage / General Discussion / WEC FANS! LE MANS FANS! Have we been stitched up like a kipper! on: May 11, 2018, 07:22:40 pm
WEC FANS! Have we been stitched up like a kipper!

Before the Spa 6 Hours I was really hopeful we were going to see a great LMP 1 battle. The rule makers seem to have lost their bottle again. It is just as in Formula One they only seem to care about the manufacturers. And even with a massive advantage over the field Toyota refused to let the cars race, what a farce!

What a waiste of time it was writing the blog below!

Has Le Mans Found The Key To Success For The Future

I feel very lucky to have seen the battle of the Hybrids over the last few years. The most advanced racing cars ever built in a mega dollar battle for supremacy at Le Mans. And it is worth remembering, if just a few mindless fools hadnít rigged fuel emissions at the Volkswagen-Audi group, we may have been on the verge of yet another great season of manufacturer participation!
Well thatís not the case and once again Le Mans and WEC has been stitched up like a kipper. In the last few months the ACO has thrashed out an emergency set of rules and to all intense and purposes looks like it has come up with something really quite interesting! If you were glued to the internet yesterday for news of the entries to this years and next years super season I hope like me you were pleasantly surprised at the eight LMP1s announced to take on the mighty £300 million Toyota Hybrids.
Well do you think it will work? I donít think anyone will know until a few races in but it surely stands a chance. There is also the possibility that the ACO may have just hit on a new successful formula for Endurance Racing and even Formula One! I really could not have foreseen Toyota accepting a balance of performance that may well see it beaten at a race that it invested so much in! It almost seems bazaar that we see a major manufacturer with a huge budget racing teams that to be fair do not even register in the same league and on what seems to be a pretty level playing field. If Toyota do not win Le Mans then it will be rather like giant killers in the FA Cup!
But this has got me thinking especially after reading just last night, how Ross Brawn is looking to help the smaller teams in F1 in his plan for the future. Could a similar set of rules see Mercedes and Ferrari being challenged for wins by a small team like Force India? Who knows: ďWhat do you thinkĒ? 
If Formula One doesnít do something soon I think it will stagnate as it is increasingly difficult to see anyone but the top three manufactures dominating while the rules are set in favour of massive budgets. 
But as we have seen, change can come quicker than we sometimes expect. The VW scandal highlighted that! And to see the top drivers competing in different formulas? Well two years ago I donít think many would have predicted a big Formula One star like Alonso racing at the Indy 500 and then a full season in Le Mans cars. Maybe we should get used to a fast changing world of motor sport that reflects the fast changing world we live in? 
Whatever will happen next?

motoring-man store
4  Club Arnage / 2017-18-19 / Re: For Sale: Discounted General Admission Ticket on: April 28, 2018, 08:49:54 am
Happy to take it for £50
5  Club Arnage / 2017-18-19 / Re: 1 Epinettes Camp Site ticket for sale on: April 12, 2018, 08:26:54 am
  I would be interested in the ticket. Do you still have it. I am going in a motorhome and I think they have electric so it will be good for my 39th trip.
6  Club Arnage / 2017-18-19 / Re: 3 Pit Walk Passes For Sale on: May 24, 2017, 08:10:15 am
Hi Motorsports can I take three GE s please
7  Club Arnage / 2017-18-19 / camping Houx Needed Yet Again! on: March 21, 2017, 01:06:28 pm
Would like a Houx camping to meet up with friends and my pal the electric socket. I received an Epinettes ticket which I will have spare if anyone may need that after I have found a Houx ticket.
37th le Mans! 07944972974
8  Club Arnage / General Discussion / Re: MY FIRST LE MANS 1977 on: May 17, 2016, 11:10:08 pm
No I don't have any more from 1977. I write quite a lot of articles on Le Mans and I am half way through a book on going to the race as a punter. Cars Beer and Fun.
9  Club Arnage / General Discussion / MY FIRST LE MANS 1977 on: May 17, 2016, 10:09:41 pm
I am just coming up to my 35th Le Mans at least that is what I think it is! I have been with my Parents, my Friends, on my Own, with my Wife, with my Daughter and the last few years with my Son. I have written about Le Mans and sportscar racing but just the other day I was asked what made you first go. Well the strange thing was I had not thought about it for years! I just go! I really had to give this some thought as memories can be quite misleading. Here is the story how I remember it.
