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Dave Evans
12-04-2007, 08:54 AM
Easter trip report - Day 1

Bail out of work Thursday lunchtime and rush home to do some packing. Grab an appropriately elise-boot sized bag and stuff with random clothing until fullish. Anything missing will be used as an excuse to buy more 'ring merchandise so I hope I've forgotten to pack a waterproof jacket as I quite like the new Nordschleife ones.

Thursday afternoon pre-flight check of the car -

Tyre pressures set to - Air
Fluids set to - Wet
Dampers set to - Random asymmetrical handling mode.
Pads set to - errr, backing plates.

Right, pad change then. Whip the wheels off and in with some new pads all round. 35mins & clear - getting better at this.

Sunny day, roof off, blasting outta town while the other suckers are still at work with the stereo struggling to compete with exhaust - magic.

60 mile cruise through cloggy land to the German border then its constant 6500rpm for the next 60 miles down the real motorways.

Bob left me to organise accommodation and since Easter weekend is notorious for being booked out I made sure I started looking for accommodation at *least* 24hrs before departure. As a result accommodation was in Altenahr, 20mi from the ring. He won't do that again so now I can go back to arrive & drive. Drop the bag of unknown clothing off at the hotel and cruise the remaining winding road. You can tell when you are getting closer to the ring, cars you only ever expected to see dead in a museum flash by covered in stone chips & bug splats while bikes and the impatient blast past along the valley floor.

Just a little time to fill the tank, empty the interior, and wander the carpark before a tone over the P.A. initiates a classic LeMans start (well if the LeMans grid was behind a toll booth)

Dry, sunny, cool, quiet, perfect. A gentle sighting lap followed by steadily building pace to get nicely in the groove before the one ring circus comes to town on Friday. Loverly Lappage until the red anti-fun light comes on at 19:30. Trundle down to the Pistonklause where masterful planning and preparation has guaranteed us a table at this busy time (we blagged some seats at Rich's table, cheers mate).

During dinner someone with a symmetrical name may have questioned the wisdom of having accommodation 20 miles from the evening watering hole. Future booking responsibilities were duly handed back to Bob. Ahhh, feels good.

I use my psychic powers to divine my order through the cover of the menu without even opening it. "Meat please"

I've organised to pick a friend up from Hahn airport late evening so chug the steak and depart conspicuously early to the ridicule of the Weiss bier proletariat. The joke is on them, its a cool clear night & the roads are empty. The roof is off but I'm warmly wrapped. TomTom has been instructed to go shortest route cross country, I know it will (Oops I said the F word) it up and try to route me into a field but I don't care, I don't want transit I want to drive. Then a gift, in the darkness I find myself belting down and up the Alp like hairpins of the Mosel valley back roads around Cochem. The tyres are chirping as I boot it out of every hairpin, the Mr Noisy exhaust is echoing through the valley, its one of *those* moments.

The airport is full of the usual weary zombies either delayed, or waiting for the delayed so I probably look rather out of place with a silly grin on my face. A few lost car park tickets & missed motorway exits later and I'm back at the hotel. A wee dram of single malt and the day done.

Next, Gooood Friday...

Darren Langeveld
12-04-2007, 10:14 AM
C'mon Dave - the suspense is killing me ....... :D

Karl
12-04-2007, 10:15 AM
Don't rush him or it'll all be in capitals :angry:

Darren Langeveld
12-04-2007, 10:17 AM
Tee Hee - :lol:

Floyd
12-04-2007, 10:50 AM
Nice wordage :thumb: I especially like "red anti-fun light" :D

More please B)

F

Robert
12-04-2007, 01:08 PM
If he doesnt tell the rest of the story today, it will be a down under story or it will be finished after a week or three from now.

( special informaiton )

:D

Greetz from Robert

Bob vanM
12-04-2007, 07:33 PM
a report from the plane is good enough ;)
trip to down under takes how many hours. . . . . 20-ish flying ?

have a good trip Dave

Dave Evans
13-04-2007, 04:18 PM
Day one total: 7 sedate laps.


Day 2 (Friday)

My memory of the weekend is getting a bit weissbier so the following fragments may be out of order or completely made up;

The night before it was planned to get up extra early and be in the carpark by the crack of 10:30. As it turns out we bettered even this ambitious goal but need not have bothered - low lying fog was keeping the track shut.

It opens, we drive, it good.

The traffic on track comes and goes in waves, at times its relatively clear then sometimes gets busy so time to relax with a coffee and schmooze the car park a bit.

