||Gallery of this visit can be found HERE
Hollie and I left home at 5am and arrived at the Norfolkline
check in at 7.15. with geeky stats of
average speed = 67mph and MPG
have recently invested in some new boats but appear
to have a few teething problems with toilets being closed
and unloading being a bit slow. However, they are pretty
nice places to be and we finally got going at about
10.25. Not to bad for 60 quid return.
The weather looked
a bit iffy all the way over, but Clare and I managed
to put the tent up in the dry with the help of Nigel
and Louise while the kids amused themselves.
We got to the track
just as it opened. I managed to get a few laps in before
the rain and impressive thunderstrorm, and all but one
were inturrupted by dropping Clare and Hollie off, and
collecting them from shopping at Adenau.
We went for a meal
with Simon, Nigel, and their families at the Sonneck,
and later went back to a very, very wet campsite. Even
thought the rain was torrential, there were a few hardcore
campers playing music and screaming until 4.30am, although
this did not stop everyone getting a pretty good nights
camp site is so close to the track that once the cars
have started a session it is near on impossible to make
This weekend was
the turn of the Renault World Series, and entry to the
event was completely free, and in the case of the campers
only a 1 minute, 100 metre walk! After spending some
time walking around the pits everyone went on the free
big wheel, apparently the biggest moveable wheel in
Europe. I can confirm it was bloody high!
The weather never looked great all
morning, but despite the darkest skys the rain somehow
manage to hold off, and late during the day it turned
out in to a lovely summers day. Renault had done a great
job of making sure families were well catered for, with
some great activities for children while the adults
could slope off and watch some racing.
After the CHC the track predictably
opened a little late and after a queue to get on and
off the track, I manged 1 busy lap just before it closed.
It did open again and I went out to do a nice family
lap, followed by a quicker one just as the track was
Dinner was had with Simon and Nigels
families at the "Western Weekend" bbq and
bar in Mullenbach complete with live band. In fact we
got this invite from a lady who helped us order some
meat and cheese in the local shop! The Live band did
a good rendition of Hotel California, Sultans of Swing
and Knocking on Heavens Door. A little bit different,
but great fun.
A few beers were
drank around the camp fire, before looking at the stars
became running for cover as the rain came. The rain
stopped as quick as it started.
A damp ,foggy
start saw me in no hurry to get out of bed for some
early laps. One advantage of camping is you can hear
the rain, and don't even have to move to a window to
take a look!
I got up and
went out around 9am to get some rolls and do a lap,
but the track was closed as visibilty at the track entrance
was close to zero, however in Adenau it was much clearer.
After breakfast I
returned to the track at around 10.30 am to find a drying
line. On this sighting lap I followed and then passed
a silver Italian Golf gti. I thought he was going to
come down the inside of me on every corner, so he got
some abuse and the middle finger. Considering how easy
it was to pass he must have been using me as a pace
car, but I wasn't totally convinced he knew what he
was doing. Along Dottinger Hohe I saw his mate recording
the lap and they wanted to give me the thumbs up and
take a pic of me, I was still pretty annoyed by their
driving, but I guess they had a pretty good lap.
After a chat with
Karl and Mark I went out for my first completely dry
lap of the day, it was a pretty clear one too. A Honda
CRX had crashed at the end of Wipperman, and funnily
enough Karl and I had spotted and mentioned that it
was odd that he would wear a helmet, but his passenger
(girlfriend) didn't............ I hope she was ok. The
car had a fair amount of damage to the drivers side.
I caught Karl going
out for another lap and tried to followed him around,
and he did one following me. We managed to get caught
behind a couple of stubborn cars that refused to move,
but a very enjoyable lap with a M coupe just in front
of us. He was less patient in passing and overtook an
Audi on the right at Brunchen, Karl and I got our opportunity
I'd noticed during
the weekend that my driving felt slower than normal,
and it was clear that with Karl following, I was losing
heaps of time in the braking zones. The new pads and
discs I use are great, but I think they are almost too
grabby, feeling like they could lock up at anytime.
With R rated rubber it would probably be great.
I went off to take
some pictures at Wipperman while Clare was back at the
campsite, and then did a couple of nice laps on my own.
On the 1st of these laps I got held
up at Ex Muhle which pissed me off, but the 2nd lap
was great, lovely and clear. The only downside being
a missed gear change at Eschbach, the search for the
perfect lap continues!
During a track closure, Nigel and
I helped each other swap our tyres front to rear as
the fronts on mine were getting a bit low. Check the
preassures and Nigel and I went out in each others cars,
mine first. Nigel has certainly got a lot smoother than
my last lap with him.
I took Hollie swimming and Clare
and I did a lap and a half with a clueless british biker
holding me up not once but twice up Kesselchen. After
having a chat him, he said it was his first lap and
none of his mates knew the rules.... how do we educate
new people? What annoyed me further was when he said
he indicated to let me past I and I never did..............
I took Nigel out for another lap
and a British CSL came up and would not overtake just
before Metzgesfeld. I couldn't think who it was but
on along Dottinger Hohe it became clear it was Steve.
Some of the lap can be viewed here.
After a quick chat I took Nigel's son Matthew out for
a lapwhile Nigel had a lap with Steve in the CSL. Steve
then took me out for a lap. Fantastic car!
I finished the day off with a lovely
clear lap. Only a shame an Alfa had broken down at Kessechen,
and I had to drive past at a more sedate pace.
After loads of text messages we ended
up in the Blau Ecke with Bren and 8 bikers, Karl and
family, and Nigel and family. A good evening was had
even though I left early, I get the impression it carried
on sometime after we had left!!
In the morning we all went up the
cable car at Altenahr and then took the kids to the
Rodelbahn......of course it was for the kids. Can't
wait for the results of "Nigelcam" to be published
On the way back I filled up with
Shell V Power and got to the track around at 2pm. While
I chatted to Steve, Clare did a lap with Hollie and
then I took Steve out, although no CSL the Clio is great
After a short break I went out and
was flashed by the rent a race car 328 at the barriers,
Mark was driving so I guess his car had a problem and
he must have hired it. I followed him for a lap and
then he followed me. The 2 cars were very evenly matched.
You can forget about timed laps, this is what the ring
is about! Close laps with mates and a chat after.....and
if you're lucky a picture too. Brilliant stuff.
I went watching at Adenau Forst for
a bit while Clare was ferrying kids around and took
a few pics.
When I got back I took Nigel out
for a lap and he was to return the favour, however the
track was closed when we got back.
In fact that was the last lap of
the weekend as the track never reopened. I saw the air
ambulance leaving at Ex-Muhle around 7pm.
All the families had a bbq at the
Sonneck with pictures being veiwed and watching Nigel's
Rodelbahn helmet cam.
at the camp site, after sitting around the camp fire for
a few beers the rain came again, and it was time to retreat
back to our tent. Earlier during the day, Clare had parked
herself less than carefully at the table weakening it
slightly…… 4 adults at the table proved too
much and it collapsed, with all drinks landing on Clare…..
A shame we never got any pics!
Got up early to get
the tent down. It was raining, but we managed to ensure
most of the stuff was dry. Got a good non-stop run to
Dunkerque, ferry left on time and then back to Blighty
for the usual traffic jams and accidents littering our
One problem to mention
however. When we got to the Dartford crossing, it became
apparent that we had no English money on us at all. When
I offered my card to pay (like at tolls in the rest of
Europe!) I was told that I could pay by cheque! After
an slight altercation, we got our ticket to pay by post,
with the addition of a £1 admin fee and set off
Back home by 6.15pm
and ready to put the Warsteiner in the freezer to enjoy