Scenic Drive – Summer 2020

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Hosted by NJ Chapter, DelVal Chapter, and TriState 5ers

Members of the NJ Chapter participated in a family-friendly scenic drive on July 12th over the winding backroads of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Morris counties. The 60-mile long scenic drive, which began and ended at the Hills Village Center in Bedminster, attracted both long-time members and members for whom this was their first chapter event. The event was co-hosted by the NJ Chapter, DelVal Chapter, and the TriState 5ers group to raise funds for NORWESCAP, a not-for-profit organization that provides social services to low-income families in northwest New Jersey.

Attendees who arrived early to grab a coffee before heading out on the scenic drive were treated to an appearance of a very rare 2002 Touring model which did a quick lap of the parking lot to check out more than 30 BMWs across a range of generations and models that gathered at the shopping center in Bedminster. The limitations on activities in place at the time of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic required all attendees to wear facemasks and adopt social distancing, but neither prevented the group from enjoying the beautiful weather and exploring scenic backroads of central New Jersey.

The convoy headed out from the shopping center and followed the leader (and Google Maps turn-by-turn directions) over winding backroads past the former estate of American auto executive John DeLorean in Bedminster and along the Lamington River in Pottersville en route to Long Valley Pub & Restaurant for lunch. Long Valley Pub & Restaurant accommodated the drivers and passengers with a designated parking area for the group along with a tasty menu of pub favorites served al fresco in the expanded outdoor seating area.

After lunch, the group headed back towards Bedminster on a meandering route over the windy backroads of Chester, Gladstone, and Mendham before taking a quick pause at the Jockey Hollow National Historical Park visitor center to allow the stragglers to re-group. From Jockey Hollow, the group continued onward Summer 2020 New Jersey BMW CCA Bulletin into Harding where the group leader had a near-miss with a groundhog that had wandered into the roadway. Keeping your eyes up isn’t just good practice while driving at the racetrack. Thankfully, the group leader and the cars immediate behind him were able to dodge the obstruction and the marmot scurried back to relative safety in the brush alongside the road.

The group traversed the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge without any further wildlife encounters and passed through Long Hill, Millington, and Bernardsville before returning to the Hills Village Center in Bedminster

Club Happenings – Summer 2020: Scenic Drive Hosted by NJ Chapter, DelVal Chapter, and TriState 5ers

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Members of the NJ Chapter participated in a family-friendly scenic drive on July 12th over the winding backroads of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Morris counties. The 60-mile long scenic drive, which began and ended at the Hills Village Center in Bedminster, attracted both long-time members and members for whom this was their first chapter event. The event was co-hosted by the NJ Chapter, DelVal Chapter, and the TriState 5ers group to raise funds for NORWESCAP, a not-for-profit organization that provides social services to low-income families in northwest New Jersey.

Attendees who arrived early to grab a coffee before heading out on the scenic drive were treated to an appearance of a very rare 2002 Touring model which did a quick lap of the parking lot to check out more than 30 BMWs across a range of generations and models that gathered at the shopping center in Bedminster. The limitations on activities in place at the time of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic required all attendees to wear facemasks and adopt social distancing, but neither prevented the group from enjoying the beautiful weather and exploring scenic backroads of central New Jersey.

Meeting at the Hills Village Center in Bedminster.
Photo by Rich Altman

The convoy headed out from the shopping center and followed the leader (and Google Maps turn-by-turn directions) over winding backroads past the former estate of American auto executive John DeLorean in Bedminster and along the Lamington River in Pottersville en route to Long Valley Pub & Restaurant for lunch. Long Valley Pub & Restaurant accomodated the drivers and passengers with a designated parking area for the group along with a tasty menu of pub favorites served al fresco in the expanded outdoor seating area.

Eye’ll see you at the Long Valley Pub & Restaurant.
Photo by Wade Howard
Taking a break on the scenic drive.
Photo by Wade Howard

After lunch, the group headed back towards Bedminster on a meandering route over the windy backroads of Chester, Gladstone, and Mendham before taking a quick pause at the Jockey Hollow National Historical Park visitor center to allow the stragglers to re-group. From Jockey Hollow, the group continued onward into Harding where the group leader had a near-miss with a groundhog that had wandered into the roadway. Keeping your eyes up isn’t just good practice while driving at the racetrack. Thankfully, the group leader and the cars immediate behind him were able to dodge the obstruction and the marmot scurried back to relative safety in the brush alongside the road.

