Posts Tagged ‘Xerez’

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]

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Formula V8 World Series is in Jerez

October 26, 2016

My October surprise this US election year was completely unexpected: Europe has their own version of the World Series.  (For the free.)  October 29th and 30th.

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Just trust me, this is official and they mean that you can bring your family for free.

I must be turning into my father because the words “free for the family” are like sweet music to my ears and command my full attention.  This weekend the Formula V8 World Series Festival is in Jerez de la Frontera and they have extended an invitation to all of the families in this wonderful city to participate in two days of racing.  You can download your free invitation and take as many as you need from here but my guess is that if you were in town, I would have known about it and already told you.

Jerez de la Frontera, Spain is really a city that loves their motor sports.  At first I thought that it was just motorcycles and bicycles but now I realize that the people aren’t afraid to let loose on their main avenues.  Jerez isn’t just the city of horses that happens to be named after the fabulous wines of the region.  Xerezanos-Jerezanos have also embraced some cool modern traditions.  Motor sports have been a big deal in Jerez for a while and now I am contemplating a whole new tag in my sports section.

Anyway, rock out to my self-filmed hype video when team AVF and pilot Alfonso Celis, Jr. took over the main street leading to the center of the city.  Enjoy this treat!

Sherry Education All Stars In Jerez

September 7, 2016

This is a special bonus post to capitalize on all of the recent information that I have discovered in my personal, Jerez sherry education.  It is worth stating here that sherry has also managed to play a prominent role during the courtship of my beloved wife.

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Vendimia Jerez 2016 Pisa de la Uva

While we were still just dating my wife was on exchange teaching English in the United States and she confided in me that she missed the wines that the Jerez region is famous for.  Her lamentations led to my eventual acceptance of the challenge to find and present her with a case of fino.  The rest, as they say, is history.

I was in love.  I was immediately launched into a new world of understanding about the intricacies of wines and the wine industry.  Seriously, my wife had me at “fortified wine,” but by the time I discovered what a ‘rebujito’ (* see below) was I knew that I was in over my head.  I had to get a better sherry education and also figure out how it was possible that I didn’t find this old liquid gold in my life beforehand.  I immediately set about on a course of research that directed me towards several fabulous people that have a presence in the sherry industry in Jerez de la Frontera, and on the internet.

The first super sherry aficionado that I found was right here on WordPress, completely by accident.  Sherry Sips was a pleasant surprise to find on the internet because the principle author Seana Yee’s adventures are documented excellently.  Seana’s strategy is proven and the native Oregonian employs honest words and great pictures in her Sherry Sips social media.  If you are the type of individual that can see yourself trying to obtain the very best education in sherry, then you would do well to study the method of Sherry Sips.  Her websites outline a clear path towards achieving that goal and she is in the process of completing it.  These are exciting times to check out her work because of her recent travels to Jerez de la Frontera and her bravery in attempting what can only be described as complete sherry cultural immersion.

[Photo courtesy of Sherry Sips Twitter]

People that might be in wine production in Jerez can be a little aloof and foreigners are looked at with both interest and suspicion.  Producers in the wine industry are typically family owned businesses and they have long been wary any foreign interference.  Sherry isn’t exactly an industry that the average international business person can break into.  It can take years to get on a first name basis with established sherry professionals.  Fortunately, Seana Yee introduced me to the awesome Roció Urium who not only blogs extensively but she is also deeply entrenched in the wine industry in Jerez.  If you are ever fortunate enough to come here and engage Roció in conversation you will note that the potential exists to rapidly increase your base of sherry knowledge in a short period of time.  The next best thing might be her extensive internet media because Roció Urium is fluent in English and very easy to follow.

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A photo posted by Rocio Urium (@rociourium) on Sep 6, 2016 at 12:03pm PDT

 

[Photo courtesy of  Rocio Urium (@rociourium) by Mario on Sep 6, 2016 at 12:03pm PDT via Instagram]

Lastly I would like to draw your attention to our fantastic friends across the pond that have been steadily filling the annals of sherry lore as the world’s biggest importers -almost since the beginning of recorded history.  Great Britain and Scotland have had a very long relationship with sherry producers in Spain and the legacy is continuing in a modern way with Criadera.  The sheer volume of the work in the blog there will take even the most avid oenologist quite some time to digest.  There is a terrific diversity in the topics covered by Criadera and so it is very difficult to get bored.  The Criadera team is comprised of my two new friends Helen and Stuart that turned a quick holiday into an obsession that blossomed into Sherry Boutique. It has often been said that ‘way leads on to way’ and that it is the journey that should be cherished and not so much the destination.  I hope my readers take the time to really get lost in the sauce during their free sherry educations.

[Photo courtesy of Criadera Twitter]

In just one day during the ‘Pisa de la Uva’ I met people from all over the world that have an interest in one of the world’s oldest and most famous wines.  To embark on this odyssey, you need a very open mind and plenty of stamina but the rewards are also great.  A sherry education is valuable and you might find yourself on a slightly different course in life because of it.

* Rebujito – a mixed sherry drink consisting of relatively equal parts 7-Up and fino typically served over ice on hot days in Spain.

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

 

Motorcycle Grand Prix in Jerez: For the Free!

February 19, 2015

Xerez is serious about wine, horses, and motorcycles.  The ancient city was founded by the Phoenicians and became synonymous with the type of wine that the chalky soil and the palomino grapes produced.  Sherry will always be special in Jerez but the city also became famous for the fabulous dancing horses.  You may add to that rich legacy a modern twist, because Jerez de la Frontera also has Moto X, or motorcycle Grand Prix races at a magnificent track.  The test runs and many qualifying events are free in Jerez, because they can afford to stoke the action until the world Grand Prix makes their annual trek here, completely taking over the city every Spring.  I brought the whole family.  How cool is that?

If you come to Jerez, or if you are just planning a trip to Spain check the schedule of events for Motorcycle Grand Prix because you don’t want to miss out on a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  If you have ever wondered, “where do they do that at?” then look no further than Spain for producing the best motorcyclists in the world.  The current world and two-time defending champion is Marc Márquez from Cervera, Spain. (A feat he achieved despite merely being born in the year 1993.)  Now I know that some American cities, like Washington DC think that they might know a little something about bikes because of the subculture but let me warn you that it is nothing like Jerez.

Everybody here lives with the motorcycle racing whether they like it or not because at least one event is held on cordoned-off city streets.  I can’t say that I have been a lifelong enthusiast of motorcycle racing, but if I grew up here I might have had the chance to become one.  (You will notice that several of the rotundas of Jerez are racing themed from a giant motorcyclist pumping his fist to an even bigger Michelin Man holding a motorcycle helmet.)  As soon as you pull up to the parking lot of the stadium you are able to hear powerful bikes roaring down the track.  The backdrop in my video doesn’t really do it justice, but if you haven’t ever been to one of these race tracks then you might be surprised at the sheer size of it.  The track was definitely reminiscent of video games that I have played in the past, but when observing the motorcycles make those broad, leaning turns you really feel the forces that enrich the experience.  The bonus was the fact that this great family fun experience was totally free.  Again, qualifying events are for the free.  It was a little too loud for my son, so we cut the trip short.  I managed one good shot, though.