Thursday, 26 October 2006

Gold Coast Indy - Power On...

Power On was the slogan for the 2006 Indy carnival, and for most of the weekend it was an apt acknowledgement of the performance of young Aussie driver Will Power. Power did an amazing job being the quickest driver all weekend in his Team Australia champ car.

With Power qualifying first it really had the crowd going on Sunday for the main race. Craig Gore promised to buy the whole of the Gold Coast a drink if one of his team cars won the race, and he started giving out Team Australia merchandise to the crowd to create a sea of green and gold on race day.

I had a great weekend, Dad was officially the “Champ Car Chaplain” for the weekend since Hunter from the USA wasn’t able to make it. Garry Coleman was there as V8 Chaplain as usual, and I didn’t have an official position at all. I did however score a free 4 day pass and was able to do the whole race fan thing and just walk the track as a spectator all weekend! Lucky I got 2 passes, so I could invite my good mate Ben Zambra to come and enjoy the racing with me.

There are so many aspects to the Indy Carnival – good and bad. A topic that was discussed by Ben and I, and was mentioned in the chapel service on Sunday was the party attitude, and total disregard for common morals by most people over the weekend. Walking the back parts of the track amongst the high rise buildings it was a pretty volatile environment. Women were harassed, some willing it on themselves, there was drunkenness everywhere and I’m sure other substance abuse going on as well. There was just a general disregard for any humanity and a complete self centred attitude.

It really opened my eyes as to what people can get up to. Garry Coleman mentioned in his talk at the chapel service that he sometimes wondered “if things around Surfer Paradise don’t change God is going to have to resurrect Sodom and Gomorrah just to apologise.” Mutto and Soulframe performed and their song Beautiful was a great witness amongst the Indy crowds!

But once we found our way into the purest racing crowds on the front straight and hairpin, it was a great spectator event, with good racing and some heartbreaking moments. Craig Lowndes’ penalties and the dominance of Holden in the V8’s was a downer… and when Sebastien Bourdais had a brain freeze and clipped Will Powers wheel in a stupid overtaking attempt the whole crowd went silent (and I swear the temperature dropped about 5 degrees!!!). Once Power’s day was done, Mr Bourdais was not very popular, and copped lap after lap of jeers from the crowd on the hill.

With all the disappointment of a fairy tale Aussie win being flushed, it still turned out a great weekend. Team Australia’s second car ended up in 3rd place, I bought a new hat and t-shirt (a Jeldwen Stone Brother’s Racing hat and Dick Johnson Racing shirt) and I had a great time just hanging with Ben and other random people we ran into over the weekend.

(All photos on flickr.)

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