Valentines Day Thoughts From The Pit Lane
My life as a restaurateur/chef/pretend wine buff, and more recently as a photo-journalist Walter Mitty could be described as a full-on F1 Romantic Grand Prix. Starting at the back of the grid as a greenhorn, with a decent enough engine, but terrible bodywork and tyres, my early romantic endeavours were met with much stalling and no sponsorship. Undeterred, in youthful bliss, I persevered, getting a fine contract with Team Ireland, a gorgeous looking thing, resplendent in Auburn livery and white wall tyres. This lasted 7 years, but I knew early on this was never going to last forever as she had very little oomph, and was quite happy staying in the garage.
Next up was a short wheelbase Blonde, fiery and very good in the corners, but her fuel consumption was horrendous, and getting her started in the morning was a near impossible task, this, by the way, has already taken up 14 years of my racing career and with no podium in sight it was not only time to find another team, but to move Racing HQ to sunny Marbella.
Giving up the track for a few years, happy to ponce about the pit lane ogling other drivers rides, and even taking a few spins in the faster ones, I finally met what I thought would be my dream team, Jet Black headrest, white panelling, and a front end that would make James Hunt jealous. This was it I thought and merrily raced around the circuit, posting good times and even scoring two fine victories, of which I am very proud, and as we speak are beginning their romantic racing careers as I write, where does all the time go.
Any hooo, this successful partnership fell into trouble with too many other drivers fancying a spin, and indeed I'm sure a few did take her out for a few laps around the middle of the race. With so many excellent teams on offer in Marbella it was, and still is very hard to choose the next one, or even worry that the next one is only after you for your lap times and not your overall standing in the championship.
So, dabbling with several teams from the Eastern Bloc for several years and having a whale of a time, eventually ended up with me blowing a gasket, and I was forced to go into semi-retirement and have my piston rings changed, which was devastating, to say the least. My Chief Mechanic recommended I go onto unleaded fuel if I was going to be able to have a long racing life, this advice I foolishly ignored and as a result have a very poor carburettor and struggle on the hills, but not bad enough that I couldn't press on and get yet another contract with Team Viking, if you get my drift. This I felt was a huge bonus as I was already on lap 49 and not at my peak, but what I lacked in power, I made up with the best throaty notes on the circuit, and as such sounded much better than I looked, especially if you could hear me before I came round the corner. And sadly yet again, after another seven happy years and many exciting laps, I lost my concentration on turn 5 and she was gone and I was left walking back to the pits, which takes me to the present day, lap 56, where I am sitting in the garage, wondering if I should kit myself out with a nice set of slicks and re-start the race flat out, or should or should I just plump for some intermediates and take whatever the weather brings!
So my little pedigree chums, that's my Valentines muse, have I ever had a Valentine's card, no, never, do I expect one, no never, but for sure I have had some excellent results on and off the track and if there's a nice team out there looking for an experienced driver, I have the tyres and the fuel, you will just have to bring the filler and sandpaper and a good sense of humour.
One thing is for sure in Marbella, there will be plenty waiting for their Valentines to come in first and take the podium, the champagne spraying comes naturally...
For ideas of where to take your beloved this Valentine's be sure to check out our Featured List of Venues to enjoy Romantic Dinners for 2 /lists/best-restaurants-for-a-romantic-dinner-for-2-in-marbella