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Le Mans 2016 - Ayse's Story

Page 12 - Saturday 18th June

The 2016 Ten Tenths Meeting



At the risk of being highly repetitive, in many ways I don't entirely look forward to the Saturday morning at Le Mans, heresy though it may sound.  Reaching Saturday means that a week of the trip has already gone and, rather ungratefully, there is only the race left!  After 24 years of short trips to Le Mans it didn't take me long to appreciate the 'luxury' of the extended Le Mans adventure where every day has to be savoured.  I think I made my mind up very quickly in 2010 that I could never go back to the long weekends I used to have at Le Mans with the Tourists. 

The usual morning routine having been observed I was up and about by 8.15 and set about packing my camera bag with all the things I would need for the race, cameras, batteries all recharged, power packs for my iPhone, almond tuiles (!) etc. etc.  We had been warned that the traffic might be heavier than normal into the circuit and we finally got away from the hotel at 10.15, arriving in Parking Blanc at 10.55 after a pretty straight-forward journey.  And, miracle of miracles, there was no-one parked in our parking space!  Having had at least three occasions over the previous six years when we arrived to find our space stolen by interlopers it was really nice to be able to park up without any hassle for a change!  The weather was pretty good at this point but we were confident that there was rain to come so we wore or packed coats ready for whatever came our way.  With our seats in T17 only five minutes walk from the car park it was easy to nip back to the car for extra layers if the weather turned cold and I had brought extra jumpers, thermals, thick socks plus gloves and woolly hat, just to be sure...

We walked into the circuit (Tony, Paul, Andrew and John were obviously travelling separately) and made our way up to the inside of the Dunlop Chicane where we bought some lunch before walking over to the fence to watch what turned out to be a very entertaining 'Road to Le Mans' race for the LMP3 and GT3 cars.  From the first time I saw them at Silverstone in April i took a distinct liking to the current crop of LMP3s, which look and sound like pukka sports prototypes.  It was also good to see the variety of cars in the GTE field as well.  In fact, we enjoyed the race so much that we stayed there until the end even though we knew that the traditional Saturday lunchtime Ten Tenths members meeting had already started.  James, Toby and I that is, as Allon couldn't resist the lure of the meeting and all that cheese and alcohol and left us a littler earlier to get stuck in!

The Ten Tenths meeting has been a fixture on the Le Mans calendar since our first get together in 2003.  My note from the story of that year tells me that it was attended by Liz, Nordic, Javi and RDJones as well as some of those still attending today, notably BernardB, PascalM, Allon and myself.  It was a shame that another founder member of the tradition, my old friend Fab remains 'missing in action', having last popped in to see us all in 2009 when we still had our tree to meet at! 












It was, as always, an excellent meeting with quite possibly the largest number of Tenths members (and guests and friends of Tenths members) ever.  I've given up trying to record names these days.  As well as the regulars there seem to be so many new additions each year and as I become a 'bear of very little brain' more and more each year, without a notebook and pen I would never manage to get everyone.  As is the custom there was food and drink aplenty on offer although my habit isn't to indulge these days, particularly with the alcohol, for reasons I've explained before, both health-wise and to make sure I can last the whole race without sleep. 

Soon it was time for the obligatory team photograph, always tricky as it has to be done before too many people move off to take up their seats or other preferred vantage points for the start of the race at 3 pm.  We said our goodbyes (a process which seems to take longer and longer each year!), before leaving the tail-end of the meeting at 1.30 to head off to claim our front row seats in the grandstand.