View Full Version : GVK's May trip report

05-06-2006, 07:19 PM
Friday May 26th

Claire and myself left a wet Lincolnshire to make our way down to Ian and Lou's nr Canterbury, stopped off en route for some shopping and made good progress south on the A1... Until we got to the 'kin M25.

Queues,queues bloody queues..... eventually got to Finchy towers in the evening at some point. Ian was cooking some wicked Mexican food< insert wtf they were called when I ask him to remind me... >

Cracked open some wine and a few beers with our meal then wandered up to a local pub were the banter was being relayed across the table between me and Finchy.

Ian made a statement that Saturday night would be a quiet one so we could be up and about ready Sunday morning for &#39;ring opening time of 08:00am....

I just looked at him and said "**** off" LOL&#33;&#33;&#33;

Back to Finchy towers for some well earned kip.

Saturday May 27th

As usual I was awake before the alarm at silly o clock thinking "Can we go yet, can we....?" Excited? Yeh, just a bit&#33;

We had to be at the Euro-Tunnel for 7am, so we had to make good progress down to Folkestone through foggy B roads to get checked in, just in time for the 0730am train.

Ian was stopped by security and they checked out his car for illegal immigrants hiding in the roll cage or something&#33;

I&#39;d never been on the Euro-Tunnel before and although it is quick and easy to load up and unload, I felt a bit claustraphobic tbh...

Once we reached France we made our way towards Lille and stopped for some breakfast . Spoke to David (91davidw) who said the &#39;ring was closed and the place was choc-a-block ram jammed. He&#39;d arrived on Thursday?

As those who&#39;ve been on other trips with me will know, I always take the wrong bloomin&#39; turning at Lille and end up either heading into the city or, errr Paris.

Last year we made a note on our directions to follow the A1 - A27 signs direction Vallenciennes and Bruxelle - I made a short vid of the signs, but basically stick to the right hand lanes about 70 miles from Calais.

Once we passed Lille we had a wet but trouble free run through France and Belgium into Germany, well , expect some bleedin&#39; foriegner in a Corsa blocking us in a deserted car park area.

As we reached Germany the skys were a little brighter and it had stopped raining. Ian and Lou were running on vapours so made a detour somewhere near Prum for fuel. We waited along the road to Gerolstein for them.

It&#39;s always very exciting as you&#39;re driving along this road as the signs state "Nurburgring" the closer you get to the circuit.

We reached Nurburg about 3 pm and it was still dry at that point so we looked forward to getting some sneaky laps in that afternoon.

We stayed at the Hotel Zurburg which is in Nurburg itself, close to the track,pubs and restaurants.

By the time we&#39;d checked in, and got our luggage sorted it was raining?? So we went down to the track, which was a hive of activity - spotted Jochen who blamed me for the weather and saw Bren and Suz from Sliders who were sat by the office.

I bought a bike ticket for 8 laps .. derrrrrrr.

Luckily a friendly UK biker bought it from me and I bought the correct car ticket. I was excited ok?

We decided to do a steady lap in the wet to see what the conditions were like, Claire warned me not to race Ian... Would I?


(Thanks to mk1 driver from CGTI forum for this grab)

Ian went tearing off from the cones, the mk1s Jetex rally exhaust making a raspy note as we accelerated down towards Tiergarten. Knowing how slippery the track can be it was no suprise to see Ian on the exit of Hocheichen with the indicator on to let us pass, to say we saw a crashed car on every corner may have been optimistic, but byjesus we saw some wrecked motors on that lap&#33;

Back at the car park Ian was moaning about the lack of traction in the mk1, we had been a bit concerned that the stiff springs would be useless in the wet, which they were.

We then went up to Breidscheid to spectate, cars were slipping and sliding all over the shop.


