Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Green Hell

If Hockenheim was a bit mad, with 250+ bikes together on the track, then the Nurbürgring was mental as anything. We rode the old track which winds its way through 21 km of Germany's Eifel mountains. There are over 300m of altitude changes. Few corners have a run off so only the crash barriers stop you from going into the trees.

Track outings function in the same way as a ski run. You purchase a ticket for the number of laps you want, after each lap you must stop and pass your ticket through the gate before you can start the next lap. I purchased 4-laps for a total of 84km.

A track day at Nurbürgring is a kind of battleground, with super quick Porsches mixing it together with hot fours, track cars, superbikes, VUNs, and everything in-between. We were happy to have Oliver take us out in his V8 Dodge truck to learn the track before donning armor and joining the battle.

The pace we chose was somewhere between a fast sports ride on a mountain road and the pace you might do on a track day at a more sane track like Hockenheim. Once again Oliver, who has a lot of experience at the Nurbürgring (both good and bad), led us round and set the pace, going a little faster each lap. This felt comfortable and relatively safe, except for those moments when a Porsche Carrera vs Mercedes SLK struggle comes at you from behind. The wise (and polite) thing to do is to move over, but this also requires you to drop concentration for a moment so you need to be careful.

Oliver Thiel

Yours truly

 Franco Cavina

There were several car wrecks throughout the day where drivers had dropped their concentration, or exceeded their skill, but I did not see any bikes go down, which is a good thing.

Watching a Porsche Carrera in capable hands passing you and going hard down a dip and through the S-bend is amazing. Those things change direction damn fast and are glued to the track!

Nurbürgring was a blast! Many thanks to Oliver Thiel, of Thiel Motorsport, for organizing the day and for having the patience to show us the ropes.

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