So, I think since I last posted anything car-related we’ve gone on a couple of Nurburgring trips! The most recent was in May of this year, and it was different, for quite a few reasons – some sad, and some joyous.
One wonderful reason was for this lady who was my co-driver, passenger, wingwoman, shotgun and general all-round splendid beauty and now honorary member of the “Jallanby” clan, Miss Scatty Jallanby herself, Stephanie Glaves!! (cue rapturous applause) Steffi came, despite (at the time) being a non-car-driver on a car holiday. She very valiantly put up with my driving, my music, and the general specific oddness of the Nurburgring, and I love her ever so much for it, and we had the best time ever, and I am proud to say that now she has got her provisional driving licence and has had at least one driving lesson. Go Steffi go!!
A sadder reason was that we lost Grandad earlier in this year. For many years Grandad was my Dad’s passenger and co-driver – long before I rekindled my interest in cars, Grandad always went with Dad for the biannual pilgrimage to the Nurburgring, and I think he proudly held the mantle of oldest and fastest man around the Ring. I know there will definitely be some photographs on computers somewhere out in the world of this old chap snoring his head off in a Subaru Impreza. Grandad loved going to Germany and definitely was one of the “boys”; the trip felt very strange without him being there, whether it was him laughing at all the stupid shenanigans we get up to, or else muttering about the rock-hard bread or the steak he couldn’t chew, or even for pinching Dad’s glasses for an entire trip. It was a sad occasion but John (or “JC” as I think he is globally known) made these fantastic stickers for us and so Dad and I had our cars wear them with pride.
Another big change was… Dad didn’t go in the Spec C. Nooo! He went in something else… we call it “Redzilla” – yep, Dad has gone and bought a Nissan GTR!
It’s been something he’s dreamt of I think for a good long while. And boy, was it rapido! Bear in mind that Dad knows the Nurburgring inside and out, but the GTR is a very different car to a Subaru – I think my advice to Dad of “take it easy” was fairly sensible! And I’m usually the one going, “go on Dad go on faster do the Ring Taxi do the Ring Taxi!” (actual dialogue). I think judging by the massive grin on Dad’s face he kind of liked his new car (never fear, he still has the Spec C of “fuck me, that was lucky” fame!), and we had some pretty epic laps, including of course chasing the Ring Taxi. Funny how keeping pace with the Ring Taxi was always the big thing to do, and now it’s like see yaaaa. Now I couldn’t find a gif of this scene from The Fast and The Furious, but I found a clip of it:
This has got to be the most quoteable movie ever, and I think Dad and I could just quip it back and forth for the whole film.
We had a great big group of us going – we took up the whole hotel, and I think we all had an ace time.
I think I was getting better, and I even got a couple of “very good”s and “perfect”s off Dad, which is high praise indeed! Even though it was very strange having one member of our group missing, we all enjoyed ourselves, and I especially enjoyed having Steffi with us. It was scorching hot and we got interested sunburns. We weren’t especially impressed with the new car park politics going on – particularly when the Ring Taxi Porsche nearly reversed into the car waiting to exit the car park directly behind it. But no near misses happened and we all got back home in one piece, which is, as always, the most important thing. I’m still chasing that 10 minute lap, and now I think Dad’s chasing that sub-8 minute lap. Preparations are being made for the next trip, so watch this space!
Some families go to the same place every year for their jollies. It can be a specific Center Parcs, or the same place in the Lakes; or always to the Costa del Sol, the south of France… you get the idea. There is something about the familiarity of revisiting the same place that people like. I imagine there is something in human nature about it. Granted that there are those who constantly strive for change: from my work I meet so many people who thrive in this nomadic lifestyle. It’s just something I’ve never been interested in. A bit of familiarity! Much better.
We are no different when it comes to our holidays. Except I wouldn’t necessarily classify our biannual trip abroad as a “holiday” as such… there isn’t much relaxing that goes on.
Twice a year we go to the Nurburgring in Germany. This year we went at the end of August on a hot busy weekend. This is a driving holiday and a racing holiday: we drive all the way there, hit the track on the evening of the Friday and then all day Saturday and Sunday, make a leisurely procession back on Monday, and then I was sat at my desk at 9am fresh from the boat… or maybe not so fresh. It’s a pretty intense weekend, for all that there is a fair bit of standing and waiting around during the day.
What we did at the Nurburgring
Aside from getting plenty of laps in, we did some touristy things. We went up to the castle of Nurburg, something we’ve tried to do before, except – in true Loy fashion – always on the days it was closed. Because we arrived mid afternoon on the Friday and the track wasn’t open until 5, we had ample time to climb up to the castle, and then climb up the rickety scaffolding, and then climb up the tower itself. I love that in the middle of the Nurburgring you have such an old castle (I forget how old, and I can’t be bothered to get up and find our little tour guide, so lazy); that’s a highly inelegant way of phrasing that as well. I’ll start over. Part of the beauty I think about the Nurburgring is this huge contrast between history and modernity; contrast of power in a feudal sense and power in terms of horses. I love that you can be in the middle of a forest, blanketed either side with trees, and then all of a sudden see wire fencing and a bunch of fast cars go zooming past. There’s nowhere else quite like it, or at least set up quite like it.
