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

TrackChaser update

Expand Messages
  • Vanden Eynde Roland
    Hello colleagues, Last week had given us cold and wet weather. Not one moment did we see a bout of blue sky and temperatures were very wintery. In that context
    Message 1 of 331 , May 21 4:23 AM
    • 0 Attachment
      Hello colleagues,

      Last week had given us cold and wet weather. Not one moment did we see a bout of blue sky and temperatures were very wintery. In that context a few of my colleagues questioned my sanity to go 700 miles up north to watch two events in Denmark. How wrong they were, for they continued to have cold and wet weather, while I spent two days in glorious sunshine and one with grey skies, but double the temperature it was in Belgium.

      When I started my trip at 5.00 a.m. on Friday, it was indeed wet and cold. It stayed cold and foggy until I reached the German town of Bremen. All of a sudden the fog lifted and the sun shone in a cloudless blue sky. In less than 20 minutes the temperature went up from 13° centigrade to 24. I made good progress till Hamburg, but once past Germany’s second largest city, the traffic became very dense as many Germans were on their way to a sunny long weekend along the Baltic Sea. Moreover, there were road works a few miles before the Danish border and around Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus. I drove as far north as Randers and just when I was thinking of looking for a place to stay, a large Motel (Motel X) popped up on the horizon. It was a fully automated one. Reservation had to be done by credit card and swiping that credit card opened the front door, the door to the room and the one to the breakfast room. The room was tiny, spartan and not well cleaned either, but for Danish standards $103 for the room and $10.5 for breakfast were cheap. As it was at the motorway exit, miles away from the city itself, I had no choice but to take dinner in a Sunset Restaurant. Don’t get fooled by the name, it’s a Danish fast food chain. Their tuna salad was passable.

      So was breakfast at Motel X. But the sun was shining and I was in for a glorious day. It was a little under an hour and a half to the Ǿrnedalsbanen on the outskirts of the town of Sǽby (pronounced Say booh). Unlike many other things in Denmark, watching motor races is not that expensive for it only cost about $17.3 to get in. The Ǿrnedalsbanen is a nice mixed surface track in a natural bowl. There is a grass verge for spectators to sit and a path leading to some other viewing places near the track. The meeting counted for the Folkerace Cup (People’s race cup) and had about 85 participants in four divisions. Two of those (for drivers of 14-15 years of age and for drivers of 16-17 years) were not countable. The countable classes were those for adults in standard cars and in modified cars. The format was that of a rallycross with three heats and finals. They started right on time at 10.00 a.m., not in the least because two minutes after been summoned by the commentator, every car was on the grid. And every heat was conducted in double quick time, because they started 8 cars in every race. The start was on tarmac and so were a straight and the first hairpin, while the rest of the track (about three quarters) was dirt. The commentator was very good and I learned a lot from him on the pronunciation of Danish names. As there was nothing decent to eat and between the second heat and the finals, I had two hours to visit the town, I decided to do just that. Sǽby is a beautiful little town with a lively harbour (especially as there was a jazz festival going on). I had a reasonable lunch, consisting of a large prawn salad, a fish fillet, a bottle of mineral water and an espresso. Unfortunately, that set me back just under $60. Not cheap, eating out here. Still, I was in good spirits to watch the finals. The youngster classes had a direct A final, but the adult classes had a C, B and A final. The heats had already been quite eventful, the finals were spectacular. And in the afternoon the wind, which had been strong all day, quietened down, which made for a summary temperature of 29° centigrade.

      Sunday dawned overcast, but still warm. I had an early breakfast, because the first race at the classic car meeting on the Mindeparken street track at the southern edge of Aarhus was scheduled at 9.30 a.m. I was there on time, but they ran almost an hour late. The Mindeparken is not unlike its Copenhagen counterpart, the Fǽlledparken. It’s quite fast, almost a square and with some tricky corners and a downhill section leading onto a curved start and finish straight. That’s were I followed proceedings, for cars passed two metres in front of me and I could see the rest of the track on a giant screen. There were over 250 cars at this meeting, all, bar maybe 10, driven by Danish drivers. The star attraction was the race for the TransAm cars that used to be Denmark’s major racing class in the early eighties. This class had the only “star” driver of the meeting, Jan Magnussen. He duly won both the Saturday and the Sunday race. Because the track was not only fast, but rather wide for a street one, it allowed for great racing and lots of overtaking. And overtaking there was. There was also a massive crash in the Historic saloon car race for cars built between 1971 and 1984. That race started 27 cars and only 13 finished the 8 lap race. It may have been overcast all day, but not a spot of rain and splendid racing. I dashed off at 3.00 p.m., because I didn’t want to be stuck in holiday traffic and I liked to get south of Hamburg for the night. That plan worked to perfection. I got as far as the lovely city of Bremen, where I found a splendid hotel and had a succulent dinner in the local Maredo (well known to the Smiths).

      Yesterday, it rained and it became progressively colder the nearer I got home. It may be an expensive country, but if one loves motor racing, Denmark is more than first class.

      Next week, I think I’ll have to satisfy myself with a Dutch autocross. It can’t be Christmas every week.

      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
      • 0 Attachment
        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.