The group traversed the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge without any further wildlife encounters and passed through Long Hill, Millington, and Bernardsville before returning to the Hills Village Center in Bedminster.

Seeing the variety of BMWs driving past attracted honks from other drivers, waves from pedestrians, and even a new participant who joined in on the fun after seeing all of us drive past his home. All-in-all, it was the perfect weather and gave everyone a chance to get out, enjoy their cars, and make some new friends.

Stay safe and we are excited to see everyone at upcoming events!

Club Happenings – Summer 2020: Scenic Drive Through Delaware Water Gap hosted by eMpower Automotive, Convenience Collision & Auto Repair, and TriState5ers

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Do you like BMWs, locally-brewed craft beer, and windy country roads? On June 14th, NJ chapter members participated in a scenic drive through the Delaware Water Gap with stops at three local breweries co-hosted by eMpower Automotive, Convenience Collision & Auto Repair, and the TriState5ers group to support local businesses and raise funds for Good Will Fire Company No. 1 in Belvidere.

Restrictions on indoor activities and social gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic in place at the time of the event required some flexibility, but all of the attendees were happy to make those minor accomodations in order to enjoy the beautiful weather and explore the picturesque country roads of the Delaware Water Gap in their BMWs. The approximately 100-mile long scenic drive began at eMpower Automotive in Belvidere, where approximately 40 BMWs including 2002’s, 750iLs, and a strong showing of 5-Series models from the E28, E34, and E39 generations in both bone stock and heavily modified forms queued up for the drive.

Approximately 40 BMWs including 2002’s, 750iLs, and E28, E34, and E39 5-Series models participated in the scenic drive.
Photo by Taylor Youngblood

From eMpower’s location in Belvidere, the convoy of BMWs (and a handful of BMW owners and enthusiasts who dusted off their classic American iron for the drive) headed west past Good Will Fire Company No. 1, and over the Delaware River into Pennsylvania for the first stop of the scenic drive at Bangor Trust Brewing in Bangor. At Bangor Trust Brewing, the group was welcomed with a selection of their tasty craft beers brewed using organic grist, homegrown hops, and locally-sourced ingredients, including their signature PigEarth ESB and Weizenhiemer Weissebier brews. Beverages had to be served ‘to go’ in glass growlers, but that didn’t prevent us from enjoying the historic downtown architecture along Broadway which provided a terrific background for photos of our cars.

Entering downtown Bangor on the way to Bangor Trust Brewing.
Photo by Taylor Youngblood
My posse’s on Broadway .. in downtown Bangor.
Photo by Taylor Youngblood
Taking over the historic downtown during the first stop on the scenic drive in Bangor.
Photo by Rich Altman

After enjoying the refreshments and scenery, the group headed back across the Delaware River to New Jersey and picked up scenic NJ Route 94 to our second stop at Buck Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Blairstown. The second stop offered all of the participants a chance to grab a farm-to-table lunch and sample Buck Hill’s unique locally-inspired beers made from locally-produced ingredients served ‘to go’ in the restaurant’s parking lot, as well as more socializing with other BMW owners and enthusiasts outdoors while enjoying the sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s.

Mike Scalice’s classic 5-Series at showing off its kinky side (as in Hofmeister kink) at the Buck Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Blairstown.
Photo by Rich Altman
A line-up of classic 5-Series outside the Buck Hill Brewery & Restaurant.
Photo by Taylor Youngblood

After lunch, the group continued north on NJ Route 94 and US Route 206 to Angry Erik Brewing in Hampton Township to sample their variety of craft beers and another opportunity to display their vehicles in the brewery’s parking lot. The brewers at Angry Erik Brewing have been prolific while the tasting room has had to remain closed due to restrictions on indoor activities and social gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have more than 15 varieties of tasty traditional American and Belgian style ales available ‘to go’ in cans and growlers, including their own variety of “All Together” IPA derived from a recipe from Other Half Brewing in Brooklyn. Proceeds from the sale of “All Together” — a tasty juice bomb IPA filled with lots of hop aroma and haze — benefit the New Jersey-based ‘Brewery Strong’ charity to support people in the brewing, bar, and restaurant industries that have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Angry Erik Brewing in Hampton Township.
Photo by Taylor Youngblood

Al Mancuso’s M5 at Angry Erik Brewing in Hampton Township.
Photo by Rich Altman

Leaving Angry Erik Brewing, the convoy continued north towards the northwest corner of New Jersey on US Route 206 and split up into two groups. One group turned south just before crossing the Delaware River and headed south to eMpower through the national park; one group took the scenic route (.. in other words, we missed the left turn ..) and headed over the Delaware River on the historic Dingman’s Ferry Bridge before turning south on US Route 209.

