View Full Version : Newbie Trip report - Sept 5 & 6

18-09-2008, 11:00 AM
Hi guys. I just managed to get back from a 2 week Euro Roadtrip. It involved London to Amsterdam, then Amsterdam to the Ring. From there, we went all over, so sorry this is a little late.

Also, most of this ride report is for a Forum back in SA, and I'm too lazy and got too much work to catch up on to write to versions, so some might not be applicable, or be obvious to you guys.

Trip stats:
Total Miles: 2697 (4317km abouts)
Average Speed: 48mph
Average Mpg: 28.6
Drive time: 56:44

Amsterdam to the Nurburgring, Germany……and the ring

In Amsterdam, we got up, had breakfast, and then headed off with Sliders guest house targeted in the GPS. Once again, it struck us how beautiful Holland is, but it is pretty flat. That sort of changes upon entering Germany. Also, its sounds synical, but one does start feeling that everything starts becoming seriously precision orientated. Road markings, signs, turnoffs, layouts, side of the highway gardens etc become a demonstration of perfection really. Then, the driving…..an absolute pleasure. Not a single person or truck ever enters a lane in front of you if you moving 0.005 km/h faster than them, unless you actually indicate they may. We were pretty eager to get there, and were in for a treat. Once you see the 130 highway limit, with a couple lines thru it, its open season on the throttle. We were heavily loaded, so we weren’t going to be silly about it, so sat at around 100mph (160) for most of the way. What a pleasure.

So, we arrived at our accommodation. Some guys recommended a guesthouse known as Sliders Guesthouse in Dollendorf. What a surprise when we arrived there. It seems to be dominated by bikers, and the owner Brent turns out to be the Red Barron......um, awesome!! Unfortunately, he had a bit of an off, was in hospital for a month, and has quiet a few bones and things healing. His wife helps him out at the guesthouse, and can ride too....IIRC she is a mid 8 minute rider. Also a cute great dane puppy named Daisy. The bar is run on a trust principle – grab a beer, and make a strike on your room number. Settle it at the end. On the Sunday night, we’d tap into the bar nicely. :)

Outside Sliders:

Cover of Performance Bike with The Red Barron and his mate on the ring:

Us with the Red Barron

Now, whoever runs the Road works here, is definately a petrolhead!

Check these roads out, they are embanked corners that dont run away with you. Its absolutely awesome. And, really, the surroundings are stunning. Speed limits are high too, so you can have a good time. Apparently the cops are hard on anyone being a serious fool out on these roads, but we saw two cops the whole weekend, at the ring, when they were looking for someone.

Check the embanked corners:

This is the less dense surroundings. Beautiful!

18-09-2008, 11:02 AM
The Ring.

Well, what can I say. It’s the worlds largest carpark of pure motoring pron. As we arrived, we were greeted by a Carrera GT. Also, every piece of machinery there is there to be driven on the track, as no-one goes there just to watch….you cant really.


There is also a feeling of excitement in the air. Seemed it didn’t matter what you drove, where you from, everyone seemed friendly an united in their purpose. We arrived on Saturday afternoon, there was going to be one short TF session in the late afternoon. We just wanted to have a look see around, and were planning on meeting Jim, that said there was a possibility that I could hitch a ride before going out myself to get a feel. Well, after waiting around watching and checking everything out, the excitement got the better of us, and we said we’d just have a quick leisurely cruise around the ring quick. We’d take it easy, and get a proper ride in with someone on the Sunday, and then set about trying to go a bit faster.

22 Euro odd for the ticket, little steeper than I seem to recall, but oh well, cant complain. Get the ticket, get in the car, warm up the oil, and line up. It was at least dying down a little, as the lines earlier were out and around the traffic circle, but when we pulled up, we were maybe 10 cars back. The only thing on my agenda was staying out of people’s way, as I knew I was going to be the slowest car on the track. Keep right, pass left, and indicate for both being overtaken and overtaking. Those were to be my golden rules. In the excitement, I lost the entrance ticket, which involved me jumping out the car, and frantically searching all pockets. Eventually found it, jumped back in the car, and resumed lineup.

At this putting the ticket in the toll gate, my heart was pumping like it was fed a direct injection of redbull. Here goes. Pulling onto the track, after a feeder chicane, its time to nail it.


There was an MX-5 in front of us, which I reeled in on the straight, but didn’t want to pass as I knew these things can corner, so while I had a horsepower advantage, I’d just hold him up come the first set of turns. A Lotus and a bike went past fairly quickly, and I saw a TT also disappear into the horizon….

First thing that become apparent, even on the straight, is that is that while the track is actually fairly accurately detailed in games (Forza and GT), they seem to lack the elevation feel. It looked the same, but man, the elevation changes between Antoniusbuche and Hohenrain (think that’s it, turn after the pitlane) give you a first taste of the differences.

Well, it soon became apparent the MX5 was taking it slow(well, slower than me), and I indicated and overtook rather rapidly.


