Tag Archives: NSW

Aussie CAMS Officials Newsletter Why aren’t more ASN’s doing this?

I wish I still lived in Australia… back in 2009 I didn’t even know marshaling was possible (on a volunteer basis). Having gone to my very first Automotive Race as a spectator flying across the whole country to watch V8 Supercars around the Barbagallo Circuit in Perth, Western Australia I really thought it was the greatest job in the world. Well, it’s been almost a decade since then and with 15 countries of volunteering under my belt now, I can say nobody does it as well as the Australians, and their latest officials newsletter is a shining example of what should be done to communicate info with their volunteers:

I’ve highlighted and praised their previous newsletters before, to point out what other ASN’s should learn from… and it’s worth doing again this year! Because none of my other international Motorsport club communication looks like this (especially not domestic for that matter)… there’s really no reason why it shouldn’t. I mean come on, look how elegantly simple it is to drive the important points!

But in case it’s not obvious I’ll go ahead and break down the e-mail bit by bit to make it crystal clear how others can copy a successful communications formula.

Step 1: Have a brief introduction, state latest news, wish happy holidays… Boom! Done! Quick! Easy…

Step 2: Promote Training!  Why would you not? It’s important!

Step 3: Communicate club policies, like my favorite… club’s Alcohol Policy!  So far I’ve only heard my North American clubs advertised how shit-faced you can get by coming to their events. How Dumb? But it’s a thing…

I don’t agree with the idea of drinking and volunteering. I believe alcohol abuse has no place in Motorsport Volunteering, or the idea of providing a “Safety” service could be interpreted as a joke… but I know others will disagree. Well, having a proper Alcohol Policy is something all should agree on. Right?

Step 4: Motorsport Volunteering is not just Flagging or Recovery/Response. There are a multitude of groups of volunteers. It’s good to make everyone feel as an equal contributor to the club, and promote club members to consider trying different roles. That is easily done by spotlighting different roles in a newsletter. Boom!

Step 4: Additional updates…. there’s always plenty of general announcements and news.

Step 5: Spotlight some outstanding people that make the club possible… volunteers love praise. Give it to them!

Step 6: Photos! Everyone loves photos… and since we’re not allowed to take some, have photogs help members out by doing a professional shoot at each event, making those shots available to preserve individual marshals memories. Easy thing to do but often overlooked or scoffed at as unimportant. It is important!

And voila… simple recipe to great success.

I encourage ASN’s around the world to use this example from down under… Please!

Bathurst 12 Hour Marshal Invite, Mount Panorama February 3-5, 2017

If you think marshal invitations for Lone Star Le Mans & Petit Le Mans are early, you haven’t gotten an invite for 2017 yet… mine showed up a few days ago from Australia. The Bathurst 12 hour race is in February of 2017 but V8 Supercars or just Supercars are already recruiting!

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Having done it twice, I highly recommend this event!

What is it; Bathurst 12h

When is it: February 3-5, 2017

Where is it:Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Who’s recruiting: Supercars

Who will be there: Australian GT + multiple international entries. Typical support races include production cars which are 1970’s style HQ Holden taxis, Northern Muscle Club from Australia bring their vintage Trans Am cars, etc.

How to get there? Fly into Sydney (SYD) and take the 4 hour drive to Bathurst. Public transport is possible with train connections in Lithgow, but I’d recommend hiring a car instead. Alternatively you can probably go on Flag Marshals of the World and bum a ride from a local… I’ve rented a car in 2013 and mooched a ride in 2016.

Where to stay?  The cheapest place: Mt Panorama campground. The camping is shared with spectators but is pretty close to the Marshal Mustering tent, with convenient access to the track and stations. In the past I also used CouchSurfing to stay in the surrounding area. But camping is convenient (as much as I dislike it).

Good Luck!

Have Fun!

Found a Place That Rents MX-5’s! You Can Win a 3-Day Rental During Their Launch Too… Good Luck!

Good news!

