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View Full Version : Papa Smurf goes to the Ring



Duncan
24-04-2007, 06:32 PM
Well I might as well start with Stu's piss take of me - one of many as you will probably have seen by now

It is very difficult to better the reports done already but I will try and put a different slant on it.

I will apologise up front for the lack of photos - I took some on the first day but kind of could be bothered to get the camera out beyond that as I was too busy having fun

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Day 1 - Sunday
Quote of the Day: I'm more Taco Bell than Derek Bell
(yes it DEREK Gareth )

After being restless and fidgetedy about the forthcoming activites for what seemed to be days, it was finally time to head over to Ely train station to pick up George and return to our for a quick sarnie before heading darn sarf.

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/dynam06/nordschleife/april2007/ringtripapril005.jpg

To say George was excited again would be understating it but we were both really looking forward to returning to the mecca of all driving.

A quick sarnie and cup of coffee later and we received a call from Brian & Cherry saying they were running late. Apparently Cherry could only fit 12 pairs of shoes in the case so was having to rationalise her collection and that would take time. Brian didnt say this but it was what we thought ....

Brian and Cherry arrived in Stretham at 4.30pm as arranged and we headed slowly down to Folkestone conserving as much fuel as we could for the fun to come.

We decided that it would be good to fill up with fuel before we left so decided to try and find the nearest Shell station to Folkestone. My SatNav was telling me this was 12 miles away in New Romney.... not that far surely? How wrong could I be, this was a painfully slow drive and took about 30 mins to get there and another 30 back along the slowest sections of Kentish road known to man. Anyway with the cars suitably fuelled it was time for us.... We had already agreed that the All you can eat chinese would have their profits cut that night as we set out to eat all they had. We almost did it on our own and when the main attack team arrived, they visibly gulped when they proceeded to tuck in with as much vigor as we had done.

After heading back to the hotel via the sad kareoke club which refused us entry we sat contemplating the forthcoming days in mixtures of nerves and excitement before calling it a day and heading off to bed.

George and I were in the room next to Stu and by the time we got up there (5 mins after Stu headed up ... lightweight) we were greeted by what we first thought was a flat four rumble of some revving their engine. I looked out of the window and then twigged that the revving was in fact snoring coming from next door.... good he didnt take long to get into full swing !!

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Day 2 - Monday
Quote of the Day: Alright stop, Hammertime
After a small detour on the way to the eurotunnel we arrived there in time for our arranged train and mostly got loaded together onto the last carriages.

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/dynam06/nordschleife/april2007/ringtripapril006.jpg

At the other end we split up into 2 convoys of 3 cars ready for swift-ish prgress though France, Belgium and Germany to the ring. We thought it would take 4 hours and it was pretty much spot on with an extra fuel stop on route to top up with fuel for the lapping in the afternoon. It was great driving as part of a 3 Subaru convoy through what are some of the best driving roads in Europe. Mucho respect to Dean and Rob to keeping the pace going so that we made the progress we did.... even though at times we were begging for them to do fly-bys to relieve the boredom on the Belgium motorway.

On arrival at the hotel we were greeted by the forlorn looks of frayz and zak who had experienced wheel bearing failure on his subaru and was in various stages of stripping trying to figure out how to get it home, get it repaired or get new parts for it. I will let frayz tell his own story but he was not happy and language was typically and quite rightly colourful from the Essex Massive :) Maddog had himself caused a track closure (and incurred costs as a result) due to dropping all of his Oil at Adenau Forst. This had caused a biker to go down and made the local newspaper. he was not happy but if you go there often enough these things happen I guess. On top of this his wheel bearing was about to go too but not phased by this Andy was still the life and soul of the party.

Impatient as normal, I just wanted to get the stuff out of the car and get down tot he circuit and re-acquaint myself with the track. This was done after we finally persuaded the hotel that it really didnt matter if the rooms werent spotless but could we leave our stuff there anyway.

The car-park was pretty quiet compared to the september trip but with still some lovely cars on show and in action but all I wanted to do was head over to the ticket machine and swap some euros for fun.

Ticket purchased and ready to roll, George and I headed out for a sighting lap to familiarise ourselves with the track and experience the extra power and improved handling that comes to my car whenever it is handed over to Zak at Mocom Racing. It didnt disappoint. It felt like we cruised round the traack, easing off up the hills and down various sections to try and act responsibly. We met a couple of cars on this lap but got past them easily and returned to the pits at the end of the lap. I had the GPS lap timing software running on almost all the laps to give me an idea as to the pace we were running. This showed a 9 min 59 first lap.... we were shocked.

