Never mind. It was already sunny and warming up. The tonneau cover came out of the garage again and we were back off up the road once more. The car park was already filling up, but we secured prime positions and perused the cars again. At 9am sharp the tannoy announcement came and with that Rich wasted no time in making sure he was first on track. Matt had a lap left and was eager to use it, I sat shotgun to get a sighter lap and check how the track was.
Everything up to Adenauer Forst was reasonably dry. It was damp from Kallenhard down to the hotel and then in the usual spot at Bergwerk. Out of the trees it was dry again until we rounded the slight kink of Kesselchen to find mud and grass strewn over the track, parts of Giallo bodywork and 458 Italia driver with an expensive bill. We were waved through steadily and completed the rest of the lap with no issues, other than having to avoid a dead squirrel on Hohe Acht! It was a little damp in the usual places but nothing to stop me taking the Honda out.
Back in the car park, I waited for the Ferrari’s remains to be trailered through the gates, doing the parade of shame through the car park that everyone dreads. 15 minutes later and still no sign, I wanted to get a lap in while it was relatively quiet, now that enough cars had gone out to leave a comfortably dry line around most of the track. I took to the track, and the kerbs, taking Matt out for another ‘medium’ lap and with the camera running. There were still a few small damp patches to look out for and plenty of faster traffic, but the lap on the whole was much better. I slowed after Bergwerk in anticipation of the Ferrari incident still being there though it was now all cleaned up. The Artega ahead of me allowed me past and I continued on. I finished the lap having been overtaken by only a handful of cars, though going slowly up through Kesselchen had cost me time and I’d got an 11:18. The Rallye’s been faster than that. In the wet. Four up.
Rich and Adam were going out again. I liked the idea of laying in wait at Hatzenbach with the camera to get some photos of them. I led Matt out of the car park, through Nurburg village and down the back road past the GP circuit, then down into the Quiddelbach layby where we left him for me and Woz to pop back to the hotel for my camera. After driving down to the town and back, we parked in the layby and started the climb up the hill to find Matt at Hocheichen. Just around the corner we positioned ourselves at the letterboxes in the fence, with perfect view down into Hatzenbach and the GP complex in the background, only to find a lack of cars on the track. Two ambulances later it was clear that there had been another incident. We waited, until eventually I got the call from Rich that they had come to meet us in the layby. It was yet again back to the hotel and playing the waiting game for whatever had happened.
It was ideal time for lunch, and with Breidscheid now buzzing with people everywhere, the cafes were open. A strange contrast to just a couple of days before. Sausages were order of the day. As Matt and Woz went for the simple Currywurst, I made the same error I’d made last year and ordered a Bockwurst, only to have to wait 10 minutes for it not really to be worth the wait. Bratwurst next time! By the time I sat down, the others had moved onto Apfelstrudel.
The track reopened and I left them with their puddings to pop round to another photo postion, this time just down the road at Bergwerk. I clambered up the steep slope onto the viewing platform just in time to see the MX-5 go past, managing a few blurry shots without having time to adjust the camera settings. I waited a few minutes for the MR2, but as I had expected, he had been through the corner before I got there.
The afternoon was pressing on, I had one more card to use and Matt had also discovered another card which had a lap on. He made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. In tribute to Rack, the Clio now drove out onto the ‘Ring, on it’s two week birthday, with a full complement of driver and three passengers. Obviously no records were set, but it felt like a quick enough lap. Matt even took the high kerbs on the way out of Eiskurve. What a legend.
I took this as another sighter lap and with it being clear it was time for me to give Woz a proper passenger lap, facing the right way this time! This was a great lap, and my fastest of the week without a doubt. So much so that I ended up with a lot more brake fade on the downhill section from Metzgesfeld to Breidscheid and a nice judder of warped discs to go with it. I’d got more speed up to Steilstrecke and other than having to get out of the way of faster cars as always, kept a good line through most corners. The verdict: A 10:45. 15 seconds slower than the Rallye’s best (on a very quiet but dry November track). Damn.
It certainly felt faster, and there was most definitely more to be got from the S2000 but I think my talent was running out faster than the car’s. I had done my five laps and done enough. The car had survived and II wasn’t going out for that ‘one last lap’ that could end in tears. It left me with no doubt that I need better brakes and some more practice in a RWD car at tracks where the risk and consequence aren’t so high. Still, Woz had enjoyed the hot lap much more than the disaster of a few days earlier.
We regrouped in the field car park where Rich and Adam told us they had one more lap each. With that, me and Matt would now have chance to get some photos. It was back to Bergwerk for us, another scramble up the bank to be joined minutes later by a minibus full of Dutch guys. It was a bit cramped and uncomfortable but we waited. First, the MR2 came round. Rich in classic form pulling off an excellent pose in the passenger seat. Then came the worrying wait again, 15, maybe 20 minutes later and the MX-5 came into view, Woz taking the passenger seat for the final lap of the week. And we were done. As the sun set over the Eifel and the last few cars went out, the Touristenfahrten for the week was finished and the sad reality dawned that we would be returning to the UK the next day. At the hotel, we pushed Woz’s car into position to pose for a photo under the sign before it got too dark.
We had only one more mission for the week. The final supper. Matt had already nipped into the Pistenklause the day before and booked our table. We were sat in a cramped corner but it didn’t mattter. I don’t even know why the menus came out. Everyone was clearly decided on food a few days ago. That’ll be five fillet steaks then... This would be the only restaurant all week where everyone (including myself) would clear the plates (or stones in this case), and the portions are certainly not what I’d call small. I savoured every last slice. With no appearance from the blonde waitress, Adam and Rich went back to start packing. Matt and Woz got on the apple strudles again, while I refrained from pudding, counting out the last few bits of change to pay for the meal. This time it was a Warsteiner glass that left the restaurant.
We crossed the road to have a quick look in the M Test Centre and take some photos of the lovely M3 GTS in the window before getting lost in the churchyard on the way back to the car.
Back at the hotel, I made an effort to pack some of my kit, before shortly getting bored. We spent the rest of the evening in the mild open air on the balcony, reminiscing about a great week that had passed. And then the lights came down from the hill. With great excitement everyone lept to their feet to see the Volvo on it’s 11pm lap. And that was it.
Alarms set (and properly set this time) to be up for early breakfast and leaving.