I have to
say that, particularly following 1989, I have always regarded 1990 as one of my
favourite Le Mans, and not just because Jaguar won again (I am a Brit, after
all!). It was just a really good weekend, all round, and the Jaguar
victory was the icing on the cake, as far as I was concerned.
of course one disappointing aspect to the 1990 race - chicanes! Balestre
and co. at the FISA, in their determined efforts to bring the ACO to heel had
decreed that, due to the length of the Mulsanne Straight, it had to be split by
two chicanes. I know they were immediately disliked by a lot of the
drivers, and I remember James Weaver describing them as those "poxy
chicanes". At least one driver (Evan Clements, I think it was), vowed
that he would never return to Le Mans as a result. I hoped that they would
disappear again in due course, but, here we are, nearly eleven years later, and
the two "carbuncles" are still there.
Tourists were a very select bunch indeed, as only four of us made the trip that
year. We (they) are shown in the photo below just leaving Portsmouth
harbour on the journey to Le Havre. (Left to right, Ian, Martin and
Alan). I was a happy chappie, anyway, as my wife Jayne had presented me
with a son, James, only six months or so before (and yes, I still made it to Le
our journey to France in the late morning of the Friday, and stayed in Le Havre
that night. The weather was grand as we made our way to the circuit on
Saturday morning, and, in addition to picking up some grandstand tickets at the
ferry terminal (do they still sell them at the terminals from time to time?), we
also ended up with a garage rouge reservé ticket - exclusive parking in
grabbing an excellent spot to watch the driver parade from the tribunes, we
moved down to the Esses, where I took the next shot of one of the Jaguars.
The early laps were pretty exciting with Nissan putting up a tremendous show
(until Gianfranco Brancatelli in the leading Nissan tangled with Aguri Suzuki's
Nissan challenge finally wilted, the Jaguars were pretty much out on their own,
although the Brun, Pareja and Larrauri Repsol Porsche put up a strong challenge
right up until the last 15 minutes of the race.
number of years, I had hankered after taking some night shots at Le Mans, and I
finally invested in a tripod for the purpose. To be honest, my first
efforts were far from brilliant, as I just didn't appreciate the limitations of
the camera I was using. (Actually, it wasn't the camera's fault, it was my
lack of knowledge). I took the shot below from the Dunlop
Grandstand. It was a start, anyway.
another successful year for Jaguar, with a 1-2 finish. On Sunday morning,
we managed to get up onto the old pit balcony for the first time, and the last
as well, as they would be bulldozed and replaced by a new pits complex for the
1991 race. I was very pleased that I finally managed to get up there
before they disappeared for good.
I now had
five consecutive Le Mans under my belt and the addiction was undoubtedly growing
stronger every year.