We'll start with the oldest trip and come up to date with newest in four parts. Starting with Le Mans
Apologies for the lack of keeping this blog updated. There is always so much travel and work involved in covering back to back races on two continents. Throw into the mix catching the flu and everything simply went belly up and ended up of control. The travel and work is enough in itself. With having caught such a dreadful flu, it made everything extremely hard work, and only the essential work was done to simply get by.
Leaving San Jose, I had a feeling that things were gong to be interesting. My flight from San Jose to Minneapolis was already in the dumpster due to a broken down plane. A taxi ride to SFO, then to LAX, then onto CDG was arranged and I truly thought my bags would all arrive with me. Being that I wasn't using CDG as a transfer. Nope. American Airlines/Air France managed to send one of my bags, with the 600mm lens contained within on it's own trip to Japan. It took five days and umpteen phone calls. Eventually the bag returned on Friday. I lost a days work waiting for it. I did buy a new electric toothbrush and some perfume for myself as it was also packed in the bag. Air France gave me a T-shirt as part of their "we're sorry we lost your bag" welcome kit. Amazing.
Back to Le Mans.
Having only been to the track over 20 years ago to watch the 24 hours, the changes were overwhelming. This time I was staying in the town itself with a good friend and photographer David Piole. I spent the first couple of days exploring. I visited the 24Hours Museum which is just outside the entrance to the race track and I also took a drive to the Loire Valley. I also created some dinners for David and our colleagues at his house. All is good.
One thing that has always struck me about France, is the smells. Early mornings ease in with the smells of the baker, the local butchers shop making meat filled pastries, the gentle murmur of towns coming to life. With that in mind, I tried to restart my weekend on Saturday, now that I had all my kit and everything so far, was back to normal.
The race weekend format never really changes, however, the race weekend logistics are always different by race track. Le Mans was no different. The track itself lends itself to multiple opportunities for images. However, unless one has a scooter or access to one, depending on shuttle buses is like playing roulette. When there are only 3 or 4 shuttle buses for a track the size of Le Mans I counted 10 laps of the Moto2 race between the appearance of the shuttle bus. Unfortunately for me, when it appeared, I was shooting and it went off without me..fortunately, I was able to ride shotgun on a scooter for the GP race. Although I had to shoot from places that "my driver" was shooting from. I'm always grateful for help on race days. That said, the scooter issue would be resolved from here on out.
Overall, the week and race weekend in France was a lot of fun. With Jorge Lorenzo taking the win from Valentino Rossi, Dovizioso on the podium as well. It was great having the ability to live again in a neighbourhood, to experience the local feel of a place (and country) I have always had an affection for. The race weekend was entertaining, the visit to the 24Hour museum was worth it, especially as I had the place to myself and of course, having access to all the culinary fun and games France has to offer makes this boy happy.
Next would be back to the USA, a couple of days to do washing, then off to Miller for World Superbike.