Friday, January 18, 2008

A1 GP

Ok, so it was a Friday - usually one of my busiest days of the week at work but Brian had scored some free tickets to the A1 GP practice day at Taupo and it didn't really take a whole lot of convincing to get me to join him for a nice ride up to watch some cars go around in circles.

We left Palmy at about 6:30am and after fueling up in Fielding took the back road through Halcombe and then on up Highway one.

Had a good ride up with the exception of an idiot in a BMW 545 (think that's what it was) who decided to pass us on the left in a passing lane just before we were about to pull into the lane. The guy took off big time but was all over the show when it came to passing etc. He managed to get to Waioru without killing anyone but I'm not sure about after that...

We had a quick stop in Waioru for some breakfast and then it was onto the desert road. It was a beautiful day and a really great ride across there, the only downer being the speed limit and the usual presence of tax collectors.

After picking up our tickets we made our way to the track just in time to see the first practice of the A1 cars. Taupo is a really great track and it was fantastic to see the cars screaming past down the back strait. Man, they are noisy - far more noisy than on the TV. On the TV you hear the high revs etc but not the volume or the noise that they make on the overrun. When the NZ V8's came out it was amazing how quiet they were in comparison.

After the A1 cars the V8's came out and was good to see the comparison in speed etc. The A1 cars just leave them for dead. A new chicane at the end of one of the straights was also giving the V8's some issues and as we were sitting right by it we got to see quite a few little spins, some curb hopping and plenty of dust.

After the V8's the A1 cars came out again for 2 longer practice sessions and the commentators were reading off times etc which made it a bit more interesting. Every now and again someone would put in a quicker lap but then someone else would beat it. Cars were in and out of the pits for setup changes etc. The chicane really showed up the difference between the V8's and the A1 cars too - they just steamed on through with only one car bailing out and taking the escape road. When he stopped he had to do the old half donut to turn around and used plenty of revs for this and getting back out on the track - awesome!

Near the end of the A1 practice we headed off for a quick look in the pit area before heading back to the bikes for the ride home. It was very hot through to Turangi where we stopped for gas but cooled down a bit through the desert road. Leaving Turangi I somehow got away on Brian and he just wasn't catching up - it turned out that the ute he was behind turning out of Turangi stopped at the turn off so the driver could yap on his phone and Brian couldn't get past - tosser.

Anyway after pootling along waiting for Brian I pulled into a rest area and was quick enough to be able to whip my camera out to get a quick piccy of him going past. After this I had to chase after him (avoiding 2 cops) before finally catching up with him at Taihape where we grabbed a drink and a bite to eat.

On the last leg home we turned of just before Ohingati and took the back roads back to Kimbolton, Cheltenham, Colyton and home - good to be out of all the traffic. All in all a good day out - a decent though hot ride and the chance to see a bit of international motor sport.
More piccys here.

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