Nürburgring (9 March 2003)
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|This trip was a one day SquealMobile trip to pick up a Jahreskarte and
to get reacquainted with the Ring. After a quick chat with some other
Ringers I mosied on over to the office to get my Jahreskarte.
Fortunately there wasn't much of a queue. Filling out the form went
quickly, I got a 6-lap ticket to have some fun while the Jahreskarte
was being prepared, and went out for my first lap of the year.
I took it nice and easy to get a sense of rhythm back. The new tarmac at Hatzenbach was very smooth, but provided less grip than the old surface. As it had been a slow lap the brakes hadn't had much of a workout yet, allowing me to do another lap straight away.
At Pflanzgarten III I overtook a Dutch Peugeot 206. They followed me into the parking lot to have a quick chat. It was their first trip to the Ring, and they were duly impressed. They hadn't done much in the way of research before going out, resulting in an almost-off at Kallenhard (where else), which once again proves that it pays off to do a little websurfing before going out. Naturally I pointed them to Ben's site for more info.
It took me a while to find Søren, and when I finally spotted him he wasn't in his car. As it turned out he had had a bit of a rough time at Fuchsröhre on his third lap. Of course some pictures were taken, and some Dutch gaffa tape was donated (unfortunately I didn't have any red tape).
A check at the office told me that my new Jahreskarte wasn't finished yet. To kill some time I did another lap, took a short break, and picked up my brand-new Jahreskarte, letting my credit card take the hit. Of course I went out for a lap immediately to make sure that it would open the gate, particularly as I'd heard that a certain female Ringer (sister of a famous Ringer who's about to move to the wrong continent Ring-wise) flipped out because a brand-new card didn't open the gate :-)
Christer was there, looking a bit worn after a night of socialising with Sir B. Not surprising, as Sir B. showed him out the front door knowing that all the gates were locked. To take his mind off the after-effects I took him for a ride. I overcooked the entry to Hohenrain a little, eliciting some interesting comments from Christer about schmooth (tm Jocke) driving, so I made sure to get a nice continuous squeal going through the righthander leading down to Hatzenbach. Hatzenbach proper was easy to take smoothly, thanks to the new surface. The SquealMobile seemed to like the new surface a lot, squealing with delight.
I think I disappointed Christer by not doing a 360 at Schwedenkreuz, but I could live with that. I even had some tyre squeal there, which I thought was very brave ;-) Overall the lap was pretty decent: we started behind the Other Vette and managed to keep him in view (more or less) until Breidscheid. At Hohe Acht I let a 996 past that kept pulling away on the straights, but we managed to pull back a little ground in the twisty bits. Then I overcooked Eiskurve where I was a little too optimistic about the stopping powers of the SquealMobile brakes. Nothing that couldn't be fixed by rubbing the front tyres a bit more than usual in the beginning of the corner, though :-) As a result the 996 disappeared from view towards Pflanzgarten.
Søren was another passenger, and again it was a bit of an irregular lap: some corners went as intended, others were quite scrappy. Still enjoyable, but not what I'm used to. By this time you didn't need a PhD to see that I was definitely not in the groove yet :)
After a longer break I did some more laps. Just like the previous laps certain sections went very well (Bastard Bend to Flugplatz, Fuchsröhre) while others felt a bit weird (Hohe Acht to Eschbach). A bit strange, as the area around Wippermann is very nice in the SquealMobile. I managed to carry a bit more speed into Pflanzgarten III: last year I could stay in fourth gear, but this time I had to use fifth :-)
The way back was uneventful. Crossing the border I had to make a conscious effort to start staring at the side of the road again to spot speed traps, but the coast was clear. In the morning there was one on the way to the Ring, while I was doing about 160 km/h. It was easy to spot though, so no problem.
Summary: 7 laps total, nice weather, good to see some familiar faces
after the long winter months, look forward to the next visit.