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Re: Q's at their Peak - AF98 Report (long)
Hey guys, we're baaaack:
AF98 is now history, and the experience definitely means that this lister now
will make 2 annual trips to the Land of Rockies and Fat Tire...
For me, the event started on Wednesday 4-1, as Ingo R was having some holy
(sp) problems with his A/C condenser, and called for said part. Managed to
get him one for pick-up at Laurel Audi here in Chicago (thanks Wendy!) at a
major pop off the 850USD list price of that radiator. Anyhow, introduced Ingo
to the thrills of Chicago Rush hours (all times) as we made the 60 mile round
trip in 2.5 hours :(.
By the time we got back and did the install, we figured the weather was
cooperating, and decreed that we probably could do without the air on the ride
out. That declared, we departed at 2000hrs for Denver (we took a pass on
meeting the "southern" contingent in St. Louis or KC), scouting the route for
late nite deer. Ingo's v8 with the 17X8 compomotives and Big Reds, was hardly
the stealth machine, but we managed a fast and successful ride to Boulder, and
arrived at 1300hrs Friday. We checked in with heretic former "Beast" owner
Carl Jerritts, and got to ck out his latest Dinan modded 535. A quick shower
and we were off to Steve Eiche's for the beginning of AF98.
We arrived at Steve's about 1800 and found a lot of quattro nuts already
drinking those smooth Fat Tire Ales. I'm hoping Jim Griffin will post the
list of attendees later, at Steves it was a pleasure to put faces to many
cyber-friends from this very list. Lots of beer, q stories, hood pops, test
drives, er, did I say beer? Thanks to Steve for the hospitality, and Nicky
(in absencia) for tolerating the "fest". What a great start to a quattro
weekend. Scott Mockry and myself started nerding early on, and quickly found
ourselves surrounded by the really curious. Then the informal Q&A session
kept us both busy for a couple more hours. The southern contingent was
running a little late and tired, so they stayed at the hotel for some well
deserved sleep (hey guys I know the eyes get tired, you could always just
split the speed in half:).
We finally booted ourselves out very late, and headed to the Sheraton in Colo
Springs. Ingo and I were starting to feel the effects of the lack of sleep,
and that 45min ride was the longest of the trip. Between the two of us, we
managed to keep somewhat awake, and just off the guard rails (right Ingo?:).
Sat morning came real early, and we all got to the PP museum at 0700, where
we got ready for the climb to Devils Playground viewing area. A small
problem, we were missing our fearless leader and his sidekick, Ben and Val.
Seems that Ben was so well prepared for this fest, that he slept soundly, er,
specifically, very. And missed the window to make the climb. Bummer, but we
promised to take pictures for him.
With Chad Clark and his 80mile fresh MC 5000tq at the lead, we went for the
hill. All 22 cars of us. What a blast! Right up to the road blocks we went,
Chad working the hands with grand sweeping motions, and each time we were
released for the next checkpoint. Whatever Chad said, seemed to work, cuz
short of Frank Amaroso (jeep), we were a formidible force of marque VIP's.
Chad's selling got us all the way to Devils Playground, then the train came to
a halt. It seems at DP, not a soul was aware of our arrival, nor prepared.
So as the officials worked the radios, 22 audis came to a dead halt, in the
middle of the track, for almost an hour. Finally a very young kid, decided
that he was going to make an "executive" decision, and let us park right where
we suggested in the first place. The best idea HE ever had, for sure :).
The race was a true experience, I hadn't been to PP in almost 15 years, and
things changed AND stayed the same. The funniest (and most impressive) sight,
was the side car motorcycle division, with trusting sidecar balasters, leaning
this way and that, as the driver smoked up the hill. The tractor trailer
truck division made some of us think the definition of "working" the wheel is
relative to the size of the Momo. The hill was optimistic that Millen would
break the 10 minute mark (he holds the record time on the hill of 10min 4 sec
- '94), but he 'only' managed a 10.07. You really have to see this venue to
understand that this is an 'average' of 75miles per hour.
The trip down the hill was remeniscent of our Chicago rush hour, just better
views and steeper roads. Got lots of photos, none of them really show the
depth of field that makes *any* vehicle running the event earn respect. Off
to the Baton's of the Sheraton, for a roundez-vous, and a regroup to find some
eats for the hungry crew. After invading a couple of restaurants, Ingo
managed to get cooperation at a new local eatery, that had a great waitress,
and separate checks to boot! A very impressive sight looking down the table
at a couple dozen listers, formerly bound only by the keyboard and cyberspace,
laughing, joking and having a genuinely good time.
Mike Spiers and Valerie (Ben's SO) joined me at the Sheraton Bar to close it
down while Ben did some projects (er, what were those "projects" Ben?:). It
seems we overstayed our welcome (well it was 0230) and we wrapped things up
for the... Morning. Some sleep before Pueblo Track Day was in order...
0700 already??? Thank goodness for caffeine. Bruce Bell had coordinated a
track day at Pueblo Motorsports Park. A 2.5 mile very technical multiplane
course, situated within hundreds of acres of motocross and dirt cart racing.
What a blast!