Heading south through Walpack in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Photo by Taylor Youngblood

Club Happenings

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NJ Chapter Westlake School Donation

Winter 2020

Pictured making the presentation to Westlake School are (L-R): Terry Foppert (Superintendent, UCESC), Neil Gambony, Claudine Tantillo (Principal, Westlake School), Ross Karlin, Larry Engel, Jeff
White, Stan Mayer.

NJ BMWCCA Club Sponsor

Club Happenings – Winter 2020: NJ Chapter Westlake School Donation

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Several members of the club recently represented the NJ Chapter at the Westlake School, a public school specializing in serving students that have multiple disabilities, to make a charitable donation from the club to the school.

Pictured are (L-R): Terry Foppert (Superintendent, Union County Educational Services Commission), Neil Gambony, Claudine Tantillo (Principal, Westlake School), Ross Karlin, Larry Engel, Jeff White, and Stan Mayer. Photo by Eric Larson.

Club Happenings – Winter 2018: January Meeting at Shade Tree Garage

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By Neil Gambony

Vice-President Paul Ngai got off to a great start with NJ BMW CCA Club meetings for 2018 with the January 25th meeting held at Shade Tree Garage, located in Morristown NJ. The owner of Shade Tree, John O’Connor, hosted over 50 Club members and prospective members to an educational meeting with chief technician Phil Eng speaking. Phil still works with Shade Tree when his schedule permits; he is now teaching the next generation of technicians at a vocational technical school.

Photo by Neil Gambony

The topic for the evening was automotive coding, programming and initiation, pertaining to BMW cars. Phil’s program was informational and entertaining. Is your car trying to tell you something but you don’t know what it is? Phil explained several scanning tools that could be used starting with a basic code reader at $40 all the way up to a $7000 unit. We also learned that Shade Tree needed one of those for each manufacture of car they work on, yikes! I’ll concede the subject matter was a little over my comprehension level, but it was certainly made clear that problems that arise with your automobile are best left to professionals unless you have the proper diagnostic equipment.

Photo by Neil Gambony

I would like to thank Phil Eng, John O’Connor and Shade Tree Garage for having our Club meeting with them. We have been there before with Phil speaking and will look forward to the future when they may have us back again.

Club Happenings – Fall 2019: Whack Your Turkey Rally

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By Jeff White

It was a cold and rainy morning on the last Sunday in November when an intrepid group of 52 club members, friends and family gathered in Flemington to run the NJ Chapter’s annual Whack Your Turkey rally. Once again, the rally was being run as a charity event to benefit NORWESCAP, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping low income families in northwest New Jersey through a variety of services including a food bank and nutrition assistance.

First time Rallymasters Tim Farnsworth and Rob Chrzanowski decided that having run as participants for many years, it was time to sit on the other side of the scorer’s table and be the fiendish clue-masters. The rally route began at the Flemington circle and sent us through a combination of winding back roads searching for clues connected by stretches of higher speed country roads where drivers and navigators could catch their breath and just drive.

Where can you put gas in your tank? Photo by Rob Chrzanowski.
Where does the R.V. get its mail? Photo by Rob Chrzanowski.

We enjoyed views of Flemington, surrounding farms, Stanton, up to Quakertown and then around Clinton. It is likely that this route set a new NJ Chapter record for the most single lane bridges crossed in a single drive – some of which were beautiful, old iron bridges. We finished at the Clinton Station Diner where early arrivals filled the antique rail car dining area with the overflow crowd in the main dining room.

When all the scores were tallied (and pleas for alternate answers denied), the class winners were announced. In the Competition Class, Andy and Liz Potechko edged out the runner-up team of Neil Gambony and Ross Karlin out of a field of 11 teams. Their prize was a pair of watches. In Family Class, Joaquim Noronha and family took first place out of a field of 7 teams. Their prize was a 2-year extension to their BMW CCA membership. However, no one went home empty handed as door prizes were available for everyone courtesy of Chapter sponsors and excess Chapter inventory. Most importantly, we raised in excess of $600 for NORWESCAP to provide food assistance for those in need during this holiday season.

