Niall sees a Silver lining to MotoGP’s move from Donington to Silverstone. We could
well be in for some Grand Prix glory years a few years from now...
James Whitham’s vault of amusing anecdotes is vast but one entry I’ve always found particularly amusing popped back into my mind recently.
The story goes like this. James was quietly sitting on the loo reading the latest issue of his favourite propeller monthly when his girlfriend (now wife) Andrea let out a hideous scream from downstairs. James hurriedly terminates the work in progress and rushes downstairs expecting to see the kitchen on fire and Andrea covered in third-degree burns. It turned out that no such disaster had occurred. Instead, he found the petite Andrea sitting at the kitchen table reading the latest copy of Motor Cycle News. After securing his pants, James asked what the hell all the fuss was about, to which Andrea replied said: “Oh James, you’ll never believe it! Kevin Schwantz’s girlfriend, Amy, is in MCN and guess what? She’s had her hair cut into a bob!” I can’t remember Whit’s exact reply, but I know it began with “Fookin…”
I was reminded of this last month while I was in the process of carrying out a similar bathroom-related task. My wife, Jan, shouted: “Oh my god Niall, come down quick, there’s some shocking news on teletext!” I was honestly thinking: “twin towers or dead royal,” but although the news definitely wasn’t good – “Donington Park to lose MotoGP” – I doubted it would lead the next BBC bulletin.
That said, initially at least, I was devastated, mainly because by 2010 Donington Park will once again be one of the best motor racing facilities in the world. Just looking at the new track layout I know every rider in MotoGP would love it. But then I got round to thinking that in many ways this break might be a good thing. It should certainly take some of the financial pressure off Donington. Although, everything will be in place for F1 in 2010, the ongoing work will undoubtedly see the circuit mature and improve even further in the following years. In the meantime, we can still look forward to some brilliant British and World Superbike events on the new circuit. Incidentally, I think World Superbikes could be the new MotoGP, but more on that some other time.
Although I freely admit to being a huge Donington fan, I’ll always be fond of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) and Silverstone as they launched my GP career. I’m pleased they have risen from the ashes with a world-class event, and I hope they achieve great success with it. It sounds like the riders will certainly benefit – the worst chicane in racing will be redesigned, and thankfully not by kids from nearby Towcester crèche this time. The last two F1 races at Silverstone were washouts but prior to those, Silverstone was a great event with a good atmosphere. It also produced some of the best 250cc races in GP history.
But of course Silverstone worked better then. The track layout was far superior, with the spectators closer to the action. Silverstone needs to bear that in mind when it’s deciding how to spend the £5m improvement budget.
These exciting changes are helping me through these days of gloom, so here’s to a return to Donington at some point, and some fine racing at Silverstone in the meantime.
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