Leaving The United Kingdom For The First Time Since 2019...a Trip to Germany

Good afternoon, guten tag and willkommen!


I hope you are all doing well, and all is well!


In my last blog, I mentioned that "Friday's blog will come out tomorrow" - this blog came out on the 9th April, and I only began writing the following blog (this one) on the 16th, exactly a week later (yikes!)


7th April, 2022 (Recap)

The 7th April was a difficult day - and all about "time management" - whilst I wanted to get to the Isle Of Wight early (to practice for that weekend's Nurburgring 24 Hours) - I still had to collect my rig from Essex.


Too early, and they (the ones with my rig) would not be awake - too late and I'd miss my ferry to the Island...


Predictably, with my dyspraxia, I ran out of time and missed the ferry by around 6 minutes.


The following ferry was at 8pm - so I drove half an hour to get McDonalds and then half an hour back to the port.


In the beginning, I decided to leave everything in the car (and unpack it tomorrow), however - with the knowledge that I wanted to wake up early and race (the following day), I decided (at about 10pm) that I should probably bring it in (from the car).


An in-depth blog on this disaster can be found here:

https://www.kabortmotorsport.com/post/racing-through-april (bottom of the article)


8th April, 2022


At 11:30am on Friday (after getting dressed and having breakfast), I decided to continue racing in the Falken GT4 Challenge (after trying out a few series the week prior)


After botching up qualifying (mistake on the first lap, unable to complete the second) I started from the very back - 16th/18th (second to last row)


I'd eventually finish the race in 8th place after spending all but one lap in 8th.

I did try to re-claim 7th place (in the second part of the bus-stop chicane), however this ended up in contact, and I gave the position back to the driver that I spun - him finishing 7th, me 8th.


At 2:08pm on the 8th April about 26 hours before the start of the Nurburgring 24 Hours, 2022 - we finally got a vague stint schedule.


- Dominik Gahlow was free for anything and everything

- Tom Wallace couldn't race (after I thought previously that he could)

- Spencer Kemble was down for any of the remaining stints that weren't fille

- Luke Mitchell was free from after 7pm

- I was just trying to survive in this plane of existence.


With this information, I began building the stint schedule - with one very important thing in mind: I was going to be doing the start.


If you told me on the 5th April that I'd be starting the Nurburgring 24 Hours, I'd call you barmy and laugh it off - but on the 6th April at 9:34pm, Tom (Wallace) inspired me to do the unthinkable: The Start.

"I would normally say something like “Robin I'm guessing you guys want to make it past the first couple of corners”, and every muscle in my body is telling me to leave the message as that, but honestly you are one of the safest drivers at the start and in a 24 hour race that’s all you need..."

T. Wallace, 2022


And that's all I needed - a little confidence boost a little reassurance that "yes, it's going to be okay, you CAN do this and we (or at least I) believe in you"


I'm going to do the Nurburgring 24 Hour Blog in a separate individual article/blog - because every lap was a story in that race...but to summarise it in six words:


"OH WOW!! OH SHIT!, Oh Okay."


I will say however, that we did make it to the morning/sunrise, unfortunately this was where our phenomenal race within the podium places ended, with a rather large shunt, and some smaller ones after. The larger one coming at exactly 9:51am in the morning - our hopes and dreams of the previous lap being shattered.


After repairing the car, we'd leave the pit-lane and sit in 6th before yet another crash happened.


Despite these incidents - we had an INCREDIBLY successful outing, we gained both safety rating and iRating - this putting me at 1144 iRating - small, but significant gains.


Other than being shafted from behind, I had a VERY clean opening double-stint - getting at most an additional 2 incidents in my opening 14 laps.


Out of my 47 laps completed (throughout the entire race), I led 6 and had 33-34 clean laps without incident - which is the majority!


10/04/2022


I only slept an hour between my midnight and graveyard stint - I couldn't sleep a wink, given what was happening (the car being in 2nd and having about 2 hours between stints)


Most of Sunday a was spent catching up on sleep and just chilling out and having a relaxing day (since I didn't have to race until 4pm)


I must admit, over the weekend, I did have one scare when I thought that the following week was a uni-week.