Click to play

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i270/GVK34/th_2006_0530ringandspa06010040.jpg (http://s74.photobucket.com/albums/i270/GVK34/?action=view&current=2006_0530ringandspa06010040.flv)

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i270/GVK34/th_2006_0530ringandspa06010037.jpg (http://s74.photobucket.com/albums/i270/GVK34/?action=view&current=2006_0530ringandspa06010037.flv)

Claire got a text from my Mum saying that she was looking out for us on the webcam,
we went and did a couple more laps that evening in the wet - seeing crashed cars and sad faces on quite a few corners including a yellow M3 with bumper hanging off at Hohe Acht, MX5 on exit of Bergwerk and an Alfa 75 balancing precariously on the high kerb at Hedwigshohe.

During the one of our many visits to the Ed Tankstelle we met up with David from NI whom we met last year, his friends had sadly let him down and was out on his own, so we invited him out with us to eat that evening.

Lou had booked a table for the five of us at the Motorsport hotel Paddock resturant so we went back to the Zurburg to get freshened up.

Had a lovely meal and &#39;a few&#39; beers that evening (Thanks again David&#33;) and got soaked on the walk back up the hill in the rain - hmmm looks as tho Sunday will be wet too.

Sunday May 28th


Up for breakfast at early-o-clock so we could get out on track bang on opening time at 0800.
Where&#39;s that bloody ticket? Searched high and low in the car for the 8 lap ticket with 5 remaining laps on, but could&#39;nt find it.
Claire was a bit upset thinking she may misplaced it but I said don&#39;t worry, I&#39;ll just buy another one, that&#39;s what were here for&#33;&#33;
I did the first lap with Ian following, track was very wet but the R32 loves it when it&#39;s all moist and slippy.

Ian got back and said he was trying his hardest to keep up but the mk1 was very unhappy getting it&#39;s feet wet, he decided to disconnect the front ARB and have a fiddle with the set up to try and give it a bit more bite.

Claire did the next couple of laps whilst the track was still quiet, her coming out for the passenger laps had helped as she was picking up more than a few of the sections and hitting the spots on the turn in and apexes, I have a tendency to get my lefts and rights muddled when coaching her around a track so we simplified it to "My side" and "Your side" - yep - I&#39;m basic. :)

During the day we met up with various people that we&#39;d met on previous trips including Euan (who looked like cr4p after getting in from the Lindenhof at 530am&#33;) and a few new faces from the Northloop.co.uk forum. Including Northern monkey Pete who can lap in mid 8 mins in a 306 GTI-6 - the lad is seriously unhinged&#33;

I&#39;d promised to take Nigel out for a lap, he was there on his 2nd trip with his family and was throuroughly enjoying it.

By this time the track was drying and we upped the pace a bit, Nigel was chatting away as we left the cones asking various questions about me and Claire&#39;s car, but soon quietened down after a few corners, even though I&#39;d said I didn&#39;t mind him talking &#33; :) Nice dry lap. Nigel must&#39;ve enjoyed it as he&#39;s written this on his report on Northloop.co.uk (cheques in the post,Nige&#33;)

"Whilst waiting, I saw Gary and Claire come into the carpark in Claires Blue Golf R32. He had also been kind enough to offer me a passenger lap and I took him up on his offer.

He was obviously a veteran of the ring and was extremely smooth. He was heel and toeing and jumping the kerbs like a touring car driver &#33;. The lap was very very enjoyable and the golf not only handled well, but pulled really well too. I donít time the laps, so donít know how fast it was, but I can say it was quicker than I drove all weekend. Thanks for that Gary &#33;. I didnít get the opportunity to repay the lap as I seemed to miss Gary when the track was open, hopefully I`ll be there when he is sometime in the future and will be able to give him a lap and let him give me some pointers."

As all the Sunday warriors were filling up the car park and it got more and more difficult to navigate around the place, we decided to head off and do a bit of spectating at Breidscheid and Wehrseifen, then along to Pflansgarten and Brunnchen.

