Tag Archives: BMW

MotoAmerica Championship of New Jersey Flagging Experience

It has been over eight months since my last Motorsport track visit. Finally! Something came along locally that I actually wanted to be a part of. MotoAmerica Championship of New Jersey at NJMP is always amazing and I’m super happy I was able to take part this weekend even though I’ll miss out on a full day of racing (Sunday) due to work.

Work has certainly put a damper on this hobby. By the time I finished Thursday night I only managed to get two hours of sleep before driving down south Friday morning for the ridiculously early 6:40am meeting at NJMP. Luckily it was good weather, sunny and only a small chance of weather that did not materialize, except for one instance of lightning that had us briefly evacuated causing a shortened practice session. I had a great night of rest at a local cheap motel… “cheap” when it comes to quality… not the price which they jacked from $56/night normally to almost double $96/+ tax because a pro race is in town. Thanks Quality Inn. But I can’t complain too much. NJMP pays for this event so my expenses will be covered. Saturday it was rain all day long. And to be honest I missed it. I missed the experience so much I thoroughly enjoyed the misery. Had to change my whites at lunch time because even with rain gear it was getting cold and uncomfortable. But all in all a fantastic weekend. Tons of action, lots of good fun. Now my feet are burning and I’m back to sitting on my ass all day at work tomorrow. Happy with the memories I made.

Blue must be the most suitable bike color…

My first and last local race in the books. Until next year!

Cars and Coffee at Tices Corner in Woodcliff Lake New Jersey April 2018

Good news, bad news… finally found a job which unfortunately has me working Sundays. Luckily it’s around the corner from this Sunday’s Cars and Coffee at Tices Corner in Woodcliff Lake… so I stopped by first thing in the morning to take some pix.

It took a few attempts to get the 2018 C&C season going with all the snow and salt on the roads deep into spring time. But it finally happened. And the takeaway for me from the first event of the season was all the colorful Lambos… and more specifically the Murcielagos.

That ugly gray mess of a pile behind one of the orange Murcies is dust covered snow… it was still freezing. I’m looking forward to more of these events once the weather gets nicer.

Rolex 24 hours at Daytona the debrief

Endurance racing is my favorite form of Motorsport. This year’s Rolex 24 had the potential to be very special because in the middle of last season one of my Canadian colleagues put me in touch with an IMSA official and a prospect of a real job (even if it was on a part-time basis) to work events that I really love as a race official. I had my fingers and toes crossed even as December rolled around but the job did not materialize… The 2018 season though seemed to be off to an exciting start with lots of “new” cars/teams/drivers joining the series, so I scrambled to book my flights and went as a volunteer instead.

For the race I got my pit lane assignment directly across from folks whose team I was hoping to join. But instead of doing something important with a real impact on the competition, I spent five days trackside spectating. It was excellent entertainment being so close until the race rolled around when it became pretty obvious that much of the previous year will repeat itself and Cadillacs will dominate. The excitement wore off.

The most interesting racing was in the GT Daytona field so I paid special attention to that battle. In prototypes the lead car was several laps ahead of second place at one point. And in GT Le Mans Fords ran away with pace Corvette couldn’t match, they too were several laps ahead. It was sad to watch the BMW M8’s be so uncompetitive. And the Porsche RSR team didn’t seem to have it’s kamikaze pilots from last year. Oh well!

At the end of the race records were broken, champions were crowned, and Rolex watches handed out as prizes. Who cares though? The predictability of the outcome made things boring. Hey, at least the weather was good!

Luckily, the 24h wasn’t the only race of the weekend. I feel like I got my money’s worth going on this trip from the two support series. The Ferrari Challenge folks put on a grand battle, and with 40+ cars on the grid it was awesome to see the series alive and well after seeing it’s sorry state in Connecticut last time I volunteered for it at Lime Rock.

Similarly Continental Tire Challenge rocked! I loved the battles there in all the classes. Nice to see TC R cars slide in so well into the grid, though a little sad not to see Miatas in ST class.

