Category Archives: Belgium

A Year in Review: My 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Adventures Statistics

 

Woo Hoo! My first Miata Fiata Radio Episode is now Live! Listen:


Miata Fiata Radio – A Year in Review: 2016 Miata Fiata Adventures


 

There’s still a few days of 2016 left, but I wanted to jot down all the fun things I’ve done with my MX-5 Miata this year and share it with my readers (and soon to be listeners) in an upcoming Miata Fiata Radio thing I’m launching… yes we’ve already launched Miata Fiata talk the podcast, but I wanted to create a supplement where it’s just me talking about my car and my adventures.

So let’s talk numbers…

International MX-5 Events: 8

Domestic MX-5 Events: 18

Mileage done: 17k

Oil changes: 3

Repairs: 2

Modifications: 4

 

International Road Trips:

Pacific Trip:

  • Sydney, Australia [link][link]
  • Auckland, New Zealand [link]

Euro Trip:

Domestic Road Trips:

  • Polar Bear Cruise in Lehigh Valley, PA [link][link]
  • to St. Pete & Sebring, Florida via Orlando and Daytona Beach [link][link][link]
  • to VIR, Virginia [link]
  • to Belle Isle, Detroit, Michigan [link]
  • Watkins Glen International (x5) [link][link]
  • Lime Rock Park (x3) [link]
  • Palmer Motorsports Park [link]
  • New Jersey Motorsports Park (x2) [link]
  • Philadelphia Miata Run [link]
  • Bear Mountain Cruise (x2) [link][link]

California Trips:

  • Mazda North American Operations [link]
  • Miatas as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca [link][link][link]

Maintenance:

  • Pennzoil Platinum 5w-20 and 0w-20 (x3) [link][link]
  • Pennzoil Platinum High Milage ATF JWS-3309 [link]
  • Mobil 1 ATF power steering fluid flush [link]
  • NGK Laser Iridium Spark Plugs [link]
  • Techron Fuel System Cleaner [link]

Repairs:

  • RX-8 Hubs (wheel bearings) [link]
  • MX-5 OEM Bilstein Shocks/Springs [link]

Modifications:

  • Touch Screen Pioneer Stereo [link][link]
  • Backup Camera [link]
  • Cravenspeed Stubby Antenna [link]
  • Black Aluminum Shift Knob [link]
  • WeatherTech Floor Mats [link]

 

(More will be added as I think of this stuff)

A Year in Review: My 2016 Volunteering in Motorsport Statistics

Update Dec 30, 2016: Episode 1 is Live!


Marshal Radio – A year in Review: 2016 Events Volunteered


It’s been a hell of a year!

As 2016 comes to a close I wanted to reflect on the things I’ve done by the numbers. The statistics. The talking points for my upcoming Marshal Radio Episode #1.

So…

Total events: 28

Countries: 7

States: 11

Circuits: 19

 

 

Countries: (7)

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • the Netherlands
  • USA (11)
    • Texas (x3)
    • Florida (x2) (1 trip)
    • California (x3) (2 trips)
    • Alabama
    • Massachusetts
    • New York (x5)
    • Connecticut (x3)
    • Michigan
    • New Jersey (x2)
    • Pennsylvania
    • Virginia

Circuits: (19)

  • Mount Panorama, Bathurst
  • Hampton Downs
  • Circuit of the Americas (x3)
  • St. Pete Street Circuit (first)
  • Sebring
  • Long Beach Street Circuit
  • Barber Motorsport Park (first)
  • Palmer Motorsport Park (first)
  • Watkins Glen International (x5)
  • Lime Rock Park (x3)
  • Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
  • Detroit Belle Isle Street Circuit
  • Thunderbolt, NJMP (x2)
  • Circuit Park Zandvoort (first)
  • GP Circuit Nurburgring
  • Circuit Spa-Francorchamps
  • Pocono Raceway
  • Virginia International Raceway (first)
  • Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (x2)

Visited Circuits:

  • Pukekohe (New Zealand) (ride along lap)
  • Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Monterey, California) (drove a lap)
  • Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach, Florida)
  • Roebling Road (Savannah, Georgia)

Drive-by:

  • Talladega (Alabama)
  • Darlington Motor Speedway/Raceway (South Carolina)

Clubs:

