Nürburgring (21 February 2004)
Happy New Year!


Trip 1 (Easter 2002)
Trip 2 (May 2002)
2002 24H (June)
Trip 3 (June 2002)
Trip 4 (July 2002)
Trip 5 (August 2002)
Trip 6 (August 2002)
Trip 7 (September 2002)
Trip 8 (September 2002)
Trip 9 (September 2002)
Trip 10 (November 2002)
Trip 11 (March 2003)
Trip 12 (April 2003)
Trip 13 (Easter 2003)
Trip 14 (May 2003)
Trip 15 (May 2003)
Trip 16 (June 2003)
Trip 17 (July 2003)
Trip 18 (August 2003)
Trip 19 (August 2003)
Trip 20 (September 2003)
Trip 21 (November 2003)
Trip 22 (November 2003)
Trip 23 (November 2003)
Trip 24 (February 2004)
Trip 25 (March 2004)
Trip 26 (April 2004)
Trip 27 (April 2004)
Trip 28 (May 2004)
Trip 29 (May 2004)
Trip 31 (July/August 2004)
Trip 32 (August 2004)
Trip 33 (September 2004)
Trip 34 (October 2004)
Trip 35 (October 2004)
Trip 36 (October 2004)
Trip 37 (November 2004)
Trip 38 (November 2004)
Trip 39 (November 2004)
Trip 40 (March 2005)
Trip 41 (April 2005)
Trip 42 (April 2005)
Trip 43 (April 2005)
Trip 44 (May 2005)
Trip 45 (June 2005)
Trip 46 (July 2005)
Trip 47 (August 2005)
Trip 48 (August 2005)
Trip 49 (August 2005)
Trip 50 (August 2005)
Trip 51 (September 2005)
Trip 52 (October 2005)
Trip 53 (March 2006)
Trip 54 (April 2006)
Trip 55 (Easter 2006)
Trip 56 (April 2006)
Trip 57 (May 2006)
Trip 58 (June 2006)
Trip 59 (July 2006)
Trip 60 (August 2006)
Trip 61 (April 2007)
Trip 62 (April 2007)
Trip 63 (June 2007)
Trip 64 (August 2007)
Trip 65 (September 2007)
Trip 66 (November 2007)
Trip 67 (May 2008)
Trip 68 (May 2008)
Trip 69 (June 2008)
Trip 70 (July 2008)
Trip 71 (September 2008)

The RingBunny
Who's the RingBunny?
Full laps
Bits and pieces
Guest producers
RingBunny R-rated *

Ecurie Europe
First pics

Sabine Schmitz
Guest commentator at 24H
Video: 24H-rennen lap
Meets Jeremy Clarkson
Video: Inside the Ring Taxi

Odd bits
The Ring in print
Preparing for the first laps
24h 2006 torrent
Søren having fun with his M3
Ringers quiz 2002
Make a donation
Site stats *

Jørund Seim
Video: Lap of Legends
Video: Hire van

Links marked with a * require a password.

Instead of having to wait until early March, the powers that be (in cooperation with the weather gods and the contractors who did the roadworks) decided to open early this year. Given the crowds of 2003, I figured it might be a good idea to take the opportunity and do some quiet laps: the chances were remote that a huge crowd would turn up, as
  1. quite a few people might not know the track was open;
  2. quite a few people might not bother to come because of the weather (near freezing);
  3. quite a few people might not bother to come because of the condition of the track (very dirty, with some roadworks coned off);
  4. quite a few people might not bother to come because it's the Karneval weekend
This prediction turned out to be correct. In fact, it was a bit of an understatement, but more about that later.

The drive through the Eifel mountains (yes, I know, but by Dutch standards a decent-sized molehill can easily claim "mountain" status) indicated that it was still quite cold. Heaps of snow by the side of the road still hadn't melted.

Snow by the roadside

It also confirmed that Karneval was still in progress, as witnessed by a tractor pulling a rather dreary looking cart made by the Karneval club "Hümmel". Maybe it was on its way to a procession somewhere. Would have been entertaining to take it round the Nordschleife.

KG Hümmel

Upon arrival I spotted some of the usual suspects: Sir B. and Christer. They encouraged me to get rid of 700 euros, somewhich I duly complied with by visiting the Ring office to get a Jahreskarte. This time I'd taken the trouble to fill out the form at home. Which meant that apart from bumping the door into Puffi (sorry, didn't see you through the dark glass) things went smoothly. The marshall scanned the picture from my old Jahreskarte, printed up a new card, took my cash, and I was ready to go.

More funny guys The Office

Apart from Karl and Christer the place was nearly deserted. The small parking lot next to the office was mostly empty. The bigger lot on the other side of the Grüne Hölle contained a grand total of three cars...

The SquealMobile Very quiet parking lot

By then it was time to sample the track. I offered the passenger seat to Christer, but he politely declined stating that the track was slippery. For those who didn't have their own track scout at the ready, a large sign at the cones behind the barrier stated the same thing.

To make a long story short: there was a lot of dirt everywhere. The run-up to T-13 looked very impressive, though the final bit of Döttinger Höhe looked a lot worse than it was. The opposite can be said of the entry to the Schikane: it looked reasonably clean and harmless, but was very slippery.

The entry into Hatzenbach (the fast righthander after Bastard Bend) looks very promising: the big bumps near the apex have gone completely. It does need a bit of rubber to improve grip, but I think it's a big improvement.

The snow on the sides of the track looked very scenic. There was quite a bit of it at Flugplatz, for example.

Several roadworks hadn't been completed yet. Among them were sites at Metzgesfeld, Bergwerk and Schwalbenschwanz.

Despite the dirty track and the roadworks I had a really good time. After a lap or two I had a reasonable idea where the grip was decent and where it was lacking. Even better was that there was hardly anybody about, with the exception of Chris Hellegers. He was taking pictures at various locations from Hohe Acht to Karussell. Each time I came past he was in another location, sometimes even on different sides of the track.

This was by far the quietest I've seen the track. Ever. No bikes, and hardly another car. All in all a perfect environment to do 5 consecutive laps. On the final two laps Christer was behind me. He would give me a nice big head start, and then try to catch up. He must have given me quite a big lead both times, as he only caught up to me after I'd exited Galgenkopf. Apparantly Christer did about 9.13 BTG in the 318i, and my best time in the SquealMobile is 9.57 BTG. And given the conditions and the roadworks, I'm pretty sure I didn't go that fast.

The day ended with a passenger lap with Karl in the BastardWagen. Karl had had a few close laps with Christer, continuing last year's trend of making the BastardWagen go round faster and faster. The little old lady who owned the BW before Karl bought it can be proud of her (now ex) garage queen. Christer left the gates behind us, gaining on us ever so slowly. Karl had spotted him up Kesselchen, but on Döttinger Höhe I got my first view of the 318 in the rearview mirror.

For entertainment purposes I took a slightly different way home, taking the track to Adenau and using the back roads to connect to the B-258. Karl left the gates a second or two ahead of me, and I didn't see much of him after going through the cones.

I caught up with him when leaving the track at Breidscheid. In Adenau he pulled off to give the BW some well-deserved rest and to get some well-deserved beer himself. I on the other hand made my way home to get a well-deserved Coke.