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Pedro
11-09-2008, 02:12 PM
What a month August was, went through several peaks, both good and bad.

Started at August the 8th, went on holiday and packed the car ready for the trip, plan was to sleep somewhere in France and take two days to get to Adenau, in time for my geometry alignment appointment on Monday morning.

Left home at dawn on Saturday, sun was rising as I got some money from the ATM before getting on the road, car was purring, I was feeling excited about it all.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/Ring08065.jpg

I didn't know how comfortable it was going to be, so I decided to use my i-Pod, open sunroof, and airconditioning, one at a time, to break monotony as it set, by the time I got to Spain the weather was glorious, I turned the i-Pod on as the car was starting to feel a bit loud.

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A couple hundred kms later, opened the sunroof and enjoyed a slow cruise across Spain's plains, car feeling good, and me feeling great. Midway through the afternoon turned the AC on, it was working perfectly back then and I could set it to actually being too cold inside the car, I'd miss that on the way back.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/Ring08007.jpg

Got to France at about 7 PM I think, taking the fastest road on the way to Bordeaux, my cruise speed on this car is about 120kmh, it's easy, not too noisy, not tiresome, and saves precious money on gas. After Bordeaux my stomach starts to feel a little uneasy, starting to feel a bit nauseous, feeling like throwing up, I just made sure I kept drinking enough water and stay off junk food, ate mostly fruit and a sandwich with no mayo or ketchup or stuff like that. My plan was to stop in Paris, at an Ibis or a Campanille or something like that, but by the time I got there I wasn't feeling any better, felt like I was going to throw up, so decided to carry on to Germany, wanting to be close to some kind of base when feeling hill, not in the middle of France surrounded by strangers. By now the car's feeling really noisy, and my ears ache from the headphones being in all day, I just carry on.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/Ring08010.jpg

Somewhere at about 3 or 4 AM, I stop for a little rest since I was just about to fall asleep, got a pillow from the passenger seat and leaned my head against that, the Sparco Pro 2000 is really surprisingly comfortable, it's not tiresome, and I can sometimes adapt and change lumbar support by putting the back cushions on or take them off. Woke up an hour later and got back on the road, arriving at Adenau at 7AM. Had a good breakfast on my guesthouse, and proceeded for a drive around, everyone's sleeping still, and Im feeling worse for wear, no track driving today, as I was feeling really weak.

Went to see the classics entering the track, a few really cool cars.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/Ring08016.jpg

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Spent the afternoon with someone I forgot the name off, Ian or Gary? Really sorry for forgetting, went for a lap as a passenger with him, which was a bit eventful, but declined the offer to join his crew for dinner because I simply would have fallen asleep on my beer, went to Adenau, had a soup, a walk around town, enjoying the cold evening air, which left me feeling a bit better. Went to bed at about 10 and woke up for an early breakfast, before heading to Tom Schirmer's for an alignment and balancing, spent the morning there, enjoying looking at all the fabulous cars and the quality of their work.

Track opened on the afternoon, so I got a 25 lap ticket and went in, got on track not knowing what to expect from the handing, I wasn't really impressed with it before, so I was really pleased to find it was actually good. Did six laps that afternoon, four of them on my own, getting to know the car, and finding out how much I enjoy driving it, it's not very fast because I'm not the fastest of drivers, but I was really happy with it and having fun. I wasn't planning on going back in but took Michaela for a lap and then Jim asked me for another one, since he was worried about the suspension he was fitting to his car would create the same problems mine originally had. He was impressed with it, and that made me feel very good, thanks for the nice compliments Jim!


Clear track, good weather, this is how that week went

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Next day I worked on fixing the window opener slider things that broke on Monday, and did three laps in the evening session, one of those with my mates Davide and Dario, from Milano, following in their very fast Seat Leon, with about 250hp. Davide was doing his first laps ever, so was very cautious and unsure of the fast and dangerous areas, he liked chasing my car around since it was easy for him to keep up in the fast areas, and let him know where he could use the power and not worry about what was after blind crests, we were held back by an italian Porsche 911 all the way to Adenauer Forst, which was good fun.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/Ring08037.jpg

Started to jump the inside curb at Wippermann, which was fun and left me giggling inside my helmet every time, too much fun probably, it would come back to bite me.

