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.
We had a friend in the car park! Obviously knew we were hot stuff!!!
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.
“That black car!”
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.
“Never before in all my years at the Nurburgring have I seen the queue so… oh wait, yes I have”
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!
Until next time
L-R (clockwise): The German graveyard across from us; the stable that Jesus was born in; friends and family at Pinocchio’s; even the black hatch’s stereo knew we were Driving on Nurburgring; Dad in the tunnel under the track; Hokus Pokus? Jokus Pokus?; ice cream at the gelataria.