Le Mans 2014 - Ayse's Story
Page 11 - Saturday
The Tenthers Meet (plus Cheese.... and Wine.....)
Raceday. I don't re-read my past stories very often once I've written the next one, but I'm sure I've described the bitter-sweet experience that the day of the race brings. Years ago, when I only went over for the weekend, often arriving only an hour or two before the start of the race, I never experienced this feeling, but since 2010, when I started going with James and Tony, experiencing the whole event beginning with scrutineering in the town, has left me with a strange feeling that by the time raceday morning dawns, it seems as if it's almost over, even though there are several hours to go before the race itself has even started. Weird.
Having had a good night's sleep I was up bright and early and Allon joined me in my room for coffee at about 8.30. Once again we had concluded that there was no need to rush into the circuit at the crack of dawn for warm-up but were nevertheless mindful of the fact that a very large crowd was expected, possibly the largest for quite a few years, in view of the prospect of the three-way battle between Audi, Toyota and Porsche at the front of the field. Having been caught up in some heavy traffic heading to the garage blanc earlier in the week we left the hotel shortly after 9.30. As it happened, the traffic wasn't as bad as we'd anticipated, resulting in our arrival in the car park at about 10.20. In accordance with recent 'tradition' there was a minor parking issue when Tony found that his place had already been taken by a car which should have been parked behind him, so he took that car's place instead.
I'm not entirely sure now how it came about, but we ended up down at the Espace Club watching a surprisingly entertaining Porsche Carrera Cup race before heading back up to the Village to join what has become (since 2003) one of the highlights of the Le Mans weekend, the Ten Tenths meeting. On the way back through the Village, Tony, Allon and I became separated from James and Nane as they headed to the meeting by a different route. We found ourselves walking right at the back of the Village and as we came up to a large hanger-like marquee with Porsche markings, a fabulous Porsche GT1 emerged from inside, followed by a Porsche 962. It was at this point we realised that we had stumbled upon a cavalcade of rare and much celebrated Le Mans cars. We even had Le Mans legend Jacky Ickx driving the 936 he won the race in with Haywood and Barth in 1977. It was fantastic to see.
But we had an important meeting to attend and by the time we reached our 'spot', there were a lot of Tenthers (and 'guest' Tenthers) already there, together with a veritable feast of delicious food and inevitably, a bizarre selection of alcoholic beverages!
As one does, I took quite a few photos at the meeting, but this year I wasn't able to get my own team photo as there seemed to be what I can only describe as a 'panic' to get the team photo over with as soon as possible so that everyone could resume eating and drinking! At this rate, I wondered how some of them were going to survive the race without being comatose by 5 pm.... ( say that in the knowledge that this actually is the game plan for some of those who attend Le Mans!).
It was a very good meeting with one of the largest gatherings we've ever had and a huge thank you goes as always to our French hosts, Pascal, Eric and Bernard as well as to those of all the various nationalities, attending from near and far, who brought local fare to the meeting - some from incredible distances. I'm sure I didn't manage to get everyone, but I managed to snap quite a few for a Tenthers' 'rogues gallery'.......
I'm indebted to Tenths member Skeeskirrt for the superb team photo!
Compiling a list of who was there isn't easy, but this is as far as I've got -
The time was really flying as it always does at this point on race day and as 2 pm approached we prepared to move off from the meeting after spending what seemed like another half an hour saying farewell to everyone before the walk to T17 to claim our places for the start of the 82nd 24 Heures du Mans!
Video 31 (Just one short video of the latter part of the meeting)