runs a golf and country club: the Whittlebury Park concern that occupies land adjacent to Silverstone. But during the week of the British GP, he’s effectively a campsite manager. That isn’t doing him a disservice: for one week he barely sleeps, ensuring that every single person who stays at the Whittlebury site (on the far side of the Maggotts/ Becketts corners) has an enjoyable weekend. And that process commences the Monday after the previous year’s event.
When F1 Racing visits Sargeant, it’s late May and the grass is being cut around the site. It will be cut again, and again in the lead up to the race weekend on 8-10 July. After a tour of the land, you begin to appreciate the scale of the operation. He’s effectively building a mini city – over just a few elds.
“We will have 9,000-15,000 thousand campers during the British GP weekend, plus a few thousand cars,” he says. “That keeps us busy, as all those people want electricity, water, toilets and showers. Everything is planned to the tiniest degree.”
Sargeant’s family has owned the land for years and he’s been helping British GP campers enjoy their stay since he was a boy. He also has a very loyal team, people with “sensible day jobs”, who every year come and help, for the love of the event.
“We have all been doing it for so long, we know what to do in a crisis,” he says. “But we do have contingency plans for pretty much everything you can think of; contamination to the water supply, if we need to evacuate the site, wet weather, bomb scares, outbreaks of disease – we can keep on top of it.”
The proportion of returning campers is roughly 85 per cent and they usually stay on the same plot of land each year – meeting the same neighbours they had 12 months earlier. In addition the Whittlebury Park estate is also home to the F1 Racing fan village and has restaurants and bars on site, too.
“We go the extra mile to ensure everyone has a unique experience,” says Sargeant, “but organisation is so large that planning for 2017 will begin as soon as this year’s race stops.”