Last week a bunch of Europpos and I were hooning across central Europe for the Alpine edition of the 2018 Europpomeet. (Sadly Alpine edition refers to the mountains and not the cars in this case...) I will be doing a multi-part write-up of the events and stuff we came across during the meet.
For this first part, I’ll be kicking off with the first few days in Germany.
The plan of the first day of the meet was to check out a VLN 4 hour endurance race at the Nürburgring (basically running the 24h layout, so including the Nordschleife). Of course things never go as planned, and about half of the group arrived after the race was already over. Ah well, they didn’t miss too much, and the weather wasn’t that great to watch racing anyway.
The few of us that were there did get to enjoy the crazy mix of everything from old mk3 Golfs to the latest and greatest GT3 machines from Porsche and Lamborghini. As some of you may know, I’m somewhat of a VLN fan, having been there a couple of times before. No clue on who won this time though, but it looked like a pretty uneventful race. Nevertheless, schaefft, FSI, BlurpleToyotaDishwasher and I enjoyed ourselves watching the race and walking around the track.
About 30 minutes after the race was over, duurtlang, dr. Canard and gmporschenut showed up in their group of Japanese sports cars with wrong gearboxes, and a 205 CTi Turbo. Having never seen duurtlang’s engine-swapped and resto-modded 205 CTi in person, most of us flocked to it to inspect the work that had been done to it. I must say it looks very impressive, almost stock even!
Having finished drooling over the 205, we decided to look up the opening hours of the ‘Ring for ‘Touristenfahrten’, as the weather prediction for the next day was looking grim. The optimistic ones among us figured that we could easily get a lap in within the 1 hour time frame they had that evening. And it was only ever so slightly drizzling, so what could go wrong? It would most certainly be better than the weather of the next day!
After having world’s biggest salad, we rushed to the ticket office to buy our laps. Turns out we were among the last ones allowed on the track, as the entry closes 15 minutes before the track closes. Awesome!
Well, that feeling changed rapidly enough, when we hit the track and found out just how slick the combination of cars racing on it all day (rubber and oil) and the drizzle had made it. It was downright sketchy at parts, with the ABS on my poor little Twingo just completely forgetting how to work, and locking the brakes on corner entry, while the lack of any nannies meant boatloads of under steer and wheel spin on corner exit. It definitely was an interesting experience, and it was still fun, but I would never ever drive the ‘Ring again in these situations. (To see more pictures of that day to see if you can find some of the group, check out this and this link)
Later over beers I found out that most of us had the same opinion, and that dr. Canard had even spun his BRZ twice! And that the Cappuccino was holding up the track sweeping car! Seeing the weather would be even worse the next day, we needed some alternative activities: Engage tourist mode! And by that I mean read leaflets about activities, as out hotel had absolutely no internet. It really felt like living in the 70's, which was aided by the looks of the hotel, very kind owner though.
We ended up going to an ancient Roman Pumice mine (after checking how wet the ‘Ring was and hunting for internet), which had been found during large scale excavation of said stone. It was pretty cool to see how the resourced had been used over three periods. The Romans being great engineers and constructing safe mines, while the Medieval miners completely ruined those by taking material from the support columns. There were also some clear marks made by modern diggers, before the mine collapsed due to those. Had they never dug there, the Roman mine might never have been found. During our tour there, our resident Belgian Out, but with a W arrived in his Answer.
The mine also had some old diggers, which proved a perfect background for a few group shots! (Sadly missing rustholes-are-weight-reduction’s 505 V6, as he would join us in Munich on Tuesday)
After this we went full tourist in Koblenz, checking out the Deutsches Eck and a gondola across the Rhine river. The Deutsches Eck has a massive statue of emperor Wilhelm I, to commemorate the unification of Germany in 1897. It’s actually in a pretty cool spot where the Rhine and Mosel rivers meet. We couldn’t enjoy it too much, though, as we had to get to our hotel in Wertheim am Main, a mere 200 km away.
That drive actually went pretty well (apart from some heavy rain), with the Twingo reaching a new top speed. I managed to get it up to 182 km/h, which is 12 km/h above the rated top speed, woohoo! (to be fair that was going down hill, but still) After arriving in Wertheim, FSI said his goodbyes as he had to work the next day, and the rest of us started our search for food. The town was pretty deserted, but luckily we found a Chinese restaurant which was still open.
I think this might be a good point to cut the story short. Join again next time for more cars, German culture, driving shenanigans, and (of course) beer!