I have discovered that I still need a little more practice with my camera to get it to work as best it can. But I think these are some good snaps from the castle.
Laps of the Nurburgring
It feels like a really long time we were there. I had three good-ish (for me) laps, and one not so good, and Dad had a good lot of laps. I felt like I was getting a bit better till I had a bad lap, which threw me a little, but I’ve done a track day at Blyton since we’ve been back and feel a little better.
Blah blah blah… where are the cars, right?
Yes I did take a bunch of photos of cars as well! There is a mix of flash and not so flash, unusual and your standard Ring fare. See if you can spot a couple of familiar ones as well!
It’s turned out to be a bit of a disjointed post I’m afraid! It’s taken, well, six weeks to write! I’ve been pretty busy – not to mention I was missing a computer for a while, and once you get out of it, it’s hard to get back in.
The funniest part… funniest? or maybe strangest, or scariest… was seeing my Dad lose his rag at mostly everyone we were with. Poor Grandad got a bit of a rollicking for not eating his dinner (cue me and Mum trying to finish as much of ours as we possibly could so we didn’t get told off too) but then it snowballed from there and almost everybody was getting a tongue lashing – and to think, the evening had started off with such calm, with the Dalai Llama’s second there and everything! I do kind of get Dad’s point though: it’s all good and well bragging about your car with this much bhp and the magic switch and all this, and it being all set up for track (whether that be, ahem, stickered up or stripped out), but if you can’t get that much faster – or much near – a supposed family saloon car without much at all done to it, are you really even trying? I don’t brag that my car is fast because I know its driver isn’t 🙂 but the main thing for me is that I get to drive home in Dickie and bits aren’t dropping off him here there and everywhere. And I got to do my four laps, and am inching closer to the first benchmark time.
Besides, I think I’m going to get this T-shirt, from Bridge to Gantry, and wear it with pride!
We went to the Nurburgring not so long ago… for friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you might have guessed! But I was bad with blogging in anticipation, and if I was bad prior the holiday, I’ve been even worse now that we’ve come back. I wish I could blame it on work or even doing some serious writing, but in all honesty, I’ve been a busy bee with a bustling social life! I’ve been to watch a football match, I went to a movie premiere (at Cineworld in Hull – not quite Leicester Square, but there was a red carpet!), I’ve been out a few times, and I’ve even been to the cinema. We took Bilbo to a Fun Dog Show, I went to see Katherine Ryan in Hull, and then Dad and I went down to London to get Dickie Mark II! So it’s been all go. My garden has been hugely abandoned and as such I’ve messed up a load of things (rocket, lettuces…), I have beastly other things (beans and cabbages), and haven’t prepared anything for the Horticultural Society market stall this weekend. Eep!
But that’s not why I’m here.
Here I’m going to tell you about Nurburgring Trip 2015.
One of two, I hope!
***I apologise in advance for my appalling Germany – I mean, I try! But I think half of the time I am making the words up.***
I started writing this when I was sat in the hotel on the Sunday afternoon, still on our trip. I got halfway through and then stopped, and I’ve not managed to pick it up again. I wasn’t going to do a daily recap post for each day (and I think the momentum has sort of faded for that!), but I was writing a big mega post.
No such luck now!
I took my new camera with me and took loads of pictures. So I think what I’ll do here is a mashup of photo galleries – of our cars and other cars, and general Germany stuff – and a bit of holiday recap. It was an eventful holiday, even if it feels like a million years ago now; I’ll try to keep it brief. I know, I’ve written about two hundred words (can’t count) of nonsense thus far. Blame it on the wine!
Music: I will upload a separate post about the soundtrack to this year’s trip! Once I get round to making my playlist on Spotify.
Pictures & Recap: will be found below!
Thursday: I was at work during the day, and then I followed Lousie Brown to the rendezvous point; a pub near the docks that was apparently some sort of drug den. Scary face. It was 2 for 1 meals though!! Yorkshire through and through.
I parked up next to another fellow classic (I can’t remember if it was white or silver); but when we came out, I had this friend! A 350Z (we call it a “Tim car” after someone we knew who had one) with the most violent violet wheels: the photo doesn’t quite capture how far in the spokes bend. Dickie may not be as new or as fancy, but I think he looks pretty fine!
What is it that Brian says to Mia in the first (and best) Fast & Furious movie? “How did the gang come together?” And she tells him off and says they’re a “team”.
