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alclark
06-09-2007, 07:49 PM
After quitting my job in April, it had occurred to me that my plan of eight trips this year was going to be tough with no money coming in.

And let me tell you, 4 months as a Ring addict with no Ring to feed the craving is a bloody nightmare. My car is not that great as a daily driver these days, its seat position (and seat itself for that matter) are a little hardcore, and with only a fun but troublesome Curborough sprint day to supplement my motorsport fix, I was in desperate need for some serious cornering Gs. The plan was to do a trip on the cheap, whilst still retaining all the creature comforts of hotels, and the mandatory Pistenklause experience et al. A tough proposition, but I was determined.

Planning began by contacting Herr Teflon to arrange ferry crossings, who I cannot recommend more for getting a solid price on flexible tickets. Finding cheap accommodation, especially on DTM weekend is a bit of a mare, but we did manage to find a place on recommendation for €25 a night, very good value... but to our surprise would later turn out to be beaten...

Friday morning - 6am.

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Cup of Tea! The cars were packed and re-stocked with fuel, air, wasser and food and we trundled off to meet up with the rest of the team at Leatherhead Tesco. I'd never taken the ferry to Calais before for a 'Ring trip, having taken the Norfolk Dunkerque line instead, and all of us concluded that the ferry's torsional rigidity could be greatly improved by fitting a roll cage and strut braces, given that during the opening 'handbrake turn' out of the port caused a light fitting to fall from the shaking roof. Dan informed us that he wanted to get some sleep early on in the trip. 10 minutes before docking, he curled up on the couch and tried to sleep.

John grabbed a 7 min massage. Well, wouldn't you?

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q290/AlexGrantUK/nr01.jpg

Once on the road, the long haul across the worlds most useless and boring country began, the only excitement was watching the fuel gauge drop, and the occasional sighting of fellow 'Ringers. We arrived in Eupen in time for a late lunch, to discover they STILL HAVN'T FIXED IT YET, and Belgium being Belgium, no helpful diversions, no extra signs or anything. Eventually an old dude in a completely bolloxed 205 kindly showed us a quick rat-run around it and we continued on to the hotel.

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q290/AlexGrantUK/RING03.jpg

Oh yes, the hotel. The Hotel was the White House (Weisshaus?) on the B258 about 20km from the track, but the owner had given away two of the rooms. Fortunately, one of our party (Jess) was fluent in German, and managed to get her to find another place for us. It meant going back an extra 4km, but this turned out to be absolutely fine, because it was only €18 a night inc. breakfast which was fantastic, and as we only use the rooms as somewhere to sleep and shower, this was brilliant! The owner did resemble Meatloaf in Fightclub though... bless her.

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q290/AlexGrantUK/n01.jpg

Off to the track to catch some Friday lapping. It was cold on the track surface, and a little damp, so I did a nice steady sighting lap, pulled back in to find the track was shut, and that was that for the day. Did however meet Dale, Ian, Nige and Family plus lots of other familiar faces! The red car / blue car battle trash talk was aloof, and we decided to 'go for it' tomorrow. We dropped into the Lindenhoff for a Grillehaxor before retiring to bed after a long weary day.

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q290/AlexGrantUK/nr03.jpg
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Saturday - 6:30am

Breakfast was simple, and typically German (i.e. gorgeous), with fresh cow’s milk (from an unknown cow / hotelier). Andrew put his track tyres on his shopping trolley, and we convoyed off to check tyre pressures and petrol. Fog. Good.
8:20 the track opened and we headed out. I had a hunch it was going to be slippy, and I have NO idea what the wet line really is, so I took the safety line for my first 5 laps while the track dried out. After everyone else had dried a reasonable line, I opened the taps and got on with destroying what tread I had left of pretty much dead tyres.
I still amazes me the sheer denial that un-expectant Porsche and BMW drivers possess when a little '5 tears up behind them and they completely refuse to let you past, and when the do, they just out accelerate you leaving you in the dust until the corner, where it all happens again. That said, traffic was pretty well behaved on the whole this weekend, the looming clouds possibly deterring the inexperienced and the idiots away. Even the bikers were doing a good job of staying out the way, but bikers still need to learn that BIKES DO NOT FIT IN CAR PARKING SPACES. Three bikes in a car parking space is not ideal, but it really boils my piss when they just leave one in the middle. USE THE BIKE PARK! Rant over, sorry.

