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Andrew
13-04-2007, 08:53 AM
Day 9710

Not that I had been counting or anything, but it felt like it. This is how many days it had taken for me to finally get to the one place that has inspired my love for motorsport for as long as I can remember.

As has been pointed out on a couple of occasions, I appear to have a terrible habit of impregnating my wife! As a direct result it put any notion of a ‘Ring Trip’ firmly in the ‘never going to happen’ department.

It was approximately day 9587 when I was stood on my grans front door, wearing my best shirt clutching a couple or 3 kids waiting in the freezing cold for her to un arm the various door bolts and security system to let us in the house. It was a family event – the usual suspects were there, aunties, uncles, cousin’s neighbours and the odd rambler.

I met for the 2nd or 3rd time Dan, my cousin Laura’s boyfriend of 2 and a bit years. Genuinely nice bloke, car enthusiast and comedy genius. It wasn’t long before talk of the Nurburgring came up. Dan goes at least once a year with fellow buddies from passion ford. He is a cossie man really, had a couple and various RS’ some mega power examples too…………….

Some 10 days later……

I get a call from Dan. He is arranging a trip with his buddies to the Nurburgring Easter weekend, and has invited me to come along and stop in a twin room with him. Seemed like a plan, I only had to get it past the wife, and have her agree on it being a fantastic idea…………and she did!

So it was on. By 10am the following morning I had booked the flights, car, insurance and arranged a direct debit to the savings account to start saving up. With only 113 days to go I needed to be prepared. 24hours later and the wife had not changed her mind – so it must be true!!!!

Some days later, and Gary’s first Easter trip related post goes up – I was amazed it took that long! This is where the wait is endless, so I tried not to think about it.

The time flew, and before I knew it I was 1 day away. Work was a nightmare, struggled to concentrate, couldn’t stop daydreaming about all the things I wanted to do while I was there, all the exotica – the feeling of actually driving the Nurburgring!!!!!

Friday 6th April

The time soon came – my parents were scheduled to pick Josh and Lewis up and take them off until the Sunday leaving Serena with Holly and bump. The weather was glorious, I was very organised with money, passports, booking references, bags packed with cameras, clothes and sat nav. The Golf was brimmed and I was good go!

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Andrew
13-04-2007, 08:54 AM
The wheels are in motion and East Midlands airport was only 1 hour away. The traffic was light, which came as no surprise as there was a 36-mile tale back going north! I had arranged to park in the long stay car park, so I needed to allow a bit of time. Once there the car park was easy to find and there was a bus waiting to collect me.

Once at departures I was straight in and to the Ryan Air queue. It was the shortest queue there I was in luck! I decided to check once again that I had my booking number and passport – it was only then I realised I was flying with easy jet. [oops]

I subtly left the queue and joined the one that appeared to go twice around the airport and queued for around 40 mins. Once I had my boarding card, I went through security where I was stopped and had my bag searched. It revealed I had irresponsibly packed my toothpaste in a stolen BA first class wash bag when it should have been in an extortionately priced plastic bag. I was invited to purchase at 50p the one bag – to play host to my toothpaste.

I went on my way and decided to get some shower gel, shampoo and conditioner – as expected they had jumbo size only and it was 3 times the price of a super market –hey ho nothing was going to spoil this trip.

With the latest copy of Evo in my hand I found a comfy spot and flicked through.

It wasn’t long before my 18:35 plane to Cologne was ready to board so off I went. No real issues getting on the plane and a mere 1 hour 15 mins later we were on the ground again.

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As far as airports go Cologne is ok – it has interesting features, but my mind was set. I had it all planned; I needed the booking voucher, driving licence passport and VISA. It was all ready I just needed to find my Thrifty man.

I couldn’t see any thrifty person at first so I had a browse around as there was a bit of a crowd. I still couldn’t spot anyone so I headed outside. Still no sign.

I decided to follow the signs for the car rental – I was supposed to have a ‘meet and greet’ service. Someone was supposed to be there in uniform with my name on a card. I went across to Euro car and asked a man in my loudest, slowest English if he knew where Thrifty was. He had never heard of Thrifty!?!?