Met two Portuguese bikers, Luis and Manuel, who were on their way from Prague and Berlin, going back home, introduced them to Dale who took them on a lap in a Clio, they really enjoyed that, and were full of praise for the way he handled the car and the track, had a good meal at Pinochio afterwards. One of them spoke about bringing a track prepped Citroen AX next year :lol:

The weather was perfect, and I realized my tyres really faded after the second lap, but because the alignment was really good they were wearing perfectly even, with the car still feeling balanced, so even though it was a bit slower around corners, it still felt safe and lots of fun.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/DSC_8116.jpg

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Next day tuned the handbrake, as it was only braking on one wheel, as the track opened took Dario for a passenger lap, the track was sort of slippery in places, but very fun, then took Davide for two laps in a role, which were loads of fun, caught up to a group of Subarus at Breidcheid, they were going slowly, taking in the atmosphere, and we laughed pretty hard when, exiting Ex-Muhle, they all got to the right to let me pass, and I couldn't, even though they were obviously going slowly for me to pass safely, managed to get past then at the right hand corner before the Caroussel, and after the Caroussel a P1 got out of their formation and blew by me like I was standing still, I got past him somewhere by around Wippermann, and it was really good fun from there on till the end, it was starting to rain and I think he had never been there before, so was just learning the track, lots of fun, the best kind of driving, a little competitive but not going overboard, loved that lap and the one after, when a guy in a Forester also let me go by, during a short rain shower around the Wippermann section, and tried to keep up on the twisty stuff, went to say hello to them after the track closed, just to say thanks for letting me by and for the good fun, also to say sorry to a guy with the coolest Westfield, powered by an old Ford engine on carbs, I passed him on the inside at Adenauer Forst, only to see his lights flashing on corner exit, I though I might have been too aggressive so went to apologise, turns out it was just his lights shaking around, we later had dinner together, the Forester guy, the Westfield guy, and the two Italians, Pizza obviously, what else, good food, good beer, and good people, weather was perfect for a a couple of beers outside the Blaue Ecke, boy is beer in Germany expensive when compared to Portugal!

The 13th I changed my brake pads, or better still, had them changed, for Ferodo DS2500, the ones I had were stock from the car that originally had my front brakes, I tried to get a little more power and resistance to fade, the car was a bit slippery on the rear after Swedenkreuz, I think I fixed that a bit since the front bite increased a little, brake feel was more constant when hot, which was good, it hasn't got big brakes, but it's enough for my pace I think.

That day, with Weeman as passenger, followed Dan in his red Polo for half a lap, great fun listening to his car backfiring everywhere, we stopped for a fallen biker at Brunchen, and staid there for 40 minutes or so, the next lap after that was just perfect, I think the track was closing for bikes as I was getting out, and there was a line of cars not knowing what to do, so got on the open lane, got in, and did a full lap only passing one car that I remember, a classic Porsche going slowly, most awesome lap, the ring to myself in good weather, that's the stuff I had hoped for when getting this car. On the lap after this I felt the car sputter exiting a right hand corner, a slight hesitation, then another time, came to the conclusion it gets fuel starvation on right hand corners at around a third of a fuel tank. Weeman was a passenger for these three laps, and I was happy to receive another nice comment about my car.

Then Friday arrived, was taking Andrew on a passenger lap with Al Clark following us on the MX5, first lap of the day, lost control and crashed at Wippermann, pure overconfidence by me, I was being too aggressive there, jumping too violently, and went into the rails on the outside going backwards, first with the rear right quarter, and then with the front right arch. Damaged both bumpers as well, broke both right hand lights, plus steering damage and a rear suspension arm and subframe. The situation was dealt with very efficiently: Al stopped behind my car, Andrew and I both had reflective vests 20 seconds after the car stopped and traffic was being properly flagged down a few seconds after the car stopped. I think Andrew heard a few portuguese words spoken in anger after the initial bump, he had a bad mark on his helmet from hitting my cage, which I saw later on at the parking place, and was really sorry for, as it only hit me then, when adrenalin was wearing off, how much I could have hurt my passenger. The whole thing was very quick, I had paid the bill and got to Adenau to see the car in less than one hour I think.

