A Visit to the Nurburgring


Thomas Linacre (Wigan) School trip 1959

picSet in the romantic and peaceful district of the Eifel is the Nurburgring, the famous European motor racing track. Not only is it a famous racing track but a unique tourist road. The school party, led by Mr. Ingamells and Mr. Pey, arrived at the track in a forty-one seater Mercedes Benz coach, which gleamed in the brilliant summer sunshine as we stopped to pay our admission fee. The road is 16.6 miles (28.265 Km.) in length and has altitudes varying by a thousand feet or more, with up-hill gradients of 1 in 6 and downhill gradients of 1 in 9. The longest straight is five eighths of a mile (1Km.) and it is this straight that we drove along first.
      As we proceeded along it we saw the unique feature of the Nurburgring, the Dunlop electrically operated sign which gives the positions of the various contestants at four different points, i.e. Quiddelbacher Hohe (heights), Wehrseifen, Karussell (the Roundabout) and Schwalbe Schwanz (Swallow Tail). This sign has been nicknamed “the eye of the Nurburgring” for obvious reasons.
      We passed the grandstand on the Promenadenplatz with its “Tribune” sports hotel, which can accommodate 2500 spectators. The pits which we passed on our journey, present a scene of great excitement on race days with the spectators in a frenzy. After the buildings had been left behind us, we proceeded along the track which led us into some of the most beautiful countryside that I have ever seen.
      Suddenly the hum of the coach’s engine and the tranquillity of the countryside were disturbed by the roar of motor car engines. We all turned our heads to see two cars flashing past us on what I thought to be on the wrong side. Later I realised that it was the right side for Germany. The coach was going at 60 m.p.h. and the two Porsche cars which overtook us must surely have been exceeding 100 m.p.h.
      The coach never seemed to be doing anything but turning corners on the country part of the circuit. I looked up the details of the circuit afterwards and I found that there are eighty-nine left turns and eighty-five right turns. Nevertheless we easily spotted the Karussell or roundabout; this curve is the narrowest and has a radius of a hundred and five feet (32 M.). The width of the track at the start and finish is 65.61 feet (20 M.) but where we were it was 26.3 feet (8 M.). This track, therefore, demands the utmost of any driver. It is safe and can be described as foolproof, as long as you don’t drive along in the wrong direction. Our Guide Herr Schmidt, mentioned some of the famous drivers who frequent this track. Here are a few of them: Stirling Moss; Von Trips; Fangio; Peter Brooks and Jean Behra.
      picThe track takes its name from Nurburg castle, the ruins of which have recently been restored. The castle was originally the seat of the Counts of Are but during the course of time it changed hands many times before it was destroyed during the Thirty Years War. The district which surrounds the Nurburgring is the Eifel, which is volcanic in origin. This is proved by many crater lakes, called locally ”Maars” and we later visited one of these lakes on the trip to Maria Laach Abbey. The Eifel remained unknown and unappreciated for many years despite its attractions and the richness of its scenic beauty. There is no other hill country in Western Germany with such a varied character and such contrasting scenery.
      Lastly I think I should mention the members of the staff in charge of the party. Both Mr. Ingamells and Mr. Pey richly deserve our heartfelt thanks for an enjoyable trip.
Illustrations - An aerial view of a section of the track and a 1950s Mercedes formula 1 car

N Walsh 4B

Editor’s Note: Could the Herr Schmidt referred to by the author be the present day Sabine’s father?

Further Reading

Richmond Hill Dairies - Pemberton - These pages contain some personal memories from my youth and my association with Richmond Hill Dairies, a local business I grew up with and remember with some affection. A well known and important feature of the local community in its day and part of the heritage of Pemberton, this is my attempt to commit some small snapshot of its history to print, I hope these pages paint a worthy picture.

Mind Your Language - A humorous poem by "the bard of Haydock" George Anderton, inspired by memories of a trip to Bad Canstatt, Stuttgart Germany with the Haydock Male Voice Choir in 1975. This publication will bring a smile to the faces of not only those members who were there at the time and know the people involved but the wider population of Haydock as well who speak the language.

Wigan and the American Civil War - Wigan Coal and Iron Company, The Right Honourable John Lancaster MP for Wigan, the Confederate Raider Alabama, USS Kearsarge, Cherbourg and the yacht Deerhound all feature in the last great sea battle of the American Civil War.