If you didn’t make it this year, plan to come next season. It is a great way to see scenic rural roads in NJ that you are likely not to have driven, you can bring the kids and it supports a great cause.

Club Happenings – Fall 2019: BMW of North America Hosts E30 M3 SIGfest and NJ Chapter Cars and Coffee

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By Brian Morgan

The New Jersey Chapter’s Cars and Coffee at BMW North America in Woodcliff Lake, NJ on September 21 was an opportunity to see old friends, check out an impressive array of BMW’s latest cars and motorcycles, get a close look at several iconic BMW race cars, and spend time with BMW’s knowledgeable product experts and with their tech people, both one-on-one and in seminars. Of course there were the BMWs of the 150+ members who came to NA, making up a car show of their own in the parking lot. And there was more; SIGFest shared the space with Cars and Coffee, bringing 60 E30 M3s to the party.

Photo by Klaus Schnitzer

The event began at 8:00 AM on a sunny Saturday morning. At 8:00 the new cars were already parked outside BMW NA’s Technical Training Center. Among them were coupe and convertible M8s, an M2 Competition, an M850i xDrive Gran Coupe, a 330i xDrive SportsWagon, an X3M, and many others. There were two Minis, a Cooper S and a Cooper S electric, and there was a beautifully turned out E28 M5.

Four race cars were being rolled out as the day began. There was the Stars and Stripes M3 GTR from 2001, an example of the legendary Le Mans-winning V12 LMR, a PTG Group E36 M3, and the 2017 M6 GTLM that Bill Auberlen drove in his 400th race at Petit Le Mans in 2017 (he scored a class win, sharing the car with Alexander Sims and Kuno Wittmer). The car, replete with race grime, was parked at the front of the driveway into the tech center. BMW tech people were available in bays in the training center to answer questions and to provide a close-up look at cars, engines, and more. Over the course of the day four seminars were offered, including one each on BMW electrical systems, InFotainment and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, BMW Chassis design, and BMW drivetrains.

Photo by Klaus Schnitzer

SIGFest, the E30 M3 special interest group, occupied the lawn outside the tech center. Walking onto the lawn, participants first encountered two very rare E30 M3 cabriolets, one owned by event organizer James Liu, who put the 20th anniversary SIGFest together along with co-chair Tony Rausch. Next to it was Mike Gallino’s beautifully restored ’91 cabriolet; the amazing story of Gallino’s restoration odyssey was reported in Roundel way back in 2011. The car still looks every bit as good as it did then. Eric Heinrich’s Gulfliveried E30 M3 race car sat near the two cabs. Beyond them on the lawn was a fantastic array of E30 M3s ranging from garage queens to daily drivers (well, maybe not every day, but there was a class called “Road Warrior” for high mileage, frequently driven cars). Mike Gallino’s cabriolet was judged best in show. A complete list of winners, along with more information on the event, can be found at www.sigfest.com.

Thanks to the team at BMW NA for inviting us to their great facility and for hosting an exceptional event. This was a not-to-be-missed occasion for BMW aficionados.

Club Happenings – Summer 2019: NJ Chapter BMW CCA Provides Parade Lap Rides to Students and Donation to Westlake School

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Members of the club attending the HPDE and Club Racing event held by the chapter at New Jersey Motorsports Park in June provided parade lap rides to students from the Westlake School, a public school specializing in serving students that have multiple disabilities.

Photo by Brian Morgan

Club Happenings – Summer 2019: NJ Chapter Holds Social Event at the Deutscher Club of Clark

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The club held a social event at the Deutscher Club of Clark where members of the NJ Chapter enjoyed the warm weather and fine German cuisine and beverages served by the Deutscher Club of Clark and an opportunity to display their cars.

Photo by Paul Ngai.
Photo by Paul Ngai.
Photo by Paul Ngai.

Club Happenings – Summer 2019: Monthly Meeting at TySpeed Automotive

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The club held its monthly meeting at TySpeed Automotive in Jackson, NJ, where chapter member and TySpeed Owner/Operator Tyler Pappas demonstrated the neverending passion, skill, and dedication of working with the BMW brand that his team delivers to each and every customer to drive through the shop door.

Photo by Paul Ngai.

TySpeed will be participating in the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which will be held June 23rd through June 30th in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Photo by Paul Ngai.

