President’s Corner – Summer 2020

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“Once upon a time, it was a dark and stormy night.” That’s not much of a beginning for a column in a car- club-related newsletter; it’s a combination of some opening lines for stories that should have happy endings. I need to give credit to Snoopy for the latter half of the first line because right now I feel a little like Snoopy sitting on top of a dog house typing this
column to hopefully have a happy ending.


We are still in the midst of a world-wide pandemic which has been greatly restricting the events we would normally have throughout the year. We are proceeding with caution while following the guidelines set forth by the BMW CCA, our government leaders and the regulations of the venues we are attending, either here in NJ or elsewhere.


We have been able to hold some events, the first being the Scenic/Fun Car Drive in June organized by our Director of Social Events, Rich Altman and Club member Wade Howard. I won’t be going into the details of the event since there is story elsewhere in the Bulletin about it but I would like to thank them for putting it together since it was a benefit for the Foodbank of NORWESCAP. As you may be aware by now, donations to foodbanks have been greatly impacted by the pandemic; this event was able to generate over 11,000 pounds of food for the Foodbanks recipients. More Scenic /Fun Drives are in our future.

We held the 7th annual Geoff Atkinson Memorial Drivers School and Club Race at Summit Point, West Virginia in July. It was warm weather as usual with several run groups of students and a full contingent of Club Racers that were able to run in 4 races. I must thank VAC Motorsports for their continued support and sponsorship of our Club Racing. All of the students,
instructors and racers were thrilled to be finally out at the track after being self-quarantined (or was it sequestered?) for months.


Since we were unable to have in-car instruction for students, our Chief Instructor Bill Van Ocker had implemented having the student run groups use a Lead/Follow (L/F) system with Instructors, this is similar to what other car clubs and organizations are now using. The L/F instruction works great with those who have previous track experience.


We are still planning to be at the Shenandoah Circuit of Summit Point in October, we will be most likely using the L/F instruction there. It is uncertain at this time if we will have the pot-luck dinner at the track like we had last year due to the coronavirus but will wait to see what the protocol is then.


Another event that has fallen victim to the pandemic is our September Tirerack Street Survival School for teen drivers. We were concerned given the guidelines in which we are to instruct students that it would lead to confusion and possibly frustration on the behalf of both the students and the instructors. The social distancing guidelines for the classroom may also have prevented all of the students from being able to see and hear the instructor. We’re looking forward to holding the schools again in 2021 if they can be held in more ideal conditions.

We are now looking into the fall when we normally hold a long-time Chapter tradition right before Thanksgiving, the Whack Your Turkey Rally. There may be some change to that also since the governor is still not allowing indoor dining as of this writing. We may shift the time earlier in the fall when it’s still warm enough to congregate outdoors under cover or look for a great big space indoor like a warehouse where we can still comply with social distancing guidelines.


One last item of Club business is the election of officers to our Board of Directors for the year 2021. This year has been going by quickly but not quick enough to get us to the other side of this pandemic. As usual, the spots up for grab are: President, Vice- President, Treasurer, Secretary, Driving Events, Director of Social Events, and 2 Member-at-Large positions. There will be an E-Blast going out in October that will have information of how to nominate yourself or any other individual. If you have any questions regarding the positions and their duties please contact me, my address is at the bottom of this column.


It was great to see the turnout of members at the Show and Shine/Swap Meet which was held at the Deutscher Club in August. Although the prediction for the weather was ominous, we had clearing skies for the evening. In keeping within the social distancing guidelines, all participants hung out in the parking lot and under the pavilion until it got dark. This event is gaining in popularity and will definitely be back in the future.
Continue Staying Safe.


Neil Gambony
neilgambony@njbwcca.org

President’s Corner – Spring 2020

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I hope this message finds all of you and your families well. The last few months have become a difficult time physically, mentally and financially for many. How have you been spending your time? Perhaps you have been home schooling your loved ones, working remotely, finishing projects you had been putting off or just laying low hoping to emerge when the time is right.

Personally, I think I have found my biggest challenge of all the years of my being President of the New Jersey Chapter — what to report when there is very little to report. Normally I use my column to fill you in on events that may have occurred recently or events that may be coming up on the horizon. Right now we are dealing with a great amount of uncertainty. Many world events have either been canceled or postponed until a later date; it will be strange not watching the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix on the Memorial Day weekend but I will be happy to see them later in the year.

We are now almost 3 months into a governmental induced shutdown caused by a pandemic of the coronavirus. I am not going to write about that, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about it already and are probably either no longer watching or listening to the daily news other than to hear when state and local businesses will reopen and yes, restaurants.

For their members’ safety, the BMW CCA National Office has suspended all Chapters from holding any events until June 2nd. No word yet on whether they will suspend events past that date. This will depend on governmental mandates; it may even be by region. There is also no indication from our own governor as to when he will let us all get back to work. I certainly don’t expect life, or business for that matter, to be the way it was for a very long time.

All we can do at this time is to prepare for when the stages of reopening happen. Currently it is difficult to plan for events when we don’t know to what capacity our events can be or whether we can be indoors. Most of our events except our monthly meetings are outside so that may not be a problem, weather cooperating.

Let me start with some things I do know. The Driver School and Club Race that was scheduled for June 8-9 has been canceled. There were too many unknowns with what protocols we would have to follow to have a safe event while maintaining social distancing. There is also is the possibility of the governor extending the quarantine past June. It would have been a major financial loss to the Club if we were to have proceeded with the event.

Another event that is victim of the pandemic is the Street
Survival School that was scheduled for Sunday, June 28th. We still have the September Street Survival School on the calendar; we’ll know more about holding the school later in the summer.

The 50th year celebration of the New Jersey Chapter founding has been postponed until next year, 2021. There is currently no date or venue scheduled but expect it to be in the warm weather months so we can enjoy an outdoor gathering of people and cars. It just didn’t make any sense to try to have it later this year; we need to return to some kind of normalcy, whatever that may be and it needs to be something that we can all enjoy.

We also have some events on the schedule for July. First up is the Biergarten at the Deutscher Club in Clark, Friday July 10th. The following weekend of July 18-19 is the 6th Annual Geoff Atkinson Memorial Driver School and Club Race at Summit Point, West Virginia. Finishing out July is an Autocross on July 26th at the TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater. You will be able to find more information about these events and their status on our website.

If you haven’t been looking at our website the last few weeks, check it out. You will find the updated version is finally here. We are still working some of the bugs out of it but I think you will find it more user-friendly. Our goals are to be able to have more pictures, personal interest stories and after-event posts that are timely. You may find you can connect to some of our sponsors through their advertisements. Many thanks to Mark Hulbrock and Colin Vozeh for getting the “new” website done.

Last year I had mentioned buying a 2007 328Xi. I still have and love my 1988 E30 iX but wanted a car that had cup holders. As an update to the story, I had mentioned how great the seat heaters are; the other feature I like very much is the stereo volume control in the steering wheel. I have gotten so attached to it that when I push the same spot on the wheel in my work van I just end up blowing the horn. I’m also impressed with the mileage I get at keeping-up-with-traffic speed.

The main reason the previous owner wanted to sell the car was the run flat tires or the RFTs as they’re known as. Unexpectedly I had to deal with this issue after several months of driving the car. The tire pressure monitor system was telling me I had leak in the right rear. Adding air would last a week or so before the system light came back on. After checking the Tirerack website for what run flats were selling for, I needed to confirm what the issue was before purchasing a tire. I removed the wheel from the car and placed it in a big vat of water. With that I found I had some good and some bad news, the good news was the tire was okay, the bad news was the rim was the problem. There was a crack on the inside of the rim that was not visible until after seeing air bubbles coming out of it in the water.

I contacted another member with a similar vehicle for advice and it was conclusive that eBay and Craigslist were the way to go. I watched a set of 4 very, very low mileage Bridgestone RFTs mounted on the same style rim I had for a week on Craigslist and realized the owner was anxious to sell since he had lowered the price when I had checked on Saturday morning. After making contact with the seller, I had negotiated a counteroffer which was accepted. The downside of the deal was they were located about 2 hours away in South Jersey but it was a trip well worth taking. For a little over what 2 tires would have cost from the Tirerack I now had a set of rims that were in much nicer shape than the ones that came with the car along with tires that had low mileage. Eventually when I find another rim I will have a set of tires that I can use for autocrossing.

To those of you who are essential workers and first line responders, I would like to express my gratitude and say thank you for you have been doing the last several months. I look forward to when we can all be together with minimal restrictions.

Stay Safe.

Neil Gambony

neilgambony@njbmwcca.org

President’s Corner

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Winter 2020

Hello and welcome to 2020. Where do I start? There is so much going on right now and I have a lot to cover. You are now reading this through your electronic device of choice; we are no longer printing a paper version of the Bulletin. Currently this is in a PDF format; we are planning to change that when we roll out our new website, another one of the many changes in store for the upcoming year. The last issue of the Bulletin is now a collector’s item; I should look on Ebay to see what they are going for.

Before I get into what’s upcoming, I have some housekeeping to do. The Board of Directors of the NJBMW CCA remains mostly unchanged from last year, thank you gentlemen. I had filled the position of Director of Social Events last year with Richard Altman, and he has been reelected to the position for 2020. Rich has taken charge of the Chapter’s 50th anniversary party, more on that later.

I have also found a new Business Manager, technically not a Board position but just as important, nonetheless. Allison Mack, who also happens to be a regular participant in our Autocross program, will now be handling the Club’s business. I must thank Matt Baratz who had been our previous Business Manager even after moving to the left coast. I am relieved to have a manager now in the same time zone.

As you may be aware of by now, 2020 is our 50th year of being a Chapter of the BMW CCA. We were the 4th Chapter to join the Club and are among a handful of Chapters that has our geographical location in our Chapter’s name. The BMW CCA had originated in the Boston Massachusetts area so it make sense that the states close to the New England region were among the early Chapters to join the CCA.

