Bathurst 1000 50th Anniversary
So there i was fixing the pool jetvac in my shorts and in walks FastLaneMum. “Put a t-shirt on, get your phone and your wallet because we’re going out for a few hours..”
197km later, well actually I sort of guessed where we might be going after about 20 minutes driving (see my twitter feed https://twitter.com/fastlanedad ) but i had no idea of what was to come.. Or even that it was the 50th anniversary!
Given that i’m a lover of the great race having followed it since i was a small boy back in the UK watching Peter Brock, Jim Richards, Mark Skaife not to mention all the guys from Europe that would come over and try their luck on the Mountain. Mostly ending in failure sadly but there is always a story isn’t their. The one i remember most vividly is the one where Jason Plato was sharing a car with Yvan Muller, Jason gets out of the car at the scheduled changeover and helps strap Yvan in and then Yvan realises that Jason had been for a wee in the seat probably moments before he came into the pits and it had of course soaked through Yvans overalls by this point! The prospect of driving for a couple of hours in a pool of Jason’s p1ss made the lively Frenchman quite animated i believe!!
Back to the real story – We arrived in Bathurst after i had vocally wondered if we were going to the Jenolan caves or if there was an airport nearby knowing in the back of my mind that this was actually the intended destination to be told by FastLaneMum that due to budgeting reasons we were looking for Tent City and not a hotel or house which is the norm but to offset the tent she had in fact organised hospitality for us at the circuit! Not that i mind tents but it was made much sweeter after that little revelation.
So off we trot up to Mount Panorama to see if we can sort out tickets but mainly to have a wonder round and get a look and feel for this wonderfully iconic racetrack. Having grown up around racetracks and also having raced a a few, I love being around the tracks at night time, it gives me a real sense of the history that’s been written and also the new history that will be written in the coming days.
So there we were strolling around ON THE START STRAIGHT looking into the pit garages with cars in various states of readiness for the following days practice and the Top 10 Shootout and i just had to call my dad to tell him where i was and do you know what he said? Bearing in mind that he was the person that’s solely responsible for my love of all things cars and an avid watched of this race over the years, he said “Oh right, that’s ok isn’t it.” OK.. OK! It’s pretty bloody AWESOME is what it is i said!
On the Saturday we arrived in the hospitality and met a lovely couple who recommended a trip up the Mountain by bus to see all the tents and characters that inhabit Mount Panorama for the Bathurst 1000 and by all accounts it’s a lot calmer than it used to be. The Police station and a Porsche Panamera Police car might have something to do with it! I suggest this to FastLaneMum who then drops out that she is trying to organise a helicopter ride over the circuit this morning for us so the bus will have to wait a little. However, the chopper that she had booked had been grounded but i’m thinking that FastLaneMummy has pulled out all the stops this weekend and how lucky am i to have such a wonderful partner. I still hadn’t got any idea of what was to come..
Over to the choppers we wonder and Craig from Helicruz who’s helicopter we should have been going up in had organised for us to go up in one of the bigger ones that was allowed to fly which was really good of him at short notice. So we wondered past the queue of people that were waiting for their turns and into pole position for the Big Red Helicopter that was at the end of the line. Cool i thought, we’ll get to see the Ute racers smashing into each other as we watch from above. Sadly we watched the Ute’s on the Big Screens as The Roulette’s were on their way to do their display, which might i add was Spectacular! This meant that we not only have to fly over one of the greatest motorsport venues in the world, on it’s biggest race weekend but we would have to do so whilst the V8’s were out practising! Both of us were slightly shocked at the prospect of such a momentous occasion. Little did i know that an even more momentous occasion was awaiting me.
“Can you stop filming for a minute please?” asked FastLaneMum. Down went the iPad and i turned to my right only to be presented with “There’s something i want to ask you. The boys and i, well me actually would like to marry you.” So while i was filming, FastLaneMum was preparing and nervously waiting until we got right over the mountain before she would unleash the question of all questions to this poor unsuspecting bloke who was loving filming the V8’s from a helicopter, ME!
“Is that a yes??” came at me with the full force of someone hanging in mid-air for a response whilst i was a little shell shocked at the magnitude of what had just happened to me, to us! “Yes, of course!” I replied, I want to say that I said something really beautiful and poetic here but I can’t remember what i said after that to be honest, the feeling of being truly wanted by the woman I love and 3 boys that I call my sons and that i love as though they are biologically mine was all that filled my world. I did manage to start filming again though, only this time it wasn’t me the partner, it was me the fiancée that was doing the filming.
Sat here writing this I wonder how I didn’t twig that something was going to happen.. Yes some of the things were slightly out of the ordinary but it was the 50th Anniversary, i’d dreamt of coming as a boy and we both work hard and needed a break so why not splash out a little. I then look back at all the little things which start to fit into the jigsaw of how it all happened without me knowing anything about any of it, even the FastLaneKids all knew and kept it to themselves for nearly a whole week! I also now know that it was a military style operation planned down to the finest detail by FastLaneMum and her colleagues on a week long course she attended 3 or so weeks prior!
I know this isn’t technically a post about the race itself but it’s a chapter in our families history that will forever live on annually galvanised by one of the Greatest Motor Races in the world and also now going to the race in future years will add even more meaning for us, our family and friends which adds something else to the occasion. The engagement that is!
Finally, i’d like to say thank you every one of the people that helped to plan it and execute it to make this truly wonderful moment happen for us.