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Old 14 Mar 2000, 23:18 (Ref:14161)   #1
elephino
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OK, here goes my trip to the GP.

Day 1 (Tuesday) - Up at 4:30am, pack car and leave at 5:45am. The drive down is basically uneventful, though I did drive for about 4 hours in one stint. Dunno why, just didn't feel tired so didn't stop (our policy, my mum and I, that drive until starting to feel tired or out of petrol, whether it is 5 minutes or 3 hours or whatever). Over the border and into Victoria, we stop for petrol (and I finally stop driving) and continue on. Though we do stop at Winton to see the track there. Nice little circuit actually, though unlike the stop at Lakeside last year, no one was testing. Next stop was actually at Moorabin airport where Larry Perkins has his workshop. A rather boring looking hanger, well disguised to look normal. Met Larry, though he didn't remember us (have stayed at the same place in Adelaide for the GP) and as he was busy and no cars were in the workshop, that was it. Went to the hotel, and went to dinner at the Elephant & Wheelbarrow. Good beer, food not so good. An almost last minute arrangement to go see the filming of a community TV show called In Pit Lane. I had never seen it before, only heard about it on a newsgroup. Supposedly some people were meant to turn up to be an audience (the shows first) but they were jet-lagged, so mum and I were it. Guests were Brad Jones and Aaron Noonan from Motorsport News, who got a rather strange introduction which I won't repeat here as Aaron would probably do something bad to me.

Day 2 (Wednesday) - Mum's birthday, so to celebrate we went to Weribee Zoo, southwest of Melbourne to see the rhinos there. It is an open plain-ish zoo. So saw the rhinos and other animals there, took a few pics of course. After this a drive down the Great Ocean Road, as a couple of years ago I was too sick to drive it myself. It is an excellent road, probably the best in Australia and better than most in the world. 100km/h most of the way, and often you cannot do 100 because of the corners (and slow drivers). I thoroughly enjoyed it, and only stuffed up one corner. The sign said 30km/h, but it seemed faster (as others had been), but it tightened up part way round and I went a little wide on the exit. Nothing dangerous, only just got the front wheel on the other side of the road. Made a detour to an old lighthouse and saw a Koala on the way back to the Great Ocean Road, some might say that is nothing amazing, but I haven't really seen koalas properly in the wild, only in zoos and places like that. Took more pics of course. Stopped at the 12 Apostles, took more pics (only 3 actually). Swapped seats and drove back to Melbourne.

Day 3 (Thursday) - Finally some track time. Not much to begin with. Arrived at the track early, looked at what was for sale then on to McDonald's to meet David and Falcadore. Only David turned up. We talked for a while, then checked out the GP Expo area with some F1 cars, driver details, and other exhibits including the GP3 game on Hyper Stimulators (usual wheel and pedals, but in a cockpit type setup). After this, organised to meet up with Falc over at turn 14. After a short hike, the strap on my camera bag broke. So I then had to carry it the rest of the way. Met Falc, chatted away, watched the V8 Supercars...complained about the colour of Longhursts Falcon...then went to have some lunch. Bought a couple of t-shirts, mainly to have a carry bag for my camera bag. Wandered around the support paddock and ran into David again. Shortly after this the day got really interesting. A friend of Falcs was at the driver photo shoot after the weigh in, so as he was there, we went to see him. At that point, Hakkinen still hadn't turned up, but we expected him to have come and gone by the time we got there. He hadn't. So we waited. Fisichella then turned up, so I took a few photos of him. Then more waiting. After a while it seemed the pros had decided Mika wasn't coming so they left. Very soon after they all rushed back again, seems Mika was on his way. Unfortunately this meant they weren't organised and blocked the publics view of Mika, so I did what any insane fan does...I climbed the fence. A good move really as I would not have seen anything otherwise. I was actually told to get down once Mika left and I was trying to get down already. That was it for the day really...basically relaxed behind Fangio stand (pit straight) and finally went back to the hotel.

Day 4 (Friday) - Nothing on before the F1 at 11am. So after unsuccessfully trying to find a camera shop that sold bags, went to my secret (well, not very obvious) spot to get in early for the F1. Unfortunately it had been blocked off by the organisers putting the fences too close together. So back to turn 14 for the photos and met up with Falc again. Three rolls later, and after wandering around to turn 6 by the end of the second session, not much happened. Well there was a V8 race with an excellent overtaking move by Skaife on Radisich. So back to the hotel for some dinner.

Day 5 (Saturday) - For the morning sessions, I decided to go to turns 8 and 9. I took a few photos at 8, then Button crashed at 7 (just around the corner so missed the accident). Back to 8 after getting a shot of the crashed car. I continued down to 9, and stood at the top of the hill at the exit of 9 and tried to get far enough forward to poke the camera between the people. More photos, obviously. Some of which actually worked unlike last year. Though this time most at 8 didn't come out too well. For qualifying, decided to do something strange and sit at my seat in the Brabham grandstand. Not a good idea for any actin shots, but did get a big screen and the ability to sit for an hour. And also realising I have to pay for photo development, I try to cut back on the number of photos taken. Stayed there for the V8 race, rather good actually. A bit of overtaking, and blown tyre by Ingall and a race win for Skaife. Not much else to report that day so back to the hotel and sleep for race day.

