Friends and Competitors Gather To Watch The USGP
Written by Todd Hesskamp
Photos by Joe Tasler
So a short drive into downtown Leavenworth and you see a big sign that says High Noon Saloon and Brewery go that way (right), a couple blocks over and there you are parking outside an older building, that is hiding a nice little gathering place. The location has a very large view screen as you can see from the photo above, and plenty of room for a gathering of friends and competitors. As you enter the door, off to the left was a short step up to a stage where two computers were set up with driving wheels, pedals and nice big monitors for the “driving simulators”. The PC’s were loaded with rFactor the racing simulator and of course the COTA circuit was the track of choice for the racing challenge.
The plan was to allow “enthusiasts” to take some laps and have some “friendly banter” over fast lap times on the challenging circuit. It was a great idea and the simulators provided a good deal of excitement even if the race did not.
The facility is nice and large enough for bigger celebrations, I think we may have surprised the saloon and the servers with the number of people who showed up, because early on there was only one person trying to cover approximately 20 or more attendees. As just noted there was a decent showing of people, I did not count, but would suggest that there were as many as 25 or more, and many of them being familiar faces. I enjoyed the food, and maybe even more the locally brewed beer, so much so that I had to bring home a sample for my wife at home.
For those of you who watched the race at home, or maybe even made the trek to Austin, I would say that the race simulators and company provided for More entertainment, because I would say the race was not one of the most riveting of the season. By less than half way into the event many folks had migrated over to try the simulators and socializing. The results of the driving challenge were that Jared Lagenfeld got first place, Shawn Hill got second, and forgive me, but I forgot who ended up third, I was too busy hearing from Zander that he drove a faster lap that his dad on the simulator, somebody was a bit excited! The results of the race, well, to make sure this is a spoiler free zone, I will not say anything definitive, but things were… predictable.
I know that I enjoyed the event and appreciated the effort that went into putting the thing together. I would enjoy other watch parties at this venue. I would however check with the owners/proprietors to make sure they had staff enough to cover for the crowd it would probably provide less stress for both the serving personnel and the customers.
See you next year,
— Todd Hesskamp