Tuesday, 11 December 2007

10CR 2007 Day 3

Having had a rather nice diner and fully rested we left the restaurant just after 10.00 pm. To start on the last and most difficult leg of this 10CR, the long nightly haul across Germany. From the 2005 edition we had learned that driving large (monotonous) stretches of Autobahn at night was a recipe for problems. That’s why Roger had worked out a nice and easy route, using secondary through roads (so called Bundesstraßen) as far as possible.
We firstly headed over the Austrian Bundesstraßen in the direction of the little and rather picturesque German border town of Füssen. If we’d driven this road by daylight I could have posted several pictures with nice alpine views, but alas it was dark! Luckily the roads were in very good condition, with clear markers and nice flowing corners. So the driving was relative easy but nevertheless entertaining.
Despite missing an exit near Reutte we crossed into Germany in good time. As we didn’t fancy searching for fuel in middle of the night in deepest darkest Germany we first took a stretch of the A7, just to be sure we had enough fuel for the ”inland” stretch. This also gave us the opportunity for a little nap before carrying on .
We eventually left the A7 to join the B312 which we followed all the way till its end near Stuttgart. This was actually quite a nice road to drive. For the rest nothing much happened if it hadn’t been for this red GT6 standing beside the road in the middle of a small sleepy village. Turned out to be Don Cook who had some problems with his alternator, but thanks to his mobile phone the rescue forces  were already on their way. And indeed they turned up within 5 minutes. After chatting a bit with them we carried on, as there was nothing more for us to do then stand in the way.
The only downside of taking the Bundesstraßen instead of the Autobahn is that you’re passing lots of villages and small towns, and they all have permanent speed traps. Good to know, but waiting to get caught speeding nevertheless. While driving into the town of Bibberach over the B312 there was a speed limit of 70 kmh. Then the B312 turned left and the speed limit dropped to 50 kmh. The moment I saw this I also noticed that the traffic light a few hundred meters away changed to red. So I just let the car freewheel to the lights. Wrong idea as a flash by the side of the road proved ... bugger! I was doing less than 60 kmh. at the moment so I hope they won’t bother to sent it across the border. A German friend told me the fine won’t be more then € 15,00, I hope she’s right!
To keep us awake there were some drunken youth’s (probably going home) who thought it rather pleasant to walk in the middle of the road in complete darkness !!!
But eventually, somewhere in the night we reached Stuttgart where we joined the A8. By the time we passed Karlsruhe I could feel some sleep coming up. So after fuelling up we put the car in the car park and slept for an hour, before we hit the Autobahn for the last approximate 250 km to the Nürburgring. At dawn we had our last stop, this time for breakfast. After this we carried on to the Nürburgring where we arrived at exactly 8.00 am. Over the last hour or so the weather had really deteriorated in true Eiffel style, wet, windy and chilly. The few crews that had arrived were all looking slightly ... euhh ... sleepy!

(To avoid humiliation I felt I had to make him unrecognisable 😜)

As it was not really the best kind of weather to hang around for too long Roger and I decided to call it a day and decided to do the last bit of the route as per the roadbook. For those of the entrants that didn’t do this part through the German Eiffel, Luxemburg and the Belgium Ardennes, you really missed a very nice bit of driving! Luckily the weather cleared slightly and the roads dried up a bit, so we didn’t have to hang around too much. Which nearly resulted in a head on collision just before entering Luxemburg. While being chased by a local in some small hatchback I went into a lefthander a bit to spirited, clipping the corner too much. The guy coming from the other side was actual running wide so we more or less met head on in the centre of the road. Luckily for me easy to rectify, of the throttle and a short dab on the brakes and I was back where I belonged. When I looked in my mirrors I could just see that the other two cars just managed not to hit each other as they came to a standstill, but the chase was of.
After that it was into Luxemburg for a cheap fuel stop and over familiar roads up to the continental finish in Rolduc where we arrived just before 2.00 pm.
As there were no cars at the parking yet we thought we were first but it turned out that the manager at Rolduc had decided it was better to park the cars in the courtyard instead of the parking lot.

After putting the car to rest the only thing left to do was instructing some Triumph minded friends who were volunteering to help with directing everyone into the rather large complex, have a shower and make my way to the bar which opened at 4.00 pm. Till date waiting for pictures of that evening, saw lots of flashes but no pictures. The bar eventually closed, an hour before the last team arrived, at 1.00 am in the morning.
As we were only an hour’s drive from home we were in no hurry to get started next morning!

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