I think it’s time to pump the brakes on this hobby a little. Since I started to obsess over this idea a month ago I think I’m about $200 bux all in already, because I keep sweeping my local supermarkets of the models I want. And it’s a good time for a reality check.
The good news is that historically Hot Wheels do go on sale closer to the holiday season. They are a great stocking stuffer, and a good gift to give. But by that time the selection will dwindle in stores or there will just be random models I have little or no interes in.
Over the past month I have hoarded about 75 Miatas! There’s 5 different kinds. The two 2016 red Miatas I ordered on eBay at $5 each. Since I posted about trying to find a white Mad Mike MIATA I’ve added 40 of them to a shoebox I keep them in. I bought 16 of them today alone. Probably should take a breather on that one. I used to get so angry at assholes that snatched up all the red Miatas so that all i could do is pay five fold for it on ebay. Now I’m the asshole for doing the same thing in the 20 mile radius around my home, from all the supermarkets in sight. Not all were $1 either. I notice stores do a 29% to 49% markup from week to week. Only Wal-Mart is consistently charging 94 cents for both Hot Wheels and Matchbox which brings the total to roughly a dollar with tax. Im glad i also found a few more of the baby blue Eibach spring model, I had the least of that one.
I have been unsuccessful finding a Mazda 787B or Porsche 962 from the Real Riderz Car Culture Circuit Legends line. Visited several Walmarts twice this week alone, no luck just wasted fuel.
But I did pick up a bunch of the Euro Speed cars including another Audi R8 LMS, BMW M1 Procar, Mercedes Benz 190E and an Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA. Ordered them in one shot from Wal-Mart and they arrived in one day to the store. Wish ordering a Mazda 787B was that easy. I have a feeling there may be a recall on them since people that bought the preorder in September complained on Reddit of a deformed rear wing, which on a $6 dollar 1/64 scale premium model is kind if insulting. I’ll be on the lookout. Still. While the rest is on pause.
I did get a ton of cars I really wanted, like the blue Ford GT or the #33 Lamborghini Super Trofeo. I even got the full Fiat 500 line up, including a short card version from a local mom and pop store called Ton of Toys. Got my first 2019 Hot Wheels Mercedes Benz Unimog at Wal-Mart too. And a few Lamborghini Miura specials at Kmart whom now charges $1.09 for 2018 models and $1.29 for 2019 and 50th anniversary cars like the Ford Escort RS 1600.
And that’s what $200 bux in little toys looks like, money I’ll never see again 😉 but I have to say I do enjoy looking at them with admiration, a lot of the cars bring back fond memories from my racing days.
The 2017 Racing season is in full effect now and it looks like it will be a pretty busy one for me… but with the whole NYC Formula E recruitment woes and the anticipated rejections for Macau GP I’ve been reminiscing about a post I made at the end of 2014 called the “Wish List” and all the events I would love to work… So in this post I’d like to take a look back and totally Trump-style pat myself on the back for all my accomplishments and failures.
Spa 24h at Spa-Francorchamps… Big mission accomplished with this event… for two years in a row actually! The track and the race are some of my favorite events ever… in the world. Period!
Malaysian Merdeka… or perhaps the renamed Sepang 12h race at SIC: Sepang International Circuit. Mission accomplished on that one… almost by chance, because I worked two events in the Middle East but it was too expensive to stay there, so I flew to Southeast Asia to work an awesome 12h race… and then I came back to do it again in 2015 while on a trip to Bangkok for a wedding, which was amazing… highly recommend that event. Especially since it’s affiliated with Blancpain Series and SRO as part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
Oak Tree Grand Prix is a massive accomplishment which was totally unexpected… Why? Because on the previous Wish List post I suggested this was a “no thanks!” event since they don’t want volunteers for their paid events. Well, an opportunity came up last year not to flag, but to work as pit fire. I jumped on it and had a time of my life. I loved it so much I returned this year for the PWC race to work with VIR fire rescue and this time I was the “hooker” riding around on a truck and hooking crashed cars to the tow truck. It was soooooo amazing! Would highly recommend this.
