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Old 03-09-2006   #1
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Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

Some of you may have noticed i've been away since wednesday ish. I went down to Stafford wed / thu night to see some mates, then on Friday I got picked up and went down toward the Red Bull Air Races at Longleat. It was quite a mammouth trip (250miles either way), so we decided to arrive in the area the day before the race and camp nearby. To get from Stafford to Longleat (~150miles) took us 6 hours because of heavy traffic on the m5/m6.

The campsite was around miles from Longleat, near a town called Marlborough - we made it just in time to get the tents set up and then head into town to where we had a meal booked. On the way back, stopped at a tiny pub in Oare to have a few drinks before retiring to the campsite for a bit more to drink, and then finally turnning in at around 2 with intention of getting up and leaving the site at 9am, giving us plenty of time to get to Longleat for the pre race shows to begin at around half 10. So Friday was a good day, bit miffed about the heavy traffic - but it was Friday afternoon and we went through birmingham, so it was to be expected.

Next morning, we left the site on time - traffic was fine. We had been allocated space in the 'blue' car park, and the info pack that came with the ticket said we should follow their suggested routes as they have been carefully planned to allow a quick and easy path into the event. So we headed up to the M4, along there and off at Junction 18 - as we had been instructed to. As we came off the M4, we joined the back of a traffic jam.

This jam stretched from the M4, all the way to the blue car park. Something like 20miles away. We couldn't take any other route, as we'd been told that smaller roads and such near the event will be closed to ensure everyone stays in the designated routes. So we had no choice to sit in the queue. We moved forward from time to time. Crawled down the A36 i think it was, and the A361. The traffic was moving that slowly you could get out, walked around and then walk back over to the car and no-one would've moved. There were people playing football and stuff at the sides of the road.

Now, tickets were done on a per vehicle basis - £35 per vehicle, so, the more people in the car - the less it costs per person, most people made sure they had full cars. Five of us in my mates Nissan Bluebird, it was a little cramped in the back!

The actual air race was meant to begin at 2pm, by around 1pm (been on the road for 4 hours) we were a bit concerned we'd miss the race - and tuned into a local radio station, who were keeping us updated - apparently at 1pm, there was hardly anyone actually in the event, most we were stuck on the roads so the start was to be delayed. By 2pm we still werent there, so were getting worried we'd miss the start, turns out they delayed it again till 3pm. By 3pm we were getting worried we'd miss the start, turns out they delayed it again till 4pm. By 4pm we were within site of the entrace!! hurrah!! only 7hours of crawling through traffic later!

We got parked up eventaully, directed through a bumpy field that would've seen my car stuck quite easily. And then began walking to where the race was, via some portaloos on the way - been stuck in a car for 7 hours.. its quite easy for guys to get out and pee on a tree or something, but not so for the ladys eh! There were 8 toilets. Yes, that was it. All these people coming in, and they had provided a block of 8 loos in the car park areas - the rest were a 15 minute walk away.

We carried on toward were we though the viewing areas and stuff were, guesswork due to the complete lack of signage or any event staff to point us in the right direction.

Got near to where the planes were, and stopped to ask someone what was going on - nice fella from Red Bull Air Races, nice and polite and answered our questions the best he could, if not in a slightly convoluted manner. We carried on to were we could stand to see the Air Race. Chatted to few other people who had been there a while, our stuck in traffic like us, shared tails of jams and road rage, and bitched about incompetent staff. Asked a member of the event security staff a question about if there were any camping facilites on site as Rob (our driver) wasn't keen on having to repeat the driving marathon to get us home. He was no help at all, and was quite rude. Just kept saying over and over "Don't ask me" "Ask someone else" So when he quized on exactly to whom we should be talking to, he said "I don't know, anyone - but not me" Tosser.

So, back to standing around.. then announced over the loud speaker.. RACE CANCELLED DUE TO POOR WEATHER. Well.. thats what everyone wanted to hear wasn't it. 250miles, 15 hours of driving, 7hours of bumper to bumper traffic queues, to hear it's been called off.

So, back home then.. traffic leaving the event was just as bad. The car parks were left pretty much unattended, as we were walking back to the car - we went past the exit queues, people had given up and turned their engines off. In the top end of the car park where we were, someone had flattend a bit a fence and escaped that way, then around 8 lanes of traffic headed for this small gap in the fence.

