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TrackChaser update

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  • Vanden Eynde Roland
    Hello colleagues, Before some stupid idiot wanted his five minutes of glory by making the previous Belgian government resign and thus provoking elections on
    Message 1 of 331 , Jun 14, 2010
      Hello colleagues,

      Before some stupid idiot wanted his five minutes of glory by making the
      previous Belgian government resign and thus provoking elections on June
      13, last weekend looked to be an interesting one, in which I could add a
      Dutch autocross at Bant on the Saturday and a one off rallycross and a
      twin layout autocross in Belgium on the Sunday. Needless to say both
      Sunday events were cancelled. Instead of a bumper weekend with four new
      tracks, I had to be happy with one new one. It gives me pleasure to
      report that the political party that provoked the election lost 5 of its
      18 seats in parliament. But that's about the only thing that gave me
      pleasure yesterday, for, as some of you might have read this morning,
      the Flemish separatist party won landslide in the North of the country.
      This party, which has part of its roots in the Second World War
      collaboration, wants an independent Flanders. This is a gloomy thing,
      for not only would I not want to live in such an environment, it would
      also mean the loss of my job (after all I do work for the BELGIAN
      central bank).

      I did go to the autocross at Bant on the Saturday. As many of those
      events in the Dutch province of Flevoland (this part of the province was
      reclaimed from the sea only 30 years ago), it was a strictly local
      affair. This one was even more local than many others, because on a
      small and dusty oval, about 30 local lads and lasses battled for the
      win. They each did three heats (with 8 to 10 cars in each heat),
      followed by a consi for the drivers with the worst results from the
      heats and a final for the 15 best. The event started at 11.30 a.m. and
      by 3.00 p.m. everything was finished.

      Tomorrow will be my last day at the office for almost two weeks. On
      Wednesday and Thursday I'm at a conference in London and from Friday on,
      I'll receive some American trackchasing visitors. Thus, I'll be
      incommunicado on the forum till close to the end of June.


      Roland

      -----------------------------------------
      Visit our website! http://www.nbb.be

      "DISCLAIMER: The content of this e-mail message should not be
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    • Vanden Eynde Roland
      Hello colleagues, Long before I found out trackchasing ever existed, I had a habit of going to some late season races on southern French road courses. I ve
      Message 331 of 331 , Nov 12, 2013
        Hello colleagues,

        Long before I found out trackchasing ever existed, I had a habit of going to some late season races on southern French road courses. I've long since exhausted those new track opportunities, but still there are a few French road courses I have to visit. Last weekend I added a rather remarkable one to my portfolio.

        Why drive an entire day if a high speed train brings you there in half that time? Since I discovered the multitude of possibilities of the French high speed trains, I like to take advantage of their services whenever suitable. Unlike my two previous train travels, this time, I couldn't get round Paris, but still that wasn't such a problem. I boarded a train to Paris Nord just past 11.15 a.m. and 75 minutes later it got me to Paris. In the north station of Paris, I had 85 minutes to get to Paris Bercy station by underground. It only took me 25 minutes to do so and I had ample time to take my numbered seat on the train to Clermont-Ferrand. Another 90 minutes later I got there. I had booked a hotel (Hotel des Commerçants) only yards from the railway station. The weather was a little cold, but sunny and after a long walk I had enough of an appetite to go for an early steak dinner at a Hippopotamus. These are chain restaurants a bit reminiscent of Applebee's.

        On Saturday morning I got back to the railway station to fetch my hire car at Sixt. They gave an excellent rate and handed me a Renault Twingo with only 75 miles on the clock. Unlike in Montréal, I didn't add thousands of miles to it, as my target for the day was less than 35 miles from the town centre. The French tyre manufacturer Michelin has its roots in Clermont-Ferrand and the centrepiece of those roots is its research centre at Ladoux (Auvergne region). This complex, officially called "Centre de recherche Michelin de Ladoux", is a beauty. It's in lush green surroundings. Inside a 5 mile high speed trioval, it harbours several testing grounds for dry weather tyre testing, wet weather tyre testing, braking, etc. The dry weather testing is done on a 2770 metres long flat track with numerous corners. It is on this track that twice a year countable races are held. Last Saturday, two Porsche clubs (one local and one Swiss) held a sprint and endurance meeting. This being a tyre test track, it has neither pit lane nor specific paddock area. I had to park my hire car on a piece of concrete where trailers and cars of team members were parked. Another part of that concrete area was turned into an improvised pit lane. In the morning, they held three 20 minute sprint races for various Porsche classes, while after a two hour lunch break (although there was only a local hot dog stand to get food from), allcomers got on the track for a two hour endurance race. The twisty nature of the track made for good racing, but the track surface was rather slick and there were spins galore. But as this track was surrounded by large grassy runoff areas, no cars were severely damaged. Not being a great fan of Porsches (I like Ferraris and Maseratis better), I left halfway the endurance race and had a nice drive in the hills surrounding Clermont-Ferrand. The entire landscape consists of extinct volcanoes and it's really gorgeous. I got back into town at dusk, handed the car back in and after another nice dinner, I had a good night sleep.

        Sunday morning, I got on the train back to Paris. Just like on Friday, the journey went by smoothly. So much for my contribution to tracks in November, as the rest of the month will not involve any new trackchasing for me.

        Roland

        -----------------------------------------
        Visit our website! http://www.nbb.be

        "DISCLAIMER: The content of this e-mail message should not be
        construed as binding on the part of the National Bank of Belgium
        (NBB) unless otherwise and previously stated. The opinions
        expressed in this message are solely those of the author and do not
        necessarily reflect NBB viewpoints, particularly when the content
        of this message, or part thereof, is private by nature or does not
        fall within the professional scope of its author."
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