President’s Corner – Summer 2018

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By Neil Gambony

One of the events that our Chapter does every year that you haven’t heard much about lately has been the Tire Rack Street Survival (TRSS) School program. For those of you unfamiliar with the Street Survival program, it’s the car control school for drivers 16-21 years of age. Yes, we put it on the schedule, lately two a year, when registration opens for it, it gets listed on the Street Survival website and in about a weeks’ time we have 32 students and just as many more on a waitlist. The word is on the street about this program and it is selling itself. Yes, the pun was intended.

The program is funded through the BMW CCA Foundation which is a 501 (3) (C) corporation which allows children of non-Club members to attend. The Foundation has had the Tire Rack as their main sponsor since 2006 which has helped bring the program to BMW CCA Chapters, the SCCA, the Porsche Club of America and several other motorsports organizations. I want to give you some information about the Foundation but want to cover something of more significance first.

The TRSS for the NJ Chapter has been organized by none other than former Chapter President Larry Engel since 2009. Larry took over the reins of the TRSS from past President David Finch who had spearheaded the program since its inception in 2005. Congratulations are in order to Larry who has been honored by the Foundation for the year 2017 with the Tire Rack Street Survival Circle of Excellence Award in the category of “Organization Volunteer/Instructor of the Year, BMW Car Club of America”. Larry is currently in the organizational stages of the Chapter’s 23rd TRSS School to be held in September.

Larry spends a lot of time fine-tuning the Schools; each one is a little different from the previous one either through an idea that he has or from a directive from the Driving Events coordinator of the Foundation. He is always the first one at the gate in the morning and is the last one to leave making it a very long day for him, not mentioning any of the other time he spends beforehand with assigning students with instructors and staff with assignments. He even makes it to the course a few days beforehand to mark the pavement with chalk.

Now before I go any further, I must also recognize the myriad of volunteers from not only our Chapter but from adjoining Chapters, the men and women who tirelessly sign up for either instructing or running the course exercises so they can run efficiently. For that you have my deepest gratitude.

Now about the Foundation. It was formed in 2002 by the BMW CCA. It currently has 3 initiatives; the first is the Street Survival School program. They reached the milestone of their 1000th school in October 2017 and have educated close to 23,000 students. The second initiative is for their Library; Archive and Museum. The Foundation has both BMW-related and BMW CCA information to be kept safe for the future. It is also accessible to members. Do you have an older project that you are working on that you may need some information on? There may be information in the Archive that can help. The Museum currently has on display the ICON exhibit of the 2002, currently 28 vehicles, each with their own unique background story. They will be on display there until January 2019. Their third initiative is the Conservation and Preservation Program. There are currently 50,000 pieces in their possession, all in different stages of condition, and each as equally important.

The Foundation’s Museum and Archive is located in Greer, South Carolina; directly next door to the BMW Performance Center and across the street from the BMW plant. They are open to the public and to Club members for a nominal access fee which helps to keep them going. Since they are a 501(3) (C) corporation, any additional donation would be tax deductible. You can find out more about the Foundation at www.bmwccafoundation.org.

An upcoming NJ BMW CCA event will be right in the area of the Factory, the Foundation and the Performance center; this is going to be a one-day M School at the BMW Performance Center on Saturday October 27. The Performance Center has been making arrangements for BMW CCA Chapters to use their facility at one half of their normal rate providing the Club fills the school for the day. You will get to drive several of the BMW M cars they have available there including the new M5. The cost for the School is $750 which includes a lunch and some giveaway items at the end of the day although I doubt any of them will be the M cars used at the School.

Arrangements have been made to view the Foundation’s Museum on Friday evening as well as a dinner at the Blue Ridge Brewing Company on Saturday night; these events are not inclusive of the registration cost. Information on registering for the School can be found at www.motorsport.reg under the BMW Performance Center category. You can also find hotel information there. Should this event be a success, we will definitely try to repeat it next year.

Another event you should mark your calendars for this year is the Whack Your Turkey (WYT) Rally; traditionally held the Sunday before Thanksgiving. This year the date for the Rally is Sunday November 18th. The WYT Rally is intended to be something the whole family can enjoy. There is a starting point where we congregate, hopefully in a parking lot close to where you could have coffee and donuts before heading out on about a 3 hour ride that ends somewhere for lunch.

I had the honor of being the Rallymeister last year, setting up the course on some of my favorite roads in central NJ. Being a contractor and not working in the same place all the time I get to travel the back roads where I happen to stumble upon some terrific roads either for scenery or the challenge of the road itself. It also helps if there are great landmarks that can be used for clues. It took a small team to put the event together and I am grateful to those that volunteered to help me especially with the scoring. The biggest reward for me was receiving thanks from participants afterwards telling me how much they enjoyed the rally.

This year’s Rally will once again benefit the food bank of NORWESCAP (Northwest NJ Community Action Partnership); they distribute 2 million pounds of food annually to over 120 pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, senior and child care centers in Hunterdon, Sussex, and Warren counties. Last year the Chapter donated $1000 to them and helped to provide 1400 pounds of food. Thanks to all the participants who gave generously for this cause last year. Information about the Rally will be on the Website soon as well as being sent in an e-blast to you.

It’s the time of year again when we are getting ready for the election of Club officers, which is held at the December meeting in conjunction with the Pinewood Derby. If you have the time and desire to help in the organizing of the Club, please consider running for a position. The positions available are: President, Vice- President, Secretary, Treasurer, Driving Events Chairperson, Social Chairperson, and 2 Member-at-Large spots. If you have any questions regarding the duties of each positon please contact me and I will you give a description of what is involved. Should you want to run for a position please contact the Club’s Secretary David Allaway at david@allaway.us and indicate what position you are running for.

Regards to all.

Neil

neilgambony@njbmwcca.org

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