Nürburgring (14 September 2008)
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|As the trusty Ibiza is going to a new owner in a few weeks, I figured
it would be a nice gesture to give it a proper sending-off by doing a
Ring trip. Adri was happy to join me on the trip. The primary purpose
of this trip was to get some laps in, so we set off at a rather
indecent hour. It was early enough that Adri got stopped by the police
for an alcohol test a few minutes before arriving: maybe they
thought he was on his way from something instead to
Of course there was hardly any traffic about at this hour, and we made good progress in good spirits. As usual, we stopped off at a petrol station just before the border to fill up the tank. As usual, the attendant of this particular station wouldn't have lasted more than 5 minutes in a more service-oriented society, but in the Netherlands being rude to customers is considered normal behaviour. I guess it's time to give up on this Gulf station (on the A73 near Venlo, southern direction) and find a place that actually appreciates getting good business. But I digress.
The sun was up by this time, and the weather was looking excellent. It was going to be a busy day.
We were expecting a bit of fog, but were confident that it would burn off quite quickly. Shortly after getting on the B258 the first wisps of fog descended upon us. The ambient temperature had been dropping quite rapidly for a few minutes too, bottoming out at near freezing.
Close to the Ring the fog was getting a bit denser, with the sun disappearing altogether.
The little climb to the Nordschleife entrance brought back the sunshine. The board near the gate told us the track was closed because of fog. I guess many people had expected this, as the carpark was still reasonably quiet. Or it was because it was only 8.40am. Still, my favourite parking spot was already taken by a Scooby that had overtaken us on the A1 a bit earlier (nice sound, BTW).
A leisurely carpark wander didn't turn up any familiar faces, so we headed into the Grüne Hölle restaurant for some coffee (to be more precise, Adri had coffee, I refused to be extortet. Prices have risen beyond merely stupidly expensive to a level where "ridiculous" doesn't begin to cover it, IMHO. Pardon the rant, I digress...).
The track was still closed when the coffee was finished.
Some cars were held together with duct tape.
Others showed signs of hard use: scratches and a sheen of oil covered most of the backside of this otherwise lovely Elise.
The 964 generation of 911 Turbo still looks the business. It even looks good on the more modern "wrong" wheels.
A GT3 mk2 was on a visit from the USA.
White is en vogue again for cars. Somehow, to my eyes at least, it looks a lot better on a 911 than on a Merc. But that might be due to my inability to disassociate visions of yellow taxi signs from an otherwise very impressive car.
A quick glance at the information board told me that fog wasn't the biggest issue delaying the opening of the track. Apparently there was a big oil spill from Wehrseifen to Breidscheid. About 80 liters of biodiesel had somehow spilled.
Stelvio had asked in the office if/when the track was likely to open, and was told that it wouldn't open at all for boiks today, and it was unsure if/when it would open at all today. I certainly felt for Stelvio, who had driven all the way from Italy for what was most likely his last trip of the year. Fingers crossed the track will open for boiks on Monday... At least he was very happy with his new boik. It was parked on the other side of the restaurant, but as a more or less identical model was parked right next to us I decided to take picture of that one instead of walking all the way to Stelvio's own boik ;-)
By now it was a little after 10am, and a rapidly filling carpark combined with uncertain opening and the certainty of a busy track should it open saw us deciding to bugger off and head back home again. Which is exactly what we did, after capturing what looked like a pitot tube on the roof of a Focus ST and a pair of lovely speed yellow GT3s on compact flash. Speaking of speed yellow GT3s: Anders, you really should make time for at least one Nordschleife visit in 2009... ;-)
Oh, we did take some great scenic routes on the way back (after waving
to Ed while passing through Breidscheid), so the
morning ended on a positive note :-P