Saturday, 3 September 2011

Have you seen the giant pig?

So back in June or July, I can't even remember when, I marshalled for the GT1 meeting at Silverstone. I think it's my favourite marshalling weekend I've done so far. (The top 3 is currently rounded out with Le Mans Series last year and Silverstone Classic this year). It was just amazing.

I was marshalling on the Saturday and Sunday, but my story actually starts on the Thursday. Every month there's a talk put on at the pub in Silverstone for the marshals - I mentioned it before, when I went to see Martin Brundle talk. Well, the Thursday before the GT1 race they got David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter from the Sumo Power team along to talk to us.

At the time, I'd actually forgotten that I'd very very briefly met David Brabham before.

I can't believe I'd forgotten it. Because it was massively surreal. It was at the Honda F1 factory open day in Brackley back in 2007. Brabs was there doing an autograph session, sat next to Gils de Ferran who was sporting director or some such of Honda F1 back in those days. Anyways, so Gils signed for me first. And as he did so, he looked up at me and he said "Have you seen the giant pig?".

Now, I'm pretty good with randomness and expecting the unexpected. But if you'd asked me to list 100, even 1000, opening sentences that I expected Gils de Ferran to say to me, "Have you seen the giant pig?" would not even have been close to being on there.

So I stared at him blankly for a moment and thought the sentence through very carefully in my head. Maybe I'd misheard and could figure out what he'd really said. Because obviously he didn't say 'pig'. Why would he say 'pig'? I'm sure he didn't say 'pig'. But if he didn't say 'pig', what DID he say? Eventually I had to give in and say "um.... sorry, what?".

"Have you seen the giant pig??" he said again, slightly slower and clearer. Yeah. No getting away from it. He'd definitely said 'pig'.

I still didn't have a clue why he was talking at me about a giant pig, so I looked imploringly across at David Brabham sat next to him. But Brabs was looking as utterly baffled as I felt. He looked up at me and shrugged with a big grin on his face. No help at all!

Magically, a thought then hit me. There was a hog roast. A massive pig on a spit. I *HAD* seen the giant pig!!! Poor old Gils wasn't entirely mental after all.

And so I rescued the situation. Just about. Collected my autographs from Brabs and whoever else was there, and that was that.

This story isn't really about David Brabham. And it's definitely not about GT1 (it was originally going to be, but I got distracted). But it is about a giant pig. And apparently that can be a key talking point in motorsport.

Maybe he's just a big Pink Floyd fan?

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