Riding the Ring, © 2003, Stu Savory.
The Nurburgring snakes its way through 20.832 kilometers (sic!) of the Eifel forest, winding through 72 corners and rising through 292 meters (about 1000 feet) through green pines around the Nurburg castle ruins. It is not one of those toy-boy 5 km circuits with wide safety-zones that F1 uses. This is real road-racing, 2nd only to the Mountain Course on the Isle of Man.
In my mind there is an indelible film of my mental impressions of my laps of the Ring. Now I'm going to run my mental film, dictating the blog as I go. So get ready for your shot of adrenalin, because here come your instructions, to be read and followed in under nine minutes (Helmut Daehne's record is 7 mins 48 secs, I need 1 min more).
NB : The sketch of the lap shown above shows the new entrance (=Einfahrt); the description below relates to the old entrance (start/finish line) which was about at the 2km mark as shown in the sketch above.
Powerwheelie !!!: In first gear bring the revs up to seven thousand to get into the power band. Ease in the clutch gently to avoid stalling the engine and keep it on the boil as the front wheel rears into the air. As the pipes come onto resonance, head for the first hard lefthander after the starting line, which points steeply downhill.
Your mind is running like clockwork now, a dictating machine playing back (at double speed) the instructions I give you.
Enter the first lefthander slowly, using as large a radius as possible, using all of the road . After the lefthander drift diagonally over to the left, reaching the kerb at the white cross marker, then peel off right for the '66er' righthander, keeping a constant radius. Now 200 yards straight ahead, ironing the slight lefthander into a straight line, which lines you up nicely for the Hatzenbach 'S'. Clamp on the anchors about 25 yards short of the Haltsign, flick left then immediately right, clipping the kerb at the apex of the righthander. Open the taps, accelerate hard, but don't drift out too much to the left; the middle of the road is about the right place to be when abreast of the red-and-white tires at the side of the road marking the slip road used by the safety vehicles and ambulances to enter the circuit. This is the key position and the slowest stretch through the Hatzenbach curves. Now flick left then right, changing rapidly from one side of the bike to the other. Keep as far right now as possible, since this makes your line nearly straight. Peel left just before the apex of the last of the Hatzenbach left curves, blasting the taps open while drifting wide to the right kerb, all the while aiming for the Hoheneichen village signpost. Peel off right at the signpost then pick her up smartly before diving into the sweeping downhill lefthander. Line her up on the left side of the road and aim for the red 2 kilometer milestone on the left. That's Hocheichen, easy as falling off a log!
Now come the Quiddelbacher Heights. Charge blindly up the hill now to the Quiddelbacher Heights, the one in six climb hides the road ahead from your view. The bike leaps over the brow of the hill, shaking its steering head in disapproval.
Hold her close to the left kerb until the bordering kerbstones end near the 'E' painted on the tarmac, then peel off right, blending the two following right curves past the airfield into a single smooth motion. Now pick her up and dive down into the left hand drop diagonally by leaning slightly left. Very fast now on the approach to Schwedenkreuz (swedish-cross), on the left hand side as you come over the brow. Aim for the big white boarding on the right, even though you temporarily lose sight of it when diving through the dip. Lean left after the board is passed, braking hard for the Aremberg corner, and peel off very late at the draincover on the left for the tight righthander of Aremberg. Wind the taps fully open now, aiming for the lefthand bridgepost. Keep left under the bridge then aim diagonally right for the little wooden hut at the side of the road, piling on the coals.
You feel the rhythm of the circuit pulsing through your veins as you aim for the entry into the Fuchsroehre. The Fuchsroehre (foxes' pipes) is one of the fastest parts of the Ring. When you are abeam the little wooden hut on the right, aim for the left side of the brow of the hill. Then courageously keep the bike upright in a straight line whilst diving down to the deepest point of the Fuchsroehre. Ignore the left side of the road as it jumps out at you, and keep straight down the hill, until abeam the last kerbstone before the very bottom. Now lean her slightly left to drift through on the black asphalt stripe at the left side of the road at the very bottom of the hill
As the slope changes from the one in nine downhill to the one in ten uphill, you feel the G-forces pressing you down on the bike, and feel the bump as the suspension bottoms under those G-forces. So remember to pick up your chin off the tank first, in order to avoid knocking yourself senseless, as you pass the four and a half kilometer mark. Then let the bike drift over to the right past the 5 kilometer milestone, lining up for the first lefthander heading into the Adenauer Forest .
