Posts Tagged ‘Montreal’


March 4th, 2013 Comments off

It took a great goal from Davy Arnaud to mark what was otherwise a very forgettable game. However the season has started and an evening watching football, and enjoying good beer with friends will always time well spent.

RBP pregame

RBP pregame

ECS tifo prior to kick off

ECS tifo prior to kick off


O is for Olympics

April 17th, 2012 3 comments

This summer the Olympics are in London, and it should be quite the event. 36 years ago Montreal was the host and this is about my earliest sporting memory. I remember watching parts of it with dad and my grandfather at my grandparents house in Scotland.

I knew nothing of cost over runs, boycotts or for that matter records and gold medals. I just knew this was cool and the grown-ups were getting excited. I wanted to be part of it.

My clearest memory is the stadium itself, looking like a giant flying saucer to this 7 year old. I’ve visited the Montreal Olympic Stadium a couple of times over the year and had a great night watching the Expos play baseball and Youppi jumping around on top of the visitors dug out.

Big changes at the back…

November 23rd, 2011 2 comments

Today was expansion draft day. Montreal got to pick 10 players from the rest of the clubs around the league. First pick was Brian Ching (former USL sounder), who said he’d retire rather than play for Montreal. We’ll see where that goes.

We lost James Riles in the draft proper, then a few minutes later Tyson Wahl was sold to Montreal (MLS calls it “allocation money“, but it’s the same thing). Riley was then traded to Chivas for Justin Braun and Gerson Mayen.

Braun is the big pick up there for Montreal, a very good looking forward on the fringe of the US national team.

OK, Riley was unprotected, that was just a numbers game as the Sounders could not protect everyone. Wahl on the other hand was a trade that happened after the team knew about Riley leaving, and indicates they have plans underway for those positions.

On the bright side hey cleared over $150K in cap space, but they lost both outside backs. With a new keeper and both outside backs potentially being new (Evans as right back maybe?) it’s going to be a very different looking defense next year. I think that might be good as there were time’s it was an issue this year.

I’m sorry to see Riley go, he’s been a big part of the clubs success since being picked by Seattle in the expansion draft prior to the 2009 season. It’s not just his runs down the right that will be missed, off the field he contributed through his support of Renton Boys & Girls Club.

Expansion draft time again…

November 16th, 2011 6 comments

For the second year running we are approaching the expansion draft. Next week Montreal get to pick 10 players for their new MLS squad. Each existing team get to protect 11 players; those left off the list are fair game for selection. Teams can only loose one player to the expansion draft, last year they could loose two.

As before Generation Adidas and home grown players don’t count against the 11. For Seattle only Michael Tetteh is automatically protected.

So the big question is who do the Sounders protect? There are a numbers of things that have to be taken into account when creating this list.

  • Where the Sounders have depth (midfield)
  • Is anyone going to be lost to free agency/transfer (Alonso? Montero?)
  • Who do we have coming in during the transfer window (goalkeeper)
  • What do Montreal need/want
  • Is there anyone Montreal does not want

Who will be gracing RBP next year?

So it’s time for the list and my reasons.

There the people I think are the automatics:

  • Alonso
  • Rosales
  • Fernandez
  • Montero.

Rosales is out of contract, but both sides are making noises that it’s a done deal so he stays on the automatic list for me.

  • Zakuani

Coming back from a massive injury, but you can’t expose him as he’d be snapped up in a second. OK, that’s the obvious ones accounted for, lets fill out the rest… Read more…

And it’s all over now… The illustrated version

October 12th, 2011 1 comment

Here are a couple of photos of the world champion from a wonderful weekend in Montreal.

Categories: Personal Tags: , , ,

A man walks into a doctor’s office…

June 15th, 2011 1 comment

A man walks into a doctor’s office. He has a cucumber up his nose, a carrot in his left ear and a banana in his right ear.
“What’s the matter with me?” he asks the doctor.
The doctor replies, “You’re not eating properly.”

What a day, a lot to think about and not much to say right now. The problems with the tumour are more significant than we hoped for, so round one of surgery has been brought forward 5 weeks to next week. Finish the current round of chemo and then it’s time to open me up and start trimming pieces out.

