24 Heurs du Le Mans

When I put this trip together I was aware that the Euro 2016 football championship was taking place in France, but a quick check of venues showed that I shouldn’t be bothered by any disruption; actually what is a bit strange is that although France are the hosts there aren’t any of today’s three games on television here!

What I forgot to check was the date of the famous Le Mans 24 hour motor race I had routed myself right through the city of Le Mans and today the race started! The sad thing is that I love the city, especially the old quarter, Vieux Mans and I had hoped to enjoy a coffee there on my way through. So you’ll have to be content with a couple of photos from a previous visit!

Vieux Mans

Vieux Mans


Le Mans trams in the Cité Plantagenet.

Le Mans trams in the Cité Plantagenêt.

I also adore the magic that is the famous race, where cars and crews are pushed to the limit; massive sports cars power along the Mulsannne Straight in the darkness and their headlights light the trees in the forest of the Sarthe at midnight. I haven’t yet been to the race in person; I keep promising myself to go to one year….only not this one! A couple of years ago I spent a very enjoyable morning in the 24 Hour museum, which is located on one of the permanent parts of the circuit, half of it is public roads for the rest of the year. It’s well worth a visit, even Mrs Dookes enjoyed it!

Le Mans Bentley Speed 8, Winner Le Mans 2003

Le Mans Bentley Speed 8,
Winner Le Mans 2003

So there we were happily trudging along the A81 heading East, getting near to Le Mans and the traffic just went stupid, from 110kph to 10kph in about 300metres! Time to bale out and find another way; which is just what we did, cutting South across the beautiful countryside of the Sarthe towards Angers.

Now here’s a strange thing, every time I go anywhere near Angers there’s always roadworks and not just a bit of resurfacing! Oh no, we are talking “let’s dig it all up and rebuild it” stuff! Diversions, temporary surfaces and just as we got on the brand-spank-me new stuff, it promptly welcomed us by having a thunderstorm and turning the new oily asphalt into black ice! Twice, as I accelerated off roundabouts, the rear wheel lost traction…now that’s quite a peculiar feeling to have the rear wheel spinning when you are going in a straight line! Bear in mind as well, fully loaded and with me on board, Baby weighs in at just over half a metric tonne….and we lost straight-line grip – twice!!!!!

Thankfully, the rest of the mile munching day wasn’t quite as “interesting,”

Dookes

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4 thoughts on “24 Heurs du Le Mans

  1. I would say ‘drive safely’ but I know you always do so I’ll just say hope the road conditions are safer for you on the rest of your journey.

  2. Such interesting tales you have! The only thing that happened to me in a similar vein was when I scheduled a vacation to a seaside town the day of a marathon and nearly every street in the historic district was closed.

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