We met up with David at Brunnchen and was going to hike up to the Karrusel, but being lazy we decided to go back and do some laps, joining the track at Breidscheid,met up with Simon who was giving his usual &#39;ring tool a Vento VR6 a rest and was out in his mate&#39;s 944 Turbo - as luck would have it both the times we attempted this the circuit was closed, the second time we waited in the queue for nearly an hour - the track was obviously deserted as we joined the Nordschleife from about halfway at Breidscheid, or Adenau bridge as some call it.

Guess Ian&#39;s fed up that the track is closed?



Back at the car park later one met Dave and Clare who run the northloop.co.uk site - Dave is a veteran of over 400 laps so I asked for a passenger lap in Clare&#39;s Clio Cup.

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i270/GVK34/th_2006_0530ringandspa06010048.jpg (http://s74.photobucket.com/albums/i270/GVK34/?action=view&current=2006_0530ringandspa06010048.flv)

I&#39;m generally not a fan of French cars but I was impressed on the way that a standard (except for PF97 pads) car could cope with track use, you instantly could tell that Dave had done &#39;one or two&#39; laps in the past as his lines and momentum around the track were spot on - I even learnt a new line into the downhill left at Escbach - keep in the middle of the track instead of hitting the apex, gives a straighter line into Brunnchen.

We caught up with a UK reg Boxster S at Pflansgarten but the guy&#39;s ego got the better of him and he tried hard to stay in front of us in the little Clio. Sadly he got very untidy braking for Schwalbenschwanz, where we passed him&#33; Great lap, thanks Dave&#33;

One memorable lap from the Sunday evening was when I took Marshall , a guy we&#39;d met at a track day at Oulton park last winter out in the R32 - a black hard looking German reg&#39;d GT3 and a silver 350Z, also on German plates followed us out of the cones. Somewhere between Hatzenbach and QH we let them both pass but were both suprised to be &#39;closely&#39; following them through Adenauer forst....

With the Xenon headlamps of the R32 melting the rear reg plate of the Z the guy pulled over for us on the run down to Breidscheid. I knew we would have no chance of keeping with a GT3 up Kesselchen, it&#39;s superior power would put the Golf in it&#39;s place.

As expected the GT3 went into &#39;rubber band mode&#39; and increased the gap between us up Kesselchen, a steep 2-3km climb that twists through the Eifel leading up to the Karrusell.

However, the climb from the Karrusell,up through Hohe Acht, through Hedswigshohe , the awesome &#39;kerb hopping&#39; Wippermann complex, Escbach and the spectator area at Brunchenn we again followed &#39;quite close&#39; to the rear of the GT3.

I think by this time the guy was getting fed up, but for whatever reason didn&#39;t want to yeild to us, so he slammed his brakes on through Pflansgarten - fook&#33;&#33;

After avoiding the rear end of the Porsche I checked the mirror and a white Civic Type R that had been following also had to brake heavily - I remember saying to Marshall "This is getting silly now" and pulled over to the let the Civic and maybe another car pass.

We caught and passed the GT3 somewhere between Schwalbenschwanz and the Kleine Karrusell,and of course they just &#39;had&#39; to re-pass us as we cruised back down DH - Interesting lap....

That evening Ian, Lou, Claire and myself ate at the Pistenklause, had a nice meal and a few lagers. Met up with Ben Pike from the &#39;ringers list for a quick chat and got the mickey taken out of me for looking like the baby who was on his first &#39;ring trip, sat on the table behind us in the PK. He was cute tho&#33; We went over to the Lindenhof for a few more beers later that night.

Monday May 29th

Even though the chance of a lie-in was there on the Monday morning, as TF didn&#39;t start until 1300hrs, I was awake very early.

In the interests of trying not to disturb Claire, who really enjoys her sleep it has to be said -I had the bright idea of going for a walk through Nurburg at some ungodly hour. I walked through the town, up towards the track and found a path through the trees that led up to T13/Hatzenbach. Stood by the trackside thinking "What on earth am I doing?" and went back to bed&#33;



We had to check out of the Zur Burg around 1030 so got all of our baggage sorted and left it in the reception of the hotel, which was a nice place to stay but the owner seemed to have his eyes on you at all times and didn&#39;t really say much.

