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The Great Belgian Grand Prix Road Trip

Saturday morning. Qualifying, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium.

We set off early on Saturday to cover the 280 or so kilometers to the circuit at Spa. It turned out some of the lads had media accreditation and had to collect their paddock passes from the FIA media center before 12 noon local time (lucky boys) so we could not ‘hang about’, we had to get to Spa. Quickly. Heading out of Amsterdam, there is a lovely section of motorway. Five arrow-straight, billiard-table smooth lanes of motoring heaven which goads drivers into max-speed runs. I fell foul of the Dutch police in 2015 after failing to resist the temptation for a max speed blast on this very section. In 2015 I went past an unmarked police car at 173 mph and they gladly threw the book at me. Lesson learned the hard way.

Once past this heavily policed section, we could gradually increase the pace over some of the most perfect roads and motorways in Europe. There was a bit of everything, from smooth, flat-out sections to 120mph sweepers and everything in between. High speed stability, braking and confidence inspiring handling traits were key here. The drivers in these parts also have an annoying habit of changing lanes at the last second, forcing us to slam the brakes to avoid the mother and father of all road accidents. Fortunately we were well endowed in the car department! Again and again, we had to wipe off 50-80 mph quickly then build the speed up again and the cars responded with aplomb…. The only thing missing were the narrow, twisty, undulating A-roads that test both driver and car in a different way.  Ahh well, you can’t have it all.

We hit some serious traffic 7km from the circuit just before junction 10 (The Stavelot exit) on the E-42. It took as about an hour to cover 1km! The Max Verstappen fans were out in force. A few of us had to abandon the cars and make the rest of the journey to the media center on foot to beat the 12 noon paddock pass collection deadline.

We parked in the town of Stavelot for a very reasonable 10 euros all day. Many corners on this F1 circuit are named after the nearby towns and districts. So we have Stavelot, Blanchimont etc..We watched Lewis Hamilton take pole position from my favorite viewing position at the bottom of Eau Rouge.

Saturday night, Amsterdam.

We waited in the car park for the paddock pass crew to finish mingling with the F1 drivers, stars and celebrities and started the journey back to Amsterdam. By now, many of the boys were growing in confidence, confidence in themselves and their cars and were beginning to push it. Every time I stepped up the pace they were never too far behind, even the monstrous G63. Good stuff.  

akinso
I just like doing stuff. Preferably on wheels.

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43 thoughts on “The Great Belgian Grand Prix Road Trip

  1. Lovely piece. You need to start writing books. You bring your write ups to life. I felt like I was there with you guys. Nice one Akin!!

  2. Kinzo, (or should I say Red One) really good writing, you captured the spirit and the feel of those 3 days so accurately. Reading it makes me feel like I was back there again. Well done dude!

  3. Explain to me how a Porsche GT3 came to run of petrol .. you thought I will not hold on to that ? ?? Glad to read how much fun your road trip was and you all came back safe. It’s these moments away ” from the madddning crowd” that give some sanity. The writing drew me in and made me almost feel like I was there. ??

    1. ‘Bella. I collected the car from Porsche after some wheel balancing work with NO fuel in the tank. This was no problem as the dealership was only 4 miles from home. I then stopped at the fuel station to buy the particular brand of fuel I use, to find out I had lost my cards…so thought I’d drive back home and pick up another payment card…that’s when I ran out of fuel…sigh

  4. That was a nice read Akin, felt like I was watching a movie, an attribute of a good storyteller. Will definitely be part of next year crew.
    1 life, live it to the fullest.

  5. Another brilliant write up Akin, well done and great fun, reminds me of the Le Mans trip I did in 2009 with Stratstone motors ?? might do 2018 trip.

  6. Great article. Great trip. Great GP! I remember getting up to 175mph in a Murciélago on my way to Essen in 2005. I chickened out as i approached 2 trailers on a slight curve on the motorway! It was simultaneously the most exhilarating and frightening thing i have ever done.

    I will come on one of these trips sometime; and i plan to disrupt the European hegemony. I’ll be bringing a Nissan GTR.

  7. Beautifully written , but you could not resist the temptation to speed forcing your friends to keep up,???
    5 speeding tickets for you ??. I agree with Adj , you should write books .

  8. Beautifully written , but you could not resist the temptation to speed forcing your friends to keep up,???
    5 speeding tickets for you ??. I agree with Adj you should write books .

  9. Hi Akin. Amazing trip you guys had. I have something to ask of you. I have a quarterly issue magazine under development titled Manifesto Africa – lifestyle and luxury for the African Man. I would love to reproduce your experience in the first edition to come out in October. What say you?

  10. “The harder I pushed the car, the more alive the car seemed to be, absolutely wired to your senses, man and machine as one”—-Loved this!

    Captivating writing! Not a speed bot by any means but I thoroughly enjoyed readibg your account of a thrilling weekend! Mesnerised by every word, you paint a wobderful pucture! All the best for next year!

  11. Great article bro. Sounds like a truly awesome blast. Imagine being tucked in between all those reving monster engines?

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