An Aladdin’s cave of Ferrari’s in Switzerland

LausanneFerrari 788I’ve discussed the concept of serendipity before on Any Given Reason, and the adventure and discovery to be found in being lost while traveling. The best things are always unexpected, and it pays to keep your eyes open to possibility no matter how discouraging your circumstances may seem.

LausanneFerrari 776Recently, I was traveling through the Swiss lakes on my Vespa with the unlikely goal of reaching the holiday town of Lausanne by nightfall. My tent had flooded the previous night in Italy which meant that all of my possessions except the clothes I was wearing were packed sodden in my bags, and I was lost. I had a ferry booked on the other side of France for a 4am Thursday morning Channel crossing which I had to make in order to not miss the Goodwood Revival Meeting; it was 6pm on Monday night and I still had close to 1000km of Switzerland and France to cover. The small 125cc capacity of my Vespa meant I couldn’t ride on the Autobahn, and whilst it was tempting to give it a crack anyway, I decided to play it safe and take the slower route through the towns.

LausanneFerrari 789Long story short, all of those circumstances sent me on an unexpected path that saw me ride past an Aladdin’s cave called Garage Zenith, and then discover another equally impressive workshop a little further on. I really didn’t have the time to justify stopping for a coffee let alone a walk around a car dealership, but when I saw Michael Schumacher’s own factory personalised Ferrari Enzo and a 1957 Maserati 250S sitting on the showroom floor, I just knew I had to stop. To hell with the schedule. Continue reading

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Any Given Reason is sadly offline for a little while

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It was Friday practise of the Italian GP at Monza. I couldn’t be there in person, but I was streaming it online in nearby Torino before I commenced my journey to the historic circuit for Sunday’s race. The commentators laughably quipped that a severe thunderstorm was on the cards, so I made special note to pack my wet weather gear.

Anyone who watched the race will recall that it was bone dry and not particularly exciting, in fact said thunderstorm probably would have spiced things up quite a bit.

As it turns out, that very storm struck a little further north, passing through the town of Como where I was camping that night. I returned from the race counting my blessings that it was dry, only to discover that the campsite had flooded while I was gone. The watermark was over 4″ high on my tent and there was mud everywhere. My tent still held a small paddling pool’s worth of the muddy brown muck.

What I can tell you from that experience is that air mattresses float; laptop computers don’t. My trusty MacBook spent several hours submerged, with mud pouring out of the various orifices when removed from its sodden case.

I’ve spent the past week attempting to find a way to continue Any Given Reason while I travel, but without a way to download and edit photos, to write and then publish it all, it’s a little tricky. The option to publish via phone is there but the quality wouldn’t be the same, so unfortunately Any Given Reason is forced to take a little sabbatical until I return home at the end of October.

But luckily my camera is in fine shape so I will continue to collect material for future stories, and there’s some big plans to take AGR to the next level over the summer break, so essentially, watch this space.

The conversation is still happening on social media, and I’ll be posting regular snippets on Facebook (Any Given Reason) and on Instagram (@anygivenreason), so come on over and say hi!

Thanks for being a part of the journey so far, and I hope to continue it with you all in the near future.

Andrew Coles

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It might be a little quiet around here for a week or two…

DSC_0382Any Given Reason is currently exploring the Italian/French Riviera, as as such finding it extremely difficult to justify spending any significant time behind the computer. Rather than rush what will be some pretty interesting stories, it’s probably best to wait until the time is available to do them justice. Even moreso considering that the next two weekends will also be spent at two of the premiere motorsport events in the world – the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and the Goodwood Revival. Definitely two posts not to be glossed over.

In the meantime, you can still follow Any Given Reason on Facebook, and on Instagram – @anygivenreason.

After a short break, AGR will most certainly be back into it in full swing. And until then, here’s a small sneak preview of what you can expect…

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Words and photos by Andrew Coles

24 Heures du Mans 2013

DSC_0910The number 2 Audi e-tron Quattro of Tom Kristensen, Alan McNish and Loic Duval has won the 90th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour, delivering Audi’s 12th and Kristensen’s 9th victory at the Circuit des 24 Heures in France’s Sarthe region.

DSC_0362Audi were always the favorite to win, however the challenge from Toyota was unexpectedly tough, enough to earn the Japanese manufacturer a place on the podium with the number 8 car of Anthony Davidson, Stephane Sarrazin and Sebastian Buemi splitting the Audi’s to take second place.

DSC_0431Audi claimed the final podium position, with the number 3 car of Marc Gene, Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi claiming third place. The Audi’s clearly had more speed than the Toyota’s, but it was thought that the Japanese car would require less pit stops, thus evening out the field. That was true to some extent, however in the end Toyota competed mostly on speed, delivering lap times that surprised. Toyota would have claimed third place as well were it not for a wet weather accident late in the race that enabled the Audi past while the damaged Toyota was being repaired in the pits.

DSC_0527Any Given Reason was extremely lucky to be able to attend this year’s Le Mans in person. It has been a dream of mine for many years to attend the 24h, and 2013 was the year it finally happened. An in-depth race report is difficult because when you’re at the track you don’t actually have a great idea of what’s going on – you guys at home knew more about the race than I did. In addition, taking decent photos was difficult because I had no media access and was stuck behind the fencing, so instead this report will simply detail spectating at Le Mans – an endurance challenge in itself. Continue reading

Car hunting on the Isle of Man

IMG_4655It’s all about motorbikes on the Isle of Man during TT week, from sunrise to sunset. But at other times of the year motorsport of the four wheeled variety is also very popular, and the Isle of Man has a higher than average percentage of interesting cars given its small size. Whilst most of them stay hidden away during the two weeks of the TT, I did manage to spot a few interesting rides during my visit.

DSC_0434So why is there so much interesting metal on this small slice of land in the Irish sea?

The island seems to be a giant playground designed for the sports car. There’s over 500km of twisting roads, and outside of the big race weekends they are almost always deserted. Couple that with a very lenient and understanding police force and no speed limits outside of the towns, and you have a supercar dreamland. It’s probably the only place in the world where you can exercise these cars as their makers intended.

DSC_0270The Isle of Man also benefits from some very lenient tax laws making it a haven of a different kind also.  There’s plenty of money about on the island, so the proportion of people able to own something special is much higher. You move to the island to save on your tax bill, and the side benefit is miles of driving roads right at your doorstep. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

DSC_0331Another thing I noticed was the complete lack of poseurs. Cities like Singapore and Dubai are filled with supercars, but there’s nowhere to drive them properly. This is contrasted by the Isle of Man, where there’s no point trying to pose in a supercar outside of race week because there’s simply no one to pose to. Pure driving is the only reason you’d own one here, and that’s the way it should be. Continue reading

The Isle of Man TT experience

DSC_0163What! Has he gone mad, this is a car blog, I hear you cry. And yes, you are correct, however I think you’ll agree that the Isle of Man TT is of interest to just about anyone with even the slightest interest in anything mechanical or sporting.

DSC_0057So with this thought and an open mind, I took my almost nonexistent knowledge of motorcycle racing along to experience nearly two weeks of spectating at the TT. In fact the TT is actually the first motorbike race I’ve ever been to, and I reasoned that an event this crazy really needs to be witnessed first hand before someone bans it, like so many other brilliant races before it. Volumes have been written about the TT much more eloquently than I ever could, so this is simply the story of my experience attending the greatest motorcycle race on earth.

DSC_0603To properly understand the TT, you first need to understand its location – the Isle of Man. A little island just 52km long and 22km wide, the Isle of Man sits in the middle of the Irish sea between England and Ireland. Officially it is a Self Governing British Crown Dependency, essentially meaning that the United Kingdom takes control of its international affairs (defense, EU representation etc), and the Isle of Man Government takes control of local matters, such as laws. It’s this crucial legal arrangement that allows events like the TT to take place – there’s simply no way it would be allowed to happen anywhere else in the world.

DSC_0989In a similar fashion to Monaco, the Isle of Man is a popular tax haven for wealthy Brits. One person I met told me that the island’s biggest industry is “sitting back and counting your money”, so therefore its second biggest industry must be tourism. The Isle of Man is blessed with some simply fantastic roads, and the government exploit them with a packed motorsport calendar to attract visitors throughout the summer. They also have no speed limits outside of towns to further encourage visitors when the big events aren’t on. Continue reading

Carlton Supercross Sri Lanka, 29-30 January 2011

For 2011 the Carlton Supercross was held at the gravel circuit near the town of Tissamaharama in the Hambantota district of Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan super cross racing shares many similarities with traditional rallycross, however the chief difference is that super cross racing is conducted on a full dirt circuit. The Carlton Supercross formed part of the wider Carlton Super Sports festival which included rowing, target shooting and athletic events. The Carlton Supercross was round 1 of the Sri Lankan National Gravel Championship (encompasing both super cross racing and special stage rallying) and round 1 of the SLARDAR championship.

Continue reading