DTM! My plan was to work Deutsche Touring Cars in Deutschland… but I got the next best thing working DTM at the Zandvoort Circuit in the Netherlands super close to the beach and just an hour outside of Amsterdam which turned out to be an amazing opportunity and event overall. Mission accomplished for the series, but also added 15th country to my list of places to volunteer. Still would love to do another German track besides the Nurburgring, or better yet schedule two consecutive events involving the Nordschleife and something else. Will see…
Dubai 24h race in the UAE…. I signed up and then didn’t go. And that’s a horrible, horrible thing to do! I hate when people cancel on events they register for. But I did, and it was bad. But I’d like to fix this in the future and participate in the awesome Dubai 24 hour event in the future, perhaps?
Pokka 1000 didn’t happen for me. I even enlisted help of a famous Ukrainian race car driver who was huge in Japan, Igor Sushko… whom put me in touch with the head of marshals at the Suzuka Circuit and I was rejected. Maybe expected. Maybe not. I heard people talking about working there who weren’t Japanese, but to me it was suggested that the track requirements forbid it. Sad! Igor suggested bigger events than Japanese Super GT… for example Formula 1 or MotoGP would be easier to sign up for. But I truly really want to work a Super GT race in it’s current format.
So my 2017 Updated Wish List of places to marshal in the future is:
I want to do this event soooo bad! The Macau Grand Prix is still #1 on my list… Will it ever happen? Maybe…
So this is an interesting one… I wanted to work Super GT at Buriram or wherever it was run in Thailand but that seemed like a one time deal. Now the Asian Le Mans series runs in Thailand and even though the country is super welcoming to tourists it is not necessarily as friendly towards “workers” or “volunteers” for Motorsport. Despite my numerous trips there, I have failed to establish a Marshaling connection to volunteer in this country, and I would really really like to!
MotoGP at Losail International Circuit is really growing on me. But I haven’t made it happen yet. I must do it one day!
DTM at the Red Bull Ring. I established a contact there and was told they would welcome foreign marshals. But it hasn’t happened yet. One day though… it’s a must!
Supercars on the streets of Gold Coast. My last wish list included V8’s around Mount Panorama, the Bathurst 1000 but I think the same cars on the streets of Gold Coast would be a million times better for another visit back to the land down under.
Would be Nice:
Brasil and South America sort of dropped a peg from my previous Wish List. Why? Not quite sure but I certainly wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to work there except I still refuse to pay the outrageous reciprocal fee they charge to get a visa for most of the Latin American countries. So Sao Paolo is on ice. But maybe one day?
Much like Latin America not much is really happening in South Africa. I really really really want to go there. I think it would be a fantastic opportunity but nothing has jumped out at me to sign up and go just yet. It’s on the list, but it’s more of a long term plan than something that will happen imminently.
WTCC goes to Marrakech, Morocco. I’ve been to Marrakech before and it was an amazing experience. Flew there on Ryanair and almost didn’t leave because the Spanish Air Traffic Controllers went on strike potentially leaving us stranded in North Africa. It was a great experience and cars racing on the streets of the beautiful city would be quite a site to see. So if South Africa doesn’t happen to me in the near future, maybe Morocco could be more doable? Who knows… but I wouldn’t mind.
Screw Quebec… Always giving me shit at the border to go to Montreal for F1 and all that jazz at the track about taking pictures, but I would really love to check out two tracks one of them in QC… Trois-Rivières! The other Calabogie, in nearby Ontario. The first track is Northeast from Montreal and holds some cool events I wouldn’t mind marshaling. The other is several hours north of Canadian Tire Motorsports Park which I love to visit and it too holds interesting events. I would love to add them to my list!
Meh! Sure, why not?
