Tag Archives: friends of mx-5

Miataland

There’s a place in Italy I would love to visit on my next Euro Trip: Miataland. Located smack in the middle of Italy if you look on the map and only a few hours drive north of Rome heading in the direction of Florence and San Marino.

Although I’ve been to Italy twice in recent years neither of my trips lasted for more than a few hours. I did a quickie look-see around Milan while transiting between two flights between Madrid, Spain and Stockholm, Sweden and more recently a flight to Brussels, Belgium from New York via Rome. I literally took the opportunity of a layover to rush to city center, do a quick sightseeing and foodie tour and haul ass back to the airport to make my onward connection. However, knowing about Miataland and having already experienced warm European hospitality on my Miata-centric visits to Amsterdam, Netherlands; Cologne, Germany; Liege, Belgium and Paris, France I would put this pilgrimage at the top of my list now.

From the reviews I read online, the videos I watched on YouTube and Miata.net personal member experiences (with photos) I think this is a fantastic concept and one I know could be replicated (and totally should be) around the world. There were Miata collectors I met in Thailand that could certainly pull this off as well as several folks in Australia and definitely here in the US as well. So my hope is to see Andrea’s concept spread and as someone who would love to work in the tourism industry especially from the side of personally leading groups on various international adventures, I would love to market the hell out of this concept to get Miata enthusiasts to support these sort of businesses wherever they spring up.

But back to the topic of Miataland Italy. Andrea is a new friend on facebook that I would hope to interview soon, whether via Skype or in real life (if I get a chance to volunteer at one of the circuits in Italy for one of their amazing Motorsport events) to share his story and promote his business and passion to everyone reading this. I am personally interested in visiting Miataland even when I know I can’t afford the Five Star accommodation on site, but the garage visit and maybe a joy ride in one of the beautiful NC’s would be awesome. This is a very exciting opportunity I want to share on this blog so that other MX-5 and Mazda fans in general could read up on and research for their own trips to Italy. Something new to consider….

I think it would be totally worth it!

Check out the web site: miataland.com/

Check out the facebook page: facebook.com/pg/miataland/

Here’s some videos of the concept:

and in Italian:

and some pix… with my favorite NC with Italian flag livery:

photo courtesy of Miataland Italy
photo courtesy of Miataland Italy

photo courtesy of Miataland Italy

The more I read about Miataland the more I find out how this concept has grown… the car count in Andrea’s collection has increased from 32 to 36 cars more recently featuring everything from NA’s to ND’s and a whole slew of special editions and rare specimens. There are right hand drive cars also for those that desire it. Supercharged and Turbocharged options including a Mazdaspeed.

I haven’t really talked much about the exclusive property and picturesque scenery of the region. That I guess should be experienced first hand. But having met Dutch, German, Belgian and French owners on the previous trip, and knowing about the existence of the “Friends of MX-5” initiative from Mazda Europe, I think this is a fantastic opportunity to go to a new place. Get a unique chance to check out the countryside behind a wheel of a Miata (of a whatever vintage you prefer) and at the same time get a chance to meet with fellow Miata owners that live in Italy or elsewhere in Europe that may be able to organize an event while you are there. I think that’s the coolest part of this whole endeavor, at least for me.

Check out Friends of MX-5 on facebook:  facebook.com/MazdaFriendsofMX5/

So to sum things up, I haven’t been there but I would highly recommend the place to anyone I know. Not only that I’m seriously dying to go and check it out for myself so I could promote it even more to the readers of this blog and the people I meet on my own Mazda MX-5 Miata Road Trips & Adventures!

….stay tuned!

Mazda MX-5: Euro Trip Awesome Miata Meet-Ups: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Köln, Germany; Liège, Belgium; and Paris France

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


 

What an incredibly fantastic Mazda MX-5 Miata Euro Trip I had over the past month visiting a few countries and meeting owners in almost every city I went to. I can’t rave and rant enough about it. Incredible experience that I would highly recommend to anyone!

This post will highlight a few post cards I shared from the road and will be followed by a more detailed write up after I return from NASCAR at Watkins Glen this weekend.

Enjoy the pix!

Amsterdam & IJmuiden, Netherlands

dutch mx-5 road trip 1

Thank you Vincent from The Hague for giving me a tour and an amazing Dutch lunch right by the waterfront!

Köln, Hürth, & Düsseldorf, Germany

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Thank you David and Andre for showing me around Cologne area and for the dinner at Dusseldorf it was amazing. The stop and I.L. Motorsprot was pretty awesome also.

Nürburgring, Germany

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Big thanks to Maggie for finding me at the Nürburgring and giving me my first ride in an NB Miata as we headed to dinner.

Liège, Wallonia, Belgium

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Huge thanks to Phil for giving me quite an amazing tour of Liège and Wallonia Province around Belgium. What a great experience.

