Essex to Edinburgh, the first Crewsade branded roadtrip. This event was f*cking awesome. And considering all the current rules and sh*t going on around us, it was good to get out, be with a great bunch of people, cool cars and have fun, I think it’s what was needed after the lockdowns earlier in the year.
Day one, getting to sleep at about 3am isn’t always a great thing when you’ve got to be up at 7 to trek across to Essex to the first location of the trip. But.. I got there, parking up my sh*tbox BMW outside this grand 5 star hotel brought a smile to my face.. and probably a lot of others, wondering why someone had dumped some scrap next to a supercar! Stance parked at its finest, I headed to the Pavilion building where the event sign on and the first nights event was taking place. Set up and branding was our first mission, and the Sonax goody bags were putting my ocd to the test.. Al wanted some branded free stuff placed inside, so like CS facemasks, Samco keyrings, stickers and our itinerary for the weekend etc.. I had to go through each bag to make sure they were all organised in the same way! Damn ocd!
People started arriving from about 2pm at the hotel, the first point of contact was the graphics hut with the guys from FLSLTD applying the sticker packs. Typical British weather as always though and the rain started to come down, but that didn’t phase the guys working hard.
After everyone had arrived and had their car branded, it was time to chill and enjoy the first night, get to know everyone and have a laugh.. this wasn’t hard considering a Mariachi band surprised the teams by blaring their own music from a speaker suitcase and singing their hearts out, and whilst moving around all the tables in the bar! But because of the 10pm curfews, our night was cut short to comply with the typical rules.
After everyone had left, it was time to pack down and get Baggsy’s GTR out of the building. The Lambo we had just moved out was pretty simple, ramps over the bottom of the door frame and out. The GTR however took a little longer, so long in-fact that Baggsy fancied some hamburgers from McDonalds, but only got cheeseburgers in return.. he was mad. Many tries later and we managed to get the car out and down the steps outside, ready for loading into the trailer in the morning.
At this point I still had no idea who I was bunking with in the hotel room, turns out I had a room to myself. Once the Pavilion was tidied and empty, I headed back to the room to get all my camera gear ready for the next day and get all data backed up. Went to boot my laptop.. then being faced with the gut wrenching feeling when all I saw was the dreaded 'question mark folder icon' staring back at me. lump in throat. sh*t. this was a bad end to the first event day. My laptop was dead for the foreseeable future. I even searched around to see if I could get the correct internal ribbon cable delivered to the hotel the next day, but not even Amazon Prime could save me with this one.
Friday early morning alarm.. checked my phone and yep, I must have slept through that one.. peeking outside and yep, rain. Here comes that typical British weather again! Showered and photos of the main event car park out of the second floor window sorted, I was ready. Head downstairs, checking the time, too late for breakfast of course, that’s just how events are, the smell of fresh coffee and toast in the mornings are just a fantasy with this kinda work lifestyle.
Morning group photos done, walk around the cars and grab some social content for the channels done, we were ready to start, 9am sharp scheduled to leave the first location. Content of the Crewsaders leaving the venue, done. but wait, weren’t a few of us media guys supposed to be jumping in a few cars last minute to get rolling shots and content towards the first stop on the way? uh huh, we were left behind, man down! Not all bad though, I was able to help Dan, the #Battlebus driver pack down the branding and get on the road after that. 7 of us in that van, with all branding, suitcases and Waveys bike, we were on route. Skipping the first regroup petrol station stop, we headed straight to the first location, EveryMan Racing in Loughborough. Probably about 3 hour drive, where everyone got the chance to drive a supercar, and I mean everyone..
When we got there, the session was in full swing and the Crewsaders were enjoying the track action. It was cold standing out there though, so teams didn’t feel like hanging around for long after they had their own drive. Once everyone had finished their laps on track, it was the CS team’s turn, I was mocked for choosing to drive the Ariel Atom.. at first I wondered why, but yeaaaah... afterwards I totally understood. A vehicle with no roof, no body and having to wear a helmet that was at least 2 sizes too big for me, being held on in the wind by the chin strap.. oh I definitely understood.
