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Reports - May 2006

   
  Gallery of this visit can be found HERE

Friday, 26th May

A very early awakening at 4am saw us all drag ourselves out of bed for our second ring trip of 2006. We were really looking forward to it, so it made the hour seem a little less bleak, however nothing could make us look on the bright side of the weather – it was cats and dogs, but on the webcam, it looked dry. Time would only tell.

In the Clio for this trip again, we navigated all of the stupidly slow roadwork limits on the M1, M25 and M20 and finally arrived at the Channel Tunnel check-in with 2 minutes to spare. Great, we thought. We’ll be able to get our train. WRONG! Because we were held up at passport control, we missed it by minutes. Oh well, there’s always the next one and weren’t held up for long, but always a bit gutting when you’ve rushed to get to there!

The clio with her new adornment - a giant Northloop sticker!

Got to Adenau at about 2.30pm and dropped off our stuff and made our way up to the car park to see who was about. Met up with Ian and Jude in the Audi S3, John Reeves who was in a very lightweight, but held-together-with-cable-ties RX7, Mark in his Impreza and Pete Rallye and friends in his ultra-lightweight Peugeot 306. Pete was showing off his new modifications, i.e. the cut-out door linings and Perspex back windscreen. Very hardcore indeed!

After a few wet laps for both myself and Dave, we drove up to Adenauer Forst to do some viewing in the wet and found Bren and John up there also getting very wet. Unfortunately the track was shut and we didn’t see much. We later found out that a BMW, only a few cars behind us on one of the laps, had gone into the Armco at Fuchrohre. Jude and Ian were at Adenauer Forst at the time and described the sound of the crash as 2 gunshots. The driver was fine, but his car wasn’t and the Armco bill will be huge!

When the track reopened, a yellow Ferrari F40 chanced the slippery conditions and went out for a lap. Dave wondered if he could overtake, so we got in the car setting off behind him. We thought it would be a good idea to get pictures of this awesome car on the Ring, so Dave handed me the camera mid lap.

Apparently, this car is worth more than our house by about 3 times!

After a few more laps in the wet, Dave, Hollie and I went to the Pig to catch up with Karl and then went back and enjoyed a fabulous meal of chilli with Claire.

Saturday 27th May

Dave got up early and decided to get some rolls for breakfast via a certain derestricted toll road in the Eifel mountains. While on his second lap in the drizzle, a British 911 crashed in front of him at Tiergarten. The car drove off and brought loads of mud and gravel onto the track where he had gone off, and then continued to deposit every time he went round a corner. As soon as Dave got back to the car park, he informed the Marshal of what had happened. Let’s hope the Armco bill wasn’t too big.

Rear wheel drive and very wet conditions = Armco + bodyshop bill

Dave came back to deliver the breakfast rolls and we had a hearty German breakfast before going out for the morning. Hollie stayed with Karin and Kim, a much better day than being dragged around the track by us!

I had a couple of dry laps, but a long closure saw us venture back into the car park to catch up with the usual suspects. The accident was a nasty one where a biker came off at Kallenhard and was run over by a car coming blindly round the corner. The result was a two-hour closure. Met up with Mark, Ian and Jochen in the car park and chewed the fat. Karl was fed up waiting for the track to reopen and went to walk Sunny.

   

Oops! One like mine without gaffer tape

When the track did finally open, Dave went out for a couple of dry laps with me as a passenger. At Adenauer Forst, Tor Leif came up fast on the Clio and Dave let him pass after the second corner. What he didn’t see was that there was a Civic right up behind Tor Leif and it was only the tyre squealing which gave away its position! An apology and we don’t think he was too upset, even though it got our hearts beating rather quickly for a moment.

I did a couple of very busy laps before deciding that it was lunch time and headed back to Adenau. On one of the laps, we came across yellow flags and people slowing us down at Metzgesfeld. Once I’d got to Miss-Hit-Miss and there was no accident, I laughed and thought how they’d kick themselves later because they were flagging nothing!

The heavens opened again and we went to meet Claire and the girls at the Imbiss at Breidscheid. Hollie was having so much fun, she wasn’t really bothered that we’d turned up, so we went back to the track and waited for it to dry again. A dry line did appear thankfully and we both got a few more laps in between chatting in the car park.

