I always worry that I’m going to keep everyone waiting on packing up day. I was last up. Ted had been organised enough to have packed his bike the night before, save for just a few things that morning. I still had my panniers to fix on and sort out my packing and so got on with it. It was slightly overcast and chilly so I decided on breakfast before showering. On returning with wet towel in hand, Ted, Les and Dave had already taken the big tent down and JC was also nearly done.
It wasn’t long before we were all set. Our stop over near Velno wouldn’t take too long to get to and we wanted to go visit the Nurburgring circuit. In particular Ted, who’s been to many races in the UK, and Dave had expressed a desire to visit the circuit and if possible go round the public section. We’d gone for a walk yesterday instead of going on the group ride out and going to visit it was to be the highlight of the day.
The roads leading up to it were particularly twisty with some very scenic hairpin turns. We’d re-established the successful riding formation that we’d adopted at the beginning of journey: JC leading the way, followed by Les on his trike, Ted, myself and then Dave. Les, who has probably more experience of European roads than the rest of us put together, albeit hauling considerably larger loads, had completely mastered the idiosyncrasies of the trike by this time; however, somehow I felt the need to leave a large gap: JC was way up ahead flicking the bike, bend after bend, Ted looked graceful has he rounded the corners, however, the wide trike, carrying its heavy load, always seemed only to hurtle, even at slow speeds.
We didn’t actually know the route and were reliant upon sign posts. For such a local landmark, it wasn’t obvious where to go. We stopped near Adenau for fuel but rode back and forth looking for the circuit. At one stage we thought we’d found it but had actually turned into an industrial estate. JC turned us round, muttered some words to Les and headed back off with Les following him. By the time Ted, Dave and I had got to the end of the road, they’d disappeared. At the exit of the estate was a T junction where we paused to decided what to do. To the left, the road immediately went downhill and curved sharply to the right and so we only had a limited view of it; to the right there was only a very short stretch to another T junction. I noticed that the T junction on the right had a signpost labeled Nurburgring and suggested we go that way, and that was how our mini Fellowship of the Ring separated.
Ted, Dave and I arrived at the main paddock within a few minutes, parked up and tried to phone the others. Ted walked up the outside stairs to get an external view of the track. It was a limited view of the track and there was a race on. After 5 mins I decided to return to where we’d separated and see if Les and JC had returned there. I waited 30mins, watching boy racers in their wide wheeled hot hatches and assortment of Aston Martins and other super cars tearing up the road, high on adrenaline either having just gone round the circuit or pumping up the courage to do so.
The route had may bikers heading for the track and Les had thought that we were behind him all the way. He and JC had been denied access to the circuit and had concluded that Ted, Dave and I must have got in and were doing laps and so were waiting around for us to exit.
I returned back to the paddock and was eventually able to reach Les, whose battery was low, and we agreed to met back at the industrial estate. Ted, Dave and I had failed to realise that we’d gone to the professional circuit and that we should have headed for the public track as Les and JC had done. We were disappointed as we’d figured that we’d lost our opportunity and decided we had to head for Venlo.
I was hungry and Dave had a craving for pizza so we stopped for lunch along the route back to motorway. Ted had previously explained that since his metabolism had slowed down he ate very little during the day, so as JC, Dave, Les and I headed up to the Bistro, Ted walked off along the other side of the road looking at the views.
As we ordered, we watched him and commented that we hoped he was alright, there was something not quite right about his body language and we worried that he’d been disappointed, being such a racing enthusiast, at coming so far and not being able to go around the public ring. He eventually joined us. After a while, Dave suddenly stopped munching on his pizza, looked up and said something very important…
… “Happy Birthday, Ted”.
It was his 63rd birthday and although he’d only mentioned it yesterday, we’d forgotten. After we all wished Ted happy returns of the day, we headed off for the overnight stop.
The weather was glorious and we arrived in a couple of hours and spent the remainder of the evening enjoying the sun and chatting around the table.