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Dave T
31-05-2009, 11:16 AM
May 2009 – Return to the ring.

Timing

When most people think of the Nurburgring, the first thing that comes to mind is Top Gear and
10 minutes. This seems to be the golden number that people aim for. Shaving tenths off by
cutting the curbs at Hatzenbach or carrying a little more speed into Metzgesfeld in the
quest for a sub 10. For me, the number I had in mind on the days prior to the trip was 845.
But why 845? I will explain later.

This years trip was to be short of the usual gang due to other commitments and a number of
people dropping out.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/lastyear.jpg
Last years crowd

I was going even if it meant donating a vital organ to fund the trip. I have two kidneys,
I'm sure I could manage with one if it meant the trip was to go ahead.

The dates were arranged, ferries booked and hotel secured many months ago. The car was
prepared to the usual meticulous standards and all systems were go go go.

Wednesday 13th May

The Meet

The Steam Packet Vessel Ben My Chree was our transport to the lovely town of Heysham.
Some of the guys were already in the carpark when I arrived at 0800. The voyage was four
hours but we passed the time viewing videos from the last couple of years.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/benmychree.jpg
Steam Packet Vessel - Ben My Chree


Upon arrival at Heysham, the other guys set off for Dover and their crossing to Dunkirk.
I headed east to meet up with Simon, Dan, Mike, Alex and Ben for our passage on the party
boat. Driving along the M6 at legal speeds, the car developed a miss-fire, I thought this
may be due to the cheap petrol in Lancaster. The car was fine but coughed every few minutes.

It was around junction 34 on the M6 that my GPS started to play up. Every time I hit a
rough bit of road the GPS would reset, this was to cause much swearing by the time I got
near the M62. I called Mike and passed on the location of a Halford near to Hull, I planned
to pop in and buy a new Tom Tom.

I managed to get the GPS working by using lots of tape!
http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/gps.jpg
Tape holding GPS card in place!

As it turned out, getting to the Halfords was going to be a pain so I continued to the
docks. I eventually arrived at Hull and met up with the others. Simon had brought his Focus
turbo nutter car with sticky tyres, full cage and colossal amounts of power. Mike was
planning to bring his Mk3 Golf R32 but an alternator problem meant he had to bring his
stand-by car, a Mk5 R32.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/po.jpg[img]
Ready for boarding, our ship is to the right!

We passed the evening with a couple of drinks and dinner. After last years cabin I decided
to book a club cabin, very nice it was as well!


Thursday 14th May

Wobbly Wheels

I woke up at about 0500. The early sun was already slipping past the curtains. Time for a
brew and watch sun rise from the more than ample club cabin windows overlooking the front
of the boat :)

We arrived in Zeebrugge at 0830CET, left the boat and headed for Nurburg. I followed Mike
due to my GPS still playing up. We routed via some twisties on the way to the hotel and
after a long fast run down a twisting country road, my new brakes decided they weren’t
bedded in properly. By the time we reached the bottom of the hill I had no brakes at all
and nearly ran into the back of Mike.

[img]http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/followmike.jpg
Following Mike Mike, my replacement for Tom Tom.


The journey to the hotel was very pleasant and the country roads and scenic tour made a
change from the boring autobahns and incessant drone from my exhaust.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/mos.jpg
A Scenic Drive


We checked into the Berg Hotel at about 1500hrs, Simon and Dan made good time in the focus
turbo nutter car and had checked in before us.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/checkin.jpg
Arrival at hotel


The track was due to open at 1615hrs and the plan was to grab a couple of early laps. The
car park was quite busy with a number of british guys buying tickets and watching the
industry testing. I however, was concerned about the rear of my car and the wandering it was
doing during the drive from Zeebrugge. I jacked the car up and tested the wheels, their was
quite a bit of play in both wheels. I had fitted new wheel bearings before the trip so
guessed they just needed nipping up. Jack and spanners out, road side repairs were completed
in a few minutes.


