Our village pub wasn’t slow to take advantage of the difference in local time and that of China – the Shanghai Grand Prix coincided with breakfast and the wonderful aroma of bacon, boerewors, eggs and chips greeted neighbour Jan and I as we entered through the swing doors. Every farmer in the district was there, tucking in to breakfast and washing it down with pints of the best bitter. Would Hamilton in his McLaren, in pole position, beat his archrival Felipe Massa to take this year’s Drivers’ Championship, was the topic of heated conversation.
Ferrari fans said, no way! BMW and Renault supporters said it was their turn to win. Excitement reached fever pitch as engines revved on the starting grid. At this critical moment, the pub’s doors flew open to reveal a motley bunch of bikers who’d chosen our pub on their Sunday morning breakfast run to also watch the race. Clad from top-to-toe in black leathers, still wearing their helmets, you couldn’t tell the difference between the guys and the women. “Line ‘em up barman!” they said as the lights went to green and the race was on. In the commotion of jostling between the locals and the bikers for access to the bar, most of us missed the first corner, which, if you follow the sport, is the most crucial of the race. Being invaded by this unruly bunch didn’t go down too well with us locals.
The only one smiling was pub owner Frikki, who turned up the sound on his big-screen TV. Some two hours later Lewis won the race, leading from start to finish. Postmortems followed, ending up in fisticuffs as the atmosphere became more heated and the beer flowed more liberally. Frikki called the cops. Three uniforms appeared. Realising they had no chance to quell the riot, they went to plan B. Setting up a roadblock at the end of our main street, they caught most of the bikers doing wheelies on their way out of town.
Breathalised and handcuffed they were driven off to the tjoekie and charged for speeding, driving under the influence and unruly behaviour. Churchgoers, leaving morning service got caught up in the fray and threatened the closure of our pub. “Let’s get out of here,” said Jan. “I’ll race you home.” “As long as it’s the back way out and away from the roadblock,” suggested. My eye was swollen closed from a biker chick’s punch. “You sure you’re up to it? Lucky you didn’t pick on her man!” he chuckled. “What happened to your eye?” Wifey Dear asked. “walked into the pub door.” With the Brazil Grand Prix to follow, think we’ll be watching from home. Motor racing is a dangerous sport. – Derek Christopher |fw