We were on our way to the Nurburgring. We had lost our camera bag. Not feeling too happy about the situation, I reluctantly decided to forget the bag and press on.
We arrived at Nurgurgring a little after 2.00pm and stopped at the main office. I went in fully expecting to be told to 'bugger off', or words to that effect. I opened the door and went into a glass clad aircraft hangar and in front of me was the longest curved counter I have ever seen. There was only one person in the place, a very BIG lady. She looked like a rugby player, big shoulders and muscles a weight lifter would give his truss for. Before I could ask where do I go to ask if we can drive around the circuit, she bellowed out “COME!” I nearly swallowed my Adams apple! Her eyes focussed on me and it felt like I was being drawn across the floor by a tractor beam from Startrek.
I arrived at the counter and looked up. I felt like Oliver clutching his bowl and about to ask can I have some more. I explained who we were and what we are doing, and asked if it would be possible to drive the cars around the circuit. There was a few seconds silence while I was waiting, expecting my marching orders. She leant forward and bellowed in an English speaking German accent “OF COURSE YOU CAN IT IS AN OPEN DAY!” That was a relief. I pointed through the glass at the two Jimnys outside “can we drive these cars on the circuit?” she bellowed again “ OF COURSE”.
It's great when a plan comes together. I'd organised it from the UK some weeks ago, but you never know until you're there whether its going to come off or not. Finally arriving and being told that we could drive the Nurburgring was fantastic. I purchased the tickets and casually asked to my new friend, “is it OK to film as we drive around”. She stood up blocking out the light. Looked me in the face and said, “FILMING IS FORBODEN”, and gave me a big wink. I said “can we film then?”, she repeated “IT IS FORBODEN”. Her eye fluttered away like a royal navy ships signalling lamp which I took to mean that it’s not allowed but don’t get caught. My new best friend Helga, gave me directions to get to the circuit entrance. We got into the cars and drove to the assembly area where you wait to go onto the circuit.
Thinking that we had to wait our turn until the fast boys were finished I turned the engine off and settled down to wait. I was about to get out of the car to have a chat to the guys, when a steward banged on the bonnet frightening the life out of me. He pointed to the opening gate, saying “you go”. As I looked through the gate race cars were flashing past, another steward was looking for a gap and before we knew it we were on the track with race cars flashing past. This is crazy I thought to myself, I started to laugh, I could see the funny side of it. There we were bombing along at 60 mph and the race boys passing us at 170mph. We couldn’t catch them on the straight but they were certainly not happy when we occupied the fast line in the bends. It was an experience of a lifetime and we enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately it was over to quickly.
Tomorrow we travel to Bensheim to meet with guys at Suzuki Europe to receive a cheque for Save The Children and then on to meet Mr Lech Walesa past President of Poland ….. to be continued