The date has not been set yet for our celebration party, although we’re planning the location to be at the Deutscher Club in Clark, the place where we hold many of our regular Club meetings. We are in the early stages of planning it but I do know it will run from mid-day to the early evening, and yes, it will be rain or shine. There is plenty of parking; we hope to have a showing of the many car models throughout the years, BMWs, Minis, and BMW hybrids just to name a few.

Not only do I expect to see some great cars at the 50th anniversary celebration, I am looking forward to seeing some of the members and officers who were here before me and built this Chapter into what it is now. I had the pleasure of meeting former NJ member Scott Hughes a few years back at a Club Race School we were holding at Summit Point. Scott is credited with being instrumental in starting the Driver’s School program for our chapter way back in 1974. In my conversation with Scott, it turns out that he had attended an elementary school in the town I grew up in, obviously a few years before me. There is no word yet on whether he will attend but I would be thrilled if he and his wife Fran did. We may also expect to see some of our National Officers but that is unconfirmed also. I am also looking forward to seeing all of you there too.

So what else are we up to? In addition to our traditional slate of Driver Schools, Club Races, Autocrosses, Rallies and Street Survival Schools, the Chapter once again will be participating in a one day M-School on September 6th at the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, North Carolina. We had done one several years ago with great success and when we inquired about holding one last year, all of the dates were already booked for the year. The cost of doing the M-School through our Club date is about half of what it would cost you to do it on your own. When we were there previously, we were able to tour the BMW CCA Foundation and have dinner at a local brewery, I would expect we will plan something similar this time also. If you would like to attend, you will need to book your spot by late June. If we don’t sell this event out by then, we may cancel it since it would be an extensive loss for the Chapter. You can find more information about the event and register for it at Motorsport.Reg.

As you may be aware by now, there has been a change to the BMW rebate purchase program. For the last 2 years if you had a friend or relative join the Club with a 3-year membership they were eligible for the rebate immediately if they were purchasing a new BMW or leasing a previously owned one. This program was so successful for BMW and the BMW CCA that they now have changed it to where you now need to join the Club with a 3-year membership and must wait 6 months before you can purchase a new or a leased BMW to qualify for the rebate. The other option is having your friends or relatives join the Club with a single year membership and waiting a full 12 months to purchase a new or a leased BMW before they can receive the rebate benefits.

Now getting back to the website or hopefully the updated version of it by now, it will be a fresh, mobile-friendly design that highlights all of your favorite features like the forum and the calendar of events. It will also help facilitate our new digital news delivery model. All of the familiar columns and contributors will remain, sharing new content on a recurring basis, in full color and unconstrained by print requirements. Vendors and sponsors will continue to be featured with easy links to their products and services. I’m sure there will be some tweaking to it after it’s out.

As an update to an event we held last Fall, the Whack Your Turkey Rally, we were able to donate $600 to the Food Bank of NORWESCAP with the proceeds. The Food Bank distributes over 2 million of pounds of food annually throughout Warren, Sussex and Hunterdon Counties. Thanks to all who participated in the Rally for making it the success that it was.

Neil

neilgambony@njbmwcca.org

President’s Corner – Winter 2020

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By Neil Gambony

Hello and welcome to 2020. Where do I start? There is so much going on right now and I have a lot to cover. You are now reading this through your electronic device of choice; we are no longer printing a paper version of the Bulletin. Currently this is in a PDF format; we are planning to change that when we roll out our new website, another one of the many changes in store for the upcoming year. The last issue of the Bulletin is now a collector’s item; I should look on Ebay to see what they are going for.

Before I get into what’s upcoming, I have some housekeeping to do. The Board of Directors of the NJBMW CCA remains mostly unchanged from last year, thank you gentlemen. I had filled the position of Director of Social Events last year with Richard Altman, and he has been reelected to the position for 2020. Rich has taken charge of the Chapter’s 50th anniversary party, more on that later.

I have also found a new Business Manager, technically not a Board position but just as important, nonetheless. Allison Mack, who also happens to be a regular participant in our Autocross program, will now be handling the Club’s business. I must thank Matt Baratz who had been our previous Business Manager even after moving to the left coast. I am relieved to have a manager now in the same time zone.

As you may be aware of by now, 2020 is our 50th year of being a Chapter of the BMW CCA. We were the 4th Chapter to join the Club and are among a handful of Chapters that has our geographical location in our Chapter’s name. The BMW CCA had originated in the Boston Massachusetts area so it make sense that the states close to the New England region were among the early Chapters to join the CCA.

The date has not been set yet for our celebration party, although we’re planning the location to be at the Deutscher Club in Clark, the place where we hold many of our regular Club meetings. We are in the early stages of planning it but I do know it will run from mid-day to the early evening, and yes, it will be rain or shine. There is plenty of parking; we hope to have a showing of the many car models throughout the years, BMWs, Minis, and BMW hybrids just to name a few.

Not only do I expect to see some great cars at the 50th anniversary celebration, I am looking forward to seeing some of the members and officers who were here before me and built this Chapter into what it is now. I had the pleasure of meeting former NJ member Scott Hughes a few years back at a Club Race School we were holding at Summit Point. Scott is credited with being instrumental in starting the Driver’s School program for our chapter way back in 1974. In my conversation with Scott, it turns out that he had attended an elementary school in the town I grew up in, obviously a few years before me. There is no word yet on whether he will attend but I would be thrilled if he and his wife Fran did. We may also expect to see some of our National Officers but that is unconfirmed also. I am also looking forward to seeing all of you there too.

So what else are we up to? In addition to our traditional slate of Driver Schools, Club Races, Autocrosses, Rallies and Street Survival Schools, the Chapter once again will be participating in a one day M-School on September 6th at the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, North Carolina. We had done one several years ago with great success and when we inquired about holding one last year, all of the dates were already booked for the year. The cost of doing the M-School through our Club date is about half of what it would cost you to do it on your own. When we were there previously, we were able to tour the BMW CCA Foundation and have dinner at a local brewery, I would expect we will plan something similar this time also. If you would like to attend, you will need to book your spot by late June. If we don’t sell this event out by then, we may cancel it since it would be an extensive loss for the Chapter. You can find more information about the event and register for it at Motorsport.Reg.

As you may be aware by now, there has been a change to the BMW rebate purchase program. For the last 2 years if you had a friend or relative join the Club with a 3-year membership they were eligible for the rebate immediately if they were purchasing a new BMW or leasing a previously owned one. This program was so successful for BMW and the BMW CCA that they now have changed it to where you now need to join the Club with a 3-year membership and must wait 6 months before you can purchase a new or a leased BMW to qualify for the rebate. The other option is having your friends or relatives join the Club with a single year membership and waiting a full 12 months to purchase a new or a leased BMW before they can receive the rebate benefits.

Now getting back to the website or hopefully the updated version of it by now, it will be a fresh, mobile-friendly design that highlights all of your favorite features like the forum and the calendar of events. It will also help facilitate our new digital news delivery model. All of the familiar columns and contributors will remain, sharing new content on a recurring basis, in full color and unconstrained by print requirements. Vendors and sponsors will continue to be featured with easy links to their products and services. I’m sure there will be some tweaking to it after it’s out.

As an update to an event we held last Fall, the Whack Your Turkey Rally, we were able to donate $600 to the Food Bank of NORWESCAP with the proceeds. The Food Bank distributes over 2 million of pounds of food annually throughout Warren, Sussex and Hunterdon Counties. Thanks to all who participated in the Rally for making it the success that it was.

Neil

neilgambony@njbmwcca.org

President’s Corner – Fall 2019

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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

neilgambony@njbmwcca.org

President’s Corner – Summer 2019

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By Neil Gambony

In October 2019, the BMW CCA will be celebrating its 50th anniversary at the Oktoberfest celebration in Greenville, South Carolina. Over one thousand members have registered for the event, sure to be one for the record books. The BMWCCA, now known as the BMW CCA, was formed in 1969 in Massachusetts by some overly enthusiastic 2002 owners.

To put 1969 in perspective, Richard Nixon was elected the 37th POTUS, the Beatles recorded and released their last album Abbey Road, IMSA (International Motor Sport Association) was formed by John Bishop, Mario Andretti won the Indy 500 and who could forget Woodstock, an event that changed the course of music forever.

For our Chapter, 1970 was an important year; it was the year that the New Jersey Chapter became the fourth chapter to join the BMW CCA. We will be celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2020, exactly how I am unsure of at this time.

An event that I have been attending since 1998 is the US Vintage Grand Prix held in Watkins Glen NY, typically held on the first weekend of September after the Labor Day holiday. Since I own vintage cars, the newest model year car being a 2007 E92, I also enjoy seeing vintage race cars. Some of the cars at this event are ones that I have seen racing in their heyday in the 80s and 90s, yes it makes me feel old seeing them again.

This is not a BMW CCA event. However, in all the times of my attendance there I have seen members from the New Jersey, Delaware Valley, New York and Genesee Valley Chapters, as well as I’m sure there are many more members from other regions that I haven’t met yet. Some of them are spectators like me, others are participants.

The US Vintage Grand Prix is sanctioned by the SVRA, which is the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, one of the oldest and largest vintage racing groups. The cars that race over the weekend are from many different disciplines; there could be former Formula One, Indy, NASCAR, Trans-Am, ALMS and IMSA competition cars as well as cars raced in the SCCA such as the production cars or as I call them the “alphabet cars”.

There are sports cars both large- and small-bore, GT cars, formula cars, spec racers and prototypes. There are Corvettes, Mustangs, MGs, BMWs, Jaguars, Porsches, Minis, Alfa Romeos, Datsun and Volvos just to name a few makes. This year the featured marquee car happens to be Triumph, it’s been a few years since BMW was featured. A typical weekend will have between 400-500 cars.