We had miles (I believe Brendon recorded 150 track miles), heat, and a track
to ourselves. 'Cept when those race bikes showed up for testing. A couple of
concerned citizens approached me about the bikes. After already looking at
the arsenal they brought, I assured our group that these guys would not only
"not" be in our way, but that we wouldn't be in their's (these were full race
bikes turning lap times 15 seconds below our fastest). Sure enough, a couple
of mid turn smoke passes by these hotdogs humbled that "we will be faster thru
the turns" proclamation by one in our group. Let the fun begin.
Drove just about 6.5 hours straight that day, mostly giving rides in Ingo's
Big Red (and 17in compomotive) equipped v8 auto (thanks mucho Ingo, great
ride). Amazingly enough, that big 'ole tanker proved to be one of the fastest
cars on the track. Driving 7/10ths, managed some 2:00 lap times, and felt
confident that really pushing the beast would have gotten the 3-5 seconds
needed to grab the M3 and the sport wheels A4tq. Not bad for a 4000lb
machine. Did find some interesting chassis dynamics though.
Brendan let me take Ben for a ride in his A4tq. Well, just as we go from long
sweeper 180 rioght turn one, to 90 left turn two, Mr torsen decides to give us
a short wheelbase show. We got torque transfer front then rear then front,
about 6 times, pivoting the car just behind the seats. Decided it really was
too stupid to know about the 90 left, so kept my foot in it and steered for
the turn. Well that kinda worked but we understeered out of 2 like a pig, and
we ended up at about 20 miles per hour on the out of 2. Ben calmly issued the
statement "that was neat", and I, again, became a bitten one. Not pushing
either. Dry pavement, 7/10ths, hp handicapped, BIG tires. Gave Brendan some
harrassment for not finding this himself, then he promptly got the same
"swing" on the 90 left turn 3, and consistently. As the debate continues, the
device stays consistently the same. So tested. What I found even more
interesting was the magnetic locking plate setup of Ingo's v8.
Same turn 2, 7/10ths, I found that when the car goes thru with no "perceived"
lock, speeds can be really high. When the car locks those plates though,
understeer directs you right off the track. What I found was that driving in
"sport" mode, the car would sometimes shift at different entry attitudes in
the turn. When you got a kick down early, the plates would lock, and the car
would push in a big way (like close enough to drop RR - right John?). The
difference locked vs unlocked was so great, that to control the understeer,
you had to majorly scrub speed, like to the point where 20mph seemed fast.
This car was rewarding when driven smoothly, but man did she NOT reward you
when those plates locked. Not inappropriate allocation of torque necessarily,
just 50/50 understeer right when you specifically didn't need or want it. I'm
starting to think that those 50/50 diffs though not "anticipating" sure are
consistent, and without surprises. Glad learning the "plate" behavior didn't
cost Ingo OR I anything but some lap time.
Drove Bruce Bell's 4kq with Vortrog C/O, and Michael Williams 4kq with 2BBR
C/O setups, and though both need some tweeking, I give the edge to the rates
and setup Bruce had. Both stuck better than one would consider reasonable in
a 4kq though. Brendan's car was loud but very confident (save that bite
thing) thru the turns, needs more boost though. Also drove an ex-Orin owned
5ktq (Bill) that the owner assured me was "stock" and I add, maybe "Orin
stock", cuz it was very fast. Drove Ed Kellocks 200tq 20v wagon, and I know
from the grin, he enjoyed that ride as much as me. Drove Scott M's 89 200tq
sedan, lots of data acquisition going on, but a good ride. What a blast to
have a track event with only 10 cars running!
Back to the sheraton (er, more beer - F1 key assigned), then out to Chili's
where we muscled in on Chad's date with 19 q head chaperones :). Some good-
byes here, as all headed to respective cribs for the night. I went to Boulder
with Mike Spiers (two of us driving one car, again?). Monday Mike, Ingo, Jim
G, Scott M, Ben and I all invaded Mike and Carl's place. An offhand comment
about "data acquision" got the Dinan out of the garage, and Scott Mockry doing
more testing than one would consider reasonable. I think next time he'll say
nothing. Seems the fix is the coil, and hopefully the Dinan will be back to
full splendor. A good day to wind down for the windy city trip.
Left 1800 hours with Ingo, Jim and I ready to tackle the drive to chicago in a
very full v8. 3 folks is a great rotation for the driving, and we actually
got some sleep along the way. Well all except when Jim tried sleeping as I
approached Chicago, and some pole position driving ensued. Got in late Tues
(we did have that stop at the new JC Whitney), prompty got some chow, and went
home to watch some laser disk on the new player. An 'early' evening, and Ingo
and Jim got out about 0600 wednesday.
Well, that is the full scoop. A bunch of fun, all highlights blended well
with the Fat Tire Ale. A special thanks to Ben and Bruce for the best 2 days,
Ingo for the ride, and the rides, Steve E. for the Welcome Mat, Chad and Don
for 'whatever' you managed to say to the constables, Brendan for the rides,
toys and bed, the Sheraton for scheduling some great entertainment for us, and
of course to Fat Tire for making all the entertainment, that much more
A greater time putting reality to cyber-friends would be hard to find.