It feels like we’re only just back from our France holiday and we’ve packed up again, loaded the car, strapped on the bikes and set off to Silverstone. I’m going to semi-live report on our progress and antics throughout the weekend.
We were last here for the WEC in 2019. How much has happened since then?! Well the kids are bigger, the car (truck) is stuffed with more junk and we have more bikes.
Small boy in particular has also acquired an enthusiasm and passion for cars. BMW good. Dacia bad. Jeremy Clarkson is God to him and he’s really excited that Diddly Squat Farm Shop is going to have a stall at the classic.
I managed to nab a half day off in lieu for some Friday hours I put in during June, so I stopped at Thursday lunchtime. I removed the kids for lunch at M&S food and then a bit of last minute food shopping to stock the mini-fridge for breakfasts. Himself is determined to provide bacon butties for us all every morning but if he interferes with coffee production there’ll be trouble – we only have one stove burner. Once home, I finished the packing and loaded up the car. Then as soon as himself chucked in work (a bit early), we got the bikes tightly tied down and set off.
We’re camping at Whittlebury Farm, not at Silverstone circuit itself. We arrived, set up camp, and managed to find dinner and a lovely G&T at the neighbouring golf club.
The boys woke up shortly before 7am, which isn’t bad considering how light it gets in tents early and it was a bit chilly (very glad of my long PJs). Not long after some fabulous hot air balloons flew over and we had bacon sarnies for breakfast.
So the plan is to head down to the track on our bikes earlyish. Large boy will be getting himself signed up to try the young driver event as soon as possible. Anyone over the age of 10 can have a short lesson driving a real road car. He might be a bit excited. Then I need to find the Alzheimer’s UK stand and pick up my ticket thing for the 5km run. Himself has generously entered me, despite the fact that I’m still struggling post-Covid. If I manage anything under 33mins, I’ll be pleased.
Then the rest of Friday we plan to mingle in the paddock and do any of the activities that seem like they’ll be really busy over the weekend.
I’ll update this post with progress through the weekend.
It was a bit of a faff getting to the circuit. Himself’s bike chain came off a couple of times and I got filthy sorting it out. Then we couldn’t find the entrance from the fields between the campsite and the entry gate, the two we had used before were blocked off. Eventually we got in and got started investigating everything we could do. It was massive! Way bigger than the WEC three years ago. First stop was a programme and then virtual racing for the boys and himself.
Next, oh me oh my, large boy got to drive a real car! He could just about see over the steering wheel and the pedals were fine. He loved it! From there we went to the back of the pits to see what was about to go out on track, small boy got offered to sit in a classic F2 car by the driver but he turned it down! Apparently because he didn’t want a stranger to lift him over the barrier.
A thorough mooch around the Ferrari and Lambourgini car clubs and the we headed back to the village. I sorted my Alzheimer’s fun run registration, the boys won goodies at Adrian Flux, and we had a go on the dodgems and merry go round.
After lunch we swung past the Diddly Squat Farm Shop stall and discovered nothing had price tags! Then over to the track to watch some qualifying and demonstrations for a couple of hours. Large boy played with the big camera and we ate the world’s most expensive fudge. It was great being so close to the action and noise, even witnessing some spins. We saw the Le Mans classic cars which large boy described as really old, which brought me and himself down with a thump as we’d actually seen a couple of them race at Le Mans ourselves!
We went and watched the stunt show and then some classic F1 and 1960s rally cars on track. Then feeding time for himself and the boys (Brazilian street food and massive hotdogs) while I nibbled ahead of the 5km fun run. The run was amazing, being on track at sunset was beautiful and a real treat. I even managed a sub-30min time for the first 5km.
Once I’d got cleaned up, tended a surprise blister and changed my clothes, I got my dinner too and we headed off to watch Bjorn Again. They were brilliant but a bit loud for the boys who were tired by then too. We had a couple of drinks and headed off back to the campsite in the dark. That was fun! Next time, head torches as well as bike lights. The boys were asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillows.
Well I got woken up by clanking at 6.45am, but managed to doze til half 7. The boys were still fast asleep though. The plan for the day was to be a bit more chilled out and watch more racing than we saw of the qualifying.
Bacon sarnies for breakfast again and on the bikes out to the track. We were almost there when himself’s handlebars started twisting in the frame. So he went back and I took the kids into the stand at Copse to wait for him to go all the way back for an Allen key. He didn’t take long and we saw the historic formula 2 race followed by the historic touring cars.
From there we headed over to the inside of the track to watch the pre-war sports cars. Lunch was cornish pasties, a new favourite for large boy and then a mooch about the foodie fest. We tried English champagne and lots of cheese and jams and large boy had some zero alcohol beer while I chatted to the Brewdog girl about my Badass Mother Runners leggings. Then we bought some rapeseed oil from Diddly Squat and official tee shirts – small boy and himself got matching ones. We saw the rally stunt show and then went to chill out in the grandstands, especially the Group C anniversary demonstration. We looked over the auction cars and browsed the paddock, saw Jeremy Clarkson striding purposely towards the bar area.
I had Katsu pumpkin fritters for dinner and then we settled down to watch Gabrielle before heading back to camp. Himself and I sang along merrily while the boys had no idea but small boy at least got up and danced with his old mum. The couple next to use obviously thought he was absolutely adorable. We headed off a bit earlier to see a bit better on the path (large boy had taken a proper scare on Friday night going down hill in the dark) and be sure of a good night’s sleep.
I woke up quite early because of some pigeons flapping about inside a bush and cooing loudly. It might also have been because it was a bit colder or because I was super excited that we’d be meeting up with old friends for the day. They’d just got home from their summer holiday the day before but had last minute booked some tickets during the week as the live close enough to come for the day.
Sunday’s plan was for large boy and our friends’ eldest to book onto young driver together and then just mooch and chill and catch up. In the before times we’d spend at least one weekend every year together. Next year we’ll have been friends for 20 years! In the last couple of years it’s been trickier, we’ve cancelled plans due to COVID and spent a half day together. So Sunday will be as much about friends as racing.
We got up to the track easily and went straight to book the boys on young driver, then to sit in Woodcote to wait for our friends. They found us easily (thanks Google location sharing) and we settled down to watch some racing. Then we went for a mooch in the village and to find lunch. Burgers for most of us and some major catching up. Our two oldest boys are the same age and small boy and their daughter are just a few weeks apart. The oldest get on so well, it seemed like they’d just been together last week. Not has just old afternoon in 3 years! It was just so lovely to see.
After lunch we toured the car clubs and shopping bit before the boys went driving. They both did really well, large boy was definitely more competent his second time. Then the stunt show which was still amazing the second time. Back at the village the kids did some activities and got slushy refills.
Suddenly it was almost dinner time so we went back to the area with the food stands and main stage, just catching the end of the street stunts.
After dinner we found a spot to watch the music. Dodgy were great, we got some drinks for the grown ups and sweet treats for the kids. Then Rick Astley came on. I’ll admit to not knowing quite a few of his songs and of course the kids were all waiting for Never Gonna Give You Up. He did not disappoint. They loved it even though it was 9.30pm but small boy was exhausted and very ready for his bed. So we had some heartfelt goodbyes, all the kids hugged each other spontaneously. Then, a familiar ride back to camp and sleep.
How about you?
What are you getting up to this Bank Holiday weekend?