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Reports - August 4th - 8th 2006

   
  Gallery of this visit can be found HERE

Friday

Clare, 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 =36.2.

Norfolkline have 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 sleep.

Saturday

The camp site is so close to the track that once the cars have started a session it is near on impossible to make yourself heard...fantastic!

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 closing.

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.

Sunday

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 at Eiskurve.

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!!

Monday

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 Northloop!

 

 
   
 

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 fun.

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.

Back 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!

Tuesday

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 homeward journey.

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 again.

Back home by 6.15pm and ready to put the Warsteiner in the freezer to enjoy later.

Great weekend!

   

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