Peel off left at the end of the right side-marking stripe. The first lefthander is easy. Clap on the anchors at the exit as hard as possible, front tyre howling and rear wheel on the point of lifting off the tarmac, until reaching the yellow coloured square painted on the road. Leaning right now, pour on the coals but keeping the front wheel on the road through the righthander. Despite all instincts to the contrary, keep on the right past the twin safety railings until you can see all the way through the following "S" of the Adenauer forest. Curve fluidly left then right through the 'S', accelerating hard while drifting out of the forest on the left side of the road.
Now change over to the right as you dive down into Metzgesfeld , and keep right as long as possible (at least until abeam the white triangle on the righthand side of the road. This allows you to take the following two lefthanders as a single radius curve, effectively ignoring the short 50 yard straight between thern You will need to brake slightly for the second of these lefthanders, so you may want to pick her up on the short straight to brake, but it is probably better to stay fluid and take them both in one line, braking while leaned over on the straight. Now downhill into a slight righthander, aiming for the white and yellow circle painted on the tarmac, it's the peel-off point for the Kallenhardt righthander. Kallenhardt corner has a dangerous adverse camber, so be sure to clip the right apex as closely as possible before letting the bike drift out as you accelerate out while still leaning right.
Take the next two slight lefthanders in single radius for more speed. The dive down into the Wehrseifen you take by relying on memory alone, because one cannot see through the snaking corners at all. The main thing is to keep a constant smooth radius while diving down again into the first righthander and aiming for the white and yellow coloured paintspot on the tarmac at the apex. Drifting out left, aim for the second colour spot. From there you can see the entry into the corkscrew left-right combination at Wehrseifen. Pick the bike up and brake hard, aiming for the '114' signpost on the righthand side of the road. There flick hard left, scraping the left knee on the tarmac, and then flicked right again, drifting over to the left as you accelerate hard out of the righthander. Staying left until the road surface changes, you move diagonally across to the right aiming for the big white hoarding marking the entry to Breitscheid .
Breitscheid is the lowest point on the course, it's all uphill thereafter, apart from the odd dip or three. The imaginary tape-recorder is feeding you instructions like a metronome run amock
Enter the Breitscheid lefthander, keeping about a yard out from the left kerb and then let the bike drift out to the right under the bridge. Once under the bridge aim for the left kerb opposite the slip-road exit on the right and, once across the white line which crosses the racetrack just after the slip road to Breitscheid village, peel off right up the hill, breasting the rise just after the well-cambered righthander of Ex-Muehle .
Grab a full hand of throttle now, accelerating hard up towards the mine at Bergwerk . About 100 yards before the corner lean slightly left and ease her through the slight lefthander keeping the power on. Stay close to the left kerb until reaching the triple safety railings, because not until the last possible moment can you see through the subsequent righthander, the steep bank on the right blocks your view. Wheel over right, then drift out to the left as you climb up the slope before moving over to the middle of the road again for the full-power hill up toward the first part of the Kesselchen (Little Pot).
The Kesselchen starts with a steep uphill lefthander. After all the racetrack climbs over 600 feet in the three kilometers from Breitscheid to the Karussell (Carousel). In the lefthander just after the mine entrance the bike leaps over the first brow of the Kesselchen hill. By using all of the road, turn the next shallow left and righthanders almost into a straight line. Clipping the kerb on the left past the '132' post, still keeping straight on uphill again, aim for the cobblestones on the right of the road. Peeling as late as possible off into the blind lefthander of the second part of the Kesselchen, clip its kerb then as far over to the left as possible to take the brow of the next hill on the left before leaning the bike slightly right for the fast righthander known as Klostertal (Monastery valley), leading down through the dip. There aim for the left side of the next brow which leads into the hidden sharp righthander before the Karussell.
Be careful. Do not go too far left across the brow, because there, just over the top of hill, the kerbstones jump out at you just where you want to anchor up for the tight righthander. Drop all the way down into second gear and take the curve smoothly with a constant radius which lets you pick the bike up in the middle of the road and accelerate briskly up the hill to the Karussel in a straight line.
