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Ace Parade GT 2019 – 6th Edition

RO: DUPA ce experimentezi ceea ce reprezinta poate cele mai bune drumuri pentru condus din lume, care este urmatorul lucru pe care il poti face? Bineinteles, raspunsul firesc ar fi sa cauti drumuri similare in alte tari. Asadar, iata-ma intr-o carciuma din Irlanda la 10 pm dupa 3 ore de condus si experimentat cateva pasuri montane epice si drumuri pe coasta, simtind inca invidia drumului.

Intreaga experienta Ace Parade Grand Tour incepe cu cateva zile inainte de a te porni efectiv la drum; dorinta de a iesi si de a auzi sunetul motorului este aproape insuportabila, mai ales in prima zi de Grad Tour cand toti participantii se aduna intr-un garaj in mijlocul medievalului Schweinfurt din Germania privind colantarea profesionala a masinilor. Rezultatele? Remarcabile. Atmosfera? Electrica.

In dimineata de dupa aplicarea colantelor pe masini, explorarea orasului si degustarea de vinuri de la Dahms, ne trezim cu totii senini si gata de plecare spre ceea ce reprezinta mai mult decat kilometri parcursi pe asfalt. Aceasta a fost temelia unei mari aventuri si a unor amintiri despre care cu totii stiam ca marcheaza inceputul unor lungi prietenii.

Pe masura ce ne apropiem de pista aeroportului pe unii dintre noi ne-a cuprins ceea ce poate fi descsris ca o macarime. Un EVO foarte modificat si selectie de masini germane clasa M s-au aliniat … AMG GTS, despre care stim cu totii ca este cea mai rapida masina din convoiul nostru in linie dreapta. Totusi, puterea pura a AMG-ului „V” V8 depasea orice ajustare de harta ECU sau lansare optima pe care ar putea avea-o orice rival.

Si tot asa nu motivul pentru care de ce exista masini, ci de ce existam unii dintre noi pentru masini. Daca oricare dintre dumneavoastra a condus intr-un grup inainte, intelegeti conexiunea care se formeaza fara comunicare verbala intre soferi, oameni pe care abia ia-ti cunoscut cu cateva ore inainte. Conexiunea este reala, si electricitatea creata se traduce in trepidatie pe masura ce te apropii de o vale cu munti atat de mari, ca apropae iti pare rau pentru masina ta. Dar singurul drum este inainte, acolo unde se afla paturile noastre somptuaose in St. Moritz.
Astfel ne aventuram catre Pasul Hahntennjoch, initial traversat de un convoi de biciclete, dar cufundat in praful lasat de masinile noastre in graba catre varf in incercarea de a fi primul care surprinde peisajului montan majestuos. Privelistea din varf era tentanta, starea de spirit ridicata si aerul rarefiat, cu totii am fost cuprinsi de microbul pentru si mai multe drumuri montane.

Asadar, calatoria a continuat si alte pasuri au fost cucerite, Flüela, Bernina, Maloja sunt cateva din numele bine cunoscute. Senzatia anvelopelor pe curbele stranse si sunetul muntilor devenind vii impreuna cu sunetul de inductie, explozia turbo si scartaitul anvelopelor este o experienta care se cuvine soferilor adevarati, drumurile respective separand pe cei puternici fata de cei slabi.

Iata-ma incheind acest articol, intr-un alt pub din Irlanda dupa ce am fost singur, dorind sa fi avut Caterham-ul cu mine. Totusi, inca ma intreb si caut urmatoare experienta a celor mai bune drumuri, dupa pasurile montane elvetiene. Cate de frumoase ar fi drumurile irlandeze, este ceva ce lipseste. Sa fi fost oare absenta Catehamului meu iubit? Lipsa muntilor elvetieni?

Sa cuceresti aceste drumuri la Ace Parade si sa tii pasul cu masinile din fata este posibil atunci cand fiecare miscare a rotii este, nu numai calculata, dar exista si un reflex al unei calculatii facute secunde inainte si fiecare denivelare a drumului poate fi simtita in corp. Imprumutand un rezumat elocvent al unui prieten si participant Ace Parade: „ aceasta este … simpatie mecanica” cand masinile devin o extensie a noastra, iar noi devenim cu adevarat soferi.