The event is really a 2-part celebration. The main part is the use of Watkins Glen International (WGI); A 3.4 mile road course circuit located approximately 5 miles from the Village of Watkins Glen which is situated at the southern tip of Lake Seneca, one of the Finger Lakes. The second part of the event takes place in the Village of Watkins Glen on Friday.

Watkins Glen is where the first Grand Prix was held in the US after World War II and marked the revival of road course racing in the U.S. A 6.6-mile road course was established on public roads which still exist today although they have not been used for racing since 1952. On the Friday afternoon of the weekend several hundred race cars are escorted from the track where they have been practicing for the day to town where they join the festivities that have been going on all day.

In the town which has been closed off to thru traffic for the day, thousands of people are taking part of the many events going on such as car shows, gymkhanas, art shows, wine tasting, car tours, and listening to live music playing from rooftops. When the race cars arrive from the track they line both sides of Franklin Street which is the main street through town. This gives everyone a chance to look at the cars up close and talk with the drivers who are more than happy to share the heritage about the car. There is even the possibility that the owner of the car is the original owner/driver.

Franklin Street is an interesting one, there are granite markers set in the sidewalk that are engraved with racer’s names on them, racers who have raced either on the original street course or those who have raced at WGI, it’s similar to Hollywood’s walk of shame. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like standing behind (or even sitting on) the hay bales that lined the street when the Grand Prix cars roared past in 1948.

At about 6 PM the cars are escorted in groups around the original 6.6-mile circuit for 2 laps and it is always a thrill to see them re-enter Franklin Street. Many drivers have either their significant other or a crew member ride with them, surely a thrill for both occupants of the car. When the laps are over, they are then escorted back to the track for the rest of the weekend’s activities.

Back at the track for the remainder of the weekend, there are qualifying and racing sessions for the racers, either in 1/2-hour or 1-hour enduros. The cars are run in groups such as those they ran in when originallycompetitive or they may grouped into an enduro of similar performance cars. There are also several feature races such as the Collier Cup for MG automobiles, named for the brothers of Miles and Sam Collier who started the Automobile Racing Club of America in 1933 which later became the Sports Car Club of America in 1944.

The Collier brothers were businessmen from New York City and were involved in the importing of MG cars, the car of choice for racing in the 40’s and 50’s. Their involvement of car importation opened the door for others to be able to import cars such as Max Hoffman; among the many of the car brands he brought was BMW. The rest as we say is history.

Among the other races of the weekend is the new Trans -Am series. The management of the SVRA now also runs the Trans-am series with four different classes of cars. Although the main class has a lot of American cars such as Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers, there are also other classes that have BMWs, Porsches, Aston Martins, Ferraris, Audis, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz. The downside to having the Trans-Am race there is that a few vintage race groups were eliminated to make room in the schedule.

As we head into the Fall, we need to consider our Club Officers for next year. We will be holding the election at our December Meeting with the Pinewood Derby. The positions available are: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Social Chairperson, Driving Events, and 2 Member-at-Large positions. If you are interested or know of anyone else who may be, please send our Secretary David Allaway, david@allaway.us a note with your nominee.

We will be holding our final Driver School at the Shenandoah circuit of the Summit Point Raceway complex on October 5th-6th. This is a technical, 2-mile course with 23 turns, and a scaled down version of the carrousel turn of the Nurburgring racetrack in Germany. It’s also the only track we use where we use the skidpad. Hopefully it will be cooler there than when we were at Summit Main back in July. I hope to see you there.

Neil Gambony

neilgambony@njbmwcca.org

President’s Corner – Spring 2019

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By Neil Gambony

I finally made my first visit to BMW’s Vehicle Distribution Center (VDC) and can tell you that it is quite an impressive facility; more on that later. This was our Chapter’s 7th time there; it always seemed that work or some other reason kept me from attending in the past. I needed to see what the VDC was all about for myself; it’s the one event we hold each year that I get the most inquiries about and now I know why. Club members from the New York and Delaware Valley Chapter were welcomed in addition to our own Chapter’s members.

An event like this requires the thanking of many people and businesses. Vice-President Paul Ngai organized a small team of Club members to handle registration and the sale/auction of much merchandise generously donated by BMW of Bridgewater, BMW NA, the VDC and the BMW CCA Foundation. The proceeds of this event of which we raised $6000.00 this year will go to the BMW CCA Foundation. Many thanks to all who attended making this event a great success.

Scott Dishman, the Executive Director of the BMW CCA Foundation, was on hand and invited all that were planning to attend Oktoberfest (October 15-19) to stop in at the Foundation while in Greer, South Carolina. The Foundation is available to all members; they have archived much information about the history of BMW and the history of the BMW CCA, which is now celebrating its 50th year. One of the other programs of the Foundation is the Street Survival School for teenage drivers, of which we have two schools scheduled for the year.

So now about VDC. The VDC was established in 1987 and the one in New Jersey is one of the several centers that BMW has in North America. It is where BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce have their vehicles final preparations done after their long journey before they are sent to their prospective dealerships. Security is very tight here; we were not allowed to take any pictures. Yes, they have vehicles here with the crazy paint graphics that are supposed to disguise them.

How many longshoremen does it take to unload a ship full of cars? It could take 60 to 80 of them and a fleet of vans shuttling them out of the ship to get it done in a day. Seeing this process being done was just one of the features of the tour that the VDC provided plus it didn’t offend me that they rode us out to the see the ship that was being unloaded in the new X7. Many thanks to BMW of Bridgewater for providing breakfast and lunch for all.

A few issues back, I wrote about receiving your newsletter, The Bulletin, on your personal electronic device by receiving it through an e-mail from the NJ Chapter. At that time, I instructed you to go to the BMW CCA National website and click on your personal preference of newsletter delivery. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the National office was doing maintenance on the website and that feature was unavailable then.

I’m happy to report at this time the feature of changing your newsletter delivery preference is working just fine. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps; login to the BMW CCA website (bmwcca.org), click on “Manage Account” under “My Membership” then go to “My Profile” where you can update your newsletter delivery choice. I know it’s simple, I figured out how to do it.

Just a reminder on the benefits of receiving the newsletter electronically, you could receive it up to 2-3 weeks sooner depending on what region you live in since it paper copy goes out in bulk mail. The whole issue is in color if there are pictures in it, and you won’t have to discard or recycle it when finished. I would be remiss not to mention that the Chapter will also benefit in savings on the printing and postage, savings that could be put towards some of our other programs.

Does the BMW CCA National Office have the correct e-mail or street address or for you? You could also update that information there. Not all of our members have provided an e- mail address of where they can be contacted. If you are concerned about the BMW CCA selling your address to other businesses, they do not. That was a concern of mine when I first got my account. Providing an e-mail address would be helpful when we send e-blasts that contain information regarding Club events such as the monthly meetings, Autocrosses, Rallies, and Driver Schools. The e-blast came in very handy this past winter when we had to make a last-minute decision to cancel a Club meeting due to inclement weather.

Do you have an associate member in your family? Not only are they entitled to all of the benefits that the BMW CCA has to offer, they are also able to participate in important stuff like the Club’s national or regional elections. The only catch is they need to provide an e-address to the Club since that is the only format of communication from the National Club. They would also be able to receive the newsletter from our Chapter. Yes, you have the option of opting out should you so desire.

Since we are going into the summer months, there are some great events coming up. June is a busy month with several. On the 7th we are returning to the Deutscher Club for their Biergarten. This is a great opportunity for Club members to showcase their cars. June 14-15 is the Driver School and Club Race at NJMP, a Friday and Saturday event. Once again the Westlake School, a school that serves children with multiple disabilities, will benefit from the proceeds of the event. This year the race is a North American Challenge event with 4 races over the course of both days. This will draw racers from all regions including Canada. Club members are welcome to attend the event as spectators even if they are not participating in the school.

June 19th has us returning to Tyspeed Automotive in Jackson, NJ for a Pikes Peak send-off party. Owner Tyler Pappas will be journeying to the Rockies to participate in probably one of the most difficult automotive races in the country if not the world. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb or “Race to the Clouds” as it’s also known, is an event where participants have to be invited to attend. The hill climb has been running since 1916 with a course that has 156 turns in 12.4 miles ascending 4720 feet to a final elevation of 14,110 feet above sea level. Congratulations to Tyler for his invite, let’s show him our support. Closing off June on the 23rd is an Autocross at the TD Bank Ball in Bridgewater; please look for information on the Club’s website regarding it.

There is another Autocross at the TD Bank Ballpark on July 7th and then we are off to Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, West Virginia for the 5th Annual Geoff Atkinson Driver School and Club Race. The date for the event is July 20-21. As the normal for me, this is one event I look forward to every year. For information about any of our events please be sure to check our website.

Neil

neilgambony@njbmwcca.org

President’s Corner – Winter 2019

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By Neil Gambony

Welcome to 2019. I’m happy to report that we are heading into the year with only a few minor changes from last year. Yes, we will be holding our usual Driver Schools/Club Races, autocrosses, rallies and the Street Survival Schools. We will also be holding the Spring Social. Vice-President Paul Ngai has come up with a year’s worth of programs; he will be making announcements about them as the details are finalized.

There are some minor changes on the Board of Directors, one them is Jeff Caldwell has stepped down from his Member-at-Large position to run for the North Atlantic Region Vice President’s position. The good news is he has won the spot. I am looking forward to Jeff representing New Jersey as well as the other Chapters in our region on the BMW CCA Board.

Mark Hulbrock has stepped up to take over the vacant position of Member-at-Large. Some of you may know Mark from our Driver Schools; he has been an Instructor for several years. He brings to the Board his experience of website design and development; I am expecting to see some changes on the website in the future. Mark will also be giving us more exposure on social media; we could always use a few more members who share the same passion we have for BMWs.

