Travel 2004 – Macau, Day 4

Wednesday, 17th November 2004 – Macau, Day 4

The fun started today, with the CTM Sprint Race, organised to publicise the 51st Macau Grand Prix. In previous years they’ve done all sorts of things from rickshaw races, to martial arts competitions, dragon boat races and calligraphy sessions. This year the competitors had to run a course on foot through the streets carrying an open bottle of water on a tray. The winner would be the one who crossed the finish line with the most water still in the bottle… and they weren’t allowed to hold the bottle, nor were they allowed to attach it to the tray with chewing gum or anything else.

The Touring Car boys were warming up by smoking cigarettes, while everyone else was standing around wondering what was going on. The course – which should have been from the ruins of Sao Paolo down to the Leal Senado Square – had to be changed at the last minute, because one of the buildings en route had caught fire, and what with the huge clouds of black smoke billowing into the air, and the fire brigade were having a major battle to get to the site through the overcrowded streets, it was instead decided to route the race up the steps outside Sao Paolo and then back down again…

Of course there had to be a dragon dance beforehand, and then they were off. The amount of cheating that went on was frankly incredible (though not entirely unexpected) and at one point the organisers reckoned they’d have to disqualify the lot of ’em. However, after much deliberation a top three was arrived at, with Jorg Mueller and Rickard Rydell in 3rd and 2nd, and Eric Salignon ending up as the winner. Piquet was disqualified after he took a short cut through the hedge, and one of the motorcyclists lost a shoe in the shrubbery (it was retrieved by Tom Coronel). Now Coronel or Duncan Huisman should have won – they walked to course so as not to spill any water – but Duncan got nerfed sideways at the end by Piquet and the bottle fell over and Coronel flung his bottle in the air after he crossed the line, thus spilling the contents everywhere. Fools, the lot of them. And they all got given little lion dance lions to take home as souvenirs.

And now, after the second interview of the day, we’re off out to dinner in the Portuguese restaurant at the Macau Tower and to watch the fireworks display…

Tomorrow the real work starts, and so I’ll be up early and out at the Melco Hairpin to take photographs during the untimed practice session. Back to the press office after that to get the real reporting started. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get some photos developed and posted sometime tomorrow too…

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