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Things Never Go as Planned. It’s Just Elemental.
Submitted by Rich Loney
If you've been a member of Northern Ohio Chapter for any period of time, you may have read a few of my ramblings back in 2010 about my oldest son Ryan's quest for the holy Grail of young adulthood, a driver's permit. You may also have read about my somewhat obsessive search to find him that "perfect" first car, wielding my smart phone and the craigslist app. If you have time to burn, these and other articles from all contributing writers are posted to www.nohiocbmwcca.org. Now, jump forward to 2014 and it's son number two, Kyle, who has grabbed that learner's permit golden ring. Man, time flies! That "Life comes at you fast" commercial where the attractive young lady watches her equally attractive young boyfriend jump in one end of the pool and emerge from the other end as a weathered and worn 70-year-old man is so spot on!
Kyle will be 16-years- old on May fifth (Cinco de Kyle, as it's known around Casa Loney). Ohio law states that drivers-to-be must get their temporary permits 6 months prior to taking the road test. So, the multi-part plan was set in motion. Part One: Take Kyle to the local DMV on November 5 for his temporary driver's permit, providing me with a leisurely 180 days to embark upon my online safari effort to hunt down and bag that rare, low-mile trophy vehicle.
So, test day comes and Kyle passes the written exam with flying colors; part one of the plan is accomplished. (Truth be told, he got down to the final question with no more wrong answers available, suddenly creating for himself a high-pressure pass-or-fail exam. Good for him, I say! Those are the types of situations that build one's character!)
Part Two of the plan was scheduled for January. Enroll Kyle in the local drivers' school. Things were going beautifully! With all the days off school, due to bad weather, he was able to burn through the in-class sessions without missing any homework or after school football workouts.
Oh, and making things better, I had just downloaded an updated version of my craigslist app, so Part Three, "Big-Game Online Vehicle Safari, The Sequel," would commence as scheduled with no timeline pressure whatsoever. The plan was rolling out so flawlessly, that I was beginning to strain my shoulder muscles from patting myself on my back.
What's that you say? Hadn't I totally forgotten that you never ever taunt the "I-have-a-plan gods?" Yes, indeed, I got sloppy. I let my guard down, and that's when it happened. The family and I were headed to yet another of my son's basketball/football/game/practice/scrimmages (you pick; they all blur together) when we drove by my buddy Steve's auto care shop. Sitting way in the corner of his lot was a Rallye Red Honda Element with a greasy thumb stained "For Sale" sign in the front window.
My brain synapses trigger in rapid-fire succession. Honda reliability, check. All-wheel drive, check. Larger safer size, check. Being sold by a trusted party, check. But what about "The Plan?" It was only January and "the K-man" didn't need wheels for another 5 months! Then I thought to myself, no worries. The seller is probably asking way too much for the Honda and I bet is has 200K on the clock. So, I call Steve to get the skinny on the big red box-of-a-car on his lot (a now very trendy vehicle style). Turns out the car belonged to his niece who graduated college and moved out of town a few months back. Since it was no longer needed, Steve's brother-in-law wanted to get it out if his driveway. So, the "why it's on the market" side of the equation made solid sense. Steve, being the car's caretaker, had years of documented serviced records, so the mechanical history checked out as well. As did the mileage; this '05 Element had logged a low 78K in the past 9 years. Best of all, it was priced several thousand under book value.
So, without a single online search, I jumped on it and in early January the "Kylemobile" was added to our stable of vehicles. Best of all, I'm now experiencing a "Holy Grail" moment of my own. I waxed the jet black paint on my 135i, carefully rolled on the car cover, and parked her in the garage, because, for the first time in my life, I officially have a "winter beater!" At least, until Cinco de Mayo rolls around.
Well it’s racing season, 2014
Submitted by Bob Perritt
Finally, the race season is about to begin in our region! Or is it? I know I should have done the ice racing at Mosport (Canada). Looks like those conditions might be here for the start of the season. How does one practice for that? Easy, buy a beater 5-speed for the winter and have a blast! Oops, my beater turned into a Chumpcar this winter. Anyone selling a '94 or '95 BMW, let me know. Wait! Well, maybe. Yes, I'm an addict. Can't have too many BMW's (four), but one's mama's car; that is, it's a street car—for now (ha-ha!)
We weren't able to make Winterfest Sebring this year (close to being ready, but not quite). We were actually installing new suspension in #57 along with a few other things—you know, that off-season stuff. Working on the car is fun but driving is so much better, so missing track time, we do the next best thing: IRacing!
IRacing is live practice, time trails, qualifying and racing on the computer with other people. One's simulator could consist of three screens, computer, steering wheel (of course) with paddle shifter or manual stick and pedals. One can practice heel/toe and left foot braking without destroying your car. Well, you do destroy your car on IRacing, but it gets fixed for free and quickly—just hit the escape button, and you're back in the pits. Too many crashes get you kicked out--kinda. They start you out with a rookie's license in a Miata. Once you have enough points built up by not having accidents or going off track, you get bumped up to class D (classes A-D). Now, your skill rating comes into play and you get to race with other people with similar skill levels. Once you have been classed, you get to purchase different cars (really fast ones) and time on different tracks. I tried to run tracks on which we plan to race this year to keep current with layouts. You want to be able to close your eyes (while not driving) and visualize the track turn by turn. Track layout is something you need to know like the back of your hand: No second guessing where the next apex is.
We did a track in Japan and it was a blast; some of my friends found me practicing and joined. We ended up racing for 4 hours that night (until about 2:30 a.m.). One of the guys hosted an event at VIR for a couple of hours and we got to run GT3s. Talk about fast! That car and that track were fast! FYI, VIR did repave their track and we hear it's even faster this year. Sorry, back to practice, practice, and more practice. A saying here is: "Perfect practice makes for better more often!" So, the practice we get from IRacing helps keep our eyes up, coordination in tune, and our adrenal spiked.
I just spent time racing at Summit Point— IRacing, of course. The hosted event actually got setup with foggy conditions. I was not sure how that was going to play out, but it sounded like a great way to test myself on knowing the track. There were many obstacles (crashed cars) on track; I was able to participate incident-free. Glad I knew this track well.
Back to preparing your car. IRacing gives you the ability to adjust ride height, camber, caster, toe, spring rate and shock settings for each track. It's not the same as your car, because you can't feel what the car is doing, but, after your session, you can view your laps and everyone else's. In this way, you can see what those changes might have created for you. And it keeps you thinking about your racing setup in the off season.
So, in the off season, you still need to be focused—keyword is "focused"—on what your car needs. Take the time to go over every item on your car. Something as simple as a brake light switch failure can keep you out of a race. So, develop your check list and abide by it. Have a spare parts box or two, carry those nuts and bolts. You might not need them, but the guy you are racing with that weekend might. That's what we do at the track—keep all of us racing together. That's what's it all about: Racing with your friends and being safe.
See you at the track, Bob #57
2014 the Detroit Auto Show Wrap-up
Our 9th bus trip to the NAIAS departed from the Independence Holiday Inn on January 19, 2014 with an enthusiastic load of NOCBMWCCA members and friends. The trip did not disappoint. In addition to the huge variety of domestic and import manufacturers in attendance, BMW unveiled their new 235i Coupe.
Submitted by Brian Nawrocki, NOCBMWCCA president
I'm writing to you fresh off a trip to Las Vegas for the SEMA show (see my editorial on Page 11), then over to California where I added a 2002 X5 to our fleet of cars. This one is for my wife, though. The extra room should help facilitate her transition from super mom to soccer mom in a safe and roomy mode of transportation. By now you are asking why buy a car so far away? In California BMWs are as plentiful as Hondas are here; only, you can get a 12-year-old or older car whose body and chassis look like they just rolled off the assembly line. As we all know, a well-maintained BMW will run for many hundreds of thousands of miles, provided the body holds up. Excluding my 135, our last three BMWs have been driven home from NorCal. To thin the herd, we will be selling Little Neillo, Josie's 325i, in the spring.
During our November board meeting we discussed a plethora of issues including the Holiday Party, Mid-Ohio in March and May, and the continuation of our hard-copy newsletter. As I stated in our last newsletter, it's slim pickens in the treasury department. Rest assured the board is assessing each expenditure in order to keep bringing you events like our Holiday Party at Tangiers this year, as well as how we are going to pull off driving events at Mid-Ohio next season.
Look for a poll out soon about the continuation of our paper newsletter. It costs us upwards of $3 grand per quarter to print and mail news letters to our constituents. This cost is under heavy scrutiny as we try to manage a shrinking treasury. So, please respond to the poll as you should receive the opportunity to voice your opinions via an email coming shortly. Please consider rising postage costs as you vote whether to continue on with the print edition.
As for the driving events, we are working behinds the scenes to prepare for a Memorial Day HPDE and Club Race. Details and registration will follow, so check the web site and motorsport.reg for registration.
That is all I have for now. Please feel free to get involved with the club events! You are welcome to join any board meeting, providing you are a current club member, and we are always looking for dedicated volunteers to help facilitate our driving schools and social events. Remember that the Northern Ohio Chapter BMWCCA is more than just about BMWs, it's about the friendships and camaraderie we have all learned to cherish at each of our affairs.