Feature by George Angelidis
April 30, 2020 – The Nürburgring. This is the world’s most challenging racetrack. 154 bends. 20.83km. Too dangerous for Formula 1. No wonder Jackie Stewart called it “The Green Hell”. So, what is it, that brings us back here? What drives us to go faster? To push harder? And brake later? I guess it’s what we do. It’s what we have always done. So, did we do it? 20 drivers were brave enough to tackle the race!
Like any race in the Ring, it had its drama, its “oopsies”, and its emotions. The field started in a reverse grid formation with 3-second intervals among each car. Naturally, it wasn’t for long that the faster guys would catch up and some monumental scenes would be created. Having 5 cars (and sometimes 3-wide!) navigating the Eiffel country roads was something more astonishing – other than suicidal. Racing was hard but fair.
First of the “oopsies” was Jon Uyan’s pirouette towards the end of Tiergarten, licking the barriers, but somehow surviving without substantial damage.
Jorge Martin Rivera was the unfortunate backmarker pushed wide hitting the guardrail before pit entry while he was trying to get out of the way when the faster cars came behind him.
The hotlap challenge winner and record holder, Sam Ahmed was exceptional in making his monstrous BMW somehow “fit” through traffic and pass his way around. Christopher Snow was equally lucky. The rest had to stay for a half-lap more.
The Big One
And then THE BIG ONE happened. Going into the Klostertal (before the Karussel), Christopher Snow had approached Rodger Gabryszak and was fighting for position. A little bit of an antsy Snow and an inexperienced Gabryszak added with the lead contender, Jason Whited, being urging from behind had those first 2 touched collecting Jason in the process.
Uyan and Angelidis followed and miraculously escaped the carnage by going straight through the smoke. Luck beats good any day, I guess.
Snow and Whited continued with damage that would later be fixed in a pit stop. Meanwhile, Gabryzsak was struggling to engage reverse with a stubborn shifter.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group was struggling with their own gremlins. At the end of Lap 2 Tom Nasella lost it in Tiergarten just before the pits that ended his race.
A lap later and it was Planfensgarten that made Paul Ibbotson end his day, while Dan Minges stuffed it in the tire barrier at Flugplatz.
David Anderson decided to experience the German countryside at Metzgesfeld paving new roads on the racetrack that somehow didn’t include any guardrails in the process.
Changes at the Front
Then at Lap 6, all hell broke loose. First, it was the accident that probably upset the lead of this race. Sam Ahmed collided with the tire barrier at Hoheneihen seizing his engine and his opportunity for a victory along with it.
Then it was all left to Jorge Lopez that with his staggering race pace, Jorge could have won the event but it was not meant to be. In the same lap, he lost control and all chances of victory.
A lap later and it was Marco Rodriguez and Christopher Snow’s turn.
The remaining survivors had to battle it out in the pits. Uyan and Angelidis were the only ones not to take tires with the rest of the field opting for the safer strategy. Simion Nacu benefitting from the DNFs of Ahmed and Lopez started pushing on trying to close the gap to Jon Uyan.
A resurrected Christopher Snow caught Angelidis after the latter’s pit stop, battling it out in from the Karrussel all the way to the Dottinger straight.
Unfortunately, an insect dirtied Snow’s windshield impairing his vision. Using the wipers didn’t help and Snow made an error in Galgenkopf trying to stick behind Angelidis to get the slipstream before the Dottinger straight.
Staying Out of Trouble
The remaining 4 laps were getting into the rhythm and trying to get as many positions due to other drivers’ failures. Most of the positions were “fixed” with big gaps, with not many on-track battles.
An exception was the Angelidis-Whited fight for the podium that took 2 laps to resolve itself. Angelidis with old tires while Whited on an ailing car down in top speed albeit catching. Whited came close to Angelidis’ car 2 laps before the end. While pushing, Jason lost it in the GP circuit giving George a “10-second fresh air gap” only to disappear within 8 minutes…
Knowing Jason was down on top speed all Angelidis had to do is make sure he had good exits from the 3 main straightaway sections of the track, and he had a shot. Of course, that didn’t happen, and going wide in Flugplatz allowed Jason to pass. Angelidis forced him to take the outside on the off-camber part of the track. Whited’s Porsche touched the grass with the right rear, and he went off ending his race.
Angelidis was lucky though because the Porsche came back to the racetrack inches in front of him but luckily missed him.
One More Lap
In the lead Uyan had to go an extra lap since the gap between him and Nacu didn’t allow him to cut the race short. Uyan, Nacu and Angelidis closed the podium all separated within 2 minutes.
David Anderson with the “push-ups” Radical managed to keep it together after his earlier excursions avoiding cars stopped on track in a spectacular fashion, coming 4th overall and 1st in Group B.
Rodger Gabryszak and Jorge Martin Rivera complete the podium in Group B, albeit with only Rodger seeing the checkered flag, 2 laps down from Anderson.
Solid drives from Brian Hall and Frank Radoski by avoiding major mistakes ensured their 5th and 6th place overall with Ross Smith (Rossi Smythe) finishing 8th with a loss of control at the last lap.
The final results of the CMS Green Hell race were:
- Jon Uyan
- Simion Nacu
- George Angelidis
- Brian Hall
- Frank Centore
- Jason Whited
- Ross Smith
- Marco Antonio Rodriquez
- Christopher Snow
- Jorge Lopez
- Sam Ahmad
- Dan Minges
- David Anderson
- Rodger Gabryszak
- Jorge Martin Rivera
- Tony Boynton
- Paul Ibbotson
- Tom Nasella
Le Mans Next
Next, our renegade squad of drivers moves to Le Mans to tackle a shortened version of the iconic race. It will be a 2.4 Hour Race on May 21st with a full day/night cycle and varying weather conditions.
The emotions from the previous race will run high and rivalries will be rejuvenated. Stay tuned!