Another change to our Board, Vic Lucariello Jr. who has been our Social Chairperson, has stepped down due to commitments with his employment. Vic has graciously committed to the Chapter to finish organizing the Spring Social which will be held on March 30th at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit, NJ. If anyone is interested in taking on the position of Social Chairperson and would like to know what the responsibilities are, please contact me, my e-mail address is at the end of this column.

One pleasant point of business that carries over from last year involves the Whack Your Turkey Rally. Through the generosity of the participants and the Club kicking in a few more dollars, we were able to contribute one thousand dollars to the Food Bank of NORWESCAP. NORWESCAP is the Northwest New Jersey Community Action Program. One of their programs is the food bank which distributes over 2 million pounds of food to charitable organizations in Hunterdon, Warren, and Sussex Counties. Many thanks go to our Co-Rallymasters, Jeff White, Trisha Camp, Doug Feigel and Sherrie Natko on the success of the Whack Your Turkey Rally.

On the National level, an event to look forward to later in the year is Oktoberfest. Last year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 2002, this year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the forming of the BMW CCA. The date for O’Fest will be October 15th through the 19th.

The BMW CCA has promised that the event will be nothing less than spectacular and it will be held in Greenville, South Carolina. That puts it right near the BMW Spartanburg factory, the new BMW CCA Headquarters in Greer and the BMW CCA Foundation which is also located in Greer. There will be more information coming out about the event or you can go to the BMW CCA website and find the information there.

Something I have finally done this winter was upgrading my ride. I sold my old half German car, a Chrysler PT Cruiser. Yes, the PT Cruiser was made by Chrysler when they were in cahoots with Daimler; I think we all know how that turned out. Now the Cruiser was a great car, had plenty of space inside to lug everything you need to the track, the only problem was it was not a car to drive on the track.

My search began when I saw an ad for a MINI in a local stuff for sale publication that was in my budget. I had read Melissa Cunningham’s story in the Roundel a while back how a group of several hundred Minis congregated to the opening day of Watkins Glen International in the spring where they also took a tour of several of the vineyards in the region surrounding Watkins Glen. I thought I would like to get in on the MINI fun or maxi fun as what it sounded more like, I responded to the ad for the MINI. This wouldn’t have been the first MINI in the family; my younger brother has several MINI although they were made by BMC, not BMW.

As I’m writing this story, I’m beginning to find out what “Initial Ramblings” author JT Burkard goes through when purchasing cars; this is a classic example of “you can’t make this stuff up.” I called the number and got the owner of the MINI. The car was available; however he was out of town at the moment. As it turned out his return coincided with my having to go out of town.

Not wanting to miss out while I was out of town, I had asked my older brother (I have 4 brothers) to call and check it out. The response he got when he called was the car was in a repair shop, apparently with a mechanic who not in a hurry to repair it.

When the next edition of the publication was out where I had originally seen the ad for the car, he had raised the price several hundred dollars obviously trying to recoup upon the expense of getting it repaired, yet was not able to show the car since it was still with the mechanic being repaired. A follow-up call a week or so later, the owner decided after the expense of the repair he was going to hold on to the car but would call me if he decided to put it up for sale again.

So if you are still reading this and wondering what I ended up buying, I decided to go in a different direction. Realizing that I had purchased 3 325iXs in the past, I wanted to go back to having an all-wheel drive car again. I made a deal with the owner, Don, of a local store I frequent often for an E92 328Xi with an automatic that he had bought for his son to use while he attended college. Now that Don’s son was done with school and had joined the Marines, he had decided to sell the car. Don’s son had decided to get a car that didn’t require as much maintenance and didn’t have RFTs (run flat tires). He didn’t like the idea of not having a spare if there was a problem late at night. The tires are something I’ll have to deal with when they wear out.

Now this is where I get to make a shameless plug for the Tire Rack Street Survival School for teenage drivers since we are planning two for this year. I had encouraged Don to enroll his son in the program a few years back and he was more than eager to do so. So my car has completed the program, or more appropriately, Don’s son is a graduate of the program. I expect to see Don’s daughter there when she is eligible.

I’ve only been driving the car a short while but can tell that monumental advancements in technology have been made in the 20 or so years from when the iX was developed. The one thing that I have mastered using in the car this winter is the seat heater, everything else I am still learning about.

I enjoy the simplicity of the E30 iX, a car that I am able to do much of the maintenance and repair work on by myself; I’ll have to see how much of the E92 I can do by myself and what additional tools I will need to purchase. The one thing that I have noticed is that both the iX, one of which I still have, and the Xi are black, a coincidence?

Neil

neilgambony@njbmwcca.org

President’s Corner – Fall 2018

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By Neil Gambony

Welcome to the Fall edition of the New Jersey Bulletin, the quarterly newsletter of the NJ BMW CCA. Are you reading this through our new format of it being transmitted to you by e-mail or are you still drudging to your mailbox to get it? Now there is nothing wrong with going to your mailbox, after all that is still the way the Roundel, the monthly magazine of the BMW CCA, is sent to you along with your usual sale flyers, bills, coupon envelopes, and lately the multitude of political candidate mailers. Yes, I’m writing this in November.

There are several advantages of receiving the Bulletin through an e- mail. You can enjoy reading it wherever and whenever you want on your personal electronic device. The full edition is in color should there be pictures or ads in the middle, we have only been ordering the printing with just the first 2 and last 2 pages in color to save on the cost of the NL. You may also receive it sooner since we bulk rate the mailing, depending on the zone you are in it may take longer to reach you when sent through the US mail. You also won’t have to discard or recycle (hopefully that what’s you do with it) it when you are done unless you are like me and file them away in boxes in your attic.

Would you like to receive the Bulletin by e-mail? It can be easily done by simply going to the website of the BMW CCA at www.bmwcca.org, logging in and opening your profile, then check off the box for e-mail Newsletter delivery. It’s not hard to do; many members have done so already.

In reviewing my previous columns from this past year, I have discovered that I was thanking someone for their contribution to the Chapter; this column will be no different. This time I will be thanking many people, including the members who have served on the Board of Directors of the Chapter who have made my job easy and a pleasure to do. Here are the members who I need to recognize: Paul Ngai – Vice President, Ron Gemeinhardt – Treasurer, David Allaway – Secretary, Driving Events Chairman – Jeff White, Social Chairman – Vic Lucariello Jr., Jerry Faber – Newsletter Editor, and Colin Vozeh – Webmaster.

Also on the Board are four Members at Large – Bob Isbitski, Jeff Caldwell, Jamie Kavalieros, who serve as our Driving School Chairman, and Ross Karlin, who by default is our Club Racing Committee Chairman. I need to thank Elihu Savad and his Autocross Committee for the work they do in putting together our Autocross events. It takes a lot of persistence to get the job done and they have prevailed. Thanks also go to former Club President Larry Engel, who has taken charge of the Street Survival school program, even being recognized nationally for his efforts.

Many thanks go to some behind the scenes people, Vic Lucariello Sr who has been writing his Philes’ Forum, our technical column in the Bulletin, long before I joined the club in 1995 and JT Burkard who is the author of Initial Ramblings. I had asked JT to write about his experience on one of our rallies back during my previous administration (2006-8) and he has been contributing ever since. I’ve certainly have enjoyed hearing about his adventures or misadventures as they may have been through the years.

Another group of people who deserve thanks are the Driver School Committee. I’ve already mentioned Jamie Kavalieros, the Driver School Chairman. There is also Mark Mallory our registrar, Warren Brown who handles our technical inspections and Barry Stevens who has been our Chief Instructor. I say been for a reason, more on that later.

The last 2 members I need to thank are Kevin Sheehy and Matt Baratz. Matt is our business manager and handles our website and newsletter advertising. Matt is not as physically close to us as he would like to be but is certainly as close to us as he can be in spirit. Kevin has taken on the important role of membership chairman and will be handling our members’ needs.

I would also like to take a moment and thank all of our members. You joined the Club for a reason and I hope you are taking advantage of the benefits of being a member, whether participating in our driving events such as Autocross, the Driver School program, Club Racing, Rallies or just attending a Club meeting. Maybe you joined to take advantage of the rebate program offered through BMW NA, it’s a good enough reason for me.

Now getting back to Barry Stevens, Barry is stepping down after serving as our Driver School Chief Instructor for the past 10 seasons. Barry will still be with us for driver schools, he wanted to focus on helping individual students again. This presents me with the perfect opportunity to introduce our new Chief Instructor Bill Van Ocker to you. Bill was a student when I started to attend the driver schools and has been an Instructor since 2005, taken the Instructor Training program at Watkins Glen. Bill has instructed at Summit Point, Watkins Glen, Pocono and NJMP as well. When I met Bill he was driving an E30; he has since moved on to the E36 M3 model.

It’s not just any E36 M3, since I happen to be a vintage race car enthusiast, it’s the car that Club members Dave McIntyre and Ross Karlin used to compete in the Targa Newfoundland in the 2000’s and placed 1st in class in 2008. Bill purchased the car a few years ago when Dave decided to sell the car.

Something to look forward to in 2019 is the Spring Social. For 2019, we have moved the date of it a few weeks later to Saturday March 30th. It will once again be at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit NJ. It is a more casual event than we used to do with the Banquet; you can arrive any time and leave whenever you want. More information about the event will be out in the winter months.

I am happy to announce that our immediate past President Jeff Caldwell has announced that he will be running for the position of the North Atlantic Regional Vice- President. The position involves being the liaison between the Chapters in our area, of which there are 14, and the BMW CCA’s National board members. Jeff has served us well in the five years he held the top spot on our board. There will be candidate statements coming out in the January issue of the Roundel, please be sure to give Jeff your support.

Now that Fall is upon us and we are going into winter when the amount of daylight is much shorter, I would like to offer a small driving tip. I know you are aware of the law to have your lights on when you are using your windshield wipers; it also would be a good idea to have your lights on when the weather is foggy or overcast yet not at the point of rain.