Something in Mexico City… Formula 1 or WEC? I thought Mexico would be easy to marshal. It hasn’t been. The people I reached out to in order to sign up for Formula 1 event when it came back to Mexico didn’t help me one bit which really sucked because they sure talked a lot of shit when we worked together in Canada or Long Beach… but perhaps it would happen in the future. I would love to add Mexico to the list of countries I marshaled.
Baku F1 was going to be one of those super practical events because American Airlines treat Azerbaijan as Europe (so does F1 calling it GP of Europe) which means award flights only use a ridiculously low amount of points, half in fact what they charge for Bahrain which is really nearby. But I never got invited here, even though there seems to be a ton of traffic coming to my blog from that area and since there’s such a close relationship with Bahraini marshals. Surprised it didn’t happen yet, but maybe it will in the future?
Despite working with a whole ton of Czech marshals from Le Mans to Spa-Francorchamps I have never heard… “hey, come join us at Brno!” Weird how that happens. But their track looks fantastic, Moto events there seem amazing. Maybe one day?
The problem with Sentul International Circuit in Indonesia is that nothing seems to happen there. I almost booked a flight once to correspond to the Asian Le Mans Series round at Sentul hoping I could volunteer there but the round got moved to Sepang in Malaysia instead. I would love to add Sentul to my list. I’ve been to Indonesia a bunch of times, Bali, Jakarta, Batam (by boat from Singapore)… and it’s a beautiful country. It would be so cool to work an event there. Maybe MotoGP would come back? I know it would be super appropriate there, everyone uses Motorcycles and Scooters.
What else? Am I missing places I should add to my Wish List? Some I have consciously bumped off like Monaco, because why bother? But I’m sure there’s something I’m overlooking. Like Isle of Man… or?
Day 2 in Bangkok started bright and early. No time for jet lag. Quick run down Sukhumvit Soi 11 for a delicious bowl of soup and a visit to Bai Po massage parlor for an hour long Thai massage to get ready for the Road Trip to the North of Thailand near the Laos border. Don’t think I’ve ever been folded in half and stretched out like I did this time around. Even with the touristy mark-up, at under $10 USD, this was a steal of a deal and I felt like a brand new person after a rather strong Thai massage before Tanet came to pick me up.
We hit the expressway heading North to a gas station just north of Don Mueang Airport where I’d be flying to Singapore from just a few days later. Lucky for me Tanet explained that despite my naively believing there was a direct train connection from the city, getting to the airport would be slightly more complicated, which prepared me to research a shuttle bus for my departure. And then we arrived. A smile came to my face when I saw an A&W root beer restaurant, a sight which I’ve seen a number of times in Southeast Asia but have never actually seen in all my travels in the US. And as we sat drinking root beer more and more cars started trickling into the parking lot.
Once again I was very pleasantly surprised at the volume of cars that showed up! The turnout was pretty incredible and this was just the first stop on our five hour journey. Cars continued to join the trip as we went along, and even more cars joined later that night when I broke off from the group taking an overnight bus back to Bangkok.
The drive up was exhilarating. Obviously this club has done this before, and quite frequently. Everyone had walkies talkies and the group stayed in contact throughout the drive.
It was only a month since their last big Road Trip down south to Krabi & Surat Thani where the owners from Singapore and Malaysia joined the Thai group on the drive. It was a Tri-5 Road Trip I was hoping to recreate by visiting each country separately, but I could imagine how cool it must be when they all get together.
We started out with the top down enjoying some beautiful sunny weather until of course the clouds rolled in and the mist turned to rain and then heavy rain along the way. Some NA’s and NB’s complained of taking on water. Even Tanet’s car dripped a few drops onto my foot from what I’d assume to be seeping water thru the dash board. But the road trip went on and was quite exciting!
We’d pull into another gas station for a pee break. People would put their tops down and as we get back on the main road watching the clouds get darker everyone would put their tops back up.