Then, I rather enjoyed Nordkehre, and then all the way down Hatzenbach and Hocheichen……well, that would be the last time I’d enjoy those for the weekend. The next stretch is awesome, foot flat, but too scary for me first time out, and I was dabbing brakes and off throttle a lot. One just cannot see whats over the rise, and around the next corner, and I really didn’t want to be the idiot that binned it first time out.




By Bergwerk (I think) I had overdone the VRs puny little brakes. Little too eager and scared. I got a big fright at the OPC corner (don’t know what the name of it is) as I had no brakes, and was running out of road fast, but the corner wasn’t as bad as it looked going in with no brakes.


18-09-2008, 11:03 AM
So, with smoking brakes (I'm sure they were, as the cabin of the car was now smelling of asbestos, the smell of disappointment), we started coasting to get the brakes up and going again. It was actually nice, as the track at this point became mostly uphill. We then spotted the recovery truck and thought that hopefully this wasn’t a sign.


Also, a GT3 came past, that literally made us feel as if we were looking for parking. But man, what a sound. Followed shortly by a Scirocco with livery, that we’d soon see being loaded onto a trailer. Nice!



So, the brakes came back, rather abruptly too, suddenly the car seem to come alive. From about Klostertal I really started to have some fun. The car felt balance, brakes were great, and I was also getting a feeling for the track. I started going a lot quicker than we thought we would, and to my surprise was starting to catch other cars….okay, mostly the Scirocco club, but whatever. Sadly, a PT cruiser appeared in the mirrors, and I let past, but found he made a good person to follow. Don’t think it was too stock, big rims, pipe, nice sound, and he definitely had some horsepower in the straights.

Now, the carousel surprised us, we nearly missed it as I was sticking right, but managed to get onto the line. Oh my, is it bumpy! All I remember is Sabine’s advise never to brake in it, but I actually kept half throttle, and booted it on the way out. What a feeling….but wouldn’t be surprised is some trim was left behind.


It was clear we were actually starting to go quickly. We started to catch traffic, and I nearly missed the mini carousel as I let a bike past, but ducked in behind him. The gap between the Passat,bike and me wasn’t much….what a feeling.




Shortly after this, I’d take the Passat (nice chap – mini meet and greet as I went past), and catch the Corrado.


The Corrado and I ended up in a drag race down the straight again, which was cut short as you have to slow down and take the exit.



18-09-2008, 11:04 AM
Saturday night, we joined our hosts to go down to a place called the Comfy Corner. Probably the best food of the entire trip (well, according to my mates, as I just got a massive plate of French fries), and I met Jim and his mates. What awesome guys! Couple of beers later, we retired to a fantastic hoon home and bed.

We woke up on Sunday to a cold, wet and rainy day. Shit , I hope this clears up. Got to the track, and was waiting and waiting for it to dry out. It didn’t, and we thought we found a little gap, but as we were pulling onto the track, it started pouring. Taking it fairly easy, we managed to get all the way to Nordkehre, and then proceeded down the hill. Somewhere in Hatzenbach or Hocheichen the back let go - now, this was hardly a heavy corner, and I honestly am at a loss to how this happened, as there was no warning, no nothing. It actually felt like a blowout. I’m definitely not the worlds best driver, so I’ll put it down to that, but I also have one excuse (he he), I’ll take a picture of my rear left tire.

The car ended up fully sideways, where I was at full opposite lock. We were heading straight for the barrier on the left, and I just saw the amount of money this was going to cost me if I hit the Armco flash before my eyes (Nurburgring charges you plenty cash to repair Armco, clean up, and for closure time). After doing a full 360, somehow I managed to veer the car off back into the corner, where we started heading for the right hand side barrier. Another 360 (or two, I lost count), we ended up with only one wheel on the grass. Man, the relief in both me and my mates eyes was priceless. I now had another problem, get the F out of the road as we were sitting on the apex of a corner. As we pulled off, there was a spectator waving his umbrella giving me the thumbs up and cheering at the end of the corner. We laughed, musta made his day, but both of us had to empty out pants.

So, terrified of doing it again, we set sail and snails pace around the ring. Man, the track was slippery in sections, and the car felt fine in left turns, but right turns it was all over the place, even going slow. The rear left was definitely not a happy place. Anyway, sadly, at near coasting speed, I somehow managed to loose the rear (again) in Kallenhard (I think, will find out from Jim as I pointed it out to him). So slowly that we just slid off the track onto the grass. Man, I was seriously starting to be disappointed in myself. The first was at least way into triple digit speeds, this was at like 40. Well, on the bright side the brakes were holding up just dandy. Once again, the track and car started to feel good on the last third of the Ring. I was nowhere near pushing it, but it (or me) did seem to find a balance. We’d exit the track, laughing, but not the fun kind of laugh.

Remnants of our second spin.

18-09-2008, 11:04 AM
So, after I was a little shaken, and not wanting to do any more wet laps, and it was my mates turn to take my car around the ring (hey, what are friends for :P ), he managed to find himself a dry part and get a run in with dry lines and stuff. We took his wife, and apparently it was awesome.



So, we decided we’d go again, but as we started the car, it started pouring with rain. Man, this sucked. I wasn’t going to risk another wet lap, as this was only the beginning of our journey, and we still had a long way to go. Crashing would have cut our trip short.