Desi nimic in viata nu este sigur, inca ma intreb daca orice drum se poate compara cu cele strabatute la Grand Tour. Poate niciodata nu voi sti cu adevarat, dar pentru moment nu cred.

Cel de-al saselea eveniment Ace Parade Grand Tour, ce s-a finalizat in Monte Carlo anul acesta, a avut o extensie speciala in Romania cu plecare din Bucuresti, popas la Castelul Cantacuzino si drumetie pe noul drum Tansbucegi. Mai multe fotografi din cadrul evenimentului le puteti vedea aici!

 

ENG: AFTER experiencing what are arguably the best driving roads in the world, what does one do? Of course, the natural answer would be to go on a wild search for equivocal roads through other counties. So here I am, sitting in a pub in Ireland at 10pm after a 3 hour drive and experiencing some epic mountain passes and coastal routes, and yet, I still feel road envy.

The whole Ace Parade Grand Tour experience starts days before you actually embark on your journey; the itch to get out and hear the bark of your engine is almost unbearable, and still more so when on the first day of the Grand Tour all the participants congregate in a garage in the middle of medieval Schweinfurt, Germany watching your cars professionally wrapped to look the part. The results? Outstanding. The atmosphere? Electric.

The morning after applying stickers to the cars, exploring the city, and wine tasting at the Dahms Vineyard we all wake up bright and early to embark on what would be more than just mere miles on tarmac. This was the establishment of a great adventure and memories with what we all knew would mark the start of lasting friendships.

As we approached an airport runway a sense of what can only be described as iciness overcame some of us. A highly tuned EVO and a selection of German M cars line up to juke it out over a quarter mile and have a shot at the claiming victory over the AMG GTS, which we all knew to be the fastest car of our convoy in a straight line. However, the sheer power of the AMG’s „hot-V” V8 overcame any mapping adjustments or optimal launches any rivals could muster.

And so on to the reason not why cars exist, but why some of us exists for cars. If any of you have driven in a group before, you would know the unspoken connection between drivers, people who you have only just met a handful of hours prior. The connection is real, and the sense of electricity translates to trepidation as you approach a valley with mountains so big, you almost feel sorry for your car. But the only way was up, as that was where our sumptuous beds lay, over the mountain in St. Moritz. And so up we ventured to the top of the Hahntennjoch Pass, initially trailed by an assortment of bikes, but were eventually left in our dust as we rushed to the top to be the first one to catch a glimpse of the majestic mountainscape. The view from the top was tantalising, the mood high, and the air thin, we all had caught the bug for more mountain roads.

And so, the journey continued, where a number of other passes were conquered, Flüela, Bernina, Maloja are some of the well-known names. The feeling of tyres against banked corners and the sound of hills coming alive with the sound of induction noises, turbo blow off and shrieking tyres is an experience best served to the real drivers, as these roads separate the brave from the weak after boys are left behind.

So here I am, finishing off this article, in another pub in Ireland after being the only car in sight to negotiate a beautiful single-track trail with crests and perfectly banked corners, wishing I had my Caterham. However, I am still left wondering and searching for the next best driving roads after the Swiss mountain passes. As beautiful as the Irish roads are, there was something missing. Was it the absence of my beloved Caterham? The lack of rolling Swiss mountains?

To conquer these roads with Ace Parade and keep up with the lead cars can only be achieved when every turn of the wheel is not a calculation, but a reflex of a calculation made seconds earlier and every bump and crease in the road can be felt in your haunches. To borrow an eloquent summary from a friend of mine and Ace Parade participant; “this is mechanical sympathy” where our cars become an extension of us, and we truly become drivers.

Although nothing in life is certain, I still ask myself if any roads can compare to those travelled on the Grand Tour. Maybe I will never truly know, but for now I think not.

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