Ring trip March 2012 – epilogue

It’s been a while now since we came back from the Mecca of Motorsport.  I still haven’t edited any videos, maybe that will never happen.  That insidious four letter word beginning with W and rhyming with Berk always gets in the way.  Oh, and beer, obviously, but I can forgive that a lot more.

So this post exists purely to flush the buffer of Stuff-I-Wanted-To-Say, that didn’t quite make it into the previous blustery marathon.  And maybe there’ll be some wistful nostalgia because, as usual, I have been drinking, and that’s where your nostalgia comes from when you’re still the pert side of 40.

OK, so what have we got in the unused pile? Well, there’s one detail that was bugging me.  After we’d been kicked off the track for the day, they opened the track for Touristenfahrten, which means anyone can rock up and pay for a lap.  Only … they didn’t change the layout.  So if you happened to bimble up one evening for a lap or two and you knew the Nordschleife, you’d wang on down through Tiergarten and so on, and then you’d set the car up for turning right past the old pits, where the Nordschleife start/finish line is.  But all you’d find is a line of tyres blocking the track – you need to be on the right hand side of the road for the run onto the GP circuit.

There was no indication whatsoever at the Nordschleife entrance that they were running the VLN circuit instead of the regular Nordschleife (I checked) and even if there had been, who the hell knows what that means?  It’s most peculiar.  There must have been people that evening who thought they knew the track, but were unexpectedly fed into the GP circuit and didn’t have the slightest clue where they were supposed to be going because they’d never seen that portion of the track before.  How weird is that?!

I guess that’s part of the beauty of the place – it’s assumed that you can take responsibility for yourself.  Maybe that seems weird to me because in the UK we have so many nannying rules that whenever something goes wrong, people look for somebody else to blame.  It can’t be our fault because we’ve stuck to the myriad rules (largely), so it must be someone else’s fault.  That attitude is so very wrong and counter-productive, but it wins votes in this broken country so that’s the way it is.

Did I just start talking politics?  Ah bollocks.  Sorry about that.  Let’s get back to dicking about in cars.

First, a couple of gratuitous shots of the Karussell, for no reason other than it’s cooool :)

(Above) from the helmetcam in the Elise.


And this one’s from the Roadhawk.


Now, some shots from the passenger side of Nigel’s gorgeous 458:

(Above) A quick perv at Sabine Schmitz as we burble into the pit lane.

Through one of the wide open corners on the GP circuit.


Doing some grass-tracking through the GDK chicane.


The first corner after you hit the Nordschleife (whatever it’s called).


A Z4 M coupe, somewhat reluctant to move over at Aremberg.

Ah, there he goes.


Waving at the crowd at Brunnchen.  Being German they probably thought the wheel was on the left of the car and I was being very irresponsible waving like a simpleton at them whilst driving through Brunnchen.  Crazy Englanders.  Snicker.


A mobile road-block with apparently no indicators – the press Litchfield Nissan GTR (not the one that crashed).

At the end of the 458 lap, that loony orange M3 that we mentioned before did something very naughty indeed.  Here we’re approaching a Suzuki Swift, wondering why he’s pulled over only the width of a 458-and-a-fag-packet to let us by.  Well, at least, I’m wondering from the passenger seat – Nigel’s on top of things but I have no idea at this point.

We pull alongside as Nigel comments incredulously on somebody I can’t see…

and then …

vashoom …

Holy bear-tits … the lunatic orange M3 takes both of us on the wrong side.  Bloody good job the Swift saw that move coming or they’d still be peeling bits of knob-head off the track now…

and he’s away into the distance.  Coming soon to an obituary near you.

Well, that’s the 458 ride done with.  That was fun.  Back to something a bit slower now.

I’ve banged on at length about how the tatty old MX5 with its wobbly rear tyres hilariously handles like a pensioner on ice skates, but I haven’t yet posted proof.  So here’s some.

In many of these pictures the car’s going in the opposite direction to the steering wheel.  They’re only snapshots, carefully chosen for the optimum steering angle to look as cool as possible.  I wasn’t drifting like a god through these bends.  But in forty years’ time, when I’m sitting in my bath chair shouting at pigeons, these will be the photos I look at and remember that yes, I have lived.  I pursued my passions.  I did spend my youth doing what I loved.  And yes, I look at these photos now and I think, halle-fucking-lujah.  I’m doing it right now.  I really am.  This is what I want to be doing with my life and I’m actually fucking doing it.  Yes, I have to spend 80% of the year earning enough money to do be able to do it, but it’s worth it.


(Above) Whole heaps of sideways through the “shortcut” on the GP circuit.


MX5 being passed by mad racing 911 on the GP circuit.


Exiting the GDK chicane on the GP circuit.  Turning right, steering left.


Leaving the GP circuit, onto the Nordschleife.  Sideways.


Passed at Hocheichen by … what the hell is that?  A Vauxhall Signum?!?!  Where’s the delete button…


Turning right with the wheel turned left … at Hocheichen.


Blue flag means there’s someone faster coming up behind.  Yes, thanks Mr Marshal, that’s why I’m on the right and indicating right…


… being passed by Batman’s Ginetta approaching Schwedenkreuz.


MX5 hitting v-max down to the Foxhole.  Look at that speedo pointing at the floor!


Entering Adenauer Forst wagging the tail.


Drifty drifty Adenauer Forsty.


Exiting Adenauer Forst, still sideways.


Steering completely the wrong way through Kallenhard.


Sliding through the tightest corner on the track – Wehrseifen.

Elise passing the mobile chicane Club GT M5 climbing out of Ex-Muhle.


Passed by a Caterham at Kesselchen.


Passed by a 458 Italia approaching Klostertal.


The new astroturf just before Hohe Acht.  Lethal in the rain, apparently.


Taking oodles of kerb at Wipperman.


Sideways going into the Brunnchen viewing area.


Sideways coming out of the Brunnchen viewing area.


Sideways through Eiskurve having just been overtaken by an M3.


Passed by the V8 Atom … phwooarrrr …


Passed by a sexy and NOISY Gallardo Superleggera.


Elise passing a GT2 at Galgenkopf.  Hee hee!


Sliiiightly sideways through Galgenkopf.


Elise passing a Megane at Dottinger-Hohe.


MX5 hits v-max down the straight.


Hands up who’s been overtaken by a Megane whilst at v-max.  Just me?


Elise speedo reading 120mph at Antoniusbuche.  Didn’t know it went that fast!


Sideways again through the GP circuit shortcut on the (ahem) cool-down lap.  And there’s your lap of the VLN circuit complete.

And relax.

And smile.