Thanks to an Aussie marshal colleague and a fellow Mazda nut, I’ve stumbled across another company that rents MX-5 Miata’s!

They are even offering a Sweepstakes where the winner would take one of their beautiful ND MX-5’s on a 3-day complimentary rental… presumably in the Sydney area.

Not much info is posted yet on their facebook page save for a few instagram photos which I’ll share below:

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photo credit: Evace Car Rental
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photo credit: Evace Car Rental

Pretty awesome deal if you ask me!

For details about the drawing please visit their facebook page:  www.facebook.com/EvaceCarRental

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I wish them all the best in their new operation, and of course good luck to the potential winner of this generous drawing!

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more info: www.facebook.com/EvaceCarRental

A few observations from my previous trip to the Sydney, NSW area… there are a ton of MX-5’s already on the streets and the community is pretty tight with multiple events happening year round. I would seriously consider doing one of these rentals on my next trip there, especially if a cruise somewhere exotic was involved like a drive to Bathurst or even something up the coast through Bondi Beach, etc.

I’m thinking the company is targeting international visitors as generally Car Rental companies in Australia are called Car Hire (soooo British!). But anyway, I’m all for supporting MX-5 businesses!

If anyone has information on other places I could rent a Miata or a Fiata with the upcoming release of the Fiat’s version of the MX-5, the 124 Spider or even the Abarth 124 Spider, I would love to hear all about it. Please share the information in the comment below!

Mazda MX-5: NC Miata Rear-Quarter Trailer by Paul Byers in Australia

One of the coolest things I got to see on my trip Down Under was the NC MX-5 Miata rear quarter trailer made by Paul Byers. Unfortunately I only saw the thing very briefly and the fuzzy/grainy picture above is the only proof as I ran down the sidewalk fumbling my phone to get a shot before the car started moving once the traffic light turned green. I was going to have another encounter with it during the Bathurst 12h but thanks to V8 Supercars organization cancelling the MX-5 parade lap an hour before it was meant to take place, that never happened.

Luckily Paul was nice enough to stop by my post and have a brief chat before meeting him again during our big Sydney Fish & Chips run a few days later. The car wasn’t there, but luckily I was able to raid Paul’s facebook page to get some pictures of the build process to share in this post here.

The rear quarter NC trailer creates just enough storage for an MX-5 to make the car practical. In fact Paul made it out of necessity to haul a spare set of tires and a tool box with him to club track events. Since then he’s made a few more trailers that he proudly shows off on a dedicated facebook page here: www.facebook.com/Pauls-Trailers-481817561952940/ I could certainly use something like that for my upcoming trip down to Gulf Coast of Florida for a few racing events.

And now the build process:

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And the finished product:

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a Pisser’s Racing creation 😉

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With time the development of the trailer included faux-tail pipes, antenna, and brake disks… probably a tad over the top but certainly tastefully done and fits with the overall image of the car and trailer.

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Paul also has other trailers that suit various MX-5 towing needs.

What a great project! I kind of want one now.

Mazda MX-5: Miata Shopping in Australia Visiting Blue Mountains Mazda, Sydney & NSW’s Best MX-5 Dealer

back to: South Pacific MX-5 Miata Road Trip Overview

f-australiaMX-5 Shopping in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

f-australiaMX-5 Road Trip from Kirribilli to Balmoral, NSW, Australia

MX-5 Road Trip from Papakura towards Coromandel, NZ

MX-5 Hire Cars on Holiday in Rarotonga, Cook Islands


Much like the faux-Miata shopping trip in Singapore took me to a few dealerships on the island, my chauffeur for the day – James made a special effort to stop at Blue Mountains Mazda on our drive back to Sydney from Bathurst to check out some MX-5’s on the lot… and there were quite a few of them (though no NC’s unfortunately).

James’s mother Jean purchased her beautiful ND MX-5 from Cameron the owner of Blue Mountains Mazda and so James thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to check out the place and meet Cameron. Just minutes after meeting him he offered me the keys to his personal ND for a test drive which I politely declined.