There are many car colors now that blend into the road background such as black, silver, dark blue, and gray to name a few. Cars are more monochromatic now than the days of big chrome bumpers and trim that certainly made cars more visible, not to mention the fact that cars are smaller now than they used to be. Please be sure to turn them off when you arrive at your destination.

Since the Holiday Season is now approaching, I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday whether you are celebrating at home or away and I look forward to seeing everyone again next year.

Neil

neilgambony@njbmwcca.org

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

President’s Corner – Spring 2018

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By Neil Gambony

Last quarter I covered some upcoming events for the NJ Chapter, but neglected to include a big event coming up for the BMW CCA. This is Oktoberfest, which will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from July 9-15. Normally, O’Fest, as I will be referring to it from here on out, is held in the Fall, like September or oddly, October. However, it has been moved to July to coincide with the premier automotive event of the Pittsburgh Grand Prix.

The Pittsburgh Grand Prix is over 35 years old and is one of the most attended enthusiast events in the country. What makes the Pittsburgh Grand Prix (PGP) even better is that it is a fundraiser for the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Valley School, which helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The PGP has raised over five million dollars for them since its inception.

This year, O’Fest will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 2002. It’s hard to believe they are that old now [cough, cough, or the rest of us – JF]. My first real exposure to BMW was through my buddy George from high school whose dad had bought a new 1975 square taillight 2002 in the color of Burgundrot. It was a great little car. We used to do minor service work on it like change the sparkplugs and condenser and set the points with a feeler gauge, then checked the timing with a timing light. We also changed the oil and the filters, etc.

We drove the car all around and sometimes up to a marina on the Long Island Sound in Milford, Connecticut where George’s family had kept their boat moored. As I recall, that was back in the days when BMW owners either waved their hand or flashed their lights whenever another BMW approached them. Nowadays when people are waving at me in my BMW I hope they are using all of their fingers.

The car was eventually sold to someone in the next town over and I saw it sporadically for years. I even think I saw it last year, or I wanted it to be the same car, no matter, I was happy to see it now had a BMW CCA decal on it. George’s dad got a very good return on the purchase price when he sold it, something BMW was using in their advertisements at the time.

Information for registering for O’Fest can be found at the BMW CCA website if you haven’t already received information from the CCA about it.

Many of our members have joined the BMW CCA to get the rebate from a new car purchase or certified pre-owned car through BMW. The stipulation was you had to be a member for one year before you were eligible to get the rebate, up to $1500 depending on the model. Now, the BMW CCA and BMW North America have worked out a plan that if you join the Club with a minimum three-year membership, you can be eligible for the rebate immediately without having to wait the one-year time period. Does this help you since you are already a member?

Perhaps not but it may help a friend, family member or co-worker who you know that might have been thinking about buying a new or certified pre-owned BMW and this could be the incentive they need to buy the car and the join the club. A three-year membership can be had for the bargain price of $134.00. If you are still renewing year by year (like me), please be sure not to let your membership lapse for even one day or you will lose your eligibility for any rebate. The BMW CCA has no control over this, it all done through BMW NA. There are many other benefits of being a Club member that certainly could provide me with plenty to write about for a future Neil’s Way.

I’ve often been asked about our membership and I would like to share with you some statistics about our Chapter and its members. Our Chapter was formed and incorporated in 1971; we were the fourth Chapter to join the BMW CCA. Our Chapter currently has 2375 primary members and 365 associate members; associates members are mostly significant others, offspring, or siblings, giving us a total of 2740 members. Our oldest member’s number is 216; the newest member’s number is 540,808 as of the end of May. The town that I see that has the most members is Westfield; I can only speculate that it has something to do with former Club President Larry Engel living there.

There are about a dozen members living in the New England area although the furthest north member is in Pointe Claire, Canada. We have many members from our bordering states New York and Pennsylvania along with some other east coast states: Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina among them. The furthest southeast member is in Miami Beach, Florida. To the west are a handful of members in Arizona, Colorado and California with the furthest west member being in Tokyo, Japan. Hello Keisuke and hello to everyone else not living in the Garden State.

The New Jersey Chapter is ranked 6th in membership out of 68 Chapters. We are 198 members ahead of the New York Chapter and only 81 members behind the Tarheel Chapter. Maybe I should make some kind of challenge for our members to help us move up in the rankings. The largest Chapter, by the way, is the National Capital Chapter with almost 5000 members. For our track junkies out there, the NJ Chapter started you down the slippery slope. We were the first Chapter to hold a Driver School; Lime Rock Park in 1974 at a staggering cost of $15 per student. If you have ever seen the footage of that event, it’s pretty much a 2002 driver’s school.

For those who were able to attend the Winter Social in March at the Reeves-Reeds Arboretum in Summit, thank you. It was a very casual and laidback affair with the premise that you could come and go at any time; the reality was that most everyone stayed until the end. It was a welcome respite in the midst of all the Nor’easters we were having in March. As I talked with many of the members there, I realized that I was fortunate that where I live still had electricity. Even the Arboretum was running on their back-up generator. Many thanks to our Social Chairman Vic Lucariello Jr. for organizing the event. I am looking forward to this event for next year.

The April program for our members was held at the Deutscher Club in Clark with the program topic being Liqui Moly, a German manufacturer of synthetic motor oil. Not only do they make motor oil but many other products like fuel and tank cleaners, and oil additives for both gas and diesel motors. Liqui Moly will be a sponsor for Team Turner cars this year in IMSA; let’s hope they both have great results. Thanks to Vice-President Paul Ngai for arranging the meeting.

Speaking of the Deutscher Club (DC) I would like to thank former Vice-President Marc Goeller for organizing the BMW Biergarten night at the DC in Clark which was held on Friday, May 11th. The event was moved up in the season so we could enjoy Alex Meissner and his Polka Band that the DC sought to have while they were in the area. Thanks also go to the many Club members who brought their cars out to be displayed and judged in in one of the three categories that had been established. The DC members enjoyed seeing the cars and are always welcoming to us when we are there. Many thanks also go to our Club members in attendance to support this event for us as well as the DC.

Now that the warm weather is finally upon us, it’s time to get the car out and ready for the track. There are some great events coming up like the K&N series Race and Drivers School at NJMP in June, as well as the Geoff Atkinson Memorial Driver School and Club Race at Summit Point Raceway in July, which is always a highlight of the summer. I hope to see you somewhere.

Neil

neilgambony@njbmwcca.org

President’s Corner – Winter 2018

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By Neil Gambony

I’m baaack! Or as the late great 20th century philosopher Yogi Berra once said, it’s like déjà vu all over again. For those who joined the Club in the last 10 years and don’t know what I am referring to, I previously served as NJ Chapter President for 3 years, 2006-2008. I have still been around since then serving on the Board as a Member-at-Large and more recently as Driving Events Chairman for the last 6 years.

For a little background, I bought my first BMW, a 1985 325e in 1991 and joined the club in 1995. I think my biggest regret was that I didn’t join the Club sooner! I currently have a 1988 325 iX as well as a 1987 IS that I use for our driver’s schools. I attended my first driving school in 1979, I’m sorry to say it wasn’t with the BMW CCA; rather it was with the Jim Russell School in Mt Tremblant, Canada using Formula Ford cars. I was pretty certain that I was going to get a full-time ride with either Williams, Tyrrell, Ferrari, or Penske at the time. To make a long story short, life got in the way of my driving career so I decided to start attending the BMW CCA driver schools in 1996. You might be able to find me there now checking your wrist band as you pull out of pit lane.

Now before I get into what’s going on in the Club, I must first thank my predecessor Jeff Caldwell for his five-year commitment to the Club. Jeff joined the Club when I was President many years ago and it didn’t take long for him to decide where he wanted to go with us. I have to say I admire his tenacity; he let us know his thoughts about what we should be doing without sugar coating it. Five continuous years, by the way, is a record for the Club by any president, one I’m sure that will stand for a very, very long time. Jeff is not going away, he is just stepping back from the top spot and will still be around as a Member at Large.

Another Jeff I need to thank is Jeff White. Jeff has served as our Driver School Chairman for the last 11 years. As it happens to be, I had appointed him as Driver School Chairman in 2007. Jeff is stepping down from that position and has transitioned over to be the Driving Events Chairman. He is the main reason that the Driver Schools have run like a well-oiled machine the last 11 years. Jeff had also spent a lot of time orchestrating the driver schools at Oktoberfest in 2015.

Now it seems that fate has brought me back to the Presidency to appoint our new Driver School Chairman, Jamie Kavalieros. Jamie has served under Jeff as Registrar for our Driver Schools the last 9 years. Jamie is one of only 4 Club members who have won the NJ BMW CCA Club Championship Trophy 4 times, a feat he was able to accomplish with his autocrossing skills. In addition to having been the Registrar for our driver schools, Jamie is the skid pad instructor who had either you or one of your children holding their hands straight up while driving around the skid pad at our Street Survival Schools. Club member Mark Mallory will now be taking over the position of Driver School Registrar.

Some other Board changes – Paul Ngai has moved from Business Manager back to Vice-President. Paul had served previously as VP for both Larry Engel and Jeff Caldwell. Moving into the position of Business Manager is Matt Baratz. Matt was instrumental in starting the VDC Tour, now in its 6th year. It’s one of our events that fills up quickly and we use the proceeds from it to make a donation to the BMW CCA Foundation. Those are the major changes in personnel on the Board for 2018. I’m fortunate enough that the other Board members have remained in their prospective positions.

I would be remiss not to give a shout out to Vic Lucariello Sr., our Technical Advisor who is no longer in NJ but is just an e-mail away. You can keep up with Vic through his Philes’ Forum in the Bulletin. Vic has been contributing his column to the Bulletin for over 30 years now, which could be another record for the Club!