Passenger was unhurt, car was fixable, could have been much worse I imagine, but that isn't of much help when you're coping with it yourself, wondering if you'll have enough money to have it fixed properly or not. Left the car at Gebauer in Adenau, they promised they would have it driving as well as before, using good second hand parts, for 800 Euros. We'd just bash the metal back out and give a coat of spray can primer and paint to prevent serious rust, I just wanted to have the car good to drive on track, being able to enjoy it, and worry about making it look good when back home. A week later, three days after their promised time, I was told, when starting to align the car, that it in fact needed a new subframe, looking underneath you could clearly see it needed one, and it was impossible to not see it when changing the arm, all that time wasted, I drove my brother's car to go fetch for parts that turned out to be bent as well, shop for stuff they should have done themselves, only to be told that a car with 10mm of toe out in the rear was perfectly good to drive and that they had done their job.

During that week, they told me I needed two new wheels and a tyre, when in fact I just needed one new wheel, so instead of getting new ones from BMW I just bought a set of used ATS wheels with Yokohama 032 tyres on, hoping to put them in and get a few laps in before getting back home. Took the car to Tom Schirmers shop, someone I really trust and where I should have sent the car straight over, a new subframe was put on, he also replaced my subframe bushings for standard rubber ones, and refitted the diff bushing properly, the car still has the slightly bent suspension arm, that I got from Gebauer, giving it extra camber on that wheel, battery was relocated back to the engine bay since it was actually doing more harm for weight distribution than good, and the car was put back on the road by last Thursday night, felt ok to drive, not the same as before though.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/DSC_0972.jpg

Friday got on track, with my brother on the passenger seat trying to get his first lap in the car, I felt the rear wheel hit the wheel arch right on the first braking point, hard, on every bump, so took it slowly, really slowly, until Breidcheid and exited the there. Dale went past with the Alfa at Adenauer Forst, leaving a nice black line on both corners, and me sad with frustration after having asked Darius at Gebauer if the wheel wouldn't touch the arch like it just had, to be reassured it wouldn't. Went back to the shop, borrowed a jack, two hammers, and created clearance while everyone was happy to be on track, went back to the hotel and put some black tape over the cracked paint in an effort to keep water away from the exposed metal.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/DSC_1100.jpg

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During those two weeks of car "repairing" and financial anguish, when I kept looking at my bank account and realizing that in the best possible scenario I'd be almost broke at the end of the month, a few things happened, my brother and our mate David arrived there, to stay until the end of the month, took the chance to walk up to a few places I had never been on, like on the outside of Swedenkreuz, looking at the famous cross I never got to see from the track, took a walk up to Wippermann during the race car testing day, having a good long look at my tyre marks still on the track, and was offered a lot of laps with loads of people:

Ian, from Ireland, in the black M3 CSL, Dale in the red Alfa V6, Jim in the 335 with its new suspension, all these three before the crash, Al Clark and Nick on their MX5s, great fun those cars, Dan in the amazing red Polo, Mario in the unique red Fiat Barchetta, and Nige's Golf always making for a great lap, though what I really enjoyed was watching him and Mat assembling the Golf back together, from having the gearbox out to a fully track ready car in what felt like minutes, what a team they are, really impressive.

I had asked Nige to take a ride on my passenger seat, to see what he thought of my lines, and to do a few laps giving me a little advice with each lap, since Im certain I could improve a lot by doing so, I hope to do so next year :lol:

Pedro
11-09-2008, 02:13 PM
Few pictures of friendss cars:

MX5? Aproved

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/DSC_2941.jpg

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/DSC_6397.jpg


http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/DSC_5059.jpg


Nicest Mini ever

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/DSC_5380.jpg


No comments

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/DSC_6470.jpg



Dan!

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/DSC_5092.jpg

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To top things, was given a lap by Fabian, on the six cylinder powered E30, the thing's a missile and was my favourite passenger lap ever, jumps in places I didn't know were jumps, and is so well set up as it is driven, the ease it deals with the speeds it carries through places is really impressive, mostly when you see the lap times it consistently does, amazing car and driver.

All these people and some more Im so I forgot to mention really made a difference in the way I felt over those two weeks, went out with a bunch of guys to the Comfy Corner for dinner on the day I crashed, some trying to make me feel better about the crash, met Karl, was really surprised to see Jorg coming out of the kitchen and saying he was sorry for my accident when I had never met him before, it really made for a nice night and me feeling surrounded with friends, despite feeling like crap for breaking my car. Did spend a few nice days on those two weeks, did a couple of laps on my brother's always willing diesel Astra, but always worrying about my car.

