Oct 25, 2010

*Korean F1 Grand Prix*...we were there!

5:30am on Saturday the 24th saw 2 very, very, very excited South Africans running around Daejeon trying to find a taxi to get to the station in time for the 6 o'clock KTX ride to Mokpo. Why, i hear you ask? Well,  to see the FIRST KOREAN F1 GRAND PRIX!!!! And having not checked the weather report the night before, we were unprepared for what lay ahead.

It was windy, It was cold, it was wet, it was muddy...but it was fantastic!! We arrived early bells at Mokpo Station, running around in the pouring rain in search of a cup of coffee and an umbrella; found the one in a seedy convenience store, and the other in a sparkling new coffee shop. After a rather tense disagreement regarding sharing umbrellas vs just buying my own one (Farmboy I'm sorry for being so difficult!) We set out in search of a way to get to the track.

So far so good, we hoped on the first bus we could find that was showing a F1 sign on it, and 10 minutes later we arrived at the brand spanking new track.

We had tickets (thanks to the most awesome Dad in the whole world!!!) for Ia...(thats the orangey colored seats)

But we were not prepared for the site that awaited us....once we had stood in a very long line, for a very long time (and then found out it was only for the VIP's needing the limousine shuttle to the Grand Stands) we headed off for the long and muddy hike through the hundreds of parking lots to collect our tickets. Once that was done, poncho's and umbrellas in hand, we headed for our seats. 40 minutes later and we were sitting in the stands awaiting the start of the race. Its was only 10 o'clock...the race was due to start at 3...we had some time :)

Looking around at the empty stands, the half finished stands, the nuts and bolts lying all over the show, the mud caked all over the paths, the lack of paths, the very stressed looking officials, the wet spectators, and of course the already-nearly-flooded-track, we wondered how the day was going to play out...From the looks of the people huddled around us, it did not look good.

And so the hours ticked by, more seats we bolted into place, more people trickled in, an extremely loud family of 'professional F1 commentators' (I'll let you guess which country they were from hehe) arrived and plonked themselves right behind us, and  proceeded to rage about the event,  how they were going to complain to every news station they could get hold of back home, and last but not least, how inconsiderate the people in front of them (thats us folks) were for letting their umbrellas drip onto them.

It was a very long 5 hours...

But the race kicked off at 3:15...then was stopped due to the rain, then resumed at 4:20, and finally ended at about 18:15. Unfortunately we didn't see Alfons's victory, as we had to race back to Mokpo to make our 3 hour train ride back to Daejeon. But what we did see was mind-blowing. The speed with which the cars hurtled round that wet track was unbelievable...and apart from a few minor incidents (Poor Red Bull leaving the race early and a small pre-race crash), it was a phenomenal to be right there, deafened by the sounds, and soaked by the rain :)

Here's a little taste of the day (we did take loads of vodeo footage, but this guys video gives you a better idea of the day):