Tag Archives: lvmoc

Miata Fiata Talk Episode 3: Chris & Russ talk about the Polar Bear Run with LVMOC, Bear Mountain Cruises and Road Rallies

Have a listen to our latest Miata Fiata Episode recorded right after the Polar Bear Run with Lehigh Valley Miata Owners Club in rural Pennsylvania.

After two failed attempts at recording another Miata Fiata Talk episode, we finally got it done! (we recorded two episodes where the audio quality failed us miserably, and since Chris is a stickler for good quality sound, those were throw away episodes).

Fresh after a spirited drive through rural Pennsylvania at LVMOC’s Polar Bear Run we had a nice chat about the experience.

Sakshik has moved to Atlanta, Georgia so he’s sadly missing form this episode, but we do expect to get him back on by linking Skype and Audacity for some remote recordings.

Stay tuned for more and do share some feedback around this episode. Many thanks!

Mazda MX-5: New Year’s Day Polar Bear Run with Lehigh Valley Miata Club

How to best spend New Year’s Day? Go on a 300 mile road trip with the Lehigh Valley Miata Owners Club on their annual Polar Bear Run through the rural back country roads around Pennsylvania.

This year I talked Chris into joining me. But I goofed by not actually signing up on the LVMOC web site. Saw the post about this event on Miata.net forum and figured that would be sufficient enough to join, because apparently the event was open to non-members. But that wasn’t really the case when we showed up. What’s worse, I wanted to keep a low profile, not stand out. Keep quiet. So Chris and I went to grab some food at our meeting spot: Cracker Barrel in Fogelsville, PA… thinking we’d make it in plenty of time for the 10:30am departure. Turns out departure time was 10:15am and we missed the whole driver’s briefing and almost missed the cruise, if not for a nice lady from the club running into the restaurant and getting us to hurry… We came out to the parking lot to a sight of 18 cars all sitting there ready to go, engines running, and there we were front and center… embarrassed and not at all keeping a low profile…. Sorry!

The cruise however went perfectly. Organized excellently. No delays along the way. No people getting lost. No incidents to speak of. The only difference from last year was far more snow on the ground. So instead of grey farm fields that we drove through accented by bright red barns, there was lots of white snow on the ground with the red barns really popping out. Because of snow there was tons of “cinders” on the ground, which is little sharp gravel Pennsylvania uses instead of Salt for the ice. Those cinders pelted everyone that drove through it, especially when following other cars. I had a bunch hit my windshield and I was hoping that they wouldn’t crack it. Lots of dust got kicked up too and I was cringing a bit about my K&N filter working overtime on this drive.

The route was identical to that of last year. But the restaurant for lunch was much better. I had a traditional Polish pork and sourkraut dish which was excellent, but was repeating on me for the remainder of the day. Excellent day spent hanging out with Chris which we finished by recording another Miata Fiata Talk episode.

some pix:

Of the 20 cars that showed up, all but 1 ran topless…. I kept my lid up. I know it’s not in the spirit of the Polar Bear Run… but I get sick easily and with a trip to Florida coming up to marshal Daytona 24 hour’s Roar before the 24, I couldn’t afford to do anything foolish.

Great start to 2017… hopefully many more events to come!

A Very Mazda-Centric Visit to Watkins Glen Int’l for IMSA 6 Hour Enduro Race

I just had one of my most Mazda-centric weekends at Watkins Glen International for the Sahlen’s Six Hour and all the support races.

To start an internet friend was visiting from California and I was determined to show him a good time. Ron is a fellow marshal from the San Francisco Region of SCCA. He’s also a fellow Miata owner with a beautiful 2007 Winning Blue that he autocrosses and uses as a marshaling rig to go to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. I figured Ron would get a kick out of going to the Seneca Lodge, but the roles reversed and he showed me something about Watkins Glen I had not experienced before… he took me around the original 6.6 mile Watkins Glen Grand Prix Circuit:

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In fact we drove that course several times. Basically every time we decided to go into town for dinner, we’d take the course… and enjoy these beautiful views:

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Turns out I had driven over the Start/Finish line a million times, ever since I started coming to volunteer at Watkins Glen in 2012, but I never realized what it was!

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No sooner as we pulled into Seneca Lodge we spotted a Miata there. This theme would continue throughout my trip last weekend.

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Ron had forgotten his RSI hat at the bar so we went back, and the Miata was still parked there… some hard core fan!

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Back at the “new” circuit, things weren’t much different. There were Miata’s everywhere you looked. My favorite ones were at Turn 1:

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This gorgeous Niseko Edition Miata was really something to look at.

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As well as Canadian Mazdaspeed Body Kit NC in speeding ticket red.

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I went over to chat with the owners during lunch break, awesome guys! Saw them posting on Miata.net / MX-5.net about this event. Then one of them came over and hung a goodie bag off my mirror.

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Besides being an active place to work at Turn 1 (Station 1A) I was able to see up close and personal the car I came there to see… the 1991 winning livery Le Mans 24h heritage edition Mazda Lola’s.

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Huge thanks to Andy Blackmore for his awesome spotter guides.

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Notice how close my parking spot was to these cars exiting track…

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As far as racing went, the Miata’s didn’t do terribly well. Freedom Autosport #25 was leading the race for the longest time until it was punted off, which is a common practice in Continental Tire Sports Cars Challenge… the others were involved in first lap incident too I think, so no Miata took a podium, and almost all suffered damage.

