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Paul Pietsch Classic 2013: The most beautiful Black Forest tour

Dino Eisele
Paul Pietsch Classic 2013
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D one thing was clear: you are still enjoying the driving pleasure on small streets in the middle of the Black Forest. The sun is shining, but suddenly a brewery truck slows down the VW Beetle for a long time. Mario Ketterer, local motorsport veteran and pilot on this excursion through the southwest of the republic, remains calm. After all, he knows the area and knows when it is worth overtaking.

Beetle overtakes Boxster

The driver of the Porsche Boxster, who keeps jerking nervously over the center line behind the blue Volkswagen to check the situation, doesn't seem quite as confident. Then comes a straight line. Ketterer sees his chance. Turn signal left and past, the Stuttgart sports car follows. Apparently he senses his opportunity to leave the historic small car behind. But his hope is short-lived. Ketterer remains on the gas, the four-cylinder boxer pushes the Beetle with a loud roar. The Porsche gives up and now respectfully keeps a little distance.

Actually, looking at the roll cage, it should have guessed that no good people's means of transport are rolling here. And in fact, this 1302 type has little in common with its rather cozy siblings. His hair was, as it was once called, neatly groomed. Instead of the standard 50 hp, its air-cooled boxer delivers a whopping 145 hp. And this is clearly noticeable in the 880 kilogram light car, especially on winding terrain.

Neatly coiffed: the Rally Beetle

'The chassis is great, it drives like a kart', praises Ketterer. But as a racing driver, the Baden native is not in action, but as a travel guide. For two days the route of the historic Paul Pietsch Classic rally is to be explored. And in this varied region, fun on the bends is not the only thing on the program.

The base camp for the exploration drive is located east of Offenburg. Durbach lies in the middle of vineyards. After all, the Hotel Ritter, the first old-timer-friendly hotel on the Badische Weinstrasse, is a suitable accommodation, where the classic is safely stored in the underground car park.

There is even a lifting platform and tools available. You can tell that hotel manager Dominic Müller has petrol in his blood when you take a look at the hotel's ownFleet throws: In addition to a Piaggio Ape tricycle for daily errands, it includes an MG TD Roadster to rent for guests and a Mercedes vintage 0319 bus for excursions. Not the only star of the house - the gourmet restaurant Wilder Ritter has a Michelin star. But local cuisine can also be experienced in the down-to-earth knight's parlor.

Picturesque places connected by winding curves

But first of all, enjoyment in the cockpit is on the agenda. On the western edge of the Black Forest, the route leads south through picturesque places such as Gengenbach. With their luscious green, the meadows make you forget that winter finally began to retreat just a few days ago. The first stage destination of the day is an insider tip from racing history: Behind Welschensteinbach, it goes from the main road over a narrow path to an old half-timbered house. Not just any estate, but once the home of Hans Stuck.

In 1920, the future king of the mountains inherited the estate from his father Wilhelm. The forest house belonging to it once functioned as an apartment and workshop. You can still see today that there was once a wide gate instead of a door and windows. This is where Stuck screwed on his racing car. However, it did not last long here in the southwest. In 1925, the year of his first triumph in a hill climb in Baden Baden, he left the Waldhof in the direction of Bavaria.

Hand-made classics

The beetle is now dipping deeper into the Black Forest. Fir and spruce trees dominate the landscape along the way. The road winds through a narrow valley that the Wilde Gutach dug into the slope. Meltwater from the high altitude falls down the stream bed. An intense smell of conifers and forest floor fills the air. The narrow street is made for the classy small car. Piles of wood at the roadside indicate that forestry still plays a major role in the region, even though tourism is the driving force in many areas.

In Hinterzarten, however, there is a prime example of another strength of Residents, the craftsmanship. The Drescher body shop is located in a rather inconspicuous building. Anyone who assumes that dented bodies will be brought back into shape here is correct. But these are by no means lowered GTIs that have been deformed by the village youth for lack of driving skills. Hubert Drescher is rather considered the specialist in the reconstruction of historic vehicles.

Porsche 356 with 20 kg spatula too much

At the moment he is taking care of a Porsche, among other things. The owner bought it as a 'wonderful 356 in great condition,' says the specialist. Actually only a few small quirks bothered the owner. ButA closer look showed that the sports car has more of a ruin than a neat oldtimer.