So there I was, around 9:30pm local time with no car and what appeared little help. I called the number on the order form. The number you should call if your man isn’t there with a car for you. No reply.

So I called my dad, asked him to have a search for any other numbers – he called back with a few but ALL 9-5 5 days a week. I did panic – more in frustration I couldn’t believe my luck. It had been booked for 4 months and the sod wasn’t around.

I went to information and the guy was helpful. He put a call out for Andrew Murphy to come to the information desk immediately. After I explained again that I was Andrew Murphy and I would like a man expecting Andrew Murphy to meet me here he tried again – in various languages.

My heart sunk as the airport was clearly now empty. I glance at my watch and it was 10pm. My dad calls – I explain the situation and he recommends the airport hotel and I should pick this up in the morning.

I spoke to the information guy who recommended a couple of hotels – I headed for the nearest cab – a A200D Mercedes and in my best German accent tried to say ‘Ibis please’. The guy had no idea and eventually after a few goes I realised it is pronounced IB-IZZ. With that, the guy was in ‘D’ and we were off. It was as if he was possessed – how much can I shit my passenger up was the general mission, it must be an amusing game they play, a passing comment is 1 point, a scream 2 points, vomiting 3 points blood and vomit 4 etc etc……..

3 mins later and I was there. My home for what turned out to be 12 hours!

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The receptionist was there at the desk, fluent in English and very helpful. I asked for a room, food and beer. And as efficient as it ever could be I paid €70 for a room and within 5 mins I had a hot bowel of chilli and bread and a large beer. I made a quick call to the wife explaining the circumstances, I wasn’t very happy.

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I felt a lot better after the food, and the room was clean and tidy and warm.

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Andrew
13-04-2007, 08:56 AM
7am Saturday 7 April.

It was barely daylight before I was up – 7am local time. I went down to breakfast, first man down. I was eager to make calls, so I didn’t eat much before heading to my room.

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This is the bit where I knew I was wasting my time from the word go, but carried on regardless. Every phone I called both Germany and UK either rang out or an automated message saying no one was around. This went on for an agonising 3 hours before I called it a day.

I grabbed my bag and went to reception, checked out and headed for the car rental place next door. I just wanted to get there. With all the Mercs, Audis and the odd Peugeot outside I was hopeful. I wondered in and asked the guy for a car.

He had nothing, the nearest car rental was about ½ a mile down the road – so off I went. I needed the walk to cool down – I eventually arrived at Sixt, which was in the middle of an industrial estate. To my horror there was a queue!

I managed to get to the desk where a tantastic German revealed of the 100 cars outside not 1 was available to rent. I was at the end of my tether, and I think the guy sensed this, so he agreed to call the airport Sixt to see what they had – great!

It wasn’t good news – he shrugged his shoulders and apologised. I pleaded with the guy – he then spoke to another guy before saying they do have one car.

Great I will take it!

I then thought about it, I thought it would either be a 7.5 tonne truck or a €1000 a day S class merc, bus surprisingly it was a humble Focus C-Max. I paid the man and dashed out to the car. It was around 11:30am and I was in no mood to hang around. I set up the sat nav to Adenauer [is that right] and set off. Only 50 miles to go and I was keen to get there.

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The drive there was great, I could hardly contain my excitement to the extent that I lectured myself about acting more like and adult and a parent and absorbing more of the beautiful countryside.

I couldn’t be arsed, so took a couple of pics to remember it instead :D

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I landed – 12:30 ish. After over 9700 days I had got there – the last 18 hours were a struggle, but come hell or high water I knew it would happen! I felt like a Japanese tourist in awe of the whole thing, taking snaps wherever possible.

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I called Dan who had been out in a 7 series and we headed straight to the on site café for some food.

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I managed to eat – but I was ready to get amongst it as soon as I had done. Although I couldn’t remember 1 thing I wanted to do which came as a surprise as I had meticulously gone through each step in my mind.

