Big Day of Sport

Normally the big day of sport happens once a year, this is when multiple major sporting events happen in one day. It brings a great excuse to get your friends together for the whole day, place some friendly bets and prove your worth with your know how across sports.

WHAT IS IT: Monaco GP Qualifying

This weekend starts with the Monaco GP qualifying, the most important part of the Monaco GP. Formula 1 has been a bit processional this year, with Mercedes running away with the championship having won 5 out of 5 races. This has been mainly down to a superior engine over their rivals.

WHY WATCH?

Monaco may pose their biggest challenge of the season as Monaco doesn’t reward an engine like other tracks. Throughout practice Red Bull and Ferrari have been much closer than at previous events. Expect a Mercedes Pole, most likely from Hamilton with a possible Red Bull splitting them. It will be an exciting Q3 and also, its Monaco, it just looks brilliant.

WHERE TO WATCH:

Sky Sports F1, Coverage starts at 12 p.m. Qualifying starts at 1 p.m.

WHAT IS IT: Championship Play Off Final

Derby take on QPR in the Championship Play Off Final, in a straight out winner takes all duel

WHY WATCH?

Play Off finals are always very competitive. Derby are looking for their first win and promotion since 2007, QPR are in their first play off final at this level, but they face an issue due to poor financial issues. The winner will get promoted and gain around 50 million. Players are likely to play extremely passionately as for a lot of them it will be their chance to play in the Premier League. It will also likely be the biggest games of their career so far.

WHERE TO WATCH:

Sky Sports, Kickoff at 3 p.m.

WHAT IS IT?

Champions League Final, Real Madrid are looking for title number 10

WHY WATCH?

Real Madrid have some of the finest players in football, most of the time they play a beautiful game and its very special to watch. Athletico Madrid are La Liga champions this year and have blown away Real Madrid and Barcelona. Hopefully we will see a great Madrid Brawl in Lisbon and typical Spanish theatrics won’t be a talking point post game. This game has potential to be a classic

WHERE TO WATCH

Sky Sports, Kick Off 7.45 p.m.

Its rare that 3 great events happen on the same day, it promises to be a great to for sport, get your friends over, it could be a classic!

WHAT IS IT?

NBA playoff game 2, the Indiana Pacers visit Miami Heat.

WHY WATCH IT?

The number 1 Pacers meet the number 2 and reigning Champions Heat. Whenever you get the top team playing the second best in any sport you would expect a pretty epic game. Miami Heat have one of the best teams in NBA history, you could end up watching history being made. Why else would you want an excuse to watch basketball, its fast paced entertainment. Its a late start so consider recording it!

WHERE TO WATCH?

Sky Sports, 1.30 a.m.

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Monaco GP 2014 Predictions

The Monaco GP practice day is in the books, what have we learnt? Not a lot actually, with 22 cars storming around such a small track, they struggle to get a gap, as Nico Rosberg showed in P2. Rosberg was over 4 seconds down on Fernando Alonso’s best time.

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P1 is the representative session, with the Mercedes top and Red Bull and Ferrari Breathing down their necks. The Top six will most likely be decided by these top teams, but the order is up in the air. Safety bets say Lewis Hamilton On pole, with Nico Rosberg close behind. Then Daniel Ricciardo 3rd followed by Fernando Alonso, then Vettel infront of Raikonnen. Williams and Force India should round out the top 10, but you shouldn’t count out Romain Grosjean putting his Lotus where it may not belong.

Expect the usual suspects to go out in Q1 being, both Marussia’s and both Caterhams and the big scalp being Maldonado, although the likelyhood of someone crashing is very high and likely!

The race won’t have much overtaking, the grid will stay pretty much the same bar a couple of shakers and movers through pit stop strategy. I’m expecting a 5th victory in a row from Lewis Hamilton this weekend.

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Monaco GP Experience

The Monaco GP experience is one the best things I have ever done. As an avid F1 fan I know that there are some races that must be done, Silverstone, Monza, Spa-Francochamps and the crown jewel Monaco. I had already been to Silverstone in 2011, it was great, I loved every moment of it, however you do feel distanced from the action.

Monaco is an F1 Fanatics dream, you end up being so close to the action wherever you go! Even walking around the city you can hear the V8 screams echo around the buildings making the experience all the more involved (I don’t know how the V6 turbos will sound there, hopefully the unique setting will amplify the sound). Monaco is the only track where practice is held on Thursday, the track is open to the public on Friday after a couple of support races are finished Friday morning. Walking or driving the track makes you appreciate how much the camera’s “flatten” the track out. Monaco’s circuit has many undulations and as its a road for the rest of the year it ends up being bumpier than permanent circuits.

The Leows hairpin is the slowest corner on the F1 Calender, taken at a pretty impressive 40 mph which considering the dimensions of an F1 car, is very impressive. Its unique in the fact that the cars have Monaco specific suspension to allow the lock to get around this corner, its great to see the cars being get forced to handle such different corners.

Another favourite corner of the track is the first section of swimming pool, on TV you can see how quick the change of direction in an F1 car really is. If you see it with your eyes it becomes even more impressive! Red Bull cars have dominated this section of the track in recent years.