  • CAMS (AU)
  • The Motorsport Club (NZ)
  • OCA (NL)
  • ADAC (DE)
  • RACB (BE)
  • MMS (CA)
  • USA
    • Flagging by Faynesha (paid)
    • VIR (paid)
    • NJMP (paid)
    • Lime Rock (paid)
    • Team Pocono
    • RSI
    • SCCA
      • Lone Star Region
      • CalClub
      • CFR – Central Florida
      • SFR – San Francisco
      • NER – New England
      • Detroit Region

Marshal Roles:

  • F&C – flagging & communication
  • Flag Marshal
  • Fire Marshal (Pit Marshal)
  • Track Marshal
  • Starter/Backup Starter (first pro-race)
  • Spectator Marshal
  • Worker Support

 

Event Types

Cars:

  • PWC (x7)
  • IMSA (x7)
  • WEC (x2)
  • DTM (first)
  • TCR (first)
  • Trans Am (x2)
  • NASCAR (x2)
  • MX-5 Cup (x2)

Endurance:

  • Bathurst 12h
  • Sebring 12h
  • Sahlen’s 6h
  • Spa 24h
  • Nurburgring 6h
  • Lone Star Le Mans 6h

Open Wheel:

  • IndyCar (x6)
  • Formula 3 (x2)
  • Formula 4 (twice didn’t happen)

Motorcycle:

  • MotoGP
  • MotoAmerica

 

 

 

(This post will be updated just as soon as I think of more crap to add)

Total 24 Hours of Spa Blancpain GT Feature Race of Intercontinental GT Challenge at the Circuit Spa-Francorchamps

What a way to end an amazing month in Europe by volunteering the best endurance race in the world: the Total 24 hours of Spa at Circuit Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

I was looking forward to Spa 24h for the whole year since I have worked last year’s event. This year the race did not disappoint. My Belgian or rather Flemish friend Pol was kind enough to chauffeur me around for the past few weeks, and Spa-Francorchamp visit was the last stop on our journey. The first order of business was to go to Spa city center for the driver’s parade and autograph session. To me that’s the most amazing thing the series does, instead of bringing spectators to the circuit they bring the cars and drivers to the people. It was super packed, as usual, and the cars were amazing.

At the track we were assigned Posts 11 and 12 at the exit of Double Gauche (Double Left) turns about in the middle of the course. It was a super active section of the track with the first red flag popping out as a result of a smash of Piquet Jr. into our station. We had a few more major crashes, several big fires. It was nuts.

My favorite part as always was making it out to the Pits to check out the cars up close and personal (even though I got very close in town also during the parade).

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It was nice to finally see the new Mercedes-AMG SLS GT3’s which cheated during qualifying grabbing spots one to six… they were penalized and started from the back with a five minute penalty… the nice thing many of them still finished in the top ten at the end of the 24 hours.

spa 24h spa-francorchamps 5

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I love this place… can’t wait to return to Spa-Francorchamps!

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Mazda MX-5: Liège Foodie Tour in a Miata, Cruising the Belgian Countryside

My most epic Mazda MX-5 Miata Road Trip took place this July in conjunction with my Motorsport Euro Trip to volunteer a few races in Western Europe. Third stop was in Belgium but since no one was interested to meet up in Brussels I went to Liège, Wallonia.

European MX-5 Miata Road Trip Overview:

f-netherlandsPost Card from the Dutch MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-netherlandsAmsterdam to IJmuiden Miata Road Trip

f-germanyPost Card from the German MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-germanyCologne to Dusseldorf Miata Road Trip

f-germanyNordschleife, Nurburgring Miata Road Trip 

f-belgiumPost Card from the Belgian MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-belgiumLiege MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-francePost Card from the French MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-franceParis by Night Miata Road Trip

 

Belgium is currently my favorite place in Europe. I love coming back to Brussels for the awesome sightseeing, the delicious food and of course amazing racing at Spa-Francorchamps. But Belgium is tricky. The country is divided between the Flemish and French speaking people with Flanders to the north bordering the Netherlands and the French speaking Wallonia to the south. Brussels is a French speaking city in the middle of Flanders. Perhaps none of the very active Flanders and Limburg MX-5 owners didn’t want to come to Brussels because they don’t like French things… I don’t know. But when I saw that Brussels was a bust, I booked a side trip to Liege (which is much closer to Spa-Francorchamps) specifically to meet up with a fellow MX-5 owner Philippe (Phil as he prefers to be called).

