Worthersee 2019: Part 1 of 2


Posted on: June 1, 2019

Words and Photography: Michal Fidowicz 

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Well, after about 5 years of dreaming about it I finally went to Worthersee. As you know by now, things didn’t really go to plan. But my friends and I were there, standing at Turbo Kurve at midnight, Villacher bier in hand (Gosser for the weaker individuals,) egging on random people to do burnouts as they cruise through a crowd of a thousand other Europeans just like us. A few newspaper articles covering the Worthersee festival claim that there were a good 200,000 people coming from all over the world to this “Automotive Mecca,” the land of endless car fanatics, one of a kind motors, corrupt traffic police and stunning scenery. You’ve probably even heard there was a couple of lads from China making the trip by car. The Worthersee festival is big business in the car community and anyone who’s anyone will make the trip to Austria at some point in their lives.

 

Photos from Turbo Kurve, morning of Saturday 18th May

 

 

It was obvious to us from the get-go that we would inevitably get unwanted attention from the Austrian plod. Every year the chief constable orders 10,000 of his finest(?) traffic officers to essentially raid Worthersee with orders to molest every single holiday goer they can get their clammy hands on. At the end of the day it’s just a bunch of blokes doing what they’re told to do. The reality is though that the Worthersee festival gives the police a licence to print money. There’s a bloke with a speed gun on every single corner, there is a police check on every single main road and oh god forbid you have a foreign number plate! You’re royally screwed then. It’s like a game of cat and mouse, and realistically they won’t do anything but slap you with a 70 euro fine for sunstrips, 70 euro fine for stickers, 240 euro fine for being too low and if you’re really unlucky they’ll just impound your car and take your number plates. But who thinks of this? All 200,000 people there are going to meet their friends, see some cool cars and drink Austrian beer.

 

Photos from Turbo Kurve, evening of Saturday 18th May

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So we decided to go to Worthersee. Loads of folk have gone to Austria from the UK before and have all followed the same recipe. Leave the UK in the morning, spend the night in Germany, and arrive in Austria the following day. Bullet proof plan – bullet proof I tell you! Some of my friends have done this for the two years prior without fault. I partnered up with my good friend Lewis who picked me up straight after work on Wednesday, packed all my camera gear into the Lupo and set off for 2 weeks of automotive heaven. We arranged to meet everyone down at Dover and spend the night there before setting off the following day on the 6:00AM ferry. My close friends that I’ve met through cars are scattered all up and down the country, so Lewis and I were pretty excited to not only set off for this adventure but also to see everyone. We chipped it down to Dover and arrived in time to shoot Josh’s Benz for his reveal photos which went down a treat. We went for a pub dinner, got a bit jolly and hit the bed for a busy day ahead. Very busy day ahead.

 

Photos from ILB Drivers Club, Sunday 19th May

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Before you know it it was 6:00AM on Thursday and were were queuing up to get onto our ferry. We were about, and we were excited. The weather was lovely and all the cars were running great. After a crappy channel-crossing breakfast and a stress-free landing in France we set off. For 3 miles, before one of the guys travelling with us had a blow out due to low tire pressure. Cue another 5 hours of faffing about trying to fit a tire on in Dunkirk. After a lovely local gave us a hand we continued with our journey. I was hoping to get rollers of every car with us but due to clear skies and a bright sun I had to wait until it got a little darker to get the perfect shots. France came and went, Belgium came and went, and soon we were in the land of unrestricted motorways, the Nurburgring, flat roads and unpronounceable words. The weather got gloomier, and just before we pulled over for dinner I managed to get some rolling shots.

 

Photos from Germany, Thursday 16th May

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Not bad for some famous last photos eh? It was reaching 6:00PM and we’ve been making crappy progress due to the tire incident earlier on in the day. We decided to pull into some services near Cologne. As we pulled in and drove past the main building to park up I noticed something – I’ve actually been in these services before, a really really long time ago when I was driving to Switzerland with my parents as a kid. Anyway, our group of 11 cars rolled in, pulled up, parked up, aired out, and got out the cars to start walking towards the golden arches of McDonald’s.

 

Photos from Velden higstreet, evening of Sunday 19th May

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As we were walking into McDonalds a police car drove past our parked cars and stopped right by Josh’s Benz. I mean, I would stop too if I saw a bogey green Mercedes with a colour coded roofbox and wonky wheels. What would you do, go over and chat to the police officers or continue on towards dinner?… As we were ordering food we noticed another police car drive in. As we were getting stuck into our food we saw another two police cars drive in, as we got up to leave we saw another two police cars drive in. As we walked out out of McDonald’s we saw another police car drive in. We walked around the corner and towards our cars where we discovered our cars have been surrounded by about 30 police officers. From blokes with guns, to undercover officers, to science-looking boffins with clip boards and googly glasses parading around the cars frantically writing stuff down as they looked at them disapprovingly. It turns out the motorway services we pulled into happened to be Cologne’s motorway police headquarters. We unknowingly drove into the lion’s den…

 

Photos from the Swissbox meet, Monday 20th May

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With buttocks firmly clenched, we went back to the cars. All together there was 22 of us spread out through the 11 cars. At this point it was 7:30 when it slowly started to spit down with rain. It was going to be a long evening for us. Being a passenger I didn’t do too much of the logistical talking with the police officers, however I could tell they were going to absolutely shaft us for everything they could. They had that money hungry look in their eyes and they saw a vulnerable group of foreigners they could make an example off. 9:00 came and went and everything was still up in the air.

Now I did plan to make one massive article on this, but I’m keen to keep this story detailed story for you. As I’ve still got so much to include so I’m going to split the article up into two parts. This makes photo editing and article formatting more manageable for me. Part two will be out on Wednesday evening at 8:00.

See you then…

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