After "fixing" the wheel arch issue I was sure to have the car ready for Saturday and doing a few quiet laps before the track got busy, on the last day I'd be there this year. Woke up early and was on the parking place, ready to go, at 7:45, by 8AM Im strapped in and with the freshly bought 8 lap ticket burning my fingers, only to watch as 8:05 creeps by, 8:10, 8:15, watching as more people arrive and start to fill the parking place, only for it to be complete mayhem when the track finally opens at about 9:30 or so, my spirits are pretty low by now, seems that nothing went right after the crash, I get on track 10 or so minutes after it opens, and try to get a feel of the car with the new tyres all over again, feels a bit strange and different than what Im sort of used to, but then, out of the blue, just as Im gaining some confidence, when entering a corner I get massive understeer, as soon as I touch the brakes to settle the front down the ABS kicks in, and all of a sudden all four wheels feel very slippery, we're slipping and sliding all the way through the corner trying to scrub speed down, all Im thinking is "(Oops I said the F word), not again", managed to slow almost to walking pace by corner exit and there's all kinds of confusion and debris about, the Zakspeed Viper parked against the armco on the outside, a bike or two down, a Porsche half on top of a Peugeot, bits of car all over the place, a battery 10 meters away from the cars, it's contents spilled all over the track, oil all over the place, we stop after the accident scene and check if help is needed, if people need assistance and if there's someone warning people before the corner, everything's apparently ok, no injuries and traffic going past slowly, so we wait for a couple of minutes, then get back on the car and continue. If I was confident in the car and driving at normal speed I don't think I could have avoided that crash, what a place for a fluid spill, really sorry for the people involved, couldn't avoid but feeling a bit shaken up by nearly being involved in a second accident.

Later on the lap, I get some weird feedback from the steering wheel when turning hard, like on the left hand turn to Brunchen, or Bergwerk as well I think, so take it steady and slow till the end, thinking of what can go wrong now, stop at the straight and see a drip coming from the front fender, quickly head to the parking place to find out it's window washer water, the bottle got out of the bracket thing during the crash and was leaning when cornering hard. Examining the steering searching for something wrong we see nothing, no fluids drip during the couple of hours the car sits there. I decide not to risk it, and not to try and do any laps anymore this year, I guess almost having been on another crash that day and really not being confident about the car pushed me to give up and not being able to show my brother a good passenger lap in my car. It really felt very disappointing not being able to do one decent lap after the crash, mostly after two weeks anticipating it.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/DSC_1054.jpg


Spent the rest of the day just walking about, watching people trying to have fun on a really busy and eventful day, getting stuck in a traffic jam just leaving the dirt parking place, and thinking about next day's trip home.

Had dinner, and started to pack the car, changed the trackday wheels for the road ones, one of those having been replaced with a steel one, rear seats put back in, and both cars packed ready for the trip home the next day.

We have breakfast and leave at about 7:30AM, car feels ok to drive, though nothing like before handling wise, it's significantly quieter now, with rubber subframe bushings and a properly installed diff bushing making it much easier to endure on the trip back, we pass Paris at about midday, and stop afterwards for a cold pizza, I realize my air conditioning is hardly able to produce any cold air, it probably got a gas leak somewhere from the crash, so drive all the way from Paris to home with the sunroof and windows open, we enter Spain at sunset and proceed to drive 400 or so more kms before stopping for sleep, arriving at the hotel that night at 2AM after a long drive, good things are that the drive home the next day wouldn't take long, and that the car is driving great, engine feels healthy, brakes need bleeding cause the Gebauer guys had to open the rear line to replace the arm, managing to both round the brake line nut and probably letting air in the system at the same time, good stuff.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b392/PeteCosta/Ring2008/DSC_2340.jpg


Day after we sleep late, had a massive breakfast, with about 5 glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice before leaving at 10 or so, people were grumpy on account of little sleep but the sun is shining and the sky is blue, and the seat feels amazingly comfy, arrive at the office at lunch hour, park the car in the garage, transfer the stuff to my daily Golf, and that's the end of the trip.

The car's now sitting there, alone, it's got two badly dented panels and a bonnet corner that are sprayed matte black, zip ties and black tape all over the place, missing the glass from a broken light, one black steel wheel, cracked and broken plastics all over, weird cambers, 5000kms worth of bug splatter, and filthy, it's resting till tomorrow, when hopefully I will take it to a couple of bodywork shops and see about having it put straight, to then re-spray it. I almost got a teary eye putting it away in that condition, after such an adventure, I love it now.


