what a trip!
Easter trip to Nurburgring plans turned into a whirlwind world trip covering 8 countries and 55 modes of transport, all at the drop of an unexpected hat.
I had planned to visit a Spa trackday on Easter Friday followed by a day at Germany’s Nurburgring then back to London sunday night ready for work Tuesday. Spa was cancelled a week out due to a damaged circuit after storms came through so a 3am start Pre easter thursday to get a ferry from Dover to Boulogne before an epic…well by European standards 9 hour drive across Northern France, Holland, Belgium, back to france and onto germany before arriving amidst a snow blizard, or was it hail, perhaps torrential rain perhaps also Spring sunshine, was I in melbourne, No I was in the Eifel mountains in the town of Nurburg, which must have once been Nur where a castle was built, and this was a real fortified castle, not a typical German Stately home or palace masquerading as a Castle. While the castle was interseting the reason for coming was the Nordschleif or north loop. A 20+km long 100 corner circuit/toll road ‘that widely considered the toughest, most dangerous and most demanding purpose-built racing circuit in the world’ That has been a desired detination for me for many years. Loosely described as pit crew I was conscripted to keep a mate company in the cabin of the tow truck carrying his Mk 2 Cosworth powered escort in convoy with 25 odd other small ford enthusiasts spread across many other tow trucks, recovery vehicles, undersized sedans with oversize trailors, work vans, road registered race cars and busses all driving, carrying, towing or enclosing a menagerie of high performance old fords…the least powerfull of which was a 350ish HP LS3 powered Capri. I was teamed with Mark whos 380Hp escort, riding on tiny 13 inch wheels was to be my introduction to the course who claims in average a life a day. fortunately we killed it taking it off the truck, the fuel pump, the only second hand part on the car, decided to seize, fortunate that it occurred of the circuit as a minimum 180 euro recovery fee would have been applicable. Unfortunately, Easter Friday was warm and sunny, despite the predictions of snow and ice, as a result, every german, french, dutch and Belgian rev head decended on the quaint little village. I have never seen so many cars with performance potential in the one spot. everything from a 1.1 litre polo…well not really any performance potential there to a 1 million pound Gumpert, hypercar driven by a pimple faced 21 year old. I also believe every gt2 and gt3 porsche had also found there way there. I spent most of my day running around north germany trying to locate a fuel pump, who would have thought a bosch pump would be so hard to find…coincidentally I spent some of the night looking under parked cars looking for same said pump to no avail.
So the Escort was dead , I was there and may have missed my chance had The Rent-4-ring crew not been open. I hired a race prepared New suzuki swift, kitted out with race suspension, tyres, brakes and safety equipment like a roll cage, race seat and harness and an additional 50 hp and 100kg weight loss. All in all I had 7 hours to not kill myself or worse still, damage the car and the circuit, as each driver is responsible fore the damage they cause to the circuit and is charged with repair and lost revenue bills, which must be paid to recover ones passport. The biggest bill is reputedly 39,000 pounds several years ago. Anyway needless to say I survived and have earnt my sticker which I will wear on the flanks of whatever car I own forever… I bought a few stickers, one for the escort, one for my tool box, another for…well whatever I can stick them too.
Adding to the fear of course was driving my first left hand drive car, changing gear with my right hand, in the rain as the good weather had left the nigt before, on a circuit famouse for death, not having play-stationed it (yes its a new verb) so I had no Idea where I was going and hit 220km/h in some locations. the car was great for what it was and in the conditions, I did not threaten its limits, nor did i scare an apex, but on my 3rd run I did pass a porsche, and not one that was parked, or piled into a fence, or spinning off, or missing awheel, or missfiring but a bonified-real-slow porsche.
Anyway the following day…keep posted! more to follow its late and I still have the lag of the jet variety.