About half way along the way a Ranger passed us from what I’d assume to be Buriram Circuit… a place that currently hosts SuperGT among other cool races in Asia. A circuit which I would really love to participate in as a marshal one day (in case anyone has contacts?)!
A few more hour drive in the dark, and another pit stop. We had reached our dinner spot pretty late around 8pm and you could tell people were hungry because there was plenty of complaining via the walkie talkies. The food was absolutely delicious! It was traditional to the region of Northern Thailand / Laos, spicy, fresh, and good!
Tanet was kind enough to let me drive his ’08 NC GT PRHT for the last hour of our journey and boy was that neat! His car is lowered and has some engine mods which were really noticeable to me as I kept on comparing it to my car and how much better his is. It was great!
We had such an incredible time together, the whole group came to send me off at the bus station in town, and went on about their way to their overnight stay destination at a hotel to the north of Phetchabun. The bus ride to Bangkok was fairly quick four hours, getting me to the Mo Chit Terminal around 3:30am and I was back in my hotel by 4am… too excited to go to sleep yet! So I went and got some street food on a very active and lively night in Bangkok.
The first stop on my International Miata Road Trip in Southeast Asia was a meeting with the Thailand Miata Club owners in Bangkok.
I had just arrived the night before and couldn’t wait for the opportunity to meet a few people over lunch. Tanet, my Thai Miata Club contact was kind enough to fetch me from my hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 11, which was just a few blocks from our meeting point. It was really neat to see a bright red Miata among all the tuk-tuk’s and mopeds on the busy streets of Bangkok CBD.
After fighting thru traffic on our way to the meeting point, we had a pleasant chat with Tanet about our cars, the Miata community in general and the Road Trip the Miata Club of Thailand was departing on the next day. He invited me to come along… and I was trying to think hard how to make it happen without interfering with the wedding I was attending that weekend… and then we arrived to a whole crowd of Miata’s far more than I had ever expected to see on a weekday during work hours!
To say I was surprised to see so many cars show up to meet with me would be an understatement. I was thrilled and humbled for sure. But before I let it go to my head I quickly jumped out of the car and started taking a gazillion photos of all the colorful MX-5’s. Naturally I gravitated towards the NC’s of which there were many. I was really happy to see the Aston-Martin body kit car in attendance. After seeing pictures of one online I wanted to see it in person, and there it was! There was also the very first ND Miata in the Thai club still wearing the red temporary tags they provide in Thailand. It’s my understanding it was a JDM import with a 1.5L and not the standard 2.0L car dedicated for the Thai market. Nice to see one in flesh! Also nice to see so many modified NA’s and NB’s… it was a sensory overload!
We were whisked away to our lunch venue where the guys refused to take money for my share of the bill, a theme I had found out would repeat itself throughout my Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia visits. A tradition to treat a visitor which I hope I’ll have an opportunity to repay once some of these wonderful owners I’ve met will come to visit NYC. And then we were back to the cars to stage a photo shoot with the new ND Roadster.
And so as we were leaving the venue I decided to commit to the Road Trip the following day… the plan was to drive to the Laos border with the group, a trip that would take about 5 hours making a bunch of stops along the way. Have dinner at the destination, and then hop on an overnight bus back to Bangkok…
In just the first year of ownership of my Miata, I had taken it on a number of Road Trips around the Northeast, including a few trips Upstate New York, several to New England and a few smaller trips down the Jersey Shore. Now, I have embarked on my biggest Road Trip yet to Southeast Asia. Of course I didn’t bring my car along with me but it was a proper Miata Road Trip to be sure.
I had an opportunity to visit MX-5 Miata / Roadster owners in 3 countries: Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Besides meeting people and sharing delicious local foodie experiences with them I also had a chance to ride along and drive some cars around Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and have returned from the trip with a phone full of pictures and videos from an adventure of a lifetime.
