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Reports - March 2005



Gary left home at 6.45pm for the 110 mile drive to his Brother Andy's house in Gillingham. The idea was to get the Peugeot that bit closer to Dover so that the Saturday drive was shortened. Unfortunately the M25 at 7.15pm on a Friday lived up to its reputation. After 2 1/2 hours Gary finally rolled up in Gillingham a little worse for wear, a stripped out Pugeot 205 is not the best place to be in a traffic jam. Meanwhile, back in Northampton Dave was practicing for the weekend at the ring by blowing the froth off a beer or 4.


4am Saturday saw Gary reading the Carl Fogarty autobiography as he could no longer sleep due to the impending excitement! Back in Northampton Dave was getting ready to leave at 5am so they could meet up with Gary and Andy (Gary's brother on his first trip to the ring) at the M20 services near Dover.

Having made excellent time they were more than a little bit disappointed when they got to Dover to learn that their 8.15 ferry had been delayed due to fog until at least 10am. The reason for going so early Saturday morning was to get to the ring in time to see the end of the first VLN race of the year. This was now totally out of the question. About 11am the ferry finally left Dover for Dunkerque where the long arduous trek across France, Belgium and Germany began.

With no ferry in sight, it was time to kill time by taking a few pictures

Gary had decided that he needed to nurse the pug along and Dave agreed to hang back in case of problems. 275 miles in a stripped 205 is not fun, but then neither is 275 miles at 70mph in a 160mph Porsche. Dave must have had the patience of a saint. The three of them finally arrived at the guest house at 7.15pm and were surprised to find that the fog was like pea soup. NOT A GOOD START. The luggage, (one pair of socks and a toothbrush) were thrown into the room and the guys wandered down the hill to the Pistenklaus for a well deserved slap-up meal. On entering they were amazed to find the place pretty much empty. They had expected it to be packed with VLN racers. A couple of the guys' friends were in there though already eating meals. One was a ringer called Steve who was over in his MX5 (the Boxster had stayed at home) and the other Darren, (sooty) was having a meal with a couple of pretty famous people. Hans Stuck, the German racing driver who is the guy behind the wheel of the M3 GTR video doing the rounds of the internet at the moment. The other guy was Andy Priaulx the 2004 European touring car champion who had recently signed for BMW Williams as their F1 test driver. A quick chat showed that the group had been at the ring for the past couple of days doing the odd lap or 20. If Dave and Gary had arrived a day earlier they could have had a lap with one of the racers at the helm - damn!!

The conversation turned to the VLN which apparently had been stopped due to the fog dropping onto the track making condition impossible for racing. Another Gary joined the group for a beer or two later in the evening. A VLN driver with a new GT3 cup car, Gary had also brought his GT3 road car along. Dave and Gary were quick to ask for a passenger lap and Gary was more than happy to oblige. All they needed now was for the fog to clear. The guys staggered back to the room about midnight a little worse the wear. If they hadn't already woken then the 6.45am alarm would have been a frightener for sure.


They all woke up early and Gary, as keen as ever was wandering round in just his jeans, racing gloves and crash helmet. Where was Dave's camera when he needed it?

Dave, such a photogenic young man, especially when he has been woken up by an overexcitable mate
Breakfast thrown down it was time to drive through the thick fog to Adenau to see how it was there. Strangely enough it was clear as a bell with no visible fog. The guys now filled with optimism had a stroll around the Breidsheid section of the track before returning to the guest house to put Dave's sticky tyres on. 9.15 Saw them at the entrance to the track queuing for their jahreskarts. Even while queuing the fog could be seen to be visably lifting.
By 9.45am the announcement came that the ring was open and fun time could commence. The first lap of the year was a very slow event for Gary and Dave. It was sensible to investigate the changes which had been made during the Winter whilst also re-learning lines and braking zones. As slow as it was it still appeared to be a little too quick for Gary's brother Andy. He announced that the lap had made him feel seriously sick and was blaming it on the beer from the night before. He decided that wandering round the car park would be the order of the day.The rest of the morning past quickly, meeting old acquaintances, chatting and generally getting some laps in. Dave's new brake and anti roll bar set up took quite a pounding. His new brake pads were astonishing and meant that late, hard braking was now the order of the day. As a friend said, if you can brake hard enough to make your passenger sick then you're going in the right direction.
I wonder what his btg was?
When the other Gary arrived with his GT3, Dave was first to get a couple of passenger laps. After that, Dave went out in his 944 turbo with the 2 Garys following in the GT3. The 944 looked a very capable car but the GT3 had more urge and stronger brakes when called upon. At the end of the first lap Dave moved over to let the two Gary’s pass in the GT3. That gave them the ideal opportunity for a fast lap. Gary explained that the feeling was amazing. ‘OK, I’d be braking now, I said I’d be braking now, IM GOING TO DIE’ and then the middle pedal would be pushed, the car would stand on its nose and round the bend. A tremendous feeling for sure. A very good experience and so far only comparable with a pax lap in a fast 964RS.

© hartmut.haferkamp@gmx.de

A couple of passenger laps were given taken by a father and daughter couple from England. On their first trip to the ring they had done 3 laps each in their Calibra. Dave took the father out in the 944 and Gary the daughter in the pug. Both enjoyed he experienced and Gary explained that the nail marks can still be seen on the roll cage to this day. All too soon the day came to an end. It was time for one formation lap before the cars were taken to Ring Racing their new home for the year. The keys were handed over and the cars taken to their garages.

As arranged, a ringers list member called Ross picked the guys up for the short hop to Konl/Bonn airport. Ross spent the journey telling stories of his 170mph cruising speeds through Belgium on his weekly, yes weekly, trips to the ring. Luckily for the guys, his rental diesel focus wasn’t quite that sprightly. On arrival at the airport the guys decided to finish off the way they started with a beer or two. Unfortunately the bar closed before they could get into the swing of things, probably a good thing to be honest.

Dave was the first to leave on his flight to Stanstead with Gary and Andy having to wait an extra hour for their flight to Gatwick. It was then that Gary made a fatal error. On putting his hand luggage through the x-ray machine, the German policeman stopped Gary as he said he could see a spanner in his bag. Gary's heart sank as he immediately remembered the Stanley knife sat beside the spanner in the bag. He said he could almost hear the rubber gloves being pulled on ready for the full body and internal search. Luckily the Policeman accepted Gary's explanation and he was allowed to proceed - without the tools - but also with his virginity intact. He was still sweating on arrival in the UK. The short road trip home ended for the guys around 11pm Sunday night. It may have been a rushed short weekend but the fact that the guys would be off again in two weeks softened the blow.


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