There are a couple of big issues, but the biggest is the tumour putting pressure on the jugular. This is increasing the blood pressure in my brain and it needs to be taken care of quickly. Out of everything we talked about, looked at, poked and prodded at for four hours today with the surgeon and oncologist, taking a scalpel to something around my jugular scares me the most.

And I think that’s a reasonable thing to be scared at.

Just the view out the back of my house,,.

I’m so touched by the support and calls I’ve received over the last few days. Friends I saw in Montreal who called to see what the results were, someone who insisted they be there for me today, bosses at work who shared personal experiences and called HR managers to make sure I had what I needed. People have insisted they are taking me there, waiting for me, staying overnight and so on, and so on.

Thanks guys, all of you, I promise I’ll find a way to show you how I appreciate it.

I’ve been plenty emotional today, not unreasonably. The most emotional part was when someone said not to worry about the cats, they would be looked after if anything happened. We both lost it at that moment.

More Airplanes…

June 13th, 2011 Comments off

A great weekend and the decision to make my travel days a little more relaxed was awesome. No red eye flight after the race, just time for a relaxed drive to Burlington and a lunchtime flight home. All very relaxed and civilized.

I got back to the hotel about 6 last night, dried off and grabbed something light to eat. No post-race party, it was back to the hotel, start the next round of drugs and headed to bed by 7:30 last night. No my ideal post-race celebration, especially after such an incident filled race.

The drive through Southern Quebec to Burlington was wonderful, it’s a very pretty part of the world. It gets rural rather quickly after leaving Monteal, as the city gives way to a series of rolling hills and small farms.

This afternoon I had a short layover in Detroit (thankfully this is the time I get to say that for a while) and got a message from my doctor, not good news and something else to heap onto the plate. I was booked for a scan and another visit with him tomorrow anyway, but now we have more to talk about.

Now if there is one bright thing to come out of this it’s that I’ve been able to offload my work travel onto others. I was supposed to be heading to Charleston next week, but not any more. It’s a rather thin silver lining, but I found one.

Categories: Travel Tags: , , ,

Montreal GP – Race Day

June 12th, 2011 3 comments

So we made it through to race day and the weather was per forecast – wet. Personally, I like watching wet races, it adds a lot of unknowns to the equation. One of the big unknowns was how the cars will work on the Pirelli wets and intermediate tires as the teams have done little or no testing on them.

A beautiful Austin Healey 3000

And today delivered, I’ve no idea when there was a race as full as this one. Today was why racing can be so special. It was a absolute top drawer drive from Jenson Button, 21st and dead last to top step of the podium. Being in the wonderful position of having no real skin in the game I was able to sit back and enjoy the spectacle that unfolded in front of me.

This has been a great Grand Prix weekend, Montreal is a city that totally embraces this race, and downtown hums every evening over the weekend. I was lucky I had invites to a couple of events, but even without that there is so much going on. Boredom is never an option in this city. ”’i just wish I’d had the energy to keep up with the parties, receptions and events that I got invites too.

Overtaking in the Ferrari Challenge support race

The race was stopped after 30ish laps due to rain, it was coming down so hard and from my seat at the second hairpin there was no cover. I had a couple of options on where to watch from and for me this is the pace to watch a F1 car in action. Braking from 305KPH to 50 and then accelerating through the gears as it pulls away. Add a wet track to the mix and the braking zone became a very exciting place to watch.

Tifosi, but with a French accent

It took a little over two hours before the race restarted, I think they were a little too conservative, most of the standing water had been removed and the rain had stopped.

Prior to the restart I moved a grandstand after the final chicane. Mostly because it was under cover, a little late as I was soaked through, but it provided a wonderful spot to watch the race unfold with so much happening right in front of me.

Vettel in another really pretty Austin Healey

Where I ended up had the England-Spain game from the UEFA U21 championship on TV, at half time the TV got switched back to the race channel and we were off again. Unfortunately it was behind the Safety car, but after two hours all I cared about is we were going again..

