Today is the day Steve has been really looking forward to… we’re heading for the F1 circuit of Monza, a legendary track for petrol heads and although we’d visited the city before on a previous trip to , then we had to content ourselves with glimpses of the circuit from a distance. The circuit is situated in a royal park… it’s a beautiful setting. Mind you, the biggest headache was finding our way in to the circuit, the road book didn’t help at all. We’d been told there would be no penalties for arriving early… what they omitted to tell us was that we’d be penalised for late arrival!
The track parade at Modena had been rather slow-paced, so Steve wasn’t optimistic that Monza would be any different. However, after posing for pictures on the starting grid we were given free reign, much to our surprise. No track speed limit… What? They cannot be serious surely! Well, dear reader, picture this. There I was sitting next to a racing driver who needs no persuasion to put his foot to the metal. I was clinging on to the seat belt for dear life and dropped the hand-held video camera I was supposed to be recording the lap on… in the event it recorded most of my lap instead!
It was scary and exhilarating at the same time. We were even allowed to drive on the famed banking. To think F1 drivers used to race along the banking up to the 1960s makes me realise how skilled they must have been because it is very steep – we were not allowed to drive over a yellow line about halfway up, but even then the car felt as if it could topple over (Steve says it was because we weren’t going fast enough to grip the road!). I was concerned that some of the other drivers might not be used to race circuit etiquette and feared that someone might drift across the tarmac without checking their mirrors. Steve did accelerate fast and overtook a lot of cars (he derived most enjoyment from overtak
ing the BMWs!) but he drove safely.
If I’m honest, I knew he would want to see what his rally car could do, having spent years building it from scratch but 95 mph seems very quick when you’re so low to the ground! It took me a few minutes afterwards to recover my equilibrium and those of you who have seen the video will know that my language may have been a bit ripe! But it was great fun and you only live once, right?