Sunday, April 06, 2008

BPN 1060 Today it's racing time in Bahrain

Today the posting will be a sentimental journey to Bahrain. It is Grand Prix Formula 1 day in the Kingdom, a real attraction for the Middle East and the tifosi from abroad. I have been three times on the island now, but I have never attended the races. Yet I have been on the circuit two times.

My relationship with Bahrain dates back to 2003, when I met Waheed Al Balushi, a Bahraini who was a jury member for the World Summit Award (WSA) 2003 in Dubai. He had been seconded by the Bahraini chapter of the ISOC, a very active organisation on the island, promoting e-society.

By 2005 I was invited to the island to be an observer of the jury of the local competition, selecting amongst others the entries for the WSA 2005 competition. The Grand Jury was also going to be held in Bahrain, so I got the occasion to look around the island. I got introduced to many Bahraini (of the 600.000+ inhabitants). And the organisation committee took us to the GP track. This was great as I am a fan of Formula 1 racing (but I do not have even a driving license). It was even better as we were in the company of our Lebanese WSA member Gabi Deek (see photograph), who was part of the Lebanese bidding team against the Bahraini.

It is an impressive track in the middle of the island surrounded by sand. The track is spectacular and challenging. And the paddocks have been laid out well for the pit stops, the repairs and the tracks, carrying in the cars and parts. But most impressive is the control room and the press venue. The control room has all kind of novelties with cameras along the track. And the press venue takes care of more than 300 camera men and journalists. From the weather forecast it looks like it is going to be a little cloudy, while the temperature will be above 22 degrees Celsius (not bad compared to the 35+ degrees Celsius in summer).

In the same year I was back for the Grand Jury, which was hosted by the ISOC chapter. It was perfectly organised with venues, transport and social occasions. And again we went to the race track; this time to be the guests of a desert training company for driving in the desert. We went into Hummers up (artificial) hills and we went on the track. However we did not get into racing cars, but in station wagons and were allowed to drive up to 180 kilometres per hour; the limitation was due to insurance policies. The visit was closed with a buffet in the Royal Tower, which gives a spectacular view over the circuit.

My third visit to Bahrain was in the beginning of 2007. I had been invited again as an observer for the local multimedia competition and for the selection of the WSA entries for the Grand Jury in Croatia. This time we did not go to the track, but on my way home I bought my cap.

Presently the World Summit Award is in the process of selecting national experts to select the eight entries for the participating countries. I have no doubt that the Bahrain ISOC chapter will select an expert and diligently will choose the eight entries.

Blog Posting: 1060


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