Phil lives outside of Liege but he came out to meet with me and we quickly left the city to explore the countryside. It was as much a foodie tour as a sightseeing tour of the villages in Wallonia. First stop was an awesome pastry place. Next visit after that was to the smallest town in the world, which was very scenic.

And finally we had dinner in Liege proper after a little walk around the downtown area. It was pretty awesome seeing other MX-5’s either driving by or being parked in the streets. It was fantastic!

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 1

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 2

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belgian mx5 miata 2

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belgian mx5 miata 12

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 12

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belgian mx5 miata 14

Oh look… something we don’t have in the US… a cool Alfa-Romeo!

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 11

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 10

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belgian mx5 miata 16

And we’re back in Liege:

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 13

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The funny thing about our dinner, all the places recommended to Phil were closed, so we ended up walking around looking for proper Belgian food… proper Liege food. And we found it by stumbling upon a restaurant with a Miata parked right outside of it…

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 16

Liege is best known for it’s waffles… not sure what bacon has to do with waffles, but this restaurant’s logo looked way cool!

And we found a place to have dinner:

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 17

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belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 19

The food was absolutely amazing… the Liege style meat balls.

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 20

Post Card from the Belgian Miata Road Trip MX-5 Touring Liège Region

Greetings from Liège, Belgium one of my favorite places to visit in Europe… was very lucky to meet a local MX5er that showed me around the beautiful countryside… some pix:

belgian mx5 miata 1

belgian mx5 miata 2

belgian mx5 miata 3

belgian mx5 miata 4

belgian mx5 miata 5

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Merci Phil for the awesome tour, see you next time!

Oh, and thank you for the foodie tour, where we spotted a few more MX5 Miatas of Belgium.

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belgian mx5 miata 20

Mazda MX-5: Euro Trip Invitation to hang out with Miata Owners in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France

Hey European MX-5 Miata owners, let’s meet up for a cup of coffee!

I don’t even drink coffee, but I’m happy to buy a cup for any local MX-5 Miata owners that come out and meet me on my next trip to Europe where I’ll be marshaling DTM at Zandvoort, WEC 6 hour at the N-ring and Spa 24 hour in Belgium.

mx5 miata road trip european union dutch german belgian french euro trip

I will be visiting Amsterdam on my way to Zandvoort and it would be amazing if some Dutch MX-5 owners came out to say hello. I know there’s a ton of them out there, and I’ll be posting this invite on the MX5-Club.NL facebook group. It might actually be pretty reasonable to organize a small event near Amsterdam as it is convenient for folks to come out to town and for me to use public transport to meet them.

The next step in Germany may be a little more difficult. I failed miserably to meet up with MX-5 owners on my last two trips to Nurburgring even though I saw a ton of Miatas driving around. But I won’t stop trying to organize something. So if anyone lives near Adenau or plans to visit WEC 6h race on the Grand Prix circuit, let me upgrade the cup of coffee to a stein of beer to entice you! I will post this invite on MX-5 miata eunos Roadster community page.

I’ve also failed to organize something on my last few trips to Brussels when marshaling in Belgium, but I know there is an MX-5 community there and I want to meet up with them! So whomever is available in Brussels, Liege or even Spa please get in touch. If coffee isn’t your think I’ll be happy to spring for Kriek or another beer variety. I will be posting this invite on the Ma Miata MX5 Belgium Liège facebook community page and Miata MX-5 Roadster Club Automobiles and Parts  page.

european mx5 miata road trip netherlands germany belgium france euro trip

And finally I’ll be flying home via Paris, France which would be great opportunity to meet up with another MX-5 community in Europe. Of course I don’t speak the language for any one of the places I’m visiting, no dutch, flemish, french or german, but that hasn’t stopped me from organizing these things before in Asia or the Pacific. I will be posting this invite on the Club MX5 France page.

I am really excited about this opportunity and am hoping people will respond to my invites.


