Posts Tagged ‘Andalusia’

Total Experience: Formula V8 3.5 World Series in Jerez 2016

October 31, 2016
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The Circuito de Jerez was completed in 1985.

Formula V8 3.5 World Series in Jerez de la Frontera was a spectacular success that began with the impromptu exhibition on Calle Alcade Álvaro Domecq.  The main avenue leading the center of the small city was choked with tire smoke instead of cars during what would normally be rush hour.  Around 7 pm on Thursday a day before the racing car festival began a lone Formula V8 team pilot, Alfonso Celis, Jr., was doing donuts in the street as throngs of unfettered bystanders gawked.   The thought of being merely meters away from an intensely powerful vehicle didn’t instill fear into the people of Jerez.  Onlookers gathered behind temporary metal barricades sheltering only their ears from the din of a roaring V8 engine opened full throttle while ignoring the high-speed pelts of pebbles kicked from the tires.

Everything portended well for the Formula V8 3.5 World Series from the beginning.  No one was injured in the promotional and the steadfast crowd was energized and excited to spread the word that this year was not to be missed.  Thousands of people from Andalusia turned the Circuito de Jerez into a small metropolis of its own on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as motor heads filled the stands to watch various categories of races.  The Circuito de Jerez was open, accessible and free during the Formula V8 3.5 World Series Festival, which stands in stark contrast to other racing platforms.  With games and rides for children of all ages as well as racing drama in the penultimate affair in the calendar of Formula V8 events had all the makings of a good time.

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Jerez de la Frontera was ready for Formula V8 3.5 World Series well before the start in 2016. [Photo from RPM Racing]

The premier events also aired on local television and it was also obvious that Jerez appeared more filled than usual the entire weekend.  More English conversations could be heard in hotel lobbies that are frequented by those in the know and looking out for the latest happenings or the best service.  The more populous capital of Andalusia is Seville, a short car ride away from Jerez, but afterhours establishments must have felt the surging pulse that added multitudes bring if only for a weekend.  Tapas bars and nightclubs were also at capacity and the usually intimate town of Jerez succumbed to the pressures and desires of racing fanatics seeking fun.

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Matevos Isaakyan signs autographs with his SMP Racing teammate Matthieu Vaxiviere in the background. [Photo from RPM Racing]

RPM Racing who sponsors the Formula V8 3.5 World Series should be very pleased with the outcomes at the Circuito de Jerez.

Add this to your calendar next year if you are of the adventurous sort.  Jerez might be to Seville what Philadelphia is to New York, but if are searching for a modern tradition in old Spain, look no further than motor sports.  Peaceful coexistence between two close municipalities relies on the ability of each to maintain their own identity and stay in their lane.

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Beitske Visser is applauded by La Alcadesa, or mayor of Jerez, Mamen Sánchez Díaz. [Photo from RPM Racing]

The Circuito de Jerez is a major attraction and the focal point of racing in Andalusia that provides a distinctive contemporary flare that most of antiquated Spain cannot claim.  Jerez is a special place.  The name, itself, is from a wine produced 5,000 years before Christ but the people have embraced racing of all sorts with the type of fervor that compares to Talladega, Indianapolis, and Daytona.

 

The Circuito de Jerez is one of the more famous and problematic tracks in the world for cars and completely different than racing in a left-turn-only oval.   The course is known for being unusually narrow requiring top-level skills for navigation.  Beitske Visser is the only female driver in the Formula V8 3.5 series and she explained the intricacies that make Jerez unique and her leap in performance.

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Beitske Visser is with team Teo Martin after switching from team AVF in 2015. [Photo from RPM Racing]

“Every year you improve.  I thought today we were super strong on race space but unfortunately it is not easy to pass here.  The race is very difficult on tire management,” Visser added sounding wise beyond her twenty-one years and excited about her gains.