11/04/2022


The 11th saw the start of a new week.

Other than buying a couple of Porsches and an Audi for iRacing (series testing) and ensuring I had legal documentation to enter France (spoiler: trip to Germany at the end of the week) it was a pretty uneventful day


I will disclose, however, that I had some "iRacing Credits" (for competing in races) and this essentially bought me two free cars. Bargain!


11/04/2022


Before I knew it, it was Tuesday again - and Tuesday meant only one thing: A New iRacing Week!


Since racing in skippies, I've been told (or rather, I've come to found out) that racing on Tuesday is NEVER a good idea - since nobody's had a chance to practice the circuit (for the week), and this leads to driving standards (on Tuesday) being notably poor.


That afternoon/evening I recorded a video (on BeamNG.Drive) that I wanted to record for a little while, so that was very nice to get done.


12/04/2022


RACE DAY!


But before we get into the race, the 12th was a very special day for me in 2020!


The 12th marked my first podium with/for Kabort and first since my rookie year (2019).


Anyway, onto today.


Today I continued an excel spreadsheet looking at the dates of the model cars I own (started on Tuesday) - it's because of this (process) that I pushed back my weekly race from 3pm to 5pm.


Today the GT4 challenge was at Interlagos (lucky me! Spa one week, Interlagos the next!)


Once again, qualifying could have gone better - I got both laps in, but my second (non-insurance) lap was seconds faster, but I went wide at Juncao and invalidated the lap.


After an absolutely LIGHTNING start, jumping from 11th (quali pos) to 5th, the pack sorted themselves out and I fell into 8th.


Fortunately for me, two drivers ahead came together at Subida Dos Boxes (the final kinks) and I returned to 6th - until the two drivers behind me passed me in the closing laps.


By the end of the race, the average laps of the top 10 were:


1st: 1:42.463

2nd: 1:43.054

3rd: 1:43.169

4th: 1:43.287

5th: 1:43.557

6th: 1:45.280

7th: 1:45.394

8th: 1:45.524 (me)

9th: 1:45.529 (Finished 0.049 behind me)

10th: 1:45.585


After the Daytona 24 Hours 2022, this was the highest strength of field I had been in all year at 1.4K (average iRating of the drivers competing is 1.4K)


Average lap is very significant as if you have a mega launch, it can be a good indicator of where your "true pace" is - and if someone is 2 seconds faster than you, they are likely going to find a way past (using this advantage) and then build a gap out.


If you've got cars behind, this puts you in a tricky spot of not having anybody to slipstream off and becoming the "sitting duck"


It's now been 83 days (2 months and 24 days) since I've driven the Lamborghini - or indeed in a GT3 Challenge race (85 days).


13/04/2022


Thursday. 24 hours before I was due to set off to Germany.

On Thursday, I (eventually) got up, had breakfast.


After breakfast, I'd ask everyone's preferences for Easter Eggs before...wait for it...


heading outside (the horror, I know!) and WALKING (even took me by surprise) to the local co-op to get snacky bits for the car journey.


After giving everyone their food, (eggs etc.) I ensured I had everything packed since it was an incredibly early start the next day.


For the third week in a row now, I ran out of time to do the GT3 Challenge


Week 1: April 2nd - Incredibly busy Weekend in Essex, ran out of time with the other events happening that week and returning to uni


( https://www.kabortmotorsport.com/post/a-very-informative-weekend-my-long-awaited-return-to-iracing ) Week 2: April 8th - Came late on Thursday evening - had to cram in all my practice and GT4 race on Friday before the Nurburgring 24 Hours started.


Week 3: April 13th - This week SHOULD have been okay, but a 5pm (GT4) race on Wednesday, I wasn't willing to race any later - Thursday was a packing/preparation day - and early on the morning of the 14th April, we left.

14/04/2022


I was told to wake up early on the 14th April, and for good reason - we had an 8 and a half hour journey ahead of us!