So I just walked around and took some snaps.

Spotted Nick straight away:
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Then Dave’s Stag doo :D

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I then saw Gary come along and go straight out – tried to bag a lap, but he was passenger harnessless ?

I wanted to go watch from the first corner, so I went off trying to look for it, but it was useless. I did come across this place though:

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y198/Andyvrs/07042007198.jpg

Andrew
13-04-2007, 08:57 AM
As I was driving back to the car park I saw Nige, his lad and Gary chatting so I stopped to introduce myself. Straight away Nige invited me in for a lap!

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My first ever lap was about to take place, I was really struggling to contain myself and I parked up and dashed to the car park to meet him. There I met Jude and Ian – and Jude lent me her helmet – so I was set.

I strapped myself in and we were off – it was absolutely mind blowing – the size of the place is what struck me first. In places the track is very wide. I also didn’t realise how tight some corners were, how bumpy some sections and just how steep the hills were. Ian followed in the 200 and came past us just before the long bit which heads up in the direction of the Karousel. The lap was over too soon. Couldn’t have been more than 5 mins!

Out of one seat and into another – straight out in Ian’s 200SX, still warm from the last lap ;)

It was quick and I was amazed at the composure of the car, very forgiving for a reasonable amount of power. I managed to take a little more in on the 2nd lap, but again only 5 mins long…………

I had managed to go out on the ring – finally.

I called Dan, see what he was up to and he was out again in his mate Stu’s BMW. So I took a few snaps.

Mr T
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My favourite Mini
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Mean looking BMW

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And Dan’s mate Stu
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We decided to head back to the Hotel, via the fuel station. Stu washed his car, filled up and headed back. It was around 6pm.

http://www.pension-muehlenhardt.de/grafik/pension1.jpg

We sat around for about 10 mins before it was decided we should dash back and try and get a lap in.

As I was heading towards the barrier my mind was blank – I wasn’t even thinking about me thinking about what I was going to do. I just calmly set off and kept an eye on my mirrors. I drove it like a mountain road, ignoring lines and kerbs – a steady site lap.

Once back, we headed back to the hotel – I was chuffed to bits I had finally done it, a whole single lap of the Ring and compared to Ian’s and Nige’s 5 mins, mine was defiantly a 20 minueter :D

Food was the order of the day and the owner of the B&B took us in his 7 seater to Adaneau where we managed a pizza x9 and x9 beers with some salad and garlic bread thrown around we had a feast!

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We headed straight up to the bar – Dan’s mate had a Golf GTTDI so shuttled us 4 by 4 to the bar. A couple more drinks down us – then the Taxi came along. An early night was called for to ensure we got out to the track early.

Andrew
13-04-2007, 08:58 AM
Sunday 8th April

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A frost was on the ground, but it looked like it was going to be glorious. I felt a little rough, but a large coffee and a roll sorted that out. We headed for the cars and set off in the direction of the track.

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Paul
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As we arrived we were told it was a little slippy out, so I decided it was a good time to take the C-Max for a blast. Two lads with a TVR 350c unfortunately had a terminal clutch issue so I let them jump in the bus. Another nice steady one, but once again another lap under my belt. I was then invited to go out in Stu’s E46 323, which was great – very smooth and composed for a standard car. We then went to get some gas and a much needed bottle of water:

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We headed back to the car park where I met up with Simon, Gary possibly Weeman? Simon told me about his broken brakes so I asked him to show me around the track, which he did.

Andrew
13-04-2007, 08:59 AM
Back to the car park for a nosey around.

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This is when Nick came along; he had already had some hot laps out there but invited me to come out with him. So thankfully Simon agreed to loan me his helmet to be sick in ?

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y198/Andyvrs/08042007249.jpg

Nick was struggling with his starter motor, so I invited some chaps to help push the yellow peril around the car park and she fired into life.

We headed for the barrier and pulled over after the cones. I jumped out again and Nick sorted the harnesses out. Once strapped in, helmet on we were ready. He mentioned something about letting him know if I needed him to slow up so he could laugh at me!