So in conclusion it was a good trip for a good clean race. A bit disapointing because of lack of excitement but I departed satisfied. And since I’m having trouble finding paid work, it’s likely this event will be one of my last times volunteering until I get the means to afford it again in the future. Too bad I wasn’t good enough to be hired by the series so I could continue doing what I really like to do, but such is life…

Cars & Coffee at Jack Daniels Porsche in Upper Saddle River, NJ Nov 2017

A cozy pre-Thanksgiving event at Jack Danieles Porsche dealer in Upper Saddle River, NJ While it was in the 50’s the weather felt much cooler with strong winds so maybe that’s why the turnout was fairly low around 10am… but there were amazing cars there.

Check them out:

My favorite car on display this weekend… a Rally 911

A flying Camel

Tried parking in the street so as not to take spots away from pretty supercars and other such automobiles… by the time I finished taking my pictures I was the only one left parked like a doofus in the middle of the street, lol

Great to see these events happening well into cold weather!

Another Post Card from the Grand Prix of Monterey and the California 8 hour at Laguna Seca

I wanted to share a few pix from the actual flag points during the PWC and SRO weekend at Laguna Seca… so here it goes.

My goal was to work in pit lane for this event. I was introduced to someone who chiefs that specialty and that person never replied. So to not miss the event, I decided to volunteer as a flagger and instead of requesting a specific post to work (like I did in previous years, like Turn 8 Corkscrew or Turn 2 last year for this very event) I just asked to be put wherever they needed me. And lucky for me they needed me in some very cool place. I got to work for two days in the beginning at Turn 3 which was amazing… and for the last two days of racing at Turn 11 which took the cake!

1957 was an amazing year it turns out… Lime Rock was built in 1957 and are celebrating their 60th this year. So is Laguna Seca apparently, and even VIRginia International Raceway was built in ’57 except that track went on hiatus for a bunch of years recently.

View from Turn 3 towards Turn 2 above and Turn 4 below.

A super convenient station which allowed me to sneak out to do another paddock walk to take some pictures during lunch time on Thursday. My awesome coworker helped me out by grabbing lunch for me at the Social tent which was delicious… I wolfed it down before the practice resumed in the afternoon.

The only European team in attendance. Belgian WRT Audi which “almost” won this event if it didn’t take aggressive actions against another fast Audi that lead most of the race and spun out into the gravel going down several laps before it was pulled out.

Pretty car though…

The Audi R8 that lead most of the race… they also had their Daytona 24 hour IMSA car on display in the paddock. Lead most of the race but were overtaken by Magnus Racing Audi towards the end.

Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Mazda of course had a prominent display in the paddock including their Miata “halfie” street/race car. And the new RF fastback.

I did some shopping before coming to the track so I had plenty of snacks to much on during the weekend…

Oh look “CARS” stamped fishies…

It was cooler in the mornings but the temps went up during the day, and the sun was pretty brutal especially at Turn 11 where I was without any cover during race days.

San Francisco Region SCCA did a fantastic job as usual feeding us.

Though I didn’t win this t-shirt that I really wanted, my buddy Ron who did win for some crazy reason offered to me. I’m super grateful!

On Friday evening SRO had rolled out all it’s cars for a group photo…

A very small group of only 19 cars to race for the 8 hour endurance, most of which typically only race sprint 2 to 3 hour races with PWC. team WRT of course and MARC Cars Australia have more endurance racing experience with Spa 24 and Bathurst 12 hours under their respective belts (along with many others I’m sure).

Thank goodness I had a bunch of bandanas to cover up so I didn’t fry my face… on Sunday it turns out Fort Ord conducted a controlled burn which scared the crap out of a lot of fellow marshals. Especially people working pit lane when ash started raining down (near fuel rigs). Oops!

My buddy Adam who hosted me for the weekend and who also works for SCRAMP came to visit me at Turn 3 and Turn 11.

Monday morning it was a wrap… a wrap of my two week California getaway. Speaking of wraps, I love the cover Adam is using on his Miata, and should probably invest in one for my car. Fits like a glove.

We grabbed one final lunch at my favorite diner in Salinas that severs the freshest salad I’ve ever had: Elli’s (get it, like Ellis Island)

And I headed back to return my 2017 Hyunday Accent at Hertz Seaside before heading back to Monterey.

