Charles Graham, Daytona CEO, shares some insights into Daytona, racing and life in general.
08.10.10 – Places that I have been – naughty!
This job – career – has got me into some places.
I was in Milan just before the Italian GP with the group tech boss, Richard Brunning. We went over for meetings and had finished by early afternoon so we drove down to Parco Di Monza.
We got into the circuit and drove around a bit, eventually finding a gate open that allowed us onto the old banked circuit so…. Off we went, courtesy of Europcar. Richard was driving, at about 90 kmh, up on the banking when the phone rang. It was Damon Hill, which Richard though was entirely appropriate. When I told Damon what we were doing he laughed and said that we were going to get arrested. I reminded him that he and I had done the same thing years ago on the old Brooklands banking at Weybridge.
The hire car did not like running on a 45 degree slope, with no oil baffles and I received a big cc bill the other day from Europcar. There’s been a bit of a negotiation and my amex is a bit happier now.
Please see the attached footage.
22.01.10 – Excuse me sir, but is this your kart?
It would seem that the kart industry seems to bring out the adventurous side of people – I received this lovely story from a reade@r the other day and thought people might enjoy it. Got another good one about some fireworks and a transit – maybe tomorrow, as Rob suggests a lot of the stories cant be published – to protect the guilty (and the famous who have big reputations to protect).
Thanks for your story Rob:
“I just wanted to thank you for sharing the story about your little joy ride around Embankment, its brought back a lot of happy memories for me.
You see about the same time you were setting up in Wood Lane, we were setting up in Brighton Marina. Back in those days as you will know you could count the tracks in the south east on one hand, So Daytona is a name and brand that has always stuck in my mind, also Dani Behr’s involvement helped massively on my then 15 year old brain. (who was the other one? was it Shane Richie?) Your story has brought back a particular sunny day in ’91. The weekends at Fast Trax would have all karts working 24/7, during the week we did go through some lean times midweek afternoons. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop, so whilst the owner was out we decided to have our own fun.
3 of us decided that a little jolly round the Marina was in order! We took 3 karts down the slip road behind the multi-story car park where we were based, this consisted of a step decline, a short flat run followed by another step decline. As you can imagine we hit the 2nd decline at full speed taking off some 5ft in the air with engines wailing. Our arrival had been announced! At the bottom we drifted round the mini roundabout, rallied past the cinema, double backed on ourselves and calmly pulled into the petrol station. How we kept straight faces as we filled up 3 karts at 3 separate pumps is anybody’s guess, but by now a crowd was gathering. We then tore off down the main strip pulling off 360’s in synchronized fashion. In our excitement we hadn’t thought our plan out fully and were now heading full pelt for Brighton Marina’s security office! With almost comical timing realising our faux par we all braked and 180’d lining ourselves up on our new improvised grid outside the security office. Knowing we had probably overstepped the mark we raced along the main strip, 3 abreast trying to make our getaway, sadly this is where we nearly lost one of our comrades! We hit a speed ramp at a fair rate, I survived as did my mate Danny, Ben however didn’t have the frame of mind to ease up slightly and forced his chain off. The sound of a screaming engine put a lump in all our throats, we thought about stopping for our fallen but we needn’t have worried as back then the McLaren pit crew didn’t have a patch on us for fixing these problems and as such Ben was only lagging some 5 seconds behind us. We carried on round the roundabout, up out of the Marina, along the coast road and back in again, all the time over taking shocked motorists. As we neared the entrance to the track we noticed one irate owner waiting to greet us, it seems our new found fame had proceeded us. He tried to give us a bollocking but he knew as well as we did that it in about 5 minutes time we would have a very large queue waiting to be suited up.
Our little stunt proved to be so profitable that we pulled it off another 5 or 6 times (with the bosses blessing) during that year until finally the Marina tired of us and sent us a solicitors letter reminding us of our lease obligations.
Ahhh Happy Days, I’m sure I could fill a book with all the stupid things we did at that track. It’s a very fond period of my life!
Hopefully you’ll share some more of yours, although I’m guessing some would be un-publishable via your website.
Cheers Rob DeMarco
Ex-Fast Trax Mechanic”
If you have any comments about your experiences at any Daytona venue, I would like to hear about them. Good or bad – let me know by clicking here: firstname.lastname@example.org