Club Happenings – Spring 2019: 7th Annual BMW Vehicle Distribution Center (VDC) and BMW CCA Foundation Charity Event

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By Paul Ngai

We were extremely excited to attend our 7th annual visit to BMW NA’s New Jersey Vehicle Distribution Center (VDC) because we heard that BMW NA has decided to skip the New York International Auto Show this year. As you can imagine, the VDC event was sold out in a couple of weeks with a long waitlist.

For those who were fortunate enough to join us at this event, which was sponsored by BMW of Bridgewater, our 100 members were divided into 4 groups. Each were accompanied by a VDC tour guide. Background: The VDC is located in the port area in Jersey City and is staffed by over 100 BMW employees, not contractors (this is unique among BMW’s VDCs). It handles hundreds of BMWs and MINIs per trans-ocean shipment plus about several dozens of Rolls-Royces; all are destined to be delivered to anxiously waiting owners.

As part of the tour, we got to ride in a fleet of brand new BMW X7s where we were given a driving tour to the ship at a near-by dock where new vehicles were driven off the ship to get lined up for their next station. All new vehicles are scanned and then “dotted” with a colored tag indicating its delivery priority. Vehicles with an identified owner get the highest priority and are processed first.

After the drive from the ship, each vehicle is carefully washed and quality inspected to look for things like dents, scratches, and dust particles in the paint. Any defects is fixed, logged and communicated back to the factory.

The tour wouldn’t have been complete without listening to John Stavina’s talks on paint and body repair process. Mixing paint is like an art to John and his repair look better than the original factory paint.

Lunch was sponsored by BMW of Bridgewater (thank you Mike Yates, GM and his team). We also had a chance to learn about the BMW CCA Foundation by Scott Dishman (Executive Director of the BMW CCA Foundation) followed by a live and silent auction.

Thanks to everyone at the BMW VDC for their hospitality, BMW NA, BMW of Bridgewater, BMW CCA Foundation and to all of our members for their generous donations. We collected $5500 in donations at this event which will be presented to the BMW CCA Foundation later this year. Hope to see you again next year!

Club Happenings – Spring 2019: Cars and Coffee with Erik Wensberg

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By David Hauter

NJ Chapter members came out on a blustery but nice Saturday in late April for a Cars & Coffee get-together, which was a great way to spend a weekend morning. The gathering in Somerset brought out a great selection of BMWs past and present, including a pair of beautiful E36 M3 Lightweights, the new M2 Competition, a classic 6 Series and an i8. It was a great time of car talk and camaraderie and the highlight of the day was the presence of Erik Wensberg, who capped off the morning with a very entertaining talk.

Erik was the M Brand Manager at BMW of North America from 1985-1998. He directed the transition of the E30 M3 to the E36 3 Series, oversaw the development of the dominant racing programs with the E36 M3 and Team PTG in the late 1990’s, and was largely responsible for BMW of North America’s “Classic” collection that now includes a wide range of cars including everything from the CSL racer of the 1970s to the E36, E46 and E92 M3s and the McLaren F1 GTR that raced at Le Mans in 1996 among many others. Erik is still heavily involved in cars and motorsport. He’s an advisor to the BMW CCA Foundation Trustees and is also a member of the Board of Governors at Lime Rock Park.

Erik Wensburg

Erik told some great stories of his adventures while working at BMW NA, including his first experience with the classic race cars. “When I was at the company for a month, I got a phone call from a guy in Connecticut and he said they had a lot of stuff in storage for us and didn’t know what we wanted to do with it and I should come take a look,” he says. “So I go to Brookfield, Connecticut and was taken to a dingy storage barn and I peered inside and see a 320i Turbo sitting on the ground with no wheels on it, a March GTP car on the side and all these boxes everywhere. I realized there were half a dozen cars in there that we used to race in North America and they’re covered with an inch of dust. They said they were told that all of it was going to be given to a boy’s technical school to learn how to cut and drill. I said the hell they are and told them to lock the door and no one goes in until I tell them what to do. The company’s competitive DNA was rotting in a warehouse in Connecticut and we had to do something about it.” With Erik’s persistence, most of those cars were restored, are still owned by BMW NA today and are worth millions. More importantly, they provide a direct link to BMW NA’s motorsport heritage like nothing else could.

