Saturday, May 20, 2006

10CR2005 - last instalment

10CR2005 Car 1 Martin Randle, Kevin Makin, TR7 BRP285S

Day 4 Sunday September 11th

So now it’s just after midnight somewhere in Switzerland and we haven’t seen another Triumph for 5 hours, we must be the last on the road. The thing is, all that’s just fine – the car’s going great and it’s an easy-peasy run now through Lichtenstein, a bit of Austria and then southern Germany until we reach the Nurburgring.

Fuel levels a bit low but then that’s no real problem as I know just the place to stop in Feldkirk. Lichtenstein may be a nice place in daylight but I have been through it twice at night now and there’s not much to see but at least it leads into the famous Feldkirk.

Why should I go on about this place? Well, one or two reasons really.

1. It’s the place where my TR7 basically died in 2003 and we had to be rescued by Europassist and then drive a 4 speed (as it was then) TR7 non stop at 80-90 MPH all the way to Calais. Mind you, we were 4 hours behind schedule then but still made the ferry before some others!

2. There is rather a special petrol station there which I knew would be open (this was also the place the TR7 expired – I even used the same fuel pump this time!). I do find some of these things a bit surreal and for some reason this petrol station sticks in my mind. I mean, everywhere else is quietly shut down for the night for miles around but this place is open all night, sells petrol etc as you would expect but also has a bouncer on the door (!) and a bar inside selling all sorts of substances.

It is also here that Paul Darbyshire and Andy Flexney pointed out that an innocent young lad like me could buy some very dodgy stuff in a “special bottle”. I am sure I can hear them chortling away as I type this – for anyone else though who wants to know the secret, just sidle up to me on a CT event somewhere and enquire!

Anyway, having purchased something for the weekend from this establishment we were off again into the early hours but we had to stop off outside a factory gate in Lindau to take a quick photo before the security guards came up and asked what we were up to. I am sure this all seems a bit strange but this, at least, was quite innocent in that it just happened that my co-driver has a customer in Lindau!

From there though it was just an easy overnight drive up Autobahns to reach the Nurburgring for an optional lap or two.

Now this is another place, where I have “previous”. Back in 2001 Kevin had joined me on a Continental rally in my Vitesse. This rally had also visited the Nurburgring but, tragically, on our lap two motor bikes had an accident and the pillion passengers were both in a bad way, one of them actually died whilst I held the drip for a paramedic and Kevin had been helping give the lady CPR earlier.

Needless to say, we didn’t enjoy that trip at all and it has taken us quite some time before wanting to return. Anyway, here was the chance to put all that behind us so off we went with myself driving.

The Nurburging is either a fantastic place or you can have another view, as did Jackie Stuart I believe who described it as a “green hell”. Well, I think I go with the second view now because just as I started to raise the speeds a bit I lost the rear of the car, held it, pulled it back and then we spun off backwards on the other side of the track and just stopped before the Armco.

Not a great experience as you can imagine, especially after the previous one we had had 4 years previously. Anyway, we were lucky this time and I completed a very slow lap but really didn’t want to get back in the car and go round again!

Thanks to Chris Shaw though, who volunteered to sit in with Kevin so that he finally got to drive a lap. Whilst they were out I started to think they were taking their time and then I saw a breakdown truck go out onto the circuit. I am sure you can guess what I was thinking – I was very relieved when they came back in OK.

After a coffee we then set off on the next part of the route through Luxembourg and the Ardennes to Bastogne. I had planned the route but hadn’t realised until we actually drove it that we were using some of the roads that were on that Continental rally back in 2001 – it was good to recognise them.

There were a couple of incidents that stick in the memory on this section though. One was leading 15 Triumphs at one point through the countryside – what a wonderful sight that was. The other one was being photographed by a gent from Luxembourg in his Dolomite Sprint who had been keeping track of us via the forum and website.

From there though it was then a blast up the motorway to the final overnight at Lichtervelde in Belgium where a campsite and farmhouse barbeque was waiting for us, organised by Dean Martin. By now, I was looking forward to a few beers so the TR7 was held at the legal limit in 5th all the way as much as possible.

I should perhaps say here, that although we had been topping the car up with oil quite regularly it had otherwise performed really well. After the first 10CR I sang the praises of the TR7 and I have no qualms about doing so again, no problems with power even from the 8 valve, plenty of room, strong and sturdy and even gives good fuel economy at about 30MPG!

Sunday night, however, saw us at the campsite enjoying a barbeque and more than the odd beer or two. The photo here is courtesy of dave Langrick.

The atmosphere amongst all the crews was just wonderful, what a great group of people who love their Triumphs and a good party at the end of a true Club Triumph endurance driving event.

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