View Full Version : Monaco F1 qualy and GP2

24-05-2008, 11:53 PM
A month ago Shergar and I hatched a wee plan to go to Monaco for the GP. Tick another thing off the list as it were.

The idea was to meet in Lyon, hire a car and drive the Route Napolean to Grasse, jump on the train to Monaco and hang with the stars in the glorious weather.

As usual things didnt quite work out to plan.

Because we didnt book the flights far far far in advance, getting anywhere close to Monaco was proving extortionately expensive. So we decided to have Jas meet me in Toulouse and we would drive across to Nice from there.

Great plan- except to keeps costs down some more, Jas flew into Bergerac, which turns out to be 2.5 hours from my house. Not the best start and probably a sign of things to come.

Having picked Jas up we start heading for Toulouse to collect the hire car. On the way the mighty Volvo suddenly made a funny vibrating noise. Being the mechanically sympathetic fellow you know I am, I pulled over and inspected the engine.

Opening the bonnet I could clearly see it was indeed an engine.

Luckily Jason noticed the cam cover had been worn through by the bottom pulley. Removing the cam cover showed the cambelt to be half off the sprocket and the water pump to have failed. Bloody lucky we stopped- another minute or two and there would have been a mighty crashing of valves!

I have Green Flag cover and so called them to the rescue. They phoned a recovery firm local to us, who then phoned me directly to ask our location. They spoke no English. Fortunately Jason and I speak excellent French.

"Vous parlez plus vite pour moi" I kept saying.

Roughly translated- "speak faster"

And so after much laughing and phoning my wife to translate, a lorry arrived:


and took my poor baby to Agen then Toulouse where it remains untouched as I try and explain that there has been no engine damage and I just want them to fit a cambelt, and the Volvo dealer says he wants to lift the head


So the next morning we got up very early and headed for Nice in a Focus hire car. Plan was to be there by 10am.

Nice is a long way from Toulouse. Like the north of England it seems France is quite a big place.

We arrived at the hotel at midday. It was in the red light district. Even the policeman were scared to go there.

But it was 2 mins from NiceVille station, so we jumped on the train to Monaco.


10 mins later we were there


they were just packing up!


so we walked the track


Ferraris everywhere- but this was interesting


We walked the track in reverse but my phone battery dies, so no more pics sorry. Ended up in Cafe Paris in the casino square. Had a beer. 27 euros per litre!

Next day (Saturday) we got up early and headed to the station. There was a two hour queue to get on the train!

Bollox to that we hired a cab. 75 euros! Luckily some random Irish bloke jumped in too, so we spread the cost.

After some negotiation we paid 220 euros to sit here: This gave a view from Tabac all the way round the swimming pool


25-05-2008, 12:00 AM
Looks excelant Nick, are you there tomorrow as well?

25-05-2008, 12:15 AM
We were only metres from the cars as they came through. Its a series of tight bends but the cars still reach 160mph. Amazing!


We decided to have a small wager about who would win the qualifying. 10 each. Jas went for Hamilton, me for Reikki and our mate Steve (fellow piolet and also Nice resident) went for Massa.

As Shergar necked the beers, he decided to raise the stakes. Suddenly the bet was 20, then 50. With a minute to go Reikkonen was in pole and I was mentally spending the cash- then Massa squeezed in a last ditch time 0.02sec quicker. Fecker.

Here's Jas paying up.


Look how smug Steve looks


Steve did buy a round though- although Jason clearly felt the need to breathe in for this photo


and this one


Qualifying over, the boys settled in to watch the GP2 race


Those cars are bloody brilliant, as fast as a backmarker F1 car but all the same, so its all down to the drivers ability.

To race one of these things you buy your drive. Its costs between 750,000 and 1.2m euros. Ouch.

The winner was a guy called Mike Conway, who absolutely blitzed the opposition.

A couple of hours later I sat on the easyJet flight back to Blighty, alongside the journo who writes the GP2 website http://www.gp2series.com/en//website/2008g...?articleid=1881 (http://www.gp2series.com/en//website/2008gp2series/news/newsgp2/newsdetail.php?articleid=1881)

He explained the series, sounded bloody interesting too.

I also ate the seafood risotto.

It doesnt seem to be agreeing with me, so this report is being written from close proximity to the bathroom.

And thats my excuse for typing rapidly and being up so bloody early in the morning.

So a success?

Well seeing an F1 car drive a series of very tight turns at speed that I would not believe possible had I not seen it, made the day amazingly worthwhile.

The crazy prices and endless concrete of Monaco detracted somewhat.

Experiencing the air move as a train of GP2 cars passed 15m from me, literally took my breath away.

Coming home with most of the GP2 crowd including the winners dad, was kinda neat.

Lying in my bed in Shergars house not knowing which part of me might explode next and missing out on three days in Grenada (where I was supposed to be going to work to tmr) sucks.


Fecking expensive (prob best part of 800 and I didnt even see the race), but well worth ticking off the list. Wont be hurrying back.

Gary Kinghorn
25-05-2008, 05:54 AM
Looks excellent mate ...............

Still need to sort you out, if you know what I mean ;) Just havent got round to doing it. Will do it in the next few days though :thumb:

25-05-2008, 07:01 AM
ah, so you haven`t vanished off the face of the Earth then :lol:

Good report, shame no more piccies, cos we like photos, but entertaining nonetheless :thumb:

Jim Cameron
25-05-2008, 07:56 AM
I really like these new member's reports, they really have a naive charm ;) :P

25-05-2008, 08:19 AM
Originally posted by Gary Kinghorn@May 25 2008, 06:54 AM
Looks excellent mate ...............

Still need to sort you out, if you know what I mean ;) Just havent got round to doing it. Will do it in the next few days though :thumb:
Great- looks like the Volvo is going to cost about a 1000 to fix because they refuse to believe there is no valve damage and will not replace the cambelt without removing the head.

Stalemate, and I have no way of moving it elsewhere.

I would do it myself but I dont have the tools available and UB hates aeroplanes otherwise I'd fly him out with his underpants over his tights!

25-05-2008, 08:22 AM
Originally posted by leavingeasy@May 25 2008, 09:19 AM
but I dont have the tools available
surely, it is cheaper to buy them just for the job? :blink:

25-05-2008, 08:22 AM
Git, I want to do that too :angry: Especially before I die ;)

25-05-2008, 10:23 AM
Hope you're feeling better soon & I hope the volvo's better soon too :D

Shame you didn't get to see the race :(

25-05-2008, 10:23 AM
Originally posted by Nige@May 25 2008, 09:22 AM
surely, it is cheaper to buy them just for the job? :blink:
I have no way of transporting the Volvo from Toulouse to my house.

Rather buggered.

Oh well- what a great weekend though!

Just getting the pics from Jasons camera, will upload later!