Trip Start Oct 06, 2009
3Trip End Oct 06, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
I met Frank and John at Wentworthville, about 40 minutes outside of the center of the city by train, and with them, we drove about 3 hours to Bathurst in John's Landcruiser. These to guys were older, semi retired and had known each other for years. Frank is rather slender, with a full head of white hair and always making jokes. John is a larger fellow, balding on top and has a very serious sense of humor. The two would argue like an old married couple and i was sitting in the back seat just laughing the whole trip
The Blue Mountains are located to the west of Sydney, away from the ocean and warmth as i was about to find out. As we drove to Bathurst the scenery reminded me of Northern California, rolling hills with pine forests and small towns, where i had recently went camping and had an amazing burger and pear pie, but thats another story. As we pulled into Bathurst i realized not only did it look like the mountains of Northern California, but it felt like it as well. We toured The Bathurst track and i got to see all the pit garages, and the V8 Supercars racing around the track. I had never been to a race of this magnitude and was thoroughly impressed and deafened by the roaring engines of these modified cars covered in sponsors stickers anywhere space was available. Frank and John took me around for me to meet the managers that I would be working with for the next few days. Luckily Paul Valenti had told all of them of my arrival. Paul is who gave me the job, I had waited on him at the Yard House in Waikiki and told him of my want to travel Australia and he had offered to help get me work. Little did I know that he was the GM of a company, Gema Group, owned by his father and in a position to actually hire me. Unfortunately he was away at Canberra overseeing another event, but all the people seemed rather friendly and very welcoming to my arrival.
On the following morning I had to start work, still not sure what I was supposed to do. Kari, in charge of shift assignments, still had no idea what she wanted me to do. As i met some of the managers, one person turned and said,"I know that voice!" It was a man named Seaton whom i had waited on a couple of times right before leaving the Yard House a few weeks earlier. He loved the ribs and had them four times on his visit to the island with his wife, Wendy, and two daughters. It just showed how small the world is, they work full time jobs elsewhere, but do events every once in a while for the Gema Group. It was nice to see a familiar face, both he and his wife were definitely surprised to see me in the middle of Bathurst. I had joked about maybe running into them while traveling through Australia and if they recognized me, to say hi.
Well i spent the morning touring the different suites and kitchens with the operations manager, Astra, getting familiar with where everything was and meeting more people as we made her morning rounds checking to make sure everything was ready to go for the day. I still had no real assignment and was pretty sure that most new hires didn't get this sort of tour. It really allowed me to feel more comfortable in a completely strange environment and put my mind to ease a bit. I then got assigned to be a waiter in the pit roof suite that was to have a party of 180 people in it
On Saturday I worked at the Chase Tent as a runner helping to support the supervisor and assist where needed. The Chase is where the cars would race down the mountain before the final turn to the finish line. Then on Sunday, I was again at the Pit roof where I got to see the finish of the final race from above.
Monday I began to help clean up after a night of heavy partying with co-workers who were either staying behind to work, or were too tired to make the 3 hour drive back in the traffic and mayhem that followed the end of the races. It took a day and a half, with us finally leaving on Tuesday. Bathurst is a small town, with some beautiful scenery and comes alive once a year to host this race. I am glad to have been able to see it and I was also glad to be able to leave because every morning that we got into the cars to go to work, the windows had frozen over.