Le Mans 24 Hour Race

Earlier this year, about 20 club members met up in Le Harvre. We should have met up on the ferry, but myself and Paul Foster failed to find most of the rest of the crew. This might have had something to do with the 1/2 hour wait to get onto the ferry in Portsmouth. It was pretty busy!

In LeHarvre

The drive down to Le Mans was more entertaining than was strictly necessary. First, we nearly had a car taken out by an out of control Caterham. Just after a toll, we parked up to regroup. Nice long straight section of road, but it was damp, and we watched as a couple of Caterhams fish-tailed away from the toll booths. The next one really over-did it, and managed a 180 degree spin, coming to rest in the gap between two of our parked cars.

Then Tim White, driving his new toy (one of the 2 series 3's on the trip) managed to blow a tyre. I must have lost a film, cause I remember taking a pic. of the car with it's pretend spare wheel.
3 wheels on Tim's wagon.
We stopped at a Mazda garage to get the puncture fixed, but we failed to nick the nice flag they had. Would have looked great at the camp site!

Once we reached Le mans and pitched camp, we had a chance to drive round about 1/2 of the circuit, which at that point was still ordinary roads. It was pretty crowded, but worth it all the same!

Come the night time qualifying, it was pretty cold...

Paul Foster

On the Friday, the day before the race, we went into town to watch the driver's parade. At least that was our stated intention when we left in the morning. We ended up going round some of the model shops and then found a bar, which we left muchlater.

Le Mans Town 1
Le Mans Town 2

On the Saturday, we all trooped over to the grandstand to get a seat two hours befor the start. Then in the evening, we got a coach to a couple of points aroundthe track.

At The Track

Sunday morning, they were still at it! Then the race ended, and most of the people on the camp site started packing up to go home. Not us, we waited till monday for the crowds to disappear.

Story of the trip must go to Terri, who volunteered to take Paul into Le Mans to try and find the one chemist open on a Sunday. They made the mistake of stopping to ask some of the national police where this chemist might be and were given a police escort! This would have been fine, if the cops hadn't tried to race them!. It turns out that one of the police was an Rx7 enthusiast and w\anted to see if he could outrun a series 1 with his 306 diesel!

After the most amazing firework displays, a several camp fires, a nearby tent exploding exploding from a leaking gas lamp and very little sleep, it was time for the drive back.

Some how, I ended up in a convoy of 4 cars. I wasn't too worried when we lost one of the 4 until it became obvious that the remaining 3 were on their first trip to Le Mans, didn't know the way home and hadn't got a map of France between us. My GPS was vindicated at last, although the prospect of driving 100 miles with a single waypoint and less than 4 hours to catch the ferry was a little daunting! After a scenic section, we regained the main road and made it back with time to spare. Getting on the ferry.

Well worth it!

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This document is copyright Sean Houlihane,1998-2001, and may only be reproduced in full with acknowlegements, or referenced as a link.