I would like to share these experiences in a few posts which I will outline below:
There’s no way I could possibly share all 500+ photos from this amazing adventure so I would encourage the interested readers to look up my Mazda MX-5 Miata Road Trip facebook page and see many more photos shared on there for your Liking.
This would probably be a good place to give a little background about the trip and how it all came together. So to start, I needed an excuse to go to region in the first place. And I was lucky enough to be invited to a friend’s wedding in Bangkok. I was even luckier when I discovered that Sepang International Circuit was hosting an event a week after the wedding, and not just any event, one of my favorite events at present, the Sepang 12 hours endurance race featuring amazing GT3, GTC and GT4 machinery from around the world.
Once I had the trip planned I explored the Miata angle. I had attempted to organize something for my previous two trips to Europe this year visiting Germany for the Nurburgring 24h race in May and Belgium for the Spa 24h in July but nothing really materialized so I was optimistically cautious about managing my expectations for Southeast Asia… I was however very pleasantly surprised and humbled by the amount of MX-5 owners that actually came out to meet me and how friendly they all were.
I relied on a variety of facebook groups to get the meet-ups set up and more or less organized. I was very lucky to find so many active groups including the Miata Club of Thailand, Miata Club Singapore, MX-5 Malaysia Community and Miata & MX-5 SEA (Southeast Asia) Region page. In each community I also tried to seek one contact person to rely on for communication once I was on the ground. On this trip I didn’t bother getting local SIM cards in each country so I completely relied on WiFi where I could find it, and having a local contact really helped to keep things running smoothly. I will write more about my contacts in each individual post later on, but suffice to say I am extremely grateful to each and every one of them for the warm hospitality they had offered me, the experiences they had treated me to, and the amazing friendship they extended to a stranger with a similar interest (MX-5!).
Looking back at my cheesy posts and even more cheesy photos, like the one below, I’m amazed people took me seriously enough to meet with, especially in such big numbers. It was totally unexpected.
But I’m so glad they did because I’m sure the friendships made on this trip will last. And while I have been to Southeast Asia many times before and was even lucky enough to live there on a short working holiday stint, this was a completely new experience for me, and one I was very much surprised by. It was meant to be a trip for a wedding and a race to marshal and instead the Miata aspect completely took over as a theme throughout the journey.
I would highly recommend this experience to any Miata owners or even Car Enthusiasts in general (wherever you live in the world) to try on your travels. You would get an adrenaline rush like no other!
Special Thanks to:
Tanet, my Thailand fixer and a lucky owner of several generations of MX-5’s including this beautiful 2008 NC GT PRHT that I got to ride in on a five hour Road Trip to the northern border with Laos (including 1 hour behind the wheel). An amazingly friendly and generous fellow to whom I’m incredibly thankful!
Woon, my Singapore fixer and the only owner I got to meet while briefly visiting the tiny island state in a middle of a busy workweek. Woon met me on his lunch break and was kind enough to show me his car (2008 NC GT) including the amazing interior with an Audio system I’d like to install in my car. He was also kind enough to take me for a short drive which was awesome. So thankful for the opportunity!
David and Martin, my fixers in Malaysia. While David was kind enough to drive me around in his beautiful 2008 NC GT PRHT, on our way to dinner and an amazing photo shoot by the Petronas Twin Towers. Martin kept me abreast of all the plans being made while I was busy running around Thailand and Singapore, sadly I didn’t actually get an opportunity to meet Martin or his car which was recently converted from Automatic to Manual transmission and painted a beautiful Brown color not typically found on a Miata. I’m really thankful to David for spending the time with me and being an awesome host and to Martin for helping with the planning.
And finally Wei-Ming and Stephanie, a “Miata couple” that met because of the car, they each own an NA Miata (I’m so jealous!). Wei-Ming and I almost met-up in Singapore but unfortunately I ran out of time and had to rush to the airport. But he and Stephanie were kind enough to meet me in KL after the races before I rushed back to the airport again to fly home. What an amazing opportunity! I’m grateful to them for the meeting, the delicious dinner they treated me to and some cool SG MX-5 stickers I will proudly display on my car.