Evening arrived and it was back to Adenau for a brilliant dinner and more beer. They seem to appear from nowhere!

Sunday 28th May

Dave got up to do some early laps and Hollie, Kim and Karin wanted to join him so he obliged. It was a damp track, so he took it very easy before getting the breakfast rolls and came back to the house to pick me up. I wasn’t quite ready, so he went out again and came back at 10.30am.

Went to get on the track at Breidscheid and found it closed. Dave had seen an accident involving the Ring Taxi and a British Lotus at Tiergarten and apparently it was this that had closed the track. Lots of rumours and car park speculation ensued later about this one! While waiting at the Breidscheid entrance, we met up with Fabian. We’d heard his name a few times, but never met him. It’s always great to get to know the marshals and in a positive way, not like last summer when I had a telling off!

I did a couple of laps once the track was opened and exited at Breidscheid. It was amazing but Peter, the biker whose accident I was nearly involved in last time, had managed to track us down. In his mind, this was the first time he had met us as he still doesn’t remember a thing about the incident. He looked well and has suffered no ill-effects from the crash. We tried to find him later to see if he wanted a passenger lap in the Clio, but we couldn’t find him.

After getting petrol, Dave did a couple of laps and then back to the car park. Nigel and his family had arrived so we went to say hello. He had bought a friend and his family along who had a 2002 Skyline bought specifically for ring trips!

Dave had previously spoken to a few guys with GT3s on a new forum and they were coming to the ring before going onto Spa for a 2–day track day. He went over and introduced himself to them and managed to blag a lap with Glen in his bright yellow GT3. He’d already taken him out in the Clio and the ‘F’ word came out of Glen’s mouth a few times!! Dave was very impressed with the GT3 and its driver who had not done too many laps, but had some real potential in an amazing car.

 
Not the one Dave went out in, but a GT3 nonetheless!

While Dave was out in the GT3, I took Nigel’s wife Louise, his daughter Catherine and their friend’s daughter, Gemma out for a lap in the Clio. Louise said that whatever they’ve heard about women drivers, they should forget. Perhaps there’s a couple of future ‘Sabines’ there!

Dave and I decided it was lunchtime, so bought a couple of rolls and went to watch the start of the Grand Prix from Monaco. Another closure followed which was the result of a BMW off at Schwedenkreuz. It took an hour to sort that one out and luckily the track was still dry by the time it opened again, so I took Jude and Matthew, Nige’s son out for 2 laps. I thought they were quite good and both of my passengers enjoyed them. Meanwhile, Dave went out with Tor Helge in his 964 RS Club Sport – a car which Dave says he would love to own. He enthused about it for hours afterwards.

Dave took Gary, (GVK) out for a lap in the Clio and I went out with Nige in his Mazda. One more lap for me and then back to Adenau for dinner. Hollie was extremely tired after going swimming with Kim and Karin and had even jumped off the 1 metre diving board! She was very proud of herself.

 
GVK's Golf. Good fun in the wet?

Monday 29th May

The track wasn’t open in the morning, so we had some time to kill. I went German bashing with Claire – Aldi had a new special offer and boy, do the Germans get excited about a bargain! I managed to get some retail therapy and Hollie got some new clothes. Back for breakfast and then Dave and I went to get some beer to bring home. We bought 2 crates of Warsteiner and one of Bitburger. Apparently, if you buy a crate of Warsteiner, you get a lovely World Cup glass to drink it out of. Claire said that I should ask for them, which I did. The German bint behind the cash desk refused to give me them saying that there were no free glasses. When we came back, we told Claire and she went back to the supermarket and we managed to get them no problem. Apparently they have a problem with tourists there, which is funny seeing as they make so much money from us!!

It was bright sunshine all morning, but at 12.15pm, the heavens opened and I mean, opened. It lashed it down. Dave got depressed and started to swear quite a lot. I thought it was a good idea not to wind him up about it…… We went to the car park anyway, Hollie in tow and met up with Ian and Jude, Nigel, Louise and family, Paul, (Nobleman), and Brian, (MG ZR). There were also a lot of other British cars in the car park, perhaps we’re the only nationality mad enough to keep lapping in the pouring rain!

