An Easter Sunday

How did I spend my Easter Sunday?

Watching racing – hey you know me, what did you expect? I had no plans all day and this was the first fully-stacked motorsport weekend of 2010, there’s no way I was going to miss it.

I woke at 7.45am when my alarm beeped, a cleverly-timed alarm designed to get me downstairs for 8am for the BBC F1 pre-race show. I hit the off button and promptly fell asleep until 9am. 9am.. The race starts at 9am! Cue a mad rash downstairs. I arrived as the cars rounded the last corner on their warm up lap. That was close. I watched the race in a bit of a daze, trying to fire up the live timing which was having troubles of its own, as well as trying to find the 5Live commentary feed and other accoutrements to enjoying F1.

You can read my thoughts on the F1 race elsewhere, the important point is that as soon as it was over it was time to flick over to ITV4 to catch some BTCC action from their first meeting of the year at Thruxton – but wait, what’s this, Superleague Formula’s first race at Silverstone was on at the same time? Which to choose?

The answer of course, is both. I had Superleague’s official free web stream on my PC, with the BTCC coverage on my TV. I found I was more into the Superleague so I muted the TV. To be honest I wasn’t really following either race all too well, if you combine following two races with keeping up with Twitter and other sites which were reporting on the BBC F1 Forum happening at the time which I’d abandoned, there was a lot of information to take in.

Eventually there was time for a break for shower, breakfast and a cup of tea at something like 1pm. Perfect for a Sunday normally, the hunger hurt a little after being up since 9.. The BTCC support races were playing out during this time and I watched a couple of them, the Porsches were as tedious as ever despite their larger grid – and the Clio Cup was as madcap as ever despite their much reduced grid!

At 2pm came another decision. SF race 2, or BTCC race 2? I took the same solution as before since the internet had become awfully quiet, I’m guessing people were off doing family things for Easter. I muted the TV again and again barely followed the touring car race, I’ve found no reason to get interested in it this year.

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Conversely, I’ve never watched Superleague Formula before and I’ve been openly critical of the entire concept. I still don’t like the concept and their timing and scoring system is very confusing with the three letters representing teams not drivers, but I tell you what, they’ve made the right choices on the car and engine package and on the driver choices. There was top notch racing in race 2. Bourdais fought his way up, Montagny passed several cars from the back to finish 8th or so, and this Dolby fellow is quite a find isn’t he? I thought it was a very good race, lots of passing yet it was nice and clean.

Not like BTCC race 3 which was the last race of the day at Thruxton, after a couple more support races. I watched this with the sound off as well because I was listening to ‘Giggles Radio’ on Sidepodcast, but since listening to music is a little less taxing than watching a race I was able to follow this encounter a little more. It seemed okay other than what looked to me to be very slow-looking touring cars, until Matt Neal decided to get up to his tricks and just rammed Rob Collard into the barrier. He claimed he had nowhere to go, which is nonsense. 3 cars, 1 ahead and 2 side by side with Neal one of the two. He just rams the car in front such that it loses momentum and the 3rd car knocks it into a spin because he genuinely can’t avoid it. Had Matt backed off and remained side by side behind the first car, they’d all make it round and he’d have a good drag race on the front straight. Crazy behaviour.

I used to be a Matt Neal fan until a couple of years ago when he seemed to ramp up his antics. He’s just a knobhead, and so are the BTCC stewards for not clamping down on him. I used to dislike Plato for similar things but he seems to have got better recently.

Literally minutes after this race ended, the WRC Rally Jordan review was beginning on the Dave channel (for non-UK people, yes we have a TV channel called “Dave”). I half-watched this but the antics with the penalties to get a favourable road position left a bad taste.

After this I went out for some clear air and a walk and came back to write my Malaysia review. On the whole a rather exceptionally lazy day of watching racing and while there were some negatives it was a thoroughly enjoyable day.

One of the more interesting sub-plots was seeing the work being done at Silverstone. I’d seen pictures but nothing in video, and it was very strange seeing the current front straight with a gravel trap where the grandstands used to be, and some new stands erected outside of it. Being up close was part of that area of Silverstone but I guess what you lose in proximity you gain in being able to see more of the straight. The place looked a bit raggedy in places as there is still work ongoing, but generally much more modern than before, and I expect to see it looking somewhat nicer come the F1 and MotoGP events in the summer.

A good day overall then. What did you do?


7 thoughts on “An Easter Sunday”

  1. Great write-up, Pat. Very interesting to hear your thoughts on Superleague (which I’ve yet to watch a single minute of), F1 (elsewhere on your site, a great write-up as well), and BTCC. We chatted a bit about BTCC in the off season when Speed was showing their races over here, but I had such a bad taste in my mouth by the end of the season that I won’t be watching it again if they show it this upcoming winter. The tactics employed by drivers are usually questionable, at best, and there are many times when there clearly should be penalties given out for rough driving, but I can’t remember a single one that was given out. Neal and Giovanardi seemed to be two of the worst, but Rob Collard was also no angel. Anyway, it never mattered because it seemed like you could blatantly crash into other drivers and get away scott free. Thanks, but that’s not my definition of “racing” at all.

