6 Hours of Sinidad. Racing in Paradise.

I don´t know how to start .

When I think about Dakar I get so excited my thoughts start bouncing and flopping around like a flea circus.
Impossible to put into any order.
Impossible to make a coherent story for you.
Sorry.

Let’s try by starting at the beginning.
In the beginning I thought it was an absurd Idea. Going to Dakar, Africa just for a race.
But Marc de Siebenthal and his friends convinced me by saying that it felt like racing must have had felt in the old days. That sounded so good. So I thought I go along and just try it out.
Still I wasn’t quite comfortable with the Idea of racing in a poor third world Country. After all the benefits of racing to anyone but the driver and his mechanic are not immediately obvious…hmhm..
But does that mean racing in rich countries is any better? Should racers spend their money in rich countries, just because the gap between poor and affluent is less obvious? (Hello to hypocrisy!) Anyway it was thoughts like these that kept my enthusiasm at bay the first half day or so.
But what’s a poor soul to do when exposed to spectacular scenery, blazing sun, warm caressing summer winds, golden sun sets, warm earthy colours, smells of engine oil, music of roaring racing engines, a racetrack free to use any time with no one on it. There are people, who spend their holidays on the beach and there are people who spend their holidays on the racetrack.
Which would YOU prefer?

Sun setting, a 993, a track and nothing else…

Being my usual chaotic self I had things muddled up and it wasn’t a 993 I was supposed to race. It was a beautiful blue big impact bumper 911 with a big 3,6 liter 993 engine, called “Stroumpfette”. Built by Marc. What a relieve. My beautiful Stroumpfette.
The “Team Stroumpfette” consisted of Jeff her owner, their friend Henrique and me.

La Stroumpfette in Africa. A long way from home.
Petrol station
Inside the petrol pump. No comment.

If Jeff and Henrique would call me now in the middle of the night, for another ‘strategy meeting’ I would jump in my car and drive hours to Switzerland to meet, because I have never had so much fun as with this team. With some amateur racers it’s easy to forget that they are racing for fun: impossible with these two!!
Their great sense of humour, tremendous generosity, love of cars and racing, combined with the fact that our car wasn’t really competing for first place (ah..) turned these five days into pure joy.

“Team Stroumpfette” at:
the open air drivers briefing.
Our competitors..pathetic!
Some others. Also pathetic, but I like their car: “shocking pink”, great colour for a race car!
The garages.
The later winner of the race, Marc, and his car on their way to the Paddocks

We achieved our goals by finishing in seventh place, ripping half our competitors into tiny bits (so not), improving our driving skills, inventing a new logical non -international sign language for car to pitlane Comunication ( sticking out a BROOM), competing fiercly amongst each other, scientifically analysing driving methods via satellite and computer technology, (“What are you doing in this turn? YOU`RE STOPPPPING!”). We developed superior race strategies (just survive), we all took turns in being the quickest of us three (felt good) and being slowest (felt stupid), we used foul language and handsigns, we spend endless hours just driving on the track, we ate well, we drank, we talked, we laughed A LOT and when the race was over we went swimming in the open sea. My God. What a dream.

In the paddocks.
Jeff taking the start on sunday. It was hot.Very hot. But so was his driving!
The field.
The Marshals.
the scenery…
See the red car in front? That was behind, not much later..ha. Never underestimate an old Porsche and her Driver! Great Jeff!
The Stroumpfette, African Queen.
The 20 seconds drivers change.
The high tech-refuelling.
The other drivers, waiting for their turns.
The paddocks.
Spectators and racers in summer clothes, under “umbrellas”. Against the sun. Not a common sight on race tracks….
The finish.
The 6 Hours of Sinidad is a Race spread over two days: Three hours on Saturday and three hours on Sunday. We basically spend five days driving as much as we wanted to, on the only permanent race track in West-Africa. It was safe yet friendly, relaxed and easy, it felt very private but not luxurious only priviledged!

I would REALLY love to thank Marc, Jeff and Henrique in this place, but …
They knew it better. They even put some warnings in my direction.
The truth is, racing on the Circuit de Dakar should be made illegal. It poses a threat not to your body, but to your mind. It´s a Virus. You just keep wanting to go back. A threat to anyone’s family life and or any other dependent form of human life.

Dangerous. Don’t go.

8 Comments

  1. batistuda says:

    Super!!! Am besten finde ich die Garagen!!!
    der pinke Porsche….auch mal was anderes!!
    Nur dein Hut ist nicht sehr renn stylisch!
    sehr schöne Fotos und so schöne Farben!

  2. Mein Hut???!!! Weißt DU wie heiß es da ist?! Da ist einem der Style egal!kicher.

  3. Arneyb says:

    I am jealous, again. But nevertheless, congratulations for that amazing experience.
    If you ask about political correctness, race drivers are responsible for all evil in the world anyway, no matter if its first, second or third world. Spending money in poor countries shouldnt be the worst thing to do.
    Great cars, great photos, stay wild !

  4. jj says:

    Pretty cool my Dear.

    Chapeau.

  5. Anonymous says:

    ama not jealous. just wish i could have been there as well.
    need to raise my kids and funds fast!
    take care,
    ben

  6. Arneyb:Racedrivers are responsible? Ahhhhhhh
    Makes a change from mothers…
    jj:THANK YOU!
    Ben:VERY fast..

  7. Karsten Groeneweg says:

    What a great story to read, must be an amazing experience!

    I earlier posted something on your Scuderia Hanseat blog, I’m not sure if you read that already!

    I keep following this blog, your stories are great!

  8. Bernd says:

    Wunderbarer Blog übrigens, Meals ‘n Wheels, Kompliment! Was für eine tolle Kombination… Dakar war heute meine Frühstückslektüre, während ich Apricot & Passion Fruit Jam von Ottolenghi (kein Scherz, sondern ein Mitbringsel aus London) geniessen durfte. Keep up the brilliant work!

    Liebe Grüße von “Helga”.

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