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Goodwood Festival of Speed 2011 – Friday

July 12, 2011

This year marked my 4th consecutive visit to the Festival of Speed, I almost felt like I hadn’t prepared properly, it snuck up on me so fast! Was it really a year ago that we last headed off to the acres of motorsport heaven?

This year due to a variety of circumstances I only went for two days but that didn’t lessen the experience of this wonderful place one bit.

Before I go on to talk about my adventures at the festival I must first send my undying gratitude out to Janna who looked after me for the two days. Supplying the most amazing food, conversation and company (not to mention such a comfortable bed) for my festival weekend. You’ll find it difficult to find a nicer more kind hearted person. Thank you Janna, for everything you did for me. I must also thank Kai who came over to the UK from America to attend the Festival and have a great explore of our lovely country. She very kindly didn’t mind me crashing her and Janna’s plans for the weekend and joining them at Goodwood. I had such an amazing time, many laughs were had, ‘oh my god’ s exclaimed and many many photos were taken. You’ll honestly be hard pushed to find two nicer and more friendly people. You guys rock!

Okay, so on with my motorsport weekend! As is usual for my FOS weekends after getting out barring we headed straight for the F1 cars and the fabulous paddocks surrounding them (where else would we go?!). The F1 paddock, along with the rest of the festival really, is one of my favourite places to be, ever. Goodwood almost feels like it’s a home from home, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt anything other than true happiness while I’m there. It’s ridiculous how much an annual 3 day event can mean to someone.

The first amazing thing to happen to us occurred almost immediately. I’m not sure we could have got our timing more perfect if we had tried. We saw a crowd gathering outside the ‘scrutineering bay’ where the cars are held before their run up the hill. Grabbing Kai and Janna we rushed forward to get front row sightings of the cars in all their glory.

Before we could think anything a familiar face walked straight past me accompanied by his car.

© Lou

Petrov right in front of us! I managed to snap a few photos of him as he stood just metres away, enjoying the atmosphere just as much as us! (it’s always nice when you see drivers and engineers enjoying the cars/ atmosphere and event in the same way). I’d never seen Petrov close up before and it took me a while to recognise him if I’m honest. However his shoes helped to confirm it all.

© Lou

Fortunately this wasn’t the first time we’d see Vitaly over the weekend.

The wonderful thing about Goodwood is just how surprising and amazing everything is. In part it’s probably due to the lack of access we get at other F1 events in comparison to this. No where else could you be having a conversation and in the corner of your eye notice a current F1 driver idly walk past you followed by an Indy Car driver and a group of engineers. It really is something special.

I even got to meet an F1 driver! After a year or two at the festival you start to pick clues and hints as to where the drivers are more likely to be, or sign autographs or the routes they’ll take back to the drivers club. This year they’d slightly changed the normal routine but we took a gamble and when we realised Mark Webber was still at the Red Bull stand, darted over to another entrance to the drivers club. We got there before most people and had front row standing places for him as he walked towards us. I even managed to grab a photo with him.

© Lou

Note to self – don’t take the photo yourself.. you will get yourself into too much of a fluster.  But yay for Mark!

We had such a crazy day, there are way too many individual moments to pic out, but we did (probably due to the slight decrease in numbers on a Friday compared to the rest of the weekend) manage to get a great spot on the hill to watch the cars. It’s the best spot I’ve had on the hill and it was brilliant to be so close to the cars.

© Lou

One last thing to mention for day one, before we left we managed to do one of my favourite things at the festival, wait for the cars as they return to the paddock and quickly run after them. It’s not only really great for photographs (as I’ve mentioned time and time again) but it provides you with a once in a lifetime (or once in a year) chance to stand right next to a Formula 1 car. No barriers, no marshals (unless you stand in the wrong place!) just you, the car, the driver and a few other like minded crazy F1 fans. I think Kai’s shouts of ‘OH MY GOD!!’ even though drowned out by the sound of the engines sum up how great it is to be there.

© Lou

What a lovely way to end our first day. You can see the rest of Friday’s photos here.

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