I’ve been blogging quite frequently about the trips I’ve taken in my NC Miata, mainly to get to a race track Upstate New York or up to New England. But that hobby is about to take me internationally, with a trip to Southeast Asia booked in early December 2015 and another to the Pacific in February 2016. I’m making it a priority to meet up with any and all MX-5 owners I can on the road. Hence the MX-5 International Road Trip.
I’m hoping that the facebook page would allow me to make new connections as well as to share some pictures from my meetups without mixing the content with my Motorsport hobby that I also blog about frequently: Marshal Cam (#MarshalCam) as well as the Foodie Tours that I enjoy very much and also blog about separately. I have a feeling people visit this site for each of the things that interest them most and perhaps not all of them want the Marshaling, Foodie Tours and Miata stuff mixed.
For the International trips, except of course for my future drive up to Canada, I won’t be taking my car. So my goal is to meet other owners and take as many pictures and videos of their cars as they would let me. I am also planning on perhaps renting a few MX-5’s and sharing those experiences in the blog and on the facebook page as well. I think it would be pretty awesome to read and based on a few searches I did thus far, there’s nothing like it out there (except one kiwi page from a few years ago that promoted MX5 Roadtrip’s – it was hard to find perhaps because of “roadtrip” used as one word).
With several trips coming up in the near future, I’m curious to learn where is it possible to rent the new Mazda MX-5 Miata for a few days of driving?
It might sound like such a simple idea but save for a few “MX-5 rental” exclusive places like those in New Zealand or the UK, I haven’t really come across many major rental car chains advertising the new ND Miata in their fleets. I’ve read about the possibility of renting a track spec Miata for the big Mazda MX-5 get together at Laguna Seca in California, which is neat. I’ve also seen plenty of other track rental Miatas like those pictures I posted from Flatout Racing at Thompson Speedway, but nothing from Hertz or Avis, Budget, National, Europecar, Sixt, etc.
I would really be interested in considering a Miata rental while, say in the Cook Islands. One of the TripAdvisor reviews mentioned a tourist talking about their green MX-5 convertible hire in Rarotonga. How cool would that be. How expensive would it be? The rates posted on the Kiwi MX-5 Hire Car web site on the North Island of New Zealand were in the $50+/day which is crazy expensive. On the other side of the spectrum, South Florida is where I regularly rent cars for $10-$20/day and while searching for my own Miata have come across a number of cars on eBay with “Fleet” designation on their car history report. But when it comes to rental car companies, I can’t say I’ve seen any MX-5’s as rentals in a sea of Chevy Camaro’s, Ford Mustang’s and of course the Ferrari and Lamborghini exotics that you can easily find on every corner of South Beach. Who’s got the Miata’s?
My trip to Southeast Asia in December just got a whole lot more interesting. In the past I’ve always gone to the region for the racing – have marshaled in both Singapore and Malaysia many times. I’ve always loved going there for the amazing food. The beautiful landscapes, the beaches, the architecture, etc. But this trip will take on another dimension: Mazda Miata’s!
I’ve made contact with a few clubs in the region and the response has been amazing. I’m so looking forward to this trip!
For anyone interested in checking out the local Car Culture or the Car Scene, or the Miata Community check out the following clubs:
My goal on this trip is: to meet up with as many local MX-5 owners as possible. It will be pretty exciting because the cars are RHD (right hand drive) and while very similar to mine, are quite different. (Except of course for the Shanghai MX-5’s which should be identical). Besides the obvious difference of where the steering wheel is located, I’m sure to see quite a lot of modifications people do to their cars in Asia. One of the more intriguing things I’ve seen on the forums above so far is the Aston Martin Miata look:
Obviously quite popular in both Thailand and Singapore
Besides the modded cars there’s also special sights to check out, like the Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram or Bira International Circuit in Pattaya, Thailand:
I’m not sure if time will permit to actually visit any of the circuits besides Sepang International Circuit where I’ll be volunteering for Sepang 12h but it would be nice if something like that materialized.
My schedule will be as follows:
Bangkok, Thailand: Wed, Dec 2 to Sun, Dec 6
Singapore: Mon, Dec 7 to Tue, Dec 8
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Tue, Dec 8 to Sun, Dec 13
Shanghai, China: Mon, Dec 14
While in Bangkok I’ll be free most of the time except for Sat, Dec 5 when I’ll attend a wedding. I should be flying out to Singapore at like 2am Monday morning which will give me almost two full days there. I’ll arrive Kuala Lumpur Subang airport around 6pm on Tue, Dec 8 and stay in the city until Thur, Dec 10 at which point I’ll probably make my way to the Sepang International Circuit for the weekend of racing. And then leave straight from the track to the airport for my 2am flight to Shanghai Monday morning. While the other cities in Southeast Asia I have visited many times and know my way to get around, Shanghai will be my very first visit. I will also only have about an 8 hour layover which realistically means I’ll have a whole of 4 or 5 hours free to roam the city. Pretty busy schedule if things go as planned!
Stay tuned for updates about this trip… and if you are reading this from any of the destinations on my trip and want to meet up, please get in touch via facebook, twitter or by replying to this post.
Just a few days ago I was day dreaming how nice it would be to go back to Southeast Asia after almost two years of being away, and I found a perfect excuse to commit to it: my FlyerTalker friend Brian is marrying a beautiful Thai girl in Bangkok a week before Sepang 12h.
This is going to be such an amazing journey I can’t find words.
This is also the first time I’ve paid for a flight to Southeast Asia, all of my previous trips, and there were plenty of them, were booked using frequent flyer miles. But with two Euro Trips this year and a trip to the Pacific next year I’ve blown through my frequent flyer / loyalty program budgets, on most airlines.
Luckily “The Flight Deal” facebook group alerted me to a reasonable deal on United Airlines to fly between Newark, NJ and Bangkok for just $684 bux. I figured getting from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur shouldn’t be too pricey but just for giggles I checked open jaw flights arriving Bangkok on this deal and leaving from KL, the price was only $27 bux difference which is less than what a low-cost airline would charge on that route, so I booked directly with United EWR-NRT-BKK and KUL-NRT-EWR for the trip back. The stop over in Tokyo introduces a new airline and a new aircraft I haven’t flown before: ANA Airlines and the Beoing 787 Dreamliner. Very cool!
UPDATE (8/16): by the time I got home from work other (cheaper) options opened up. So I cancelled my booking, since it was within the 24 hour period that a customer is able to change his/her mind, and re-booked my flight to go ANA from JFK-NRT-BKK and then Shanghai Air from KUL-PVG my first visit to Shanghai. I will have a 9 hour layover there and fly United back to Newark PVG-EWR. All in all pretty happy with the ability to visit three of Asia’s most amazing cities: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai for $707! Of course I’ll be sure to add Singapore to the mix with one of the low-cost carriers.
Now I’m left to determine what to do in Bangkok for about four days before the wedding, find my way down to Kuala Lumpur the week after, and squeeze a side trip into Singapore for a day or two. Easy!
I’m amazed with all the low-cost airline options that are now available on the route from BKK to KUL/SIN. Air Asia and Thai Air Asia fly it. Jetstar Asia, Tigerair, and Scoot from Singapore fly it. Indonesian airline Lion Air (probably operating as Malindo Air) and Thai Lion Air fly it. And the prices are reasonable from Don Mueng Airport DMK which is a new airport for me, I’ve never used it when in Bangkok. On the legacy front there’s Bangkok Air which is an option. But most interestingly Malaysian Airlines have decent flights for cheap because of their battered reputation, I just may give them a go.
