Nurburgring 18-20/4/2003


The Nurburgring meet in April 2003 was the best I have been to so far. It was also the one where K1ANO met a bitter end in a ditch on the last day of the weekend, on the way home ! - 'K1ANO is dead long live K1ANO'.

Dirk Apel and his friends from Switzerland and Germany, who are now some of our friends, made a monumental effort to organise the most amazing car related couple of days I have ever experienced. The UK GT4OC were all welcomed and those of us that could make it, took a chance and were rewarded with some memmories and experiences we will never forget.

I would ABSOLUTELY recommend to anyone to make this trip some time (check here for the September 2003 follow-up). The extras that Dirk organised may not be on offer but the Ring itself and the atmosphere is worth the cost and distance especially if there are several cars.

On Saturday there was a LARGE number of UK cars at the Ring which shows it's popularity to the UK enthusiasts.

I went with my girlfriend Jenny who is into cars. We convoyed down and arrived at the Ring Friday at around noon. We knew we had arrived as we had been tailed by some super cars nearing the circuit and saw the size of the track flowing along the side of the main road and the huge grandstands etc.

We met up with Dirk and some friends and swapped parts and eventually made our way to the public circuit. It was BUSY, Dirk gave us a cautious description of the circuit and some of us went for a blast right away. Gulp - I can't explain the buzz in a short (not so short) post so maybe on my site sometime. Let's just say it was a baptism of fire with otorcyclists swarming over us (Jenny was my passenger) like bees and overtaking and being overtaken like you were on the M1.

We had a great meal in the Hotel Dirks friend Piere had organised for us. It was Friday around 11:55 pm at this stage and we had been up since Thursday 09:00 am. We had to be on our way to a dyno session at 07:15 am on Saturday !

The trip to Koblenz was great in a large convoy of Toyotas. I had K1ANO upto the fastest speed so far of 150 mph with more to go. This was on a downhill stretch.

I was first on the Dyno and K1ANO ran to 261 hp at 1.1 bar. The Dyno operator was a bit confused by the missing steering wheel on the left of the car - LMAO. Dans had a storming figure (can't remember it). The 400+ hp Supras were a site to behold with people sat in the boot to stop the things wheel spinning on the rollers. There must have been about 30 cars there mainly from the Swiss Toyota owners club.

After the Dyno we made our way to the Ring in a convoy of Toyotas and had a storming drive to a restaurant within the circuit boundary, where some of us had lunch.

Then onto the Ring and 2 more laps before the most AMAZING ride of my life. Daniel, who has a 360 bhp Mitsubishi Evo, took me out on the Circuit. This guy can drive within a minute or so of the lap record and it was honestly like being on the 'big one' at Blackpool - for a whole 8 minutes or so. I had a grin from ear to bloody ear for the rest of the day. I convinced Mo to have a go and he videod the lap. Mo almost looked white when he came back! I wanna see that video soon!

I did another lap and shaved another minute off my time after being inspired by Daniel and also having the opportunity to see the corners from the passenger seat, how fast you could go (over 140 mph in places) and how he handled his 4wd car. I managed to get from around 14 minutes down to around 11 or so.

Later we all had a scramble for Nurburgring stickers at the track garage - you have to have one of these on your car if you have done a lap ;-)

Another great night in the Hotel and a plan to go to the Ring again in the morning.

The following morning I let Jenny drive my car to the circuit. On approaching a tightening left hander, where an accident had happened the day before, she went wide on the corner, clipped the armco slightly at around 40 kph and put poor old K1ANO into a spin. Unfortunately Jenny nor I could control it (I couldn't reach the accelerator !) so we glanced the dirt bank and went into a ditch.

I remember the whole thing VIVIDLY it was a hardish impact but I never felt in danger in the car despite the jolting around. On coming to a standstill I reflected for a second or two and made sure Jenny was OK - she was very upset and shocked as you can imagine but as far as I was concerned she was most important and we had both been lucky.

We climbed out the drivers window and then a lot of events kicked in including help from the public, police, traffic, ambulance, Dirk and his friends coming like the cavalry to the rescue, police organised recovery vehicle, trying to get in touch with the overseas RAC - pants, document production, hospital visit etc.

Eventually we were all together at the recovery garage. I got some belongings from K1ANO and she a tear as I removed the Carlos Sainz badge from the centre console.

We said some warm goodbyes to some new friends including Didi, Piere and Daniel not forgetting to mention Dirk who I cannot thank enough for the support and friendship he showed, not just to me and Jenny in our hours of need, but to all of us over the weekend. Thanks guys.

We left at around 02:00 pm European time and Dan dropped Jenny and I off at Nottingham at around 11:45 pm UK time - a long day.

I also want to say a special thanks to my travelling partners Dan (check out his yahoo group post), Steve & Helen & family, Kenny & 2 x Mo (lol). I really enjoyed making closer friendships with you all and Jenny and I appreciate the support you ALL gave us on the last day. We had some great times though didn't we - yeh baby.

I had some mixed feelings and emotions on the way home however I am older and wiser enough to get my priorities right about things. Loved ones, family and friends and cars a long way down. We both had many kinds words and acts of support and apprecate them all.

the K1ANO parking area

For some further pictures from the meet taken by Kenny Lamb visit the following links (you have to register by the way). Gallery 1, gallery 2 and Gallery 3 (mainly K1ANO pictures). Full index of K1ANO pictures here.

It has come to my attention that K1ANO is now for sale at a breakers yard somewhere. I am trying to ascertain where but let me advise that the car has a chassis kink and the registration number has now been retained by me for a future car - perhaps another black Carlos Sainz Toyota Celica GT4. If you intend to salvage bear these things in mind and feel free to contact me if you need any further details..

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