So what’s different now than when I last served as President? Communication is the main thing; the Bulletin now is a quarterly publication. You will only get to hear from me 4 times this year unless we get a chance to speak at one of our Club events which I hope to touch upon further in this column. We now use a very effective tool known as the e-blast; we can send out up-to-the- minute information regarding events. The important thing with this is you need to provide an e-mail address in which you can receive the e-blast. You should have provided an e-mail address when you joined the BMW CCA. If you need to update your e- mail address you may do so through the National BMW CCA office at www.bmwcca.org; we still have our own website with features like the Events Calendar and the Forum, which I find useful for either buying or selling parts or cars. You can also look for us on Facebook at New Jersey Chapter BMW Car Club of America.

We have many events already in the works for this year. There are 4 Driver Schools scheduled along with 2 of them holding Club Races: 1 at NJMP and 1 at Summit Point. There are 6 Autocrosses scheduled with the possibility of 1 or 2 more. For our rally enthusiasts, we are looking forward to once again joining the Northern NJ Chapter of the SCCA for a spring rally along with our annual Whack Your Turkey Rally in November. Have a teenage driver? There are 2 Street Survival being scheduled as I write this.

For our non-driving Events, something new we are trying this year is the Winter Social. Social Chairman Vic Lucariello Jr has put together an event at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit NJ to be held on March 10th. It’s intended to be a more casual event without any schedule of activities. You can find out more about it elsewhere in the Bulletin. Another event happening on March 24th is the VDC (Vehicle Distribution Center) Tour. This is where BMW prepares their cars before being shipped to their dealerships. It’s always been a no camera event; they always have something of interest we get to see first.

Chartering new territory for me as President is having to inform you of the passing of a fellow Club member. Albert Drugos, or as we more affectionately referred to him, Big Al, passed away in early January. Big Al joined the Club in June of 1995; during his time of membership he served the Chapter as Vice-President for 2004 and 05 and then went on to serve as Social Chairman from 2006 through 2013. Al had an intimidating presence but once I got to know him I realized that his best interests were for the Club. He was well-traveled and had many connections that he used to help make our events great, either putting together a Club meeting or Banquet.

Al participated in the Driver School program where he drove his E30 M3 as often as he could. He was an integral part of the program working both the Tech Inspection line and Pit Out. I was fortunate enough to work with him there where he taught me the fine art of pulling cars off the track safely with the tow truck. Although he hadn’t been able to make it to the track the last several years, his presence was surely missed. Godspeed Big Al.

Neil

neilgambony@njbmwcca.org

President’s Corner – Fall 2017

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Thanks for five great years!

By Jeff Caldwell

As I write this last President’s column it’s really sinking in that my time as leader of the NJ Chapter is coming to an end. Hard to believe, honestly. It has been a fun, challenging, sometimes stressful, but always rewarding experience. It has truly been my honor to serve as your President and it is my sincere hope that as a Chapter we have continued to exceed your expectations. We’ve worked very hard to bring you, the membership, a diverse offering of events that add value to your BMW ownership experience. That is truly the mission of the BMW CCA, to enrich your experience as BMW enthusiasts.

One of the biggest goals I had when taking over as President was for the NJ Chapter to host a national Oktoberfest. As most of you know, we accomplished this in 2015, when we successfully presented Oktoberfest to the national membership in southern NJ at the Seaview Resort and New Jersey Motorsports Park. I am extremely proud of Oktoberfest and know that we put New Jersey’s best foot forward. It was a massive undertaking and could not have been realized without the hard work of many incredible volunteers. Volunteers are heart of our Chapter and everything we do is supported by the efforts of folks who toil away behind the scenes to make all of our events special and successful. In addition, as your President, I have been blessed with wonderful Board members who have been with me every step of the way. Please indulge me as I take this final opportunity to recognize those people who have been instrumental in the Chapter’s success, not only for my term as President, but well before it in many cases.

As a new President five years ago I was overwhelmed. Thankfully, past President Larry Engel was available to help me as I navigated the new world I was facing. He was and is instrumental in my growth as the leader of the NJ Chapter. Thank you Larry for your counsel, friendship, and hard work. Larry also should be commended for his continuing work organizing and putting on Teen Street Survival events. TSS is a feather in the cap of our Chapter and helpful in training young drivers to be safe out on the roads.

There are two other Board members who really made my time as President easier, more enjoyable, and certainly less stressful. Huge thanks to Jeff White and Ross Karlin. These two men are invaluable to the NJ Chapter and provided me with a backstop when I was unsure of how to handle a situation, or which direction to take the chapter. I can’t count the number of calls, texts, emails and meetings we had over the years. Jeff and Ross…THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Larry, Jeff, and Ross were also the leaders of our Oktoberfest effort. We could not have pulled off the event in the style and efficiency we did without their tireless dedication.

Now on to my incredible Board. People have come and gone over the years, so this list will be a tad long. Still, I feel it is only appropriate to thank each and every one of them. First and foremost, my eternal gratitude goes to Doug Feigel, who served as our Business Manager for many years. Doug was responsible for spearheading the Chapter’s advertising effort for the News Bulletin and website. Doug built the advertiser roster to something we never could have imagined. He also organized and codified the position of Business Manager for those who would follow after him. Doug was responsible for shaping a big part of the Chapter business model and I can’t thank him enough for it. Matt Baratz also did a fantastic job succeeding Doug as Business Manager. Cheers Matt!

I’ve been fortunate to have two great Vice Presidents work with me: Paul Ngai and Marc Goeller. Both have done an excellent job overseeing the NJ Chapter meeting schedule, as well as organizing marquis events like the VDC tour and BMW NA annual get together. Thanks Paul and Marc for your hard work, organization, and energy.

On the social side I started as President with “Big Al” Drugos as Social Chair. Despite the gruff exterior, Al’s love for the Chapter was evident and I thank him for the years of service. After Al stepped down, we were lucky to have John Gyorfy and Chuck Schmidt jump on board to tag-team the social responsibilities. John and Chuck were the catalyst for moving our Chapter banquet to the Madison Hotel! These guys were also responsible for the super successful casino night aspect of the banquet and so much more. Thanks John and Chuck. Finally, Vic Lucariello, Jr. has assumed the Social Chair duties and is doing a fantastic job. Look for the new NJ Chapter winter party that will take the place of the banquet. Vic has some great stuff in store. Stay tuned, information will be coming shortly to your email inbox!

What about our media? You are reading the News Bulletin right now and that comes to you via the hands of Jerry Faber. Jerry has been a constant for NJ Chapter and likely has the most thankless job on our Board. Between chasing delinquent contributors (mainly yours truly…), organizing and laying out the Bulletin, and staying on top of advertising, Newsletter Editor is a big job. Jerry does it with an ease and style that is uniquely his own. Jerry, thank you for your patience and the incredible product you continue to put out. Amazing! Also on the media side is our Webmaster Colin Vozeh. Colin is a very “behind the scenes” guy, and keeps the website up to date and running smoothly. Thanks Colin for sticking with me all these years. I really appreciate it.

No Board would be complete without a Secretary and Dave Allaway has filled the position for many years. I am so thankful to Dave for the dedication he shows. Dave never misses a board meeting, always has a smile on his face, and has been a constant calming force on the board. Thank you Dave. I could not have done this without you. Dave is also a bit of a Chapter historian and along with Brian Morgan they can usually give us background on pretty much anything we need to know with regard to NJ Chapter. I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out Brian Morgan. I so much appreciate you attending the meetings and being an advocate for me over the years. Means more than you know!

Who next, but the money man! Ron Gemeinhardt has been a fabulous Treasurer for NJ Chapter. Also a thankless job, handling the finances for a Chapter as large as NJ is no small task. I and the board have worked with Ron continually to improve and stabilize the Chapter’s financial position. I am proud to say that through his and the Board’s efforts, our balance sheet is strong and the Chapter is on solid footing. Ron is a tireless advocate for fiscal responsibility and I am thankful for his counsel. Ron, I will miss working with you. Thank you for the great enthusiasm you show. Oh, and thanks for figuring out the dinner bill at all of the board meetings!

We’ve had many “members at large” over my term and it’s hard to thank them all individually. To all of you who have served on our Board as members at large, thank you for your unique talents and contribution. Special thanks to Bob Isbitski, who has stepped up our game with regard to member recruitment in the past couple years. Bob is responsible for our presence at big events like BimmerFest East. We are seeing results. Thank you!

Last, but not least, let’s talk about Driving Events. Neil Gambony has handled duties as Driving Events Chair and overseen a large and thriving program. We are truly blessed in our Chapter to have such a strong Driver School, Club Racing and Autocross program. NJ Chapter is one of the most active in the country with respect to these events. Thanks again to Jeff White and Ross Karlin, our Driver School Chair and Race Chair respectively. Thank you Jamie Kavalieros, Mark Mallory, and all the other volunteers who make our Driver Schools and Club Races run smoothly. Thank you Barry Stevens and Blake Smith for your work as Chief Instructor over the years. Thank you Vic Lucariello Sr. for the indelible mark you left on NJ Chapter Driver School Tech. We miss you! Thank you Warren Brown for stepping in to fill Vic’s shoes and thank you to the countless tech workers who brave early mornings and cold temps to keep our events safe. Thank you Elihu Savad and your band of Autocross volunteers who soldier on, despite fewer lots and fewer dates. You ALL make tough jobs look easy.

I am sure I have forgotten someone, that is inevitable when you have so many great people surrounding you. Please know that if I did miss you it’s not a conscious omission, and I am so very grateful for everyone’s dedication to our mission over the years.

A very special thank you to my amazing wife Sharon for her advice, support, and often times, tough love when it comes to BMW-related activities. Sharon also was a huge contributor to our Oktoberfest in 2015. Thanks for joining me on this crazy ride. I love you.

Well, that leaves only one last “Thank you” and that’s to all of you. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you as President of the NJ Chapter. It is an honor I will cherish and reflect on proudly for the rest of my life. I promise I am leaving you in capable hands. As always, if you need anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Have a wonderful holiday season and New Year.

