Le Mans 2014 - Ayse's Story
Page 10 - Friday
Pitwalk and Paul
During previous Le Mans weeks, Friday has tended to be a busy day, particularly for James as for the preceding six years he had been heavily involved in the arrangements for the Friday pit visit, however this year it hadn't proved possible to make the arrangement he had been hoping for. So the end result was what looked like a quiet day for us and we agreed that we would all welcome a good rest before the race, so perhaps we wouldn't even go into the circuit at all. Allon was quite keen to take in the normal Friday pit walk and it was tentatively planned that he would go in with Tony.
After a typically leisurely start to the day we went up to the bar for breakfast as usual and it was while we were there that Paul Truswell (of Radio Le Mans - who has become a good friend over the years) made contact with James and I. Unfortunately Paul wasn't able to join us for dinner that evening (as had been our habit in previous years), but he was keen to at least meet for a chat, so we decided to go into the circuit after all to meet with him at the back of the paddock at 3 pm.
Of course, being the Friday before the race, the Classic British Welcome was already under way just around the corner from our bar, with all kinds of exotic vehicles pouring in, including a fabulous Bugatti Veyron. We left the bar finally at 12.30 and headed back to the hotel for some 'chill' time before jumping into James' car to head into the circuit for the meeting with Paul.
We met Paul at the gates to the pitlane and had an enjoyable conversation about qualifying, the race to come and what was going on in between. Paul had to head off to do other media-type stuff and we all thought that as we were there, we may as well take a walk up the pitlane.
We spent about 45 minutes there, pausing for Allon and Tony to pose as the new recruits to the IMSA Matmut Porsche team and, perhaps inevitably, bumping into Eric and Stéphane.
It was at this point that I had a tap on my shoulder and I turned to see someone who I didn't recognise. The man looked at me very closely and I began to wonder what was going to happen next. Having satisfied himself that I was indeed Aysedasi, he announced himself as Gerard, better known as Tenths member 'The Badger' (aka the infamous Badger!). After a good chat with Ger and his friend, we decided we had seen enough and set off for the pitlane exit and back to the car to head back to the hotel.
On our return we found that Julie and Andy had arrived and shortly afterwards we squeezed into two cars to go out for dinner - inevitably at Del Arte, where Allon was very keen to experience our favourite pizza, as were James and I, tucking into our third Pizza Marocco in just six days! And the beauty of it was that they seemed to get better every time!
It was an excellent meal in every respect; good food and great company sitting outside in the sunshine - sunshine that hadn't let us down for the whole of the week, making up for some less than sunshine-filled days in recent years. Being the night before the main event we were quite keen to get back to our beds to stock up on a good dose of sleep, for several of us, our last before Sunday night, in readiness for that wonderful annual all-nighter that was now almost upon us.....