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How I ruined Rouen ...!


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#1 pancho

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Posted 23 September 2001 - 11:15

Dammit, Dammit, Dammit! My long awaited whistle-stop visit to Rouen should have been one of the high points of a short trip to Paris. Instead it ended in heartbreak and disappointment!
Let me explain. We overran our final day in the capital, and left just enough time for a squirt around Les Essarts before making our way to the port of Dieppe. No problem, I thought.
From Rouen itself, we headed toward Elbeuf and the A13 Le Havre road. We went through what appeared to be a large industrial area with, I think, a railway to the right.
Soon, though, we found ourselves in more familiar suroundings, A wide, climbing road with densly wooded landscape either side. Soon, an exit marked Les Essarts! I could hardly contain my excitement, and started bouncing up and down and squealing like a child. I peeled off right, and came upon a roundabout, showing Les Essarts right again, and Orival 4 Km. This is it, I thought. My heart began to pound a little faster, but was momentarily stopped when I entered Les Essarts itself. Where now? The small village seemed to offer no clues. Then, a landmark I recognised - The huge red and white Transmitter tower that stood beside the track. I instinctively headed for it, and in a moment it was to the right and a matter of metres away. I now had a dilemma. Head left away from the tower, or dip down and right. I chose the latter, convinced that this would feed me on to the downhill sweeps to Noveau Monde. To my horror, I found myself on the motorway headed to Rouen. With less than forty minutes left to make my check-in window, there was no time for a second go. With a wife and two impatient children, I had no choice but to point the car towards Dieppe.
My dissapointment can only be imagined.
Of course, in the light of recent world events, these are trivial and pathetic ramblings, but in thew context of my search, it is agonising to come so close to one of motorsports greatest arenas, yet still manage to miss everything.
Where oh where did I go wrong?

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#2 Gary Davies

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Posted 23 September 2001 - 13:23

Pancho, your story touched me. With every tick of the clock as the ferry check-in time approached, I could feel your anxiety. Where did you go wrong, you say?

Well ... I say this as a family man who loves his wife and his expensive to clothe and educate and hard to please 17 year old daughter ... the mistake was to go "avec famille".

As a Welshman resident these last umpteen years in the land of kangaroos and speed cameras, I have come to realise that my trips home "sans famille" are the ones where I get to drink in such delights as the Shuttleworth Collection, the old Bomber Command fields in Lincolnshire, Oulton Park (never went there Pre-Oz), Duns, the remains of Brooklands, RAF Duxford. And so on.

You see, if you'd somehow engineered an excuse to go alone, you'd have said: "Bugger the ferry!"

Perhaps I'll give you a call when next I'm visiting the old folks "sans famille."

Vanwall.

#3 pancho

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Posted 23 September 2001 - 15:03

Vanwall, you,ve hit the nail on the head.
If I'm honest,though, my failure came down to lack of planning. If I'd have taken KPY's offer of assistance in the first place I might have had more luck. I'll be back in France 2002, so I'll have another tilt then. Only problem is I'll have the family with me again!
I hope my wife never reads this post... better check my insurance!

p.s. any suggestions on credible excuses to ditch the family for the trip will be greatly recieved:lol: :lol:

#4 leegle

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Posted 24 September 2001 - 03:03

Seams to me like you should have gone there first rather than last. :) Maybe you should plan that for your next trip or find somewhere locally that the family would like to go without you and take them there for the afternoon. :D

#5 BertlF

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Posted 24 September 2001 - 13:31

Originally posted by pancho
Vanwall, you,ve hit the nail on the head.
If I'm honest,though, my failure came down to lack of planning. If I'd have taken KPY's offer of assistance in the first place I might have had more luck. I'll be back in France 2002, so I'll have another tilt then. Only problem is I'll have the family with me again!
I hope my wife never reads this post... better check my insurance!

p.s. any suggestions on credible excuses to ditch the family for the trip will be greatly recieved:lol: :lol:


Find the next shopping mall.....;) It might be costly but maybe still worth it....

Bert

#6 Racer.Demon

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 13:55

Well, I don't know about you guys, but my wife starts to radiate happiness when she sees me enjoying myself! So when we went up to Les Essarts she was just as thrilled as me - not by the track itself (I remember her wondering 'So this is it?') but by me enthusing about those sweeps! (Ah yes, she's a miracle.)

So perhaps you should have just asked your wife if she would have objected to taking one ferry later...

Don't know about the impatient kids, however. My son was just two years old and happily sitting in the back at the time, so... OTOH, he is already very much into motorsports now (part of his education!) so I don't think he would be very impatient on our forthcoming track pilgrimages!

But seriously, driving westbound through the village of Les Essarts should have led you straight to the track. The main road leads to a T junction with the track. For the pit straight and the esses you take a left turn. Nouveau Monde comes up very quickly, so hard on the brakes after the final sweep. The old back part of the track is closed off but there's a connecting road through the forest that leads to the spot where you entered the track.

