Nürburgring (10 October 2004)
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The sun was shining, the oil topped up, the tyre pressures set,
the camera batteries charged; in other words I was ready to go.
This time the SquealMobile got to play on the Ring, because the 964 is getting some TLC (its annual service) from a newly started independent Porsche mechanic. He was "my" mechanic at the OPC until the OPC went tits up. Fortunately he decided to start his own business, "Rennsport", in Breda. Drop me a line at the usual address if you want more information about Rennsport. End of commercial :)
Along the way the trees had started to change colour. A lot of green had been replaced by different hues of brown and yellow.
Of course there was the usual idiot who tried to get himself killed by overtaking very slowly just before a crest. The overtake was slow enough for me to unpack my Ixus, start it up (which takes half of forever), switch it to infinity focus, focus, and take a picture. Within two seconds of him pulling back into his own lane a Golf came flying over the crest at full tilt...
Despite the wonderful weather some people insisted on keeping the roof up.
When I arrived I did a Euan by going straight out for a lap without bothering with parking the car. The Bad Dragon left the gates at the same time as I, and I decided to follow him round for a bit. The pace was very relaxed, perfect for a first lap of the day. I did notice that the Dragon seemed so fond of the turns that he started them a little early.
Afterwards we had a little chat, and then it was time for a little stroll round the parking lot to see if there were any familiar faces around. Before I found any, I noticed that the marshalls were making sure that people didn't park in the toilets.
Of course there was the usual amount of interesting cars around, including a souped-up Beetle...
... and a race-prepped Jaguar (with rally trip computer and full harnesses) ...
... a quad ...
... a yellow Lambo ...
... and another souped-up Beetle, though this one was slightly older than the silver one pictured above.
I also ran into Anders (the other one), from Team Schwedenkreuz. We caught up on the state of the repairs of the team's M3, and a variety of car and racing related things, until Anders went out for one last lap before picking up Johan at Ring Racing.
I followed Anders' example and went out for another lap myself. The track was getting busier, and I decided to just the one lap and set up camp in the Wippermann area to take pictures afterwards. Traffic was getting a bit thicker, but still not too busy. The yellow warning light was on at Metzgesfeld, so I took it easy round the next few bends. The incident was in Lovejoy Lane, and Fabian was on the scene.
On the approach to Eiskurve an American barge was using the "indicate in the direction where you want to be passed" system. Not real smart, and definitely not in compliance with the rules. At least he wanted me to pass him on the correct side.
When I got back the track was closed. Having arrived at my picture-taking spot I found out why. Apparantly a Porsche had aborted an overtaking manoever into Hohe Acht by slamming on the brakes. A biker that was following him (a mate of Fabian's) couldn't match the Porsche's decelleration and ran into the back of it, coming off his bike as a result.
I had a long chat with a witness, Fabian (who was also present at these incident scene), and one of the marshalls. The Polizei were there too, and it'll probably be one of those cases of "Why did you brake so hard?" versus "Why did you follow so closely?". At least the biker was OK, apart from being sore in several places, and needing to go to hospital to check if he'd broken some bones or not.
The chatting went on even after the track opened, and it was interesting to see 5 or 6 overtakes round the outside there, all without any problems. All the while the sun was descending and it got a little chilly. After saying goodbye to the friendly S3-driver I'd been talking to I found a good spot to take some pictures.
As is often the case after a longer closure, traffic was quite dense sometimes.
The average speed seemed to be quite high, though at least one driver who went round in great comfort was a bit slower.
Some boikers were moving along real quick, sometimes even with a passenger on the back.
One car still had its bra on. Falco had decided on another way of making a silver GT3 stand out from the crowd: an orange stripe along the top of the car.
After a little while the inevitable happened: an S2000 crashed at Wippermann, necessitating another closure. Nobody was hurt, but the suspension on the car looked rather bent.
I used the break to change positions to Eschbach, where the Eifel trees provided a nice backdrop.
Not every 3-series took a smooth line into Eschbach...
The yellow Lambo I'd seen in the parking lot also did a lap.
Johannes was there in the white E30. There were also some old Fords on the track, and one of them was in the process of losing its exhaust.
A Golf tried to copy the E30 by nearly hitting the armco on the approach to Eschbach.
To round things off I took some panning shots. Even though I know next to nothing about boiks (other than that they fall over if you come to a stop), I like taking pictures of them.
A little over 400 pictures later the track was getting quiet: time to do some more laps. The SquealMobile was doing a good job at squealing round the corners. It was also going quite quickly. Despite losing momentum at Bergwerk and Steilstreckenkurve, and being held up a bit once or twice, I got the impression that I wasn't far off my fastest time in the SquealMobile (which is 9.57 BTG).
Three laps in succession seemed to last only a few minutes. The temptation to do "just one more lap" was strong, but I decided to call it a day. I'd driven some good laps, taken some decent pictures, had a good time socially, and I was getting hungry: time to head home.
On the way back an amusing situation occurred: a BMW 740iL
decided to ignore my right of way and muscle himself in front of
me entering a roundabout. He continued making an ass of himself
(weaving, tailgating, flashing his headlights at whoever
happened to be in front of him). Despite that I stayed with him
easily, until we took the same sliproad to the next highway.
This particular sliproad starts as single-lane, but widens to
two lanes a little bit after the start of the turn, and then
narrows to a single lane again at the end of the turn. The 740
braked, I didn't, I'd timed it right, shot by him with the
SquealMobile squealing with delight, and merged
back into the right lane some 30 meters ahead of him :-) Of
course he came storming past at the first opportunity (read:
on the first bit of straight road), but I
didn't see that as much of an achievement with twice the number
of cylinders and 2.5 times the displacement of the SquealMobile.