It was difficult for Beitske to hide her happiness at her results after the festival even though she didn’t place.  Visser is moving past the initial attention since joining the tour in 2015 and has shown her followers that she is ready to challenge leaders with her strongest race finishes of the season coming in 7th and 5th in the two races in Jerez de la Frontera.  As one of the more popular drivers on the tour Visser has broadened the appeal of the sport and the Netherlands native has formed a solid base of supporters.

Even in Europe the thrill of raw power emanating from a revving supercharged engine is infectious and embodied by unique fans that sometimes like to take their shirts off in the racing stands.  Racing fans here are just like the Americans!  The weather for the Formula V8 World Series Festival was a warm 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the waning days of October and a fabulous afternoon for racing.  This part of Andalusia has the ideal climate for baring flesh and amplifying the atmosphere in autumn.   The Circuito de Jerez was already buzzing from the increased competition in the overall Formula V8 3.5 series points standings.

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Tom Dillmann is from France and at 27 years of age, one of the oldest drivers in the Formula V8 3.5 World Series. [Photo from RPM Racing]

Hot temperatures provided the perfect setting for the inevitable showdown between Tom Dillmann and Louis Delétraz.

 

After the events concluded Louis Delétraz took a narrow three-point lead over Dillmann after being penalized in the first race on Saturday for forcing the previous overall individual leader into the gravel during their battle for position.  Dillmann sits at 197 points headed into the season finale that will be held in Barcelona the weekend of November 4 and one of the most consistent Formula V8 3.5 drivers is in a funk.  At only nineteen years old Delétraz absorbed his worst finish of the year in the first race on Saturday by claiming second place in his final race on Sunday to give himself a slim lead.  The Rookie of the Year Delétraz was cool in the post-race interview with the knowledge that Dillmann didn’t make the podium in four out of the last four contests.

When asked about his most recent performance Louis Delétraz declared, “I try to keep calm because that is how you win championships.”

Delétraz was also stately in the reference to the penalty decision for illegally contacting Dillmann’s car on Saturday.

“My main focus today was to just take that poll position and try to take a win because I think that is the best answer as a driver to something that you don’t agree with,” he added.

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Louis Delétraz races for Fortec Motorsports and hails from Switzerland. [Photo from RPM Racing]

With 200 individual points Delétraz is already playing with house money and confident that he has already claimed the rookie title and frustrated veterans like Tom Dillmann who is now in second.  Matthieu Vaxiviere is the nearest competitor to the pair with 175 to complete the likely top three in driver points standings.

First place in the Formula V8 3.5 series in Jerez on Saturday went to Matevos Isaakyan with Egor Orudzhev and Matthieu Vaxiviere taking second and third place, respectively.  Dillman, a former Formula 3 champion, was still the overall points leader going into the final day at the Circuito de Jerez but he couldn’t withstand the onslaught of youth and finished 8th on the final day of racing.  The pressure that built up by Sunday led to a very quick start and a display of expert skills that left Egor Orudzhev, Louis Delétraz, and Matthieu Vaxiviere standing on the podium 1,2, 3.

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Formula V8 3.5 World Series podium from the race on Sunday, October 30. [Photo from RPM Racing]

Egor Orudzhev tallied his fourth win of the year, giving him the most in Formula V8 3.5 in this season so far.  Egor credited practice to his victory in the press conference.

“Yeah, we worked on the starts,” confessed the twenty-one-year-old Orudzhev deflecting the credit to his team Arden Motorsports.  “We always work quite hard on that part because you can win a race by [doing] that, like today.”

Orudzhev, a team Arden driver, declined to reveal much else.  “We just cruised,” the Russian driver remarked.

Louis Delétraz agreed, “Today I had a not-so-good start but Egor had a really good one.  I could see him fly by and I just couldn’t do anything about it.”  In the overall team standings Arden Motorsport is in the lead with 337 points and team Lotus is a not-so-distant second with 322.

