The day started so well. We bathed in German sunlight yet again, the temperature was nice and mild. As fist task of the day, Rich wanted some money from the bank and all of us wanted some paint (for obvious reasons). It was only a short drive into the centre of Adenau, where we would need to find parking. Our usual spot by Pinocchio's was taken (being right next to the school on a school day), our next effort asked for a debit card on entry, which didn't work and eventually we found a small section on the side of the road just big enough to squeeze a pair of MR2s and an S2000 into.
Rich got his money after a couple of attempts and then while walking down the road we found a guy in a fox costume waving at the traffic, promoting something. For unknown reasons, we had to get our photo taken with him. He was very cooperative although you could tell he wasn't smiling inside.
Paint was the next objective. We found our way down to the fan shop where a variety of stickers were bought, Woz still not able to find another plain black one. The shop owner was only too happy to sell us three cans of white paint to deface the track with, even giving us advice on the best paint, though it was clear that the see through bag was an effort to expose us as we walked back to the cars.
It was then up to the visitors centre one more time, having just enough free tickets to get entry to the Ring Werk museum. I didn't know what to expect from this as I'd never stumped up the €20 entrance charge, and whilst it wasn't worth paying for, it was good enough as a freebie. We had our photos taken with previous race winners, a few laps on Gran Turismo 5, and some more random games, including a completely weird teacup style ride with laser guns and no clear objective. Needless to say, I came last! I had an urge to put a #topalwaysdown sticker on an F1 car, but couldn't be sure there were no cameras. Finally, we watched a ten minute video explaining the corners of the track from back in the day when there were no barriers, very surreal.
It was back into the empty boulevard again and into the Race Room for a rematch next. I wasn't going to be hindered by the car this time. I quickly chose a DB9R and raced out of the pits on qualifying, chased by a sideways R8, a Zonda and a Gumpert that appeared to be a handful! The Aston didn't let me down. I saw no one all through the qualifying and the race was similar, Rich coming within 7 seconds of me at one point before spinning and allowing me to stretch the gap to 15 seconds.
Now lunchtime, the Subway next door was the easiest option. One guy single handedly running the place was stretched to his limit but we all eventually got served.
From here, it was onwards to Kerpen, deliberately ignoring the satnav so to get a drive through the town and out onto the twisty roads to Altenahr and though it's infamous tunnels. VTEC in a tunnel is an amazing sound.
Before long we were onto the autobahn on the look out for the derestricted sign. Our first section was limited to 120kph, though with 5 miles before out exit, a derestricted section came up. I held back knowing we only had five minutes, but the MR2s sped off into the distance for a high speed run just a mile before the exit. Luckily Rich had seen my indicator and I found the others slowly cruising down the slip road.
Minutes round the corner we turned up at the Michael Schumacher Kart Centre. Looking like pros with our own helmets, we booked onto two outdoor sessions and waited for our turns. We had ten minutes each time and plenty of German traffic to contend with. I found myself in a duel with Matt until suddenly he disappeared from view. I found him on the next lap stood on a corner with a wheel hanging off his kart. A lap later it was Rich's turn to wreck his kart. After a ten minute break we were out on another session. Much of the same including a duel with Matt again though this time with more contact and some mildly angry Germans... A final session saw us now on the indoor track, with a slippy floor ideal for drifting, and only a handful of Germans to get in our way. I started out not far behind Woz and Adam before they lost me and I ended up on my own for a minute then decided to get the kart sideways on a few corners to give Rich chance to catch up so we could have a bit of a battle.
The way back from Kerpen involved the same motorways as the run up, giving us a chance to stretch the legs of the cars. I flashed the hazards to let those behind know my intentions when I then dropped a gear and proceeded to hit 9k in fourth, then on to 5th and over 200kph before easing off for the traffic ahead. The MR2s continued reaching over 160mph and we spent the rest of our time slowing for each other to come past at high speed. Childish, but much fun. From here it was back through the tunnels. A quick spin around a junction bought us enough space from the traffic to enjoy the tunnels to ourselves. We reached the hotel as the sun set, only for Woz to announce that he'd had no clutch most of the way back. Ah, so the talk of going home on a tow truck wasn't so pessimistic after all. No more 'Ring time for Woz's MR2!
We had a brief stop at the hotel and then headed into town for food at Pinocchio's. The pizza seemed to have scared us from the other night, so the safe options of schnitzels, pasta and a calzone were ordered, except for Rich who couldn't help but order a pizza salami. He still couldn't manage even the regular size, leaving only a crust and a couple of slices of salami. Still did better than me as I had to offer out most of my generous portion of schnitzel. One or two Bitburger glasses may have gone walkies too...
Last task for the day was a drive up the bumpy Adenauer Forst track again amongst the deer to add our mark to the tarmac. I chose a large #topalwaysdown off the line on some clean tarmac, well in view of the spectator point. Winner! A selection of other tags were added, as was a Spitfire and a couple of fake apex dots. We then collectively used our phone LEDs to take a photo, only for Matt to glance and see headlights coming round the track. Run! There was mass panic as me and Rich launched over the barriers, the Brummies ran off into the woods and Matt casually sat behind the fence. A Volvo came into view, stopped and reversed. For a split second I thought we'd been seen but it then drove off away from us. I waited for a few seconds before me and Rich recovered ourselves and we gathered ourselves together. I'd bashed my leg on the barrier, given my phone a 'Ring battle scar and covered myself in crap off the bush I'd fallen into. Rich meanwhile looked like he'd been mauled by an animal. We raced to the cars and set off down the track, scared that someone was now after us.
It was worth it. I'd just got the photo I'd wanted before we had to run. On closer inspection it had seemed that this was a regular check, not someone specifically out after us. Certainly not something I've seen before here. We will lie in wait and see if they come round tomorrow.