So, we decided to not go again, but then I managed to get a PAX lap with Jim. Um, I think its fair to say that chap has a pretty decent understanding of the Ring. I didnt feel too bad when we had a little oopsie, but sadly that was after pulling a lovely long drift. A stripped out E30 with a 335 motor in it sounds awesome. It feels awesome, and it goes well! Thanks Jim!




18-09-2008, 11:18 AM
Oh, and I would just like to say thank you to everyone that we met on the trip. From Brent to Jim, and all their mates.

While these trips are fun, they absolutely awesome when you making new friends. Everyone was awesomely acomodating, friendly, and keen for beer! B)

18-09-2008, 11:22 AM
Nice report and glad you didn't buy any armco ;)

Good to meet you at the Comfy Corner, even though Jim didn't introduce me, and ONLY me :lol:

The Wnaker ;)

18-09-2008, 01:07 PM
Originally posted by Killboy@Sep 18 2008, 11:04 AM
Saturday night, we joined our hosts to go down to a place called the Comfy Corner. Probably the best food of the entire trip (well, according to my mates, as I just got a massive plate of French fries), and I met Jim and his mates. What awesome guys! Couple of beers later, we retired to a fantastic hoon home and bed.

nice to meet you too, and i`m glad to hear that you, and the others of your group, enjoy the meal :veryhappy:

18-09-2008, 01:25 PM
Originally posted by Karl@Sep 18 2008, 12:22 PM
Nice report and glad you didn't buy any armco ;)

Good to meet you at the Comfy Corner, even though Jim didn't introduce me, and ONLY me :lol:

The Wnaker ;)
pmsl @ Karl.

Good to meet you Brian and a great write up of your first ever lap of the Ring :thumb:

18-09-2008, 01:48 PM
Amazes me how you can remember so much about a lap, glad you didn´t go seriously off track

18-09-2008, 01:50 PM
Good report and glad you enjoyed it :thumb:

Jim Cameron
18-09-2008, 02:07 PM
Brian's first spin, the really big one, was in a straight line down the middle of Hatzenbach :blink:

Number two was to the inside of Kallenhard, but stopped short of the embankment :o

Good lad for resisting the 'one last lap' temptation... he looked anguished, standing in the carpark, clutching a ticket with two laps still on it... :lol:

Great to meet you and your friends, Brian :thumb:

18-09-2008, 02:19 PM
Originally posted by Pedro@Sep 18 2008, 01:48 PM
Amazes me how you can remember so much about a lap, glad you didn´t go seriously off track
It was all a blur, seriously. I was mostly going off on the pictures my mate took. :P

I remember the last bits well. It was where I started to have the most fun.

18-09-2008, 02:28 PM
Originally posted by Jim Cameron@Sep 18 2008, 02:07 PM
Brian's first spin, the really big one, was in a straight line down the middle of Hatzenbach :blink:

Number two was to the inside of Kallenhard, but stopped short of the embankment :o

Good lad for resisting the 'one last lap' temptation... he looked anguished, standing in the carpark, clutching a ticket with two laps still on it... :lol:

Great to meet you and your friends, Brian :thumb:
Yeah, and I'm sticking by my excuse that there is something wrong with the rear left tire. :P

Well, a picture will tell a thousand words, I'll get a pic of it later. Had a slightly more controlled slide on a wet road later in the trip, but also just snapped. Car is brilliant in left turns, horrible in right.

I had a problem and a delima before the trip. Since fitting the bilsteins, the rims and tires scrapped the rear arches (oddly, at the front, not top) when the car is loaded. The problem was that I wanted 16"s, as 17"s dont give you any feel on this car. Sadly, as the shopping list was rather long, plenty other things needed work first. When I got the car, the suspension was terrible, the rear calipers seized, all the bushes/top mounts stuffed, window mechanisms, etc, I could go on forever. I'd have liked 15"s even more, but I know the next upgrade is the TT 312mm disks and calipers, which need 16"s to hide behind. I ran out of money really, so they had to do.

The next trip will be a lot more sorted.

Diamond Hell
18-09-2008, 11:01 PM
What make are those tyres?

15-10-2008, 03:52 PM
Shesh, sorry I haven't gotten round to taking a picture of the tires.

There are in fact 3 different brands on the car, at least the front are the same, and after some scientific testing with a mate (he tried to, and confirmed) of some twisties, and then reverse, the car does not like right handers in any sort of wet.

Why, I don't know. Such a vast different between left and right, ONLY in the wet.

We also thinking there could be something wrong with the suspension install. The place that installed it managed to stuff up the rears TWICE, with the shocks popping up through the mounts, so perhaps they put something in the wrong way. Wouldn't be surprised.

Anyways, I have to pop back to SA to get a Visa, and will be back. Then, its time for a set of R888s, and I want to drop to 16" rims (ideally 15", but the TT brake upgrade will require 16s at least).

Do you get R888s in 205/45/16s or near enough? Also, out of interest, do you get them n 205/40/17s? According to the net, and its different everywhere, the profiles are slightly higher, and that wont fit under the arches. I should get the flared anyway.