Arrived Friday evening at PH and parked in amongst a load of GB plated M3's, Clio sport thingys and the odd tasty 911. As we had a table booked for the following night at PH, we walked up to Ringhaus for a meal instead, and to say hello to Frank. Ringhaus is my preferred choice of accommodation, but as it was my 40th we decided to stay at PH this time. Just as well, as when arriving at Ringhaus it was shut for food and the night....however, it was Franks wife's birthday also and they were having a party that night, the main one on Saturday evening and another the following night....he invited us to stay but we felt it rude so after a beer and chewing the fat for a while we said our goodbyes.
It was, however, quite sad to see Franks face drop when talking about the economy in the area, and how most places were now shut. He has even gone back to motor mechanics himself to make ends meet and doesn't know if he will keep the Ringhaus for much longer. This is the first time I have been there since the opening of the monstrosity - er, Ringwerks - but have kept a vested interest via the internet.
A stroll back to PH and an evening meal there instead. Place was reasonably busy and the usual fog was present from the hot rock steaks.
Woke up on Saturday to slight fog, and smiled benignly at the muppets / professional race drivers in the breakfast room, dressed in their fire suits, talking about how they were not going out on the track as it was wet....
We ventured down to the entrance, bought two 4 lap tickets and set off to christen the car for it's first ever track excursion...2 laps later and the track was shut due to bad weather. No worries, we'll go for a walk instead. Off out of PH and walking up along the side of the track to Nurburg. At Hatzenbach we sneak onto the track and walk along it. here is a classic rally going on the local roads (MK 11 Escorts and the like - quality) and the first few minutes we keep thinking someone is driving on the track - spooky walking down it alone. Just like walking the circuits over here, you get a real sense of gradients and camber. Quiddelbacher Hohe, Flugplatz, all the way to Adenauer Forst have wicked cambers (note to self, carry a shit load more speed through here as positive camber will help with corner speeds greatly). Just coming down to the Foxhole and the heavens opened, so we decided to jump the barrier and walk back through the woods.
Trust it to really piss it down when we leave the waterproof trousers at the hotel...it's a hell of a climb back up to Nurburg via the side of the track!
An evening meal in PH - first time for me there eating the famous steak and wish I had packed the gas mask...very nice though and highly recommended.
Sunday - foggy and track shut. Trip to Ringwerks to see first hand what all the fuss is about and it's a fucking ghost town. Back to the track and it is opening so time to get some laps in....
First time Anna has driven the Nurburgring also so she did a lap, and after having a good dice with a 3 series, we head off on our penultimate lap. I was doing 12 min 30's in the rain (I'm no car driver) but with a dry line forming the times were slowly coming down. A GT3 came up behind at Brunchen, so let him past on the uphill left hander over the crest. Anna said that I should get a tow off him so the foot went down....
And the rear came round.
And we span.
And we span.
Totally out of control.....we span 3 times running parallel to the armco. on the third spin, we nudged it with the front left wing. Luckily, only one of the fog lights broke, and it shoved the bumper over about an inch. the wing and bonet remained untouched as the dips in the armco went above and below it....so lucky.
Time to limp home and lick our wounds.
A stop at Brugge and a lovely meal in the center (followed by a night in a 16th century hotel with the worlds slowest lift...) rounded the weekend off before a ferry home on Monday.
1) - Stick to 2 wheels, they're safer. 2) - 944's are not as fast as yellow GT3's! 3) - Keep eyes open when spinning - that way the crunch doesn't seem as loud and unexpected. 4) - Other half putting foot on imaginary brake does not stop crash happening.
They are the JGF version of a Purple Heart, awarded for being injured in action. One per crash. Ours is based on Dan Trent (now editor of PH) because he is the only person we know who crashes more often than me!