Reading about your plight, you probably were on the track before turning left into Les Essarts (i.e. the wrong way up the main road through the village!). The other end of the main road leads to another A13 exit, so that's probably what you did. Or in case you did drive up the right way through town, you went to the right on that T junction, where you should have turned left. You can then console yourself with the fact that you drove on the bit of curving road that leads from the back part (now cut off by the motorway) and the pit straight - albeit in the opposite direction!

But you are right: there are no signs whatsoever anywhere and the locals have done just about everything to wipe away the memories.

Next time bring Darren Galpin's track map... and give the family a crash course in motorsports appreciation or drop them off in Rouen center for a couple of hours.

#7 pancho

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 18:52

Racer.demon,

I think you're right about me taking the wrong turn at Les Essarts. In fact, I remember thinking an hour or so afterwards that I may have been on the circuit at some point. The thing that makes it even more galling is that If I had been on it I wouldn't have been aware of it!
Unfortunately, the option of a later crossing was a non-starter. Our scheduled crossing was at 8:00pm - the last of the day.

Anyway, I'm going to spend a day in the area with my old buddy Gary C...he's worked at just about every racetrack on the planet, so if he can find somewhere as remote as Magny Cours then I'm sure he can negotiate his way around Normandy!

BTW, when we arrange a day perhaps we can hook up with some other TNF stalwarts!
:up:

ps. As far as motorsports appreciation is concerned, my wife has had it rammed down her throat for the past 10 years....the motorsport thing, I mean!!. My son is two years old, is named Jimmy after Jim Clark, and the first word he could say was raceycar

#8 Barry Boor

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 21:56

Pancho, or should it be Paulo!!!! If you go back there with Gary, you MUST investigate the very interesting example of French wildlife that hangs around on the corner where the original back straight turns of the 1960's circuit.

You never know, she might have a friend. ;)

#9 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 22:02

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Pancho, or should it be Paulo!!!! If you go back there with Gary, you MUST investigate the very interesting example of French wildlife that hangs around on the corner where the original back straight turns of the 1960's circuit.

You never know, she might have a friend. ;)


Come on Barry, spill the beans!! You're being just TOO cryptic - as bad as Stefan when he wouldn't tell us what fitta meant in Swedish!:lol: :lol:

#10 pancho

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Posted 26 September 2001 - 20:16

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Pancho, or should it be Paulo!!!! If you go back there with Gary, you MUST investigate the very interesting example of French wildlife that hangs around on the corner where the original back straight turns of the 1960's circuit.

You never know, she might have a friend. ;)


Barry,

Give us a clue...two legs or four!

#11 Barry Boor

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Posted 26 September 2001 - 20:44

Oh alright! I'll tell you.

When KPY, Roger Clark and I were driving around the circuit in May, we couldn't help but notice a VERY attractive young lady (presumably French) standing on the corner where the original circuit turned right onto its back straight. She was dressed in a bright pink dress with a black coat, high heels shoes and from a brief ;) glance looked very 'professionally' turned out indeed.

Some time later, we passed going in the opposite direction, and she was still there.

Now something that you must understand if you have not actually been there is that this circuit is right out in the country. I don't think there is any domestic property to be seen anywhere within the confines of the track, and VERY few outside it too.

Eventually, we walked the length of that old back straight (from the start/finish straight end.) When we reached the corner at the far end of the straight, she was gone. There was, however, an empty car parked across the road from where she was.

Several hypotheses were vouchedsafe; she was waiting for her husband/boyfriend to pick her up - but then why would she be standing way out there? She was a 'working girl' waiting for a 'friend'. Or, typically French, she was a married lady meeting a lover out in the country where no-one (except for 3 strange Englishmen) would see her.

So if you and Gary do go there, Pancho, keep your eye open, and if you see her, remember us to her!!!!!!!

#12 pancho

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Posted 26 September 2001 - 21:41

Ah, now I see!

When you lot said you were going to France to search out an old relic that's been ridden by lots of men, I thought you meant the circuit!;)

#13 Roger Clark

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Posted 26 September 2001 - 23:40

I've long suspected that the lady's story was entirely innocent. but she probably bores her friends with tales of the three middle aged men who drove past her several times one afternoon, stopping to take photographs of uninteresting country roads. What on earth were they doing?

#14 Kpy

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Posted 11 October 2001 - 01:19

Originally posted by Roger Clark
What on earth were they doing?


Observing!!;);)

And Pancho don't you dare come anywhere near Rouen without at least asking for proper directions. It's always a pleasure to meet true enthusiasts.

As you've discovered, the circuit's hard to find. Not the wildlife though - Barry's making models even as we communicate