The perfect lunch
Thursday 16 October 2003
Path > Magny Cours circuit to Magny Cours circuit via Magny Cours in France
The last race of the season is always a little different than the rest. Everyone knows that it is the end. The end of the way that things have been for most of the year and next year is uncertain for probably 90% of the people around the paddock.
The race weekend was well on its way, but the French seemed to be taking their time with a few things. I still didn't have a phone line that should have been here yesterday and the verge of the track had been dug up only yesterday for some final modifications.
It seemed that the unhurried attitude of the French was rubbing off on a few people, and I jumped at the chance when Jazzy rang me to see what I was doing for lunch.
We cruised into the little village of Magny Cours. It isn't far from the circuit and with the city of Nevers nearby, is usually bypassed. My memories of the French championship round that I had attended a few months ago came back and I remembered a small restaurant on one of the streets.
Lunch was perfect. Our grasp of the language was feeble, but we still managed to order the same as everyone else. This was a workman's restaurant and the food, setting and atmosphere, while simple, taught me a lot about the culture of the French countryside.
A bottle of the local red wine joined us as we worked out that the salad starter was in the communal fridge in a corner of the restaurant and we started to relax as the wine was poured into glasses.
The mixture of local chatter, brilliant sunshine and good company took hold and Jazzy and I were soon off in conversation that couldn't be related to work. Perfect.
Without flourish or fanfare, the steaks arrived. Jazzy had been telling me that the steak from these parts was famous, and the plate that arrived in front of me confirmed that we'd hit on a winner. The succulent, juicy steak melted in my mouth, filled with flavour. It was perfectly complemented by the fresh bottle of local red wine.
Both unable to finish, our waitress removed our plates and then brought the platter of cheese from another table.
We didn't need it, but the mixed flavours from the selection of cheeses were too good to resist. At least five different cheeses had to be samples as the remainder of the red was put to rest.
Totally content with life, we left the restaurant and headed back to the track after spending nearly two hours consumed in French cuisine.
The afternoon of work was a little hard to face, but I managed to sort out a few things. It seemed like the sidecar crew had sorted a few things as well, organising a group to head to the go kart track for a little ?friendly competition'.
The competition was fast and furious, but Tonnie van Gils turned out to be the smoothest of the lot. It must have been because he spent most of his time finding the right lines instead of aiming for his fellow competitors like some other unmentionables!
It had been a great day. Sure, I was let down again by the French organisers and still didn't have a phone line, but after the lunch I'd had with Jazzy, the little problems just didn't seem to matter any more...
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