I can’t say for sure, but I’m fairly certain that lines from a Queen song have never before flashed in to my eyes as I headed towards a sizeable accident. Fat bottom girls certainly do not make the rocking world go round. And they didn’t on Saturday at the VLN race at the Nordschliefe. Round four of what must now be the most exciting race series in the world, was going swimmingly with the DR liveried Porsche Cup car I’m driving this year sitting in 11th place (there were 209 cars in the race). We – that’s me Chris Cooper and Guy Spurr, were trucking nicely.
With one lap to go, the team told me to back off and then I became stuck behind a car with ‘The show must go on’ daubed on its bootlid. How he must have regretted that choice of livery as we both attempted to scrabble back onto the track after clattering the barriers, and it was he who couldn’t rejoin. For reasons only he will ever know, he had decided to tag me, send me into a spin and then biffed me as we both hit the hard stuff. A twit if ever I saw one. Still, we were fast on the day -taking it to the German teams, and we’ll keep you updated on our progress through words, pictures and videos during the season.
My show was terminated pretty soon afterwards. With a broken steering arm and plenty of sundry damage we tried to limp an extra lap to score a finish, but a cracked radiator hose halted those ambitions down at Adenau Bridge, the lowest point on the circuit.
And it was there, sitting and cursing the prat in his Queen-tribute-Porsche that I began to understand just how popular the ‘Ring had become. Dozens of people came to look at the bent Englisher (itals) Porsche, and hundreds more were leaving for the end of the race. Half an hour later, the queue for the public entrance, where early-evening lapping would soon begin, was bloody enormous. I had to park in some field and then walk down to the car park to see some mates who’d come for the weekend. The number of Brits was astonishing –two thirds of the cars were UK registered.
That evening it was like being at a UK holiday resort –only without the violence- scores of red, mildly inebriated, flaking Brits wandering around recounting completely fictional tales of derring-do from their recent laps. To extract the truth from any such yarn, I simply reduce any story by at least one quoted gearchange and around 40mph of the speed mentioned. Now a part of me slightly resents this new-found popularity –the part that remembers going there for the first time ten years ago and revelling in the secret wonderland I’d found. But even though the track is now so busy when the weather is good, the more people that go, the more money it will make, the more the local economy will depend upon such trade and the less likely it is to close.
Because the day they close the ‘Ring is the day a small light in every car-nut’s head will be switched off forever. It has rightly become a Mecca; a pilgrimage for like-minded people. Even if it occasionally becomes a platform for people in camp-rock (can that be shortened to cock?) inspired 996 Cup cars to spoil my weekend.