As the industry testing finished, the rain started. I was really wanting a run on a dry
track but I’ve always wanted to try a wet lap, so we set off for the barriers for a sighting
lap and our first lap of the year.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/testing.jpg
Industry Testing


The track was quite wet and I knew the surface was slippery. We cruised around at a very
sedate speed looking at what had changed since our last visit. The car was sliding around
on the corners, even at our very slow pace. The back end in particular was trying to swap ends
at Kallenhard. The track was almost empty of cars and spectators.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/wet.jpg
Wet on DH

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/wet2.jpg
more wet at PF


Back at the car park we set off again for lap two. There were a number of british guys with
very expensive cars about to set off for a lap.

We swiped the card and set off, carrying a little more pace than the first lap, the rain
wasn’t too heavy but the track was wet and slippery with standing water in many places.
Rounding Bergwerk, a large expensive black Merc spun and hit the barriers a short distance
behind us. Back at the car park the merc arrived and the driver was being interviewed by a
man with a large camera. No idea if this was filming for some program or if it was just a
bunch of guys with big cameras and expensive cars. I approached the driver to see what had
happened and had a camera and boom mic pushed into my face. The damage on the merc wasn’t
too bad but the driver didn’t hang around too long and disappeared out of the carpark.

The rain had now stopped but the track was still very wet. For the rest of the session we
watched at Brunnchen and Wippermann returning to the hotel and a much needed dinner.

cont...

Dave T
31-05-2009, 11:19 AM
Friday 15th May

The wet line

The plan for today was to ride around the mountain bike track. The weather was a little damp
with random spots of rain. The track was due to open at 1415hrs. I followed the MTB route and
took time to watch at some of the corners and the industry testing.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/whichcorner.jpg
Which corner?

Climbing up along side Kesselchen my phone started ringing but I wasn’t prepared to stop on
the hill so carried on to the Karussell. The missed call was from Simon, he had split a
union on his cooling system and was stopped in Adenau. I made my way back to the car,
loaded the bike in the boot and set off to help. The tow rope, known as “Lassie” due to
the amount of people it has rescued over the years, was brought out and I towed Simon to
the Lidl car park. After much hunting, we sourced a union in the garden centre in Adenau
and set about fixing the car.

I returned to the hotel to get changed and unload the bike before setting off for the track
and the Friday session.

The car park was busy with considerably more cars than yesterday. As the industry session
stopped the rain started again. We decided to go out for a couple of laps to see just how
quickly you can go on the wetline and found that there was a surprising amount of grip. We
put a few laps in passing quite a few cars on the way! If you know where to find the grip
you can carry a lot of speed through the corners. In most cases this means driving around
the outside of the corners. The grip is there but it does make you clench :)

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/af1.jpg
Approaching AF on a damp track closing down a couple of cars.

One place I have always wanted to watch is at the Karussell so I set off with Mike and we
walked from Brunnchen to the Karussell. Earlier in the day I had cycled to the Karussell
and saw the steep hill at Steilstrecke, we walked down this and took a number of pictures.
It is a very steep hill indeed!

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/st1.jpg
Steeeep!

Snapping away, I soon had a couple of hundred pictures of the cars entering and exiting the
banked concrete corner. A fantastic place to watch the cars and bikes.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/kol.jpg
Lovely viewpoint

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/kar1.jpg
BMW

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/kar2.jpg
Beetle


Soon the session was over and we made our way to Brunnchen to collect the cars and make our
way to the hotel. Back at the hotel, already drinking, were the other guys who had been to
Wolfsburg and the VW factory. Dinner was booked for the Blau Ecke that evening so we loaded
everyone into two cars and set off down the hill to Adenau. Did you know, you can get six
grown men in a 1989 VW golf?

Dinner was consumed with a small quantity of drinks for the non-drivers and I decided to
have an early night (2230hrs) I made my way to the hotel following Mike, the others set
off for what I believe must have been some sort of grocer or fruit shop at the end of Adenau?

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/be2.jpg
Dinner Venue, still raining.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/be1.jpg
Unusual Suspects.


cont...

