Get there for around lunchtime, I was told, or 11.30am to be precise.
So there I was, stood outside the cosy-but-cool complex of the hospitality centre. Poking my head inside the door had succeeded in nothing but puzzled looks from mechanics, understandably suspicious of this random Joe interrupting their lunches.
So back outside I was, waiting to be met or otherwise advised where to go. But nothing was forthcoming.
I’ll call the PR whose name I had not caught last time we spoke, I thought.
“I can see him now, come to the hospitality and interview him over lunch,” the forever-unamed PR said.
Better leave it a while, rather than arrive instantly.
That would be weird.
So, having learnt against the wall for a minute or two, I go back into the hospitality unit. More confused looks, but this time I have a plan and a purpose. Quick scan and the target’s acquired: he’s in the corner, alone.
Perfect. What could go wrong?
So, brief introduction and we’re away. Old job covered, new one discussed and rallycross ambitions discovered. All the while his lunch is getting cold, chicken curry ruined by my interjected questions. Normally, right as he’s about to take a forkfull.
Conversation stops, he naturally goes for a mouthful, but long silences are strange in interviews. Unsettling and disruptive, in fact, for both parties.
There’s nothing I can do but pipe up while he scoops together some rice and he’s then unfortunately pressured into leaving the food hovering tantalisingly out of reach.
Better that than him trying to answer with the handle of his fork pinched between his teeth and with a mouthful of food, potentially peppering me with tmits contents.
That’d be even more awkward. Heaven knows I don’t need help there.
His lunch is nothing more than collateral, now.
Had the plan have gone as expected, his team-mate would also chatting with us, so then the natural conversation would have switched to whichever of the two didn’t have a fork arrowing towards their mouth.
Instead, the driver in question arrived later and the whole charade was played out again. With an audience of fellow drivers and mechanics.
Quotes acquired, exiting was next on the agenda.
Unsure whether he’s heard my thanks and goodbyes, there’s nothing I can do but leave. Hovering would be weird. We’ve covered weirdness already.
Except the unwilling sliding door hadn’t been accounted for. Three slides and nothing. Click a button or two and still nothing.
With every pull, more and more eyes burn into the back of my head. Only when someone else needs to leave does the whole sorry episode end.
Now, to find the next lunch to ruin.