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Simon and his Spa Francorchamps Round up

So here is my first trip to Spa, Belgium for the next rounds of the VW Cup. The weather report was showing rain all weekend which I was looking forward to! 

I got picked up from work at 11:55 on Wednesday to get straight down to Folkstone for the train across to France. Car was packed with food and drink, iPads, pillows, bags and anything else you can imagine. 

What should have been a 5 hour journey ended up being a 10 hour journey due to delays and traffic on the way down to Spa. Eventually we made it, popped in to see the boys at the track, watched the World Cup semi final and then up to bed in our little bungalow we had for the weekend. 

Thursday was testing and I had 3 sessions. The first one was wet and the second 2 were dry. My times were quite good for my first trip around Spa and I learnt a huge amount. I can’t leave this paragraph without mentioned Eau rouge - it’s a lot steeper and tighter than it looks on TV and you have to be incredibly committed to make it round! 

Matt, Darran and James were coming down Thursday but only 2 of them arrived. (I won’t mention who forgot their passport and had to get a train down, but James arrived eventually). 

Thursday night saw us all have a BBQ and then the VW cup parade around the track and into Stavelot. There was a train of about 100 cars driving through the streets of Belgium with the locals lining the roads and the court where the cars were on display. I let Dad drive down and the car stayed in one piece, so everyone was happy! 

Friday saw quali at around 11 and it was dry. I had new tyres on the front and it was away for 20mins of trying to go as fast as you can. I managed P15, which was OK considering my experience around here and a top 10 was in sight. 

Race 1 was around 14:30, again going against the forecast it was dry. I got a good start and was into P12 after lap 1. Onto lap 2 and someone is going slow up Eau Rouge, I have to back out the throttle, lose momentum along the straight and go for a move on the slow car into the next corner. Unfortunately he turns in, I lock up, we hit and both end up backwards on the side of the track. I’m back in P25 and set off after everyone again. Putting in some good lap times and overtaking, I make it back up to P14, a good result considering. 

Friday night saw everyone together at the track for some of Gary’s lasagne and his world famous quiz. We should’ve won the quiz but played our joker on the wrong round, so ended up 3rd :( 

Saturday was race 2 at 12:20 and I was starting P14. An average start but I lost some time on the long straight and a few people went by. I made it back up to P15 by the end of the race. Although still not the top 10 I am after, another good haul of points for the championship. 

After everyone packed up, we all went up to the VW BBQ they put on for us, had a few beers and watched the 25hour VW fun race going into the night from above the pits. A really good way to end another enjoyable weekend! 

Now we have a little wait until Brands on August 30/31. Huge thanks to the team, friends, family, sponsors and everyone who supported me this weekend!

Simon Rudd

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