Well, after a series of motorsporting moments like that, hands up whose Feverometer is broken!?
I’ll admit I shipped in a couple of spares in advance of a weekend that included two of the most iconic events in the history of wheeled endeavour: a Grand Prix around the incongruous but incredible Monte Carlo and the world’s oldest and probably most famous race, the Indianapolis 500. Then there was a traditional gravel World Rally Championship qualifier in Portugal, the British round of the World Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill, where the sport was invented in the 1960s, and a brace of World Superbike thrashes at the glorious Donington Park.
Yet, despite my preparations, those poor little boxes, that measure how much I’m suffering at the mercy of the F-word, are now fit for nothing, smouldering wrecks that need a serious rebuild before the next instalment.
‘Watching the top guys in the WRC hurling their cars down fan-strewn Portuguese stages has always caused dramatic spikes on Feverometer read-outs.’
Monaco produced a late-race Mercedes tactical blunder that denied Lewis Hamilton his second win in the Principality, instead gifting a third straight victory to team-mate Nico Rosberg. There were some pretty contrasting emotions on the podium afterwards – and the national evening news, too. With the title protagonists now separated by just 10 points – the value of a measly fifth-place finish – I suspect there were some fairly chewy team debriefs on Sunday evening.
Rally Portugal produced a first win of the season for Jari-Matti Latvala, the factory Volkswagen driver finally getting one over his double world champion team-mate Sebastien Ogier and Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen to give the trio of Polos its second 1-2-3 of the year. Briton Kris Meeke, winner for the first time last time out in Argentina, finished best of the rest in fourth. Watching the top guys in the WRC hurling their cars down fan-strewn Portuguese stages has always caused dramatic spikes on Feverometer read-outs.
The World Rallycross circus yet again delivered on its promise of fast and frenetic action. The short-burst, knock-out format keeps the big crowd suitably revved up, and when former World Champion Petter Solberg held off Swedish all-rounder Mattias Ekstrom to win the final by 0.3s at the Kent amphitheatre, they all copied the Norwegian showman’s wild celebration. WRX is in a good place right now.
Further north, around the superb sweeps of Donington, the World Superbike boys hung off their crotchrockets, playing tricks with centrifugal force, as is their wont. I’ve dribbled round Donington on a slick-shod, production Honda CBR600RR, so I know exactly how good they are. And the feel-good factor of a double British victory, in the shape of 2013 World Champion Tom Sykes taking his first two wins of the year, cannot be underestimated, especially as the 29-year-old had had to watch Kawasaki team-mate Jonathan Rea win eight of the first 10 races prior to his home round.
As late afternoon approached, and I was down to my last Feverometer, it was time for the razzmatazz, pomp, ceremony and warp-speed thrill that is 200 laps of the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
‘Just over three hours of wheel-to-wheel combat at more than 200mph produced a belter, featuring 38 lead changes among 10 drivers.’
Even those who wouldn’t know one end of a racing car from another have heard about this American institution, first held in 1911.
Just over three hours of wheel-to-wheel combat at more than 200mph produced a belter, featuring 38 lead changes among 10 drivers, but it was the final dozen or so laps that people will talk about for a long time.
Witnessing Penske duo Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power swapping the lead, with Chip Ganassi Racing pair Scott Dixon (who’d started from pole position) and Charlie Kimball breathing down their necks was electrifying.
With four to go, IndyCar championship leader Montoya, who won the great race for Ganassi in 2000 before heading to F1 to win races with Williams and McLaren, made the decisive move and held off reigning title holder Power to win by 0.1s.
Watching – and listening to – Montoya’s crazed celebration inside the cockpit on his victory lap topped off a truly epic weekend.
I hope you used the bank holiday break to get over it all.
Photography courtesy @World and Daimler AG