Run He's Got no Strides On!!
A Cautionary Tale from the Nordschleife
After another enjoyable race weekend the cars were loaded, spares packed and the long return trip begun.
The 6.30 a.m. start (5.30 UK time) was beginning to take it's toll on the team.
Jane, in the navigator's seat, was nodding off.
This simple act could have disastrous results - firstly with her sense of balance she was liable to fall off the seat, and secondly with my navigational skills we could easily end up in Berlin, and
Mick Hopkins in his state would just follow!
However, as we swung onto the E40 I could see the rear tyre on the trailer was flat (another flat tyre over the weekend !! - Steve) .
A quick change on the hard shoulder woke everyone up and on we continued.
Fuel in Belgium and a stop for a cup of tea.
A very popular place; Ian Hulett arrived, John Faux and Ian Burgin, Andy Baillie and finally Mark Hope.
As a large chunk of the FISC grid had now assembled someone suggested an Autotest, but a lack of energy and a ferry to catch saw most on their way.
John Faux discovered a large hole in his diesel tank - fortunately on returning to the pumps he found a cap that fitted the hole perfectly - what a stroke of luck!
Our initial plans were to drive to Bologne, spend the night there and catch the ferry Sunday morning.
Mick however was looking bushed - at his age it had been a long day - and the rest of the team weren't looking
much better, so an early stop was planned.
Sometimes she lets me race
Just past Brussels we pulled into a large service area.
It was big, empty and I didn't like it.
My negative views were out-voted; this would be our over-night stop.
We parked at the end of the lorry park, side by side, the main road only 30 metres to our left.
Jane, who sleeps lighter than a light thing would, I thought, never sleep.
After a meal and a bottle of wine we were ready to make some Zzzz.
The window by our heads had to be opened to let more air through and more noise.
I was away with the pixies within minutes; a nice long lie in with breakfast about 9 a.m. great!!
At about 5 a.m. I was rudely awakened by an elbow in the ribs.
Our SEWD (Super-sensitive Early Warning Device) could hear and feel something.
I slid the blind gently up and looked out.
Through the open window you could hear something for sure.
As I looked out into the misty morning light the figure of a 20-ish male walked round the side of the trailer.
On hindsight I may have jumped to conclusions - he may have been a cyclist and on seeing the bicycle on the rack wanted to take a closer look at the disc brakes and
His eyes flicked over the bike and fixings and our eyes met.
I don't speak Belgique - however, two words sprang to mind that I knew he would understand "F... Off" I shouted through the open
He jumped, turned and ran.
I leaped out of bed, unlocked the side door and ran down the alley between the two motorhomes and trailers towards three figures.
One was already running, the second was holding the cover away from the trailer so his mate, who had been inside the trailer, could get out.
At this point I should state that I wear nothing in bed so I was now running full pelt, stark naked, roaring like a man possessed towards our visitors who, again in hindsight, may have seen Steve's Web Site and were
interested in seeing a Spridget at close hand, the boot mounted battery being of special interest.
I missed catching the guy from inside the trailer by inches.
On reflection it was probably best, for sure I would have given him a smack, and if Belgian law is anything like English law I would be writing this in jail, whilst the
poor misunderstood guy was undergoing counselling;
after all, 96kg of pink, hairy, roaring Spridget driver chasing you through a car park at 5 a.m. in the morning could scar you for life!!
This man couldn't hurt a fly !
I returned to the trailer where Jane was now standing (wearing my rugby top and trousers).
In order to regain some decency I went into the camper and put on some trousers and shoes - running on cobbles is not my idea of fun.
At this point my trusty friend and ex-military man, Mick, appeared on the scene.
I knew he would be behind me - sadly about 4 minutes - though he wanted to be quicker but he could only find one sock, and then his trouser leg was inside out, and where had Denise put his shoes!!
Still, it's the thought that counts.
So, for the second morning running we were up at some ridiculous time.
Fortunately nothing had been taken from the cars.
As everyone was now wide awake the lay-in was given the elbow and after some tea and toast we set off for Calais and the 9.30 boat and breakfast.
So remember, if you park in Aires or Service Areas on your way to and from Spridget meetings, watch out
for visitors in the early morning, and if you hear a roaring, pounding noise, turn away;
I'm told it's not a pretty sight (it's the hair I think, it needs cutting!)!.
Ian Johnson's justification
See you at Croft
The Johnson Team