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Reports - April 2005

   

Saturday

Another early start this month saw the bleary eyed 5 leave home at about 4.15 am. The rendezvous time was 5.45AM at Gary's brother house in Gillingham. Half way round the M25 severe fog hit, and having been delayed in March due to fog the team started to worry about a repeat performance!

At Andy's house the luggage from Emma's Audi was re-packed into Dave's Astra. This was no mean feat as the Astra was now carrying clothes for 2 men (2 toothbrushes and a 2 pairs of pants) and 3 women for 3 days (6 pairs of shoes, 6 coats, 6 jumpers, 6 pairs of jeans etc), enough electrical equipment to start a Curry's superstore and a couple of tyres for the Porsche.

Loads of room for 5 people and their luggage

 

Just a few miles out of Gillingham the fog began to clear and it was replaced by clear blue skies. The smiles started to return to the five's faces.

The 7.45am speed ferries crossing to Boulogne was the teams chosen route. At just £38 return for the 55 minute crossing it was rude not to take advantage really, even though it adds about 20km and 20 mins on to the already long journey time.

 

 

For once the crossing went according to plan and the journey across France and Belgium was helped along with games of imaginary snap and coloured car games. Strangely enough Hollie seemed to win everything. By 2.15pm the team rolled up at ring racing and Dave and Gary were pleased to see their cars outside waiting for them to be driven.

The last part of the journey finished with all the cars parked outside the apartment and the guys chomping at the bit to get to the circuit. 3pm Saw the cars fully fuelled and the guys in the car park chatting to Karl and whoever else happened to be wandering around.

The first lap of the day as always was to be a slow sighting lap, with the guys trying to remember lines and get used to things again. The site of a British 306GTi 6 was like red rag to a bull to Gary though, and off he went in pursuit with Dave tucked in behind. Just after AF a British transit van was caught up, although to be fair, it appeared to be being driven by some kind of lunatic. This was being followed by a Dodge Viper with what appeared to be a camera on the roof. The guys managed to pass the GTi6 and the Viper but were struggling to pass the maniac in the transit. Gary took the plunge going into Breidscheid and almost wished he hadn't as the transit veered across the track and almost wiped him out! After a few choice words muttered in their helmets the guys carried on their lap which was pretty un-eventful. Back in the car-park the guys learnt that the transit was being driven by non other than Sabine who was trying to break 10 mins in a transit van. This was being filmed for Top Gear with Richard Hammond on location. Gary didn't feel so bad about the nutty tranny driver and graciously Sabine wandered over to apologise about the near incident on the bridge.

 

 

Tony from the Northloop forum was quickly found in the carpark, after all there was only one V6 clio there all weekend. A pax lap was arranged for later in the weekend, something Gary would later regret, but more of that later.

The guys also met Nozzer, Hugh and Mark from the Northloop forum and took them out for pax laps during the day.

Dave having spent the last couple of weeks moaning about the handling of the Porsche managed to fine tune his suspension which was found to be miles out from one side to the next. This was to make a vast difference to Dave's weekend and lap times.

Just as it was 2 weeks ealier, the track was so empty, everyone managed to get in those nice, fast satisfying laps that you look forward too. Even the Astra in the hands of Emma and Clare seemed to be doing its fair share.

Dave was particularly keen to adjust his turn-in at Quiddelbacher Höhe where the new tarmac had taken away his lift/brake point, so much so that 2 weeks before he managed to put a wheel on the rumble strip twice! This was irrelevant in the pug as it is flat out anyway!

Dave managed 2 achievements during the day;

1) Slashing a whole 8 seconds of his best BTG and going under 8.30 for the first time.

2) Managing 200 laps without crashing! Not to be outdone Gary broke 9 mins for the first time in his French clutter. This reassured the guys that they were back ‘amongst it' for the year.

Gary who is re-knowned for his ability to talk to all and sundry in the car park, restaurant, petrol station, anywhere for that matter, managed to complete his Top Gear photo set with a picture with Richard Hammond. He was a really nice guy and much more approachable than the lanky curly haired one. Later they had a chat about the 205. Richard commented on the fact that it looked like a hoot to drive. Gary made his mind up to let him have a lap in it if he wanted too.

 

 

At the end of the day Dave showed his obvious charm and charisma during an interview with Richard Hammond and the top gear camera crew. He is keen to find out if he looks cool (unlikely) or his usual geeky self (highly likely). The jury is still out on that one, I guess we will have to wait till 22nd May to see for ourselves!