Upon finishing our session at Everyman Racing, the teams headed on up north to the final stop for day 2, the Sheffield location hotel. At least we didn’t get left behind again! This time Team Samco had a spare seat and offered to take one of the media guys for the next part of the journey, and the next stop was a place called Winnats Pass… an awesome rock formation formed in the hillside and a road going right up the middle. Car park photos done, cold up here too by the way.. and Ben (the event video guy) had an idea to get tracking shots by hanging out the back of one of the Security Nation support vehicles, so I jumped on this opportunity, literally jumped in the back of their Nissan Navara, and got some pretty sweet tracking content of us climbing up this cool road, although the rain started to hit once we were at the top.. so coming down the hill was probably a little faster than we wanted.
Next up, rolling in a convoy into Sheffield city centre, Sams AE86 on one side, and Baggsy in the McLaren on the other. This was a pretty good end to the day. Hotel check in, lugging a peli case, suitcase and camera bag around after a long day is always draining, but when you roll up into a multi-storey carpark and see the whole crew parked together it definitely made me smile.
Quick shower in the hotel room after a long drive and I was ready for the night. Headed downstairs to see Baggsy, Ian, Naomi and Adam in the lobby, beers in hand.. not sure if they over ordered the beers but straight away I was given an ice cold Corona, thanks guys! Pretty much downed that and the guys headed out to grab a £4 taxi to the Sheffield nightclub venue.
Now I’m not a fan of this track and trace stuff.. but I guess it makes sense for us all to participate, app scanned and we were in. Kettle Black bar in the town was pretty sick, liquors stacked behind the bar, we could have anything.. but in pure car guy fashion.. Corona was ordered. oh and f*cking massive bottle of vodka.. on some sort of slidey thing that held the bottle for you. Many many rounds later, vision blurry and it was time to head back to the hotel for the after after party.. after some crewsade crewsade crewsade chanting on our way out of the venue of course.
Saturday morning. Hangover activated. Safe to say I felt like absolute sh*t, not ready for the day at all. Knowing the type of roads we would be on that day was in my mind and I didn’t wake up happy! Quickly showered, realising I was still pretty drunk when I was swaying in there, headed down to the lobby for another missed breakfast and off we went to load up and head out to the first fuel stop on day 3. This was a pretty sweet location, Leeds services.. massive fuel station where we basically took over the whole place! Crewsade stamp of approval, photos taken and a cool instagram story video captured, I went into the service station toilets for a tactical chunder. wellll maybe not quite tactical, but it worked out..
When everyone had filled up and was ready, we rolled out. Next location, Castle Howard. Regroup time and some new vehicles arrived for the next part of the trip, a few vlog and interview videos done, we out. Towards Scotland now, these roads were epic. but I reaaaally didn’t have that thought at the time as I was still in the back seat of the Team Samco Audi.. trying not to vomit, nothing against Callum's driving, but the back seat hangover still banging inside my head and the up and down nature of these roads, my stomach was in my mouth the whole time. Just gotta say though, windows down helps a little..and I mean only a little!
We made it, the Scotland border sign, another regroup. Probably around 20 minutes of chill time in the freezing winds of the north and mandatory photos of the ‘Welcome to Scotland’ sign. Next up.. the finish line of the whole trip, the third night hotel. Private top floor carpark of the Radison in Edinburgh, greeted with named envelopes with our room keys. Straight to the rooms to shower and get out for another heavy night right? Wrong.. my suitcase went missing. After about 30 minutes of panicking and walking around the hotel looking for it, even messaging the roadtrip group chat, no one had seen it. but then.. walking back to my room and feeling like giving up on the search, I see it! Someone had taken it by mistake and I had theirs in hand. Sorted! I could now shower knowing I didn’t have to throw on the same clothes for the night!
Media team regroup, just before the crew were heading to the evenings venue, we spotted a burger place across the street. Food was needed, especially after witnessing a good ol' scottish fight outside that same venue, we decided to hold up and grab something to eat before sh*t got too out of hand. Sat down to eat, first sip of beer and I was done, felt like I couldn’t eat anything after the night before… so bed burger saved for later.
That night was interesting, the original venue we had booked for the evening was just not what we had anticipated at all, so Al decided to come up with the idea of a Crewsade suite, and that was the start of another messy night!
Sunday, the end of the first Crewsade Essex To Edinburgh roadtrip. This time we actually had time for breakfast before heading out, luckily I woke up feeling good that day, so coffee and food was gooood. Loaded up the CS #BattleBus and we were out, long journey down south and back to our first hotel location to grab my car, I think it roughly took us about 9 hours to get back, having to drop Wavey and crew off in London before finally getting to the hotel. Then another 2 hour journey back to Basingstoke for me!