As a weekly subscriber to Motoring News when I was aged ten! I just loved the Sports Racing Cars. I am sure a lot of the fascination was due to the beauty of the Martini Livery on the all dominating Porches which seemed to be on the front of every other issue. When I was eleven years old in 1976 for Christmas I received the stunning automobile year book. I was completely loopy about F1 racing as well, especially Niki Lauda. Well as I poured over the wonderful Edita photographs in my book I eventually got to the Le Mans section. I am not sure if it was the incredible pictures of the pit straight with the enormous crowds or again a certain Martini Liveried Porsche beside the bright yellow Renault A442 that got me hooked on Le Mans racing. But that book changed everything. I just had to go to the great race! I was not from a rich family and the idea of going to the greatest of sports car races at Le Mans seemed a very unlikely prospect.
Living in Bournemouth I had a distinct advantage for securing my trip. Well at the very least I had something to play with. A local coach firm called Excelsior Travel used to mail shot my parents with the holiday brochure. We had been on some local trips with them before so over my cornflakes one morning I perused through the pages. I couldn't believe it there it was a trip to the 24 hours of Le Mans for £24 (I think). Oh my poor parents! I can't really remember too much but I knew I badgered them senseless until we had three seats booked for June.
It would be easy to say I remember loads but I don't. I have some very vivid memories that must have shaped my passion. I know that when we arrived the coach was parked at what is now the Tetre Rouge campsite beside what was the massive fair ground.It was parked up and left open for the duration of the race so we could come back and kip in our seats.Tartan seats and steamy windows with beads of rain at night. It must have been the first time i had heard different languages and been part of a huge crowd but it wasn't that that I remember first.It was I vividly recall that the Germans had drinking tables padlocked to the fence at the Esses corner. Fascinating stuff for a young boy!
The fair just the other side of the fence was truly amazing and so exotic compared to home. Let's face it in those days you did not have naked women on the front of strip shows in the UK. And I saw nowhere at home where you could pick up a rifle for a few Francs and shoot china plates out of the tall pine trees! Wow I loved it. Another sight that lived with me forever was the gargantuan big wheel that seemed to literally stretch to the clouds. It was so tall and although we did not have the money to go aboard it provided yet another extraordinary memory. When you are a child certain memories live with you for ever and some are very strange. I vividly remember peering quite a lot at the floor because I found more than one ten franc piece. With this marvelous free fund I was at last allowed to buy the most gorgeous looking apple buns come donuts. I can still recall standing in the rain with the lights of the fair all around, the sound of the cars and very importantly the smell of the new and exotic. All that and I cannot for the life of me remember if the pastries were even nice!
I have little memory of the racing but vaguely remember waiting lap after lap to see Jacky Ickx in the Martini Porsche 936. He went on to win with an amazing drive through the wet night. When we got home he became my all time hero but I think that was more down to reliving the events through every article ever printed on the race. I guess my feelings developed into a kind of pride, it was more about knowing I was there. The only other thing I remember clearly was that we were not able to walk around the full circuit. The trip provided a simple ticket to the Esses section which went from just inside the Dunlop Bridge to the corner at Tetre Rouge and the full entry tickets were much more expensive. Without this major set back I don't believe I would have returned so easily. Of course when I returned home and saw the pictures of the pits and straight again I realised I had missed out on something rather important! Back to badgering the parents. It then took two full years before my poor Mother gave in and took me on her own in 1979. We had a full ticket and boy it rained like you would never believe, but that's another story!
I guess I should also say thanks Mum & Thanks Dad [img]
10  Club Arnage / General Discussion / WEC SPA: RACING, BEER AND BELGIUM CHIPS! on: May 15, 2016, 01:19:17 pm
SPA 6 HOURS 2016
After a week of badgering my son to come to Belgium for the racing he finally phoned on Thursday night to say he was coming. Talk about leave it to the last minute. Well anyway I managed to get a cheap ferry from Dover at midday for the bargain basement price of £66. So we chucked a tent in the back of the Astra van and left first thing in the morning.
Arriving in France at about 3pm it was my sons first chance to drive on the continent. We pushed on at around 80mph and made good time. If you have never been to Spa it is not as near as you might think. But with good roads and very little traffic you can make it in about three and half hours. We did the compulsory hyper market stop at Liege to grab a few beers and cheeses! And of course we couldn't, pass the opportunity to have our first Belgium French Fries from the Friterie. Wow enough chips for twenty people and a choice of numerous sauces and mayos. Boy these are the best parts of foreign racing trips I thought as my son munched another mouthful of horse Croquet!
We arrived at spa around 7.30pm and chose the camping opposite the Racing Drivers Hotel in the main village. It was a pretty reasonable 20 Euros per night per pitch with electric and showers. We were a little surprised at how few fans were about and also the complete lack of Brits. With amazing weather we thought more people would be staying over. Still with the tent up and and only fifty yards to the pub we needed very little persuasion to try another speciality Belgium beer! I was again finding hard to fault these foreign trips as I sank a golden Jupiler and spotted a pool table! Heaven for me and the lad. I didn't think five yo yos a pint was bad either!
I woke the next morning about 7am and needed my mug of tea. Charlie was still asleep choosing to bed down in the back of the van and leave the old git to the tent. So I sat there with a brew and could not have been happier. Even in the early morning the sun was strong and the surroundings were a delight. Although Belgium is a generally very flat country Spa Francorchamps is in some quite high hills. It certainly has its fair share of rain which keeps it incredibly lush. From my vantage point sat on a concrete breeze block as we forgot to pack chairs I looked down the green valley towards La Source and behind a cow was munching contentedly on the long grass. With a little imagination you would be forgiven to think you were in an Alpine setting.
By the time I had finished my first brew it was quite noticeable how busy the road was becoming.
With the race starting at 2.30pm we had a very leisurely morning once Charlie woke up! I cooked a great bacon and eggs with French bread from the local patisserie a few yards up the road. Again we reflected on how lucky we were with the glorious sunny weather. We showered and then we finally met a couple of Newcastle lads on the campsite. All the time the cars on the road poured in.
At the gate a ticket cost 35 euros which we thought wasn't to bad. In fact it turned out great value with access to all stands and all areas of the circuit. We were able to explore the back of the pits, above the pits and WEC area all before the start. It was tempting to watch the start from above the pits but after travelling all the way to Spa it would be stupid not to experience it from the mighty Eau Rouge corner. My god it's steep when you get there! We were both surprised to how close you could get to the track. We were right up by the fence half way up the hill. And yes it did blow me away. It had been quite a few years since we were both here for F1 and Spa had not lost it's soul. Such a change in the stereotypical health and safety world we live in to get close to the action. The month before at Silverstone you need binoculars to see the bloody cars and here we were within touching distance. The start was mighty and before we new it half an hour had flown by.
We decided with a six hour race it would be good to explore the track. It was a great decision because Spa really is one of the last great tracks for viewing. We experienced all types of corner on so many different elevations. There were great spots for watching the braking, acceleration and plenty of overtaking. And as we walked around the very long track we realised just how busy that road was, there were literally thousands of people enjoying a great days racing. I got the impression that although not so many fans stay over there were many others who found the easy access from Germany, Holland and Belgium an easy drive for the day.
The racing was cool and the days walk exhausting and toward the end of the day we reflected on what good value it was here. Not just the entry but even food and drink were pretty good value. Not cheap but in no way a rip off! Five Euros for sausage and chips and three for a can of beer! It is so easy to write reports on races and racing cars but a trip for the normal punter is about all the extras and Spa was brilliant in this regard.
After the race it was back to the campsite stopping off for more chips on the way. A couple of pints in the pub and it was home for an early night. Or so we thought before we met a group of Dutch guys who shared their BarBeQue. Great sausages, great beer and a late night of WEC Le Mans chat! Wonderful. And just before bed a couple of cans with the guys from Newcastle.
A very long days driving to make it home by 7pm but well worth it. My son is 21 and was blown away with the spectating. I would recommend one extra day to make it a bit more relaxed but overall WEC at spa was a resounding YES! Highly recommended.[/img][/img][/img]
11  Club Arnage / 2016 / WANTED Camping Houx ticket on: March 24, 2016, 04:32:15 pm
I have not secured a camping Houx ticket for the second year in a row. If anyone does have a spare or cannot go i would be very grateful. 38th year for me and could do with the electric for Motor home.
thank you Paul Kiss
12  Club Arnage / General Discussion / WEC 2016 SEASON THOUGHTS on: March 19, 2016, 11:41:13 am
I have been watching Sports Car Racing, Endurance Racing now known as WEC since 1977 and in all those years I have never looked forward to a new season with as much anticipation since the heady days of Group C in the late 80s. Maybe I am getting old (well I got a discount on my Ferry to Le Mans with SAGA!) and a bit senile but I may have good reason. Didn't we have some great races this last year. Who could ever forget the Silverstone epic with some of the best racing I can remember and what a Le Mans! A cracker by anyone's standards.
It is quite surprising really seeing as there are now only three manufacturer but the series is healthy and not about to implode like it has done so many times before. Elsewhere I wrote recently that F1 has lost its way because it doesn't "Blow you away". This is the twenty first century and I want to see amazing speed and technology and I guess I am not seeing that in the premier class. I guess my biggest example of the point is that In 1992 I took some non motor racing friends to the British Grand Prix and they were in absolute awe of what they saw. I think if I take some non racing friends to British GP at Silverstone this year they may enjoy it? But be in awe? I don't think so. But if I took them to see the WEC at the same circuit I think it may catch their interest. I say catch their interest because with a little explaining the technology is amazing. But no one is going to go wow because unfortunately at Grand Prix circuits you are just to far away from the cars. I am not saying it was not great racing, it was but I don't think you will reduce a youngster to superlatives! But then again if they then went to Le Mans and visited the straights and maybe Arnage at night I think that would "Blow them away!"
My son and I watched so much of Le Mans last year and we were really gobsmacked by the speed of the prototypes. They looked amazing as they scythed through the traffic especially at night. The thing that was most visible was the acceleration out of the corners, especially when you had a LMP2 in the same corner as a reference. With lap times around the 3.15 minutes you know the ACO are near to what they can allow and with close racing and cutting edge cars it makes for a great spectacle. Another great thing was truly not knowing who would win until very deep into the race. And my goodness me we had respect for all four of the prototype manufacturers. Who could not admire the amazing fight provided by Audi for a start.
Something not touched upon very often and often overlooked by the manufactures is brand loyalty through this kind of racing. You don't have to win Le Mans to succeed. If Porsche had been beaten by Audi last year I still think they would have still increased their fan base. A legendary marque with a road car based history attracts loyal followers. Owners of Porsches came out of the woodwork to cheer on the Stuttgart cars and others joined the ranks like my son. He had no reason at all to support the Porsche apart from it was legendary Marque. He followed the Toyota the year before because they were the underdogs. And do we really think Audi will be less revered since the loss? No they will be back and with the loyal fan base they built up this last decade. I wonder if in Formula 1 if Red Bull are selling as many caps and jackets as when they were winning titles. Merchandising wise I wonder if the very slow Manor F1 Racing out sold the very slow Nissan this year. I think probably not.
In the truly great years when we have had large amounts of manufacturers the fans or should I say new spectators could look down the grid and pick cars like in the Grand National horse race by say best colour scheme or along the lines of "I like the road cars, or I like the underdog or even I like the engine sound". Mazda came to Le Mans with very little support in the mid 80s by the time they had won the race they had a massive following from all over the world. Even if they had not won they would still be remembered and revered for their amazing wankel rotary engines. They did hurt your ears though! This last Le Mans I think Nissan head quarters really missed the point by withdrawing the front engined beast. Yes the car failed but even as the last car was wheeled out of the pits the legions of new fans cheered them on. Now what they did achieve has been waisted because those new fans who gave their loyalty to Nissan probably feel a bit cheated and left in the cold. I didn't care if they won I just loved the look of them and wanted them to do well.
It is a little bit of a puzzle that more manufacturers have not joined the series. I think I have made it quite clear that I feel Jaguar should be in the thick of the racing and would add a 10% to every gate around the world. 1987 Le Mans drew a good 40,000 Brits and they lost the race for the third time in a row and low and behold the next year there were even more Jaguar fans. It is not always the winning. I think whoever you are if you turn up with a slightly different type of car or something that relates to Jo public you will gain great publicity and a loyal following who will in turn buy the road cars.
So let's celebrate our wonderful "World Championship" and get out there to as many races as we can. Spread the word you might say so we don't loose our great racing and hopefully send out a message to the I'll informed boardrooms that a solid WEC is a great place to advertise your cars! Come on BMW, Mercedes, Peugeot, Ferrari and all!
13  Club Arnage / 2016 / Re: Bleu Nord tickets for sale 2016 on: February 24, 2016, 11:32:59 am
can you give me a price for one camping ticket please. And do you have the numbers?
all the best Paul
14  Club Arnage / 2015 / Spare Camping ticket EPINETTES CAMPING on: June 10, 2015, 03:30:32 pm
Have a spare Camping ticket for Epinettes Camping. Its face value is 95 Euros will accept 60 Euros. Already there so text me and we can meet up with you somewhere. Text or Ring 07512961047 (+447512961047) Cheers
15  Club Arnage / 2015 / Spare Camping ticket on: June 10, 2015, 03:18:42 pm
Have a spare Camping ticket for Epinettes Camping. Its face value is 95 Euros will accept 60 Euros. Already there so text me and we can meet up with you somewhere. Text or Ring 07512961047 (+447512961047) Cheers
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