Just before the track closed for another day Dave took Euan and Johannes out for some pax laps on the now completely empty track.

While the guys were enjoying the clear track and late laps the girls were out buying food and the all important BEER for the evenings festivities. The guys, tired but excited got back to the apartment for about 8pm where the Bitburger barrels were opened and the beer started to flow. Clare had spaghetti bolognaise on the boil. At the end of the meal there was enough food left over for everyone at the track, their wives and probably kids and pets to have joined them too.

The tired team retired at around 11pm having blown the froth off a couple of barrels.

 

 

Sunday

Dave keen as ever was awake at 5am ready to get amongst it. The sub 8.30 lap had obviously affected him and he was keen to get back to the track.

By 8am the guys were back at the track ready to get a couple of quite laps in. By 9am they had both done 3 laps and decided to forgo breakfast and stay at the track for the whole day. The weather was perfect with clear blue skies, so that's had to be taken advantage of.

Dave went for a couple of pax laps in a Corvette with well over 400bhp. He commented on the fact that all cars should sound like that. His knuckles went white at Pflantzgarten when Till (the driver) didn't break until after the crest! Dave decided that brown trousers should be standard equipment for passengers. The funniest part was watching Dave trying to get in and out of the 'vette, this seemed to take almost as long as the laps themselves.

While Dave was recovering from the Corvette laps Clare wanted to take the Porsche out but Dave had gone off with her lap ticket in his pocket. To say she was stressed would be an understatement. Dave was blamed and told he would never get to see Clare naked again because of it. To top it off on his return there was a closure. Everyone in the car park knew of Clare's displeasure as did everyone in the surrounding villages and as far a field as Koblenz.

The closure was the ideal time for Dave and Gary to nip back to the apartment to change Gary's knackered brake pads. Spares are always carried by the guys and this showed why they were necessary.

Tony, there with his motoring journalist friend took Gary for a lap in the Clio V6 press car. Early in the lap Tony demonstrated the cars knack of snap over steer. All was then fine up until Brunchen where the clio lost the plot completely and span down the tarmac. Amazingly the grass and more importantly the Armco were missed but the spectators had a great view. At this point Gary decided that the V6 wouldn't suit his driving style and immediately took it off his Christmas list.

 

 

In the afternoon Emma and Gary took the long hard hike up the hill to Adenau forst to take some pictures. They met Karl and Clare were there with the kids and dog for a chat. They managed to get a couple of interesting pics of cars taking detours and for a change Dave didn't spin ;-) although a few others did.

In the afternoon Hollie went to Karl's house to play with his kids, they all seemed to enjoy their selves no end, this also meant that Clare and Dave could do some laps together in the 944.

On one of these laps Dave and Clare were caught by Euan in his 968CS and they both enjoyed the rest of the lap with Euan happy to ride just behind. Fortunately Dave had his electronic moving image device activated, and the results can be seen here.

 

Euan and Dave discussing that lap..........

The pair in action - pic courtesy of http://www.creativephotoart.nl/

 

The late afternoon and evening was much the same as Saturday, a lovely clear track to play on with both the Porsche and the pug. Uneventful but extremely satisfying. On Dave's last lap the guy by the ticket barrier mentioned that "we have cleared the track for you.....you are the only car on the track". Fantastic!

An invitation from Karl, for a quick beer at his house had already been accepted by the girls and at the end of the evening the guys joined them. Gary found it very funny that Dave never bothered to remove his helmet, and it was the first time he had seen someone driving on public roads and turning up at someone's house wearing a crash helmet. Very funny indeed.

An hour later everyone retired to the apartment for steak, chips and more beer.

Once again it was quite an early night as everyone was shattered.

Monday

7am everyone was up early to get the pug and Porsche back to Ring Racing before the journey home could commence. The keys were dropped off and they began the long slog back to Boulogne. Again an uneventful but easy drive saw the team on time for their return ferry back to Dover. Back in Blightly the final trek saw the team saying their goodbyes at Gary’s brothers house and returning to their own homes. 5.30pm and everyone was at home sampling the final beer of the weekend.

I think its safe to say that the weekend was one of the best the team have had to date. Easy, trouble free journeys there and back, excellent hot sunny weather and good clear laps. Oh and the joys of Bitburger and wine too!!

 

: : : (C) David Malings & Gary Kinghorn 2005 : : : Design by Clare