But the selection of Roadsters on the lot was far better than anything I’ve seen even here in the US, and I’ve got three Mazda dealerships within a 10 mile radius from home.

Here are some shots I took of the cars (along with the obligatory selfie):

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There were a few cars in the garage getting prepped for delivery:

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As well as this gem in the lot:

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The NB SE model in Australia was the Mazdaspeed equivalent offered in the US which means it was powered by a factory turbo. Something Cameron said he was very fond of having raced this car with the MX-5 Club of NSW at various track rental events at Eastern Creek and others I’m sure.

This was such a great experience I forgot to ask how much does the new ND go for in Australia. They are lucky enough to have choice with both 1.5L and 2.0L engine options along with numerous trims for performance or comfort. James mentioned Jean’s car was in the $40,000 range which makes it more expensive than the US models but way cheaper than those sold in Singapore.

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Australia and Sydney area in particular is a perfect place to own an MX-5 and I was lucky enough to spot a bunch of them on my visit there, including this beautiful white NC parked at Kingswood train station when I boarded my train back to Sydney CBD.

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Bathurst 12h around Mount Panorama, Intercontinental GT Challenge Season Opener Debrief

Hey remember that new Intercontinental GT Challenge series?

After volunteering Spa 24 hour in Belgium I’ve been obsessing about all things SRO, for a variety of reasons. One of the better ones being the quality of race cars participating in their events. This was true at Sepang 12 hour a few months ago, another event SRO decided to work together with SIC to put together and bring to the world. The SRO partnership with V8 Supercars, the new owners of Australian GT that runs the Bathurst 12 hour race around Mount Panorama was officially the season opener of the new series.

The event didn’t disappoint.

While the fields were smaller than the previous few years, the quality of racing improved in my opinion. There were fewer incidents including major ones at the top of the mountain like last year’s massive Nissan GT-R impact. The few incidents that did occur were relatively minor and many of them happened to happen right in front of me at Post 23, the very last corner before the main straight. I was so lucky to be assigned this spot, words can’t describe. The race set several records, including the fastest time for a GT3 car as well as the most laps done in 12 hours with fewer safety car periods compared to previous years.

Another lucky thing for me was the fact that a Kiwi driver took the victory in a Kiwi car: Shane Van Gisbergen driving the #59 McLaren. Coincidentally the next stop on my road trip was New Zealand.

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The views from my post were absolutely awesome, both looking upstream and downstream. Though I did find myself having a lot of trouble with the Blue flag. More than once I managed to blue flag the wrong cars and that pissed me off, especially since I thought I knew these cars pretty well. Luckily we had the positioning tower directly across from us in pit lane, so after kicking myself with the first few mistakes I would glance over at the tower to see what order the cars should be running in and if the two were close enough I went ahead and blue flagged for the leaders.

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The other disappointment wasn’t so much in the race as with the organizers. V8 Supercars decided not to allow the groups of owners holding a car show on the outside of the track to do a parade lap during the lunch break like they did in previous years. Instead they gave all the track time to a few Ferrari owners that for some unknown reasons thought they were race car drivers. I saw one guy wearing bright red racing gloves in his new Ferrari 488, while also wearing a short sleeve shirt. It was a bit upsetting to me personally because I was eagerly looking forward to jumping into one of the many MX-5’s that showed up to the event specifically with the understanding they were going to do a parade lap, a lap that never happened. Go figure!

Luckily there was a lot going on trackside to let me get over the missed opportunity of riding shotgun in an MX-5 around Mount Panorama. Besides a few spins and beached cars in our sand trap we had a few side to side, metal to metal contacts occur. As well as an exploded engine that happened just before the post as the car proceeded to cruise into our runoff. It was something else really, watching an old V8 Supercars Marlboro livery Holden Commodore blow an engine and a massive fireball coming around the car from the bottom of the front end. It was pretty amazing, something I haven’t seen happen so closely and vividly before.