So the decision was made to completely restore it. A wise decision when looking at the already primed sheet metal: the rear looks as if it had to endure heavy fire. 'We removed around 20 kilograms of filler from the back alone.' For comparison: An intact body weighs only 277 kilograms.

And yet this order is everyday business for the body builder and his team. After all, he has already resurrected cars with nothing left of their bodies. In case of doubt, four faded photos are sufficient as a template. Like the Semper Vivus, the world's first hybrid car developed by Ferdinand Porsche in 1900.

Just like 100 years ago, sheet metal is made by hand. A block of wood and a hammer are the most important tools, just as they were for the pioneers of car construction. This throws the metal into shape and then smoothes it in a press. Drescher runs the business as a family business very traditionally: his wife helps in the office, son Benjamin and two other employees work on the sheet metal.

Asians love cuckoo clocks

The Black Forest in Triberg is really clichéd, where visitors find Germany's highest waterfall as well as cuckoo clocks, including the world's largest according to the Guinness Book. But it is too late for a visit shortly after six in the evening: the gates close at 5 p.m. After all, there is an equally impressive one in the parking lot, about two stories high. But if you want to hear the bird, you have to pay by inserting a coin: three 'cuckoo' times cost one euro. Unfortunately we don't have the right coins with us.

'Asians are crazy about them,' says Ketterer. 'On a vacation trip to Singapore I even discovered a shop full of Black Forest clocks.' He knows a shop in Freiburg that offers brightly painted models. The timepiece, frowned on as stuffy, becomes a cool accessory again. You would still look in vain for a copy in his house.

In view of the late hour, it is time to come back to the hotel. After all, the next day there is an excursion into Ketterer's past. It goes to the scene of his first victory in a hill climb, to Ottenhöfen. 'Today, however, the street is one and a half meters wider than it was then,' recalls the 63-year-old. Only insiders know that from 1969 to 1983 the climb after All Saints' Day was conquered at racing speed. Once again there were no permanent facilities. 'The paddock was down on the bank of the stream,' recalls Mario. Everything is very improvised.

Up the mountain at racing speed

There were mountain racesonce popular in the southern Black Forest. There were a good two handful of events. Today, ordinary people at best remember the Schauinsland races. It was there that Ketterer's career began in 1969 in a Fiat Coupé and ended immediately with a rollover. A disgrace that he later more than thoroughly eradicated: in 1979 he completed the 11.2 kilometer climb in 4: 59.20 minutes, underbidding his record from the previous year. Due to the out of the Schauinsland race, the fabulous value remains as an all-time track record.

Today, mountain races are almost extinct across Germany - especially environmental protection was cited as a reason for a ban by civil servants. And so there is also a speed limit for the Beetle, although it would be interesting to see the Bergmeister in action: 'You could get around 160 km /h here in the fastest places. It was important to have the right gear ratio for every mountain to be found. '

But there is enough driving fun on the narrow streets even if the speed limit is adhered to, especially in a car like the rally Beetle. He is in his element on the country road. The air-cooled four-cylinder boxer pushes forward out of the bends with pressure: 'I could get used to the Beetle ...'

At the end of the tour, it's back to Durbach. Here some gourmet specialties are still waiting to be tasted. Because what would a tour to Baden be without Black Forest cake and ham?

The mountain master - about Mario Ketterer

If the parents own a gas station and you grow up on the legendary Schauinsland mountain race course , the entry into motorsport is obvious.

Mario Ketterer (63) dares his first race in 1969 on the local mountain at the gates of Freiburg. And even if his ambition is dampened by an accident, he stays on the trigger. Three years later he has already won 22 out of 25 races in the Opel Ascona. In 1975 he finished third in the German Mountain Championship, in 1976 he was third in the European Mountain Championship.

1978 was the most successful year of his career: at the wheel of a TOJ-SC206 sports car, he broke with a time of 5.01, 21 minutes the course record on the 11.2 kilometer long mountain race track of the Schauinsland and wins all 15 races of the German sports car championship. A year later he beat his own record on the Schauinsland with a time of 4: 59.20 minutes in the Formula 2 Ralt-BMW.

But he is also at the forefront on the circuit. In 1979 he won the brand world championship run in the 1000-kilometer race in Dijon together with Reinhold Joest and Volker Merl at the wheel of a Porsche 908 Turbo-Spyder. In 1980 Ketterer decided against a professional career and became a real estate broker.

Nevertheless, he continued to compete in endurance races. He is a constant at the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. Ended at the beginning of 2013he started his racing career.

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