Nürburgring (8-12 April 2004)
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SaturdayThanks to a non-disco night I managed a reasonably early start, which saw me arriving at the track at about 9am.
Jeppe had already done a load of laps, the first few of which with his rear foglight on. By the time I got there, he was taking pictures at Hocheichen. I managed to drag Matt away from the C-Car for three laps in my passenger seat. The first lap started quite slowly as both the engine and the tyres were still cold. The second lap felt pretty quick. Unfortunately videoing is no longer allowed, so I don't have an exact time.
At the end of the second lap we were near a Swiss M3, which we saw again when going out for the third lap. We were pretty evenly matched, until a 350Z and a Speedster started holding us up. The M3 squeezed its way past on the approach to Hohe Acht; I waited a little longer. Regardless, those were three fine laps with extremely light traffic and good track conditions.
Back in the parking lot some more chatting was done. I also ran into Bob Neal, a friendly 'mericun who'd been visiting the Ring since before my 964 was assembled. He was having some difficulties with the clock in his rented BMW. Espen was there too, and he managed to sort out the clock in no time at all.
The "identical cars putting their hoods up" syndrome struck again: two E30's were showing their stuff in the far corner of the parking area. A little closer stood the E30 I'd had fun with on my third lap. In the same row I saw Kim's Roadster.
While walking around taking pictures I texted Jeppe to find out where he was with the idea of joining him to take some pictures. The reply gave a location and a request for a cold Coke. As he wasn't at Hocheichen anymore I couldn't just slow down a bit and toss a can out of the window while driving down the track. Instead I trekked up Flugplatz to deliver the can after dropping Matt off at his guesthouse.
Up at Flugplatz I had a quick play with his new toy, a digital SLR. I liked it a lot, but the lense design wasn't well suited to panning: the entire lense barrel was either zoom ring or focus ring, leaving you no non-rotating part to hold the lense stable while zooming.
During a long closure we trekked to the outside of Schwedenkreuz. We later learned that this closure was caused by Swiss Celica had T-boned John off his bike at Adenauer Forst. John was very lucky not to have broken anything. Still, it was a very serious accident.
More pics were taken at Aremberg, including pics of the gravel trap and my own piece of armco. We quickly got bored by this, but being a true gadgeteer Jeppe had some portable entertainment with him in the shape of a Pike's Peak video on his mobile phone. After a little while the track was opened again, enabling us to do what we'd came here to do: take pictures.
Getting bored with Aremberg I suggested going down Fuchsröhre: we were almost there anyway. We climbed up the hillside to the track a number of times, taking pics when we got into a decent trackside position. At the top of Fuchsröhre Jeppe borrowed my Ixus as he'd run down his own battery and had only brought an uncharged spare.
On our way down we found a piece of Slovenian made carbon fibre piece of BMW.
Then it was decision time: do we walk all the way back, do we run across the track, or do we walk to Wehrseifen and ask Karl to pick us up. In the end we went with the option of walking a little bit further to Wehrseifen where Karl would meet us. Coordinating this was accomplished by phoning, putting other callers on hold, shouting across the track and lots of arm-waving.
Next photostop was Metzgesfeld, where we also came within talking distance of Karl, Claire, kids and Sonny. As the track was closed again because of a Mercedes losing it completely around Metzgesfeld, talking across the track was easy.
From there it was just a quick descent to Wehrseifen, where we crossed under the track, called Karl again, and found a bottle of beer. Fortunately Karl lives close to the track, as Jeppe and I had done enough walking for the day. We all piled into the Blue Bus and Karl drove us back to Quiddelbacher Höhe (thanks Karl!).
After a leisurely drive back to the Nordschleife entrance to get some belated lunch (Currywurst from hell mit Pommes) we heard about the Celica taking out John at Adenauer Forst. Jeppe, Ross and some others went to visit him in the hospital. I went to get something to drink, change my shoes, and briefly met Birgit at the muddy parking lot inside of Bastard Bend. The intensity of the drizzle increased until you could call it rain. I called it a day and started to prepare myself mentally for dinner at the Pistenklause. I tagged along with the Danes, assembling in Jeppe and Kim's room, which doubled as a Honda parts storage room.
Dinner provided the usual entertainment, such as how to make Swedish piss yellow hair: you firsttake out all colour, then replace with teenage yellow. Ben told some more great stories (he has an infinite supply of good stories), this time centered around the theme of being a crafty journalist (how to scoop your competitors by borrowing some loaner equipment, what to do with a business class ticket). Jeppe recounted his experiences with going out with a team of curling-girls, including a procedure of how-to-piss-someone-off-and-get-away-with-it (until you try it with the same person twice). Ben uncharacteristically didn't finish his meal, but he did get his hands on the key to a candidate Ringtaxi. Sabine wanted it back though.
An unkind soul suggested we try to calculate Karl's cost-per-lap for his new gearbox. With so many phones and organisers around that was a piece of cake.
Sabine's candidate-Ringtaxi was parked outside, waiting to be testdriven the next day. I hope it drives better than it looks...