Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

TrackChaser update

Expand Messages
  • Vanden Eynde Roland
    Hello colleagues, First of all, belated congratulations to Brian Hickey, who passed the magical 400 mark. Last week my trackchasing plan fell victim to a lack
    Message 1 of 331 , Oct 1 5:48 AM
      Hello colleagues,

      First of all, belated congratulations to Brian Hickey, who passed the
      magical 400 mark.

      Last week my trackchasing plan fell victim to a lack of permit for my
      chosen track, but this weekend I made up for that loss by getting three
      German tracks.

      After a week of stormy weather, the forecast for the weekend was very
      good. When I started my journey at 6.30 a.m., it was still windy but not
      cold at all. It was a six and a half hour's drive to my first port of
      call, the little village of Gannerwinkel (NI) for the final round of the
      NordDeutsche Stockcar Meisterschaft. Before someone thinks this is a
      local form of NASCAR racing, it needs to be said this was an autocross
      and banger meeting on a large flat sandy oval in a recently harvested
      field. There were basically two major categories of races: those with
      and those without contact. This is grassroots racing and the fields in
      all 8 saloon car categories were very large. The racing was very good as
      well, although they would have done better to water the track a bit
      more. As this was the last meeting of the season (a Saturday-Sunday
      double header), the banger drivers didn't hold back. Luckily the non
      contact races were hard fought and made the trip worthwhile. Bangers
      really are not at all my favourites.

      Just past 3.00 p.m., I got on the road again for a meeting at Tewswoos
      (ME), an hour and a half further northeast. I went to see the one hour
      enduro race of a two day autocross event. The field was not large, only
      17 cars. The track was a flat and rather slow dirt course. They started
      bang on time and the first four cars drove the entire race nose to tail.
      Unfortunately, there wasn't much overtaking and the most exciting
      moments were when lapping other cars (which occured frequently). As
      usual on North-east German tracks, the catering was varied and
      excellent. After the enduro, I drove two and a half miles out of town to
      the well signposted Vilanker Brauhaus, a hotel within a local brewery.
      The rooms were recently refurbished and very nice. Against my habits, I
      did sample a pint of the local brew when dining. Beer and food were good
      as well.

      Sunday started with an early breakfast at 7.00 a.m. So far up north, the
      breakfast resembled a Scandinavian breakfast more than a more southern
      German one. The emphasis was more on cheese and herring than on meat.
      Afterwards, it was a three hour drive to the hamlet of Neu Ebersdorf
      (NI) for another event on an oval in a farmer's field. This one was
      different though in many ways. First of all, it was adjacent to
      woodland. The soil was clay and the oval was rather tight at one end.
      But most of all, they catered for crosskarts. On top of the usual
      (seven) saloon car classes, there were two crosskart divisions as well.
      They were great to watch and extremely well suited to the track. The
      other divisions also had nice fields and good racing. As it had been a
      very nice day, there was a lot of traffic on the way back home, but I
      did have two enjoyable days in Germany.

      Next week, I'll stay local before crossing the pond on October 10 for a
      bout of Midwestern trackchasing with Mike Knappenberger.

      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."
    • 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."
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.