The true highlight of the event for me was the people I had the pleasure of spending the time with. The team I was paired with at Post 23 was pretty amazing. Our post chief was really down to earth, positive and helpful. When I talked to him about my Gout flare up, he was very understanding. As was the rest of the team. Our communicator Dave runs a Mazda related web site called OZMazda which was cool. And a young girl from Queensland marshaling at Bathurst with her father who was posted at the next station gave me a hand with a bunch of incident reports I had to write as many of them happened on my watch while holding the radio in our rotation. Which by the way was actually an old American landline system using the same exact box we use at most street circuits including Long Beach, Baltimore and Belle Isle. The hum coming out of the headset was unmistakable.

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Sahra’s (from Gold Coast, Queensland) patch collection… somehow I think we would never get away with having Bikini chicks on patches for US events.
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The beauty of being at Post 23 was the ability to sneak away for an MX-5 parade lap which unfortunately never happened. Luckily one of the MX-5 owners spectating was able to come up right to our flag point and have a little chat during our down time.
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The view down the front straight is as good as it gets from this spot! Especially for the start and  all the re-starts.
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For all incidents that required a Safety Car one of these Medical cars went out and returned the driver to the Medical centre across from us, keeping our team in the loop of what’s happening.
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Track Map and Posts of all the Marshal stations around Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst.
bathurst rsl pub food during bathurst 12 hour
pure deliciousness… Aussie Beef with salad and chips… Yumm!

Huge thanks to my friend Paul Kelly from Victoria for organizing my sleeping arrangements at Bathurst by not only providing a tent, sleeping bag and pillows, but also setting it all up for me and helping tear it down in the end. That was such a huge help! Also big thanks to Paul for driving me and the rest of our group to town every evening after track activities were over, all these delicious meals we had were thanks to his initiative to get us some real food (off track).

Read more about the event from Paul’s perspective on his marshaling blog: kellyflag.blogspot.com/bathurst-12hr-2016.html

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One of the many delicious pub meals we got to share with fellow Marshals after track activities were over. The town of Bathurst has a number of pubs and an RSL to choose from to have proper Australian food like this Roast Lamb dish.
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Post event drink: Queensland’s XXXX beer… I got to do a brewery tour when I lived in Brisbane back in 2009.

I got lucky on so many levels working this year’s Bathurst 12 hour. The weather was amazing, it started out a little cool but towards the end of the week I was frying in direct sunlight, it was literally burning thru my jeans. The post assignment was perfect. The team I worked with was super. And all the friends I got to catch up with over the four day visit really makes me miss the whole experience already, can’t wait to return to Australia again… hopefully next time I’ll get to do something completely new like one of the street races around Gold Coast… hmm!

Postcard from Bathurst 12 Hour

G’day Australia!

When I decided to volunteer for the Bathurst 12 hour again, it was hard to contain my excitement through every step of the process, from planning to finally travelling there. And I have to admit that everything went exactly as planned, which made the trip that much more perfect.

One of the highlights of being at Bathurst 12h was being able to make the short walk from the campsite in the middle of the track to the paddock area and the pits where all the exotic machinery was being prepped for practice the following day. If you’re a fan of all the amazing GT3 race cars like I am, it was an awesome sight to see: the Bentley’s, the McLaren’s, Ferrari’s and Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS’s, the Porsche’s and some oddities like MARC Cars Australia Ford’s and Mazda’s as well as the new Cayman GT4 and Daytona.

So without further ado, here are some shots:

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Even the Safety Car and Course Cars were kitted up Benzes and Lexuses that you don’t normally see trackside.

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I had such a blast checking out all the garages, which by the way stayed open to the general public throughout the event. Even some late nights as we were driving back from dinner in town we could see spectators checking out the mechanics hard at work on the cars. Driving along the main straight to get to the campsite was a rather unique experience you don’t get at other circuits.