The race went green and almost immediately it drying out and once someone showed the switch to intermediates was a good idea everyone would go. Four laps later everything started to happen.


Alonso was high centred after a coming together with Button (who was having a busy afternoon). This brought out the safety car once again, and Button came in for his fifth stop of the afternoon. He left with a new wing and fresh rubber. Alonso was out and Button was dead last of the 21 cars left running.

Nearly everyone took the opportunity to come in after the Safety car left to change from wets to intermediate tires.

Rosberg after spinning out, a long way from the track

A fantastic battle was emerging for seconds between Kobiayashi (really good in the wet, lost time as it dried. Japan may be yet to produce a world champion, but Japanese drivers all know how to drive in the wet), Massa and Schumacher. Schumacher looked excellent and went from fourth to second just before everyone decided pretty much en-mass that it was time for slicks.

There was enough of a dry line that emerging that slicks were the right decision and were worth an immediate 3-4 seconds a lap advantage. Schumacher looked like this may be the comeback race that will show he is still to be reckoned with. He went for it on slicks, showed flashes of what we expected when he came back last year, and looked especially good under braking.

Rosberg, Button, Schumacher

Another safety car closed everyone up again, this was turning into a very fun race with so much going on up and down the field. Out front Vettel looked comfortable, he was a happy 5 or 6 seconds in front and seemed to be able to keep that distance what ever happened behind him.

Most notable, Button went from 21st to fourth in about 20 laps and was not done yet. Webber made a mistake and Button took third and shortly afterwards took care of Schumacher as they crossed the start line. Schumacher on the dry line and Button deep into the damp part of the track with the DRS deployed. It was brilliant, brilliant stuff from Button, taking huge risks going onto the damp track looking for the opportunity.

Vettel and Alonso behind the safety car

There were 4 laps left, Button was second, taking significant time out of Vettel every lap and the German was unable to respond. On the penultimate lap Vettel made a huge mistake and had a big tail out moment (not sure where, second chicane maybe) that gave Button the chance he needed to take the lead.  I think Turkey last year was the last big mistake I can think of from Vettel, considering how dominant he’s been since then that’s remarkable.

This was a great individual drive, not in a “Senna at Donnington – genius at work” way, but because anything could have happened today. That Sunday at Donnington we watched a master in control, today was an inspired drive by Jenson Button, but one full risks. He got a little luck to go his way (and a mistake by clearly the best driver in the sport) and made the best of it. I don’t mean to diminish what Button achieved, as he drove a great race and must be very satisfied with his drive, it was a privilege to watch.

Barrichello, Kobiayashi

This is one of the most memorable races I’ve ever seen in 25 years of following the sport, and not just because I was there. This contained everything a great sporting moment needs, drama, unpredictability, someone riding their luck a little and producing something spectacular from it.

I was soaked to the skin, and I mean soaked. Even my wallet was saturated, I just hope the camera starts working again when it dries out.

Heidfeld, De Resta, De La Rosa

Time to head back to the hotel, dry out and think about dinner tonight. Wet races are unpredictable, and today was no different. That was an outstanding race, and England came back to draw 1-1 with Spain. Thank you to Brian, Joel and Sue for the tickets. This was a great weekend of racing. I love this sport.

Oh yeah, one last thing, it started sheeting down with rain again a few minutes after the race finished.

Dinner and a movie, F1 style!

June 12th, 2011 Comments off

We met for dinner in Vieux Montreal, the old part of town, before heading off to a quiet party. Montreal has a well-deserved reputation for being very “European”, and in large part that’s because of Vieux Montreal. It’s been maybe 15 years since I last spent a night out here it’s full of great restaurants and a party we had secured invites too.

There was no getting away from the master here, he won at Circuit Giles Villeneuve twice (88 and 90) and tonight there was a reception and a showing of the Senna movie for those who were interested. Lets face it, for this crowd it was an easy sell, there were not many who passed up the opportunity. To do the while “full circle” thing, it was a Lotus-Renault (in black and gold no less) that Ayrton Senna had his first win in.

Early in his career James Hunt called him a “staggering talent”. I was lucky enough to meet him briefly on a couple of occasions and was there to witness his incredible drive at the European GP in ‘93. The best drive certainly I’ve ever seen and I don’t think its hyperbole to call it one of the best drives in the history of the sport.

One of the quotes from the movie that stuck with me was: “The harder I push, the more I find within myself. I am always looking for the next step, a different world to go into, areas where I have not been before. It’s lonely driving a Grand Prix car, but very absorbing. I have experienced new sensations and I want more. That is my excitement, my motivation.”

I was not after a late night and once the movie was over took a short taxi ride back to the hotel and was in bed by 10 (almost an all-nighter for me). It was a great movie, very personal, very emotional and told the story through both archive interviews and talks with people who knew him and competed against him. The tribute from Alain Prost was very moving. The personal highlight was him winning in Brazil, it showed what sport can mean to people, the emotion was clear and overwhelming. It has to be seen, it was extraordinary. I feel very fortunate to have met Ayrton Senna, even if it was little more than shaking his hand. He really was one of the true greats of the sport.

Categories: Personal Tags: , , , ,

Montreal GP – Qualifying

June 11th, 2011 1 comment

So today was final practice followed a couple of hours later by qualifying. A very interesting day at the track. Vettel looked good, easily leading the practice session and took a fairly comfortable pole by almost two-tenths of a second.

Ferrari (and their thousands of supporters) must be content with their speed this weekend. A little distance behind Vettel, but clear of everyone else.

The practice session ended early when Sauber driver Pedro de la Rosa (who will be buying a lot of mechanics dinner tonight) brought out the red flag right at the end after damaging both the front and the back of his Sauber exiting Turn Four. It was clear early that the McLarens were off the pace this morning, taking fifth and sixth, and well over a second off the pace.

One note, Mark Webber never took part in the morning session after problems with the car.

Then to qualifying and times were not for credit. The Q1 session (to get the top 17) threw up a couple of surprises, the HRT have been (relatively) quick this weekend, both drivers qualified comfortably and for once was not bottom of the timesheets, that honour went to Jerome D’Ambrosio’s Virgin. Liuzzi had a big spin in Q1, but ended up 21st (out of 24) and the team seemed very happy with having both cars in the race.

Best of the new boys was Lotus (as usual), but still a little space to make up with the rest. Jaime Alguersuari was the last driver not to make it to Q2, the team has looked good at times this year and this is about where he’s been all weekend (I love having the printouts, makes it easier to compare).

After Q2 it was the usual suspects, Red Bull, Renault (paint looks even better up close), Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes all made it through to the final qualifying session.

This Q3 session does make great TV and today worked well live. It’s a very exciting five minutes with drivers clearly driving right on the edge in the hunt for pole.

Vettel really did look in control and knew what he had to do, and did it. He does make it look effortless and that’s the sign of a great driver. And unlike that “other” German actually seems to have a personality.

Alonso won the battle between the two Ferraris, beating Massa by a tiny 18-hundreths of a second. Alonso’s final lap was on the monitors at the track and he looked like he gave it everything to claim P2. Great stuff to watch.

Mark Webber was fourth, while McLaren and Lewis Hamilton were disappointed with only fifth. Nico Rosberg was sixth, Button seventh ahead of Schumacher. There is a significant gap between these drivers and the top three.

I get the feeling McLaren fancied their chances this weekend; they are off the pace and seemed rather mystified as to why.

Qualifying behind both Red Bulls and Ferraris was unexpected. A lot of people felt this was the weekend they track were supposed to start to make up ground and the ultimate pace is not close. Tomorrow is race day, nothing counts for points yet, but there were a lot of worried looks on the faces of the McLaren engineers this evening as they try to work out a solution.

The biggest question is what’s the weather going to do. The forecast is for showers tonight and through out tomorrow. That will make for a very difficult and unpredictable day for all.

What ever happens it’s going to be fun tomorrow. All by itself the noise of 24 F1 cars live is earth shatteringly incredible. Tonight is a reception and once again I will use the trouser press for something other than making toasties…

Time to leave the track, back to the hotel and nap time!