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TrackChaser update

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  • Vanden Eynde Roland
    Hello colleagues, When last Monday Aline told me her niece Nicole, her husband and their two daughters would come over to stay the weekend, while on their
    Message 1 of 331 , Aug 2, 2010
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      Hello colleagues,

      When last Monday Aline told me her niece Nicole, her husband and their
      two daughters would come over to stay the weekend, while on their yearly
      vacation, a possibility opened up for another weekend long trackchasing
      trip. This being a very difficult weekend on the French motorways,
      another trek south was not on the cards. Luckily, a Dutch autocross was
      rescheduled during my stay in the US and I could combine this with a
      similar German event.

      It was under an overcast sky that I got underway to the Netherlands. In
      the months of July and August, driving on Dutch motorways is nice, as
      half of the country is making traffic in other countries lethal by
      tracking their caravans. In fact, during two thirds of the drive up to
      Wijk en Aalburg, I had almost no traffic at all, while in the opposite
      direction, it was one giant traffic jam. The Ezhaco meeting I was going
      to see was called the 'Midzomer F1 race' and thus catered for BriSCA F2
      and F1's. When I arrived at the tracks, it was drizzling a bit. There
      were hardly any spectators (of course not, they were all on the road to
      more southern destinations) and not that many cars either, especially
      keeping in mind that this sanctioning body has a multitude of classes.
      No class had more than 11 participants. Bonus was that I got two track
      configurations; the five F2's and seven F1's drove on a dirt quarter
      mile oval, while the buggies and stock car classes took in a large
      S-bend and thus raced on a dirt road course. The PA was very weak and
      the announcer was very sparse with his announcements. The racing was not
      really that good, so when about an hour and three quarters into the
      meeting, it began to rain a lot heavier, it was time to leave. This
      earlier than planned exit was nice, for I could aim for another evening
      spent in the German border town of Nordhorn, where I checked in at a
      nice modern family hotel and had dinner in one of the best Italian
      restaurants I know in Germany.

      Sunday morning also was overcast, but with no longer a chance of rain.
      After another of those wonderful German breakfasts, I was on my way to
      the 'stoppelfeldrennen' (farmer's field's races) at Aschen, a hamlet of
      the town of Dissen (Niedersachsen). Generally, this kind of races is on
      oval tracks, but at this location, they always dig out a nice clay
      course. On the Saturday evening, there had been quite a bit of rain
      during the 1 hour enduro race and the course was still very wet and
      slippery for the sprint races, starting at 10.30 a.m. Unlike in the
      Netherlands, they only had three classes and each one was rather well
      attended. The Buggy class had 13 cars, the Open Class (tuned saloon
      cars) 16, the Stock class 64. The format was for two rather long heat
      races for each class, followed by a 'loser race' for those not in the
      top 10 in each class, a ladies race (17 stock cars qualified for that)
      and a final in each class. The first heats were a little tame, but as
      soon as the track dried, they ran three wide most of the time, with lots
      of overtaking. After a short noon break to sample the excellent fish
      sandwiches, the afternoon programme was swiftly dealt with and by 4.00
      p.m., all but the last final were run. Time to get on my way back home.
      I had no traffic problems crossing the Ruhrgebiet and got home before
      9.30 p.m.

      Next week, I'll probably stay a little closer to home, for there's a
      rather well attended autocross planned in the Tournai area.

      Roland



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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
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        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

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

        "DISCLAIMER: The content of this e-mail message should not be
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        (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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