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But again the spectators that showed up in their MX-5’s had a blast:

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I only got to drive a sliver of the track getting to my station on Thursday and Friday… working Turn 6 in the Boot and Turn 5A in the Bus Stop… but that was OK with me. I got lucky on race day to work Turn 1, which allowed me to hit the pit lane to do my grid pix.

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That place was super crowded. I did manage however to visit the Mazda Owner’s Lounge which was very generous with me this time, and even contemplated visiting the Mazda test drive center near Turn 1 to see if I could take an ND for a spin around the original 6.6 mile Grand Prix Circuit (currently village streets).

Our station at Turn 1 was peculiar, it was manned by Mazda owners. The corner captain drove a Mazda 3 and was sporting a Mazda hat and a lanyard, and our other coworker, the most experienced one on station, drove a first gen red NA Miata.

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We parked ours right in front of the Grand Stand at Turn 1.

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Another fantastic weekend in the books and more than ever now I’ve become a total Mazda fan boy… Mazda advertises that there are more Mazdas raced on any given weekend than any other brand. And I totally believe that. Besides the Prototypes and Miatas in their respective series, there was a spec series formally called Prototype Lites and currently renamed to Mazda Lites (because they paid more said the voice on the radio from Race Control)… so definitely, when it comes to Motorsport Mazda is knee deep in this business.

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We found this Zebra livery car thinking it was piloted by the same girl from last weekend’s SCCA Majors (who had a blow up Zebra in her Miata) but it turned out to be another Zebra enthusiast/racer.

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I bought my Miata as a result of watching Playboy MX-5 Cup race…

Mazda MX-5: Dash Cam Video from the Polar Bear Run around Penn’s Lehigh Valley

A few short clips from my dash cam, recorded on New Year’s Day while cruising around the hills surrounding Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania with the LVMOC group on their annual Polar Bear run. This was such a fantastic experience even though the weather was a little gloomy and there were a few flurries along the way:

The driving was lead and follow. Pretty slow at times. Obeying local speed limits and traffic signs. The group was about 26 cars, many had CB communication, while I was just enjoying listening to the engine and transmission go through the gears.

I loved seeing all the red barns along the way. They were such a great contrast to the otherwise dull surroundings. It was awesome.

We also passed a lot of dairy farms, corn fields, vineyards and wineries. And every once in a while we all re-grouped and continued. Here’s a nice shot of all the cars in attendance.

Mazda MX-5: Polar Bear Run Cruising Rural Pennsylvania with the LVMOC on New Year’s Day

What a way to start the new year: January 1st and I’m off on my first Polar Bear Run with the Las Vegas Miata Owners Club… no wait, I mean Lehigh Valley Miata Owners Club… cruising the rural country roads of PA. Somewhere on the outskirts of Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch country, saw plenty of horse buggy warning signs along the way. It was an absolutely awesome experience, I really thoroughly enjoyed myself!

I saw a post on Miata.net in late December inviting people to join the LVMOC group for a “Polar Bear” run in eastern Pennsylvania just outside of Allentown (about two hours drive from where I live in NJ). But after being shaken down for money at the last “club” event I went to with a different group I was a little weary considering this event. But decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did. The turnout was amazing, about 26 cars showed up… some Miata owners didn’t actually bring their cars relying on their winter vehicles like Subaru WRX’s or Mini Coopers, but the rest came out in force and drove around with the top down. (Something I completely chickened out to do myself… especially with the trip coming up to Australia, I cannot afford to get sick).

I left my home bright and early, just before 7am thinking I’d make it to the meeting spot at Cracker Barrel in Folgelsville, PA in time to have breakfast before the meet and cruise. I got there way early. Absolutely no traffic on the roads that early on New Year’s Day. Although I had a freaky encounter with a Subaru BRZ that blew past me on Interstate 80 in New Jersey. About 100 yards after he passed me, his rear window blew out and shattered on the highway. I could hear the little glass bouncing off the tires on my undercarriage. Freaky… to say the least.

At the Polar Bear Run there were no bad experiences. It was a very light traffic day being a holiday and we stayed as a group mostly while cruising together along the rural roads. I was very impressed with the condition of the roads, very minimal pot holes and in general a smooth ride. In a way the roads reminded me of New Zealand roads like those leading from Auckland to Taupo for example,  very twisty and lots of elevation changes with beautiful scenery along the way. We passed plenty of farm land, many corn fields, a few wineries and vineyards. It was just great!

The total run was about 75 miles long. That’s in addition to the 106 miles it took me to get to the meeting spot and another 108 or so to get back. The low fuel light came on about 10 miles from home. I went straight to my BP gas station and the car only took 9.8 gallons and $20 bux. Which is quite cheap for such a trip. The transmission, brakes and engine got a really good work out, and my new BFG Comp 2 A/S’s got a great scrubbing too.

We stopped at Hawk Mountain Bird & Wildlife Sanctuary for a group photo (and a much needed pee break). So enjoy some fotos:

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I would love to do another event like this in the future!

And some more photos from the meeting point at Cracker Barrel:

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One car I was particularly interested in checking out was the Niseko Edition – the Icy Blue special edition NC1 Miata. It was also nice to see the Marble White NC1 Miata in direct comparison to the Crystal Mica Pearl NC3 which was also in attendance. So many beautiful cars showed up, it was great to see all the variety… I always focus on NC’s but even with NB’s there were several shades of light blue which I really liked. What a great time! Can’t believe so many people showed up in the heart of winter… in January!