Dave T
31-05-2009, 11:20 AM
Saturday 16th May

Big Game Hunting

I woke early on Saturday, just after 0600. The track was due to open at 1000hrs. After breakfast
I set off with Mike to watch the old timers driving the track for an hour before the track opened
for us. There were a number of very nice cars circulating and I now fancy a TR4 :(

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ot1.jpg
Neeeeed.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ot2.jpg
Neeed more.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ot3.jpg
Yellow

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ot4.jpg
No thank you

Due to an accident, the track opened late. The weather was fine and sunny and the forecast for
the day was the same, so we went out lapping.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/sunny.jpg
Nice early morning sunshine


During the day there were a number of closures due to accidents and we made the most of the
straight though lane on DH straight. The golf was handling superbly and not much was getting
past between Hohe-Acht and DH. We were big game hunting on this section, passing lots of fast,
expensive machinery. On one of the laps, hurtling though the foxhole and up to Adenau Forst,
two bikers touched and one went down. He had dropped his bike right in the firing line at AF
and was likely to get wiped out by a car. I pulled over on the grass, stopped in a safe spot
and flagged the traffic until the marshals arrived. I can now say I have been over the curbs
and straight on at Adenau Forst!

Further down the road, there were a number of other bikes down, five separate accidents in five
corners. These were being flagged and all under control so I carried on following the traffic.
Towards the end of this lap I closed down a Lamborghini Murcigallardooblo, not sure which model
it was, and passed him on the run to Schwalbenswantz.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/lam1.jpg
Lambo hunting

His mate in the R8 was next in the cross hairs. I was carrying more speed than him through
Galgencopf, he indicated right, I indicated left and went to pass. At this point he opened
the throttle and disappeared up the DH straight. Hunting down supercars, it’s a very addictive
and sometimes dangerous game.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/r8.jpg
R8 hunting

One thing that I noticed today was the aggressive nature of people on the track. I try to
keep a level head when out there but it is very hard not to get angry when you are being
blocked by slow traffic or squeezed by people that don’t have a clue which way the track goes.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/squeezed.jpg
Squeezed out by a lambo

The rest of the day is now a distant blur, clocking up lap after lap and having a tremendous
time. We had a few clear laps without being passed but the golf needs more power for the straights.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/wipperman.jpg
using curbs at wipperman

Mike was also out lapping in the R32.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/r32.jpg
Mike and his R32

On Thursday his lines and braking left a lot to be desired either turning in too late or
his road position was miles away from where it should be. By Saturday we were formation
flying, his confidence was building and I was happy to follow knowing that he would be
predictable and safe. I filmed following Mike and then filmed rear facing with Mike following me.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/mefollowingmb.jpg
following Mike

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/mbfollowing.jpg
Mike following me

However, on Sunday, Mike pushed the envelope a little too far and had his first ever off on
the Nordschleife, which we will analyse in the next chapter.

Dinner that evening was back at the hotel and a plan for Sunday was devised. We would head
for the track early, put a few laps in and return for breakfast.

cont...

Dave T
31-05-2009, 11:21 AM
Sunday 17th May

Mike’s Crash

The day dawned with early showers but some blue sky. We got to the track early and in time
for the opening.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/clouds.jpg
Cloudy but bright patches

The track was wet but we knew where to find the grip. We both put in some good laps, first
in Mike’s car then in mine. The R32 traction control and ABS was working well on the wet lap.
My Golf was sliding on some corners, in particular Kallenhard again, the rear was sliding on
the approach. We also had a monster slide at Eiscurve which was enough to make your arse pucker
up and certain to wake you up first thing in the morning.

Back at the hotel for 0930 and breakfast we saw Simon. He was unhappy with the focus and the
weather. The focus had been blowing oil out of the breather and he wasn’t happy taking out on
the track. He planned to change his ferry sailings and head home early.

After breakfast we decided to go and watch at Hocheichen. This corner is where Steven Jagger
crashed on our first trip and destroyed the EVO. We snapped away for a few minutes before
Bobby and the others were getting the itch! They headed back to the carpark for a lap and I
walked to Flugplatz with Mike, Alex and Ben.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/hk1.jpg
Too wide

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/hk2.jpg
Shiny

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/fp1.jpg
Bobby

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/fp2.jpg
Airbourne and he wiggled all the way through the following corner

During the run up to the 24hr race there have been a number of scaffold towers erected,
these provided a perfect viewing platform and shelter from the shower than had just arrived.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/scaf.jpg
Sitting on scaffold trying to hide from marshals car!

After watching for a while we set off for a lap or three. The track was now dry-ish but
there were still a few spots of rain in the air. The plan was to hop in with Mike and see
if he can now string together an accurate, quick and safe lap. The lines through T13 and
Hatzenbach were great but approaching Hocheichen Mike was carrying a little too much speed
and left his turn in slightly too late. We mounted the curb, ran across the grass and back
onto the road. A rearward glance confirmed we hadn’t dragged mud and grass on to the track
and we proceeded on our way. Mike had just had his first incident on the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

We continued to lap throughout the day and made use of the straight through lane on DH
straight. There were also a couple of lengthy closures due to accidents.

I spotted Andrew (AGT) and his GT3 and made every effort to stop by for a chat but every
time we got to the carpark, he wasn’t anywhere to be seen :(

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/agt.jpg
AGT

Later in the afternoon we met up with Steve Luton who was camping rather than using the hotel.
He was driving a BMW E30 325 and wanted to get a lap with the camera running. We rigged him up,
strapped into the passenger seat and took off for a lap in the now very wet conditions.
We followed Bobby until T13 and could see he was fighting for grip in the Mk1 Golf. Bobby
pulled over for us and we passed, heading to Hatzenbach and our first real slide of the lap.
For the rest of the lap, we were drifting corners, including Aremburg, and passing slower
traffic. A tremendous lap and nicely controlled by Steve.

The rest of the afternoon was spent watching and taking pictures at Brunnchen 2 and listing
to the German Techno (not like we had any choice) booming out of the tents and caravans set
up for the 24 hrs race. We spotted two guys sitting in a tent with the biggest amp and
biggest speakers of anyone else in the area. They were sitting less then a metre away form
the speakers and the volume must have been close to maximum!

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/brun2.jpg
Interesting line :)

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/brun.jpg
Dale having a pax

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/pikey.jpg
HSE would like this

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/pikey2.jpg
Tenting

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/pikey3.jpg
Firewood?

Dinner for the evening was to be the Blau Ecke. The service was a little slow on this
occasion and I got onions instead of mushrooms with my steak, but it’s still a good place
to eat. The trip back to the hotel consisted of a run up the twisties towards the DH and
back to the hotel. The golf on full song makes a tremendous noise and I suspect we were
heard approaching by the police who were parked up near pflanzgarten. They tailed Mike
for a mile or so then overtook him to pull me over. As I pulled over, Mike drove past and
disapeared, cheers Mike!

The conversation went like this:

Me: Evening.

Police: I want to see ze papers for the car, the driver licence and the insurance for ze driver.

Me: Ok, here you go.

The police studied the documents and questioned me about the tax disk asking why the date
is shown as 02/10. I explained that the Isle of Man tax disk shows the expiry date not the
issue date and that we were different from the UK and not part of the EU.

They checked everything apart from the contents of the ash tray looking for a fault with the
car, I thought they might ask why I have a spot light missing or why I had melted rubber
hanging off my tyres.

The police were making notes and pointing to stuff. No headlight deflectors, insufficient
first aid kit, no hi-viz vest, 60mph in a 60kph limit, no GB sticker (GBM not good enough apparently!)
rear belts were tucked under rear seat (although I wasn’t carrying passengers in the back),
no warning triangle. Yep, I was screwed. All the safety stuff lives in the BMW and I totally
forgot to pack it in the Golf.