http://lh5.google.com/talldarkandsinister/Rt2WmjYdXdI/AAAAAAAAAhg/gxAYYX5vMaU/s800/DSCF2506.JPG

After my fifth lap I learned at one of the guys in the group, Nick in the pink stickered MX5 on hardcore dry track wheels had hit a random rain cloud at Hatzenbach and gone off into the concrete. I raced off to find him, and found him and the car safely tucked up at Flugplatz. He'd gone lightly into the wall and bent a rod end and untold damage to the steering rack. Fortunately, no armco bill or structural damage to the car occurred, so he was given the usual hefty €180 recovery fee, and the car was taken to Mazda in Adenau. Our support car (Chris' C43 AMG) was used to recover Nick from Adenau and get him to the Mullenbach scrappers, which also proved unsuccessful. Eventually, they made their way back to the track and I took a distressed Nick out for a lap. Other than that, the day proved very successful; I got about 17 laps done on Saturday. At about 5:30, I decided I was tired, and had had enough laps for the day, but the opportunity of Nige's passenger seat in the new Golf was too tempting not to take. A fantastic lap, with a bit of air here and there. I felt compelled to return the favour, and just as I was heading out it appeared Dale was heading out in 'Blue Car'. A chase? Why not. I should have guessed really. Coming round T13, the back end unusually stepped out a little, I put it down to random grease on the corner, but in reality, it I was about to learn a lesson.

The lap had been going very well, but coming into Escbach, my waning concentration made me forget to heel and toe into the left hander, and with an LSD, and aggressive road camber, the back end stepped out big style. Eyewitness reports of 35 degrees to the road sound about right, as I wound full lock on immediately. I felt the car about to return to 'grip mode', so opened up the throttle pedal and the car pulled itself out fast so I took the lock off immediately. I suspect to the viewers at Brunchenn it looked like an epic hero drift, but I know I ran out of talent, and was doing a lap when I shouldn't have. I apologise to Dale, Nick, and especially my passenger Nige for the brown trouser moment. This proved to be my only ‘moment’ this year, and was definitive proof that the 'one more lap' mindset is a very poor idea. Still, 9:03 BTG with GPS verification with a couple of delays and a passenger...

Dinner was at the Chinese in Adenau with CPUfreak, Omen666, and the GT3-RS owners club. As with all meals at the Nürburgring conversation that isn't about cars is random at best, and we spent 30 mins trying to work out if there was a connection with the price / weight / feature of a watch, with the £1300 kinetic watch winning all three... and the titanium watches costing around £150 but weighing the least by quite a long way! We retired quite late to beds, Andrew and Nick were having a beer swilling contests and suffice to say, Andrew was reportedly talking bollocks all the way home.


Sunday - Its dry!

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Arrived at the track at 8:00, and headed straight out onto the lap. The sighting lap was out of the way, I let some air out of the tyres, and cracked on. Markus in a BMW M3 kindly leant me his Driftbox for a lap, and I managed an 8:58 with a mirrorless 911 from Flugplatz to Ex-Mule... this 'timing' lark is dangerously addictive...

On lap 7 of the morning, it was my turn to have the problem. Up Kessellchen, the car stays in 4th gear, at 7,500rpm the whole way up, and it appears that Halfords Belts can't cope with this for sustained periods. This belt was 2 months old, and tensioned correctly and aligned with no wear. This is the water pump and alternator belt, and by sheer luck, this went at Galgenkopf, so I was able to shut the motor off down the final straight, and turn it on again at the car park, and get it to the overflow where I could see what had happened. It had thrown the power steering belt off too during its explosion, but that was intact. Sadly, the water pump belt was present, but had seen better days. Halfords crap. I wasn't actually too pissed off because I wasn't planning on doing tonnes more laps anyway as my tyres really were on the very brink of legal, and I had no spares to take home.

http://lh4.google.com/talldarkandsinister/Rt2WvTYdXoI/AAAAAAAAAi8/AvHWkp8bAOE/s800/DSCF2518.JPG


I did however get 2 laps in Maxes (I may have got that wrong) heavily modified GT3, and I have to say, for the first time ever, I can see the point of the extra £60,000 over the CSL... massively impressive machine. Loved it.

