On the June bank holiday weekend Formula One visited the streets of Dublin in the form of Jenson Button and Giedo van der Garde. It wasn’t just about Formula One as Irish British Touring Car star Aron Smith, World Superbike competitor Eugene Laverty, and the Prodrift team, amongst others, also made an appearance. It was a wet Irish day, but the weather did not dampen the spirits of any of the participants or the fans who lined up around the streets. There were three viewing options: watching from a number of the free zones, or paying for a grandstand seat or paddock entry. I watched most of it from the Custom House Quay for free and got very close to the action!
The Pre-Event Party
On the Saturday night before all the action there was a pre-event party held at Meeting House Square in Dublin City Centre. This featured live music from Gareth Dunlop, Ryan Sheridan and BBC F1’s very own Eddie Jordan with his band Eddie and The Robbers. Bavaria beer was flowing while rain fell from the sky, however, large umbrellas covered the crowd area. The music was great, the atmosphere was buzzing and in general it was great fun. Eddie and the Robbers played a number of covers which allowed the crowd to get involve and sing along – who doesn’t enjoy a singalong? Their set also featured EJ playing the spoons – enough said. As if that wasn’t enough while I was in the queue for the toilets I overheard someone talking about the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes fanzone, which I had not previously been aware about. As you know I am a huge McLaren fan so I endeavoured to go and visit it the next morning. It was so good it will have it’s own dedicated blog post!
The Main Event
The main event took place on the Sunday with a temporary circuit constructed along Dublin’s streets allowing drivers to showcase their cars and have a bit of fun. As someone who has never been able to attend a Formula One race it is events like this which allow me to get up close to the action and experience the excitement of hearing the revving of an engine and smelling the tyre smoke. I have attended rounds of the British Touring Car Championship so it was not my first motorsport event, and I was at the Mercedes event at Mercedes-Benz World in 2009 when McLaren, Brawn and Force India and DTM drivers put on an event to thank the fans for their support. This year, thanks to Bavaria City Racing, I once again got to experience seeing and hearing my favourite team drive metres away from me.
My viewing position was at Custom House Quay which was a straight just after the paddock area meaning that I got to see cars at some speed which started with Jenson Button blasting past in the McLaren MP4-12C and ended with the Prodrift team and Giedo van der Garde in the Caterham. I also moved to another vantage point for some of the action which allowed me to see the drifters in action as it was on a corner. Unfortunately, it was not possible for us to see any of the cars in the performance zones, so I missed out on the doughnuts and major displays.
All in all I have to say that it was a great day out, especially as I didn’t have to pay a penny (or a cent) for a ticket. If you have never been to one of these events I thoroughly recommend it – it is a must for any motorsport fan, especially if you are unable to travel to the big events. I nearly got deafened when Giedo van der Garde revved his car right in front of me, less than a metre away, but it was so worth it.
All of the pictures used in this post were taken by me.