TWO PADDOCKS TOO FAR FOR THE CLASSIC?
THE SILVERSTONE CLASSIC HAS rightly grown in popularity from one year to the next. But I left this year’s event with more mixed emotions than I had expected.
Time will tell if the organisers’ decision to run the 2011 Classic out of two paddocks located the thick end of a mile apart was a success. Filling both sets of pit garages freed up a huge amount of paddock space that could be sold for commercial gain, but if you wanted (or needed) to get between paddocks, the only choice for most was to wait for a bus.
Certainly if you were after competitors or preparers to cast doubt on the wisdom of the move, you didn’t have to look far. Many had cars in both paddocks and no independent means of getting between the two. Others felt that being forced to park on the track outfield and walk in represented poor value for money. Happily for Equipe Frankel, both our cars were in races based in the old paddock, but having signed on there, we had to a cadge a lift to the new ‘Wing’ paddock because that was the only place we could register our transponders.
Then again those spectators whose views I sought seemed less bothered. After the Grand Prix they wanted any way to see the Wing in all its splendour and seemed unfazed by having to make a small effort to do so. Certainly there was nowhere else in the UK they could have gone to find a wider range of machinery being raced. But as one hugely influential, slightly cheesed-off collector
and driver said, the organisers need to remember we have more choice of where to race than ever before, and that while spectators are important, it is us who put on the show”.
The Silverstone Classic has existed successfully operating out of one paddock in the past. The organisers will doubtless conduct the research to find out whether this year’s change was worthwhile overall, though that job can only be considered complete when entries for next year are counted. For me it was an interesting experiment, one that I hope will not be repeated.
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