So I’m just thrilled with this development, even though I have no idea how I’m going to fork out all this money especially with flights to Texas for WEC and Georgia for Petit Le Mans area already booked, as well as the Dubai 24h trip planned, and the Pacific trip booked and paid for. I’ll have to work extra hard this summer just to stay afloat.
I’ve also posted on the Miata.net forums if any of the local MX-5 owners in Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore would like to meet up. I’d be so interested in checking out and possibly test driving a right hand drive Miata.
Stay tuned for more updates on this and other trips!
Oh you’ve never heard of a log book? Well, marshals around the world record their event participation in a little book which they bring to the track to get signed each weekend by their flag chief or post chief, to validate that they indeed volunteered the event.
You may have tinkered with the idea on the SCCA web site if you volunteer in the US and are a member of the club. Because you get a worker incentive for participating in club events. Work 12 cumulative days and get $45 discount on your membership renewal. Work 8 days get $30 bucks credit, etc. But what about those pro events you worked? Nobody cares right? Wrong!
Registering for events thru DLBracing.com or Motorsportreg.com keeps track (a historic record) of events you signed up to work through those web sites. But again there’s no One/central database of all the events you volunteered: pro, club, international, etc.
It’s time to create a new Digital Marshal Log Book… I’ve been a long time user of several flight tracking databases like ba97 and OpenFlights for years, and there’s no reason such a simple solution can’t be used to quickly and conveniently keep track of all my Motorsport volunteering. Of course automating this process is a little beyond my programming skills so I’ll definitely need some help from the readers of this blog. But I have put together some samples manually, and the results are stunning!
So the simple list view of my Motorsport volunteering is:
But here’s the cool part… the Analytics! You want to know the stats of Circuits by Days I spent at each event? I do:
Google Docs: click here. The pie chart is interactive. Go ahead and play with it! Interestingly 7.7% (18 days) of all of my days spend at the race track happened at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut and at Hampton Downs in New Zealand. 6.4% (15 days) at Circuit of the Americas, and 6% (14 days) at Watkins Glen International.
How about Circuits by Frequency of returning to that track:
Google Docs: click here. Looking at these stats 10.6% (9 times) of all the time I returned to a particular circuit, it just happened to be to Lime Rock Park – my home track in the US. 7.1% (6 times) to Hampton Downs my former home track in New Zealand and to Watkins Glen International in New York. 5.9% (5 times) to both Circuit of the Americas in Texas and Summit Point in West Virginia. Quite a different perspective considering most events at Lime Rock are 2 day events, while the rest of the world it’s typically 3 days because there is no racing in Connecticut on Sundays.
How about Country stats by Days worked? Let’s see:
Google Docs: click here. It turns out more than half of all the time (123 days out of 234 days total) I spent trackside, happened right here in America! (‘murica!) 15.2% (35 days) in New Zealand which is an amazing number considering I only spent less than half a year there and have been marshaling in the US for over three years now. And 7.4% (17 days) spent in Australia, which is cheeky because most of that came from the one month long trip I made down there in 2013 where I did something like six back to back events in a row.
How about Country by Frequency of participation:
Google Docs: click here. Number of times in the country correlates to the number of days on track. 56.5% (48 times) of all the events I’ve marshaled were in the US. 15.3% (13 times) in New Zealand. 7.1% (6 times) in Australia. 5.9% (5 times) in Canada. 3.5% (3 times) both in Malaysia and Singapore. Go ahead play with the interactive charts by following the Google Docs links, and see all the other stats.
I am working on integrating Circuits and participation onto Google Maps, but it’s a slightly more complicated process here are samples:
If you have any suggestions for creating fancy stats please share in the comments below and I’ll be happy to post them. More importantly if you’re really good at writing Google Docs Scripts I’d love to get some help in creating a usable Form and subsequent database that I will make available to all the marshals around the world. It’d be amazing to see people’s stats from Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia, France, the Netherlands, the rest of Europe, Asia, the Pacific and of course the Americas.