The next lap followed almost immediately and with a bit more of a purposeful approach too the lap we were still enjoying progressing quickly but at what felt totally smooth and secure, learning new braking points that are always changing as your approach speeds vary due to carrying extra speed. This is something that is difficult to comprehend at first when you think that you have lines, and braking zones nailled, you start going faster and it all changes. This lap was a 9 min 29. pretty much bang on what our best lap was last year and this one felt easy 8)

I think we did a total of 6 laps on the first afternoon letting the car cool down for a while between each of them without any issues apart a repeat of the overboost issue that we had last time. Easily remedied with an ECU reset though at the end of the lap and ignored on the lap itself.

The evening was spent with the rest of the crew at the PistenKlause restaurant in Nurburg with pretty much all of us having Steak on the Stone. I must confess it got a tad smokey there in that little room with 10 mini bbq's going. This was a really superb eveing swapping stories with Maddog and his son along with frayz and Zak. They are all great company and had a laugh even though the 'Ring had not been kind to them this visit :(

Suitably topped up with Bitburger we headed back to the Ringhaus for late night GT4 sessions to relive some memories and for me to practice my comptitive tactics on frayz at Hohenrain by trying to t-bone him :o Suffice to say I missed him and went head first into the armco at 160mph :lol: Thank god that was in the game and not in real life :D

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Day 3 - Tuesday
Quote of the Day: Bratwurst mit Fritz

A reasonably late and relaxed start to the day with the normal excellent breakfast and plentiful coffee to wake up we headed out to see what was running around the track. We were very pleasantly suprised:

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/dynam06/nordschleife/april2007/ringtripapril008.jpg
After the dust had settled from someone doing donuts :whistle:

We headed down to Platzgarten for some viewing then headed off down to Brunchen to watch the delights of the prototype and tyre testing world through this famous section.

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/dynam06/nordschleife/april2007/ringtripapril009.jpg

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/dynam06/nordschleife/april2007/ringtripapril010.jpg

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/dynam06/nordschleife/april2007/ringtripapril011.jpg

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/dynam06/nordschleife/april2007/ringtripapril017.jpg

George, Gareth and I went off exploring:

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/dynam06/nordschleife/april2007/ringtripapril016.jpg

More lapping in the evening on a virtually deserted track only being overtaken by one motorbike.... twice :lol: This was Andy from the Ringhaus going past us over the jump at Flugplatz with his front wheel up in the air. Made George and I laugh for the whole lap.

Tuesday's evening meal meant heading over to Adenau for the legendary sized pizzas and beers at Pinnochios - simply huge is the only real way to describe the size. Even Cherry whooped with delight about having a 12 inch Greek

After the meal, Gareth proceeded to cane Rob's Impreza up the twisty road between Adenau and Nurburg showing little regard for smoothness or the grinding of mudflaps whilst we tried to point out the sharp bend. This one is it.... oh no it isnt. This one then ? Oh nope. This has to be it ? And then we were back at the Ringhaus :D

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Day 4 - Wednesday
Quote of the Day: For you, zee tour is over

Another relaxed start to the day before we headed out en-masse to the Nurburgring Motor Museum for a look around and got talked into a tour of the GP circuit, media centre, driver briefing room. This was hilarious as we could not understand German and were worse than a bunch of schoolchildren making up our own narration for the various activities and places we were being guided around.

The funniest part of this was in the Pit Garage where apparently Nigel Mansell had bent down and licked his cock muscle. Or at least that is what it sounded like to a group of teenagers :D For 4 euros this tour was excellent value i think.

Lunchtime Food was Bratwurst mit Fritz again !!! (or Curryworst and Chips for the daring and strong of sphincter)

The days testing had taken quite a big impact on the armco around the track that day as all of our laps in the evening were with roadworks down through Fuchsrohre. That must have been a nasty crash on what would easily have been over 120mph :o

Nevertheless we enjoyed the time on an absolutely empty track swapping passengers in a scene reminiscent of Clockwork Orange and I even managed a couple of passenger laps myself - thanks Dean for a great lap and SteveW in his Clio 172 sport for showing me that power isnt everything. Knowledge of the track is worth far more. I managed to get a 9 min 01 that evening with roadworks down Fuchsrohre so knew that an 8 something would happen the next day so was pretty chuffed that I could break into the next bracket and get closer to what the car is capable of there. A standard Spec C doing 8 min 6 full laps shows that there is a huge gap in my driving abilities.

Evening time arrived after a few Bitburgers at the Ringhaus and we headed off to PK again to celebrate mine and Georges birthday in style. The beer, jokes and laughter were plentiful as we mused though the evening supping away and eating some of the best grub around. I even managed to persuade Patrizio to allow us to place a BigPower at the Nordschleife sticker in a prime position on the wall. This was a nightmare and meant I was standing on the benches there for what seemed like ages whilst i tried to get the bugger to stick. It finally did and we felt we had left our mark. It probably will fall down next week but heyho ... we tried.

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Day 5 - Thursday
Quote of the Day: Nope - didnt touch the brakes all the way down Stu - you try it

Thursday was planned for the Summer Toboggan run at Rodelbahn just up through Adenua - ok so it isnt 15 mins away but the roads are so nice that you dont mind whether it was 15 minutes of 4 hours - I could drive them all day. The germans also very kindly recognised that most, if not all, owners of fast cars love tunnels. We found a little warm up one and prepared ourselves... damn only 80 metres long. Ah but then just around the bend was another at 585 metres long - much better effort gents. We slowed right down and nailed it. Such kid.

Once at the Rodelbahn, Stu embarked on some petting of the animals whilst the children played on the roundabout and rushed to the Toboggan eager to try it out.

We had done three runs each before I beckoned to Stu to have a go encouraging him with universal actions of tucking hands under arm pits and waving elbows up and down. We then informed him that the brake lever was only for show and we didnt touch it all the way down. I am sure we didnt fully realise the gravitational pull of Stu would have a rather spectacular effect on speed. The crash was after the last bend and all happened so quickly that it is difficult to establish the cause. The effect was simple.... Stu face down in the track and Dave poleaxed by the side having been hit by (or having hit) Stuart's head in the accident. Full of conern the owner of the establishment came running up to see what the damage was..... he laughed at Stu then checked the sledge for damage. Nice.

We were equally sympathetic once the damage was found out to be less than terminal and spent most of the rest of the day laughing about it and the size of the lumps appearing over Stuart's head. Gareth was very good and did correct thing and took Stuart to the hospital in Adenau whilst we prepared the cars for the evening. Dave was struggling to get his clutch to work so was having it looked at up the road at Ollie's garage in Nurburg but the final result was disappointing for him as it was deemed unrepairable for the trip and the debate started as to how to get home.

Dean's recently repaired impreza wagon was performing sweetly and responding to his ever growing confidence and knowledge of the track as was Rob, who had managed many dry laps now inthe Impreza (more than he had done last August when he went over to be met by masses of rain)

We all set out that evening down to the circuit hoping for a clear roadwork free track with little traffic so that we could improve on our learning from previous days and string together a full lap without incident. Stuart had made some repairs/modifications to his to enable him to drive the Thursday without gouging chunks of rubber out of his tyres with his near-side rear wheelarch but unfortunately the hospital had avised against driving. Really gutted for him as his confidence and willingness to press the loud pedal was getting there lap after lap.

I had 5 laps left on my ticket and was going to use them tonight 8)

The car park was virtually empty and was the 2nd car out on track through the barrier at the start. We let the RingMini through (cough cough) and proceeded to do a sighting lap to make sure all was well with the car and track.... perfect no roadworks and no traffic !!

Lap three gave me an opportunity to go out for a lap on my own and string together the new lines i had learnt, braking points and turn in points into one full lap to see how it felt. It felt smooth. It felt calm. It felt quick but not any issues apart from a slight line correction on Pflantzgarten 1 before the second jump. When I got back to the car park i checked the time and 8 min 50 was the result. I was delighted but still in awe of the damage that place can do if you get it wrong and took it easier at points than i had on previous laps. There is more to come from the car without doubt but I dont want to rush to get the times until my knowledge and skill can back it up.

After this I took Gareth out for a medium pace lap and as he has documented nearly came back with body parts of german biker on the front of the car due to being baulked continuosly for around 1/4 lap before I pulled over and let the BMW past for him to try and wake him up. The biker proceeded to almost knock him onto the grass coming up to Wipperman :o He then pushed his way past before Brunchen and we followed suit and went after the Beemer :D This lap served as a wake up call to me and shocked Gareth into silence (almost ;) )

The Last Lap....