My schedule in Europe is as follows: (UPDATED July 8, 2016)

f-netherlands July 13 & 14: staying in Amsterdam

f-netherlands July 15 to 17: marshaling at Zandvoort for DTM

f-netherlands July 18 to 19:staying in Amsterdam

f-germany July 20 to 21: staying in Cologne

f-germany July 21 to 24: marshaling at Nurburgring for WEC

f-belgium July 25 to 27: staying in Brussels

f-belgium July 27 to 31: marshaling at Spa-Francorchamps for Spa 24h

f-belgium August 1: staying in Brussels

f-france August 2: staying in Paris, meet-up at Auto Passion Cafe


So, are you available to hang out on any of these days? Please get in touch! My goal is to meet up and take some MX-5/Miata pictures for this blog. I’ve done similar meet-ups in Asia and the Pacific so feel free to look around this web site for an idea of why I want to meet.

I hope people do in fact come out! Please get in touch via facebook.

mazda european mx-5 cup of coffee invitation amsterdam brussels liege nurburg paris

PS. I’ll be traveling on a super tight budget using public transport and CouchSurfing along the way… which means I won’t be terribly mobile, but if there are MX-5 owners out of major cities which are easy to get to, I’ll be sure to research ways of getting there for this.

Please use #GlobalMX5CupOfCoffee & #EuropeanMX5CupOfCoffee hashtags to promote these meet ups on social media! Feel free to share this invite with everyone! Some more links to local MX-5 clubs:

http://www.mx5-club.nl/

http://www.mx-5.de/

http://www.mx-5.be/

https://www.mx5france.com/

http://mx5-club-koeln.de/

Planning my Biggest Euro Trip Yet this Summer: July 2016, Stay Tuned…

I am never going to find a real job… just when I thought I would focus on settling down and searching some meaningful employment on the Gulf Coast of Florida I went ahead and booked my flights back to Europe.

While this is still the very early stages of my planning process I know exactly what I would like to do.

The goal is to marshal the following events:

f-netherlands DTM at Zandvoort, the Netherlands

f-germany WEC 6 hours of Nurburgring, Germany

f-belgium Spa 24h at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

 

The Netherlands/Holland would be my 15th country to volunteer in.

Besides the races I’m really looking forward to exploring Amsterdam which I’ve visited a few times but only for a few hours each time. And another trip to Adenau is in order to have a nice schnitzel at Giulia’s. Belgium is my favorite country in Europe at this time and another trip to Brussels is something I can’t wait to do.

While I failed in the past, I’m really hoping that some MX-5 get togethers in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium will materialize this time around. There are a ton of Dutch MX-5 owners, juts as there are a ton of German Miata owners, and I’m sure we can scrape a few in Belgium too.

So for anyone reading this that are interested, please get in touch, we have a few months to organize a meet up!

Stay tuned for more…

miata car wash adenau

Fiat 124 Spider: Fiata Miata for 2017 I’m Guessing I’ll be Able to Rent one in Europe Soon?

Jalopnik has published photos of the 2017 production version of the Fiat 124 Spider based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata Roadster, or as everyone is calling it on the forums: Fiata Miata. And the production version looks completely different from what all the speculative renderings were. It’s dramatically different from the 2016 Mazda Miata that it is based on. And at this point I’m not sure if I like it or not. Initial impressions of the Fiata Spider is that it looks more like the NB version of the Miata while the car it’s based on pays more homage to the NA model. The obvious differences between the Fiata and the Miata based on the pictures seem to be a longer nose on the Fiat, and a more square trunk, which will probably have more storage capacity, even if ever so slightly. The interiors look identical. Check out this Jalopnik article for more pictures of the Fiat 124:  jalopnik.com/2017-fiat-124-spider-this-is-it-all-official-and-stuf

2016 mazda mx-5 miata fiata fiat 124
photo credit: Mazda
mazda roadster mx-5 miata
photo credit: Mazda
fiat 124 spider fiata miata mx-5 mazda
photo credit: Fiat
2017 fiat 124 fiata miata mx-5 mazda
photo credit: Fiat

Since I am not at all likely to get rid of my NC Miata any time soon, the only likelihood of me driving a Fiata Miata is if I rent one, most likely in Europe as I doubt they’ll be very representative of the American rental car fleets… I certainly have not been able to find any Mazda MX-5 ND rental cars around in my recent travels.

I am looking forward to test driving one just to compare how it feels to my car.

PS. Hopefully the promised Abarth version looks even more aggressive ( I think I secretly wanted the Fiat 124 Spider to look more like the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider than a vintage Fiat or NB Miata for that matter ).