I only need 3 words to describe our virgin A1GP experience from 3pm to 4.30pm in Sepang last Sunday, the 23rd of Nov 2008 …… Pure adrenalin rush!
There were 5 of us at the race – Fat Dragon, KC, Faith, Shawn & myself – all of whom have never been to a motor race in our lives. The only thing we knew was that we have a circuit in Sepang and there are F1 races held there in March every year (we know coz there’s a MEGASALE accompanying this event all the time). We know that F1 pits different car makers against each other. A1, pits nations against each other, so they drive cars of only one make i.e. Ferrari. Well, that is all the information that the 5 of us (put together) knew. Kind of, pathetic, right?
So, why on earth would we brave the jam to go see an A1GP Feature Race (the 3rd race for the season)… a race we knew little about. Did we not have anything better to do than to watch 19 cars from different countries go round and round 34 times through the whole length of the circuit for an hour and 10 minutes? Does not make sense. You might say.
The magic word is FREE. You see, we had FREE GRAND STAND TICKETS, thanks to KC. Who could pass up on that? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!
We seriously did not deserve to be at the race – We had no inkling what was going on. A sample of the conversation we had between each other was – “So who’s leading, ah?”, “Ummm, the fluorescent green car!”, “No. 2 is also green.”, “Which one is Malaysia’s car?”, “Umm, the yellow one.”, “What’s the driver’s name?”, “Ummm…. Fairuz something.” “Wah, damn good lah the green car! Nobody can catch up with him man!”, “The orange car is following Malaysia so closely – dangerous!”, “Fuyoh, Malaysia just overtook the white grey car!” ….
Tak ada respect betul! We reduced Ireland, Portugal & Italy to a flurry of fluorescent green, the ‘No. 2 green‘ & the White Grey images without batting an eye lid ….. ! That’s what you get for not doing research before embarking on something foreign….. & poor Roaring Forties eyesight of course. You see, the names of the countries could be found at the back of the A1 vehicles but hey … its not easy to read something printed on the back of something traveling in the regions of 200kph ok?
Following this, you might think, those jokers must have been BORED stiff. Wonder if they left early.
Actually, we sat through the whole race – all 34 laps. Unbelievable, right? .. But, I can’t begin to describe to you the feeling you get when you’re there witnessing the LIVE event …
Your ear drums feel like they’re about to burst when the cars race past. Your jaws seem to vibrate. Your heart seems to be jumping out of your rib cage. What an ADRENALIN RUSH to the power of infinity! I cannot explain it. Maybe it was symbolic of the skill & precision required in winning a race, the endurance & strength of the drivers, the power of the engines, the sheer raw guts, the glamour …
100% of our attention was on the track. We kept an eagle eye on each and every car (even though it was identified only by colour) whenever they came to the circuit stretch facing our seats. Look at the map below for an idea of our position. We were seated in the Grandstands facing the 14 to 15 stretch. Must say it offered a great vantage point as we could see & hear the cars coming once they reached point 7 itself.
We held our breaths when cars tried to overtake at the 9 & 15 corner stretches. We were awed by the top speeds (up to 240kph) in the straight stretch between 14 and 15. Last but not least … we were carried by the ROAR of the engines … it was simply MAGNIFICENT. We were cheering & clapping …. for YELLOW of course..ahahaahaah!!!!!
Believe you me, what you see on TV is NOTHING. It does not come close to anything that you experience when you see a race LIVE, albeit just an A1 race.
Not one complaint came out of our mouths. No one complained of boredom. No one complained about the dirty seats. No one complained about the heat from the afternoon sun. No one regretted coming. Fullstop.
Conclusion: We left Sepang with a very satisfied feel & a new determination to learn more about the sport. We did have a few contentions with the organisers on how they could have stepped up the facilities in the circuit a bit more. The displays should have been working so that the spectators were aware of lap numbers, times, car positions. The venue should have been better maintained. The traffic jam and parking facilities better managed. But hey, those things were secondary in our minds. To use motorsport analogy, our engines have been revved, a combustion of sorts has been ignited …. I have a feeling a FAN, i.e. moi, is born ….!!!!!
I’m still on a high as I type of this blog…my head is still reeling (in a good way, of course) from the experience. FUYOH!
VROOOOOOM VROOOOOOOOM VROOOOOOOOOM VROOOOOOOOOMMMM
P.S. I have a confession to make, the 5 of us were so hooked that we watched the feature race again on Astro that night in our house after dinner for race reviews & highlights! Believe it or not.
P.P.S. Oh FYI, the YELLOW car – the one driven by Fairuz Fauzy for Malaysia… It finished 10th, thereby earning 1 point in the championship. He could have had a podium finish as he was in 3rd placing for quite a few laps but he made a bizarre pit stop on the 17th lap. Apparently he thought he was called in by his team but it was a communication glitch. The call was made by another country’s team to their driver but Fairuz heard the radio call instead. Drama drama betul! Oh, and the fluorescent green car driven by Adam Carroll for Ireland went on to win the race that afternoon. Check out the highlights on this link.
P.P.P.S. Next race, Taupo, New Zealand. Jan 25, 09. Till then….