See you at the track!

President’s Corner – Summer 2017

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Why should I join the BMW CCA?

By Jeff Caldwell

Why should I join the BMW CCA? I recently received my Ten Year pin from the BMW CCA. It’s hard to believe I only joined the club ten years ago, as I am currently in the final year of a five year stint as NJ Chapter President. Crazy! I have been a BMW fan for as long as I can remember. Like many of you, I have owned more BMWs over the years than I can count. Some great, others not so much, but they all were part of my journey with the only car that has ever really captured my attention. So why did I wait until my 30’s to join this fantastic club? Simple. I didn’t know the BMW CCA existed! You might be wondering what this has to do with the title of my article, as I am certainly a member now! I ask you to please indulge me for a few more paragraphs and everything will make sense. I hope…

Admittedly, I spent a number of years without a BMW in the driveway. My E21 died shortly after college and as a young person working hard I didn’t have the resources to afford one. I thought about an E30, but even then (mid 90’s) they were too expensive for a somewhat broke mid 20’s guy to manage. After a couple of stints with some unsatisfying non- BMWs, I finally was able to snag a 1999 E46 323i sedan. It was an automatic with high miles, but the passion was back and I was in love all over again. I felt like this was the greatest car in the world. Truth be told it was the greatest car in the world for me at that time. After the E46 transmission gave up I found a 1994 E36 325i sedan. Fun car and certainly the beginning of my love for E36s. Even though I adored the E36 I found myself wanting something sportier and perhaps with a little more power. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Enter the greatest car I never should have sold. A 2007 Titanium Silver Z4M coupe with red interior. She was a beauty. The car had loads of power, handled great and was SO much fun to drive. When I picked up the M Coupe there was a brochure for the BMW CCA in the folder with the owner’s manual. There’s a BMW club? There are other people like me who love these cars as much as I do? Wow! So I sent in the paperwork and the rest is history. The cool part of the BMW CCA is that even if you don’t own or drive a BMW you can still be a member. I wish I knew that back in the 90’s when I spent more time sitting in dealership showrooms dreaming than I really should have. The club would have been a great way to stay plugged in to the BMW world and hang out with like-minded people. I simply had no idea.

So, why did I tell you this story? Several reasons, but the main one being to highlight how difficult it is for the BMW CCA to reach potential new members. I am a prime example. If the club can’t reach someone like me, then what chance do we have to reach the more casually interested driver or enthusiast? Well, in 2017 it’s a bit easier than it was in the 90’s. First of all, there’s the internet. That’s a big one. However, despite the internet and social media there are still people who don’t know the club exists. You really need to be looking for it to find it. Nonetheless, there are some encouraging signs and club membership over all chapters nationally is either growing or stable. Might not sound like much, but in this age of declining engagement with clubs and volunteer organizations it’s a good thing. Still, we can and must do more to ensure the club’s health and growth in the future.

A couple weekends ago I had the pleasure of attending BimmerFest East, which by the way is held in Englishtown, NJ at Raceway Park. It’s the largest gathering of BMWs on the East Coast and really has something for everyone. There was everything from drift cars and show cars to race cars and plenty in between. If it’s BMW and you can dream it, it was there. The NJ Chapter and its dedicated staff of volunteers hosted the Autocross as well as staffing a BMW CCA booth to recruit and sign up new members. The booth was organized and championed by our own Bob Isbitski, a long time NJ Chapter member. Thank you Bob and all of the other Chapter members who spent their valuable free time over the weekend on behalf of the BMW CCA. You guys are amazing! While at BimmerFest I spent some time in the NJ Chapter booth and spoke to members and non-members alike. Something really struck me from my time there. The most common questions I got were “Why should I join the BMW CCA?” or “What do I get with my membership?”. Seems a pretty simple question to answer, right? You’d be surprised. I found that I was met with a great deal of skepticism. You’d think that people at an event celebrating BMWs would want to be part of the largest single marque car club in the world. You’d think it’s a no brainer. It’s not. I found myself often times struggling to convince someone that the $48 annual dues are worth it. You get Roundel for a year (best BMW publication out there). You get $500 – $1500 off the next BMW you lease or buy. You get access to the largest BMW enthusiast network in the world. You get access to all of the NJ Chapter events, both social and driving, and those of any other chapter. Maybe someday you get a cool Ten Year pin. Ok, I didn’t use that one, but you get the idea. I was clutching at straws for a moment and then it dawned on me.

You come for the cars and stay for the people. Yes, it’s a cliché. However, in this case it’s true. The single best part of the BMW CCA is the people and relationships you form as part of it. If you are a member and have not been to an event I encourage you to come out. Many of my best friends are part of the BMW CCA. I met them through club events, driver schools, autocrosses and racing. These are some of the finest, nicest, and most generous people you’ll ever meet. Several years ago my wife’s E46 convertible top broke. I happened to be talking to my friend Ralph Angersbach (long time club member) on the phone and he says “I’ll come up tomorrow evening and we’ll fix it”. Just like that. It’s a 45 minute drive for him each way and I never asked for help. He just offered. Trust me when I tell you, this happens all the time. There’s always someone in the club to help, always someone to lend a hand if you need it.

That’s how I should have been selling the club. It’s not about the Roundels that will fade or the rebate on the new car that will be deposited and forgotten. It’s about the life-long relationships and friends that will be here long after the shine on our new M4s is gone. That’s why you should join the BMW CCA. Thank you for your membership and support of the NJ Chapter and the BMW CCA. Thank you for making our great club even better. Please come out and join us for an event. Tell your friends to join. Heck, tell a stranger with a BMW to join. Let’s all make sure this club is prosperous well into the 21st century. We can’t do it without you all, our biggest cheerleaders. Thanks again. Hope you had a great summer.

President’s Corner – Winter 2017

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Performance Center Delivery

By Jeff Caldwell

I sincerely hope my column finds all of you well and enjoying 2017 to the fullest. Yes, it’s winter and despite putting appropriate tires on our cars there has been little chance to use them. I suppose no snow to speak of is a good thing, although there is a part of me that longs to enjoy an empty parking lot in the name of car control practice. I really hope I didn’t just jinx it. If we get a foot of snow next week, you can blame me! [You hereby are blamed – JF]

Speaking of snow and ice, I am willing to bet many of you reading this are proud owners of one of BMW’s line of Sport Activity Vehicles, like the X3 or X5. We all know these BMW “trucks” are great in bad weather, but also deliver a comfortable and refined driving experience in dry conditions. For many of us, the X vehicles are a perfect marriage of utility, convenience and driving pleasure. With that in mind, my wife and I ordered a new 2017 X3 MSport back in September of 2016 for delivery at the BMW factory in Greenville, SC. We had always wanted to do Performance Center Delivery and this was the perfect opportunity. Without hesitation, I would recommend the experience to anyone. It was truly fabulous. Let me take you through it.

We arrived at the Greenville airport and collected our luggage. Shortly after exiting the terminal, we were greeted by a brand- new BMW X5 and driver from the Greenville Marriott. As part of the new vehicle delivery experience, BMW provides transportation from the airport and accommodations at the Marriott. Our driver was well versed in the Performance Center Delivery process and gave us a nice overview of what to expect. Upon arrival at the hotel, we were checked in and made our dinner reservation at the hotel restaurant. BMW includes dinner and breakfast the following morning as part of the experience. Quite a nice touch and the food was fantastic! If you like seafood, get the blackened Grouper. You can thank me later.

Following a restful nights’ sleep and filling breakfast, we were whisked away in an X5 to the BMW Performance Center. The Performance Center is located adjacent to the BMW factory and serves not only as a site for vehicle delivery, but also a testing and training facility. It is home to the BMW M School and Performance Driving School. BMW has built their own track, skid pad and off road course. You can’t miss the fleet of new M3s parked outside when you arrive! The building is beautiful and very European in its design. Across the front are delivery bays, which are essentially glass rooms where excited BMW owners meet their new cars for the first time. Despite our enthusiasm, we would have to wait to be united with our new X3. BMW had a lot more in store for us. Upon entering the building, we were greeted by Derek Leonard who was our performance driving instructor for the morning. My wife and I know Derek from racing, so it was extra special that we were able to schedule our delivery with him. Without wasting a moment, we did a short introduction meeting and then headed out to the track to do some driving. It’s worth mentioning that none of the track or off-road driving is in your own car. BMW provides a vehicle nearly identical to yours so no worries about breaking your new baby. Derek directed us to an X3 sitting outside and off we went. First up, a braking exercise. It’s very interesting to feel and understand how advanced and capable BMWs are with respect to stopping. From the braking exercise, we moved on to car control and eventually a small road course on the track. We did slalom, braking, sweeping turns and everything in between. I was amazed at how well the X3 handled all we threw at it. The X3 has excellent balance for a sport utility. We truly tested the limits and had a great time doing it. From the road course, we moved to the skid pad. The purpose of the skid pad exercise was to demonstrate BMW’s traction control systems. With traction control on (how you normally drive on the street) it was impossible to get the car to spin, even when trying to on the wet pavement. Turn the traction control off and watch out! We were spinning like crazy! Turn it back on…no spins. Super technology and I feel safer knowing these systems are working for me every time I get behind the wheel. Thanks BMW!

After several hours driving (and spinning), Derek took us on a ride in a new M3. I’m not talking about a Sunday drive. This was a wild ride on the road course, complete with smoking tires, drifting and sideways sliding on the skid pad. I must say we were pretty impressed. BMW had certainly put together a memorable experience and there was more to come! Once we composed ourselves from the M3 ride, we met up with Arnold, another delivery specialist who jumped back into the X3 with us. We were heading to the off-road course. Yes! We had been waiting for this.