I started to take Claire&#39;s car&#39;s dash apart in the hope of finding that lost ticket, but gave up and just said "Sod it, just have to buy another"

Ian needed to repair some wiring on the mk1 and needed some crimp connectors, so we all took a trip over to Adenau to do some shopping. It was quite interesting in the hardware store when the guy could speak no English. Ian took some cooker cable off the shelf and did a &#39;putting on the end of the cable&#39; type motion - I was sure Ian would be handed a plug for the wall, but the guy understood him ok.

After the wet Saturday and start to Sunday, we hoped the weather would stay fine so we had chance of some dry laps on our last afternoon at the &#39;ring - especially for Claire as with the closures etc she had only done one dry lap on Sunday afternoon, the rest of her laps being very wet.

We went and had some lunch at the Grunne Holle resturaunt at the &#39;ring car park so we could be out on track at one o&#39;clock. Just our luck, after a fine morning the heavens opened as TF started. Bugger.

To be honest though,with the R32 being 4wd and having all the numpty aids such as ABS and ESP it&#39;s suprising how safe and confidence inspiring it feels in the wet,as Ian commented when we went out in it that afternoon "You could more or less drive this bloody thing just as fast in the wet,and maybe take a few more liberties than you really should be able to get away with" or words to that effect,anyway.

As a stark contrast, we did a lap in Ian&#39;s mk1 after we "blofelted the harnesses" (adjusting them to fit me), Ian&#39;s car had bugger all grip in the wet, understeer on turning in, locking wheels very easily under braking, especially into Wehrseifen&#33; Not to mention losing traction in 3rd (and 4th gear sometimes) accelerating uphill.

We decided to call it a day and went to collect our baggage from the ZurBurg and headed over to Spa where we were doing a track day on the Tuesday.

As if by magic, the sun came out breifly as we left Nurburg.

Ian shot off into the distance on the B421, Lou texting us messages on the directions to take to head towards Malmedy.

I directed Claire to follow an Umletung sign, which we learnt last year means diversion... sadly this took us miles from the beaten track on roads that were not even marked on my map.

We saw signs for Prum and thought it best to try and get onto the E42 which we did, and made our way up to Spa to the hotel.

Once we found our hotel in the main square of Spa, Ian directed us into the hotel car park, which was one of those "turn in off the street,through a remote controlled shutter door up a steep ramp" type affair as seen on Top Gear when they went to the Millau bridge..

Inside the car park there were quite a few Porsches and other track toys obviously there for the track day. Smart&#33;

Alex and Bob were due to meet us at the hotel that evening but we had got a text from them explaining about something that had broken on the Lizardwagen en route, sadly the wonders of predictive text meant that I had no idea what it was or indeed if they were still mobile.

Gave Alex a quick call asking him where he was,was he broken down etc etc...

"I&#39;m outside the hotel you tart, come and let me in"

Good news (ish) It was &#39;only&#39; a broken spring on his exhaust manifold that they were concerned about.

We all went for a wander around Spa that evening,dropped by a few bars and found a nice place to eat in the town square later on.

On the way back to the hotel we found a fairground where we had a drunken dodgem race/demolition derby and showed off our masculinity by punching one of those punchbag things that sets off a siren if you&#39;re "well &#39;ard" . Err guys, we need to be up and about in the morning for this track day that was the main reason for thi trip.....

Tuesday May 30th

After a late night we all felt a bit second hand at breakfast,and a mad rush ensued we could make it to Spa Francorchamps for 0730&#33;&#33; (ish) for the signing on and driver&#39;s breifings. It&#39;s only a short drive of about 8km from Spa to the circuit, Ian said it was a good job I&#39;d been before as you have to drive under a tunnel and up a few quite steep ramps to get into the paddock at Spa and the paddock is not very well sign posted which doesn&#39;t help when you&#39;re a bit late.

As we drove up the ramp that leads into the paddock,the sight type of cars that were attending the Autotrack day was just amazing. Countless 911s, Ferraris and even a Porsche Carrera GT. We felt pretty humble in the Golfs and expected to be mobile chicanes all day.