A Golf discovers anti-grip at Schwedenkreuz (?), followed in quick succession by anti-tarmac then antigravity. In future if I see driver in the car park I'll follow him to his new steed and throw in a couple of Persil tabs and a load of washing.

Ester takes a couple of pax laps. I'd seen her mascot the cookie monster in Ben's trip reports, but I never bargained on how surreal it would be driving a lap with a bright blue Cookie Monster mirroring all my actions right beside me, after a while I wasn't sure who was actually driving :-/

At the end of the day we trundle back to Altenahr, Bob's caught a cold so took an early night. I venture out in search of beer and maidens and there, in deepest darkest Germany, I find...

...Line dancing. Seriously. The only two bars operating are a defacto old folks home and "The Saloon", which is mostly populated by demented escapees from the former. There is something very wrong with seeing Germans wearing sequined shirts, cowboy boots, and ten gallon hats. Actually, apart from the Germans there is something very wrong with any of those things individually.

I quaff 2 small beers and leave the Saloon doors swinging behind me in time to Achy Breaky Heart, the horror.

Day 2 total: 13 handsome laps.


Day 3 (Saturday)

The usual early start, timed to arrive as the track reopens after the first (?) closure.

A bunch of Dutchies in elises show up. I've always thought that being a somewhat fragile car the elise would not survive too much offroading. A yellow cloggie car kindly puts it to the test for me with a SOAAF (Straight On At Adenau Forst) moment. I am willing to pay handsomely for any footage.

Followed a German biker from near the start who although moving reasonably quickly wasn't using his mirrors. After waiting for several sections then a steadily increasing amount of flashing and indicating I conclude there is no way he hasn't seen us by now and is blocking so we settle back to follow out the rest of the lap. A silver Porsche turbo arrives on the scene so I back off the throttle up Kesselchen to let him by *cough*, and he goes to work on the biker. For the rest of the lap the Porsche is making repeated dives at getting past the bike nearly running into him on most corners.

Both the car and the bike appear to be powered by weapons grade stupidity so we follow from a steady 100m and arm the yellow flag.

The lap finishes without incident and I followed the biker into the car park for a friendly chat. Turns out he had no idea what was going on behind him and was never aware that either car was there. Hard to believe given the circumstances but he seemed sincere. His opinion was that those following should make themselves known with their horn, personally I like to take a more active role in my own safety that that...

I snag a couple of pax laps in Martin's E30 M3. I've had a soft spot for those ever since I watched Tony Longhurst sticking it up the V8 boys in Oz touring cars years ago. Bit of trouble with the brake disks rubbing the calipers but very tidy driving regardless.

Back into the elise for a few more laps, I notice a few German GT3s are being particularly pushy and forcing some agressive overtakes. What is the collective noun for a group of GT3s? I think any time 3 or more are travelling togeather it should be refered to as a "Wanker" of GT3s.

Bob kindly let me drive his NASA powered elise for a lap. Bloody hell, 250bhp is quite a lot in a little plastic car. I took it pretty easy but still found plenty of opportunities to give it the beans. Compared to my car it makes ExMuhle effectively flat. A 944 had followed my rather slow entry there and I just had time to see the disbelief in his eyes as we dissapeared over the crest.

For the dinner we followed the herd to the Chinese in Adenau, I manage to find a seat between the various laptops so have plenty of pictures to entertain me throughout the meal.

I always feel a bit smarter a beer, so here is the weekend's good idea: All new sections of armco should have the Nordschleife logo stamped in them so that anyone using armco assisted stopping gets a nice set of logos embossed on their car. Given that ring stickers are 5 a pop I think this could really improve the value of armco interactions. Furthermore if each section of barrier also included its respective name it would make life a bit simpler for the marshals when then a car comes back to the carpark with "Wipperman" stamped on the side.

Day 3 total: 9 tidy laps



Day 4 (Sunday)

Nick and I trade a couple of pax laps. The Caterham on stickies is in a different league to the elise grip wise. I made good use of my imaginary brake pedal a few times where Nick was hurling into corners flat that I'm used to braking for but around it goes. The vibration plus buffeting from the wind was bluring my vision so much on the way into FR we seemed to have a variety of corners to choose from. If you haven't been out in a aeroscreened Seven or similar you really must. Its a different experience completely from other cars.