    Anyway, good stuff here. Glad you enjoyed your weekend. As for me, it was the F1 practice and qualifying on Saturday, the race on Sunday, plus cleaning my and the wife’s cars, followed by some baby wrangling. Oh, the joys of feeding a 3 1/2 month old who is due for a feeding, but doesn’t want to eat right this second…


  2. Thanks Andy.

    I nearly went to this BTCC race at Thruxton as it is my nearest circuit, and had their been no GP I might have done. The standards have put me off though, I’ve stopped caring about the people in the series (it doesn’t help that the cars are a bit crap compared to what they were pre-2001).

    I got it slightly wrong, Bourdais didn’t fight his way up as he’d started 2nd! He was more ‘racy’ than his time in F1 and did make a pass in the ‘superfinal’. He’s back to his old self.


  3. I miss watching F1 in bed. I used to set the alarm for the early races and set the video in case I slept in. Although I would be annoyed if I did sleep in, it was quite good to watch on video because I could rewind bits I wanted to see again and pause it to fix a snack.

    With getting the internet and live timing, in more recent years I now find I set the alarm quite a bit earlier to get up and sort out some breakfast before the race. On Sunday, before the live timing finally kicked into action, I was rueing the effort of getting out of bed to watch it. With getting up for practice and qualifying and not having been going to bed that early, I did worry sleeping in was a possibility but I am v. glad I did not because I had set for the race to be recorded but had not noticed it switched midway to BBC 2. I would have been livid.

    I used to watch the BTCC but my interest waned a few years back. I used to watch the Indycar before the split via the late-Monday-night showings on Five but that coverage disapeared and I was never that enthralled by the IRL which they do not do any more anyway. I used to watch the WRC highlights but I keep forgetting they are on Dave and since having the internet I always know the result before the broadcast. I used to watch the F3000/GP2 but I am not even sure which station shows it but it will be one I do not have. Because of the predictions game, I have found myself watching the ends of NASCAR races off the ‘net but really it is just Formula One now I watch now. With the internet and Freeview, I watch more snooker and cycling than I used to but I watch a lot less motor-racing than a few years back. However, the extent to which I follow F1 via the internet for news, blogs and podcasts means I spend much more time following motor-sport than I used to. In the old days, I would watch the race on a Sunday and read about it on Thursday.


  4. Interesting. I used to always be up on time for the pre-race show, no matter when it was. I let that slip when I realised I didn’t always care about the opinions of the people on the show, so I’d get up for the start. For European races I’d have the pre-race on but not always pay much attention.

    For Australia I missed the start by 15mins so I just went back to sleep and saw the race as a whole on iPlayer when I was properly awake. I actually really liked that because without the internet (either SPC comments or Twitter) I felt able to form my own opinions about things organically rather than get swept along by everybody else. I’m more and more tempted to watch all of the races ‘offline’ this year, particularly with all the complaining flying around.

    GP2 is live on Eurosport as far as I know, I doubt we’ll know for certain until the first races. To be honest I get them online anyway because for one thing I don’t have Eurosport and for another I’m a long way behind on their races, just like IndyCar (which is live on Sky Sports). I like IndyCar but I’m not quite as into it as I was CART for a short while, back when I did have Eurosport and could watch it live.

    I watched some NASCAR earlier in the year on, and promptly got very bored with it. I don’t see the appeal of weekly single-class endurance races on ovals. It’s only in the game because it has to be.


  5. Interesting thoughts about watching the race by yourself (no online input) to form your own opinions. All three of the races this year have been on in the middle of the night in the US, so I’ve been watching them first thing Sunday morning on the DVR, therefore I don’t have Twitter or SPC or anything else to follow along with at the same time. While I think it’s fun to follow something else during a race (Twitter, usually), it really can distract you (or, I should say “me”) to the point where I miss stuff that happens. Also, I’ve had a pretty positive reaction to all three F1 races this year, so it’s been a combination of interesting and disappointing to hear that there’s so much dissent about what’s going on. I certainly think that things could be better, but it’s not the “worst ever!” that I’ve been hearing a lot of. Comments like those make me want to send videotapes of the peak Schumacher/Ferrari years to everybody to show just how boring the racing can be…

    Oh, and I’m almost completely out on NASCAR by now. Now THAT’S boring racing. 3-4 hours in front of the TV, and then a yellow flag with three laps to go makes the entire preceeding 397 laps almost irrelevent? Oh, and then three more attempts at restarts after the inevitable wrecks? No, thanks. I’ll just try to tune in for the last 10 laps, or not at all and catch the results online.


  6. It is distracting and that’s what I found refreshing. I do miss some of the other input though.

    I didn’t like Bahrain at all but the other two races were reasonable… not bad, not great, just middling… which is fine with me.


  7. Thanks for alerting me to the existence of the Superleague Formula stream. Didn’t know about that. Spent most of that Sunday out making the best of the weather but caught up with the BTCC on the ITVPlayer site. Given the rather patchy grid, the racing there was actually quite impressive. Paul O’Neill did a decent job to pick up a podium with a Honda Integra that must be in its 5th season of racing now.


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