If you ever get a chance to see Erik Wensberg, it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss. The Cars & Coffee event was great fun and also a great success, as auction items

Club Happenings – Spring 2019: Monthly Meeting at Shade Tree Garage in Morristown

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Shade Tree Garage in Morristown hosted the chapter for a demonstration of paintless dent removal techniques presented by James Green from Dent Busters NJ. Thanks to John O’Connor of Shade Tree Garage for hosting the club meeting and providing pizza for the attendees.

Photo by Paul Ngai
Photo by Paul Ngai
Photo by Paul Ngai

Club Happenings – Winter 2019: Roadtrip to Rolex 24 at Daytona 2019

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By Larry Engel

As has been the case every winter for the past fourteen years, I headed south in late January to attend one of the greatest events in motorsports, the Rolex 24 at Daytona. It’s all Bob Isbitski’s fault. (Have I thanked you lately, Bob? Thanks again for introducing me to this huge piece of car-nut heaven all those years ago!) I think it was 2006 when Bob organized a huge group of New Jersey Chapter members and we descended upon Florida to enjoy the race weekend. If I recall, there were more than 20 of us. I was hooked, and I’ve attended every Rolex 24 since.

This year, a group of New Jersey, New York, and Delaware Valley Chapter members met up in Daytona for this spectacular event. As has been the case for the past several years, the BMW CCA teamed up with BMW NA to provide a corral and front straight hospitality that included weekend food and beverages, as well as allimportant shelter and seating with TV viewing both overlooking pit road and in a tent behind the pits.

Will Turner fielding questions during the BMW CCA meet and
greet at the Rolex 24. BMW racing legend Bill Auberlen is on
the left and Former NJ Chapter member Don Salama is on the
right. Photo by Larry Engel.
The Turner Motorsport Liqui-Moly BMW M6 GTD getting last
minute prep. Photo by Larry Engel.

This year, Jeff White acted as my co-pilot and travel buddy, as he has for the past several years. We drove down, stopping in South Carolina for a night before finishing the trip on Thursday of race weekend and arriving in Daytona at about midday. Thursday was sunny and warm enough to wear shorts, but it turned out to be the best weather of the weekend.

NJ Chapter members Larry Engel and Jeff White after
arriving at Daytona for the Rolex 24. It turns out that
the winter tires on Larry’s X5 weren’t needed, but
the weather wasn’t ideal for most of the weekend. Photo by Larry Engel.
Getting ready for the start of the Rolex 24. Photo by Larry Engel.

By Sunday morning it was so bad that the race had to be red-flagged twice for dangerous conditions and the checkered flag was thrown at 23 hours and 49 minutes. (The Rolex Twenty Three Forty Nine doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?)

It was pouring rain when we got up on Sunday morning, and we hung around the hotel breakfast area and watched the TV coverage from my iPad as other guests watched along with us while deliberating what to do.

The best way to watch a race under red flag conditions –
from a warm, dry hotel that includes breakfast! Photo by Larry Engel.

The first red flag had already been waved and in our case the corral parking area was a long walk from the shelter and free booze offered by the BMW CCA hospitality package. Jeff and I made the wise decision to forego the soggy and bone chilling hike and head to our evening destination in Naples, and hopefully arrive in time to watch the end of the race on TV in the unlikely event that it re-started. It didn’t. (Before any of our friends accuse Jeff and me of being fair weather fans, I’ll remind all of you that we’ve both been the last man standing in rainy paddocks numerous times. We’ve paid our dues!)

Watching the end of the Rolex 24 from the warmth of
Naples. Well, it was warm in the den, anyway! Photo by Larry Engel.

Jeff stayed with his niece and her husband in Naples before flying home on Monday and I met Karin at her mom’s house, where we spent a few days before heading north via Palm Beach and a quick visit with old friends who’ve had the good sense to move out of Jersey. I’ve made this trip by car for the past five or six years, and I really enjoy the escape from my daily grind and the ability to just drive and listen to music while the miles roll by. Jeff doesn’t seem to mind my music selections (which are mostly in the country and Jersey Shore genres), but Karin announced after the return ride home that she didn’t want to make that trip by car again. I put almost 3,000 miles on my F15 X5 35d, which is by far the most comfortable and capable road car I’ve ever owned. It also gets about 32 mpg at brisk highway speeds and on snow tires – closer to 34 mpg on summer tires and at more reasonable speed. (I’ll break from the current storyline to curse at Volkswagen and stick my you-know-what finger up at them for ruining the reputation of diesel-powered motor vehicles and to beg BMW to bring the diesel X5 back to the US.)