Here is our gang!
So as you can see, we’re a Japanese team! With a heavy Subaru leaning – of course! These are taken from the prime “entry/exit” spot (zufahrt!), otherwise known as the most congested piece of German road: most congested, and most populated by fancy sports cars. I think Dickie looks pretty good!
But! I hear you ask – where is the black car?!
This time round, Dad didn’t go in “the car from the video”, and instead went in the “hot hatch”… so hot it was that it burst into flames!
Or not quite.
I told Dad it was bad luck sticking the “I’ve done it 2015” Ring sticker on the back of the hatch before it had actually done it. I did! And look what happened.
Friday: It was our second lap. We’d driven all the way there in a convoy of sorts: two trucks towing trailers, then Dickie and the Civic. We had braved the mad traffic in Venlo and caused so many problems doing a massive U-turn across a congested dual carriageway; we got lost when you weren’t allowed to come off the 1 to the Nurburgring and no alternative routes were in sight. We got to the track and I went out with Dad for his first lap. He said it was “orrible”! I was sat trying to pay attention to how he went into corners and what speed he could go at them, but in the end I just ended up being chucked around and having a right good time.
Dad was coming down from the roundabout when I leapt in for a second lap. We should have known something was up when the Go Pro wouldn’t work, but no! You’re in game mode – or should that be Ring mode?
For the first part we seemed to be flying; I was being flung around in the passenger seat, quite happy. Then things started to go wrong: Dad was easing off, things were passing us, and suddenly all this smoke came billowing out of the back; it lost power and went onto three cylinders (so Dad tells me anyway!). Dad pulled us over at Steinstrecke, which is at the bottom of the Carousel – a pretty fast corner where there isn’t much run off at all. Dad got out, bonnet up, and then the car filled up with thick stinking smoke and I thought he was trying to gas me! All the while we’re at the edge of the track with cars hurtling past us at ridiculous speeds. I scramble across to the other side to get out (I think a Porsche would have snatched the door out of my hands if I’d opened the passenger side!), while my phone had no signal and 8% battery. I rang and texted all I could, and then two of our friends came shooting past, Dad flagging them down. The opposite side of the track is a little lay-by for marshal cars to pull into: the two Subarus quickly reversed in there and Dad and I ran across the track (not recommended at all!) to beg for help.
What turned out to be an ‘undercover’ marshall car turned up: a lad and a lass got out and pulled a yellow flag out of the boot. We were told to stay where we were, and our friends told off for stopping, and told to leave. The undercover marshals, in a brilliant fluorescent green old-style Megane, rang for the proper marshals: they turned up, with news that the track was closed anyway.
I think in all my years as a passenger I’ve only ever genuinely stopped on the track itself once before, and that was on the first lap I went on when I started coming to the circuit again. Then a little MX5 I think it was slammed into the Armco in front of us: clearly it had been a little too occupied in looking in its mirrors at what we were doing behind it, rather than concentrating on where it was meant to be going and what it should have been doing. This time we were the last people on the track; it was eerily quiet. I went to stand out in the middle of the tarmac, looking at the writing on the road. If I’d had more battery on my phone I would have taken more photos! I think in all the racetracks in all the world (not that I have experienced many in my little life!) the Nurburgring has to be one of the nicest ones to end up stopped on: the corner we were on was in deep forest; at the right side, over the Armco (where we should have stood, and were later chastised for not doing so), there was about a foot or less of genuine ground, before a huge drop into a wooded chasm. The other side, the trees scaled the hills upwards: a track led down from the wood to the edge of the track, and it looked a serious steep climb.
The proper marshals rang for a recovery truck. Dad had asked our friends to get a tow-rope from out of the truck, but the track had shut before they had a chance. So Dad and I waited for the bright yellow recovery truck to come and collect us. We took a sad face selfie and then we were recovered! I’ve never gone for a ride round the second half of the Nurburgring in a truck before – the driver didn’t chuck it into the Carousel, though that would have been a right laugh.
The Eye Candy:
Every year it’s the same. We go to the Nurburgring, get all excited about doing loads of laps and being awesome, and then you get there and remember it’s a lot of standing around, sitting around, waiting while the track is closed, or dithering about trying to decide whether or not to join the queue.
I swear on Friday the queue went all the way back up the last straight and snaked round the corner. Every year the Touristenfahrten days get bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and yet the exit strategy is the same: everyone must queue either for another lap (stay on track) or else to leave the track: basically you siphon off into two lanes, one of which is basically to go out for another lap. The lane to get off the track then goes up a hill (past the Devil’s Diner) to a mini roundabout, where people seem to spend half their time in an eternal loop.
So while the Ring is shut or so busy that Katy and Dickie daren’t head out, I instead fired up my camera and went looking for totty. No not boys! We’re looking for cars.
