This one comes from RudyT, who lives in Germany and has become a MINImaniac lately:
I had the pleasure of attending GermanyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s biggest MINI event of the year, Strahlung Pur IV. MINI fanatics from Germany and neighboring countries such as the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, and Belgium gathered in DÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¼sseldorf to take part in this large gathering. The event was even open to people who do not own a MINI but are curious as to what makes this car so incredible and the culture that surrounds it. The Strahlung Pur event took place over a period of one day with an itinerary that includes a dinner, an evening party with special VIP section for MINI owners, and a MINI breakfast the morning after.
Since this event was a stopping point for the Deutschlandrundfahrt, those who attended could choose to join the tour and participate in a few stages.
The day started at a fully featured ADAC drivers education facility in Grevenbroich. ADAC is the equivalent to USÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s AAA but more advanced. They feature roadside assistance, accident management, map planning, and driver safety classes that include training on a controlled course. The course features special areas for controlled curves, various cone setups, and a special designed slick surface with a sophisticated ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œbumpÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â plate that is designed to jolt your back end either to the left or right. It was here that I would be spending the bulk of my day.
The excitement was instantaneous as I pulled into the parking lot that morning. Once parked, I headed over the ADAC building, which housed a restaurant, seating, and areas for vendors. Just outside they had display MINIs including two race MINIs and a Polizei MINI! Unfortunately between my German speaking skills and good looks, I couldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t score a ride in the Spicy MINI. Later in the day I was fortunate to see and hear it race around the outer track of the facility. One wordÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ WOW!
Once the photos were taken and the drooling stopped, it was time for me to pick up my preordered welcome package, which contained some nice goodies including a prepaid lunch. The most important piece was a card I used to schedule times for the modules I would participate in. The event was broken down into four modules, two with your MINI and two with the ADAC Driver Safety MINI. Each of the modules had time slots you signed up for to eliminate any long waiting times and heavy traffic on the course. During the downtime, I was able to browse the MINI vendors and talk to fellow MINI motorists. They also had a large screen showing MINI footage of NÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¼rburgring runs and photos from previous MINI events. This was also a chance to grab some lunch and maybe a quick detail to add to my MINI. MINI clubs in the area also took this time to distribute future events on flyers and to promote their forums. There is a MINI forum for each country around Germany.
The first event with my MINI was the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œSkid PlateÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â event. This is where you drive over the bump plate onto a very slick surface trying to control your vehicle. Think of it as hitting ice. Not as easy as you might think. Even with DSC on, I often spun 360 degrees before coming to a stop. At times, I thought my poor MINI would fall apart. The object was to keep the vehicle straight or to at least regain control without loosing too much traction. This event truly shows you the value of DSC/Traction Control vs. not having it on or at all.
The second event with my MINI was the slalom event. Not too much needs to be explained here. A set of seven cones evenly space apart on a semi dry stretch of asphalt. The goal was to weave in and out without losing control. This is where the MINI shines. With and without DSC, I was able to push my MINI to speeds in excess of 80 km/h (50 mph) without ever losing control, just some rubber.
The third event called ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œKick the ConeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â was without my MINI but in the driverÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s safety MINI. There were two MINIs facing opposite directions with a volleyball sitting on top of a cone. The object was to use the MINI to move the cone from the starting point to the goal line, as marked by blue cones, switch drivers, and then back to the starting point before the other team does. Driving to fast could knock the volleyball down or worse, demolish the cone by running over it. Even though this event didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t require speed, it did show how precise the steering is in a MINI.
The fourth event was the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œbrakingÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â module. This is where you learn some of the tricks of stunt drivers. Using the driverÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s safety MINI and the open area, your goal is to take a MINI going backwards and then by pulling the emergency brake and some fancy hand and footwork, get the car going forward without losing momentum. Very tricky but loads of fun including lots of tire squealing. The same goes for going forward as well. You would be surprised on how it feels to have this maneuver done. Everything from the brakes to the suspension all did its job to make this maneuver successful and smooth. However as a spectator, I wouldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t suggest trying this in your MINI.
Once all modules were finished, it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for a buffet style dinner made special for this event. Many of us chatted about the dayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s events divulging information about the cars behavior. After dinner a MINI party was held at an indoor ski lodge. Here there was plenty of dancing, drinking, and fun to last well into the early morning. Free transportation was provided to and from the Hotel. The following morning we awoken to a MINI breakfast buffet were we all gathered one last time. This was the time to exchange last minute e-mail address and MINI club cards before we all departed.
All in all, I had a blast at Strahlung Pur. It was a chance to test some of the features of my car on a controlled environment. Where else could I intentionally see if I could spin my car in circles and speed recklessly in between cones? This was a great a chance to meet some really fantastic people and the MINIs they drive. I am already planning on attending next year. Till then, Motor ON!
Written by: RudyT
Pictures courtesy of: MINI2 Germany members & RudyT