F430 F1 – Ferrari: ✔

When I left my previous job at AEMO after 11 years, a group of my closest friends and coworkers gathered around and presented me with a very unexpected and awesome gift. Although I have been enjoying my other gift from the wider company (lots of Kindle credit!) on a daily basis on the train, this was definitely something else entirely.

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I hadn’t intended to take quite this long to get around to it, but it turns out this is a pretty popular Red Balloon gift, so June was as early as was available at the start of the year, and I decided to make it land near my birthday on the 26th.

I must admit. When I put a Ferrari on my list-of-100-things, I was just expecting that maybe someday I’d have a chance to drive one on the road.

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Driving one on a race track is better.

Much better.

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I have no practice at driving really fast, and I shamefully admit I didn’t quite nudge it past 200 on the straight, but I had an awful lot of fun trying to get there. I didn’t notice the adrenaline as I was going, but when I got out of the car I had an immediate urge to look for a drink because my mouth had dried out completely.

I have to clarify; 200 sounds like a lot, but in more qualified hands the car I was driving tops out over 300. Still. It’s faster than I’ve ever gone in a car myself.

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First of all, you sit incredibly close to the road. It’s less than 1/2 Rav4 high. Secondly, the brakes are incredibly effective; anything more than the lightest touch and you stand still instantly. That’s a hard thing to get used to. I think the twitchy controls are what most held me back from pushing it faster. That, and the knowledge I was driving the cost of a modest flat around.

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Through it all the instructor was amazing. Encouraging, calm and composed. Like a personal sat-nav pointing out the spots I should try to hit in the corner, and when to push it faster and when to ease it off. I got better on later laps.

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The track I was driving wasn’t quite as expected either. See Eastern Creek geographical map style; that is what I was led to expect. Then, see Eastern Creek satellite view with the extra twisty bits on the right; that’s what I actually got to drive. Those tight corners are… intimidating.

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I’m not quite done yet with my catch-up birthday, but the experience of the morning almost led me to buying a console with racing games straight out of the gate.

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This afternoon I have a massage booked, and then dinner with some friends and family at Criniti’s for an Italian close to the day as well. What could possibly go wrong?

…Thanks for All The Fish

I had a great last day at work today.

I got so many well-wishes from everyone, it was a little overwhelming. And more kudos than I knew what to do with… I may have to keep them in a kennel. It’s funny how little I realised what I was achieving as I was doing; it really took everyone telling me for it to settle in.

Lunch was great and well attended. I was happy to see the HR team present (thanks Barbara); they moved their own gathering from the CBD out West for the express purpose of joining me I believe.

40+ people all up.

And I was late.

I had a meeting till right up to my lunch. I left a few minutes early in hopes of being timely, but XMAS bustle at our lunch venue meant that all the parking was taken. If not for the fortuitous departure of a mother with pram (thanks for noting Hamish) I would have been more than 10 minutes late.

And then there was a gift from my closest friends at work; colleagues, staff, bosses, many I have worked with right from the beginning, 11 years ago. Scott had earlier in the day come to ask me mystifying questions regarding whether a cooler gift in Melbourne, or a not-quite-as-cool-but-still-very-cool gift in Sydney was preferable.

I picked Sydney.
I have no immediate plans to travel to Melbourne at this stage.

The gift was plenty cool regardless…

FerrariDriving

Someone had noted my bucket list on the blog, and remembered seeing something useful on it. A gift I would never have thought to ask for. An amazingly cool gift that I’ll really enjoy experiencing.

So, sometime soon I will be ticking “Driving a Ferrari” off my list.
I will go to the local race circuit, get some instruction, and then race an F430 around the track for 6 laps. And it Will Be Awesome!

I will miss them all. It has been such a pleasure working with them all these years. They have all taught me so much they may not even have realised. Little lessons, large lessons… unintended lessons. And hopefully it has sufficiently prepared me to make the most of my next job.

I am mystified how I managed to teach them as much as they claim I have, but I will take their word for it.

They better invite me for pizza.