Tuesday October 26th, 2006;
Early morning, and I am so tired! I keep repeating to my mom and myself; “I’m going to Bahrain; I’m actually going to Bahrain”. I can’t believe it, but it is actually happening!
I meet Duncan and Leon on the airplane from Heathrow to Bahrain, just as excited as me! The butterfly in my stomach starts a big party when the airplane starts flying into Bahrain Airport. This is a trip that I have been looking forward to for several weeks!
The hot and humid weather hits us when we get of the plane. It’s 30 degrees Celsius, AT NIGHT! WOW!
When we get to the hotel, we have a small late-night dinner and go to bed, we have an early morning!
Wednesday October 27th;
The butterflies in my stomach calmed down enough after a while to let me get some sleep. We had breakfast at 9.30 and left for the track. It was a 15 minutes drive with desert all around us! On the way I even got the chance to see a camel!! That was a small sensation for me, who’s never seen a camel in my entire life!
The day was mostly about preparing for the next day. And of course we had to drink a lot of water all the time to not dehydrate. That was a little mission I had, bringing the team bottles of water from our tank.
Later that evening there was a press conference. It was awesome! We were given our own booths for the drivers with their teams to sit in, so the press could come around to interview us one at a time. And there were a lot of waitresses who carried around small snacks and refreshments! I felt like some kind of celebrity! They all had the same kind of questions;
- How I came into racing?
- What it felt like being the only girl competing in Top Fuel on this event?
- If I was treated any different by the other racers?
- What I thought of the track?
Being the only girl was so exciting, but I hope to be an inspiration to other girls and show them that we can also race Top Fuel! I feel that I have to give as much as the male racers, they look at me as a competitor just like any other. They don’t give me any special treatment just because I’m a girl! They are so great, giving me advice and taking care of me as a rookie.
It was so great to get to be so close to all the other teams during the stay! Staying at the same hotel and having a pit-box all together felt really good. I got to talk a lot to all the other drivers and their team members, and got to know them all a little better!
The track was according to the other teams, much better than last time. So I got really excited about racing the next day.
After the press conference, we went back to the hotel, had another late dinner and went to bed to get a good nights sleep before the big race.
Thursday October 27th;
I had a big breakfast to get me started! My entire body is shaking of excitement! My first day of racing in Bahrain, I have to pinch my arm several times just to be sure I’m not at home dreaming.
We stop by a shop on our way to the track to get some salt chips and some chocolate cookies. Sugar to help my body hold the water I’m drinking and sugar to keep my blood sugar from falling in the heat.
When we get to the track, Thomas and Barry take me to the track to “walk the track” with them. Barry has a tradition to always walk the whole track to check it out. It seemed like a great idea, and it was very nice to se how the track was.
Getting ready for my first run, I started jumping and smiled the entire time! I was so excited!
I went out against Gary Page on my first run. After 200ft I could feel that she (the beauty-dragster that I’m racing in) was letting go, so I got of the throttle and rolled over the finish line. It was so cool to get back to the pit box and see the picture that Tog took of my fist run with big “bunny ears” (flames) to the sides! My fist “bunny ear” picture!!!
After that run I felt a headache sneaking upon me. So I took a painkiller and tried to sleep for a little while before the next run. I knew that it could not be from dehydration, because I had been drinking very much water all the time.
When we were ready to go, the headache had let go a little, so we lined up. But unfortunately I just started feeling worse. I got into my racing gear and got into the car, they strapped me in and as I was being rolled up to the start line my entire body started shaking and I was freezing, and I felt like I was going to pass out. So I got Rune to get the car out from the line-up and my team had to help me out of the car. They got me over to the doctor in the ambulance and he gave me an examination. They took me to the hospital later to get some further examination. Thomas was so great and came with me to the hospital to take care of me! They gave me a needle in the bum and I felt a little better after a while.
Thomas and I went back to the hotel at 3 a clock in the middle of the night. Thanks so much to Thomas for all the help and for taking such good care of me! He’s such a great team mate!
Back at the hotel I got something to eat and went to bed. Rune wanted Thomas to come with me to the track a little later the next day, so I could get some good nights sleep, relax and get well. Friday October 28th; After a good night sleep I felt a lot better, only my poor bum was a little sore after the needle the night before.
On my first run out that night I went against Harland Thompson. I got to experience a small tire shake, and got off the throttle.
We were ready to go again after a short while, but because of a lot of crashes and cleaning the track so we had to wait for a long while. At 01:00 we finally got ready to race! As we lined up I heard Hip Hop music, they were playing Missy Elliot! She is one of my favourite artists!! I was rocking all the way until I had to get into the car. That run I made a good burnout, the car backed up just fine and staging was as normal. I left the start line and she was feeling really good! Tony told me afterwards that she was sounding like an American car! But then, after half-track, the engine blew into a ball of fire. I let go of the throttle immediately, stopped the engine with the “panic button” and turned of the fuel, and got out of the car as fast as I could. The engine was still on fire as I was getting out, but the rescue team were quick and put it out fast.
As funny as it may seem, after this experience, and after talking to my team about it, it felt good to have experienced it so early in my career. They told me that I could not have done anything better. Tony was great after the run and showed and explained to me what had happened with the engine. After that run, all the Top Fuel racers and teams gathered at the end of the track and towed back in front of the audience, they went absolutely crazy! They shouted that they loved us! Their interest was amazing; they were so engaged in the event! It was so great to race for such a crowd!
A BIG thanks to the incredible team who worked so hard in the heat! Thanks to Rune who helps me become better each race! And to Thomas who takes such good care of me! I can’t wait to come back there to the track, the audience and the warm hospitality!
Thanks to everyone who made this trip so great!!