We ate in the PK that night, I had my usual Snails, followed by the slab of cow, and we all drank heartily. Marvellous. Me, Ian and Jess has a fascinating conversation as to the literal translation of Breidshide too, which had Ian and me in tears.... :lol:

Monday - Wet. Wet. Wet.


Went down to Mazda Adenau to grab the new belt. As usual the guy there was ridiculously helpful, he really deserves a gold star. Two of the guys left for England early as they didn't want to convoy with the other cars later in the day, but with my power steering belt they made my steering home rather heavy! :D
We booked Nick into the Burgstube, said our farewells, and headed on the journey home.


See you all in October. :thumb:

Gary Kinghorn
06-09-2007, 07:59 PM
A good read Al, thanks for sharing :thumb:

Nige
06-09-2007, 08:04 PM
ah, the memories of THAT `drift`.... I wont forget that in a hurry. As I said afterwards, it was a good, instinctive save, if you had panicked and stamped on the brakes, we`d have been into the armco. OK, you lost it in the first place, but had the necessary skill and prescence of mind to save it :thumb:

As always, I enjoyed reading your report :thumb:

Hippychick
06-09-2007, 08:10 PM
It was good to meet you Al....

Sorry you didn't get the lap in the Yaris :( maybe next time....if you can stand the excitement :lol:

Andrew
06-09-2007, 08:35 PM
Great read :)

Simon
06-09-2007, 09:23 PM
Nice report there, Al :thumb:

Alex
06-09-2007, 09:31 PM
Yep, top dollar. :)

Duncan
07-09-2007, 06:00 AM
Good read that Al - and by the sounds of it a good save and a stroke of luck with the location of the belt going.

Weeman
07-09-2007, 06:43 AM
Great report there al, whos the gnarly looking dude in the coral T shirt, No more beer for that lad lmao :lol:

Andrew Mulholland
07-09-2007, 08:18 AM
Nice report Al.

Mitchell not Max in the heavily modfied GT3. He's a great guy.

You forgot our eventful lap... when the steering went in my car :)

good to see you again. will see you in october, or whenever you make it out next :D

khj100
07-09-2007, 11:06 AM
Good write up Al, I had a great weekend too. I think it was you I was talking to in the carpark - I had the blue S2 106 Rallye which I think you had a few good pictures of...?

We were supposed to be out there until Thursday, but came back early on Monday too. Sunday night saw a rather terminal failure of driveshaft on the 106 going through the right hander after Wipperman. I was equally lucky that it was downhill to Brunchenn and somewhere safe to stop! And thank God for ADAC recovery! Anyway, one look at the weather on Monday morning and I decided not to bother trying to replace it over there.

Some nice driveshaft mods:

http://www.sp30.co.uk/files/img_5092_web_646.jpg
http://www.sp30.co.uk/files/img_5104_web_512.jpg

pye21
07-09-2007, 03:28 PM
Great report Al, would love to get a pax lap in one of the leightweight 'lady' cars sometime!! :thumb:

alclark
07-09-2007, 09:06 PM
Blimey!! A fine effort on the 106 shafts there! :blink:

Was great to meet some new faces, and the familiars! Just need to get a couple of teething issues with the car sorted and we shall be cooking with gas. :D

Floyd
07-09-2007, 09:38 PM
http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q290/AlexGrantUK/nr04.jpg
Who was the chap on the left with the hair? Looks like the guy from the IT Crowd :D

OK report :thumb:

F

IanHowell
07-09-2007, 10:46 PM
^^^^^

:lol:

Ian

handpaper
08-09-2007, 12:04 AM
Originally posted by Floyd@Sep 7 2007, 09:38 PM
http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q290/AlexGrantUK/nr04.jpg
Who was the chap on the left with the hair? Looks like the guy from the IT Crowd :D

OK report :thumb:

F
I don't know his name, but he's fairly handy in his stripped-out Polo. I had a fun lap with him on Sunday.

alclark
09-09-2007, 07:12 PM
Yep, the totally monged looking Coral lover is Dan. :)

I'll catch you for that lap in October Andy. :thumb: