“Destination Nurburgring” Flashback: Day 3 – Kar Freitag

***Flashback Friday! or should that be, “Flashback Freitag”?!***

Reflection 2015: Kar Freitag in grey old England: I woke up this morning. It should have been to the sounds of church bells or car engines revving. Instead I woke up to the relative quiet of Windy Farm. It’s Good Friday – otherwise known as Kar Freitag at the Nurburgring – and we weren’t in Germany!

I’ve been able to see a little bit of a cold-looking Kar Freitag on bridgetogantry  throughout the day, so that’s been nice, but it doesn’t make up for not being there. (NB. I’m not commenting on the Flugplatz tragedy just because it’s too sensitive and nothing really to do with me or my blog’s ethos; to be honest, everything has been said about it, and nothing will change what happened.)

This is last year’s post from Kar Freitag. I’ve not done much to the images except resize, mainly because I’m sleepy and lazy, and messing on with them does take a good bit of time.

Good Friday seems to be the busiest day of the Easter weekend, and on a sunny day, spectator spots like Brunnchen and the car park on the hill are rammed with people and cars. Due to how busy it is, the day is a bad one for closures and accidents. Judging by yesterday evening’s events, the idiots are out in force. I have a feeling today might be more of a passenger day, and Dickie may be relegated to base camp!

Writing this retrospectively, Kar Freitag seems like ages ago!

We parked the three cars (Dickie, Dippy the Hatch and the truck) in the field. This was probably a bad idea. Because all of western Germany seems to descend upon the Nurburgring like they have nothing better to do, the roads around the track are absolutely rammed. We’ve travelled on Good Friday before, and the road we used to take to the hotel involved going along the road past Brunnchen, probably the biggest viewpoint on the whole track, and it was literally car park city going up the hill, and Dad about cooked the clutch on the truck. Friends of ours were travelling on the Friday and got stuck in traffic even before they’d gotten off the motorway.

From our park on the hill, we could see the extent of the queue. The road up to Nurburg and the entrance to the track, and down to the junction to go to the fastest petrol station in the world or into Adenau etc., were soon absolutely rammed either way by about mid morning. I don’t know how well you can see on the picture:

Kar Freitag

You can see how full the field is all the way down to the road, and how the road is then queued going up to the right towards the track, and to the left going away from the track. The traffic going away from the track barely moved all day!

Kar Freitag is never a good track-time day. Due to the volume of cars there are often many closures, and the longer a closure goes on for, the more angsty and hyped-up the drivers become, so that almost straightaway you can pretty much anticipate a second closure because somebody got a bit carried away and lost it. I’m sure there are plenty of videos on Youtube of Car Friday crashes if you did a quick search!

2015 edit: and near misses at Kesselchen, featuring familiar faces, if you look here!

I actually got a lap out in Dickie, and it was the worst lap I think I’ve ever done. There was so much traffic on the track and I got scared when about seventy Porsches were all passing me at once. Kar Freitag wasn’t the best day, and it didn’t end very well.

We went to our old hotel for dinner, and I got to have my first proper steak! So that sort of made up for it. The one thing I don’t like about eating out in pubs in Germany is that everyone smokes inside, so the air is so thick with smoke it makes your eyes water and all your clothes stink of it.


Steak Nurburg

Here is a pic of our Steak Nurburg! In Germany, or at least in this part of Germany, they love to put fruit on their steaks. Here we have a peach, but we’ve had pineapples, strawberries, grapes. People do think this is weird, but then again, we have Hawaiian pizzas – ham and pineapple! Gammon and pineapple slices! Cranberry sauce with your turkey! Duck in orange/plum/lemon sauce!

