A day in the life of ... a spectator!
Free leaflets are there to be sold That's just how life works; so when, on arrival at Brands Hatch, I discovered that no-one had managed to pick up the official programme at the entrance, I took my sister (Gabriel, for those of you who don't know) to find some. We could have made a nice little profit, if not for the letters FREE emblazoned across the front.
We have only come to watch Dad race once before, and that was at Mallory Park last year where he smashed the car almost beyond recognition (the first time). This time, we were hoping that he would get round unscathed; we weren't disappointed.
As soon as the other Morgans began to arrive, Dad looked around with an uneasy eye.
"They're all so... clean," he said worriedly, glancing at the just-mended dusty shell of his Mog, crashed again at Mallory Park the week before (although not by him, or so I'm told). "You girls couldn't possibly. . ."
Miraculously, there was a bucket just waiting to be filled with car-washing water. Then began our search for a tap; and a long time it took, too. We scoured the paddock and most of the surrounding countryside before finding a small tap hidden in an obscure ladies toilet somewhere. By the time we got back with the water, Dad was ready to go out for his practice run, so we left the bucket and went to watch. Eventually we returned to a bucket less scene. Gabriel saw it first - hidden under Chris Acklam's car, helping Brett, from Brands Hatch Morgans, to discover what had happened to Chris' car's lost oil pressure. We were heartbroken when we realised that this now meant that we would not be able to wash Dad's car after all.
At last it was rime for the race. Jackie James summed up the intervening hours ideally when she said that 'the thing about racing is that it's all standing around.' The MGBs joined the Morgan race, and without meaning to give any kind of offence, of course, a pretty sorry lot they were too.(I'm excluding Steve Williams in number 89, who somehow managed to come first - what a nerve! It wasn't even his race.) Maybe I'm biased, but watching whichever car it was tearing round the track pouring enough smoke out of its guts to asphyxiate the greater part of the British population was enough to give anyone a slight prejudice, I think.
At the end of the day, having completed the race, Dad had the tell-tale black-on-yellow cross removed from the back of his car by Brett. I don't know if I'll be coming to watch another Morgan race in the near future, but if I do I'll try to remember the one thing any spectator, professional or amateur, should never be without: sun protection cream. Right now there is only a subtle difference between my face and half a cooked tomato; and if you were to ask me what it was, I wouldn't be able to tell you.
© Eleanor Orebi Gann 1996