Friday 22nd February 2013


RINGSIDE SEAT: SNOWED IN (STILL)

Snow: great for atmospheric pictures, rubbish if you want to fix or run a race track


When the old fella across the road told me the winter would be hard and long, I did consider giving him a classic dose of British humour. But I'm glad I didn't, because the hard-edged old chap was totally right.

Looks lovely but the novelty is wearing off
Looks lovely but the novelty is wearing off
The temperatures here have been bitter, with a biting cold wind that only gets worse as you climb the hill to Nurburg. While Adenau, 300 metres lower, has thawed out several times, snow has been drifting around Nurburg for weeks now. A fine, dry, white powder blowing over and around the streets, the fields and the higher parts of the old Nordschleife.

And this is a problem.

Yesterday the 'ring management had to concede defeat to the elements and cancelled the first weekend of action, scheduled for March 9 and 10. The Saturday was planned to be the RCN test day and the 10th would have been a full Sunday of public driving. But now everything's now on hold until the VLN testing days on March 15 and 16. And the weather forecast for the next few days includes more snow and some double-digit negative numbers overnight.

Not much resurfacing going on here
Not much resurfacing going on here
It's a shame for those who'd gambled on an early visit to beat the summer crowds, and hard on all the businesses too, but a necessary evil. As per usual the 'ring is getting its annual makeover of new Tarmac and fresh fencing. But unlike most years, this year it's getting a lot. Almost 2km of the stuff, to be precise. Vast sections are getting totally resurfaced. Hatzenbach's being redone (again), Metzgesfeld and Wehrseifen too. Well, they're supposed to be, but the Eifel winter is proving troublesome.

The assorted heavy machinery near the top of the circuit has been snowed in for a couple of weeks. I'm sure the collective knowledge of the PH massive will tell me exactly why they're struggling to lay Tarmac in these temperatures, but I do know its a long distance for the lorries carrying the mix as they were arriving with number plates a good few regions away from here.

New wheels have opened up the options
New wheels have opened up the options
As you can see from the photos, I've been checking the progress regularly. A task made infinitely more enjoyable with the latest addition to the fleet, a turbocharged all-wheel drive flat-four. Don't get too excited though, it's 'only' a Subaru Forester. Diesel.

I admit though, it's a helluva-lot of fun in these conditions. Owning a proper four-wheel drive with decent mud and snow tyres has opened up a whole host of routes to my favourite photo points.

Though having seen how utterly unstoppable it is through loose snow and mud, I now suspect the old fella with the Almanac and wintery predictions has been speaking to my bosses too. This new company car was only approved to prevent me from taking a snow day off...

 

Author: Dale Lomas
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