If you twisted the grip a little too far, the front tire will grab the air. Wheelie!!!
Since you can't see the entrance to the Carousel at all, the best thing to do is to aim for little white '143' sign straight ahead on the right hand side of the track. The Carousel is a steeply banked concrete lefthanded hairpin for which one needs to brake sharply, and drop down into second again. The changing surface, from tarmac to concrete, gets slippery in the wet, there are leaves there too, so watch out!
Because you are looking far ahead around the turn, and are banked over abnormally steeply, the G-forces compress the suspension so it bottoms out. It is very easy to become disoriented here. You should pick the bike up to an upright position about five yards before leaving the concrete oval, aiming for the white point at the top right corner of the last concrete pad as you accelerate hard, leaning right again for the shallow righthander just after the Karussel, and following the right hand kerb uphill towards the Hoher Acht (High Eight). This is the highest point of the circuit. It comprises three curves of varying radii.
Take the first left-right combination tangentially before braking hard and then lay the bike down as far as possible for the slow righthander. Then drift over to the left kerb for the snaking passage through Wipperman , past the '154' signpost and (keeping as straight as possible) let the track snake around you past the slip road for the rescue vehicles, aiming for the telegraph pole before peeling off left to line up for the righthander. Pick the bike upright now and crank it over to the right halfway down, before diving down into the dip, aiming to just clip the righthand kerb on the brow of the following hill. The bike leaps boldly over the brow of the hill and heads steeply downhill while you change over to the righthand side of the track by aiming for the Eschenbach village entrance sign.
Now follows an adverse camber lefthander where the kerb juts far out into the road; afterwards flick the bike right sharply before crossing diagonally to line up for the righthander at Bruennchen . After this you can slam the grip all the way open, accelerating uphill along the short straight until reaching the gravel pit and cobblestones on the left, then brake sharply to the end of them and peel off right for the Eiskurve.
Don't peel off too early though, or you'll screw up the entry into the Pflanzengarten which follows. The trick is to peel off late for the lefthander, then drift out to the right, accelerating up the hill until the '169' signpost whilst aiming for the left hand side of the road across the brow of the hill. Brake hard and change down a gear or two, easing the brakes as you leap the brow, and then clamp the anchors on again. Now you can take the following right-left-left combination in a smooth curve. Accelerate sharply out of the second lefthander, peeling off left again at the '174' sign. Pick her up sharply now, to avoid being cranked over on the jump. Wheelie over the jump and charge down the steep downhill slope keeping as straight as possible letting the road snake around you. Peel off right as you come down out of the Pflanzengarten and then move over to the left on the following short straight. You will want to be hard on the left side at the point where the road surface changes. Brake here and change down then wheel gracefully right, aiming for the 'No Parking' sign on the right of the road. Once there, brake hard again and flick left through the blind lefthander, opening the taps again quickly after taking the bump on the approach to the Schwalbenschwanz (Swallowtail).
If you screw up the Schwalbenschwanz, you ruin your lap times; it's a very difficult part of the Nurburgring. Stay right on the downhill approach, peeling left onto the concrete ovals on the inside of the lefthander. Accelerate, leaving the concrete pads on the left and stay left as long as is possible leaning right into the righthander of the Galgenkopf (Gallows Head). Aim to stay to the left of the white painted cross on the tarmac before peeling right for the exit. Keep at least a yard and a half from the rightmost kerb though, because the inside of the corner is very bumpy, and could catapult you off before you know what happened. Stay right on the approach to Antonius' Bridge , not peeling off to the left until the beginning of the white stripe on the right of the track. Aim now for the left kerb just under the bridge and let the bike drift out to the right towards the '200' signpost
Taking courage, ignore the three curves between the Zoo and Hohenrain and just let the road snake past your straight line. Brake hard and change down twice for the chicane, right and then left past the entrance to the pits, wheeling hard right for the 90 degree corner leading to the finishing line and the grandstands.
Now, just remember all of that, and 'play it back' mentally in under nine (preferably eight) minutes, OK ? :-) :-) :-)