Mazda MX-5: 500+ Photo Road Trip – South Pacific Visiting MX-5 Owners in Australia, New Zealand & Cook Islands

Another year and another massive MX-5 Road Trip… this time to the South Pacific. I had the pleasure and privilege to visit the Mazda Roadster community  in Australia, New Zealand and kinda sorta in Rarotonga, the Cook Islands.

In this post I will share my experience from this trip including the contact info for the local clubs in each country as well as a few rental facilities that have MX-5’s to rent (or hire) on your next trip to paradise that is the Cook Islands. As with my Southeast Asia MX-5 Road Trip last year I will break down this post into individual threads that cover each experience separately:

South Pacific Miata Road Trip Overview

f-australiaMX-5 Shopping in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

f-australiaMX-5 Road Trip from Kirribilli to Balmoral, NSW, Australia

MX-5 Road Trip from Papakura towards Coromandel, NZ

MX-5 Hire Cars on Holiday in Rarotonga, Cook Islands


 

There’s no way I could possibly share all 500+ photos from this adventure but many of them are available for viewing on my facebook page. Some of the best shots are shared here with my commentary. I had such a blast on this trip I am extremely eager to start planning the next one.

So how did I go about arranging all the meets and events?

Simple. I researched the individual MX-5 groups and clubs through the Miata.net forum and Facebook.

In Australia I reached out to the MX-5 Club of New South Wales and specifically the Sydney Chapter which is a very active community of owners that meet up regularly for various club activities from dinners, cruises, racing and skidpads/drifting as well as major events like 50+ car meets and cruises around the country.

I met Jean Cook on my first day in Australia while traveling to Bathurst and just a few days later she embarked on a rather long journey down to Tasmania for a National MX-5 meet there that featured over 100 cars.

Special thanks to Jean Cook for giving me the opportunity to take some photos of her beautiful ND MX-5:

sydney mx-5 owner first order of business on the way to bathurst

The next thanks I want to give is to Cameron from Blue Mountains Mazda who sold Jean her ND. Cameron was nice enough to show me around the dealership on my way back to Sydney from Bathurst, I even brought an Aussie spec brochure back home from this visit:

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Huge thanks to Guy Cole for organizing the MX-5 cruise from Kirribilli to Balmoral where I got to meet the owners of at least 20 MX-5’s that showed up to this event. What a great experience that was. By the same token I would like to thank Chris Stacey for giving me a ride during the cruise in his beautiful red ND MX-5.

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In New Zealand I reached out to the MX-5 Club of New Zealand through the Miata.net forum and facebook. Their club also has major events around the North and South Islands. The last get together at the Auckland area Mazda dealer saw over 50 MX-5’s show up.

For my little event only two owners came along for the ride: Ralph and Lloyd, with Lloyd organizing the whole trip for me including a nice sunset dinner cruise with a fellow MX-5 owner from the Auckland harbour.

Thank you Ralph and Lloyd!

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In Rarotonga, Cook Islands I didn’t get a chance to actualy chat with any Miata owners. But I did source out a few places to rent one. Avis in Avarua apparently had a Green NC to rent but they wouldn’t let me see it before forking out $80/day to rent it. Too bad!

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This was definitely a trip of a lifetime and I’m totally looking forward to more trips like this in the future…

Bathurst 12 Hour Race Weekend for Miata Owners in the MX-5 Club of NSW

All of my hobbies are bound to converge when I arrive in Australia in a few weeks. I love to travel, and I’m getting an opportunity to do so flying to Sydney via Hawaii. I love Motorsport and the Bathurst 12h race is giving me an excuse to go to Australia. I love local foodie experiences and there will be plenty of them at the track. And I love meeting other MX-5 owners, and to my surprise there’s a good number of them in Sydney area and NSW at large.

I was lucky to come across a post from the local MX-5 Club in NSW inviting it’s members to come out and enjoy a weekend of racing at Mount Panorama for the Bathurst 12h…. what a coincidence that I’ll be there? Now I could plan my schedule so my free time is spent chasing after the local Miata owners and making new friends!