Someone decieded there should be a guy there to control this flow of 8 lanes into 1, so he stood there letting a few cars from each come forward, you know to reassure us something was being done, and there was a degree of organisation going on. Well.. we thought that was what he was doing, but no he was there to piss everyone off as much as possible. He was randomly letting lanes move forward, letting 1 car from one and then 10 from another. He sucessfully pissed off a lot of people in. Tosser.

We crawled out of Longleat in another traffic jam, the radio reported jams all the way back to the M4.. great. Then a nice lady rang in, and told us an alternative route - it just so happed we were crawling up the turning when she rang in, the cars in front must have heard the same report and they turned off too - one car behind us followed, but after that they stayed in the queue. So we had our mini convey of about five cars following a route someone had rung into the radio station with. It crossed the grid locked route a few times, but we were happily driving down NSL roads as fast as the road would allow us.

Unfortunaely, all this crawling in traffic had taken its toll on the Nissan, and the electrics were now playing up. It was raining and the wipers were barely moving and the battery light was flickering. Rob turned the lights down, blowers off, radio off, as much as possible till the wipers started to work again at full speed - it was like in Apollo 13 when they're trying to run the craft on a tiny amount of power.

Eventually got home at midnight

I know this has been a long post, so if anyone can't be arsed reading it all.. here is a summary.

The Red Bull Air Race at Longleat was the most poorly organised event i've ever know of, my friends in the car had been to festivals before with many many more people attending and the traffic etc was handled better than this. The staff that were at the event we're useless, rude and just plain thick some of them. Red Bull are refunding the ticket costs to all, wow - thats nice of them. Can we please have Saturday the 2nd of September back, plus the £100 in fuel we used, and i want a near pair of buttocks because mine are still numb.
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Old 03-09-2006   #2
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

Absolute Nightmare Arc I'm quite a grumpy person anyway, but if I'd been through that I think I would have been the first human being to implode from pure, solid rage. THANK GOD I didn't go. If my car was on the road I would have. Once again, thank fiat's unreliability
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Old 03-09-2006   #3
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

Makes me glad I couldn't afford the petrol cost to get there and back!

I was supposed to be driving down there at about 3am saturday morning with a car full, but I cancelled due to not being able to afford it.

2 of my friends went though, not spoken to them but apparently they're rather annoyed. which is understandable.
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Old 03-09-2006   #4
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

Quote Originally Posted by arc
Some of you may have noticed i've been away since wednesday ish.
Writing that post?
H
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Old 03-09-2006   #5
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

lol, didn't take too long to write - i went into rant mode.. i'm getting angry again thinking about it.

i got home at midnight, then had work 9 till 5 day.
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Old 03-09-2006   #6
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

wow, feel sorry for you arc. i was gonna go to this for my birthday outing, but was unable to get time off work, kinda a good thing now youve said that
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Old 03-09-2006   #7
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

If that was cancelled, what was I watching on telly yesterday afternoon It does sound very poorly organised though, I guess they hadn't expected such a turnout!
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Old 03-09-2006   #8
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

I've just been talking to one of the people I know that went, and apparently him and the other person that went, stood up front directing traffic. I wonder if it was them that annoyed you
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Old 03-09-2006   #9
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

if he was in the top end of the blue car park, near the hole in the fence, then yes.

Helz - they showed the qualifying from the previous day. They knew how many people were coming, the tickets were on avaible to buy before the event, and they knew how many they had and had many had been sold (all of them).
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Old 03-09-2006   #10
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

Knew somebody who tried to get there, traffic was terrible so he turned back and went home. Heard it had been cancelled and was slightly relieved. Apparantly they are issuing refunds because of this cockup?
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Old 03-09-2006   #11
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

they are refunding the ticket costs, but what's £35 in the grand sceheme of things when you've driven over 500miles, camped the night before etc.
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Old 03-09-2006   #12
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

arc, malbourgh is milage away from longleat, why you all the way out there? i used to live in Heytesbury, by Warminster if you drove past
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Old 03-09-2006   #13
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

malborough is the nearest campsite we could get into Warminister rings a bell, but not Heytesbury!
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Old 03-09-2006   #14
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

Quote Originally Posted by arc
malborough is the nearest campsite we could get into Warminister rings a bell, but not Heytesbury!
probably wouldnt of seen Heytesbury as its a little village about 4 miles from warmister which is right next to longleat and shearwater which is great for fishing
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Old 03-09-2006   #15
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Re: Red Bull Air Race - what a cock up

you git, you could have put the summary at the top
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