Winding up / winding down

Ten past seven in the paddock and as the sun drops low in the sky, the pit lane is BUSY. All the teams are working hard in their tents. Drilling, sawing, hammering. Soundtracks compete as I walk down past the flags. “Oh what a night” next to “Gold” next to drum and bass. Bits of chassis lie out in the rocks and sand, urgently stripped. Quick businesslike talk around the cars in many different languages. All the teams, working so incredibly hard. Security guards sitting around chatting in Italian. The creaking of the flagpoles in the wind. The ringing of my phone…

The ringing was Liv. She was ready to be collected. I had rebounded to site in the evening light knowing that she might get stuck there, and I was enjoying the atmosphere of the teams as they prepared for race day tomorrow. I hauled Liv back to the hotel, very aware that the sun was dying for the night. Parking was tricky, so then it was a very swift walk down the boardwalk to the beach. The boardwalk crosses a wide point of the lagoon, and it is long enough that the sealife below you as you walk seems fearless. Huge fish breach the surface, smaller fish jump. Weird things flubber. Weirder things just sit there. I crossed as the sun fell, clutching my towel and trunks.

Everybody was already out and playing frisbee as I got to the easy entrance patch of beach next to Aldo’s bar. I know it and know there are no rocks, so I was able to run into the sea. The last of the sun saw me thrashing about like a drowning giraffe, laughing uproariously. Then back onto the beach to pretend – for a moment as the last of the sun died down – that we were all on holiday. Fuck yes. What a delight. Liv and I shared a Quattro Stagione Pizza and found a moment of shared mischief as we both disarranged all the ingredients. I found myself thinking again how lucky I am to be attached to this rare ethical motor racing thing. It’s a true joy.

I carried someone from the legal team today. “You know I write a daily blog,” I told them. She is relaxed, and understands that I’m here because I’m trusted. It’s a huge thing, that trust. It’s the trust that makes you want to live up to it. There’s nothing quite like trust to spur loyalty.

Race day tomorrow. It’s really really interesting the way it works here in terms of the drivers and how they compete – where you can have a 21 year old Norwegian woman fighting for racing line against a 60 year old Spanish dynastic racing father – el matador. I’m looking forward to another strong race tomorrow. And this time I’m sure I won’t have to follow a helicopter.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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