Thursday, August 9, 2007

Nurburgring, 2002 (Part 3)

Monday morning
Lazily lying in our sleeping bags inside the tent, Mary Ellen told me I’d better get my heiny over for coffee as she heard them making a racket while packing at 7AM. That was very funny as they didn’t want to have one damn thing to do with me in the morning… Oh Whale, NO harm, NO foul, eh? (Something to do with the previous night’s consumption of alcohol?)

It was amazing how the place turned into a ghost town, littered with garbage everywhere. Wood used to construct awnings covered with plastic, plastic chairs, etc. Mary Ellen commandeered two for us to use while awaiting Vladi’s arrival. And there were hundreds of beer bottles everywhere. As I’ve never seen such a trashed out race track area!

Walking through the now deserted town the only activity was one lone forklift re-stocking the beer distributor… We continued to a field below a private estate towards the castle. Where we ate lunch which consisted of leftovers from our “friends,” Afterwards we flayed in the field for awhile soaking in the sunshine.

Vladi arrived at our campsite promptly, 5PM sharp. On the way home Vladi pointed out the Seven Dragons, a series of mountaintops that we traveled over. Returning to Colone, we were indulged with a wonderful dinner. As Uli cooked us an excellent snitzel accompanied with Bitburger’s and Vino…

And NO trip to Germany would be complete without sampling one of the most historic racing tracks in the world. None other than the “Green Hella...” But I digress.

Having transferred to the wonderful little twin towns of Traben-Tarbac. Mary Ellen & I were now guests of Artur & Sabina. Staying at “Sabina’s Villa” in TT.

Since arriving I’ve been driving Weingut Artur crazy asking “Where it is?” During lunchtime Artur locates where Magny Cours is on a map for me. Which he claims is near Paris. (5hrs from TT)

Later in the day Dirk “The Drummer” (the 3rd Dirk) drops by Sabina’s villa and tells us great stories about the “Green Hella!” This is what the F1 Pilotes called the original Nurburgring; better known as the “Nordschliefe,” the world famous 14.7 mile road circuit where Niki Lauda had his big accident… Hopefully we’ll meet Vladi there on Saturday…

What better way to spend your Fourth ‘O July than on the Mosel River… As after a brief visit to Mary Ellen’s wine making friends in Tarbuc, we’ve started off the day by sampling a bit of the morning’s production.

On the way back to Sabina’s Villa Mary Ellen notices a Formula 1 race car poster in a little shop window in Trauben. We go inside the Allianz office where the man behind the desk asks us; “What is der Problem? Mary Ellen replies we’re American tourists… “Ja, “What iz der Problem?” Then Mary Ellen says. We’re Formel 1 fans and how we’ve just been to the Grand Prix. Do you have any post cards of Ralf & Juan Pablo? Mary Ellen tells him how she’d noticed the poster in the window. The very nice (shrewd) man simply replies Ja, Ja, Ja! Some posters?

So I end up walking out of the office with 2 awesome Williams BMW posters and 3 driver (Hero) cards; Sheisa, we made out like bandits! (Again...) Of course M.E. gets to keep the JPM card while I’m stuck with Ralfanso…

Tomorrow Artur will drive us back to the Nurburgring where Vladi will meet us halfway. If we’re lucky, Vladi will possibly chauffeur us in the “Vladi Rein Taxi” for a lap around the Green Hella. Then Vladi will drive us to Kerpan to the “Wurld ‘O Schuey,” which has just opened to the public. Before returning to Colone.

After a wonderful week in TT. Artur & his family drove us to the Nurburgring to meet Vladi. After our farewells, vladi drove us to the Green Hella Holy Shit! Vladi’s going to drive us around in his daily driver…

After purchasing our ticket to drive the Nordschleife we wait 1hr for our turn as the “Scooter’s” (Motorcycles) currently have the track to them. Which is a very smart idea!

While we sit waiting a Right Hand drive dark grey Porsche 911 pulls up alongside us. (English plates) There’s several Porsche 911’s in attendance as we wait our turn.

“Now we Go!”

Vladi says as everybody around us suddenly jumps into their cars and engines fire up! After letting the Porsches go Vladi drives us onto the track where we pass approx. 500 motorcycles sitting parked while awaiting their next hot laps.

Vladi drives us briskly but cautiously around “the Ring,” saying how he cannot afford to crash. Vladi explains how he needs to keep one eye constantly monitoring the rear view mirror in search of faster traffic. As the constant elevation changes are stupendous as Vladi rolls over the “Yump’s.” We’re just constantly turning, dropping, climbing, diving around the never ending 175+ turns of the ‘ol Nordschleife… It’s FUCKING AWESOME!!!

Vladi tells us the story of how they used to come to the circuit and try to trick the drivers into crashing while watching the waving spectators. Continuing with his favourite story of when he got in “The Wee scot’s” way at the track. (Jackie Stewart) While we pass an emergency vehicle (Opel station wagon) attending to a stricken “Scooter” pilote…

The ride ends all too shortly as we safely complete our single hot lap of the 14.7 mile Nordschleife. (Apparently the circuit has been brutal towards Vladi’s suspension as it now makes a vibrating, squealing noise when making L/H turns) We depart the Nurburgring and head for Kerpan and the Wurld ‘O Schuey…

To continue reading, see; Nurburgring ’02 (Part 4)