Today started with our first meal at Eddy's hotel and a disappointing lack of donuts at the breakfast table. A selection of bread, meat, cheese and eggs had to suffice instead. 

Once fed, with the track not open til late afternoon we had the day to wander round the area and do some exploring. Matt called the passenger seat in the Honda only to suffer a topalwaysdown related injury minutes later when a random branch fell into the car hitting him in the face. First stop was the Dottinger Hohe ED petrol station, a quick visit to look at the vast collection of model cars for sale, none of which were MR2s, S2000s, MX-5s or Clios... 

A short distance up the road, the next stop was the ghost town of the 'Ring boulevard complex. Stickers were purchased and we wandered around the empty centre with only the Nissan showroom and Race Room open. Since we couldn't find our way into the grandstands to watch the GP circuit, we instead used some free time to have a race on the simulators. Qualifying seemed to go fairly well for me, though the 10 seconds to choose a car resulted in me driving a manky Marcos. The race was another matter. Matt soon found his way to the front, while Woz and Rich battled for second. Further back, a large off had seen my car reset facing the wrong way, losing me valuable time and from the back of the field I began to chase down the AI drivers before coming across Adam's Spyker. I passed only to slide off soon after, though rejoining the track a few corners later I got back in front when the same happened to Adam. After half a lap of mirrors full of Spyker, I began to edge away and catch fifth place. My second lap of the two lap race was much more successful with now major offs and coming into the Dottinger Hohe straight I was catching fourth before the game cut out. 

We made our way back to the car park where only one child was immature enough to get sideways on the empty gravel. Erm.... Guilty! I made an unscheduled stop down the road to check on opening times for the Brauhaus, which unfortunately found it to be closed not just for the day but for the foreseeable future. No metre long sausage this time then. 

More disappointment came just round the corner in the back roads of the GP circuit where a barrier prevented me going to the Sudschleife as planned and a closed gate thwarted our effort to get into the grandstands to watch. We parked up and first watched a bit of the skid pan action. This consisted of under steering Octavias and CLKs plus a lad in a 5 Series Touring who got it sideways every time. I did the usual of convincing the group to walk the route despite the miserable weather. We soon found ourselves walking through the trees along the old Sudschleife route. Half and hour later and much more tired we reached the cars again. 

We took the short drive down to Adenau in the search of lunch. Finding most places closed. My idea of bratwurst mit pommes and curry ketchup wasn't to be. Further into the town, I used a parking space that I wasn't sure about on the premise that "I'd parked there once before and my car had still been there when I came back". Lunch was served at the Blaue Ecke in the middle of town. I got my schnitzel fix, Adam played it safe with a burger and the others has spaghetti. The waiter became the second German of the day to have a sense of humour joking with us about our salad dodging and giving Rich a firm but joking "No!" when Rich asked "Can I have..." 

Our next task was to attempt to get stickers from the breakdown and recovery company KFZ Bongard, something that friends had managed to do in the past. A little lost in translation we eventually figured that these were no longer available. Still we had chance to nose around a mainly carbon covered Evo that had clearly had an expensive off, plus a Gumpert hiding in a showroom next door. 

After a quick detour back to the hotel, we drove up the long bumpy track to the viewing point at Adenauer Forst where we spent an hour watching the test cars going round. Today there were lovely sounding M135s, a Discovery with the tyres constantly squealing, a very graceful Rolls Royce Ghost coupe and amongst others, the same Supra and IS200 combo that I had seen lapping last November. Almost forgot to mention the F Type too. Want! 

It was getting late and almost time for out hour long stint of public session, so we picked up the remaining cars from the hotel and made our way to the entrance. Initially, it looked as though our time had been cut short and we were limited to half an hour, though at 5:30 an announcement came over the tannoy that included the word Nordschleife and people started to move. Rich was the most keen and wasted no time in getting out. Matt waited around the car park while I took Woz as passenger with Adam following. 

The track was a little damper than the day before, but the initial series of kinks in the lead up to Tiergarten felt grippy and the S2000 was taken to 9k in seconds and third. I cut the white line on the way into the first right hander, remarking at the time at how the track felt "OK" and with that the back end came round like a pendulum and I was left rather embarrassingly on the grass on the inside of the corner facing the wrong way. As Adam came round I could see the look on his face was partly of laughing at me and patly fear that if I'd come off, what hope did he have? 

As soon as the traffic allowed, I got the car back on track facing the right way, took the next right at T13 and then left before going down the hill and essentially doing a carbon copy just 30 seconds after the first spin. I did me well, giving me more respect for the car, I completed the rest of the lap at near to 30mph, being overtaken by a Mondeo estate, an Insignia and a 1.6 Golf. Made me realised my four up overtake of a VX220 last year in the Rallye wasn't quite the achievement I'd thought. 

With the S2000 back in the car park and the only damage to my pride, I could at least see the funny side and soon found out that Rich had done exactly the same in the first corner. I was doing no more laps, though Matt was now going to go out and serial nutcase Rich wanted more. 

The MR2s followed me to Brunnchen for some spectating. I attempted to get the S2000 on three wheels a la Rallye, though this was not to be. Woz ignored me parking further back and carried on soon followed by a loud scraping noise and a slightly battle scarred front splitter. As we stood on the trackside with our cameras I told the others that this corner was where they were most likely to see a crash. And we weren't disappointed. 

Matt came round safely first, a little understeer from the Clio but powering away with a lovely exhaust note. 30 seconds later the MX-5 pop up lights came into view and as he exited the first part of Brunnchen the back end swung right out sending Rich into a well held (whether partly luck or not) 360 degree spin. A loud "LOL" from Woz and a thumbs up from Rich ad he was safe to carry on. The German spectators also found this very amusing. 

We set out to find Matt and Rich in the hope that they had completed the rest of the lap safely and were relieved to see them coming towards us back on the road. It was back to the hotel again to recover from the trauma and enjoy video of the MX-5 pirouetting through Brunnchen on repeat. 

A safer task for the day was the five minute drive to Pinocchio's Pizzeria for the infamous "regular" pizzas. Rich had unfinished business to complete with an XXL while Woz foolishly decided the regular wasn't enough despite the look on my face when I questioned him. Sure enough, the look on his face when confronted with a 10" pizza was quite amusing. 

Adam and Matt conquered their 15" regulars despite Matt having gone for the hot option. I saved some for breakfast and both Woz and Rich managed a valiant 75%. This means Rich still needs to come back again! 

We let them both recover for an hour before wrapping up warm in hats and blankets and taking a walk up the track, fuelled by Bitburger. The racing line was discussed at Kallenhard where the dots were found on the turn in and apex points and as we returned down the track our scavenging efforts left Matt with a carbon airbox, Rich with some Halfords looking mesh and Adam with most of the front end of a race car... 

We all survived the ascent of the slippery barrier and made it back to the hotel before all of our phones that had been lighting the way died. 
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We found a Shell!
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Enough pizza to feed a small country
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Steilstrecke "seemed like a good idea"
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The aftermath of the 24"
Tom
17/10/2012 01:30

Fantastic Blog as ever James! Jealous!

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