The elise may be somewhat more refined than the yellow terror but its still pretty difficult to hold a conversation when all its 143 Shetland ponies are hauling along so aside from hand signals discussion of the lap is normally reserved for Dottinger Hohe:

Nick: "Nice hands"
Dave: "Thanks, you have lovely eyes"

More laps were done <insert montage of heroic driving>

By this stage Matt was settling in as perma-pax. This would be fine except since the weekend my pic search of all the usual photographic sites reveals a common theme. In most shots I&#39;m leaning intently into the corner and looking all &#39;motorsport&#39;, while Matt is staring idly off into the trees somewhere, probably looking for a lesser spotted bluebird.

James and I had planned to do a couple of convoy laps but we saw Jocke heading out in the Espace complete with bikes loaded in the back so we took off in persuit and did what I expect to be my most fuel effecient lap ever.

A couple of great convoy laps chasing / following James in the 968.

Late in the day the silver Carrera GT heads through the barriers in before me. The sound of that V10 on full noise as thundered away toward T13 will be remembered.

Dinner with the Loop Group was a great opportunity to catch up with all the crazies in one place. Tasty grub too. I lined up some pax laps with Norm for the following day.

Day four total: 11 laps



Day 5 (Monday)

Every day this trip seemed to get a little quieter and Monday continued the trend. I guess everyone was gradually running out of time, money, or in some cases vehicles.

As the day passed the traffic thinned out and by 18:00 we were into the Magic Hour. Warm tarmac for the tyres, cool air for the engine, clear track for the mind. I upgraded the pax from "Matt" to "Clare", and all was going well until the run up to Hohe Acht where I&#39;d failed to spot a GT3-Messerschmit comming at me out of the sun. Clare commented that the turn in zone was about to be occupied so an alternate line was selected and trouble avoided.

I&#39;m quite enjoying the disbelife as I tell people about my magic never ending tyres. The rears were finally replaced late last year after 400 laps but the fronts are now up to 630 laps and still going strong (well, going hard actually). The elise is certainly kind to its rubber.

Back in the carpark the marshals were starting to edge towards the barriers. 19:17, who&#39;s up for last lap? Andy introduces himself and jumps in. We zip though the barriers is a flurry of helmets & harnesses, sort it out on the other side.

Bren and Dale blast past and are not see again.

Great lap to finish the trip. Andy seems pleased and you can practically see the adrenaline comming out of his ears.

The trip couldn&#39;t finish without a little drama first though. As I didn&#39;t have much stuff in the boot this left me in a bit of a quandry as to what to do with the roof as I didn&#39;t want it flying around loose in the back. The elise roof was designed on a friday afternoon by the Lotus cafeteria staff and if you&#39;ve seen one being errected you&#39;d probably describe it as more of a tent than a roof. I decided to put the fabric top, two fiberglass bows, and the two side beams near the snack hut. I figured noone would be very interested in a tatty elise roof.

After last lap I went to collect it and... it was gone&#33; :-(

A bit of frantic searching around, checking with the marshals, and phoning about turned up nothing. During all this I happened to park the car near the snack hut and 15mins later a German couple wandered over, they had put the roof in their van&#33; I think they decided it had been forgotten and were trying to be helpful, although I&#39;m not quite sure how it helps to put something somewhere &#39;safe&#39; if you don&#39;t tell anyone about it :-/
Dissapointment became relief and I could return to the nice state of Easter afterglow. Another nice steak at the hotel in Altenahr then dressed up warm for the drive home roofless under the stars.

Day 5 total: 13 rund.

Oh, and there was some other stuff about a Russian blonde but I&#39;m not clear on the details so that might get filled in later.

rossm
13-04-2007, 04:34 PM
Quality read, thanks :)

Steve Gill
13-04-2007, 05:27 PM
Brilliant :thumb:

Darren Langeveld
13-04-2007, 05:38 PM
worth the wait&#33;

Darren Langeveld
13-04-2007, 05:40 PM
worth the wait&#33;

Hippychick
13-04-2007, 06:44 PM
Fab report...I feel like I was actually there&#33;

Great observation on GT3 drivers too :thumb:

Simon
13-04-2007, 06:51 PM
^^^
Mt T said it. Twice :D

Nicewrite up Dave. Look out for those GT Wankers :thumb:

pye21
13-04-2007, 07:20 PM
Excellant report, one of the best i have read, lots of character&#33;&#33;&#33;&#33;

Bugelise
13-04-2007, 09:41 PM
Superb Dave :thumb:

Darren Langeveld
14-04-2007, 11:11 AM
The pax in the Northloop taxi not worth a mention Dave ...... :whistle: :ph43r: