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View Full Version : An old Ring/Spa trip



mckeann
23-10-2006, 03:13 PM
SE boys on tour.


Friday 26th

The SE BOYS ON TOUR trip to the Nurburgring and Spa began with Paul Gibson, Iain Boag, Scotty Cruikshank, Ali Crozier and I meeting at Murrayís in Edinburgh. In typical fashion, my car broke down twice before we left :oops: , a mysterious deflating tyre that fixed itself, and spongy brake pedal that needed bleeding. After much hanging around, we all kissed Paulís wife goodbye and we were on our way, although scattered out over about 20 miles. I managed to have another breakdown before I left Edinburgh, as one of the handbrakes was stuck on. Quick hit with a wheel nut bar and we were back on the way.

We stopped for lunch in the borders and managed to lose Ali and Scotty. I think they were halfway to the ferry by the time they turned back and found Paul, Iain and myself. After a quick bite to eat, the whole team travelled together in convoy for the first time, and we were introduced to Sooty, the 6th team member. Sooty was Paulís trusty Range Rover Sport tow car, who had a habit of covering Paulís trailer and the following Eliseís in a thick layer of diesel soot every time the throttle was floored. Sooty would entertain us for the rest of the journey by providing a smoke screen to all other traffic whilst overtaking, and providing Tom-Tom directions via smoke signals to the other team members.

Bizarrely, we all made it to the ferry with no more problems, and nobody got lost. It was like no other trip I had ever been on ;) I would like to divulge secrets of Friday nightís entertainment, but to be honest, we had 8 bottles of wine, and countless pints of Grolsch, and I canít remember much else. I do have vague flash backs of lots of wild hen parties, but all of us were on our best behaviour, and did the gentlemanly thing of perving from the side lines.



Saturday 27th

We spent the morning getting to the ring and checking into the Sonnehof hotel in Adenau. Itís an absolutely brilliant hotel, and much higher standard to last years Adams family house of horrors, and Iíd definitely recommend it to all Scottish elisers.

Got to the car park at the ring, bought tickets and pulled out onto the ring in glorious sunshine. After last yearís washout, this was going to be great. And it was. Right up until I passed under the bridge and the heavens open. DOH. Never mind, we made the most of it, and at least were able to remind ourselves of the track in relatively quite conditions, although nerves of steel are needed when driving the ring in the wet.

Met Bob Van M and his friend crazy Dave. They tagged along as honorary members of Team SE for the next couple of days. I did 8 laps, about 120 miles on track.


Funniest moment of the day had to go to Sooty. Paul, Iain, Scotty and Ali took Sooty out for a lap around the ring. The weather was so bad, that the 340Rís were tucked away and wet weather mode was engaged and off they went. I followed in the yellow shed. Halfway round, with Paul sweating at the wheel, deep in concentration, Iain burst into laughter. I had textíd him to say that Sooty was suffocating me with diesel reek. He read out the message to much laughter, with Paul still at the wheel driving like a madman, and me cruising along behind hoping he would hurry up. :lol:

Proudest moment for me during the day was had at the end. I was driving down the last straight about to leave the circuit and head back to the hotel. As I glanced over the my right, I spotted Paul and Iain taking Sooty home. I decided that Iíd give chase, so drove off the circuit and headed after them, still with my helmet on. Flew off down the excellent roads from the ring back to Adenau, only to catch up with a British registered yellow Porsche Carrera GT. The driver saw me catching and set off down the road with me in hot pursuit. The two of us caught Sooty pretty quickly, but neither could get past. Moments later, Iain appeared through the sunroof, camera in hand and started snapping away, desperate to get £25 from Autocar magazine for the most bizarre pic. I think heís in with a chance, as he got a peach of the GT turning into a hairpin, and me sticking my nose up the inside, Stig helmet still on. I was so proud that I hunted down a Carrera GT, but I think the boys are a bit fed up with that story now. Eh boys?? :wink:

Cant remember much of Saturday nights entertainment, although the team did introduce ourselves to Mrs Double Amaretto. She would become Scotty and Aliís best friend. Ali also earned himself the nickname, shitsophrenic. Iíll leave that one upto your imagination.



Sunday 28th

Woke up fresh headed (honest) and were greeted to dry, bright conditions. We all had our fingers crossed it would stay like this. Thankfully it did. Down to the circuit early, and out for a few sighting laps. Unfortunately on my second lap, as I entered the foxhole, an S2000 was finishing an accident, and as I was first on the scene, I had to stop. The guy was shaken but unhurt, which was more than could be said for me. I sprinted from the bottom of the hill to the top to wave cars down and warn them of the grass that had been brought onto the circuit. By the time I got to the top I could barely stand up, never mind wave my jumper, although the adrenaline kept me going for a while. Time to get back to the gym I think.

The whole day was spent doing laps, everyone had a good go at it. I managed to do 20 laps (a frightening 294 miles) the last 8 of which involved scaring some british bikers by giving pax laps. None of the team was brave enough to pax with me, so I made the most of it with my new biker friends.

Scotty and Paul were difficult to separate in the 340Rís. Every time I saw one, the other was following closely behind, much to the amusement of everyone in the vicinity. Most had never seen a 340R before, but to see 2 of them together, 1 of them with flame effect was something else.


They were the most photographed cars of the day, even beating the yellow Porsche Carrera GT.

http://www.lotus-on-track.com/gallery/sub_55_images/29.jpg



That nights entertainment was by far the biggest night of the trip. Old man Paul went to bed early, the 4 of us stayed up, chatting to Arrianna and Cindy. I wont go into details, as what happens on tour stays on tour, but we poured ourselves into bed at 4am.




Monday 29th

Long lie for most. I changed my brake pads, as one of the fronts was down to the metal. Fitted a set of half worn pagids to get me through the rest of the trip. We had planned to get a few more laps in that afternoon as the circuit opened at 1pm. At 12.15pm the heavens opened again, so we decided just to head to Spa. Reports from the golf boys were that it eventually dried up late in the afternoon, but you live and learn.

We met up with Graham Walsh and Nick, and dined in the Le Ronnay that night at Paulís request. It was interesting to say the least. We booked a table for 8.30pm and eventually sat down to starters at 10pm. By this time Paul Golding and his son had arrived, we were all starving, so some hilarious banter about the waitress started. Last reports were that she ran off in tears when the whole table started humming the Adams family theme tune. Poor girl


Tuesday 30th

Rain. Lots and lots of rain. It was cold aswell. Someone mentioned 3 degrees and frost during the night. It didnít look good. It turned out to be one of the best wet track days Iíve ever done. The circuit had a reasonably constant level of wet grip, unlike the ring, so although the speeds were slow(ish) we could get into a rhythm. I did another 200 miles on track during the day, and had great fun beating every 911 GT3 RS that ventured out of the pits.

http://www.lotus-on-track.com/gallery/sub_55_images/3.jpg

http://www.lotus-on-track.com/gallery/sub_55_images/10.jpg

http://www.lotus-on-track.com/gallery/sub_55_images/26.jpg


It didnít all go to plan though, as this video shows:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3337398502744228154

Never mind, accident was avoided, mucho thanks go to walshy for teaching me some spin skills.

Tuesday nights entertainment involved a trip to Spa. Eventually found somewhere to eat, but it was a bit of a quiet one.




Wednesday 31st

Woke up again to wet weather. We had been promised a dry day, so most were under whelmed at the thought of another wet day. The morning turned out to be a lot slippier than the previous day. Thankfully it started to dry out at around 1pm. Unfortunately my front pads were making a horrendous noise, so a quick pad change (1 pad had worn down to the metal) and I was back out on track.

http://www.lotus-on-track.com/gallery/sub_56_images/23.jpg

http://www.lotus-on-track.com/gallery/sub_56_images/19.jpg

http://www.lotus-on-track.com/gallery/sub_56_images/16.jpg

All the SE boys really sprang into action whilst it stayed dry. I remember seeing Ali out on track at the same time as me, and we stayed out for about 40 minutes, which is very hard work around Spa. It takes a lot of concentration to stay on it when all the corners are 100 mph plus high G force corners with very little run off.

Scotty had problems with his coolant boiling, suspected HGF, he managed to limp on and not loose too much track time though. One of the golf guys helped him do a compression test which didnít show any problems. We were all amazed at his technical abilitiesÖÖ.right up until he asked if the heater still worked. :lol

Wednesday night was spent in francorchamp itself. We got ourselves a table and sat down for the long hall. Great meal, lots of beer, the banter was flowing (as always). At least twice during the night, everyone at the table had tears of laughter or splitting sides. Everything was fine until the bar manager refused to serve us anymore beer. He served an English group 20 odd pints, and then turned us away for 6. The bastard :evil:


Thursday 1st

Quiet run up to the ferry. Paul, Iain and I went out for lunch at a lovely fish restaurant at Amsterdam port, whilst Scotty and Ali enjoyed a poke of chips at the lotus dealer in the city, whilst getting tyres fitted.

Onto the ferry, and first into the bar. We were greeted by a lovely looking polish barmaid. Iain was first to warn her off us as he proclaimed in a loud voice, ďsee those boys?? Gay, the lot of themĒ thankfully she ignored him, so we spent the rest of the ferry ogling her from nearby.


Friday 2nd

A quiet run back up the road. Pretty uneventful. I lost my cap as I peered over the windscreen during an overtaking manoeuvre.


SO, all in all a bloody good trip. It was a testement to the SE boys that we were some of the best drivers and did the most laps. we also rounded of the triple by being the last out of the bar everynight.