After a bit of stress (last minute packing) we all bundled in the car with the boot full to the brim with suitcases and bags, and we shortly set off.


I'm not sure why, but we took my mum's Kia (which had done less miles) - after a bit of begging, we eventually came to an agreement about who would drive which leg of the journey.


Only at the ferry-port did I realise that I forgot two very important things: The SD Card (for my camera) and the plug for my charger (I only bought the wire)


With the imminent arrival of the ferry, there was no time to race back to the house to get it - fortunately my mum had a spare (camera).


My dad drove us up to Reading station to pick my brother up.

Whilst in Berkshire, we decided to give my cat a visit.


Initially, we gave our (family) cat to Felix as she was "marking" everywhere, and looked much happier and healthier with Felix and his partner.


Felix and his partner then moved to a place that didn't allow pets and Inka (my cat) had a spate of bad health - we've had her for over 10 years, so it's only natural for animals/cats to signs of aging at this time - like my Grandmother (who we were going to see), we had no idea when our next opportunity (as a family) to see Inka would come - so we took the opportunity whilst we had it.


After driving from Reading Station to where Inka was, I further drove down to Folkestone and was guided (by my dad) through the security checks, before driving onto the train.


At Folkstone, I noticed a nice classic Mini parked up - this mini would board the train with us - yet I only saw it after we arrived in France - so don't know where on the train it could have been.


In front of us (in the train) was a very nice Norwegian Hyundai Ioniq 5 - a car I'm a huge fan of the looks of.


During the train journey, my dad and I swapped seats - just so I could watch and learn how he manages driving in Europe.


He'd drive from the Calais port to the Belgian border, before we'd stop for petrol and swap once again.


One of the biggest differences I instantly found was that I was looking in my rear view mirror much more than I did in England - I'm not sure if that's because everyone drives much slower in the UK or the fact that there's a lot less opportunity to get up to speed (continental Europe has A LOT more straights/straight stretches of the motorway/highway).


I'd eventually drive from the petrol station on the Belgian Border to our hotel for the night in Eindhoven.


I (personally) thought that it went much better than I was expcecting, although the stereotype of both BMW and Audi drivers were all the more present in Belgium/Netherlands/Germany


We'd arrive at the Hotel at 8pm, put our stuff in the room, and then come back downstairs for dinner.


For dinner/tea I had a rather large burger (cheese and bacon + extras) with a side of chips (which I didn't manage to finish).


Following this, we hit the hay and headed to bed.


16/04/2022

(Almost there!)


Yesterday started with a big hotel breakfast, before resuming the journey, driving from The Netherlands (Eindhoven) to Germany (Dusseldorf) - driving my very first miles on the Autobahn - passing, before then taking my first Ausfahrt!


Personally, I've not noticed a single difference between the Autobahn and the motorway I had been using previously.


Many think the Autobahn is a "free-for all" and a "race-track on the road" - yet there is a reccomended speed of 130k/ph (80mph) but since it was my first time on the Autobahn - and I didn't know the road/how quickly my exit was approaching, I stuck to 100 - 120 kph (70 - 75mph) - and I was overtaking a few cars, so I wasn't driving "dangerously slow" unlike my preconceptions of the AB.


By mid-afternoon we'd arrive at my Grandparent's house and unload the car.

Not long after, we'd choose our rooms and setup the beds.


Whilst my mum and brother went out for shopping, I started writing this blog.

Saturday afternoon/evening was the last opportunity to get food since:


Sunday: Local shops/food market closed

Monday: Bank Holiday Monday (shops & market closed...again)

Tuesday: Day we return home.


Since then nothing majorly interesting has happened, other than sleeping over from Saturday to Sunday and massively progressing through this blog, to finish it on Sunday afternoon.


Sorry this blog has been a bit lengthy, but thanks for reading, and I hope you've enjoyed reading this little "update" of where I've been and what I've been up to.


Tomorrow we are supposed to go out for a Chinese, so that's very exciting.


Robin







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