Big Boy Pants Required. This piece of race track is the reason we traveled thousands of miles. Ask any F1 race fan what the most challenging, the fastest, most dangerous corner in all of racing is and this is likely to be the answer: Eau Rouge at the Circuit de SPA-Franchorchanps. Flat out, uphill, and blind, it used to separate the men from the boys before cars had ground-effects and race track pavement got stickier.  It’s still captivating to see/listen when Lewis, Max, Lando, Charles and the rest come rushing over its crest, neither lifting the throttle or making any abrupt movement of the steering wheel.

Three thousand odd miles and four weeks later and we are here; the secret reason I wanted to come to Europe.  The SPA-Franchorchamps Formula 1 race in Belgium.  There are almost two-dozen F1 races around the world, but this pucker-up circuit is known among race fans as one of the original Real Men circuits (Nurburgring, IOM, Silverstone. and Monza when it still had banking are the others).   I’ve come here to sit at only one corner among its 20:  Eau Rouge.

Tucked away in the Arden forest in Belgium, close to the German border, SPA is close to nothing other than hills, forest and small farms.   No big towns, heck there aren’t even any mid-size towns close by, yet some 300,000 people will crawl over hill and dale to get here this weekend.   I know as we’ve all been on the same one lane road for three hours either getting here, or leaving.  Getting here is painful, and I’m not talking about the plane, train, and motorcycle rides to get here.  No, it’s the last 20 kilometers that will kill you.

Even Karen admits that my selection of the Horchem Hotel in Monschau, Germany was a master stroke on my part.  Apart from the three hour journey to the race track, this place is PICTURESQUE.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.  The most important thing about our Hotel is its location (in the center of town right on the river) and the fact it has the only kitchen that’s open late… all the way to 10PM!  It is chocked full of people morning till night.

Here’s what our stay at SPA and surrounds looked like.

 

NoName rests in front of the Horchem Hotel.

Party central. We ate every meal at the hotel, either here on the terrace on inside close to the bar.

Lots of old, quaint houses in a compact area

The hills are… full of cars, tents, campers and buses

View of the to/from of the track. Miles and miles of cars on one-lane country roads.

Fun was had by all. This guy is laughing because his favorite driver, Max Verstappen, just qualified an unheard of 1.5 seconds faster than the rest.

View of the pit and hospitality areas of the track.

This guy was amazing. He flew around the track. Brave, very brave.

This picture says it all about getting out of the track. It was about a mile UPHILL walk. Here, Simon a member of the South African FIA contingent, follows up the hill.

Alls well that ends well. We found a bar half way back to the hotel to recuperate.

As we slide into the second month of our European Motorcycle Summer we look north to the Netherlands and eventually crossing the Channel via the Chunnel.

More as it happens.

 

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