Melbourne Grand Prix,.......... GO, GO, GO!

Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
Trip End Oct 02, 2005

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Monday, March 7, 2005

2nd March 2005

We dropped Laura and Fran off in Newtown (as this was the only place they could get to stay due to the Gay Mardi Gras being on at the weekend), and we headed off to the airport to catch our flight to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix!!!!!!

We flew in and made our way to our lodgings, around 20 mins outside the city, before catching the train back to go to Flinders Square for the F1 build up. We'd missed the cars racing around the Melbourne streets in the morning, but there was still a few things going off and we managed to get our pics taken with the Ferrari F-2004 car in the Vodafone stand. We grabbed a few freebies from the Michelin girls, due to us being pommies, as were they, and Sarah got a lovely big t-shirt. We headed back to the bed and breakfast early on so we could prepare for the following day.

3rd March 2005.

It was up early to catch the first practice session of the race weekend. We had tickets for the Fangio stand at the race, a stand on the start/finish line, also viewing the pit lane. We made our way to teh autograph stand and saw Paul Stoddard and Takuma Sato. A bloke clocked my Koh Lanta t-shirt and struck up a conversation with us. I was envious as he had a pit lane pass, and he informed us that he blagged it that morning. We had a mission. We went to the ticket office and spotted the most useless looking person on the counter ( it was a young girl who looked a little confused) and we went in for the kill. After explaining we were in Thailand and the computer wouldn't allow us to buy our tickets in advance with a mastercard, and we had to pick the tickets up in January at Sydney, it meant we had missed the chance to obtain the pit pass that was on offer. She took pity on us (we gave very big puppy dog eyes to her) and she apologised and said all she could offer us was a Saturday morning pit walk. She apologised to us! We thanked her for her help and walked off with a spring in our step! As we walked to the opposite side of the racetrack, Sarah spotted the ITV presenter Tony Jardine, so we collared him for a photo! He agreed and once again we were on our way. We walked Albert Park to try and spot a good position for Carol and Tom (housemates) to sit at on race day (as they only had general admission peasant tickets so had to sit on a mound) but we found a good spot for them. We watched the practice sessions, amazed by the noise of the cars and the speed of them. We headed off into town later for a brief look around before we headed back to the B&B.

5th March 2005

We were up at 5am in order to get to the racetrack for 6.30am today due to our lovely pit lane passes. It was bloody freezing, and whilst we were queueing up the heavans opened and gale force winds blew rain heavily at us. We walked the pit lane taking shots of the garages (which were fortunately open due to it being 1st qualifying, as the previous day they did the tour they were all closed!) and had a few pics taken on the start/finish line. We waited around for the rest of the day to catch the 1st qualifying session which ended up being half dry and half wet. Unfortunately for Schumacher it was wet for him and he was tragically slower than the rest of the grid. After it was over we called Martine just so she could be part of the experience. It wasn't to gloat at all.....

6th march 2005

Race Day!!!!
We took our seats for the 2nd qualifying session (the new format where there is qualifying on a Sunday is a bit poor). Some cars didn't bother due to racing in the wet the day before and therefore started at the back. Turns out that Scumsucker decided to not bother, sorry Schumacher, which meant that his qualifying position was bang in front of where our seats were. Alongside him was the BAR of Takuma Sato which pleased the Japanese BAR fans who were sat behind us. All in his fan club and couldnt speak a word of english. We got on quite well considering. After qualifying we went to find Tom and Carol and Sarah let Tom use her pass to get into where we were sat. He didnt ned asking twice. As Sarah joined Carol for a beer, we went over to the Fangio stand where he was like a kid at christmas, listening to the engines being revved in the pit lane. Me and Tom watched the drivers parade lap, and when Jenson appeared, I shouted to him "Go on Jenson!"very loudly. He turned, clocked the union jack i was sporting and gaves me a thumbs up and a little grim. Top man. The people around us were surprised he responded at all, but to his credit he did. We sent Tom back to the cheap seats and Sarah rejoined me for the race, but not before we placed a bet on. We put $5 on Schumacher and $5 on Fisichella. I just had a gut feeling about him all weekend doing quite well. As the race started, the phone rang and Mr Christoff Platts, watching the race live back in the uk, listened as the cars revved as the race began. Forget live TV links, this was live sound on a mobile. As it turned out, Fisichella won, and we claimed $45 off the bookies. As the race ended, us anf the rest of the crowd stormed the track. I helped down 6 of the BAR japanese fans from the stand by catching them as they hung from the stand. After the winners podium we walked around the track and picked up a piece of gravel from the 1st corner and a bit of tyre rubber to send back to Martine. Oh and I saw 2 Sheffield Wednesday fans at the race. International Owls.

That night we headed into town where we met up with Laura and Fran and spent the evening, along with Carol and Tom in a nice little bar, although we thought we were gonna get linched as Fran complained about his Guinness and the barman didnt take too kindly to it.

We left Laura and Fran at the train station as they headed off to their digs. Fran, as a lovely parting gesture stuck two fingers up at us. Cheers for that. Sarah was a little sad saying goodbye to sis, it was great to meet up with her and Fran.
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