Starting The Final Lap...🏁 (Pt. 1)

Good afternoon, I hope you are all well! It's been a little while since I wrote a blog, so I shan't wait any longer!


The Nurburgring Nordschliefe.


With a lap-time of 7 minutes, 150+ corners and a total length exceeding 20KM, it's the longest active race circuit in the world...this only means one thing:


The longest final lap...in the world.


I can't honestly image what must have gone through the leader's mind as he crossed the line to start the final lap of the Nurburgring 24 Hours - At most tracks, it's a simple cruise home to victory, but at the Nords, there are barriers, cars, corners, fellow GT3's to all think about...it truly isn't over until it's over.


So, what does finishing the Nurburgring 24 Hours have to do with this week's blog? (or couple of weeks actually).


Well, I can proudly say that I've crossed the (metaphorical) start/finish line to start the final lap - I've got so little time before I finish up for summer - but at the same time, so much time to mess everything up.


"Why's it the final lap?" I hear you ask. I've got less than 1000 Hours (42 Days) until my accomodation licence runs out - and even fewer before my assingments are due - and at University, time runs at double-speed, so there's no hanging about!


~


The end of my University year was incredibly weird, the final "normal" week I had was on Monday 21st March (OVER A MONTH AGO?!!?!?)


The rest went as follows:


Monday 21st March, 2022 - Sunday 27th March, 2022

Last entirely normal week.


On this week, I was informed about the rather interesting end to my academic year - starting with two weeks of Easter Holidays, then a further week of catch-up sessions, before finishing for the summer. (Friday 29th April or Friday May 6th *Officially*)


Whilst my lectures end in April, I still have assignments due deep into May, unfortunately Public Affairs being the last of these, finishing me off on the 23rd May.


As the Public Affairs work is an online submission, I've told my work-placement "boss" my availability, and that starts on the 11th May - however, with the exception of a visit to Brands Hatch, this is all online as they are all working from home now (and have no headquarters or base)


Luckily, my accomodation lasts until the 4th June, so if I split my time correctly, I can spend half the time in Wolverhampton, half the time in Essex and the remainder of the time on the Island - but I'll take every day as it comes and make my movements be known.


Monday 28th March, 2022 - Wednesday 30th March, 2022

Week went normal up until this point.

Wednesday's Lecture ended unexpectedly early at 3pm, went to Essex after (arrived: 7pm)

Thursday 31st March, 2022 - Sunday 2nd April 2022

Stayed in Essex, had busy weekend & a few races. (Races on Sat & Sun) - First in 68 Days (Last Race: Daytona 24hrs), also tested some new series/cars.



Monday 4th April, 2022 - Wednesday 6th April, 2022

Other than having a few friends' birthday's and the fact it was the last week before (an unusually long) half-term, it was just another normal week at University.


(Week without desktop computer as I left it in Essex to bring it down to the Isle Of Wight in the Easter Break)


Thursday 7th April 2022 - Sunday 10th April, 2022

I didn't see it coming, but I believe the insanely chaotic Thursday was a preview to one of the most "rollercoaster" weekends I've had in quite a long time.


On Thursday I made it to the tallest points of The West Midlands and Surrey (Essex being inaccessible, running out of motivation for the Isle Of Wight).


This "detour" led me to miss my ferry (by 6 or so minutes) after over 12 hours of driving. Annoying.


Time-Keeping is certainly one of my achilles heels, and whilst driving for 12 or so hours, baring in mind traffic and how long it would take for me to summit each county-top, I also had to bare in mind that I needed to arrive in Essex during the "Goldilocks" zone - not too early that I'm waking my friends (who had my rig at their place), yet not too late that I'm risking missing the ferry because I need to load it into the car/something else crops up. I think what screwed me was my "over-confidence with time" - I should have literally got to the top of Leith Hill, ran to the highest point, and then sprinted back down to the car...I did not.


I enjoyed the sunshine, had a phone call or two and then returned to the car (my car also doesn't like to ACCURATELY tell me how much fuel I have left, so most of the time it's a guessing game - and I wasn't about to run out of fuel just meters from the boat.



The Nurburgring 24 Hours


That weekend, I competed in the Nurburgring 24 Hours with Kabort. Out of the four years 've done special events, I've only competed in this race twice - during 2020 and 2022.


2019: Kabort Not Founded Yet

2020: 8th (Mercedes AMG GT3) - World was in Lockdown & I was at local college

2021: DNS (Studying @ University)

2022: DNF (N24 fell during Easter Break)


This year, only two Kabort entries entered the Nurburgring 24 hours (both ended up retiring)

Somehow, we ended up NOT ONLY fighting for the podium positions, but the lead itself!


Luke led 10 laps

Spencer (USA) led 8 laps

I led a whopping 6 laps (first Special Event laps led in my career)


Dominik unfortunately did his laps before we started fighting for the top and was only due to get in after we crashed.


but for several hours, we were the kings of the world and we couldn't be beaten!


In all seriousness, it was just what I needed - a massive moral and esteem boost, just a reminder to say that "you are improving and you are doing really well at the moment, you just need to realise it and let the opportunity rise to prove it..."


I don't think it was only the fact that the so called "Underdogs Kabort Team" led a total of 26 laps, it was the fact that the team was only scrambled together less than a week before the race and the fact that I was able to race with a real-world friend of mine (on iRacing) even though he had only been on the service for 8 weeks (2 months)


Unbelievably we made it all the way to the wee hours of the early morning - each of us putting in an ABSOLUTELY STELLAR effort, before, unfortunately the racing gods caught up with us and we tasted the sweet taste of the Armco barrier.


Monday 11th April, 2022 - Thursday 14th April, 2022


The crazy holiday continued on into the following week - filming two videos (on BeamNG.Drive), having a car-meet with every single one of my die-casts (one of the first times I've ever counted up how many cars I have in my collection - after 21 years of collecting, I've amassed over 200 diecast cars (over 150 of which I can identify the make/model)


As with all things in life, things get lost, sold and given away, so, naturally, I don't have the ENTIRE collection I did when I was born, 4,8 or even 12....but there is an image from 2011 in which I can pin-point identify cars I have in my bedroom now.


Following the Nurburgring 24 Hours, I've had two more races (to date), the first being at Interlagos where I got a MEGA launch on the rolling start, but shuffled back slightly due to the slightly higher strength of field.


It was a difficult, but enjoyable race - and will have the start up on YouTube when I eventually decide to go home (in addition to all of the other things I recorded too)


Friday 15th April, 2022 - Tuesday 19th April, 2022


That weekend, I'd head off to Germany with my parents and my brother, to see my Grandmother who I hadn't seen since at least 2019 (before the chaos that was 2020 - 2022)


This trip also marked the first time ever driving in mainland Europe (I took over on the Belgian border and drove through Belgium, The Netherlands and into Germany - even (successfully) tackling the Nurb- hang on, the Autobahn - although the Nurburgring Nordschliefe is certainly next on my Bucket List!


The experience was certainly different - as everything is a lot more spread out, it gives cars much more of a chance to pick up speed, so I found myself using the rear view mirror a lot and sometimes I didn't know the speed-limit (very few repeater signs and it's easy to miss the border between France, The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.