Millsi does Nurburgring
An Aussie does Nurburgring.
Millsi does the ‘Ring
James “Millsi” Miller, currently based in Europe for employment reasons, recently made a trip to what many riders consider the holy grail of track days. He spent a day at Germany’s infamous – and to be fair – dangerous Nurburgring circuit.
The Nürburgring circuit, simply known as “The Ring” by most, is in Nürburg, Germany, about 120 kilometres northwest of Frankfurt. Built in the 1920s around the village and medieval castle of Nürburg in the Eifel, it was nicknamed The Green Hell by racecar driver Jackie Stewart, and is widely considered the toughest, most dangerous and most demanding purpose-built race track in the world. One lap is around 20 kilometres long. Millsi sent us this report and pictures:
One of the main reasons I wanted to come over to Europe was to fulfill something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Ride the Nurburgring.
I set off from Gutersloh where I’m based, at around 2 in the afternoon. The weather wasn’t the best but I had been keeping an eye on the weather forecast for Nurburgring all through the week and it looked like Sunday was going to be OK. After a short ride, it was onto the autobahn to start the 260km journey. 160kmph is a nice cruising speed and not too heavy on the juice. It’s amazing the distance you can cover when you are covering over 50 kilometres every 20 minutes. It rained on and off but I remained fairly dry thanks to my gear (not talking about you Joe rocket gloves!)
I stopped in at Kohn to meet up with a guy named Ewan from Super Bike Forums. We shared a coffee and a chat, as he would be joining us the next day. I soon left Ewan’s place and headed off to my accomodation for the night at Sliders Guest House . But I wasn’t paying enough attention to the GPS and I missed a couple of turns off the highway. It was starting to get dark and pretty soon the fuel light came on and I still hadn’t seen any signs for towns let alone servos. I backed off to 120km/h to conserve fuel and then about 40km later to my relief there was a servo on the exit I had to take.
Arrived at Sliders not long after that after riding some promising roads. I checked in and put my bike in the garage and met Brendan, a ‘Ring veteran. He had with him his wife Suzan, and their Great Dane ‘Daisy’. I miss my hounds! After I got settled in and changed we were off to the pub for dinner and a couple of drinks.
A quick 50 euro cab ride and we were there. I’m guessing this might have been a traditional German pub – a smoke filled room full of people singing drunkenly while one of them played the accordion. We sat down and I ordered a Scotch and Cola. The barmaid first went for the Beam, followed by a JD, so I pointed her in the direction of an old friend Johnny Walker. I only had 2 drinks, in spite of them offering a tab where you you pay at the end. I explained to the guys that this wouldn’t happen back home as it would end in tears. They write the amount you have spent on your coaster and just keep bringing you drinks. But at AUD$12.80 a drink I wasn’t that thirsty.
Dinner was a Turkey Schnitzel with salad and chips which was quite tasty. Then 2 f@#kwit Pommy student’s came in and started being tossers, one of them was adamant that the beaches and surf in the South of England were better than the Gold coast and Byron Bay! After I told him politely to f*$k off, they then got angry at one of the German bar staff for supposedly short changing them, although they probably did!.
Brendan, who runs the guest house and has lived in the area told them to pull their heads in and leave. They did but I thought there may have been a punch on which might have been fun. We made our way home at about 1am as there was riding to do the next day! I awoke to water on the skylight but it had been from rain overnight, and although overcast the weather was looking not too bad.
Off downstairs for an English fry up (much the same as an Australian fry-up), and they even had vegemite!!! Caught a bit of the F1 to see Mark Webber finally have a good race! I asked the guys about on bike cameras and they said that you are not allowed on the track with one! WTF. So I headed off downstairs to stealth mount my camera. After much stuffing around I managed to get it on the inside of the left fairing in front of the radiator and out of the way of the forks and mudguard. Plenty of gaffer tape was used to make it stay put. After that I routed the power and video cables under the tank to the battery. Some fairing is still visible in the camera footage but it was better than nothing. Then it was off to the Nurburgring!
Myself, Tim (06 GSX-R750), Dan (02 R1), Xavier (00 ZX6) headed off to the track,with the arrival intoxicating to say the least, it was really just unbelievable to actually be there. The weather had cleared up, the sun was out, and reports were that the track was dry. By this time it was about 12pm. Went and bought what is called a ‘Ring Card’ – you pay for what you want, and the card is preloaded with the amount of laps you paid for. At the start gates you simply swipe the card and the boom gate opens. I bought 8 laps which cost AUD$300! Not cheap! The standard price is $45 for 1 lap. Then we made our way back to the bikes and got ready. I had my tank bag with me was to prove a pain in the arse later on in the day.
First lining up after we made it through the boom gate, and then Tim lead off as he has done around 100 laps around here. This was his first ride on his new bike. We followed him to have a look at the track. WOW! is all I can say. Even at a leisurely pace it was just fantastic to be going around the best known road in the world. Tim showed us the places where most people come off and we also practiced the ‘move over for faster vehicles” drill – indicate and move to the right, as passing is only allowed on the left. After the first lap we all came in stoked. Then we headed off on our own.
I tagged onto the back of a GT2 Porsche which was good as he was doing a fair pace which helped me to see where the track goes. On one of the steep uphill sections I was flat out tucked in and I wasn’t catching him! He moved over to let me pass not long after. I didn’t really want to as I didn’t really know where I was going. Anyway I passed him and then two corners later sure enough, I ran wide and did some farming on the grass and mud . No problems though, I kept it upright and got back on the track and finished the lap which was an 8:36. Pretty happy with that for my 2nd ever lap. I then revised my goal which was to get under 9 min, to get under 8 mins before I leave Germany in 3 months time.
After that lap my mate Ewan rocked up and I went out following him. Had a absolute blast, I love riding the 600 and trying to keep up with the bigger bikes, it was a heap of fun. I’d have to thank Queensland Raceway for my braking practice even though I wasn’t braking very late. I was having a great run and put a move on him about 2/3 into the lap. It was to be my best timed lap of the day,recording an 8:20 time. This is the lap in the YouTube link at the end of the story.
The next lap wasn’t timed as the battery went flat but I’m pretty sure it was quicker.The thing that you don’t notice on film is how steep some of the track is! One part you dip down and then up doing over 240 km/h and its almost gut wrenching. The carousel isn’t as bumpy as in the videos, but the camber is a lot more than it looks. Other parts of the circuit have the bike almost getting airborne and sideways at the same time. It really is exhilarating to say the least! After 4 more laps, some great battles,and seeing two cars crash, we got noise tested. With my standard pipe I was OK, but Ewan’s mate Mike got kicked off because his pipe was too loud.
All in all I did 7 laps leaving 1 credit on my ‘Ring Card. The amount of serious cars that were there was crazy, Porsche GT3s and GT2s everywhere as well as heaps of BMW M3s and the like. The writing on the track doesn’t seem to have an effect on grip like i thought it would, though I wasn’t pushing that hard so it might have a bearing at higher speeds with bigger lean angles. So I headed off back to Sliders to get packed up to head for home.
Then we hit the autobahn a while and Ewan exited at Koln. The 240km from Sliders to home took 2 hours which included 2 fuel stops and roadworks. I was super stuffed by the time I got home, but it was well worth it. I will be heading back at least another few times before I come home, and I know Beau can’t wait to do a few laps when she comes over to visit.
It was absolutely fantastic in every way. Just to be there was something I won’t ever forget.