Spotted a couple of UK reg RS200s in the far end garage Autotrack were using for signing on, you don&#39;t see those old Group B rally cars out very often.

Once everyone gathered for the breifing it was apparent that there were a lot of cars there that day (sell out) and that many of the guys had been to Spa before which didn&#39;t help the &#39;butterflies in the stomach&#39; feeling I always get first thing in the morning at a track day.

During the breifing the guy reminded us it was wet out there, grip levels were pretty low and as per the &#39;ring if you damage Armco at Spa, you pay for it. Nice&#33;

Start of the day consisted in a session of 50mph max sighting laps behind a &#39;pace car&#39;. Luckily Claire and myself followed a GT3 during the sighting laps that looked like he was driving on the proper line which helped me learn the circuit at a lower pace, as other than a few electronic laps on Toca race driver I&#39;d only driven a couple of laps of Spa a few years ago when Dutchman Job van de Laar kindly let me drive his mk2 when we dropped into a track day on the way home from a &#39;ring trip.

05-06-2006, 07:31 PM
Great Start :thumb:

Really must do mine soon or won&#39;t be worth doing&#33; :whistle:


06-06-2006, 05:59 AM
Oh bugger, forgot about the edit time limit.

Can it be disabled... please? :gay:

Root admin
06-06-2006, 07:14 AM
I&#39;ll have a look in the admin control panel&#33; You should really be able to edit your posts whenever, so if I can, I will disable totally.

Dave Malings
06-06-2006, 07:22 AM
............might have been something I did :whistle:

06-06-2006, 08:25 AM
Originally posted by Dave Malings@Jun 6 2006, 08:22 AM
............might have been something I did :whistle:
I thought that it had changed. David :nono:

Nice start to the report btw, look forward to the following installment(s)

06-06-2006, 10:09 AM
Good report :thumb:

Dave Malings
06-06-2006, 07:39 PM
You should be able to edit it again now :whistle:

07-06-2006, 06:48 AM
Excellent, thanks Dave


07-06-2006, 09:19 AM
Good report G hurry up and get it finished&#33; :P

09-06-2006, 05:50 AM

Added some more there...

09-06-2006, 07:13 AM
Who&#39;s that dodgy looking fella gurning in the background? I see him there a lot :D


Dave Malings
09-06-2006, 07:30 AM
Gary, do I take it you or your mates know the guy who was in the Black 944 Turbot?

Maybe, you could point him in this direction :thumb:

I never did go and say hello, as he was never with the car when I saw it.

10-06-2006, 12:08 AM
Simon usually goes over in a black Vento VR6 with black wheels, he was over in his mates 944 :thumb:

I&#39;ll send him a link to the forum Dave.

10-06-2006, 07:22 AM
Can&#39;t add all the pics in one post.. :gay:







Stewart was out in his S3 - Claire and myself met Stewart at the fimiling of Top Gear last year.


10-06-2006, 07:23 AM





22-06-2006, 06:38 AM
I&#39;ve finally added a bit more on P1, but still need to finish it off.

Gary Kinghorn
24-06-2006, 03:47 PM
Karl making a special guest appearance in the 340R picture :lol:

24-06-2006, 07:12 PM
Great read and pictures

25-06-2006, 06:48 AM
great report, I read every word. :thumb:

27-06-2006, 06:58 AM
Thanks guys, I&#39;m slowly getting around to finishing it. :whistle:

27-06-2006, 07:18 AM








27-06-2006, 11:11 AM
Originally posted by Gutmann pug@Jun 24 2006, 03:47 PM
Karl making a special guest appearance in the 340R picture :lol:
Fackinell, what a dork :lol:

18-07-2006, 09:45 AM
Marshal has uploaded a few short vid clips to Google video - check out the bottom lip :lol:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5...=gvk&pr=goog-sl (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5716181678452760239&q=gvk&pr=goog-sl)