With only Barcelona left on the schedule all the other racing teams are out of contention for the team championship but racing is a sport where there are many story lines to follow.  Different countries, teams, and personalities are a fascinating mix and part of the global appeal of motorsports.  The entire Formula V8 3.5 World Series is covered in multiple languages at GPUpdate.net in detail.  Also, check out this short video recap of the racing weekend below.

The allure has captivated a dedicated following that enjoyed unprecedented access in Jerez with constant pit crew walk-throughs and autograph signings each day of the Formula V8 3.5 World Series Festival.  Racing at the elite level has something for everybody so don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in the total experience if you are ever given the opportunity to visit the Circuito de Jerez.

[Featured photo from RPM Racing]

Upcoming Events: Vendimia 2016

August 2, 2016

Click on the Google Calendar link above to add my event to your calendar if you happen to be in the area of Andalusia this coming September.  I have been spending so much time talking about Jerez de la Frontera, Spain that I haven’t had the chance to properly invite you.

IMG_20160629_124236I know that it is a bit of short notice but this is one of the last events of the official 2016 calendar of events for the City of Jerez.  Vendimia is the grape harvest festival and generally folks make a pretty big deal about it here in Spain according to the board of tourism for Andalucia.  The most important Vendimia festival in Spain is right here in Jerez so if you want to meet me directly after the Blessing of the Grapes, then we can can watch the Stomping of the Grapes together.

It should go without saying that we are going to be sipping on something and only those legally allowed to drink can imbibe.  Anyway it will be a really good time.

https://plus.google.com/events/cpj0v1nmkk62jrq8brutppo2p44

 

Party in the Street: Andalusia Edition

April 11, 2015

I am told that in all of Andalusia people like to party in the street.  Andalusian people are festive and they don’t need much reason to throw down at a moment’s notice.  Dancing in the streets is common and the Flamenco style is apparently in their blood.

My family and I were walking down the street, minding our own business, and this elderly gentleman just started playing the guitar.  Another stranger started to bang out a beat on a box that he found.  Two ladies that were having lunch nearby started dancing.  My wife joined in but I pretty much started filming like a tourist, even though the entire scene was reminiscent of African cultures.

People all over the world aren’t really that different, I suppose.  If you are ever travelling through Spain, you might want to take part.  The next big party in Andalusia is La Feria in Jerez and Seville in May.  The people have been warming up since March, when this video was taken.  The orange blossoms are filling the air with a sweet smell and the weather is already quite warm in the South.

We are going to get with you at a later date.  You have got to come to Spain!

My son, Samuel, and I.

We stay on the primrose path at Jardín Escénico, Jerez De La Frontera.

Semana Santa in Jerez de la Frontera 2015

March 30, 2015

Let me apologize in advance for not going full wide screen with this video of my son, Samuel, at his first Semana Santa in Jerez de la Frontera.  You really need to see this in the full HD glory to appreciate the magnitude of all that gold.

Holy Week is a really big deal here in Andalusia.  There are plenty of religious relics and important statues strewn about Europe but I am told that Jerez goes above and beyond the call when it comes to commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  There will be parades like this all week.

Folks dress in tunics with pointy hats and walk solemnly through the city streets with heavy statues depicting various aspects of Catholicism.  Spain is a Catholic country after all.  My wife explained to me that the valuable statues and the various marchers are indicative of an extensive subculture of laypeople devoted to religious organizations.  Of course there are meetings all year long in order to ensure that the events are well-coordinated and go off without a hitch.

I never knew that Holy Week could be so lucrative.  People pay big bucks to anonymously accompany the elaborately adorned statues.  Older and richer people pay even more money (all year long) just to have a seat in one of the many grandstands along the parade route.  Even the people working the hardest in the Andalusian heat carrying the relics have to pay to join the religious associations for the privilege.

It kind of makes you wonder what Jesus would think about all this gold.  We haven’t even gotten started about the Virgin yet.  We are going to get with you at a later date on that, but please consider this photo as a preview.

Holy Week in Jerez 2015

My son has no idea what is going on during the parades of Semana Santa, but maybe nobody really understands.