The Rolex 23:49 was, in many ways, even more appealing than ever. It marked the return of Formula One great Fernando Alonso (who teamed up with Wayne Taylor Racing and co-drivers Jordan Taylor, Renger Van Der Zande, and fellow F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi for the overall win). For BMW fans it was particularly exciting to see former Indycar and Formula One great Alex Zanardi return to center stage in one of the RLL BMW M8 GTLM cars. He is an inspirational force after overcoming the loss of both his legs in a 2001 accident to compete at this level and becoming a Paralympic champion, as well. He could be seen buzzing round the paddock in his wheelchair and was always happy to chat with the fans and stay still long enough for fan selfies. Technical problems plagued his car during the race, but his team car won the GTLM race – so it was a very good day for BMW. The red flags messed up the strategy for the Turner Motorsport M6 GTD, but it was great to see BMW-legend Bill Auberlen wearing a blue and yellow racing suit again! The car was fast and overcame a lengthy pit stop repair to finish in the top 10, quite an accomplishment under the circumstances. Auberlen will be driving for Will Turner all year along with Robby Foley. With race strategy called by former NJ Chapter member Don Salama, this team should add to their winning record this year!

The newly re-named Michelin Pilot Challenge series featured several teams running BMW M4 GT4 equipment in the GS class. In addition to Turner and others, BimmerWorld had two entries in the four hour Friday afternoon race. BimmerWorld owner and long-time friend of the New Jersey Chapter James Clay finished 4th with co-driver Devin Jones, who made a great late race charge. This is a team that also looks to put some wins on the board this year!

If you’ve never been to the Rolex 24, you need to put it on your bucket list. It’s a Who’s Who of racing, and the on -track action is as good as it gets (as long as the flag stays green, anyway). Let’s hope the CCA can do a corral and hospitality again next year!

Club Happenings – Winter 2019: 2018 Championship Series Winner Announced; Officers Elected for 2019

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The NJ Chapter announced the 2018 Championship Series winner and runners up at the Board of Directors election held at the Deutscher Club of Clark in December. Colin Vozeh won the 2018 Championship Series with Andrew Potechko and Mark Mallory on the podium just behind Colin.

Winner—Colin Vozeh
Podium Finishers
Andrew Potechko and Mark Mallory
In the paddock before the pinewood derby.
Andrew Potechko eyes his pinewood derby team before the race.
Elihu Savad gets two race cars ready.

Club Happenings – Winter 2019: New Jersey BMW CCA Spring Social at Reeves-Reed Arboretum set for Saturday, March 30th 2019

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By Vic Lucariello, Jr.

Hello, bimmerphiles! (sound familiar?) The NJ Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America will be hosting our Spring Social at the historic Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit, NJ (165 Hobart Avenue; Summit, NJ 07901) on Saturday, 30 March 2019, from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. We will be repeating last year’s approach on our traditional “Banquet” format and are inviting you to join us for a fun evening of art, wine, cheese, and hors d’oeuvres.

In addition to the charcuterie, there will be plenty of hors d’oeuvres followed by a dessert course to satisfy your sweet tooth (dessert will be served by 7 PM). Additionally, when guests arrive at the venue to check-in, each person will receive drink tickets to be used at the bar during the event (drink tickets will not be sold this year).

In addition to the beautiful grounds, the venue is located less than a mile from the center of town, which offers a variety of great restaurants in case you would like to continue socializing (and possibly have dinner as well). This will be the kick-off to another exciting year of NJ Chapter events, with the VDC tour scheduled for 06-April and our season-opening drivers’ school at NJMP during 12- 14 April.

Don’t forget, besides a great opportunity to socialize after a long winter, we will be announcing the results of the 2018 Champ Series and awarding the trophy to the winner.

Information for this special evening is on our Chapter website, posted on the Chapter’s Facebook page and will be shared via email blast – we hope that you’ve marked your calendars to join us! Registration currently is open and is $50 for singles and $90 per couple. Advanced registration is preferred, and all Chapter members and spouses/guests are encouraged to attend.

For more information on the Reeves-Reed Arboretum, including photos and history of this amazing venue, please go to https://www.reeves-reedarboretum.org/ Reeves-Rees Arboretum.

Club Happenings – Spring 2018: New Jersey Chapter Tours the BMW Vehicle Distribution Center in Jersey City

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By Paul Ngai

On March 24th, 100 lucky Chapter members got to visit the BMW Vehicle Distribution Center (VDC). It was our 6th Annual VDC Tour/BMW CCA Foundation Charity Event and was sponsored by BMW of Bridgewater.

