Nordschleife by Car
2nd Touristenfahrten - Thursday, June 14
After returning the bikes, we walked back to the AirBnB flat and had a quick bite and a few moments of relaxation. We then headed over to the N-Rent place to rent a couple of helmets from friendly Mike, then headed over to the Touristenfahrten paddock, sat ourselves down in the grass next to the entrance, and waited for the magical "Achtung Achtung" to ring out. It was time for our second run at Touristenfahrten at the Nordschleife.
We hurried back to the M2 after the track opening announcement. Luke had elected to not rent a car on the second evening, so he was riding with me tonight. I had purchased a six-lap bundle that came with a discount (essentially a free extra lap), so we had seven to work with for the evening. Seemed like plenty for a nearly 20km-long circuit.
I felt much more confident heading out on to the track on this second evening. The experiences of the first evening had settled into my mind, and the place felt more comfortable, less intimidating. I tried to remind myself not to be over-confident. Often the most dangerous time on a track is the period between initial cautiousness and well-worn experience. Still, it was fun to be able to tackle the turns with a little more vigor.
There seemed to be a little more traffic than the evening before, some of which was a touch annoying. One off-white British M4, for example, was driving rather slowly but also blocking and not given the signal to allow passing. He did this all the way from Hocheichen to Ex-Muhle - a full third of the track - much to my annoyance. Just be a team player, buddy, ok?
We generally came in at the end of each lap for a quick break and debrief, and during one of these breaks, I managed to convince Luke that he should take the helm of the M2 and experience it on the Nordschleife (he had been quite reluctant). It seemed wholly unfair to be sitting in the passenger seat for the whole evening. And frankly, I'm not sure the Fiesta from the night before was the most fulfilling experience for him.
Andrew Lavigne, Karussell
After a couple of laps later, we noticed a little spritz of raindrops on the windshield. Nothing that bothered us or affected grip at first. But it gradually increased, eventually slightly darkening the pavement and causing us to ease off a bit. Would be a passing sprinkle, or something more?
[ on the Nordschleife, part II ]
Nordschleife Laps (Andrew)
Our two days at the Nordschleife are too much to describe right now. I shall have to let it sink in a bit. Truly special, and what a great way to have done it, with my great longest-serving car bud. Really couldn't be any more perfect. Well, other than more laps....and less rain! NEXT TIME.
As we pulled into the paddock for the end of our current lap, we noticed that the large display sign had started to flash "No Motorcycles" - that was definitely a sign that the rain was continuing. We decided to just keep on lapping straight away, going immediately through the lift gates without parking. There was no escaping it, though - we were transitioning to a full wet situation, with standing water and spray and the whole soggy nine yards.
I was certainly not inclined to get into any lurid skids or slides, or to otherwise make a spectacle of myself or bang up the M2 (and probably end up famous on youtube, too). So I dialled it way back and we basically cruised along for the final two laps I had in my lap account. The M2 was getting really low on fuel anyway, so it was probably for the best. Our lapping at the Nordschleife, therefore, came to an end on a moist and muted note.
Treat with respect
We were not at all dissatisfied with our experience. Our two nights at the Nordschleife had worked out perfectly (in fact, we had planned on two nights to account precisely for the possibility of rainy or bad weather). We carefully limped back to the nearest gas station, filled up, then returned to our flat. A nearby German Pub gave us authentic fare for dinner. We reminisced about our last few days' (and in fact, the entire trip's) experiences. Things on the whole had gone swimmingly well - the pickup, the mountains, the roads, our various accommodations, the M2, the track, the M2 itself. And it had all gone by in a kind of casual, easy way - at least I thought so.
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