The police had big sarcastic smiles on their faces and they knew “zis tommy vill pay zee fine”
(Yes, I learned German from war films) Just as they were about to issue a ticket for a made up
offence, probably the offence of driving a white car at night or something equally bizarre,
a van came speeding over the hill, obviously heading to set up camp for the 24 hrs race.
The police gave me back my papers and went chasing the van. Thanks drunken van guys, you
saved me from getting a ticket! As if by magic, Mike appeared walking up the road to render
assistance. Cheers Mike! I spun Mike a story that I had to wait for a tow truck as the
police were going to impound my car. I think he believed me for a second or two.


cont...

Dave T
31-05-2009, 11:22 AM
Monday 18th May

Dangerous Junctions

The journey back to Zeebrugge involved a stop at the Fan Shop in Adenau and a quick visit
to DH petrol station for some goodies before setting off for Antwerpen airport to drop Alex off.

So far we covered nearly 1300 miles, driven across five countries and hammered the car
on one of the most demanding roads in Europe if not the world. We had all survived.
However, driving through Antwerpen following Mike through a junction we were nearly cut
in two by an old guy in a big merc. I thought we had done everything right at the junction.
The big number 11 left by the merc stopped about a metre from my car! Not only could I see
the whites of the drivers eyes, but I could see the manufacturer of his contact lenses.
If this had happened in the UK I would have flipped him the bird and drove off. The Merc
driver looked at me, looked at my plate, shook his head and drove off. I flipped him the bird.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/roadhome1.jpg
Random parking place somewhere on the road home.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ant.jpg
airport

Ninty seconds later we had the same with an Audi. The Audi was travelling much faster
than the merc so I had to bury the loud peddle into the carpet and get clear of him.
I hate Antwerpen.

We arrived at Zeebrugge in good time, boarded the boat and sat down watching videos
for a few hours. A small crowd gathered around the laptop watching the footage. I took a
couple of email address and promised to email the pictures when I got home.


Tuesday 19th May

The final chapter

The boat arrived in Hull at 0830, we said our farewells and set off up the M62, heading
west and the next ferry at Heysham.

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/law.jpg
Not breaking the law

The Ben my Chree sailed on time and arrived in Douglas at 1800hrs. By 1830 I was home
and browsing the net for pictures:

This trip to the ring was the best yet. We lapped in the wet and lapped in the dry.
We met old friends and made new friends. Best of all, no one had a big crash and everyone
made it home safely.

So, this 845 thing? 845 is the time the ferry leaves Douglas bound for Heysham and was
the start to the epic adventure for this year.

Until next year?

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ontrackme.jpg
Me

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ontrackme2.jpg
Me again

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ontrackjames.jpg
James

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ontrackbobby.jpeg
Bobby

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ontrackmike.jpg
Mike

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ontrackryan.jpg
Ryan

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ontracksimon.jpg
Simon

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/ontrackluton.jpg
Steve Luton

Dino
31-05-2009, 07:50 PM
One of the best trip reports I've read Dave :thumb:

I was out there at the same time as you - I think I saw your mates R32 around.

You had me LOL at the police incident - you got lucky there!!

bimmer
31-05-2009, 09:59 PM
Great trip report!!! :thumb: B)

Any chance of getting this pic in full res?

http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/rep/fp2.jpg

If so - please send it to rngtoy(at)rngtoy.com :wave:

Dave T
01-06-2009, 07:59 AM
Thordur, I'll email the picture later when I get home. :thumb:

Adamt
01-06-2009, 05:50 PM
Excellent report.

Thanks :)

m3tom
01-06-2009, 06:28 PM
Nice :thumb:

Dave T
01-06-2009, 07:41 PM
The jumping bmw:

With noise reduction: http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/jumpingbm.jpg

without noise reduction: http://www.homepages.mcb.net/davet/09resized/jumpingbmw.jpg

The camera locked up the card just before I took these so had to drop in a spare card, only 2gig so had to reduce the size of the pics.

bimmer
01-06-2009, 11:08 PM
Thanks Dave :thumb:

Neil C: Ehm... yes :D

Simon
02-06-2009, 11:45 AM
Great read. Really enjoyed that :veryhappy: