Tag Archives: Upstate New York

Most Un-NASCAR-Like Race at Watkins Glen the debrief

Greetings from the Glen! It’s NASCAR weekend and while the camp sites and the grand stands were all completely full (sold out some claimed) it was hard to believe that these were NASCAR races… Why? Because every driver, in each of the three series racing this weekend drove so professionally. It was a little hard to believe. I mean I don’t know much about NASCAR but if there’s one thing I’ve heard and seen talked about the series before is all it’s crashes. And there weren’t many. I saw a few nose to tail bumps, a couple of side to side contacts. A few spins. But that’s it. No major crashes. Hell, no minor crashes either. It was great to watch! Really spectacular racing with drivers in control of their cars ignoring the stereotypes. This was also the weekend that had the potential of seeing one of the first Monster Energy Cup events in the rain… and while the weather on Saturday had the potential for wet stuff, it really dissipated by Sunday and we had a picture perfect race.

I loved this weekend! I had such a blast.

First, huge thanks to RSI for the awesome station assignments again. I am super fortunate and blessed to get the views I was getting and for that I’m grateful!

Station 5A views, at Turn 5 exit of the Bus Stop

Station 2, at Turn 2 bottom of the Esses.

Both turns had a lot of potential for huge incidents. But instead we saw good clean racing. And that was neat!

I was super happy I got to hang out with some close friends over the weekend. Hit Watkins Glen downtown for some dinners. Enjoy the NASCAR atmosphere at the local pubs where drivers apparently served as bar tenders and free swag was given out. I was lucky to bring some of that swag home. That’s always a plus (not that I need any more swag).

Lucky for me, my buddy Chris from New Jersey came up to use my guest pass so I had an excuse to visit the infield for the first time (ever I think) during a NASCAR weekend. It was great to see sooo many people enjoying themselves. Checking out the displays, buying NASCAR gear, and having fun!

I loved the ambiance of it all.

And so another race in the books. This was probably the most clean NASCAR event I’ve ever worked. Which is a huge positive! I’m especially happy that for the Monster Energy Cup Series there was no Green/White/Checker routine everyone is so used to.

Thanks to NASCAR for putting on a great show. Thanks to Watkins Glen for being such an awesome facility. And thanks to RSI for making my volunteering enjoyable there!

See you next year.

Mazda MX-5 & RX-8 Bear Mountain and Seven Lakes Drive Winter Tires Cruise

Thanks to Chris for organizing another excellent Bear Mountain cruise this time featuring Mazda’s almost exclusively (there was a Toyobaru BRZ that infiltrated the group of all the RX-8’s and MX-5’s)

This day had all the ingredients of making a fantastic weekend! There were cool cars, cool roads, a little spirited driving and good food with friends. What more could one ask for?

Sleep… perhaps!

After the midnight finish of all the fluid flushes at Chris’s house out in western countryside of New Jersey I didn’t get home until 3am. Since the engine and transmission sounded different than before the flush I spend another hour or so researching what the proper technique is of checking the level on a sealed transmission. Went to sleep at 4:30am woke up at 6:30am to meet up with the group in Sloatsburg New York to go on a cruise organized by Chris.

I knew there would be some spirited driving involved so I was shitting bricks worried sick that I may damage the transmission. But all went well. I had to go because I had agreed to make my first Facebook facilitated purchase: a set of Bilstein shocks off of a 2012 NC2 Miata that would also be attending the event. And I really wanted to hang out with Chris in his MX-5, his brother Eric in his RX-8, Sakshik in his Miata and whomever else would show up. Luckily we had a good crowd in attendance reaching 10 cars at one point.

Enough talk, here’s the pix:

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I’m now the proud owner of a set of Bilsteins for my Miata!

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And this is the car they came out of at only 14,800 miles apparently!

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That’s a sweet looking ride!

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The last time I’ve seen so many RX-8’s was when they were racing with the Grand Am series.

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First stop at the top of Bear Mountain to add two more cars to the group. Another RX-8 and a Toyobaru BRZ.

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Lots and lots of bikes out today, was a really beautiful day for a ride!

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(apparently not part of our group… hmm!)

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Since there were a lot of hikers and bikers on the roads, many of our cruises were at a snail’s pace, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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Some poor biker flew off the road, luckily it wasn’t a steep cliff down

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Optimized parking at the Barnstormer BBQ joint…

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Pretty convenient maps showing all the interesting twisties especially geared at the bikers visiting the restaurant

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Last but not least the excellent food… finger lickin’ good!

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Sahlen’s Six Hour at the Glen 2016 the debrief

I’ve been doing the Sahlen’s Six Hour at the Glen since Grand Am ran the series in 2012, each year it’s different. This year was my best one yet. So many things went right. So many things made me happy, I can’t rant and rave enough about the experience… but I’ll try.

First things first. This was a four day event. Four pretty long and grueling days. I totally lucked out with my station assignments thanks to RSI boss Jim Wilbur. No I didn’t get to work Start, but for pro events where official IMSA starter does all the work anyway, I don’t really miss it. Instead I got to work Turn 6 in the Boot on Thursday, Turn 5A in the Bus Stop on Friday, Turn 1A on Saturday and Turn 1 on Sunday. Is it possible to get better assignments than these? I don’t think so.

As far as incidents went we didn’t have too many. I think of myself as the anti-magnet because whenever I work a station nothing happens and the next day things go to hell in a basket there real quick. But I wouldn’t complain about that. I do always tell the people I work with that if something is going to happen I would prefer for it to happen in front of us so at the very least we have the opportunity to learn from the incident. Things happened in a real big way on Friday when a Lamborghini Huracan smashed the wall while braking for the Bus Stop… the car did a 360 sending debris flying everywhere, the left rear wheel assembly ended up landing in the duck pond. And as soon as the car stopped it lit on fire. The driver walked away OK but I was most impressed with how the IMSA Porsche SUV driving safety crew put out the relatively large fire using just the car’s internal extinguisher system. That was really cool!

For the rest of the days I was limited to watching cars go 4 off in our corner or at the most spin. Which was OK… I wasn’t too happy to see the #55 spin at Turn 1 on race day because I was hoping the Le Mans heritage livery car would do well, but predictably the Daytona Prototypes won and that was a bit of a bummer for the otherwise good weekend. But what are gonna do?

I’m thrilled that RSI has been open to the idea of letting SCCA marshals from other places volunteer. I got to work with folks I had worked with a few weeks earlier at Detroit Grand Prix visiting Upstate New York from Michigan. Ron came to satisfy his bucket list quest form California. There was someone from Maryland, another lady from Ontario. It was very well staffed. The IMSA folks were very happy with the quality of calls on the radio, until of course the very last day when a few people fumbled their calls. It doesn’t take much to make a mistake though, I’ve done quite a few working comms on Thursday and Friday. But it was good practice.

The highlight of my trip of course was seeing all the Mazda stuff. Mazda as a company and Mazda Motorsports as a participant committed in a big way to their product during the visit to Watkins Glen. There was significant presence not just with the Mazda Owner’s Lounge in the infield, but also the Test Drive display on the outside of Turn 1. I kind of wished I had more time to take a new ND Miata for a spin around the old Watkins Glen Grand Prix street circuit. Drive past Seneca Lodge and all… But it didn’t happen.

I did get to meet a ton of Mazda people though. And we were lucky enough to stumble onto the Team photo shoot in progress on Day 1. I remember hearing someone from the team saying that despite the photos being released the next day he was sure they were already on Facebook. I posted mine at that moment. I figured if they wanted to keep this stuff secret they would undoubtedly shooo us off or even call security for assistance but nobody said a peep.

I got a ton of swag from Mazda… mostly lanyards I plan to take with me to Europe for the MX-5 Miata Euro Trip (Holland, Germany, Belgium and France). But while working I noticed photographers wearing a very cool Le Mans heritage lanyard… I had to have it. And to make a long story short I approached one of the Mazda big wigs at their paddock area and the guy took it off his neck and gave it to me just because I volunteer as a corner worker. I thought that was bloody tops! Nobody else in that paddock would give you the shirt of their backs, so to speak, but this dude did, and I thank him for it! Furthermore, one of the photographers I asked about it on Thursday made it a point to go and find me on Sunday just to give me another one. I thought that was really cool, and gave him a million thanks too! What a pleasant experience all around.

After nine weekends in a row at various race tracks and two trips to WGI back to back I am ready to take a little break from racing now.

Of course my next trip is just a week away going to Europe to marshal my 15th country (the Netherlands), work the GP circuit at Nurburgring and do another year at Spa-Francorchamps for Spa 24h. I can hardly wait, actually!

Woo Hoo….

 

PS. speaking of Europe, I was fortunate enough to see and watch the original 1991 Le Mans 24h winning Mazda 787B go around Circuit de la Sarthe during the 2013 Le Mans 24h race (where I was for the first time) and the current SpeedSource interpretation, while inspired by the original is nothing really like it… But it’s nice to see.

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I especially like to see this line: Never Give Up!  I will one day apply that principle to my job search!

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Compared to:

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SCCA Majors Super Tour at the Glen the debrief

This is weekend 8 out of 9 in a row (second month straight) volunteering for a Motorsport event around the US where I’ve driven to the circuit. Watkins Glen International was playing host to Majors Super Tour for SCCA Club Racing. On paper it was supposed to be a spectacular event, but in reality things were brought down a few pegs real quick. I’ll share the good the bad and the ugly in this post.

First the good. And there was a lot of good happening. The weather was good! That’s always a plus. The car turn out was good, there were tons of cars in each field, and by tons I mean high twenties were the smallest field. I counted upwards of forty cars in some fields. The station assignments were good. I got to work some of the best stations there are at WGI and it was really enjoyable. The food was good. SCCA Glen Region offered tasty lunches and some finger foods at dinner time which was very much appreciated. My car got good gas mileage using Sunoco Ultra 93, that was good.

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Next, the bad. While I enjoyed my assignments very much it wasn’t really what I requested. I was hoping to practice working Start a bit more and it didn’t seem like that request was even up for consideration. But I guess it pays to be persistent. Another bad thing was the fact that despite advertising (pictures included) some amazing cars that were supposed to be at the track this weekend, they didn’t actually show up. That’s not good at all. But both of these bad things I could live with.

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And finally, the ugly! Some of the racing was pretty ugly. I don’t know what it was that made so many people have so many avoidable incidents. In fact for club racing it was very much uncharacteristic to have so many bad wrecks, but I think people were encouraged a bit too much to set new track records on the newly re-paved racing surface so they pushed their cars way beyond their driving abilities. We had multiple incidents where cars were destroyed badly, whether in single car incidents or multi car incidents. The crashes started happening on Test day Thursday long before any official racing could take place on Friday. It was so unnecessary. At one point a piece of ARMCO had to be replaced delaying one race group for a whole day because of the severity of the impact. There were several cars going airborne. One flipped over, another flew over second car. The racing was dirty, and at some points dangerous… especially when drivers involved ran on the track to scold the other driver. Luckily nobody got seriously hurt but a lot of private cars will have to undergo major reconstruction to be in a position to race again.

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I’m sure people would think that crashes are good for spectators and to make time fly faster for the marshals because something exciting is happening. But in reality all that contributed to was shorter racing, way too much downtime and reduced fields of cars per group. The attrition rate was atrocious. And that’s no fun.

But anyway. Both Glen Region SCCA and RSI folks did an awesome job of making me feel welcome. We had a visitor from San Fran Region in California that felt very welcome too. I got to use my tent to camp at the RSI compound which was very convenient.

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I also got to drive on track to get to my station assignment on Saturday, that is always enjoyable!

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Got to see a ton of Miata’s though I’m most interested in the NC – 3rd Gen model, and there were only a few of those, including this car with PA plates that must have belonged to one of the SCCA Stewards. (NC3 Club Edition)

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The last time I saw this NC racer it was a decomissioned IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge car, now it has gone some serious upgrades:

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All in all an awesome weekend, and I was definitely missing out by not volunteering Club events in the past. Though I wish there would be a little more consistency in the future. The only thing that was consistent this weekend, was the great food!

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After 500 miles put on my car this weekend I’ll be repeating the trip again next weekend to do the IMSA Six Hour at the Glen.

Post Card from SCCA Majors at the Glen

This weekend had the potential to go to shit but I’m so glad it didn’t and everything went as smoothly as possible turning into quite an enjoyable few days at an iconic track flagging awesome race cars.

The reason I signed up for this event was because I was anticipating a few interesting Miata’s to be racing this weekend. Cars that actually didn’t turn up. Specifically, I saw on the MotorsportReg registration page several NC (third generation) MX-5 race cars, ones without a front windshield and a huge roll cage sticking out over the area where the driver sits. None of the NC’s of this type showed up. There were however several NA’s and NB’s racing in this spec so I got to see at least some Miata’s as well as BMW Z3 and a few other cars, but not what I was hoping for.

Having worked Start for an SCCA event at Lime Rock the weekend before I figured I’d be slick about it, and since the Glen Region SCCA was recruiting marshals through MotorsportReg, I signed up that way (instead of going through RSI like I normally would to work at WGI) ticking off Start as my desired role. But I don’t think anyone at the Glen Region paid any attention to what I actually signed up for, because I didn’t make it anywhere near the Starter stand.

Luckily for me though the assignments I got were kick-ass! Jim Wheeler the new flag chief of the Glen Region did an awesome job. I was very satisfied with what I got considering there were at least 6 starters on the starter stand this weekend. So competing with all of them would have been far less fun… plus at least all of my station assignments had shade over the gazebo we worked from, so it worked out in my favor. I got to work Station 7B (which is in the boot and is a black flag station) for Friday, Station 6 which is at the entry to the Book on Saturday and Station 3 which is at the top of the Esses for Race Day on Sunday.

I’m as happy as could be!  (got good station assignments, had awesome coworkers for the weekend, enjoyed the company off track, and there was great variety of cars in huge fields racing).

Here’s some pix:

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View from the Top of the Esses, new Turn #3

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The Spec Miata Post-Race:

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More to come later…

Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Race at Watkins Glen International May 2016

Once I saw the schedule for the brand spanking new Global Mazda MX-5 Cup I quickly signed up to marshal it. Immediately following the debut at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last week, the Series tracked across the country to Upstate New York for their second race of the season at Watkins Glen playing a support role to the NARRA and Trans Am series.

I’ve been a huge fan of the Playboy MX-5 Cup which I credit with the reason for my buying an NC Miata of my own. Since I’ve been using my car as a marshaling rig to travel to various circuits including Watkins Glen International, Thompson Speedway in New England and even a trip down to Florida for St. Pete GP and Sebring 12 hour earlier this year where I visited Long Road Racing on the way home in North Carolina. The reason I mention LRR is because they make all the cars (hand built) that participate in this Global MX-5 Cup series and those parallel ones that happen around the world. Who’d thunk it?

The new Global MX-5 Cup cars are incredible and the field is huge pushing over 40 cars on the grid which almost guarantees incidents and accidents. Thanks also to the rain that blessed us this weekend there was a ton of cars that crashed including a major smash-up right under the start stand when the green flag was thrown. I was super privileged to work as a Starter this weekend and was amazed to see all the cars on pit lane staging for their race. I also got to work turn 7 where the cars were taking the fairly sharp turn at over 60mph which seems incredible to me.

Enough talking and here’s some photos from the paddock walk I did on Thursday as the cars were unloaded… the hardest part was selecting the pictures to share as I took hundreds of them…

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The first car I saw was plain vanilla… body in white.

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But the rest were like Skittles, all colors of the rainbow!

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Check facebook for more pictures from this event. Amazing event!!!

I loved it!

PS. Even the Pace Car was a new ND MX-5 Miata:

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Mazda Road to 24 – #MRT24

Postcard from SCCA Pro Trans Am, F1600, F2000 & Formula Atlantic at Watkins Glen Int’l

One of the most fun weekends I’ve had volunteering at Watkins Glen International was this weekend working the Trans Am race and all the support series that came along, including one I was most interested to see, the Global MX-5 Cup (I’ll write about it separately)

The HUUUUUGE fields of Trans Am cars was really surprising and very much impressive. I remember the last Trans Am race I did at Lime Rock a few years ago… we had maybe a dozen cars with most of them being TA2 Camaros and Mustangs and just a few TA1 Corvettes which couldn’t put any power down due to rain. This time around there was a huge field of TA1’s… and even a bigger TA2 field. So big that TA2 had a race of their own with about 20+ cars participating… there was a similar size field with the rest of Trans Am pairing TA cars with TA3 BMW’s, TA4 Porsches and even TA5 cars. How incredibly cool!!!

The support series were SCCA Pro or maybe Club Racing: Formula 1600, Formula 2000 and Formula Atlantics open wheelers. To me the Formula Atlantic cars is exactly what formula cars should look like, I wish IndyCar still resembled that look without all the silly bumpers and billboard size front wings.

But enough talk, here’s the pix:

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scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 3 viper

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 4 formula 1600

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 5 formula 1600

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 6 formula atlantic

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 7 formula 1600

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 8 formula 1600

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scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 10 trans am

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 11 trans am

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 12 trans am

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 13 trans am

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 14 formula atlantic

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 14a formula atlantic

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 15 formula continental

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 16 formula continental

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 17 forula 2000

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 18 engines

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 19 trans am corvette

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 20 trans am corvette

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 21 trans am corvette

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 22 trans am mustang

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 23 camaro

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 24 challenger

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 24a challenger

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 25 challenger

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 26 cadillac

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 27 cadillac

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 28 camaro

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 29 mustang

scca pro weekend at watkins glen international trans am f1600 f2000 formula atlantic 30 mustang

I was so impressed with the Trans Am cars I cannot rant and rave more about them… the whole Starter stand rumbled and shook when the big field of cars came full blast under us… What a feeling!

PS. the Trans Am field is as American as apple pie, with TA2 Mustang, Camaro and Challenger dominating the fields with a big battle between Ford, Chevy and Dodge… but I was also happy to see Trans Am BMW and Porsche kicking ass… the cars were former Grand Am and IMSA Continental Tire Series cars refurbished for this purpose and they fit in quite nicely.

Worked my First “Pro” Event as a Starter at NARRA / Trans Am / Global MX-5 Cup Weekend at Watkins Glen Int’l

Woo Hoo! I still can’t believe it but I was lucky enough to work the starter stand for my first pro event weekend at Watkins Glen Int’l.

My goal for this weekend was just to watch the Global MX-5 Cup race for their second stop on the 2016 calendar after Laguna Seca last week. I knew I would have fun flagging but I couldn’t even imagine they would allow me to work the Starter stand… but they did and a big thanks to Jim Wilbur for giving me the opportunity. I certainly greatly appreciate it!

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I have to say I was a bit nervous because my only prior experience was working some club racing at Thompson Speedway and I had made a few hiccups during that day. But this time I was ready to learn on the go and it was a lot of fun doing it. The atmosphere was a lot more relaxed to my surprise. Things went pretty naturally and my training from Thompson Speedway paid dividends. I was in good hands on Friday and thought that was going to be it… I figured the locals would not want to see an outsider taking such a spot away from one of them and that I’d be put back on F&C roster the next day… which is exactly what happened. I got to work Turn 7 which was a blast in itself because it allowed me the opportunity to do a few laps around the newly repaved circuit while getting to my post. But on Sunday I got a surprise of a lifetime… I was back on Start! Woo Hoo!!!

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Friday was a very wet and rainy day… I went from wearing shorts driving up to the track on Thursday to wearing few layers plus my rain gear on Friday but it was still bearable. On Sunday though the weather took a turn for the worse… the temps were in the 30’s! The four layers I had on were insufficient, I was absolutely frozen, and for the end of the Trans Am race at the end of the day we had snow flurries coming in waves… it was absolutely nuts!

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I was thrilled with the opportunity to work on the Start / Finish stand, so much so I would love to do it again in the future. The view of the pit lane across from us gave you a good vision of what was happening throughout the race. We had to keep track of incidents around the track also and display the appropriate penalty flags, etc. I loved it!

The best thing about working start was going up to use the race control bathroom which felt like a steam room being either heated too much or it was just that cold outside. The views from Race Control were amazing, you could see most of the track up there. Parking under the front straight grand stand was convenient also, sure didn’t worry much about getting stuck in the grass like at turn 7. What a tremendous experience this was!

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Postcard from the North American Road Racing Association Weekend at Watkins Glen Int’l

What a trip… I was really looking forward to this visit to Watkins Glen International for a brand new-to-me series: NARRA – North American Road Racing Association:  USGT racing which shared the weekend with some SCCA Pro big guns including Trans Am, Formula 1600, Formula 2000, Formula Atlantic, and Global MX-5 Cup (the one series I really wanted to see, and will post about separately).

I’ll try to write a little debrief later, but for now I’d like to share some pictures from my paddock walk on Thursday… what an amazing experience that was! Really happy I got a chance to see all those awesome cars, lots of Dodge Viper ACR’s (American Club Racers), Ford Mustangs, Aston Martin DB9, Chevy Corvette, and even a few MX-5 Miatas including a NB and a NC.

north american road racing association at watkins glen international 2 dodge viper acr gt1

north american road racing association at watkins glen international 3 dodge viper

north american road racing association at watkins glen international 4 aston martin gt4

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north american road racing association at watkins glen international 6 ford mustang

The curious thing about the Mazda MX-5 Miata (NC) racing with this group it was labeled as “GT3” class. Which I thought was very optimistic… until I saw it passing the Chevy Corvette and a Dodge Viper during the race…. which made me say “DAAAAMMM!” The car itself still had the door number stickers form the series it normally runs in which is SCCA Pro: Pirelli World Challenge TCA class… and I always thought that TCA class were moderately stock 2.0 Liter Miata’s with some heavy-duty upgrades like race suspension, roll cage, exhaust, etc. To see it blow away a Vette and a Viper into Turn 7 was amazing!

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As hard as it tried it was unable to catch the Gulf livery Aston Martin

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The Viper ACR’s running in GT1 and GTX class were impressive too!

Mazda MX-5: Road Trip to Bear Mountain New York

I’ve finally gone and done it… I went for a drive in the Miata around the famous Bear Mountain State Park (*topless), and it was awesome! The experience of driving around Bear Mountain is legendary in this region of the country for a variety of reasons, and with it being less than an hour from where I live this could have/and should have been done sooner… but there was a number of factors that kept on postponing my trip. Some folks in the Miata facebook group have organized two Bear Mountain runs this year since I’ve been following the page, and sadly I couldn’t join because of work commitments over the weekend. But a simple request from a fellow Malaysian marshal before my trip back to Southeast Asia made me use the opportunity of driving Upstate New York to reroute home via the wonderful state park with all it’s twisty roads and amazing bird’s eye views of the Hudson River and the Catskills that surround it. The request was for a t-shirt from Orange County Choppers.

mazda mx-5 orange county choppers newburgh ny

mazda mx-5 orange county choppers new york

mazda mx-5 orange county choppers

I have to admit I don’t watch the show: Orange County Choppers though I know what it is because of various TV promos or clips I’ve seen of it on the Internet. I always thought those guys were from Orange County in California or something, because let’s face it… who rides choppers in New York (I know, plenty of people do, despite only a few months of decent riding weather). But there it was, and the location took me by surprise, because you can clearly see the Hangar from the New York Thruway, the way I took to go to Lime Rock and other New England circuits several times a year for the past few years (and never noticed it). Always learn something new. I’ve also driven right past the shop on my way to SWF – Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, NY which is an incredibly convenient place to fly down to South Florida especially since there’s none of the hustle and bustle (and delays) of the other three of NYC’s major airports. The airport is direclty behind O.C.C. Anyway, I went in, bought a t-shirt, took a few pictures and was off to my desired destination: Bear Mountain!

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I used to frequent Bear Mountain back in my Crown Vic days when I helped organize several SVT cruises to the region. I’ve been to Bear Mountain Inn for Oktoberfest and another time taking CouchSurfers up for a little time away from their touristy visits to NYC. But it was my first time driving the Miata around the twisties, with the top down, and I loved it. (Even though in this late November season it was pretty damn cold). I must have missed the beautiful fall foliage by at least a month or so. But going there on a Tuesday morning meant there was me and maybe five other people visiting the park, so I basically had it all to myself. I could pull over to take a few pictures. And the views of the Hudson River and Bear Mountain Bridge below were basically unobstructed by the barren trees. It was perfect. And I took a ton of pictures.

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Now I’d like to go back in the summer time when the area looks completely different, mainly having the trees in luscious green cover and the sun beaming down on the river below. Definitely this post will serve as a reminder to return to Bear Mountain next summer.

Meanwhile enjoy the pix!

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