The BMW VDC is the point of entry for BMWs, MINIs, and Rolls- Royces into the United States. BMW currently has four VDCs in the United States. The New Jersey VDC processes approximately 85,000 cars per year and supports 8 states. The West Coast VDC in Port Hueneme, California receives cars for the West Coast; the Baltimore VDC receives cars destined to the Midwest, Virginia and Maryland, and the Brunswick, Georgia VDC receives cars destined for the southern United States. BMW recently expanded its vehicle distribution network to southeastern Texas to better serve the 45 BMW and MINI dealers within four states (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas) that make up a part of the Southern Region. The New Jersey VDC processes an average of 300 cars per day and includes new and European Delivery BMWs, MINIs, and Rolls-Royces, which arrive from Austria, Germany, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Upon arrival, members provided their names to the security checkpoint and were greeted by our Chapter volunteers. The VDC provided coffee and bagels for breakfast in the waiting area where members got to see the raffle prizes. The event started promptly at 9am and the group was escorted into the main facility area for a presentation. Then the group was divided into smaller groups for the individual group tours led by VDC members.

Lunch was provided by BMW of Bridgewater. During lunch, our special guest, Scott Dishman, Executive Director of the BMW CCA Foundation, gave a very thorough presentation about the Foundation.

Here are some of the items which were raffled off at the event. The collectible edition of the Heroes of Bavaria book (leather bound, slipcase, only 300 produced), two exclusive Heroes of Bavaria posters, one driver-signed item, and One free HPDE experience for a NJ Chapter member (at any CCA HPDE event).

BMW of Bridgewater donated a BMW M bike which was auctioned off at the event. Overall, it was an informative and successful event. All the members had a great time and learned a lot about the vehicle preparation process. Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we raised over $5000 for the BMW CCA Foundation.

Hope to see everyone again next year!

Club Happenings – Spring 2018: Monthly Club Meeting at 56 Degrees Wine in Bernardsville

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“And now for something completely different”. Yes, I need to give credit for that line to Monty Python’s Flying Circus for those of you who are old enough to remember them. (And if you don’t know, look it up. – JF) What does that have to do with 56 Degrees Wine and a BMW car club meeting? Vice-President Paul Ngai contacted me to let me know he would be out of town for this meeting and wanted me to manage it for him. Was Paul reading my mind that it was a dream meeting for me, a car club meeting in a liquor store? What could have made it any better; a couple of Turner or Bimmerworld Race Cars?

So why not have a meeting at a store that not only sells wine but some boutique spirits and microbrewery beers and ales as well. After all, we enjoy having and driving our fine automobiles, we should be able to enjoy fine wines and spirits as well. The meeting got off to our usual start of business, introduction of new members, stuff to buy or sell and some announcements for the Club’s upcoming events. When the business portion of the meeting was completed, it was then turned over to our host, Joe Bembry and his associate Roberto Rivera.

56 Degree owner Joe Bembry explains the winemaking process to club members. Photo by Neil Gambony.

I wish that I was as knowledgeable about BMWs as Joe was about his wines. He informed us that 56 degrees is the perfect temperature for storing wine, hence the name for the business. He also admitted that he had turned the temperature in the store up to 60 degrees for the personal comfort of his customers.

Forty or so Club members were in attendance February 27th as we were educated on some of the differences of wine of both domestic and foreign origin. We had side by side comparisons of both red and white wines, foreign and domestic. Interestingly, that by a show of hands of which wine that was more preferable, there was quite the split. We were tasting wines in the $10 -$20 range per bottle which just goes to show that great wine doesn’t have to be expensive.

So what else should you have with your wine? We were treated to some exquisite cheeses from places like France and Italy to go along with some bread and crackers. This is something that 56 Degrees Wine does as their business model that should you stop in on a Saturday they will have several different wines for sampling along with having cheese and crackers to go with them.

56 Degrees Wine has wine from all around the world and they taste it before buying it. If they don’t like it, it won’t be on their shelves. They are located at 25 Claremont Road in Bernardsville NJ, about a block up from Route 202 which runs through the center of town. Their website is 56 degreewine.com.

We look forward to a return visit to 56 Degrees Wine and maybe then we could discuss what may have been your favorite skit of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

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