Le Mans 1995 - Ayse's Story
Page 1 - The Prologue
This is the next in my series of updates to my older stories of Le Mans, with my original text and photos.
So I had now been to Le Mans nine times, not missing a year between 1986 and 1994. When I came home from Le Mans in June 1994 I tried hard to reconcile myself to the idea that I wouldn't be going back in 1995. Nevertheless I still remained hopeful that somehow it would be possible for me to go again in 1995. I booked the necessary leave, just on the off chance, of course! The major problem, however, was one of finance. I simply couldn't see how it would be possible for me to afford to go to Le Mans in 1995. I had started writing law reports in June 1994, and most months, small cheques would arrive to bolster the bank account. As time went on I was writing more and more reports and within six months or so, I was made a standing editor of the journal, which guaranteed me a reasonable supply of work. My reports started to appear in print with increasing regularity and the monthly cheques began to increase in size. Even with these, I knew that it would never be enough to fund a trip to Le Mans. By January or February, 1995 no definite decision had been made. I had stayed absolutely silent on the issue. Eventually (and perhaps, inevitably), it was Jayne who said, "Well, you know you'll be going anyway, don't you!". I suppose she was right. Although I professed that I would not have gone if she hadn’t said I could (or is that "should" or "would"!), we both knew that if it was humanly possible for me to get to La Sarthe in 1995, then I would do so!
As in 1994, I had a stroke of luck with some more training for magistrates, and picked up some additional finance from that. Taken together with some of the money which I had set aside from my report-writing endeavours, I had just enough to make the trip for the tenth time. I had assumed that Peter Dyment would not be coming to Le Mans with me in 1995 after we had travelled to the race in '92, '93 and '94, however, he had purchased a time-share and it seemed unlikely that he would be able to make the time available for Le Mans once again. Additionally he was about to become a man of leisure, having taken an early retirement from work, lucky devil! So I told Ian that Peter would not be travelling with us in 1995, but lo and behold, about a month before the race, Peter changed his mind. After several urgent phone-calls, Ian was able to make an adjustment to the plans to enable Peter to come on board.
There was actually a considerable amount of indecision quite close to the race weekend, about who would be coming on the trip. Richard had decided not to join us, preferring to attend the race every two or three years. Chris was initially a candidate, however he also later changed his mind. No-one was really sure until a few days beforehand whether Jim would be with us. We did know that Terry would join us again, having previously made the journey in 1989. So, it finally turned out that the Le Mans team in 1995 would consist of Ian, Alan, Martyn, Jim, Peter, Terry and myself plus this year, we were to be joined by two new recruits, Mark (who worked for the same firm as Ian), and Jamie, Ian's eldest son, who was able to get back from University in time to make the trip.
As usual, I had started counting down the days months before and the time to June was disappearing rapidly. My stock of Le Mans films was ordered, and for once I abandoned my previous favourite, Agfa's Optima brand, favouring instead the new Super G Plus film from Fuji. Departure day arrived surprisingly quickly. I can always remember the feeling on waking up on that day. There is something very tangible about it, a feeling of butterflies in the stomach and, in some ways, a feeling of extreme relief that my annual pick-me-up is about to take place to keep me going for another year.
Whilst there is a tremendous urge to get on with it, and to look forward to all of those truly memorable parts of the week-end, which are seen, heard (and even tasted!) year after year, there is also a feeling of wanting to slow the whole thing down, so that nothing is missed, not one sight, not one sound (and not one taste!).