Club Happenings – Fall 2019: Whack Your Turkey Rally


By Jeff White

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

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

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

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

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

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

President’s Corner – Winter 2019


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?


Initial Ramblings – Winter 2017: An Unlikely Result


As with every Whack Your Turkey Rally, we begin our preparation the night before. I find the clipboard, make sure the mechanical pencil is in working order, fuel and clean the car, and check out the directions to the start location. Well it took a while before I found either of the clipboards. The one is black plastic. The other is a cheaper brown colored hardboard style. Both were MIA. After an exhausting search with helicopters, bloodhounds, and a professional tracker on horseback, the later of the two was found, in the trunk of the E21. I guess it’s true, it’s always in the last place I left it. The pencil was still attached. It still worked and had refills in case we run low. Next was looking at the start location. I Google it to get a visual so I have an idea where we are going and write the address down for the Bimmer Barn on highway 202 in Branchburg (note this detail for a little later). For whatever reason, I forego the filling of the car. Procrastination? Lazy? I don’t know.

The next morning we get up, amazingly on time. We get ready and head out of the house. We stop on the Parkway to fill our vintage 320i because of my lack of petrol attention the night before. 5 minutes wasted. As we cross the Driscoll bridge going north on the Parkway Sandy says “Don’t forget we have to get off here” in reference to the other year I wasn’t paying attention and we had to go to the next exit, u-turn and head back to get onto 287. I said “no I remember, we are not going to screw up this time.” Famous last words? You have no idea…

As we travel up the road I figure we would get to the start at 9:15am, which is typical for us on arrival time, well, actually 9:30 is more like it. We exit and get onto RT 22 then 202. At the split we get onto 206. We go down 206 for approximately 9 miles and find another BMW shop that wasn’t Bimmer Barn. I said to Sandy “Um, can you double check the directions? We are not where we are supposed to be.” Sandy looks at the address I wrote down which was 999 RT 206, Branchburg. Something was wrong. We are not in Branchburg but possibly Hillsborough. I actually said to her “You must have put in the wrong directions. We are way off.” She insisted she had everything correct from what I gave her and was getting mad at me for blaming her. We pull off the road and she looked up the address on our club’s website. 999 RT 202… wait… 202? We had 206, correction, I wrote 206! And I was blaming her when it was my fault. ARGH! Now it’s around 9:40, and we are WAY out of the way, and I have an angry wife.

We plug in the new and correct address and hurry through the back roads to cut the straightest path to the start point. The entire time we were saying this was a disaster and we are probably not going to make the rally. There was a moment where we were just going to find a diner, have breakfast, and head home. We did, however, arrive at Bimmer Barn at 10:15, and hour and 15 minutes late. The lot was empty and no one was there. Darn! We turn around and park in the driveway in search for the nearest diner so we can at least feast our troubles away. Then there was a knock on the window. It’s Rallymaster Dave! They were waiting for us after all inside the building. It’s a good thing we didn’t just pull out. We get our instructions, laugh at our misfortune and off we go. We were quite thankful they waited for us.

At this point, we decided that the rally was going to be a bust so we ran it for the scenery and to get lunch with our fellow club members at the end. And perhaps some redemption from my directional screw up. Getting lost to the start point is never a good sign. With zero pressure on us we just laid back and started to grab clues and run the route. After the first page was complete we said to each other “We are actually doing pretty decent, wouldn’t it be crazy if we actually won?” Highly doubtful.

We continue on and missed a clue or two. No big deal. I told Sandy I wasn’t going back because it won’t make that much of a difference. I was more concerned about time. I think we turned around for only one clue since it was only a half mile section, and we got it. As we filled the pages, it looked like we were, dare I say, confidently optimistic? The best thing about running the rally so late was we didn’t see another car from the club. We were alone on this journey, which I think actually helped. Towards the end we just drove the last couple miles to make up for the time we were about to lose and if we see any clues along the way, we will grab them on the go.

We arrived at the Niks Wunderbar German Restaurant on RT 22 in Readington Twp. I dropped Sandy off at the door so she can run in so we don’t lose any further time. We were 5 minutes late as it was. I park our trusty E21 and join her. With cheers from our other members, and an hour late to the party, we find some seats and order lunch. Within 30 minutes the winners were announced. I hear “With 5 minutes late and 11 wrong, Team Burkard 3rd Place” – What? You are kidding me right? We thought we did well but honestly didn’t think we were going to be anywhere near a podium finish. 3rd place, WOW! Perhaps this is going to be our new strategy. Show up late, and win! I guess that was a perfect end to an unperfect start. Very unexpected.

If you have never done one of our rallies, I encourage you to try one. It will be three hours of fun for you and a friend/spouse in the Competition class or fun for the whole family in the Family class. The route we ran this time around was fantastic. The back roads of Somerset and Hunterdon counties are filled with streams, ponds, lakes, farms, plus many historic locations and buildings. It is truly picturesque. You can’t get a better day in your BMW at legal speeds than doing one of our Chapter’s rallies. Don’t think about it, just do it.

And if I have learned something from this experience, don’t blame your spouse for your mishandling of information. It may result in a silent ride home, or perhaps a 3rd place finish. Until our next adventure, stay Bavarian my friends.

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Club Happenings – Fall 2016: Whack Your Turkey Ralley to Benefit NORWESCAP


The Annual NJ BMW CCA Whack Your Turkey Rally will be held on Sunday November 20th. This year our rally masters, David Allaway and Deborah Kolar, announced they will be starting the Rally from the Bimmer Barn/Vicari Motors located at 999 US Highway 202 North in Branchburg NJ 08876.

New for this year, all proceeds of the Rally will benefit NORWESCAP ( Among the many programs of NORWESCAP is their food bank that helps in the distribution of more than 2 million pounds of food annually to over 120 pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, senior centers, and on-site feeding programs in Sussex, Warren, and Hunterdon Counties. The entry fee is $25 dollars per car. In addition, participants can bring non-perishable food items such as: canned tuna, beef stew, macaroni and cheese mix, peanut butter, 100% juice, unsweetened cereal, oatmeal, canned fruit, canned vegetables, tomato sauce, pasta products, and water, etc. Any additional donations of cash or checks are also appreciated.

Registration will open at 8:30 am with a drivers’ meeting at 9:00 am, cars to leave shortly thereafter. No special equipment will be needed other than a clipboard and some pens or pencils and the attitude to have some fun!

For those of you who have never attended a rally, the format is that each car is given a set of driving instructions with question/ clues to be answered over the route in a set amount of time. The drive is through scenic parts of NJ on back roads and ends at a restaurant where everyone can review the answers. Not to worry, the directions are designed so you should not get lost.

There will be 2 classes of competition: Driver/Navigator – 2 people in the car and Family/Fun for cars with more than 2 people. Only cars in the Driver/Navigator class are eligible for NJBMW CCA Championship points. As always, children are welcome to attend however they will need a minor waiver form signed by a parent or guardian. The form can be downloaded in advance from the NJ BMW Chapter website in the Forms subsection. You can register by sending an e-mail to: with WYT in the subject line. Although pre-registering is not required, it will help in having the finish point staffed sufficiently. Please include your name as well as the other participants on your team and what class you are competing in along with an e-mail address should you need to be contacted. Be sure to have your BMW Club membership card with you.

Thanks, we look forward to seeing you there.

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