Lewis at the Buenos Aires Street Car Race

Buenos Aires Street Car Race

Lewis the Lion seemed to have struck gold when he was in Buenos Aires as for the first time in 60 years there was a street car race along its wide avenues! He certainly is one lucky, little lion! Furthermore, the event was split over two days: the Saturday was for the qualifying rounds and the Sunday was for the competition final. The Super TC2000 (Tourism Competition 2000) is a touring car racing competition recognised as one of the world’s best along with its famous drivers and it took place in Buenos Aires on the 31st March and 1st April 2012. There was certainly a high level of excitement in the air as the race blocked off some of the major streets and avenues in the city centre, including parts of the subte – the metro line. Buenos Aires’ normally busy road networks were replaced by cordoned off pedestrian zones and became temporary bases for throngs of people.

Spectators and sellers on the steps of the Cathedral

The main part of the race was held on Avenida 9 de Julio which is often said to be the widest avenue in the world with twelve lanes and another two-lane road immediately next to it on each side. Along the main streets, big barricades were erected, with meshing through which people could see. At the starting and finishing points, big stands were also put up for the viewing public which included big, ballooned archways.

Lewis heads towards the Obelisk to see the race

As Lewis the Lion ventures onto the noisy streets, he was greeted with an enormous, deafening sound that sounded like an almighty swarm of bees droning through the heat of the day. The sound was so intense that he could see children holding their hands over their ears and babies had cotton wool in their ears. It was the sound of the cars revving their engines and whizzing by. Indeed, the buzz and the hum of the whirring engines filled the air from streets away.

Walking past the Plaza de Mayo, a big television screen had been erected with live television coverage.

Crowds watching the giant television screens

Lewis the Lion observed thousands of people were milling around right from the Casa Rosada right through to the Obelisk.

People crane for a vantage spot of the street car race

He could see folk clambering for the best vantage points: people climbing up trees, people stood on tiptoes on the steps of the cathedral, people swinging on the metros signs and even some adventurous types stood on top of telephone boxes! Children were raised on shoulders and many people were pressed up against the meshed barricades all hoping to catch a glimpse of the cars whizzing by.

People climb high to see the street car race

The crowds that had turned up to witness this historic event also brought with then lots of random street sellers.

Crowds behind the safety barriers in the Plaza de Mayo

Many of them didn’t appear to have trading licences but appeared to be making the most of the opportunity by offering simple homemade products, such as ‘milanese’ sandwiches – a sandwich with a type of flattened breadcrumbed meat. There were many flags sellers waving flags for the main teams: Chevrolet and Ford (although there were in fact 30 competing teams). There was also a mass of wheeled carts, some with umbrellas and others just simple thermal freezer boxes. There were candy floss sellers and balloon sellers. There were those selling ‘bebidas frescas‘ – ‘cold drinks’ and those setting up ‘pantallas‘ – ‘barbecues’ selling burgers and hotdogs with the smell of charcoal filling the air. Others still were selling hats, scarves, socks and other hand-crafted goods, such as maté pots sellers engraving names on their wares. Many open-air coffee bars had also set up tables outside the restaurants and were selling sandwiches and ‘empanadas‘ -a type of pastry snack. It seemed like everybody was turning this event into an opportunity to be entrepreneurial!

Lewis has a great vantage point by the Obelisk

Lewis didn’t actually see who won the race but enjoyed absorbing the atmosphere around him, especially when he got a good position to see the race by the Obelisk. It was such a sunny day though that he couldn’t stand there for too long as his friends needed to take it in turns to stand in the shade!

Lewis watches the race taking place behind him

All in all, Lewis the Lion felt extremely happy to have witnessed such a historic sporting event on the streets of Buenos Aires during his time there…even if it meant walking miles to get to where he needed to go! As you can see from this photo of a poster following the event, there had been more than a million people in Buenos Aires witnessing this historic event too!

More than a million at the B.A. Street Car Rally!

Have you ever seen a historic sporting event?

How will you celebrate the Olympics in London this year?


About Helen Molloy

Helen Molloy has been a Primary Learning and Teaching Consultant, leading on the introduction of Primary Languages in the City of Stoke-on-Trent for the past 5 and a half years. She is passionate about language learning and inspiring children into developing a curiosity and awareness of other people's languages and cultures.
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