The off-road course is a series of hills, obstacles and water crossings designed to test our X3. In addition, it offered Arnold a chance to show us the features and capability of our new vehicle. We were in awe of the X3 as it wound through the course, up and down hills and tipped sideways over obstacles. Arnold drove through the course first, then we both got to take a turn bouncing around and splashing through the water. Such great fun and the X3 handled it all with ease. Sadly, we had run out of time or we’d have done the course again! Arnold dropped us off back at the building and we were treated to a fantastic lunch. We also met Willi, who would deliver our new X3, and dined with many of the Performance Center employees. As you can imagine our anticipation was growing with every passing moment. Shortly after lunch it was time to meet our new X3.

We were escorted by Willi to one of the glass delivery bays and there she was…our brand new 2017 X3 MSport! For the next two hours, we received a detailed education on our new vehicle and all of its features. Willi helped us pair our phones, set up the navigation and the BMW Connected app. We learned about all the X3 had to offer. When we had no further questions, and had thoroughly exhausted Willi it was time for us to load up our luggage and depart in our new BMW. What a day!

It should come as no surprise that we found this to be an incredible experience. BMW has really engineered it to be fun, educational and exciting. The best part is it’s complimentary on any new BMW. All you have to do is get yourself to Greenville, SC and BMW takes care of the rest. You don’t even need to be taking delivery on an X3, X4, X5 or X6. Any new BMW is eligible for delivery at the Performance Center. As a matter of fact, there was a customer picking up a new 7 series on the day we were there. So, the next time you order a new BMW be sure to add Performance Center Delivery. You’ll be glad you did. Tell them the NJ Chapter sent you!

Cheers friends. From everyone at the chapter, we wish you a wonderful 2017. Come join us for an event or meeting sometime. We’d love to see you!

President’s Corner – Summer 2016

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You’re going to do what?

Hi everyone, hope you all had a wonderful summer and enjoyed some time off with family and friends. Undoubtedly, many of you took to the roads in your BMWs, whether it be heading to the shore, rushing to the airport to catch a flight for vacation, or simply going for a cruise with the top down. By the time this news bulletin reaches you, Labor Day will be in the rearview and we’ll all be starting to focus on the new school year, cooler temps and the oh so ubiquitous pumpkin latte at Starbucks. You know, the hot and savory coffee drink you love to consume while on the way to work. There it sits, safely ensconced in the cup holder of your precious BMW, just waiting to be enjoyed. You can almost taste it right now. But wait, will you be able to indulge in this treat or one like it for much longer?

I was driving home the other day and listening to a call-in show on the radio. The host was talking about a new “Dunkin Donuts law” whereby the police in NJ could pull you over for drinking coffee while driving. Resulting fines of up to $800 could be imposed for multiple offenses. Of course this seems far-fetched, but as law enforcement focuses more and more on revenue generation, it’s really not terribly outside reality. In fact, there is a NJ lawmaker who has proposed a bill on distracted driving that includes “anything which takes your focus from the road or operating the vehicle safely”. That’s a pretty big brush to paint with. The aforementioned “Dunkin Donuts law” seeks to give police the authority to stop anyone they feel is distracted from the road. This could be drinking coffee, changing the radio station, reaching for your sunglasses, or any number of things you do while driving. Despite many of the callers into the radio show screaming that this proposed law is an invasion of their rights, it does bring up an interesting topic. What is distracted driving and how can we curtail it?

Like many of the angry callers to the radio show, I find the coffee law preposterous. I don’t think any rational person believes we should ban coffee or changing the radio station in a car. However, there are things we can change. The NJ Division of Highway Safety states “distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on New Jersey’s roadways. Driver inattention has been a major contributing factor in nearly 800,000 motor vehicle crashes in the state from 2010 to 2014 and nationwide, 3,179 were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2014 alone.” Think about that for a moment. If the numbers are correct, they are staggering. 800,000 crashes in NJ over a five year period due to distracted driving.

If I were to guess on the major cause of distraction it would be cell phone use. I am continually amazed at how many people are texting, reading email or posting on social media while driving. Recently I made it a point to pay attention as I drove to and from work on how many people I saw either talking on the phone without a hands-free device (illegal in NJ) or looking down at their phones. I did not include those I saw texting or posting while sitting at a light. I am referring to the blatant use of a phone while the vehicle is underway. It was astounding. Without hard numbers I would say half or more of the people I saw were using their handheld devices while driving. HALF. That’s crazy. We have to find a way as drivers to put the phones down and concentrate on the road. Despite what you may think, even glancing down for a second can put your life or the life of those around you in danger. Be honest. How many of you have been rolling along, glanced down for a second, only to look up and see the car in front of you is braking and you have to “panic stop”? Seriously, be honest. I know you have done it at least once. I have. We all have. Maybe you’ve even rear-ended someone. Perhaps it was worse. Do you still look at your phone? It shouldn’t take an accident or near accident for us to realize this is dangerous behavior and it needs to stop.

Let me give you an example. As many of you know the NJ Chapter puts on Teen Street Survival driving schools for young drivers. As part of the exercises, we set up a slalom course of traffic cones. We first have the teens weave through the cones with no distractions. After they have done the course several times we ask them to take out their phones and text someone while negotiation the cone slalom. Without fail they hit most of the cones, drive erratically and don’t have complete control of the vehicle. Remember this is low speed, maybe 25-30 mph and they are hitting cones. Those could be kids in your neighborhood. Imagine as well how much speed magnifies the danger. If you are doing 80 mph on the Parkway at rush hour and texting your spouse about dinner when the car in front of you checks up on the brakes you will be in their trunk before you know what happened. It’s not worth it!

So, what can you do to curtail distracted driving and make the roads safer? First thing is get a hands-free device or enable the Bluetooth in your BMW. Second thing is to put the phone in your glovebox, purse or bag. Taking away the temptation to check Instagram one more time or text your buddy about the Yankee game is paramount. If you can’t reach it you won’t use it. Also important is setting a good example for your kids. They look up to you and emulate what you do. If you talk on the phone and text while driving, they will think it’s ok and do the same. Simply telling them not to do it is not enough. Teens and young drivers are probably the most important group for us to reach as they are most tied to their devices. Good behavior starts early and it starts with you. Please put the phone down. I’m not asking you to give up your latte or Wawa coffee. What I am asking is for you to be cognizant of distractions while driving and to do your best to minimize them. We all know BMWs are very safe cars. Don’t test those safety systems because you had to “LOL” at something on Facebook. Save that for home and put that beautiful bimmer back in the garage without a scratch. Put you at home without a scratch. That’s much more important than the cat meme you just shared. Trust me.

Have a wonderful fall, enjoy the season change and have a great time driving!

President’s Corner – Spring 2016

by

A Presidential Challenge

By Jeff Caldwell

[Editor’s Note: Given the busy schedules most of us live, our President found himself consumed by his business, family priorities and club business. The following is a reprint of Jeff’s column from three years ago. It’s a message we need to remember.—JF]

I recently received a startling e-mail. A colleague forwarded me an article detailing how terrible BMW drivers are! As you can imagine I was not pleased to see the title of the article, but the contents were even more shocking. According to the author, there were two studies done, one in the United States and one in Great Britain, both detailing ill-mannered drivers. Respondents were asked a series of questions regarding behavior of other drivers and what brand of car they drove. By and large the more “luxury” the brand, the more poorly behaved the driver. BMW drivers were at the top of the list. Apparently not only do we drive badly, we fail to stop completely at stop signs and we don’t regularly yield to pedestrians. Really? I am sure many of you are feeling a little dismayed by all of this. I sure am, but I know there is something we can do about it!

As with any study there is a measure of sampling error and I seriously doubt the scientific validity of this work. Scientific process notwithstanding, the “results” certainly make us as BMW owners and drivers look like jerks. I hope by now I have your attention. We are obviously not jerks, nor are we the most poorly behaved drivers on the road. However, this type of press only reinforces the need for us to make a concerted effort to change perceptions of the BMW brand and its drivers.

Several years ago I was talking to a friend who owns a Ferrari and was asking him how he liked the car. His reply surprised me. He told me he loved the car, but that he only drove it when he was having a good day. He said that he never drove it when he was in a bad mood or not feeling well. You can imagine my next question. Why? He said that he understood he was an ambassador for the brand. The car gets a lot of attention and people always want to take photos or chat with him about it. In his mind there is a perception by people that Ferrari drivers are rude. He felt it was his duty to change that perception and be as nice and accommodating to interested folks as he could be. I can see where he was coming from. We are certainly not driving Ferraris, but BMWs are pretty darn nice cars in their own right. I am also not suggesting you only drive when you are having a great day. That would be more than a little extreme. Seriously though…think about what that Ferrari driver was saying.

Herein lies my “presidential challenge”. I ask each of you to make a concerted effort to change the public perception of BMW drivers. Remember every time you get behind the wheel you are an ambassador for BMW. Give another driver some extra room. Yield to that pedestrian next time. Don’t roll the stop sign. I’m not saying that we are all guilty of these things. I’m not even saying that most of us do it. I am just suggesting that perhaps we can all be a bit more aware of our habits when driving. The end result will not only help change how people perceive BMW drivers, but will in the long term make us all safer, more courteous drivers.

Now that I have challenged you to be instruments of change for the perception of BMW drivers, let me leave you with a not entirely unrelated story. After the last board meeting I was walking to my car with chapter secretary Dave Allaway and past President Larry Engel. We came upon an older Buick sedan. Inside were two young women having trouble getting the car started. Of course as “car guys” we jumped in to help and had jumper cables at the ready in no time. Unfortunately, the Buick’s battery was so dead that even Dave’s Suburban couldn’t provide the necessary cranking power to get it started. Enter NJ Chapter board member Ross Karlin with a jump pack and the necessary jolt to get the car going! After all of that (it took longer than you think!), Larry was very proud to tell the young ladies that they were assisted by members of the NJ Chapter BMW club. Remember, he said, we may be BMW guys, but we just love cars.

I hope that you will accept my “challenge” and show everyone the best side of BMW and its drivers!

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