President’s Corner – Fall 2019


By Neil Gambony

The end is here, or it’s pretty darn close. I suppose you are wondering what I am referring to; it’s the printed newsletter that you are currently reading. Why do I say close? The Board Meeting when we are going to make the decision of when to stop the presses on the printed newsletter won’t be until after the submission date for this newest Neil’s Way to our Newsletter Editor.

Earlier in the year, the National Board members of the BMW CCA decided that Chapters no longer have to publish newsletters as of January 1st 2020, printed or otherwise. In making such a decision, it also means that the funding or Chapter rebates (now called allocation) as they have been called have also been reduced. The printed newsletters are for some Chapters their biggest expense; this will now free up funding for them to use towards their own events whatever they may be. There is something new National has in mind for the future, I’ll cover that later.

The Bulletin, the NJ Chapter newsletter, will still exist but will only be delivered electronically every quarter or so since we are now not bound to any deadline to publish other than to our advertisers. You may have been receiving the Bulletin over the past year via email, now this may be the norm. We have only been able to send it our members who have provided an email address to the BMW CCA. This is a good time to update your profile on the National website and either add an email address if you have not provided one or update your current one. For those of you who have chosen not to provide an email address of where we can send it to, you can view the Bulletin on the NJ BMW CCA website after it has been posted.

So how did we get here and more importantly where are we going? It turns out that the Roundel, the magazine of the BMW Car Club has been taking a hit on advertising the last several years, to the tune of $700,000 this past year. You don’t need to work for NASA or TESLA to see where that will take us. Have you noticed your home newspaper or your other favorite publications have been thinner than they used to be? Advertising revenue certainly provided them with more content features.

The Roundel, which many members look forward to receiving each month, will continue; however, it is being cut back to 10 issues per year. In place of the 2 missing issues will be (here’s what new) a slick magazine called Bimmerlife, the same name as the weekly email from the BMW CCA, just not the same in content. Different size, different paper, Bimmerlife will have more stories of lifestyle adventures, human interest and feature great photography, just not so much in the technical aspect that we are accustomed to in the Roundel. You also won’t be able to write a letter to the editor to express your opinion.

Bimmerlife will be regional; we are in the North Atlantic region. There will be a section where the local Chapters, of which there are 14 in our North Atlantic region will be given 2 pages or so to provide articles of interest, it will be up to our Newsletter Editor Jerry Faber to determine what to provide from New Jersey. This will certainly provide us with a glimpse of what other Chapters in our region are doing; maybe some events we may want to participate in that are within a few hours’ drive. The first issue should be out in the Spring and I’m looking forward to it; Jackie Jouret will be the guest editor. Who knows, I may be going regional!

Some other news from the National Office is that the demise of Octoberfest may have been greatly exaggerated. This is not to say that it will carry on in its current tradition of events, there may be some changes to that. It may be shortened to a 2½ to 3 day event, most possibly over a long weekend and there may even be a name change. I’m sure we may refer to it as the “event formerly known as O’Fest” for a while, whatever it may be called. There may even be a “Mini O’Fest” held in each region which will help reduce the travelling expenses for many. I know this has been discussed for our region already; it’s in a conceptual stage at this time.

Getting back to our own Chapter’s happenings, it’s time to thank someone who has served the Chapter in many different capacities for years and is now relocating to be closer to his family. Many thanks go to Warren Brown, our current Chief Technical Inspector for our Driver Schools. Warren took over the position when Vic Lucariello Sr, technical guru and the author of Philes’ Forum, relocated to Colorado several years ago.

Warren joined the Club in his youth many years ago while he was residing in Connecticut and is one of the Charter members of that Chapter. He also has a low 4-digit membership number and had the foresight to become a Lifetime member. Warren was the Treasurer of our Chapter when I joined the Board many years as a Member at Large. Although he will no longer be serving as our Chief of Tech, he will still be participating with us as an Instructor for our Driver Schools. I am looking forward to welcoming Driver School Instructor and BMW Club Racer Mirril McMullen as our new Chief of Tech in the upcoming year.

Thanks go to BMW of Bridgewater for providing us with coffee and bagels for our Cars and Coffee event held in conjunction with our last autocross of the year on October 18th. It was our inaugural Cars and Coffee but looks like an event we will be sure to repeat in the future. Thanks go to Jeff White who organized the event.

Some other members I would like to give thanks to are Tim Farnsworth and Rob Chrzanowski who stepped up to be the Rallymasters for the Whack Your Turkey Rally, held on November 24th. This Rally has been a Club tradition for longer than I’ve been a member and is one of the events of the Championship Series. For the last several years we have used the proceeds to benefit the food bank of NORWESCAP, an organization that helps the food bank network throughout New Jersey. Thanks to all of our members who participated making it a success once again.

Now that the end of the year is approaching I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Board of Directors, Paul Ngai Vice- President, Ron Gemeinhardt Treasurer, David Allaway Secretary, Jerry Faber Newsletter Editor, Colin Vozeh Webmaster, Jeff White Driving Events Chairman, Jamie Kavalieros Driver School Chairman, Ross Karlin Club Race Chairman, and Bob Isbitski and Mark Hulbrock, both Members at Large.

Some others to thank are Matt Baratz Business Manager, Larry Engel Street Survival School Chairman, Elihu Savad Autocross Chairman, and members of the Driver School Committee, Mark Mallory Registrar, Bill Van Ocker Chief Instructor, and Warren Brown Chief of Tech.

I also can’t forget to thank our regular Newsletter columnists, Vic Lucariello Sr. who writes from afar and JT Burkard, who’s right here in Central NJ.

As we go into the Holiday Season, I would like to wish everyone to have a Healthy and Happy Holiday, wherever you may be.

Neil Gambony

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