I chuckled and we set off like a scolded cat. God knows what it does to the tonne but the peril flies! Under the bridge and into 6th gear? As we approach the first kink where you touch the left kerb a bike starts slowly drifting towards our line. Nick realised the guy was coming across and applied the brakes. To our horror the guy kept coming forcing us onto the grass. The car went lights and Nick struggled to keep it in a straight line. Fortunately it was enough and we made it back on the black stuff!

Andrew
13-04-2007, 09:01 AM
The guy apologised and we were off – uncompromised I think too.

The next 3 minuets were a blur………
http://www.motofoto.tv/galerie/albums/Tour...08/IMG_4126.JPG (http://www.motofoto.tv/galerie/albums/Touri_2007_04_08/IMG_4126.JPG)

http://images.mw-sportfoto.de/2007/touri/0...30-img_8575.jpg (http://images.mw-sportfoto.de/2007/touri/070408/images/070408m30-img_8575.jpg)

http://images.mw-sportfoto.de/2007/touri/0...30-img_8441.jpg (http://images.mw-sportfoto.de/2007/touri/070408/images/070408m30-img_8441.jpg)

http://www.kaefer24.de/gallery2/main.php?g..._serialNumber=4 (http://www.kaefer24.de/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=12180&g2_serialNumber=4)

A lap over and he asked me for another – yes please!!

Straight back out and we had a pretty good lap spoilt only by a biker who crawled around bends and went flat on the straight bits……….

After such a successful lap, why not have another, so off we went!

As we went under the bridge we spotted a coupe of M3’s in the distance. As we closed on them we saw one was an E30 who let the trailing CSL pass over the start finish. We got to T13, the E30 was on the right, CSL up front the E30 shut the door right at the last minuet. Nick doesn’t brake much for that corner so he must have been doing 60 ish when the much slower BMW chopped us – so we locked up and Nick turned hard right to avoid the BMW. Somehow we didn’t hit him.

Once again we got an apology and off we went – somewhere around a 2 minuet lap.

We got back and Nick banned me from his car :D

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Back in the car park and I bumped into Clare and Dave – brief introductions and fat chewing done I was invited out in the cup with Clare.

A throughrally enjoyable car to lap in – the Cup is a bit more track orientated and it showed, nice handling, brakes [although they were complained about] and serious pace for a tin top!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v501/tvr400/Nurburgring%20Easter%202007/IMG_6237.jpg

After all those exciting laps I decided to walk about a bit more. Managed to eat Ian’s unwanted sarnies too ;)

Next stop was ‘show boat’. Where I went off with Dan and Paul. It is a great place to watch but I got sun burnt ?



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It was fast heading towards 6 o’clock – so I decided 1 last lap in the c-max was called for. So Dan and me went off – again I took my time and enjoyed the last lap of the weekend.

I said my good bye’s – sat nav set and I was off. Straight to the airport dropped off the rental and straight through to the departure lounge. Unfortunately I was over my liquid limit and had to bin my newly bought shampoo, conditioner and shower gel ?

Thank god for subway, something I recognise! A quick cheese steak and water I was feeling much better. The plane was on time, the flight was fast and the transfer bus to the long stay car park was efficient as ever – the journey home was quiet and I was in bed for 11pm UK time.

What a journey. Had its ups and downs but I wouldn’t change a thing – it was bloody fantastic.

Thanks to Dan for the invite, all his buddies for welcoming me on board, all who took me out on laps to people I met and everyone else :D

See you next year!

