So as my trip nears it’s end, I’m starting to get pretty excited to be racing at one of my favourite tracks again soon on the 7th of July. Spa Francorchamps is definitely one of the greatest tracks in the world, and my last time there in Formula 3 ended with me on the podium a couple times & starting from pole for the first time in F3, and in the wet. Sadly my start to that race definitely wasn’t the best in my career haha, and the thrill of leading the field on the formation lap up to the starting grid ended pretty quickly when the lights went out when I dumped the clutch a little too eagerly and basically sat still in my grid box doing a burn out for what seemed like for ever, while almost the whole field passed me into turn one….!
Needless to say that won’t be happening this weekend thankfully rain or shine as we enjoy rolling starts in the GT4 championship! But no I’m looking super forward to getting back in the car.
So over the last two days, I’ve been with my team and our sponsors Internet X at a special event arranged by them and one of their close friends World Hosting days – together they invited around 50 of the worlds best from the hosting industry, and we were there to show them how to drive and share what it is we do with them. which was pretty cool because we don’t often get the chance to do that, or let alone take people for rides… especially me considering I have driven single seaters most of my time racing!
The track day was held is a super sick location just out of Salzburg at the Salzburgring, which is set in the middle of some hills & forrest, so it’s pretty beautiful. The first day we were there we were kind of doing our own thing, and setting up for all the guests the following day, where we took them for laps in our KTM X-Bow, along with the Reiter GT3 Camero & GT1 Murcielago.
Met some great people over the course of the weekend and really enjoyed showing them what I do and how I do it. My highlight was definitely taking a 9 year old boy of one of the guests around for some hot laps, while he was meant to be at school for the day. He was so super excited and to see his excitement beforehand and the massive smile on his face afterwards was super cool.
This weekend I made another dream come true, to attend the UCI World Cup Down Hill race in Austria! I’ve always dreamed of coming to the WC here ever since I used to race Downhill when I was younger, and after seeing some guys on downhill bikes on my way up to Salzburg, I was suddenly reminded of this and checked to see if there were any races on while I’m here. I was super stoaked when I saw the Austrian WC was this weekend and just 1 hour drive from Salzburg down in Leogang! And after a super fun weekend here and watching some fellow Kiwi’s that I used to race against in my downhilling days shread down the slopes here in Leogang I have a new desire to get back into riding.
I think the thing I enjoyed about the weekend the most was the fun of it all. It’s serious racing, the best of its kind in the world, they’re the best riders in the world, the teams too, but its also a seriously relaxed and fun environment. Fans and riders interact and it’s not uncommon to be sat at the bar next to a rider on Saturday night before the race on Sunday, and both be enjoying a beer. I don’t think there’s any other pro sport in the world that is so relaxed and where the stars and fans interact so much.
Further to this, I enjoyed mostly the fact that it’s relatively affordable as a sport…you buy a bike, ride it, and if you’re good you get a factory team backing you to travel the world and do your thing. You don’t have to throw money at it every second to keep it alive like any motorsport.
Of course…. I don’t think you’ll see me doing anything too serious on a bike anymore as I don’t want to get inured for racing… but I can definitely say I’m going to start getting into it again. Who knows… maybe I’ll get back into it as a team owner 😉
So after just 4 weeks of living in my “dream” city, I’m moving on. At risk of sounding seriously negative, I would like to say I’ve enjoyed my time here, but the truth is I have easily lived in much cooler & more enjoyable places. Don’t get me wrong…. Monaco is exceptionally beautiful, but for me it didn’t quite fill the big boots I guess my expectations left for it.
To wake up every morning and see a harbour full of superyachts, walk down the road to get coffee and croissants and be passed by countless supercars, while you glance into the windows of luxury boutiques, is pretty cool, but only for a few days… I guess it would be different if you can wake up on your yacht, drive your Ferrari down the road to get coffee and stop and buy a new 50,000 euro watch along the way… but being surrounded by so much wealth and opulence soon gets pretty old, and whilst it is inspiring to begin with, after a while it starts to make you think about what you don’t have, as opposed to what you do have, and that’s one of my main reasons of leaving. My second reason is one that I’m sure anyone who has been to Monaco will also agree with. Walking around the streets (Grand Prix week is an exception to all of this by the way, when Monaco is like a different city) there seems to be a certain emptiness that echo’s around the place. A kind of dullness that I can only compare with the feeling you get when you wonder the streets of a ski town in the middle of summer. It’s a place absolutely crammed with glitz and glamour, yet it’s clear to see that for the vast majority of people that live in Monaco, they do not actually spend much time there, rather it’s purely a place for them to escape to in between their extremely busy lives of traveling around, the best example I can make is an F1 driver… to them Monaco must be great, they save on tax, and they are traveling every second week anyway so to go back to a beautiful quiet paradise like Monaco would be fantastic.
On the flip side, for me to sit and watch these people come and go only made me envious that I wasn’t doing the same! I am fine with living in a quiet place having grown up in a small farming town, but I think the difference is for me I prefer to look out the window in the morning and feel inspired by beautiful things that don’t cost anything that I know I can enjoy no matter what, and that’s a feeling I’m very used to living on a farm in New Zealand. To wake up and know you have the freedom to go and do what you want, and not feel limited by not having enough money, which is certainly the feeling you get in Monaco without having extreme disposable income, you get an overwhelming sense that you can’t partake in anything going on around you – which is super lame!
So now I’m heading back up to Salzburg area, which is full of nature, mountains, green fields and good vibes 😉