Breidscheid Revisited - May 2003 Trip
An uneventful trip, I am pleased to report. Six out, six home. This time present were myself; Marcroft (famous for supplying the car I broke on our March 2000 trip); Trev (who was also present but wise enough not to lend me an automobile); Fred (who had an Elise until he bent it the week before); Mihalis (thin Greek) and Dimitris (Greek). The latter three were first-timers, and predominantly friends of my girlfriend's. Mihalis had his car, and Fred and Dimitri were along for the jolly.
We got some unusually cheap ferry tickets (GBP107) from www.ferry.co.uk and so elected to travel by sea rather than the tunnel. I think actually I rather prefer this method - it breaks the journey pleasantly, and you get to eat without having to stop per se. I was fairly worried about the car hitting the ground on the way into the ferry (it grounds on most speed bumps) but needn't have been; on P&O ferries at least there is hardly a bump to get onto it. I can't quite remember what EuroTunnel was like as I had a taller car then, but I seem to remember it being a bit more of an effort.
Accomodation-wise we ended up in Bugstube, after a rather last-minute attempt to find accomodation turned up trumps on the Ringers list (thanks to a person whose name I've unfortunately forgotten). It was pleasant although a little on the expensive side, but they did us the excellent service of keeping breakfast on the table until we got up which, erm, generally wasn't exactly promptly.
We arrived at the circuit on the Friday about an hour before it was supposed to close, but unfortunately it had been closed early for the day due to an accident. I say unfortunately, but it's probably best we didn't all whizz out with all of our luggage in the cars. After checking in we moseyed down to the Pistenklaus, and then to the Fuchsrohre for a bit of booze.
We were awoken rather early on Saturday morning by a chap warming up his Caterham right outside the window, which was probably a good thing as otherwise I may have passed away in my sleep due to the selection of toxins produced during the night by Fred, Marcroft and Trev. Off down to the circuit to do an outrageously slow parade lap, primarily so we could all get into the pace nice and steadily and to demonstrate to Mihalis that if you didn't willingly drive like a crazed maniac, you were unlikely to hit anything. I guess we needn't have bothered, as my passenger lap with Mihalis on the Sunday demonstrated that he was quite capable of driving like a crazed maniac without any patronising parade laps, thank you very much. As we approached the end of this crawler lap, I thought I'd at least peg it down Dottinger Hohe, so I did. Wheehoo, 140mph, zoom zoom, what fun. Whoosh, how fast the trees go past, just call me mister speedy... hmm, ok, past the 120kph sign so back to the world of those stationary mortals in the car park. At this point I pressed the brake pedal gently. There was a loud grinding noise, and the front of the car juddered up and down not unlike I was going over those strips they put across the road on the way into motorway roundabouts, to help you lose control in the rain. Hmm. So now I was doing 120mph in a car that had no usable brakes. I weighed up how likely I was to be able to freewheel safely to a stop and decided I pretty much had to press the things again. More juddering around, more gruesome noises. More hmm. Decided to bite the bullet, and just brake a little for as long a time I could, which I did, accompanied by the juddering and grinding. Got back into the car park, convinced that true to form I had managed to destroy my car shortly after arriving.
It seemed to me that every time I'd taken a hire car to the ring the trip had worked out very well, but on the only two occasions I'd attempted to take my own car previously, first time the car broke down the week before I left and the second time it blew up somewhat terminally on lap three. So this time I was desperate to make sure that nothing bad was going to happen, mechanical or otherwise. I was sure I'd somehow broken the brakes, but it seemed not. After a few rather ginger laps, I was back up to full pedal pressure with no obvious adverse affects - any suggestions as to what might have been up would be much appreciated. Stones in the discs are so far the best suggestion.
I have a Mazda RX7, and rotary engines are reknowned for their reliability... hmm.... no, wait, that's a mistake. I have a Mazda RX7, and rotary engines will generally blow up as soon as you expose them to direct sunlight, so I was particularly careful here; I ran 1 bar boost but I doubt I even used WOT once on the circuit. My intention was to drive swiftly around the whole circuit but not get anywhere near hitting anything or blowing the car up, which I think I pretty much managed to do. Saturday I went really fairly slowly, but by Sunday I was up at a pace with which I was very pleased; fast enough to end up with pretty much even numbers of overtakes/overtakings and so not having to keep to the hard right all the time with the indicator on. I felt I could carry on going around at that speed, and that my lines were consistent and improving. Unbeknowned to me, Fred timed me and reckoned on ten minutes flat B2G, which is not going to break any records but made me happy enough. The car handled really very well indeed, and although it used up a little oil, it was nothing out of the ordinary. Even the fuel consumption wasn't any worse than its normal diabolical, which lends further credence to my theory that Mazda's fuelling system is an on/off affair.
Where was I. Ah, yes, Saturday. Well, Saturday night we went to the Pistenklaus, for a change, and then thought we'd go along to a place we'd heard of called the Fuchsrohre for some after-dinner booze. By this point Dimitri was becoming a little disappointed by the lack of women in Nurburg, which made me think that it would be a great place to go to if you were some sort of gold-digging trollop. Accomodation is relatively cheap, and you'd get to meet a whole stack of eligible rich bachelors who might die shortly.
On Sunday I upped the pace a bit, although not enough to stop Fred claiming I was driving like a granny. Naturally I was very interested to hear Fred's advice on car control techniques, as he had recently spent a considerable amount of time and effort unsuccessfully trying to make his own vehicle point forwards down the dual carriageway again in the moments before it was written off.
And then we went home again. Actually, we went via Spa to watch a bit of a track day there in some gorgeous weather. I'm sure I was going to write some more than this but I just found the unfinished report on my computer nearly a year later, and I really can't remember what else I was going to write. So it goes. Roll the credits.