Wigan Old Bank 1792 - A tragic boating accident on Windermere and a surprising journey through the social history of Wigan during the reign of Queen Victoria, highlighting the relationships between four families who played an important part in the commercial development of the town.

The Brocklebank LineDaniel Brocklebank (1741-1801), shipbuilder and mariner, a brief biography, and some background detail of his family and the shipping line he founded.

Little Ships at ZeebruggeAn account of a heroic attempt to block the port of Zeebrugge during the first World War, to protect supply routes into the UK by denying enemy submarines based there access to the open sea.

A Cricket Calypso - A short biopic of cricketer Cyril Washbrook and a snapshot of his career including his role in the West Indies tour of 1950 recorded in the lyrics of the Cricket Calypso.

Not Much of a Warrior - Wigan RLFC in the fifties and sixties, through rose coloured glasses. A golden age of legendary players and memorable moments, along with some personal memories.

picFarthingale Publications:... Is a hobby web site containing articles of local interest to Lancastrians, some favourite walking and cycling routes, selected words and poetry, and some writings of more general nature as well as the authors own picture gallery. Access is available via the homepage and menu at the head of the page.

picLocal Interest: Richmond Hill Dairies; Mind Your Language; John Lancaster Wigan MP; Thomas Aspinwall Miners Agent; Thomas Aspinwall Obituary; Upholland Telephone Exchange; Thomas Linacre School Wigan; God's Choir; Scot Lane School Wigan; The Lindsays of Haigh; Dust Upon God's Fair Earth; The Nurburgring 1960; Wigan Advertisements 1960; Wigan Soldier Missing in Action; It's a Funny Life; Private Thomas Whitham VC; Isaac Watts 1674 - 1748; Wigan Old Bank 1792; The Brocklebank Line; John Byrom 1692 - 1793; The Holy City Liverpool; Jubilee Park Memorial, Ashton in Makerfield; Little Ships at War 1918; A Cricket Calypso; Not Much of a Warrior; Peveril of the Peak.
Walking & Cycling: Moss Eccles Tarn; Abbey Lakes to Coppull Moor; Chorley Ice Cream Walk; Douglas Valley Dawdle; Three Counties Cycle Ride; Haigh to Borsdane Wood; A Lancshire Linear Walk; Blackrod or Bust; Cycle the Sankey Valley; Cycle the Monsal Trail; Wigan Circular by Bike; Freshfield to Crosby; Irwell Valley Trail (Bury to Rawtenstall); Irwell Valley (Bury to Salford).
Words & Poetry: Wisdom; Only a Cranky Owd Foo'; Martin Chuzzlewit; Dover Harbour; Rogue Herries; The Heart of Midlothian; King Cotton; The Family Man; The Pickwick Papers; The Fair Rosamond; The Fair Rosamond Comic; A Legend of Montrose; When Winds Breathe Soft; The Wreck of the Hesperus; God Bless these Poor Wimmen that's Childer; Dombey and Son; Aw've Turned me bit O' Garden O'er; On Th' Hills; Four Favourite Poems; The Darkling Thrush; The Glory of the Garden; The Rolling English Road; The Antiquary; Hymn Before Action; Dust upon God's Fair Earth; Mind Your Language; Jeff Unsworth's dialect poetry; Martyrs of the Arena; Th' Coartin' Neet; Boat Song; Toddlin' Whoam; A Lancashire Mon; Calm is the Sea; The Bride of Lammermoor; Redgauntlet; A Tale of Two Cities.
Wallgate Chronicles: Little Dorrit; Hugo Boss comes to Wigan; In the footsteps of the Manchester Rambler; Fun with Trigonometry; Surprise at the Philharmonic; The Marriage of Figaro; Cat Bells; A Walk in the Hills; Eay Times Uv Changed; Fidelio; The Ravioli Room; Desert Island Discs; Travels in Time 1960; Travels in Time 2010; The Spectroscope; The Bohemian Girl; Bookcase; Barnaby Rudge; Romance on a Budget; The Battle of Solferino; The Getaway Car; The Switchroom Wigan; The Force of Destiny; Adolphe Adam; The Fair Maid of Perth; Ivanhoe; Semele; Lohengrin; The Old Curiosity Shop; Hard Times.

picLyme Hall, Disley, Cheshire