We did it!

18 05 2010

YEEHAH!!

KTN has successfully brought 2 cars to the finish of the 2010 Nurburgring 24 Hour Endurance race, an huge achievement in itself, but to add that, the cars took out 1st and 2nd place in Class N2!

To be part of this team effort has been a huge privilege. Everyone here put in 10/10ths for 24 hours – to say nothing of the huge effort to get here in the 1st place.

We were in battle all through the race with the Norwegian Honda Civic who were also in out pit garage – really good friendly competition which got more exciting as the race neared it’s end and they were within striking distance. We knew that any mistakes either on track of in the pitstops could see them catching our 2nd car (244 at that time). In the end clever pit strategy by our pit team and faultless work at the stops, coupled with a Norwegian broken engine mount left the 2 Kiwi cars in the clear with the 2 final drivers in the car. At the last splash and dash for fuel car 243 pulled in and a crew member from the neighboring box tried to crimp space from us for their Porsche by pushing our car forward – mild mannered Brian showed why he’s known as Wolf(gang) when he leapt forward and shouted manacingly ” ***********!!” They guy jumped back like the car was connected to the mains :).

Brian McGovern in car 244 was chasing down Rod Hicks in car 243 and it was all on as Brian has never had a 1st place here and he’s not called wolf(gang) for nothing! He drove like the wind crossing the line on the last lap before the chequered flag barely 2 seconds behind! The pressure on Rod told soon on the F1 circuit when he ran wide on turn 8 and went off track allowing Brian to squeeze through. Apparently they had a real ding dong battle (allegedly taking car to not crash!) all through the Nordschleife with Brian prevailing by just under half a second at the finish! Incredible stuff, to think that after 24 hours the cars should finish so closely is hard to believe. There was no strategy to try and keep the cars together. Each team of 4 ran their own race, although naturally they were treated as one in the pits and there was great camaraderie among all the drivers.

The collective relief was palpable at the end – much back-slapping and huge kudo to our service and support crew – everyone associated with the team pitched in all through the race, catching brief zz’s when possible.

After gathering for a team photo on the track it was back to do a tidy up and then on to the prize-giving. This was in typical German style, a mix of pomp and precision with flowing beer and acres of food, consisting of, as usual, meat in abundance. Their intake of meat makes kiwis look like vegetarians!

Back to the hotel for another beer (what else!) and crashed into bed about 10:30PM.

The event was much more demanding and challenging than I expected, partly due to the track being much more difficult to drive than expected looking at video and computer sims, and also due to the weather conditions during practice. Oh, and the night drive being something altogether else!

Some of the pictures below are from the Driver’s Parade around the track in the back of a truck – that was a great experience too – the fans here are inredibly passionate about the motorsport.

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7 responses

18 05 2010
dave o'neill

greg – well done and congratulations. it must be a real thrill to have been part of it all. i suspect it will be a bit of a downer for a while now. driving in targa and other stuff will probably seem mundane for a while.
talk to you back in nz.
have followed your progress through this site and the ktn site.
dave

18 05 2010
Ewen (lil bro)

Respect bro, RESPECT!

18 05 2010
Matty & Becs

Bloody Fantastic result Dad!! Look forward to seeing all the Photos and having a yarn on Skype soon. Love Matty & Becs

20 05 2010
Helen

Fantastic result, everyone at Braemar very thrilled for you! Enjoy the rest of your time there and congrats!

24 05 2010
Steve Jones

Brilliant result, Greg. Well done. Bit different to the day job (99% boredom and 1% panic, they say)…. brings a bit of balance to life!!

Steve

24 05 2010
francoise

Hi Greg ,Congrats from Ian and I . We’re very proud of you. Well deserved. You must be a gun race driver!!
Don’t rush back to work, cos theres plenty of it left for you!!
Have a good end of holiday and see you next monday
francoise

30 05 2010
Graeme

Awesome Dude!!! audiheduit?
An experience of a life time. Just read through the whole blog. Your next job will have to be as a automotive journalist. Well written, I was able to live the experience.

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