A voice from the future: I’m quite excited to go back! I know last Kar Freitag I lost my nerve a little bit. I’ve shown people videos and it still is scary as anything. And it’s not quite the same thing – not even anywhere near the same league, obviously – but I’ve had a few hands at Forza; just trying to get my head around the corners and everything. Plus this past week I drove Dickie to work and, a little bit cheekily, spent my journey trying to get used to the car again. It’s quite a swap going from a smooth chugaway diesel with wonderful light steering and responsive brakes to a rattly noisy trumpy beast with no lock and heavy steering, lazy brakes but a happy go faster pedal.

Also, that Steak Nurburg looks very good right now! Yum.

Till next time – Happy Kar Freitag!

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“Destination Nurburgring” Flashback 2014: Day 1 – The Epic Journey & Tourist Rides

***2015 Reflection***

Hello from 2015! If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you might think this looks a wee bit familiar… that’s because it is! In the run up to Germany 2015, I’m going to reblog all my old posts from last year’s trip. I’ve updated the images so they should look a little better. I’m excited to go to Germany this year.

We have survived the night! I think the worst part for me of the whole trip is the ferry ride. I am notoriously a bad sleeper: I have to have complete darkness in the room and as far as can be achieved, complete silence. These two stipulations aren’t easily achieved when you are sharing a room with three other people – I often liken my father’s snores to a Gumpert starting up. But the night passed surprisingly well.

A P&O ferries breakfast isn’t always the most wondrous thing to wake up to: the cappuccino tasted of cleaning fluid and the scrambled eggs were soggy and suspicious, to say the least! But after a hearty breakfast including decent rashers of bacon and surprisingly good hash browns, we were ready to go.

It was a hot journey – hot in the car, but not in the outside world. But Dickie’s air con goes from nothing to absolutely Baltic in no time at all, so I was flicking it on and off the whole way there. We followed Dad towing his car on the trailer, and were forced to have a pitstop in one of the wonderfully well-maintained rest stops, as Father was getting a bit of a wiggle on. They had these crazy bins that reminded me of the aliens out of Toy Story:

a green dutch dalek

We journeyed to Venlo for our usual McDonald’s stop without problem. I’m not a big Maccy D’s fan, but this is tradition, so I’m happy to have a chicken sensation burger, though on the continent they seem to slather everything in mayonnaise.

However, after we’d finished our McDonald’s (and I changed into some shorts!) a friendly Dutchman pointed out to Dad that one tyre on the trailer was flat! So that had to be sorted out, but me and Mum went to look at the ponies, so we were happy.

And then we were off! The journey to Germany was for the most part uneventful. We fell out with the sat nav numerous times, mainly because the sat nav lady seemed to want to send us to Blankenheim all the time.

We got onto the 1, and then we were happily making our way, until we realised we didn’t really know where we were going. The hotel we usually stay in was unavailable so Father had to do some frantic searching to find an alternative place. So we all thought Father was on the ball, then we found out: he didn’t know where it was, the name of the village or the hotel or anything!

But anyway, after a moment lurking in the Rewe getrankmart car park while Mum and Dad went off on their treasure hunt, we found the hotel and got nice and settled! Father unloaded his car off the trailer and we dumped all our stuff at the hotel.

the different hotel

our gasthaus muhlenhardt

2015: I remember that the hotel had been marketed as Pension Muhlenhardt, which was all Dad and I could remember; so when we got into the village and found Gasthaus Steffan’s advertised on the road (which later turned into Gasthaus Muhlenhardt), you can imagine we were all mightily confused!

The evening’s Touristfahrten was set to start at 5.00, so we got there for about quarter to, only to find it was still a track day! The tourist rides didn’t kick off till about half six.

I had a first lap passengering with Dad, just to sort of set us off. Pfft! Like shit off a shovel (excuse my French!). Father were going for it, even if he later told me he wasn’t 100% confident in the brakes – always puts your faith in the car, dain’t it?

Then, after my post-lap sickness had sort of abated, I took Dickie out for a lap! It didn’t help that I was stuck behind a BMW that thought it was too good to buy a bloody ticket for the Ring: we all had to back up while he about took Dickie’s front bumper off with some dodgy manoeuvring. But then we were off! And then I didn’t have time to think about my nausea or even how hungry I was because I was too busy concentrating on where I was going!

I passed my first ever car fairly early on (I think it was literally the first car ever made, but still, it counts!) and I did both the Carousel and the Mini-Carousel, and they weren’t nearly as terrifying as I had thought. I bodged up a couple of corners but then, who doesn’t? All in all, I shaved a good three minutes off my previous lap times. I think those couple of track days at Blyton – and my new seats! – have really made the difference.

We went to Pinocchio’s for tea and I couldn’t eat it all. Mum and I shared a Funghi Fresci – Rob’s favourite dish. It was piping hot but amazing – but the portion was huuuge, and after about five minutes they brought our mains!

tuckin in at pinocchios

the famous funghi fresci

2015: It seems like I just ended this post here with a picture of Funghi Fresci. I’m not even sure if that’s how it’s spelled! I think I was writing the posts on my iPad whilst in Germany, then adding pictures when I got home. That Funghi Fresci looks good!

I’m excited to take my new camera. Hopefully I’ll have a good gallery of photos to share – not just of us, but of lots of different cars. It does feel a little wrong to not be going over Easter – no Kar Freitag! – but hopefully it should be a good weekend: I think most weekends running Tourist rides are pretty busy now.

I’m also thinking of my playlist for this year’s trip. Any ideas? Put them in the comments!

Till next time.

Katy

x

**Also!!! The header picture wasn’t taken on the Nurburgring. My bad – I couldn’t find where I’d saved the very few pictures I have of Dickie on the track (as opposed to in the car park) so I used this one from Blyton Park. He is enroute to Germany, I swear!

Day 6 – The Last Day :((

And so, our holiday has come to its end! It is Easter Monday and it’s time to go home. This is the saddest day. Bearing in mind I am writing this retrospectively about a month later, it is a bit random. We drove down to the track and it was a good deal quieter. Ma and I went to the Rewe in the hope it might be open, but only the bakery was open. No instant choccocinos for me! 😥 Good job I have the Dolce Gusto waiting for me at home.

Gonna miss this view from our hotel!

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And a gorgeous view of Nurburg castle! This time we didn’t try to go round the castle on Easter Monday, having learnt from past experience that is shut on Mondays!

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Dad had 4 laps left on his card, and he was adamant he’d take Andy the M3 guy out, so what then ensued was a lot of elaborate stalking around the car park, arriving too late as he was being ensnared by his various other stalkers. It made me laugh to see this one woman in particular, who made a beeline for whoever had the flashest, noisiest or clunkiest vehicle, and would hang over that poor unwitting victim until she gained a lap. I think Dad secretly was a bit downcast that she hadn’t wanted a go in his car, but if he’d been in the blue car with the stickers, she’d have been all over him like a rash, and I think I would have had something to say to her then, namely, get off my Father! We eventually executed a James-Bond-style manoeuvre to get Andy in the black car, and off they went, for what Dad later called the worst lap of the entire weekend, as he was stuck being a Porsche that was so far up its own arse, it wouldn’t let him pass.

Then it was time for home! We went back to the hotel, Dad loaded the car onto the trailer, I scribbled on Edgar’s whiteboard a goodbye note, and we went back to the track to pick up the rest of the convoy… who failed to understand the meaning of ‘convoy’, and so we had a tense few minutes waiting up in Nurburg while Father was increasingly losing his temper and I had to go off on a mission to retrieve them. And then we were off! The epic voyage home!

We went to Venlo for our Maccy D’s, and then on to the ferry port. I had to do some seriously dodgy reversing in the ferry, and the guy was laughing at me – whether it was because I was reversing badly or because I was a girl driving a Subaru. We did get some seriously appreciative looks from some seriously dodgy looking dudes on the motorway, and even more appreciative when they spied we were two birds! And ‘some seriously’ seems to be a key phrase. I did try to do my role proper as the rear of the convoy, letting the two trailers in front out.

