The Midlands: Simon Gillett remained defiant and optimistic – you know, the only 2 emotions he’s actually shown for the last 6 months – about his increasingly laughable hopes to stage the British Grand Prix in 2010, despite having missed his final deadline to raise 500 billion million pounds to flog a dead horse.
Performing an impromptu press conference outside his new offices – a cardboard box adjacent to the now empty Birmingham Bullring Woolworths – Gillett still insisted his Speedway-resembling series of mud banks, (formally Donington Park racetrack), was still just a few quid short of hosting the race the following year.
“I still have a contract with Bernie,” claimed the entrepreneur, blowing his nose with the dog-eared document, “and it is still my firm belief – and intention – that the British Grand Prix will be held at Donington next year,” he added, between swigs from a bottle of White Lightening.
Gillett in happier times; like when he was let into the track and everything
In contrast with the glittering Futurama on display at the newest billion dollar facility in Abu Dhabi, Gillett’s plans for Donington appeared wildly optimistic but unperturbed by the relentless opulence of Yas Marina and the apparent parlous state of his own finances and negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone, the Walter Mitty impressionist pressed on with pointing out what he saw as the favourable comparisons and even advantages of his East Midlands track.
“Those sand dunes”, he said stabbing a grubby finger at the television screen from the pavement outside Dixons; “what’s so good about them? They just blow away and cover the track: that’s why we built ours out of mud – Bernie didn’t even ask, but we built them anyway. Plus,” he shouted at nobody in particular, “22 minutes from the airport? East Midlands is 18: and it’s got a Costa Coffee. Beat that!” he seemed to offer up as a metaphor, clubbing the side of his jowly, unshaven, blank-eyed, drooling face over and over and over again with an empty can of Super Tennants.
If you shut your eyes, ears, nose and mouth: you too could be in Abu Dhabi
Hanging around hoping the police might come along for a good photo opportunity, the assembled journos listened further whilst the former head of Donington Leisure PLC continued to expand on his vision for the track whilst attempting to get any spare change for a cup of tea.
“Look at them: they get a hotel lit up like Krypton and they think they’re all Batman”.
Before, tracing a streak of sooty fingerprints against the window to illustrate the target of his ire he continued, “that harbour: it looks like Bluewater dumped in Poole docks. I tell you: we’re going to re-route the Grand Union past the Craner Curves and get Travel Lodge to build the best bloody hotel this side of Wolverhampton in that big hole at Coppice: then we’ll have the best underground accommodation in the world. In Derbyshire certainly”.
“And what’s more”, he continued now just 30p away from a boiling hot cup of white Tetley in a styrafoam cup, 2 sugars please love, “there’s one thing they’ll never have: history! They can have all the camels and duty free shops and slave labour and oil in the world but they’ll never have our grainy black and white Auto Union vs Mercedes Benz footage never mind Senna driving up and down the pitlane in the driving rain like we’ve got”, he climaxed in a fit of incoherent dribble, prior to the local constabulary dragging him away to a waiting van following complaints about an earlier indecent exposure at the local Kwik Save.