I’m used to seeing Canadian flags here in New York at most places, but in California obviously the Mexican flag is more prevalent.

Then caught a $2.50 bus ride to the MRY – Monterey Regional Airport just a few miles away from town… where Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was prominently on display encouraging people to visit.

It was such a fantastic trip. I would love to go back…

Caffeine & Carburetors in New Canaan, Connecticut Sept 2017: the Germans

I think Porsche’s were best represented at this weekend’s Caffeine & Carburetors in New Canaan, CT though there were plenty of Audi, BMW’s and Mercedes-Benz cars of all vintage… Lot’s of classic VeeDubs with Porsche bits on them too.

More from this series:

Here’s some pix:

 

Check out the other posts from Caffeine & Carburetors here:

MotoAmerica Should Have Spotter Guides!

My biggest surprise of this weekend was the lack of any visual spotter guides available for any of the three major MotoAmerica series racing at NJMP for the Championship of New Jersey presented by K&N.

How could that be?

It seems like such a no-brainer idea but I was not able to find anything online or after attending the refresh training session on Thursday night. I really think that a sport as popular as this AMA Pro series should totally offer a visual spotter guide much like those offered in IMSA racing, PWC or IndyCar. Even NASCAR does paint scheme stories on their web site ahead of some races to let their fan base know what their favorite driver will be driving and what the livery on that vehicle will look like. I realize that there are potential sponsorship implications, as sponsors change from race to race perhaps, but its no excuse why there shouldn’t be a basic guide to what each team’s and rider’s bikes look like.

I would have really appreciated to have a reference guide to call bikes into Race Control based on what they look like from a distance, it was not always possible to read the bike number, especially in cases where the number was three digits. Those 3 digit bike numbers were pretty much impossible to read when the bike was down, or far away like at Station 12 where I was on Friday.

So yea… if anyone at MotoAmerica is reading please consider making one… Thank you very much for the consideration!

Took me a while to tell the difference between two factory Suzuki teams… turns out the one with a zebra paint scheme was the Superbike team and the one with a single colored stripe is a Supersport 1000 team… Ah hah!

I know this Yamaha team has been using this livery for at least a few years… and so does the factory Yamaha team:

The bikes most difficult to tell apart were the KTM RC Cup liveries:

MotoAmerica Superbikes at NJMP Championship of New Jersey the debrief

It was a gorgeous weekend at NJMP Thunderbolt to watch some bikes racing. But the freezing cold overnight in my tent camping at the track kicked my ass. Much like Mosport in Canada last weekend my foot began to hurt a ton after freezing my toes off and I had a hard time walking on Friday… which sucked. It was so cold Thursday night I went out and bought another sleeping bag which improved my comfort the next two nights but not enough to make the arthritis subside and I limped my way through the weekend.

I didn’t let the injury dampen my weekend and soldiered on. The station assignments were fantastic this year. Like last year I worked Turn 12 on Friday and Turn 7 on Saturday and Sunday. It was fantastic! Probably as good as it gets really.

Turn 12

Turn 7

Looking towards Turn 6, where we had the first red flag of the weekend with a high side bike on the opening laps of the first race.

One of my British marshal friends was surprised I’m actually working an event in my home state… voila! It’s true.

NJMP got a new toy to add to the fleet of their Subaru’s… this nice looking (and sounding) Audi S3 safety car.

If you’re a bike fan, there was a lot to look at this weekend. And every time I work a bike event I really am tempted to go out and buy a bike of my own. Of course the sport bike that I want would require me to lose my gut to at least look normal on it.

Not much was out yet when I arrived on Thursday afternoon.

And a lot of familiar bikes were on display, but I was a bit disappointed to find out there is no visual spotter guide to help marshals distinguish the bikes. Or to help the fans for that matter.

Arriving on Thursday my goal was to go to the training/refresh meeting, which was neat. Dave does a great job. I was happy to see Dave using a pic of me Blue flagging (an IMSA race at Mosport a few years back) in his training material. I was surprised that there was only a handful of us in attendance though.

As cold as it was overnight, during the day it was super comfortable and warm weather. So much so I went out for ice cream one night.