On the boat, I was tired and hungry and seasick, and generally had a rubbish time. I think we all were a bit drained from our holiday, and on a general downer that it was over. Then it was time for bed, to hopefully not fall out in the middle of the night. I can’t believe it’s over!

Day 5, Part II – Sunday

Apologies for the severe delay! I have been absolutely inundated with uni work: I had my postgraduate conference this week in which I had to present a paper, and then I have a series of deadlines coming up which all require serious attention, which I’m sure I’m not going to deliver until three days prior to handing-in day.

Anyway, Easter Sunday feels like a million years ago! In my last post, I had just been taken on my fastest passenger lap around the Ring in a seriously sexy BMW M3 and Dad was plotting how to afford one of his own. When we got home I searched through all the hundreds of photos online hoping to find one of me in either of them but to no avail – though I found a couple of Dad looking like all his Christmases had come at once! I haven’t checked any of the websites for a long while now so there maybe could be one lurking somewhere…

So Dad and I staggered about in a daydream for a while, and told anyone who would listen how amazing those two BMWs were. I think single-handedly we assembled a fan club.

There was a do with a Skyline coming off the track. I was standing minding my own business when everybody suddenly vacated the car park and congregated around the exit from the circuit. Drawn by the crowd I went for a nosy, and saw a blue Skyline with smoke pouring out of its bonnet, the windscreen splattered with extinguisher foam. This was a highly exciting spectacle, clearly, for all present, and Father got his elbows out and wrangled his way under the bonnet. He ain’t happy unless he’s mechanicking, and he ain’t happy mechanicking unless it’s on somebody else’s car.

I took a photo, but couldn’t get close enough to really capture the moment!

A Skyline Aflame

Then, in a highly impromptu move, I was coerced into getting into Russell’s Evo… Dad came to strap me in and he had his serious face on, which I can only presume meant he was worrying that we might crash and his only child might die. I joked to Russell that Dad hadn’t given him “the talk” and he said he’d already done that! Which I hope was a joke… The Evo is so stripped out it’s basically a machine: there were so many dials and little boxes with various numbers, most of which I think are there for show, rather than doing anything… 😛 Other people had complained about the smell of the car, but having started out doing track days in Johnny the Peugeot, which stank and about gassed you, it didn’t bother me in the slightest. I don’t like wearing helmets, though I appreciate they’re there for your safety, but I always feel a bit claustrophobic, and even with the open-faced ones. It also wasn’t my own helmet, which is always a bit awkward…

Anyway, Russell decided he was going to chase this Skyline, and he was faster, but the Skyline was up for a bit of a play, and was all over the place, shutting the door every time it opened a bit. Cue me sort of being thrown about and squealing – when I wasn’t laughing like a madwoman. It was probably the most fun I’ve had on a passenger lap in a good while – except maybe when Russell dropped into the Carousel midway round and it spat us out early from the end and I thought I was going to die.

Post-Evo Lap Triumph!

 

This is a photo my mum took, and I think the expression on my face – relief, mainly – says it all! …I look a bit flushed though…hmm……

It was almost closing time when we got back, and so I jumped out of the Evo and jumped in Dickie, and I did a lap, adrenaline sort of coursing through my hands, trying to not be influenced too much by the laps I’d been on previously. And I was so pleased to do my best lap yet! I still messed up the kink, where Dad says I take completely the wrong line, but overall I was a lot faster. Obviously I entered the Carousel at the beginning. I actually think, from being terrified of it last year, the Carousel is my favourite part of the circuit. I like the fast early straight as well, as it’s early enough on for me to have not made too many mistakes so I can feel at least midway confident, and get a bit of speed on. Dad was impressed, and he recorded it, and said it was 11 minutes. So I am probably the only person who can say she shaved four whole minutes off her lap time at the Ring!

We went to Pinocchio’s again for tea. Look at the grosse bier!!

Dad Massive Pinocchios Beer

 

I am pleased to say that I finished my massive beer when even some of the lads didn’t! You can also see a bit of the random table decorations that they have in Pinocchio’s – great swarves of chiffony fabric randomly strewn across the table top – that Mum hates, and went on about for ages afterwards. Clearly it’s a fashion in Italian-Germany!

And we’re nearly at the end of the holiday… :(( sad times!

Day 5, Part I – Sunday: Dad said I couldn’t have a BMW, until…

After a long absence, here is Part 1 of Easter Sunday! I apologise for the delay, I’ve had so much uni work on so have spent the past few weeks reading up for my conference paper on Tuesday.

This was definitely the best day by far of our whole trip!

I said in my last post that Saturday seemed really boring, because I was writing it retrospectively, and seems to have been completely overshadowed by Sunday.

At our hotel there were a pair of English BMW M3s. We got talking to them on the Sunday, and a little cheekily Dad asked if there was any chance we could have a lap out in one of the cars. They were dead happy to let us come along, so I jumped in the white one and Dad in the grey one.

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A few years ago Ranger took me on a lap out in the yellow Porsche, and that was rapid…

Rangers Porsche

Even though Dad is fast, the Subaru just lacks that bit of grunt that the Porsche has. Up until now, that was the fastest lap I’ve ever been on (and my harness popped open halfway round, so I was clinging on for dear life).

But then it all changed with these BMs!

I’d never been in such a fast car that was so quiet! I knew they were noisy because they woke up the whole of the village we were staying in when they were started up, but once you were inside, it was eerily quiet. We followed the grey one out, and pretty much right away we had to pass it. I think it’s the only time I’ll ever pass Dad on the track, and his face was priceless. I knew straightaway he was after one.

The cars had paddle gearboxes so it just seemed like such a smooth ride: Andy wasn’t fighting with the gears or anything, and just chucked it into corners, and the car just gripped. Trees, Armco, cars were all just flying past in a blur, and yet it was so quiet inside! Though I’m sure it sounded monstrous on the track.

I can’t remember what the lap with Ranger was, but Dad was getting 8:30 laps, and my lap in the white BMW was 7:44, which was the fastest lap I’ve ever been on, and that was in quite heavy traffic in parts.

We swapped round and I got two half-laps in the grey one, coming off at Eddie’s in Adenau to refuel.

Afterwards, we saw Dad’s friend Rob who has the red Subaru Impreza Spec C, and we told him that that was it! Subarus were up for sale, selling all our worldly belongings – we were after one of these BMs!

I’ve split this Sunday post into two parts, as a lot seemed to happen. So keep your eyes peeled!

Another Video! Nurburgring Chase-Me

Here’s another video Dad put up on Youtube that has the grand total of 3 views, so I thought I’d help him out…

Dad is in the black Hatch, and the camera is in the red Spec C. It was meant to be a pursuit style video, with Rob staying behind the whole time, however Russell in the Evo didn’t get the memo, and comes barging in right at the beginning.

What we actually do at the Nurburgring… Video Easter 2014

This is what people think we do at the Nurburgring…

This is the new Calvin Harris tune, which I am loving atm. I think this idea of fast cars and scantily clad ladies is definitely what a lot of people go to the Nurburgring expecting, and are often a bit confused to find a great car park on a hill and a lot of posh posers in their Porsches who are never really going to chuck it around the track.

This is what we actually do at the Nurburgring…

This is a video of Dad chasing after his mate Rob, in the red Subaru Impreza. Occasional dialogue is supplied by Yours Truly!

Day 4 – Saturday

After the manic day of Kar Freitag, things calmed down a bit on Saturday. Because we had been in the field and had seen the carnage on the roads (traffic jams), we decided to do a bit of Loy-family scheming: Mum put the truck in the little gravel car park, within easy reach, and we put the two Subarus in the car park, where Dickie would for the most part remain as base camp, and where Dad could take his out and hopefully sneak it back in.

