I've recently been fortunate enough to be let out into the wilds, breaking free from the usual internet hunting grounds on a quest to bring back some juicy virtual racing news for our readers. Guess what? It's not always as glamorous as one would imagine... Firstly let's set the scene. Considering it's early January in the UK it will come as no surprise to find its pretty cold, wet and overcast at 7am on a Wednesday morning in the north of England. As I'm trudging through the usual commuter work traffic on my way to the train station, more than once I wonder why this interview had to happen in England rather than the traditional Simbin stomping ground in Sweden. Ok so it's probably going to be cold in Sweden too, but at least it's somewhere a bit more exotic than the city that gave us Ian Brown and the Happy Monday's. After the wife dropped me off with a cheery goodbye and shoots off up the road to work, a place I should be today but for a generous last minute approval of annual leave time, my first though turns immediately to where one can get a cup of steaming hot coffee at this godforsaken time in a morning. Mission accomplished (it's ridiculous how much they can charge for a drink) and a saunter over to the incredibly misleading cluster of train times and platforms later, all under the fuzzy cloud of not really knowing what's happening due to sleep starvation and my frustrated little boy not wanting to go to nursery this morning and getting all up in my face about it, it's time to pop outside for one final drag of the old e-cig before the journey commences. At the exact moment I've savoured my final nicotine hit of the day, and after looking around at the sheer volume of people in the station, that dreadful thought hits me that I should've spent that little bit more and reserved myself a seat. Surely not that many people want to commute to Manchester at this time of the morning do they? Actually yes they do. What's more they are rather fierce about securing the remaining free seats on the carriage. After just over an hour journey down to Manchester stood shoulder to shoulder with a mix of business suited professionals and Liam Gallagher wannabes without the cash, and next to a toilet that's not seen a cleaning attendant since Abba was in the charts, I arrive at my destination - Manchester Piccadilly Station. Being the committed smoker that I am (if you haven't started smoking, don't. It's not clever and its expensive), I make my way immediately to the first available exit and have myself a quick pull on the cig whilst familiarising myself with my new surroundings and going over (for the hundredth time) a mental checklist of things to do and questions I want to ask. Once confident that all my papers are in order, microphone packed and working, questions written and last minute additions added, mints acquired and extra deodorant applied for the thousandth time this morning, it's time to go find myself something to eat while I await the appointed time to meet my contact. Again with the luxury of having a captive audience, and my ignorance of what conveniences lay within a reasonable walk of the station, I'm forced to be financially abused by the on-site catering facilities if I have any chance to quench a growing hunger that comes from being separated too long from a Greggs £2 breakfast meal deal. Alas no Greggs here, so I have to make do with a ropey Boots chicken salad on moderately stale white bread and lacking in any sort of honey mustard mayonnaise as promised on the inviting looking packaging. Not amused. By this time the clock has ever so slightly crept past 10.30am, the time in which we expected to be able to meet up for the short hop to Simbin's new Head Office in Manchester City Centre. The delay is not altogether unexpected as I'm aware Chris (Speed, Sector3 CEO) is meeting me directly from the airport after hopping over on a flight from the Sector3 office in Sweden. This little break in activity makes for a perfect opportunity to do a little people spotting, so I get the chance to get comfortable (if that's even possible) for a little while on one of the few remaining metal seats within the station and watch the world pass by for a bit. I also take the opportunity to apply some more deodorant for the 1001st time and have some more gum to mask the stale sandwich smell of earlier. Finally, the phone chirps into life and it's Chris on his way from the delayed flight, offering up his apologies and asking me to meet him directly at the studio in that quick fire scouse accent we've all become accustomed to from the many Sector3 development live streams over the past few months. Newly armed with an address and rough idea where to go, I take the cowards route out and jump into one of the many lurking black cabs - trying my very hardest to not look like a tourist and get ripped off with a 40 minute round trip to go 3 miles up the road. Sadly for me I manage to pick the only cab driver in the whole world who both doesn't understand a word of my accent, nor does he recognise either the road or building to which I am expecting him to deposit me at journey end. Undeterred I continue to try the same combination of words in different volumes and speeds until it appears the driver tires of my attempt to make myself understood and sets off on the journey. Leaving the rest of the ride to chance I settle back in the seat and pray this isn't going to become a scene from one of those hidden camera show's broadcast on late night cable TV channels. Luckily it's not, and I eventually disembark from my ride at roughly the right sort of location (a bit like trying to go somewhere with a Sat Nav that's not been updated for 6 years, it's near, but leaves one to use considerable amounts of guesswork and aimless walking to get to ones actual intended destination). Manchester is nice, the weather is every so slightly better than back home and the work crowd seems to be slacking off now (apart from a few hardy souls checking out the last of the January sale bargains) so all feels right in the world again. Luckily, and this never happens to me, I almost immediately find the street I need and make the right guess between left or right to find the high rise building I'm looking for. Simbin UK's new home and the place where the latest addition to the sim racing industry is due to start work. Exciting stuff. Right breather time before I step through the doors. This is a very posh (I'm so not posh) place with its own big marble reception area and officious looking chap behind the desk handing out access cards and making sure the building remains secure and visitors are distributed to the correct areas with as little fuss and disruption as possible. Must remain professional. Must remain professional. Must remember which floor I'm going to. Floor? Damn it, that's the one thing I forgot to ask... Regardless of my obvious inability to retain even simple facts like the floor number I'm supposed to be visiting, I head over to the reception desk in my most confident stride. Full of energy and stiff upper lip northern confidence I announce myself as a professional journalist