It was delicious.

Big thanks to Brittany at NJMP for making this event possible for me, and I’m very much looking forward to another weekend down there soon for the NASCAR K&N East series. Interestingly enough the MotoAmerica Championship of New Jersey was presented by K&N also… whose filters I use on my marshaling rig both oil and air.

It’s going to be awesome…

Post Card from Moto America Championship of New Jersey Round 9 at NJMP Thunderbolt Mega Photo Gallery

Greetings from a beautiful weekend in South Jersey volunteering for my only bike race of this season with MotoAmerica Championship Superbikes, Superstock and Supersport bikes supported by KTM RC Cup and Vintage Bikes.

Enjoy the over 100 pix from Race Day on Sunday… and stay tuned for more to come about this awesome event.

I got to work Turn 7 which is probably the best station at Thunderbolt and certainly for me, because during our long lunch hour I was able to just walk into the paddock area and check out all the bikes… spectator bikes, bikes for sale, racing bikes, etc.

The young kids riding… that is really inspiring!

notice the missing BMW engine behind the cowling…

These KTM spec series bikes are really neat!

Love seeing all these vintage bikes, many of them for sale!

And of course lots of new stuff for sale, Suzuki and others had a great test ride opportunity with customers going on a cruise in a convoy of new bikes around Millville, New Jersey

NJMP offered a good discounted lunch option for us, all for $5 bux

Philly Cheesesteak, fries, chips and drink.

By the time I finished my lunch, the grid walk was wrapping up… so I did some drive-by shooting of pix as the bikes were getting ready to grid up and race.

The kids riding area was super cool… I think a few racers actually joined them which looked pretty funny but must have been an amazing opportunity to inspire the young riders to pursue this hobby further.

Enjoy… more to come soon!

Northeast Grand Prix IMSA at Lime Rock the debrief

It’s been a while since I’ve done the Northeast GP at Lime Rock… last year I was marshaling in Europe with my triple event schedule in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. A year before that I did something else, and the year before that the Northeast GP was quite good! There were prototypes racing. There was lots of action. There were lots of incidents and lots of opportunity to blue flag. This time around though the pace of the event slowed way down. Dare I say it was quite boring on the first day which was disappointing.

Luckily there were Miata’s racing… so I kept myself entertained!

The station assignment for Friday was at post 6A or more traditionally called Bridge… where absolutely nothing happened.

I did enjoy the company of my fellow flag marshal there, so we made it through the day… the only excitement came from us getting sprayed by big clouds of dust as a few cars ran wide out of the previous corner…

The next day though things picked up tremendously. I was posted in Turn 2 for the first time (I don’t remember if it was my first time ever, or certainly in a very long time, which was very exciting!). There was lots of potential at this turn because at most other events when I’m somewhere else, you can always hear Turn 2 calling in incidents. Of course I became the anti-magnet today, and absolutely nothing interesting happened. We had a few bumps. There were some spins before us and a few after us, but nothing noteworthy.

It was very close to the track and a great place to be a spectator.

Poor Miata… knocked out of 3rd place with a broken mouth:

But being so close to the paddock meant we could wander into pit lane for grid walk… and that’s exactly what I did!

The event was rather crowded, which was super awesome to see… but I don’t know if the GT-alone racing series lived up to the expectations… they certainly left me wanting for more. The IMSA races used to be some of the fastest cars that came to LRP, I’m not sure if the same could be said in it’s current form.

Maybe that’s why the Turner car had a BS-looking sponsor:

What’s the deal with Tacos anyway?

But anyway… looking back at the weekend I have to say that the initial feeling of boredom become overcome with a “it’s not so bad” attitude and ultimately, “this is a pretty good event.”

I certainly enjoyed the Miata’s racing and winning. This was the major difference comparing it to PWC event earlier in the year where the MX-5’s qualified well but faltered during the races.

So congrats to Freedom Autosport! And to the other Miata teams that didn’t do so well but put on a great show nonetheless…

Interesting that the headsets we used were Made in Australia!

And best of all every night the LRP Cafe took care of the workers with a tasty meal. So thank you Skip Barber for that!