Writing this in hindsight, I can’t actually think of much that happened! But this is probably because I’m thinking too much about how amazing the Sunday was.

I did a lap just me and Dad in Dickie, and it was so much better than the day before’s. Dad didn’t have his telling-off voice on, probably because Mum wasn’t in the back and we didn’t have the camera on, and it was a lot more relaxed. I overtook two cars! And they were BMWs! They were taking it pretty steady, but still, a pass is a pass! I felt a lot better about it, though I’m still scared by a couple of corners where Dad says to stay out, stay out, stay out, and that bit of Armco is coming up very quickly!

We went to our old hotel again for dinner and had steaks again. Mum complained that they season them far too much with salt. We were also all confused by the strange dish that Sister brought out, which we all agreed looked mainly like dripping with salt crystals in it. Even Michael was confused by it. Michael brought us out apple strudels, which were amazing, and then we had drinks on him. They sure make vodka Sprites strong in Germany – half vodka, half Sprite! The lads tried to convince me to go out clubbing with them – I was too tired so rejected them (though I had to step in to make sure they didn’t leave their room key on the table in the hotel), and the next day they revealed that the club had been shut anyway!

All in all, Saturday sounds like it was a pretty boring day, but it was just the calm before the storm!

Day 3 – Kar Freitag

Good Friday seems to be the busiest day of the Easter weekend, and on a sunny day, spectator spots like Brunnchen and the car park on the hill are rammed with people and cars. Due to how busy it is, the day is a bad one for closures and accidents. Judging by yesterday evening’s events, the idiots are out in force. I have a feeling today might be more of a passenger day, and Dickie may be relegated to base camp!

Writing this retrospectively, Kar Freitag seems like ages ago!

We parked the three cars (Dickie, Dippy the Hatch and the truck) in the field. This was probably a bad idea. Because all of western Germany seems to descend upon the Nurburgring like they have nothing better to do, the roads around the track are absolutely rammed. We’ve travelled on Good Friday before, and the road we used to take to the hotel involved going along the road past Brunnchen, probably the biggest viewpoint on the whole track, and it was literally car park city going up the hill, and Dad about cooked the clutch on the truck. Friends of ours were travelling on the Friday and got stuck in traffic even before they’d gotten off the motorway.

From our park on the hill, we could see the extent of the queue. The road up to Nurburg and the entrance to the track, and down to the junction to go to the fastest petrol station in the world or into Adenau etc., were soon absolutely rammed either way by about mid morning. I don’t know how well you can see on the picture:

Kar Freitag

You can see how full the field is all the way down to the road, and how the road is then queued going up to the right towards the track, and to the left going away from the track. The traffic going away from the track barely moved all day!

Kar Freitag is never a good track-time day. Due to the volume of cars there are often many closures, and the longer a closure goes on for, the more angsty and hyped-up the drivers become, so that almost straightaway you can pretty much anticipate a second closure because somebody got a bit carried away and lost it. I’m sure there are plenty of videos on Youtube of Car Friday crashes if you did a quick search!

I actually got a lap out in Dickie, and it was the worst lap I think I’ve ever done. There was so much traffic on the track and I got scared when about seventy Porsches were all passing me at once. Kar Freitag wasn’t the best day, and it didn’t end very well.

We went to our old hotel for dinner, and I got to have my first proper steak! So that sort of made up for it. The one thing I don’t like about eating out in pubs in Germany is that everyone smokes inside, so the air is so thick with smoke it makes your eyes water and all your clothes stink of it.

Steak Nurburg

Here is a pic of our Steak Nurburg! In Germany, or at least in this part of Germany, they love to put fruit on their steaks. Here we have a peach, but we’ve had pineapples, strawberries, grapes. People do think this is weird, but then again, we have Hawaiian pizzas – ham and pineapple! Gammon and pineapple slices! Cranberry sauce with your turkey! Duck in orange/plum/lemon sauce!