here to see the head of the new Simbin Studios game development company. To my unfounded surprise I must appear reasonably credible as I'm issued a visitor pass and ushered to the posh looking lift lobby where as quick as a flash I whizz up to my destination - the Simbin UK boardroom! A place where deals are made and no doubt somewhere I'd love to install a mic to listen in to some of the conversations that are sure to take place in this very room over the coming weeks and months. As I get myself all setup, papers out in front of me, pen poised over the notepad, microphone setup and checked, then double checked, then checked again, its a waiting game to see how Chris and Allan Speed present themselves in just a few minutes time. What sort of people am I going to encounter? Will they be buttoned up suited types, chatty or hard to get started? Full of information or playing cards close to their chests? Well it's time to finally meet someone face to face rather than the usual Skype conversations that make up my standard working day here at RaceDepartment. The acid test. Man how I seriously hoped I don't make a fool of myself and let both RD and myself down. Time to apply another layer of deodorant and my poshest man perfume. Check the hair in the finely polished floor to ceiling windows and straighten the scarf. Perfect. Man I need to pee. Needless to say my fears were immediately put aside as Chris swept into the room, fresh off the flight and immediately put me to rest with his easy charm and happy go lucky Liverpudlian style. After exchanging pleasantries with both Chris and Allan, and after learning Chris has been on the move since 2.30 this morning (an incredible nine hours ago) we get down to business. The following two and a half hours pass by like lightening and the enthusiasm for all the work Sector3 and Simbin have still to do positively flows out of the pair of them. Chris is obviously more at home speaking about the ins and outs of business in the sim racing world, sharing amusing antidotes from behind the scenes and generally waxing lyrical about what the future has in store for these two development teams. You can say whatever you want about the past and future development of RaceRoom Racing Experience, but one thing is for sure - if the team responsible for the game are halfway as enthusiastic as these two and the work ethic matches the obvious enjoyment of what they do for a living, then the future is very secure in their hands. Allan for his part is very much the quieter of the two brothers, taking longer pauses before his responses as you can tell he analyses and weighs up his words as apposed to the quick fire conversational style of his brother Chris. "I just want to make games" is an often spoken sentiment from Allan as he takes great pride in discussing his hopes and ambitions for his future of Simbin and the new title they are developing. On more than one occasion I find myself getting a little lost in the conversation as both Chris and Allan lay out their plans for both games, wrapping up a verbal picture of how they envisage the future sim racing landscape looking in terms of both their own products and those of their rival developers. Today it's easy to forget I've got a job to do as I keep drifting into the "blokes at the pub having a chat" atmosphere that's been created by the guys. It really doesn't take an educated opinion and trained eye to see the brothers Speed are wrapped up deep in their passion for these games, and studios, to succeed where other developers have often fallen short in the recent past. Before long our interview has drawn to a close, I've consumed as much free coffee as decency will allow and its time to wrap things up and check I've fully understood the most interesting points discussed during the session. Sadly due to licencing agreements, gentlemanly conduct and a general air of trust between all of us in the room I now know several really exciting things I'm not allowed to talk about, and that is burning a hole in my mind as it tries to get out into the public domain... but I've been sworn to secrecy so that's the end of that. Worry not though RD fans, I've got the exclusives for when the time is right As we now all know one of the things discussed that day was the development plan behind the new GTR 3 game in production by Simbin, man that was an exciting discussion! The candid way in which Allan and Chris explained their passion and plans for the game was really a rather special moment for me and no doubt the highlight of the interview that day. Of course the whole intention of this meeting was to discuss Simbin and what they have in store for us all, but just because of the sheer volume of stuff to talk about we ended up swaying from GTR3, Simbin, stuff that's in store for RaceRoom Racing Experience going forward, eSports, the great and good of the sim racing world and pretty much everything in between to be honest. So much so that now I've come home and had chance to reassess the responses from Allan and Chris, it looks like I've got a couple of articles worth of info with regards to the future plans for R3E and at least a couple of decent length Q&A interview responses about both games - brilliant! Top blokes, both of them. After saying our goodbyes and getting deposited back out on the streets of Manchester, all that was left to do is grab another Greggs and navigate through the throngs of Liam and Noel Gallagher's to the train station and get myself off home. Top tip for all you road trippers reading this... don't forget to go for a wee, regardless of how interesting the chatter is and how you don't want to disturb the flow of conversation, because I guarantee the second you hit fresh air you'll have a time limited problem on your hands. I did, and I still maintain that 30p was the best 30 pence anyone has ever spent in a train station anywhere in the world. Ever. All in all I had a blast doing this interview and I sincerely hope you folks enjoy reading the content we have lined up because of it. I seriously love this job. Sim Racing is awesome, and I'm proud to say I'm involved in it and call it my hobby. He's to a smashing 2017 and loads of exciting stuff to come. Cheers, Paul. If you enjoyed my little travel blog and want to read more of this kind of content then tough. We don't have a sub forum for this sort of thing and probably won't be writing another! So for something random and because I've gotten so used to using the bottom bit of my articles to promote various sub forums and links to interesting stuff, I'll just leave you a link to the current RaceRoom Racing Experience sub forum and all the goodness that resides inside that corner of the internet. The guys who look after the R3E sub forum do an awesome job and put on some pretty epic club racing events, so do yourself a favour and get signed up to a few and see what it's all about. Did you enjoy our travel blog , for something a little different to the usual news we post? Errr.. can't really think of anything else to write that will encourage comments interaction... just post something nice and make me feel good eh? Ta!