On Thursday we spent out day on the main straight, alongside the braking zone for the first corner. The view made you really appreciate how quickly cars slow down.  The ticket we got allowed us access to a small area by the first turn and even provided food (buffet).

Our tickets for the rest of the weekend were on the grandstand at the final corner looking down the main straight. The view was spectacular, the drivers get on the power so early and they don’t seem to care about the wheel spin created as the outside kerb rights the car. I went down to the front of the grandstand and felt like I could high five drivers as they went past, we were literally a meter away the track. You cannot get much closer than this!

You can see the drivers moving from the paddock (which is down by stars and bars) to the track, they would always wave to all the fans whilst walking around, it seems that they love the atmosphere that the enclosed Monaco brings.

The support races are brilliant to watch and you should definitely stay and watch them. The support drivers are much more eager to pass and it creates some great entertainment. It also helped get me a better seat and others around started to leave on Saturdays support races after qualifying.

The most unique experience of Monaco is the opening of the circuit after each day. Approximately 2 hours after the race the streets are open to the public and there are party’s on the streets, it is truly the pinnacle of race experience. There’s something very strange yet satisfying to think that just a few hour ago Formula one cars where going as fast as possible on this tarmac.

A bar to look at around Monaco is stars and bars. Its any sports fans dream, there’s tons of memorabilia around the place from all sorts of sports. Its a great place and the prices aren’t as steep as you would expect. Great Memorabilia like Superbowl and Motogp signed and some of it has been used, there’s a crashed bike there. Your ticket into here will gain you access to the marina around the paddock, it also brings you to the place where the teams have to go to get to the pits. Its the perfect place to go to gain autographs of your favourites.

If watching races isn’t your thing, or you want to go and look around other places on a holiday, you should consider looking over to the Cannes film festival. Its about a 40-50 minute drive from Monaco. Its a pretty cool event, you may even see your favourite celebrity. There’s also a lot of very nice cars cruising around the Cannes area!

Now onto predictions, I can’t look anywhere else but Mercedes, and unlike most races, this will be won on a Saturday, something that you would expect Lewis Hamilton to win, Nico Rosberg is no slouch around Monaco though. Expect the Red Bulls to be much closer than before as engines will not pose a factor. Sebastian Vettel expects his team to shine, Daniel Ricciardo will look to continue his brilliant streak. Ferrari is not good enough, Kimi will struggle as he is not comfortable with the car, Fernando Alonso will continue to put his car where it shouldn’t be, but don’t expect miracles. The best aero cars will shine this weekend, personally I can’t wait, I may not be there to experience it first hand, but its still great on TV

If you are an F1 fanatic you should go to Monaco, it will be the best experience you can have. The cars are close, you rub shoulders with the famous and they don’t mind talking to you, its one of the best holidays I’ve been on and I’ve been to Disney World

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Track day Dream Fulfilled

 

My 21st birthday present from my dad was a track day at Anglesey circuit. The car of choice was a Formula Ford. Driving cars fast has been something I have wanted to do throughout my teen years. After about 10 years of nagging my dad gave me the opportunity to see if he made a mistake not getting me into racing earlier.

The first part of the experience you notice once you arrive is the lovely staff at the circuit. They sign you in and tell you where you need to go and when. Its all organised, but has a nice relaxed feel to it. In the safety briefing they tell you all you need to know, making it as fun as possible as going through it as well, added bonus in my eyes!

Once briefed, we were taken out to their safety car to get a look at the track and an idea of the racing line. The instructor was very detailed in what we should expect the cars to do throughout each corner. After a gained understanding, we were individually taken out in regular road cars (ford pumas) with an instructor to judge our driving ability.

During the one to one instruction they give you tips on where to improve your driving, including very fine areas like your turn in being half a meter late! They judge every area of your driving ability and give you an overall score out of 100, I was pleased to get 92/100 after being told my instructor would give Sebastian Vettel 95. Apparently he hasn’t given a score that high before either! The scores given determine the order that you go out in for driving the formula fords.

They choose your formula ford based on your height and weight given before you arrive. These only need to be estimates so don’t get flustered over it. They proceed to get you comfortable in the car and give you a feel of where and how things work. The gears are a H-pac set up and and difficult to get used to. The gear stick being on the right doesn’t cause as much as a problem as I had first expected though, you get used to it instantly.

The first laps in the Formula ford are spend behind the safety car, this allows you to get acclimatised to the car, how it feels and responds to inputs. Its also a good time to practice getting into 2nd gear, many people have issues with this.

Once the safety car goes in you are free to go as fast (or slow) as you would like. The best part is that they take spinning off with a pinch of salt. A word of advice, remember to step on the clutch if you spin out,  this means you wont stall the car and you get more time out on track.

You will be bought in every 10 minutes (depending on what you have booked) to have a small break and get some tips on where to improve, its all very friendly advice, they want you to have the best time possible!

Before you know it you are done, one of the best days I have ever had, and it was all done before midday! I would say that if you have ever wanted to try single seater cars out, a track day is the perfect way to do it. I loved every moment of it, the staff were great, the cars are fun and the circuit poses a good mix of corners to challenge you. I would advise getting good weather though, a slightly damp track was great fun, but I would have liked to see how much I could have got out of the car

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