Saturday: My Laps
This year I wanted to work on my confidence. Yeah I was giving it all “I’ll be doing sub-10 minute laps” when chatting up boys but in all honesty, I just wanted to get through a lap without freaking out/nearly crashing/being eaten alive by Porsches/wanting to bail out of the car and run into the forest.
I only did 2 laps. I know, that doesn’t sound like much at all. But for me they were two pretty good laps. The first one was really good; the second one had a really annoying mysterious caution that messed it up, otherwise I think I would have been on it. Sunday morning I could have done a few more but I think I’d been hitting the wine in Pinocchio’s a bit much the night before so I was still abed.
My first lap was so good – OK so I messed up gear changes, and got passed by lots, but I still had me a Porsche and a Rent for Ring! So pretty chuffed with that. But I felt so much more confident: I felt a lot surer about what Dickie could do, and when stuff was passing me, I wasn’t freaking out and coming to a total standstill: I eased off and just let them pass, and then once they’d all gone, I got back on it. Dad wasn’t yelling at me hardly at all, so that’s a definite improvement. In fact, I think his biggest complaint was that I didn’t get close enough to the ticket barrier!
Last year when I got half way round I used to be thinking, “right, I’ve had enough now, I’m tired”. But this time round, when we got to the mini Carousel, I was thinking “this can’t be right, we can’t be nearly done now!” After we’d finished the lap, I actually felt like I could go out again! I loved it – it was absolutely brilliant. I can totally see why everybody loves this place so much. It’s absolutely terrifying, and I think you’re not right in the head if you’re not scared of it (I mean, sure you can be an OK driver, but what about the hundred other cars on track with you?), but the head rush and adrenaline is just incomparable. I love it and can’t wait till August now!!
Sunday: was a bit of a washout, unfortunately. I was rough as anything in the morning (Pinocchio wine!!!) and then it just rained all afternoon. We went to an ice cream parlour in the afternoon so that was fun! Then it was our last Steak Nurburg of the trip… except some of us (Grandad and me) had schnitzel instead.
Monday: we came home! Epic journey home. Though in the morning we went into Adenau for the obligatory Rewe Getrankmart trip. We got lots of nice German wine and Dad got his Bitburgers, then we spent ages in the Rewe itself looking for the amazing chip spice they put on their fries. Nom! Then it was home time, and I was at my desk by 8.30am Tuesday morning!
Sorry it’s taken such a long time to post. I had such a brilliant time – I did some good laps in Dickie, got to have a ride in a breakdown truck, and also got to meet my idol, Dale Lomas of Bridge to Gantry!
Can’t wait for August now! Here are some non-car-themed pics!
***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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
**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!
My everyday car is a bright yellow Seat Ibiza… I lusted after the yellow Renault Megane Sport, despite its jawdropping price tag (Dad told me I wasn’t allowed one!)… my favourite clothes tend to be bright yellow… I seem to have a thing about yellow, despite it being a colour that is not exactly the best shade for my skin tone. So it comes as no surprise that I love the new yellow Cayman GT4!
The new advert popped up on bridgetogantry today and it was a nice break from the snow-locked landscape I find myself in.
It’s a pretty flashy advert. I love the prowling feline image of the car, lurking round corners. The ordinary Germans on their day-to-day lives, being somewhat creepily stalked by a purring flash of yellow and a naughty graffiti artist. Then on bridgetogantry, they exposed the falseness of the Nurburgring section! Obviously I knew it was fake all along… obviously. Well, in all honesty, I thought it looked more ‘gamey’, rather than an unfamiliar corner: they rendered the track I should really know best to be a stretch of road and corners, indistinguishable from any other.
Check out the advert below.
Pretty sure the Nurburgring was already fairly cool, but I don’t know; correct me if I’m wrong.
All the same, the Cayman GT4 is one sexy beast! If any car can be termed that highest of compliments, “the sex”, then this one must come pretty close.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!!
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!
If you are familiar with the Ring at all, then you’ll know about the Ring Taxis.
These are beefy BMW M5s that lurk around in the car park and then clear everything out of the way on the track. They are ridiculously expensive and you just get the one lap passengering, so if it’s a wet lap or if there’s a caution out, it’s like seeing your Euros go dribbling down the drain.
Sabine was once a Taxi driver, though no longer: they tend to be cynical-looking bored BMW dudes who look a bit dry round the edges.
Because cars in front of them tend to roll over out of the way (me included!), if you follow the Ring Taxi, you get a relatively quick lap, as it’s done all the hard work for you! This appears to be one of my father’s favourite games on track, and he videoed the lap here:
It was going to be I think a Jap-Attack lap, but I think Dad just saw the Taxi and was like, right, we’re off!
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.
A few years ago Ranger took me on a lap out in the yellow Porsche, and that was rapid…
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!