Karl
13-04-2007, 09:12 AM
What an absolutely enjoyable read, Andy, great first report and I'm happy that you had such a good time :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

Weeman
13-04-2007, 09:19 AM
Great report there fellow, twas me loitering in the car park, was nice to meet ya

Floyd
13-04-2007, 09:40 AM
I liked reading that especially from a 1st timer point of view. Very exciting :thumb:

"it was only then I realised I was flying with easy jet. [oops]" I've done the same with the ferry but I went to the wrong terminal and had to drive straight out again. I was stopped by customs on the way out and they asked where I’d been and how long for!!!!! :unsure: :whistle:

F

Mrsmopp
13-04-2007, 01:31 PM
Superb read Murphy :)

x

ring leader
13-04-2007, 01:49 PM
:thumb: nice write up dood and the pics tell the story to !
well done

mav

p1doc
13-04-2007, 02:36 PM
nearly a disaster but turned out well in the end,another convert
martin

GVK
14-04-2007, 12:38 PM
It's great reading 'any' trip reports, but none are as 'enthusiastic' as those from a first timer - good stuff Andy :thumb:

jon_r
14-04-2007, 12:53 PM
Another great read, thanks!

I love these reports!

alclark
14-04-2007, 02:39 PM
Enjoyed that very much, a nice new perspective well written!

JudeM
14-04-2007, 08:21 PM
Ahhh great report, started to bring it all back and we've only been home 5 hours :whistle: It was lovely to meet you and share in your enthusiasm. Hope to see you again soon.

Jude

leavingeasy
14-04-2007, 08:28 PM
Andy- dont EVER come near me again!

Really enjoyed reading that- would have liked to have joined you in the Fiesta Max thing but I couldnt get out the Caterham.

So next time? Return the favour?

Oakie

Andrew
15-04-2007, 07:20 AM
Thanks for all the kind comments :) I hope to bring you better luck next time Nick ;)

The great thing is I have a new found love of Caterham cars - I REALLY want one :D

Root admin
16-04-2007, 07:13 PM
Great to meet you Andy! Glad you enjoyed the lap in the Cup. :)

When's the next trip planned? ;)

Matt A
17-04-2007, 11:56 AM
Another great report from Easter. Thanks for posting it up.

Sounded like a bit of a mare at the start, but least it all came good for you :thumb:

(bet you felt odd taking pictures of your breakfast whilst being sat on your own!!)

Hippychick
17-04-2007, 05:56 PM
What a fab report...you sound like a kid on Christmas Eve :D

Brings back all the memories of the first time I went :thumb:

Nige
18-04-2007, 08:01 AM
Absolutely brilliant report Andy :thumb: Thoroughly enjoyed reading that. You managed to convey all your excitement.

glad you enjoyed your lap with me, you are in a group of about 12 people who had a lap of the ring in my Golf (that does NOT include, Louise, Ian or Jude...)

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b207/wh00sher/April%202007/golfcrash042.jpg

Lou took this of you PAX`ing with Clare.

Andrew
18-04-2007, 08:03 AM
Great shot :) [I have borrowed it too ;)]

Root admin
18-04-2007, 09:48 AM
Seconded. Great pic Louise. :thumb:

Stace
18-04-2007, 09:46 PM
Great read Andy. Hope it's not too long before your next trip. Family holiday to the Mosel Valley me thinks :P

Tony
18-04-2007, 10:16 PM
Originally posted by Andy@Apr 13 2007, 08:59 AM
Nick was struggling with his starter motor
A K series with hot starting problems......... surely not :whistle: :P :lol:

Great write up Andy - really glad that you enjoyed popping you 'ring cherry and that it lived up to expectations. :thumb: ;)

Welcome to the disease :lol:

GVK
18-04-2007, 11:31 PM
Originally posted by Tony@Apr 18 2007, 10:16 PM

Welcome to the disease :lol:
Haha!! :thumb:

Tony
18-04-2007, 11:32 PM
Not disagreeing then Gary ;) :lol:

Nige
24-05-2007, 05:03 AM
Andy,

I was just wondering, did you ever get a refund for the non-existant car hire you`d paid for?

Andrew
24-05-2007, 07:45 AM
I did Nige - I must warn everyone not to deal with [B]"ATLAS CHOICE".[b]

I was messed around lots until I put a letter threatening legal action in. I then received a refund on my card, but no acknowledgement stating as such. They were lucky as I was going to claim back for the hotel/insurance etc.

My advice to anyone flying into Cologne is use the airport car rental facilities :)