And we’ve finally get here, first time since March that I could sleep a home, first time that I didn’t have to wake up for the alarm, to put my uniforms on in the middle of the night, before 7:00 AM. And yes, finally silence. No questions, no answers, no smiles, no anger, nothing, just and only the silence. Everyone’s dream! After 1-2 well-deserved free days at home and doing nothing, another important date landed in front of me: 15th of July. On this very day I’ve went to Paradsasvar, to be – only – a spectator of the 33rd Matrai Autos Hegyiverseny.
“The rebirth of a legendary track” – as the commercials advertised, and they’re right. This one in 2016 was the first since a long time ago. Exactly 8 years before, that someones held a race here, in these roads. But in this year, this has been changed. They renewed the roads with new asphalt on the top, replaced the guard-rails, launched the registration, announced different categories, so it was pretty professional. I went there one day before the start, just to make sure I won’t miss anything. I left from home around noon, I calculated with a 2, maximum 2,5 hours drive, after that occupy the accommodation, unpack my “luggage”, have a walk down to the parc ferme to check what’s there.
Everything was smooth until I arrived to the place. I could find an amazing place, really a pearl, I’ve booked it 2 months prior. I was searching only for apartments or guest houses, strictly not hotels or motels. That’s how I ended up with the Timar Vendeghaz
The couple who gave me the room were the most helpful people I’ve ever met. Flexible, nice, cute, honest, fair. My original booking was from the 14th until the 17th, but one week before the check-in I had to cut it with one day, so I could be there only from the 15th. On the confirmation letter, it was written that I have to let them know about any change in a good time ahead, but they were really nice, so they’ve let that night go, I did not have to pay for that. I wanted, because it’s not really fair with them, I accepted the terms, but they said no, I’ve been fair and nice with them, no problem about it. I was amazed. We’re chatting for a while, just to get to know a little each other, asked me about my job, what I’ll do here, usual things. It figured out that they own this place from a few years ago.
The guest-house itself was beautiful. Separated to 3 parts, fully renovated. Own kitchen, shower, bathroom, wash- and washing machine, separated terrace and a back garden. This is a really top place. In the Matra, on the edge of the forest, about 200 meter far from the hiking routes, so just in a perfect location. The “city center” is near, the neighbourhood is quiet, birds are singing, the air is fresh. And the race is just 1,5 km far away from the house. As we entered to the house, they’ve started to show around: here is the bathroom, that’s the garden, in the end a nice fire place, a few more information about the place and a parking card, so I could go in and out freely through the parc ferme. Better service than in a 5* hotel, I highly recommend this place if you would like to go to the Matra!
Later on I walked back to the start line, just to have a look around. And what I’ve seen there, that was insane! If anybody remembered to the post of the New-Year Rally, just imagine that, in a smaller edition, in a more puritan way, in the rain. Oh, sorry, the rain came only the second day, on Friday the sky was spotless, no clouds, just the stars and the moon. I could walk in shirt and a short-trouser between these amazing cars. What was here?
– Lotus Elise
– Formula car
– Honda CRX
– BMW 2002
– BMW M3, E30, E36, GTR
– Mitsu Evo 8
– Subaru Impreza WRX STi
– Skoda Felicia
– VW Golf Mk4 KitCar
– Porsche GT3, 997
– Seat Leon WTCC
– Ford Fiesta S2000
– Audi S2
– Suzuki Swift
– Alfa Romeo 159 GTA
– Ford Escort Cosworth
– and of course Lada and Zsiguli in endless amount and shape!!! And just to mention a few names of the participants: Szablocs Gal (Zengo Motorsport – ETCC), Norbert Nagy (Zengo Motorsport – WTCC), Sandor Olle (Fiesta S2000 – National Rally Championship), Frigyes Turan (Fiesta R5 – National Rally Championship). So the list of the racers was really high-standard!
I’ve been walking 1-2 hours, just staring and looking at the more and more beautiful cars, I’ve been a real tourist for a while, bought some sandwiches, soft drinks and beers for the next day. I’ve got something from the feeling of the 80s-90s’ rally races, like everyone knows everyone, everyone is friend with the other, help each other, and not giving hard time to the other one. Everybody took out the barbecues, the camping chairs, the grills, huge amount of meet and even more beer and spirits, home made Palinkas, and if you’re around the car just for looking, they’ve invited you for a shot, even if you’re an outsider or a good friend. I have no idea how it was in the old times, but I feel sorry that I couldn’t be a part of that.
The party itself started after 11, I headed back to the house around half past eleven, because I have to wake up early if I wanted to find a good place for the race. The accommodation is very comfortable, cosy, quiet, warm, so really perfect for relaxing. I fell asleep almost immediately as I layed down, and then the next day came…
And with the next day’s morning, the rain came as well. Not small, not short. But huge and constant. And me, even if I wasn’t bigger than the rain, but more stronger than the nature, woke up in the morning, prepared myself for the day. I went down to the start line with the car, and from there on foot. I picked up my bag, 2 umbrellas and a sheet, just in case. One umbrella above my head, the other one is in stand by in the bag – sweat pants, an Adidas sneaker and a pullover, what was on me already. With this collection I started my trip up to the track. I did not expect any rain in these days, it wasn’t either on the forecast. But not a problem at all, I will make it, a little rain can’t stop me. Since the track was closed from 7:00 am, the late arrivals had two options: stay close to the start line and watch how the cars launch, or go through the forest and reach further points and corners, where the view is better, more things happen. I’ve choose the second one, but first I took a few pictures and recorded a few short-video about the starts. Later on I started to climb up on the hill, through the forest, after other spectators, and at some points I stopped and searched for a good spot to use the camera. Better and better – in my opinion – places were after each other, not crowded at all, what else, mainly I was the only person there. The first longer place was on the top of the hill, after a long straight, which went into a nice right-left combination, and on the other side of the hill, a hairpin-turn to the right and the longest straight up. It was a really nice spot to take pictures, but because of the rain, most of the racers were too careful, nothing serious happened, nobody showed, what they really can do with these monsters. New asphalt, new track, someone with a new car, so they had to be careful, not just push the pedal without any responsibility.
” Straight roads are for fast cars, turns are for fast drivers.”
And he was right! Everyone kept this quote in mind, at least it seemed like that, but no one turned to the opposite side and came up on 2nd gear with 50 km/h. There was a guy with a Lada, who started the drift on the first right corner, in the left turn he almost spinned, but somehow could catch it, and the rest stayed unrevealed because I could not see from the hill, but I think he could manage it. A little further up I stopped again. The atmosphere was better here, and on the outside of the bend of the right hairpin, the view also – even if the place was under the level of the street, you could see them above the rails. The rain stopped as well for a while, so I could put down the umbrellas. And in the meantime they’ve started to run up again from the start, and made the show in this turn. Change a gear back, little break, one more back, rev up the engine, out from the corner, pedal to the metal and everything out through the exhaust.
Someone was still too careful, just went through the combination without a really good speed, and there were the crazy part of the drivers, who put the cars from one corner to the other, started to slide the back of the car, or just sprint over this part with an insane speed, like the track was dry. So this could be one of the perfect points. But after one run I moved forward, to the end of the long straight. In the middle there was a little brake, but nothing serious, and in the end a left hairpin-turn. That was the craziest corner here. And here, they’ve arrived with high speed, brake, turn the wheel, hopefully the car turns to the same direction, out from the turn, straight and a light right corner. From this new point I could see the whole stretch from the previous point. So I decided, I’ll stay here for a while , just in the end of the recommended line, but outside of the guard-rails, and prayed, that everyone can manage the turn. Because if not, I’m in front of them, and that wouldn’t be too good. But I trusted them, they had some experience from the past, so most probably they can do it. So I took this little risk, but still it was on the safe side. And as I thought, they were more brave here, made a drift with BMW, Lada, Mitsubishi, Ford, and the others just went across the turn with high speed. After a run up, one of the steward asked me to move away from them, since it’s a dangerous place. I told him, it’s not forbidden to stand here. Yes-yes, but if someone miss the corner, it’s his responsibility. I sad okay, I packed my bag again and moved, just to cool down him. In the same time – of course – it started to rain again, what’s more, started to be stronger. I put down my bag on the ground and one umbrella on top of it as a cover. Tried to put my legs and shoes also under that umbrella, with more or less success. The other one was covering my head and body – or at least tried it – from all sides, because the wind had arrived, just to make the day more complicated. I’ve been holding on for a few more hours, but when I started not to feel my arm, I gave up against the nature and the weather, picked up my bag and umbrella and started to walk down, when it was allowed. I had a better peace down way, even if I had to stop 2 times. First time was on the already mentioned part, from the straight the right-left combo and after that the right hairpin-turn, but on the other side of the track. Just where they switched back one gear, so the sound effects were amazing. And it’s not the correct word for that. Have you ever heard an EVO or a WRX shift down and after that flying away with full gas? Or what about a Lada? As it throwing flames out of its exhaust? Or a Fiesta R5 as it goes sideways, while the engine is screaming around 6-7 rpm? Nope? Then you can be sorry that you weren’t there, because I’ve heard them there. But not for much longer, since the weather wasn’t on my side, but tried to rush me to leave. My next stop was on the first turn of the track, nothing really interesting. Everybody was extremely careful at the beginning of the stage, so not a big show what I could see. There was a run-up and after that they come back, and just later on I could make it back to the car. Close to the start line I had my lunch-dinner, jumped into the car, went back to the house to dry myself and everything. I could stand next to the radiator by myself with the clothes on me, but I choose to put only the wet things on the radiators and went under a hot shower. What can I say, it wasn’t an easy day, but every second worth it. The machines were unbelievable, the pictures are awesome, the drivers are crazy, the atmosphere is insane, only the weather is not cooperating with us. But it’s not a problem, it could be worse. I’ve decided, next day I’ll go up to the other end of the track with a car and search for a better spot, if it is not raining, and will see 🙂
Next day, Sunday. I woke up at 6:20 – as planned – to get ready in time. Open the terrace’s door and step outside. It’s cold. It’s foggy. And it’s raining… What a huge surprise, and what a disappointment. I’ve checked the clothes in my bag, nothing else left for colder times. Went to the heating equipment and checked the other clothes, and another negative thing. They’re not fully dried. The pants were 80% ready for a next day, but the sneakers did not change much since last night. So there is no other option, I sleep back for a few more hours, and around 10 am I woke up, packed my staff, gave back the keys to the lovely couple, jumped into the car, started the engine and hit the road to home. For my luck they let me go through the pit lane, but still I had to go around the mountain, because the race was still on. But I did not regret it, even if I spent only the half of the planned time. It was a really nice experience, if they’ll organize it in 2017, I’ll be there as a spectator!
On the way back I visited my cousins, had a nice chat with them, and finally in the afternoon I get back home – and of course, the weather was nice, no rain, no cloud. Why they can’t organize a Rally of Erd finally??? 🙂
If you would like to see some pictures and videos, check out my Instagram!