Thank you for opening this attachment – your faith in its author is probably wearing a little thin, but now that I am back in Paderborn after a weekend devoted to the proposed Eifelfahrt I am in a position to give definite news...
In a word, the outcome is that there is no prospect of organising any time on the Nordschleife – the really interesting long circuit.
Any hopes of using our existing contacts to secure time at the Vintage Nürburgring meeting have fallen foul of German old car movement politics – to say nothing of the date which is now the second weekend in September and thus clashes with the start of the GN Jolly, The Beaulieu Autojumble, VSCC Western Rally and Madresfield to name but a few.
In essence the founders of the VN meeting have been elbowed out by those more interested in Classics than pre-war cars and that is at the root of the problem. Fellow readers of “Motor Klassik – Das Oldtimer Magazine” – will have noted the shift in its interest of late and that is reflected in the current direction the VN meeting is taking.
The dates of the Eifelrennen in June and the Oldtimer GP meeting in August I am afraid I have not investigated as possibilities because Sarah and I are involved in running the VSCC Light Car Rally in June and I have a work commitment in August which precludes that.
.....however! I had supper with Christian Hoptner in Dortmund on Friday last which was when I discovered the root cause of the problem. It also emerges that the Ring company itself is in financial problems – it is now controlled by the same people as the Lindner hotel group and the result is effectively a theme park along the road passing the circuit and the stands and a dire need to make money. That explains why large sums were being mentioned at an earlier stage to secure private Ring time.
What Christian did say was that there is a stretch of the old Südschleife which is still in use as a public road – and can be closed relatively easily and made into a hill climb. I in fact thrashed a hire car along it a couple of times on Saturday and also drove round some interesting roads inside the old Südschleife – which would not need a road closure. Those roads too would admit of some mild competitive motoring – in both cases inconveniences such as helmets and overalls could be dispensed with.
To make this sort of thing worthwhile I get the impression that at least 20 participants would be required – if we couldn’t raise that number Christian thought that he and a few local fellow enthusiasts could make up a handful (literally !) of other entries – he has a J3 MG and there is talk of a Bugatti and an Amilcar along with other potentials.
At the moment my master list of those who have been good enough to show an interest does not make it likely that we would raise 20 cars let alone entries on either the first or second weekend of October this year. Certainly very few of the allegedly highly competitive members of the Club have shown any interest at all!
I rather think that centring the proposed trip to the Eifel around Ring time or any other activity there is not on – but I would hate anyone to think that I have abandoned the idea. What I need is some positive response from all of you one way or the other – and any new potential recruits you can lay your hands on.
This splendid piece of countryside is where the whole idea started! Anyone who has ever been there will agree it is splendid motoring country and the Mosel valley worth a journey on its own. By a combination of educated map reading and a route I nicked off the hotel where Sarah and I stayed last September I have got together a couple of good ideas – not days for heroes but enjoying motoring on mostly deserted roads. Christian has offered another route ready worked out with instructions etc.
My proposal would be as follows:
Everyone makes their own way across the Channel/North Sea and we congregate not far from Aachen. I have found a hotel in a cosy little valley about 20 miles south east of Aachen. My original idea was that people could do their culturing in Aachen or viewing the chocolate box pretty town of Monschau on the way to Simonskall – but it would be possible to spend two nights at the Hotel im Wiesengrund as long as we do it during the week. It is the sort of spot that fills up at weekends many months in advance – certainly the two hotels I visited were cram full at the weekends in October. Since it was Monday I wasn’t surprised to find the third was enjoying a Ruhetag....
We would then re-locate to the small town/village of Manderscheid which is in the area known as the Vulkaneifel – because of the number of extinct volcanoes nearby, some now lakes. It is pretty, has a butcher, baker and candle[stick]maker as well as several pubs, a couple of banks, a museum or two, a few opportunities for limited retail therapy, a petrol station and a garage advertising “Reparaturen alle Marken.” I did not test the latter’s chain drive expertise!
Manderscheid is about 35 minutes pleasant drive from the Ring and a similar distance from the Mosel.
The hotel I have identified is small but they could find us at least 10 double rooms – arriving on Wednesday October 6th and leaving on Tuesday 12th. Everyone could then make their way back to the coast and home – it is a bit over 200 miles. Roger Newton and I many years ago easily got from Flushing to the Ring in a day in his HRG – including a couple of laps of Spa.
The Hotel Zens has a small swimming pool, all the rooms are quiet and it has some parking – secluded although not directly outside the hotel. In addition there are a few lock-up type garages. I eat there on Saturday night and whilst typically German in that pork and fish predominated, it was very pleasant. By the time I inspected a few rooms on Sunday morning the gannets had devoured most of the breakfast buffet but it looked pretty standard continental fare.
There is at least one very pleasant restaurant nearby called “Die alte Mölkerei” where I eat on Sunday and I am sure that a meal for all could be arranged there.
As to motoring, we could occupy any number of days enjoying the scenery and some more or less cultured places – one or two interesting abbeys (including one with a four manual Klais...), a railway of sorts and of course a river trip. Even without anything competitive we would find more than enough to do.
As to cost...You can check for yourselves by looking at the websites of all the places mentioned above but in essence a night in Simonskall half board would be €50 or less per person and in Manderscheid nearer €60. I would think that once there we would not necessarily want to stay on half board terms – but that is a ball park figure.
The precise dates may need adjusting to suit people and the hotels but by no more than a day here or there.
I am back from the Fatherland late on Friday May 7th – I would like to be a position to make bookings by the end of the following week. I have made no reservations and committed no one but I do need to know now where this venture stands. If numbers exceed those presently looking likely, they could be accommodated elsewhere in Manderscheid.