Dave did a few wet laps before we thought it would be more entertaining to watch some drifts and spins at Adenauer Forst. Saw some excellent power slides performed by an English lad in his 3-series estate and a German guy in a SLK AMG. One British biker didn’t quite make the corner and took a detour across the grass and a Dutch BMW spun just as we were leaving.

 
He was having serious fun Ooops, didn't quite make it
Oh well, no harm done. Powersliding in an expensive car!

I took these. Not bad for a complete idiot when it comes to that camera thingy....

I actually took control of the camera for a change and managed to get some good shots of Ian’s car. Quite impressed with myself!

Back to the track and as I was driving on another wet lap, Gordon, Nigel’s friend with the Skyline, had managed to spin and hit the Armco in between Metzgesfeld and Kallenhard. Dave rang what he thought was the office, but accidentally called Ring Racing. They were a bit surprised, but he realised his mistake and apologised. His next call was to Nigel to let him know what had happened. Nigel then went out to pick Gordon’s wife and kids up, and we followed, but the car had obviously been driveable, so he was already back in the car park by the time Nigel got back. Gordon had it all on video and it was just a very unfortunate accident.

Louise and the kids were going up to watch at Adenauer Forst and asked Hollie if she wanted to go too which she did. The track was drying now and Dave was asked by Sundeep if he would go out for a lap with him in his 993 Targa. Meanwhile, Paul with the Noble came back from watching at Adenauer Forst and was searching the car park for Dave as he had promised him a lap. As Dave was still out with Sundeep, I asked if I could have a lap instead and once strapped in, I had probably the potentially fastest lap ever.

The acceleration from the 350 bhp, lightweight Noble is astounding! I had never felt anything like it. The car sticks to the road like glue and turns into corners at speeds you would think it impossible to do so. Unfortunately, there was an accident involving a German registered Merc just after Aremberg which slowed us down, but up Kesselchen, the car could reach 145-150 mph – fastest speed ever on the Nordschleife for me!

We got held up at Brünnchen by a French Subaru driver who would not pull over. Dave had had the same problem on a previous lap and didn’t know the track anyway! Paul, being a courteous driver, did not get angry but just held back and took it in his stride. It didn’t matter anyway as the lap was already going down as one of the best and most memorable laps I had ever had at the Ring.

As we pulled into the car park, Dave saw me in the Noble and looked extremely jealous! Things got worse when it started raining again and Dave knew that he wouldn’t get to go out in the Noble in the dry. Oh well, there’s always next time.

   

Arty shot of my logo.
Rude? Never!

The track shut due to the previous Merc crash and Nigel went to get Louise and the kids including Hollie back from Adenauer Forst and then I took her to play with Karin and Kim again. By the time we got back to the track, the rain was horrendous. Met Fishy Dave and his friend Mark in the car park who had popped over to the Ring as part of the track day at Spa on Tuesday and Wednesday where he was hoping to do some on-board filming.

Nigel had strapped his bullet cam to the back bumper of his car and suggested a convoy of the plucky Northlooper in the pouring rain. I didn’t want to drive in such bad conditions and it was very hairy, but fun at the same time. (Ian) Pye21 joined us, Ian and Jude, Nigel and family, Fishy Dave and Mark, Brian and Paul in the convoy. It was the first time we’d met Ian (Pye21) even though we’d seen his 182 a few times over the weekend!

After the lap had finished, Dave commented that he did not know how racers managed to get around in such conditions. Following one car is bad enough, but following a convoy of 4 and you were driving on instinct.

Farewells were said and off we went for dinner at Karl and Claire’s. Dinner consisted of cauliflower cheese and gammon, copious amounts of beer and silly Nordschleife games which we all enjoyed immensely!

Tuesday 30th May

The journey home wasn’t too bad and we turned up at the Channel Tunnel. The queues were stupid and we couldn’t get into the terminal for any shopping! Bah! Eventually we got on the train and then onto my Mum’s house to drop Hollie off for the holidays. The onward journey was horrible. The roadworks on the M25 had 3-mile tailbacks and once through those, the M1 had worse to offer including a nasty accident near junction 15 where a van had been overturned by a lorry. The passenger had died we later learnt.

Back home at 5.45pm in just enough time to enjoy a beer or 5 and to trawl the internet for pictures. A great weekend, but a shame about the weather.

 
Euan at Adenauer Forst
Matthew enjoying the passenger ride of his life!

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