Paris, France

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Huge thanks to Mike in France for organizing an amazing dinner with a dozen of his fellow MX-5 France Club members and for giving me an incredible tour of Paris by night showing all the big sights like the Eifel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triumphe and Notre Dam!

A super trip all around paired with incredible racing at Zandvoort for DTM, the Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit for WEC 6 hour and Spa 24 at Spa-Francorchamp. I loved every minute of it!

Thanks to Mazda Owner’s Lounge at WGI during the IMSA 6hr for all the Swag!

Finally a Mazda Owner’s Lounge experience that went far better than I had ever anticipated.

I love the fact Mazda has an Owner’s Lounge at various race tracks that IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Series visits. Though in the past I’ve had somewhat tricky experiences trying to score swag that I saw other people showing off at the event. During last year’s Petit Le Mans I agreed to fill out a survey for a Mazda hat only to find out they were fresh out of hats… bummer. Similar experience this year at Long Beach Grand Prix in California (though I scored a t-shirt instead). Well, the Mazda Owner’s Lounge experience at Watkins Glen during the Sahlen’s Six Hour made up for all the other frustrating times because I walked away with a whole bag of goodies.

It wasn’t easy to get away from station to visit the lounge but I made the effort during lunch breaks to do it over a few days. First on Friday while working Turn 5A in the Bus Stop, right as it started raining I took advantage of lax security to drive up to the lounge and park right across from it. Ran in, gave my sob story about the Mazda caps I almost got at Road Atlanta and Long Beach and one of the workers there handed me one! Sweet… on the way back I asked one of the young ladies distributing lanyards if I could get a few for the marshals… she said “sure!” I thought… wait a minute, I’m going to Europe next month and it would be an awesome gift to offer the MX-5 owners I intend to meet in Amsterdam, Cologne, Brussels and Paris, told her about the trip and she gave me a fist-full. What a lovely lady! Thanks so much…!!!

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I guess I took advantage of the lull in their schedule as most of the people there were lined up to play video games or other entertainment Mazda had on offer. I’m glad it was quiet enough and they were generous enough to make me happy!

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My next trip to the Mazda Owner’s Lounge was on race day, Sunday. We had a fairly long break between the warm up session in the morning and the actual race… so I went straight for the lounge before heading to Pit Lane to take some pix of the #55 Le Mans heritage livery LMP2.

It was a perfect opportunity to finally see the split MX-5 street/Cup car which was covered previously due to rain. On race day the weather was picture perfect. And so was the car:

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mazda owners lounge imsa sahlen's six hour at the glen 8

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mazda owners lounge imsa sahlen's six hour at the glen 6

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On this visit I walked away with a SpeedSource Mazda LMP2 t-shirt, a few more lanyards and a poster… Very happy with their generosity!

mazda owners lounge imsa sahlen's six hour at the glen 18

There were a few more happy run-ins with Mazda swag… I saw a few photographers wearing a green and orange 1991 Mazda 787B Le Mans winning car heritage lanyard and naturally I wanted one. So I asked a few photogs if they could grab me one next time they went to the Media center. A few of them agreed but realistically I knew the chances of getting one was pretty slim. Yet, I was persistent. Made a run down to the Mazda test drive display where one could sign up to drive a Mazda of their choosing (an MX-5, CX-3, CX-5, or Mazda3) along the original 6.6 mile Watkins Glen Grand Prix circuit along the city streets of the Watkins Glen Park. Those folks knew nothing about the Le Mans lanyard but gave me a small goodie bag just for stopping by… Nice!

Then I went over to chat with a few Miata owners I saw parked near my station on Saturday, while working Turn 1A… and at some point between lunch and end of day someone left another Mazda bag hanging off my car’s mirror which was parked along the spectator fence near the station. It was like getting a visit form Santa Clause.

mazda owners lounge imsa sahlen's six hour at the glen 19

Thank you! (whoever you are)

mazda owners lounge imsa sahlen's six hour at the glen 20

Now back to the story about how I finally scored the Le Mans green and orange lanyard… during lunch I ran over to the Mazda paddock area where the team’s #55 and #70 cars resided for the weekend, and bugged one of the folks wearing a Mazda shirt about it… the guy said: “Since you’re a corner worker, I’ll give you mine!” and took it off his neck to give it to me. Holly Cow was that something… Thank you Mo for being awesome! That was pretty cool. Mazda people will give you a shirt off their back it seems… or at least a lanyard.

A day later, while working the station at Turn 1, one of the photographers I spoke with the day earlier came thru with his promise and delivered another new lanyard to me. I totally didn’t expect for that to happen. Wow!

So much Mazda swag in one weekend I don’t think it could have gone any better. The only way this experience would have been topped is IF someone from Mazda came over and offered me a job with the company: “Hey Russ, come work for Mazda!”  of course, that didn’t happen, but that would have been a killer deal. I’ll take what I could get though, and all the swag this weekend made me quite happy. I’m sure the MX-5 owners in Europe will be thrilled too!

Thanks Mazda people!

mazda swag