So, here I am at Brands Hatch. Again. Or ‘Brands’ as it’s called by those in the know. You’re never told this, but whilst listening to those who’ve been in this game longer than I have, you wind up ‘being told’ in conversations. Example, “Rory? Hiya. How you doing?”, (It’s Sam my lady boss from Lloyd Bell). “Yeah, good”, I reply. “Looking forward to this weekend?”, I’m asked. “..yes, I am. Should be a great finale to the season”. “Well, Brands is a great place isn’t it?…You can’t beat….etc etc etc”
See? You’ve been told. And from then on, you can’t help but call it Brands yourself. So, here I am at Brands. Again. And what a place it is. I love it here!
I don’t want that to sound false or contrived. On the contrary, I’m delighted to be back as it seems so fresh in my memory from when I was here last. I drove from Berkshire, where I live, the journey a mere hour or so away, the M25 was fine (all bar the 50 mph roadwork stretch) and I arrived to my Thistle hotel on time. As soon as you check in you know you’re at a race track. Gleaming in the background, neon tubed lights remind you of the history. ‘The Racing Bar’ is just to your left, crash helmets and signed pictures tell the story of those who’ve made their name around this famous household named circuit. You’re here! You’re at Brands Hatch! Damn! I mean, ‘Brands’!
The reason I’m here is for the final round of the British Touring Car Championship. Current champ Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden lies in third place in the table with team mate, Matt Neal in second place. Flash is 35 points behind championship leader Andy Jordan, Matt is 34 points behind. As all three drivers are behind the wheel of a Honda Civic, it’s a good bet that a Honda will claim the title, if you like a flutter that is. After all, betting is a mug’s game and it could well be a BMW or an MG.
Being honest though (cut to the chase, Rory!) the main attraction for being here is the end of season party at the hotel on Sunday night! Free bar! What’s not to like? And it’s in THE ‘Racing Bar’ I told you about earlier. But ever the professional, don’t worry I’ll be on the lemonades all night and be in bed by eight, sharp (*nose grows Pinocchio style*)……..
Ok, so I might have a few. You’d grant me that, surely? After working so hard throughout the season (he says himself) and providing the Honda Yuasa Racing Podcast on iTunes? Surely that’s a good enough reason to kick back with the rest of the team and reflect on Honda’s season. It’s all whizzed by so quickly, from the opening weekend of the season here at Brands in March, to almost seven months later here at Brands. Again!
Whatever the outcome, it’s been brilliant to play a small part in it all and if you’ve never been to a British Touring Car Championship event, I’d urge you to give it a go or have a listen to the iTunes podcast at least. It may be clichéd to say, but it really does seem like five minutes since I was here last. All the excitement lay ahead. Would Flash retain the title? Would Matt clinch a record equalling fouth title? There’s seemed so long to go ‘til October! Anything could happen….and in five minutes (it seems), here we are again. Enjoy the racing.
I’ll see you in the Racing Bar! Cheers! (and thanks for reading the blogs and downloading the podcast!)