I enjoyed meeting you all, made a lot of friends this trip, you guys did a world of difference in the way I felt after the Wippermann thing, thanks!

However, I spent more time worrying and trying to get stuff done than enjoying myself, should learn a few lessons from this, one is that if Im driving a car hard it's always possible/likely i'll crash, and if I do then there's a reasonable chance I won't have enough money to fix it, thing is, it was awesome before crashing, and I just can't get a few of those good laps out of my head, Ive got a bigger itch to go back than ever.

Duncan
11-09-2008, 02:25 PM
what a report !!

awesome and a true insight into your trip's highs and lows :thumb:

Weeman
11-09-2008, 02:32 PM
Great report Pedro.

Car was going really well, shame i never got to take you out in mine to show the difference the 888's make. I still remember you saying " I dont think I'm quick enough for 888's " and me replying by Hatzenbach " yeah dude, I think you can manage 888's " :lol:

It happens dude, great spirit in getting it fixed and back out there.

As for meeting Karl, baptism of fire that, with Kesselchen wisdom thrown at ya, when your ego's feeling flat as it is, he might be an old surly bstard, but he tells it like it is :lol:

Jim Cameron
11-09-2008, 02:33 PM
:thumb: Pleasure to meet you mate. I'll see you next year :wave:

Karl
11-09-2008, 02:34 PM
Good to meet you, Pedro, and sorry you had to get up close and personal with the armco ;)

Simon
11-09-2008, 02:46 PM
God. What a report. I knew that you were waiting for the car to come back from Tom's but I did not realise that it had been at another garage for all that time before as well :o

Dave B
11-09-2008, 04:17 PM
Great report, real 'from the heart' stuff.
Thanks for sharing it with us :thumb:

Pedro
11-09-2008, 09:11 PM
It was good meeting everyone, thanks for the comments :thumb:

Gary Kinghorn
12-09-2008, 06:44 AM
Nice report B)

Floyd
12-09-2008, 07:19 AM
That was a rollercoaster of a trip you had there Pedro :blink:

Nice report :thumb:

PS your panel beating skills are extraordinary ;)

bimmer
12-09-2008, 07:39 AM
Nice report - sorry to hear about all the problems.

Pedro
12-09-2008, 07:54 AM
Originally posted by Floyd@Sep 12 2008, 08:19 AM
PS your panel beating skills are extraordinary ;)
Not really, Im prepared to some sort of "what kind of monkey bashed this out" comments when I take it to a couple of panel beaters for a quote this afternoon :lol:

What I was really disappointed about was not being able to go back for a couple of worry free laps after the crash.

alclark
12-09-2008, 11:11 AM
As said on FC, nothing to really say - Amazing report. :)

pye21
12-09-2008, 05:48 PM
Excellant report!!!

Its a real shame about your 'incident' but as has been said before by many on here, its always a when, not an if with the ring!!

Nige
12-09-2008, 06:38 PM
That was an enjoyable read, you really captured your Highs and Lows..

Shame I wasn`t able to get out with you for that lap. Maybe next year ? :thumb:

Floyd
12-09-2008, 07:46 PM
It's the new badge for the Ring - panel damage = hardcore :D

Pedro
12-09-2008, 09:35 PM
Panel damage doesnt make me feel very good about myself whenever I look at the car tough :(


Nige, next year :thumb:

Floyd
12-09-2008, 11:45 PM
Originally posted by Pedro@Sep 12 2008, 10:35 PM
Panel damage doesnt make me feel very good about myself whenever I look at the car tough :(


Nige, next year :thumb:
But everyone will know that you have experienced the wrath of the Ring and you've still come back for more B)

Dave Malings
13-09-2008, 08:23 AM
That was a good read.

Shame about the accident, but not nearly as bad as it could have been.

hartyb
13-09-2008, 09:49 PM
It was good to meet you and Pleased to here you got home Ok

you are a winner because you got home OK some are not that lucky :veryhappy:

you should have come out for a few Laps! ow yes I remember had problems with the golf's Alternater so did not do many laps in the car only the bike

will look out for you next year

Regards Bruce

Pedro
14-09-2008, 11:47 AM
Thanks for the comments guys.

I am really hoping to meet you there again next year.

E500 TAT
15-09-2008, 12:33 PM
i enjoyed reading that.

thanks for sharing it. ;)