Day 6 (Sunday) - Race day at last. At my usual spot for the morning warm up, inside of turn 3. Some photos through the nice little gap in the fences of the cars going around 3, then a few of them leading up to 3. Don't know why I do that actually as of the 4 years I have done this, I have wasted about 3 rolls of film for one photo to come out. Though it is one of my best ever. It's good just to watch the cars brake heavily and see the glowing discs. Back to the grandstand for the rest of the day really and watch the support races. The sports car race didn't get very far as one on the front row broke down at the start and a chain reaction followed which red-flagged the race and was subsequently canceled due to lack of time. The celebrity race was quite good for a change, especially as they were only driving 2 litre Z3s. Richard Wilkins and Paul Mercurio battled it out for the lead, Wilkins spinning near the end in front of us and coming oh so close to collecting Mercurio. A few spins by others, but in general very little contact, though two did hit when one lost control going around turn 1 (where we were if anyone wants to know). V8s up next, and they put on a reasonably good show considering an accident early on meant it was reduced to 2 racing laps after the safety car came in. After the pre-race show, an F-18 and F-111 and an extremely low Boeing 747, the one with the F1 car on it, the race was about to start. I have since heard lots of people saying it was a boring race, but at the track it really doesn't seem that way. The build up, and then the lights go on...then out...and they're away. Into the first corner with Hakkinen leading Coulthard. Amazed that no one hit eachother, the race continued. Actual overtaking was witnessed as an Arrows overtook Irvine, and I have the proof on film. A lot has been said in many places about the race so to keep it short, the only two things to point out were the cheers when Hakkinen dropped out, and the bigger cheer when Barichello passed Schumacher. Finally after 5
 
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Old 14 Mar 2000, 23:18 (Ref:14162)   #2
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Old 16 Mar 2000, 00:23 (Ref:14163)   #3
Liz
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Liz should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridLiz should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Sounds as if you had a ball! You should write this up for the newsletter and share it with a wider audience.
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Old 16 Mar 2000, 00:38 (Ref:14164)   #4
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TimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
The mark of good reporting is if your audience gets a feeling of the event and wishes they'd been there.

Yep, I wish I'd been there.

Great piece, Elephino. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 16 Mar 2000, 10:35 (Ref:14165)   #5
elephino
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elephino should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridelephino should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
That took me long enough to write. Just copy and paste for the newsletter.
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Old 16 Mar 2000, 15:31 (Ref:14166)   #6
Craig
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Craig has a real shot at the podium!Craig has a real shot at the podium!Craig has a real shot at the podium!Craig has a real shot at the podium!
Can I have it for Parc Ferme too ?

PS Know anyone who was there, and would be willing to share the photographs they shot ?!
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Old 16 Mar 2000, 15:39 (Ref:14167)   #7
Craig
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Craig has a real shot at the podium!Craig has a real shot at the podium!Craig has a real shot at the podium!Craig has a real shot at the podium!
Hope this is OK ?

Take a look at http://www.parcferme.com/jump.cgi?ID=254
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Old 16 Mar 2000, 17:05 (Ref:14168)   #8
Liz
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Liz should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridLiz should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Can I do that too? What a great idea!
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Old 16 Mar 2000, 17:48 (Ref:14169)   #9
Carrie
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Carrie should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridCarrie should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Well thanks for taking the time to tell us all about your trip to the Australian GP, Elephino. I was chatting to David on Yahoo on Tuesday and it sounds like you both had a fantastic time!!
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Old 17 Mar 2000, 09:48 (Ref:14170)   #10
elephino
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elephino should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridelephino should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
I'd be willing to post my photos, but you knew that already. I'm slowly getting around to scanning them, but as I am doing it at work I need to find the spare time. I was going to do it today, but I hardly had time to the work I had planned to do.

The article looks good. My first in Parc Ferme
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Old 18 Mar 2000, 23:56 (Ref:14171)   #11
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DAVID PATERSON should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridDAVID PATERSON should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridDAVID PATERSON should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
The great ocean road is awesome, I've only done it once in a Magna, but it was still great fun, have to try it in a decent car one day. We took part in agrid walk, not worth it, we had to be on the other side of the track at 7am sat to queue for anhour before walking along the grid and trying to see in the garages which are some distance away, whilst constantly being moved along by officious event staff.
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Old 20 Mar 2000, 10:26 (Ref:14172)   #12
elephino
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elephino should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridelephino should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
I did a couple of grid walks in Adelaide and the first one (1993) was quite good. Not too far away from the garages, but some doors were closed. The one I went to in 1995 was terrible. Way too many people meant that I couldn't even get near the pitwall let alone see anything, so I have never bothered since as it is not worth getting up so early to be crushed and not get to see much. If you want to see the garages, buy a pit straight ticket.
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