This year was the first for Larry’s new executive toy. Having struggled to maintain the pace on previous expeditions Larry has upgraded to a Beemer 330ci. With cries of “We’ll show that Bol Dee Boy this year!” we set off for Portsmouth to join the floating pub for St Malo.
When we reached Portsmouth we were relieved to see that Bold was in an estate again. He needs an estate to carry the bathroom cabinet etc. You see, Gerry is very old now and needs lots of medicines and Rita repair ointment. Larry was thrilled to see Bold in a bright red Audi estate until we got close and realised that it was one of the only S4s in the country at the time. “Bollocks, looks like we’ll be playing catch up again.”
This year we had opted for cabins because we were pissed off with sleeping on the floor. Once we had shown Tricky how to open the cabin door again we decided that we might go and try a pint of Stella. As had happened in 2002 Lou showed the youngsters the way and leapt wholeheartedly into the spirit of Le Mans. 10 pints later off to bed. As we were all a bit pissed it was easy enough to get off to sleep. For those of you who are Le Mans Virgins and may be reading this to pick up some tips, here’s one – if you find yourself sharing a cabin with Tricky or Larry forget breakfast; you see, they need 20 minutes each in the bathroom in the morning. You would think they could manage without for four days wouldn’t you.
At breakfast Stu was looking a bit peaky to say the least. Lucky for him we only had about 100 miles to do to get to the camp site. Bold was driving sympathetically so we only had to stop about 5 or 6 times on the way down to empty Stu’s sick bag. He was sick for the first time before we had left the dockside – This years first Hatting!!
We were greeted at the campsite by a shout of “The weekend can start officially now the LarryLeMans boys are here!” Once the tents were set up it was off to Carrefour for essential supplies.
The rest of the crew arrived early on the Thursday evening and we went to watch qualifying.
This year was extra special for me as Mad Friday was my birthday. First we went to the track for the customary walk around the pits where we managed to get a LarryLeMans sticker on the pit wall – trackside. Outside the circuit the burn ups had started. This year’s winner by a country mile was the Bentley. If you didn’t see it, you really missed out it was a-fucking-mazing. We then set off to find the TWATS for the much publicised water fight. 2002 had been a mental water fight and Les Dibble were not up for a repeat performance. They closed the road from Arnage round to Mulsane corner – boring. The TWATS didn’t find us so we had our own burn ups and then went back to the campsite.
Everybody clubbed together to buy me a fantastic hand made card, which in a few hundred years will give Hugh Scully a right hard on. We all got in the party mood with a quick game designed to sort the men from the Stu’s. Yurgermeister!! Funnels, Apple wanted do a five beer funnel and was convinced everybody else was responsible for him almost drowning. Turns out he was just a lightweight. My wife Lou gave me a lovely present, a 16 year old cook
and a cake. I asked if I could have my cake and eat it. I was told if I ate the cook out I was in trouble but I could have the cake.
As is tradition, or an old charter or something Saturday was race day. Rain threatened and some of us recalled the 2001 washout. Prayers to the Stella God were answered with glorious sunshine and temperatures of 35-40°C. With Bentley in the lead it was back to camp, food then out to Mulsane corner. We then went on a tour of the area eventually arriving at the restaurant on the Mulsane straight after having been breathalysed. All the drivers were ok, thank Stella. The restaurant has been done up so we stayed for beaters.
Some of our posse this year bowed to the desires of the ladies and left before the end of the race – Hats Larry- and missed the Bentley 1, 2.
The rest of us left on the Monday morning once Gerry had dismantled the most complicated tent in the world, half an hour to take down a tent, we were late again.
Trying desperately to make up the lost time we drove through a radar trap at 130mph. Les Dibble were not happy. Bold and Larry were hauled off to the office to be fined.
Whilst this was going on Martin decided this would make great video. We discouraged him from taking any pictures as the tapes contained footage of a 165mph race along the French motorway on the way down. We thought the garlic eating surrender monkeys may think we were taking the piss and lock us up. Larry and Bold were relieved of €90 each and we were underway again. Having lost more time we decided that at €90 a go, getting caught was cheaper than staying in St. Malo.
We made it to the ferry in time with no more fines.