If you are local to NSW and for some weird reason not a member of their community yet (what? come on… how could that be?) consider joining the group and making your way to Bathurst to watch some cool cars go racing as well as a big group of fellow MX-5 owners hang out together. I know I’m looking forward to this the most!

Quoted from the MX-5 Club of NSW web site:

http://nsw.mx5.com.au/events/bathurst-12-hour-race-weekend2

Date
Sat 06 February 2016
Duration
2 days (06 February – 07 February)
Meet
McDonalds Panthers Club Mulgoa Rd, Penrith
Time
6:00am for a 6:20am start
Organiser
Joe Kovacic, 0403 106 012, jkovacic@netspace.net.au
Cost
$70 per car for weekend pass for two people

RSVP

Hello Fellow Race Enthusiasts!

The time has come around again where we need to register your interest to the upcoming Bathurst 12hr Production Car Race weekend of 6th to 7th Feb 2016.

Please note you have the option of attending this event for …

  1. All three days or
  2. Just Saturday or
  3. Saturday & Sunday

This year there will a Show & Shine event organised by Raceline Events with Judging and Trophies. There will also be an opportunity of participating in a Parade lap on Saturday.

Please find attached the event entry application form. Fill out and email a copy to myself and Raceline Events asap. A minimum of 10 MX-5s is required for this event to proceed.

Please note that early registration is vital and you need to book your own accommodation asap.

Any questions please feel free to email or call me.

Itinerary

Click here for a PDF of the itinerary.

Saturday
6:00am Meet at McDonalds Panthers Club Mulgoa Rd, Penrith
6:20am Depart Panthers Club for Mt Panorama, Bathurst
8:30am Arrive at Mt Panorama Harris Car Park, Bathurst
12:00pm Meet at Harris Car Park for parade lap briefing
12:30pm Car clubs parade lap behind pace car
5:25pm Racing concludes
7:00pm Meet at Kings Hotel, 60 George St for bistro dinner
Sunday
5:30am Meet at Mt Panorama Harris Car Park for club cars
5:55am 12hr Production Race starts
11:00am Meet at Harris Car Park for lunchtime tour to Orange
2:30pm Return to Mt Panorama for 12hr Race conclusion
3:00pm Raceline Show & Shine event Trophy Presentations
6:00pm Racing concludes

– See more at: http://nsw.mx5.com.au/events/bathurst-12-hour-race-weekend2#sthash.w2Q5S0tZ.dpuf

Mazda MX-5: Hey Sydney & NSW Miata Owners! Come Join Us for a Fish & Chips Run from Kirribilli to Balmoral

Dear friends in Australia, New South Wales, Sydney Area…  come join me and the MX-5 Club Sydney Chapter on a little fish & chips run from under the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Kirribilli to Balmoral.

The meet and greet was the idea of one of the Sydney MX-5 owners from the club, but I wanted to extend the invitation to anyone else finding this blog post on Google or whatever search engine you use. If you’re in Sydney and FREE Tuesday afternoon February 9th at 6pm you should totally come out and enjoy a beautiful sight of a bunch of Miatas and an American guy running around with his phone taking a million pictures.

Check out this link on facebook for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/204635939879450/

Apparently the Aussie MX-5 owners do this quite frequently, which makes me incredibly jealous because Miata meets in New Jersey are few and far between. But oh well…

I’d also like this opportunity to remind folks that I’ll be in Bathurst from February 4th to the 8th and I’m sure there will be a few MX-5 owners there, possibly doing a parade lap around the famous circuit.

I’m also a little slow on organizing a meet-up in Auckland, New Zealand so if anyone is interested from my Kiwi readers please get in touch and we’ll organize a nice get together in the CBD or one of the suburbs.

In addition to that I have had little success finding MX-5 owners in the Cook Islands, as I’ll be visiting Rarotonga for a few days at the end of my trip. Again… interested? Get in touch!

I’m so looking forward to this trip!!!

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