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.
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
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
no ferry in sight, it was time to kill time by taking a
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!!
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
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.
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.
wonder what his btg was?
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.
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
Racing their new home for the year. The keys were
handed over and the cars taken to their garages.
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