I had one ticket left - George and I headed out onto an empty track to cool the car down and say goodbye to the track for the time being. We headed out through the cones and Bren shot past on his bike. I told George to look around as coming up alongside us pulling a wheelie from the cones to where we were cruising up to the bridge was Dale on a motorbike - Dale turned to us and waved WHILST STILL ON 1 WHEEL, stood up and lifted the front wheel more then settled it back down and shot off down the road to batch Bren :notworthy. We couldnt stop laughing - it was awesome 8)

Stuart re-appeared whilst we were in the bar at the Ringhaus having a beer or two and looked a little worse for wear it must be said but he was still determined to have a good time that evening to mark the end of a great trip even though his luck hadnt been the best.

We again went to the PK that evening and chatted through all the events of the week and talked about the next time .... this place is a little addictive to say the least :D As we were driving early the next morning, the alcohol intake was a little more restrained that night and the atmosphere a little more subdued - the end of the trip was almost here :'(

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Day 6 - Friday
Quote of the Day: You mean you have to pay for Armco damage?... no-one told me !!

I got up early, mainly cos I do, but partly to say goodbye to Brian, Dave and Cherry who were leaving first thing (7am) to try and limp through to Calais without a clutch on Dave's celica. I didnt envy them that trip. The drive back is boring enough at the best of times but at 60-70 on the motorway would be downright tedium.

We gathered our kit up, packed the cars, said our goodbyes to the excellent team at the Ringhaus who made us feel really at home; Frank, Martin and Andy and headed off.

As there was 4 of us now - we drive together - well almost together ;) back to calais half expecting to see Dave's celica stranded by the side of the road but increasingly glad we didnt. When we got to the Eurotunnel we were greeted by the Celica's :thumb:

Not alot more to add apart from to thank Stu, Gareth, Rob, Dean, Brian, Cherry, Dave and especially George for their great company during the week. It was emotional :D

alclark
24-04-2007, 07:28 PM
Cool report, love the quotes!

Anyone else think that Audi with spots looks cool?




No?
*Gets coat*

Nige
24-04-2007, 08:06 PM
great report.

I know how long they take to write :thumb:

Gary Kinghorn
24-04-2007, 08:49 PM
Great report Duncan and some great pictures too :thumb:

leavingeasy
24-04-2007, 09:18 PM
Thats a great report written in a stylee I truly appreciate and understand!! :thumb:

jon_r
24-04-2007, 09:26 PM
Another great report, cheers!

Duncan
24-04-2007, 09:39 PM
that Audi sounded the nuts too :thumb:

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/dynam06/nordschleife/april2007/th_MVI_1865.jpg (http://s59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/dynam06/nordschleife/april2007/?action=view&current=MVI_1865.flv)

Simon
25-04-2007, 09:35 AM
Cracking report there Duncan

I appreciate how long they take to do which is why at the moment I don't do them :( . 1 day maybe?

Hippychick
25-04-2007, 05:23 PM
Originally posted by alclark@Apr 24 2007, 08:28 PM
Anyone else think that Audi with spots looks cool?

I do :thumb:

Cal
25-04-2007, 07:19 PM
Homage that damn fine report............I really enjoyed it :thumb:

Off to post up to find this tunnel !

Cal

Duncan
25-04-2007, 07:24 PM
just up the b257 past Adenau :thumb:

They are even building a new tunnel too :D

Dave G
25-04-2007, 09:10 PM
Good report there!

Size of the brakes and caliper on the Audi! :blink:

Floyd
27-04-2007, 07:11 AM
http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g281/dynam06/nordschleife/april2007/ringtripapril016.jpg
Tunnel of love? :affection: :isgay:

Loved the report and I apreciate the time it takes as I bother to write them even if Simon doesn't :P

I liked the Clock Work Orange quote too ;)

F

Duncan
27-04-2007, 07:30 AM
:lol:

rolty
27-04-2007, 10:18 AM
Originally posted by Floyd@Apr 27 2007, 07:11 AM

Tunnel of love? :affection: :isgay:
Shit, that hadn't dawned on me, I suppose we do look a little camp :hehegay:

chris172cup
27-04-2007, 04:10 PM
How big are those brakes on that audi?? :blink: