By Paul Lacey
Over the years both my wife and I have travelled to Germany often to attend VCA meetings. I was talking to Max Erdmann, the VCA chapter president, and he invited me to a local event which included a quarter-mile drag race, autocross and timed track laps.
Initially I thought I would be the lone traveler. Imagine my surprise that when I posted it on our forum, all of the UK VCA members were enthusiastic to join me for a European adventure. As the months went on it became clear that this event was going to be big and we would see a total of over 40 Vipers in attendance.
I contacted Skip Thomas and asked his permission to use the Viper Days logo with the addition of “Euro” in front and Skip very kindly agreed. He added he wished he could have been with us as he dreams of someday organizing a Euro meet for U.S. drivers.
Late summer saw 13 UK Vipers loaded onto the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) and transported to France to make the 400-mile run to the beautiful Mosel Valley. Our hotel was based in Kobern-Gondorf, close to the Mosel River. We arrived late afternoon and our German hosts had arranged taxis to take us to a superb local restaurant for dinner.
Friday morning most of us explored the town and marveled at the size of the boats and barges on the river. Later, we climbed into our cars for a well organized cruise (with a police escort) to a memorial on the banks of the Mosel River where it meets the Rhine. There we posed for some sunset pictures. The views were spectacular and the sight of so many Vipers snaking their way through the German countryside was truly amazing.
Saturday was the big day for the competitors. The quarter mile was run in true classic style, with a young lady standing on the back of a pickup truck waving a German flag. It was a nice change of pace from the green lights of a Christmas Tree.
The autocross was brilliantly fun and I enjoyed watching the smiling faces of each driver as they finished the course. For me it was a great opportunity to drive the Viper using mostly throttle for the steering.
At the track I had my biggest surprise. In our group was another White Mamba SRT10®! Checking his build plate I found it was number 85—the one before mine. What are the chances of that in Europe?
We returned to the hotel to get dressed up for the dinner held on a cruise boat on the Mosel. Max graciously allowed me to help give out the prizes (UK Cobra heads complete with eyes that light up) to the Team Captains and to members of the German VCA who had put so much effort into the event. Thanks to Mitch Simcox for producing these. I understand that he had a couple of requests to make some more.
Sunday morning the UK contingent headed for Nürburgring race track, the Holy Grail for gas heads from around the world and the same track that a few days earlier had seen the Viper ACR set the world record for production cars.
The “Ring” was very busy but some of the UK owners braved the heavy traffic for a couple of laps. I have heard forum tales of drivers who think they could hustle the ACR around this blistering circuit, but let me assure you it takes years of experience and loads of track time—something Neil Brown knows about.
When we found out that this day was Neil’s 40th birthday, we just had to book him a ride in the “Viper Jet.” This is a well tweaked Viper Taxi. The driver told Neil that he was quite experienced; having done more than 3,000 laps of the circuit. When asked about his lap, Neil just replied, “Well, we overtook every car in front of us.”
As we wrapped up the weekend, we headed for the coast through the beautiful German scenery, then into Belgium, through France then the CTRL. For me it was the very best event I have ever been to, so a huge “Well Done” to the German VCA from all of the UK “guys and dolls.”