This article was originally published by Deanna Isaacs via the Kirkland Reporter and was written for The Auto Reporter republication.
Downtown Kirkland opened it’s parking spots and shut out normal traffic last weekend to ensure that the Kirkland Classic Car Show was a triumph… no not a Triumph car, but a triumph of auto-shows.
By: Harvey Sherman
Now a standard spring pilgrimage, I journeyed to Amelia Island, FL., for the 20th annual Concours D’ Elegance the weekend of Mar. 12 through 15. Last year, I went to support two friends who unveiled their recently restored 1965 Shelby Mustangs, the prototype of the GT350 street car and the second factory race car. That focused me in a narrow angle of view, but also introduced me to a show I love.
The Show and Expo will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 28, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Mar. 1.
Produced by Cascadia Events, in partnership with the Cascade Bicycle Show, the Seattle Bike Show offers over 150 exhibitors to entice participants with new gear, expert demos, or opportunities to speak with experts and advocates.
The Seattle Bike Show costs $10 for persons over the age of 17, with those under 17 given free admittance.
Hear from speakers such as Bob Roll, former professional cyclist, and Craig Undeem, owner of Cycle University, or head to the outdoor demo zone where vendors will be showing their newest products and you get a hands-on experience.
New this year is the ‘Dirt Zone’, a pump track for vendors of mountain and single track gear can showcase their products with expert rider demos.
The Travel, Trip and Adventure Expo not only offers retail specials only available at the Expo, but will also be offering expert discussions, over 100 exhibitors, and a beer and wine garden for those over 21.
Take your turn on a zip line or watch canoe and kayak experts take on the Whitewater Demo Pool.
Whether you are an enthusiast of biking, hiking, running, water-based sports, or outdoors exploits head out to CenturyLink Field for the dual presentation of the Seattle Bike Show and the Seattle Travel, Trips and Adventure Expo, this weekend only!
GOOD NEWS! We’ve received a great little story from our man in the UK, Alex Waller, detailing shenanigans with his trusty, Dacia Sandero. Have you ever found yourself in the wrong place at the right time?
The sight of all those headlights lined up, the blanks-slate smell of new cars, the murmurs of voices as people discuss the engineering triumph in front of them… Whether for new cars or group meetups, a car show always makes car enthusiasts giddy. [Read more…]
I haven’t been to Norwalk in 2+ years. Not really into drag racing, I don’t really miss the racing. I miss my friends. They’re the real reason I spend over $1,000 on hotel, airfare, and drunken debauchery in a sleepy, Ohio bedroom community.
Since 2003 or 2004, I’ve only missed the Shootout three times. The first was because I was stuck working at Enterprise Wreck-a-Life, and I’ll never forget the hot summer day I spent washing stripped down, GM fleet turds behind a derelict, Mesa shanty in a shirt and tie before being forced to attend an immediately-after-work happy hour with the guys from the local Chevy dealership who sent us 90% of our business instead of hopping a plane to Chicago or Indy or such to catch a ride with a DSM brother. [Read more…]
None shall pass. (All must pass.)
Bucket list item from GBXM 1.03 [Read more…]
On Saturday, May 3, dozens of cars and hundreds of people braved the rain to gather around animals and automotives, with charity being the ultimate goal.
It’s going to be epic. [Read more…]
The Sierra Nevada Challenge has been a Montero club tradition for over 12 years. It’s sometimes affectionately referred to as the Sierra Nevada “Carnage.” Issue 1.09 had a special feature – 20 pages of pictures and updates from the trail. [Read more…]
Bodo Engemann send me a quick note on Facebook this weekend while I was building Issue 1.08. On Tuesday, 3 September 2013, North Diamonds Mitsubishi club was invited to Kinder-Hospiz Sternenbrueke (Star Bridge Children’s Hospice) where they presented the organization with a check for €3,000 (about US$4,000).
If you’re a subscriber, you read all about how North Diamonds’ event Tuning 4 Kids came to exist (preview), how it’s growing every year, and how the funds raised help terminally ill children and their families in Germany. We’re happy to share the results of their hard work and dedication to their community. [Read more…]
Have you ever wanted more? | Ever get that feeling you want something more out of your local club, but can’t quite put your finger on it? What if you teamed up with a local charity to make help terminally ill children and their families? That’s exactly what North Diamonds Club did.
My good friend Bodo Engemann tells me, a couple years back, at their annual Christmas party, they found themselves in a member’s garage, looking at a table covered with gift bags full of all the random goodies handed out by generous sponsors during events over the course of the year. They got to talking about a local childrens’ hospice called Kinder-Hospiz Sternenbrueke, which helps families provide end-of-life care for their terminally children and decided to host a little auction. At the end of the night, they’d raised about US$400 (more than 300€) for this noble cause. Betting on pens and lighters. [Read more…]
There are many sides to the world of auto racing: there’s the fast and fabulous worlds of Formula racing or Grand Prix, and then there’s the less shiny side filled with grit, rust, and quirk in 24 Hours of LeMons series racing. This is the alternative world of UW Lecturer of Earth and Space Sciences Mike Harrell, and his team, the Freewheelin’ Pikers.
On the weekend of July 20th, the 24 Hours of LeMons held the Pacific Northworst GP at Shelton’s Ridge Motorsports Park, where Harrell and the Pikers pit a 1967 Saab 96 against some of the rustiest the West Coast had to offer.
He and his trusty team of four battled their way through some hectic events – such as the stud holes on his left front wheel hub shearing off during the race – however they managed to finish the race at the checkered flag, garnering 33rd place out of 51 entries.
The LeMons race isn’t based on speed or finishing first, it’s about endurance (and quirky cars). Endurance racing is about consistency in lap times for long durations of time.
“There’s the prayer of winning class, the no prayer of winning class, and the no prayer of finishing class, from the cars that suck the least to the cars that suck the most,” explains John ‘Jay’ Lamm, chief perpetrator of LeMons.
The idea behind LeMons is that the cars are cheap – $500 is the maximum that someone can spend on the car, getting it running, and decking it out. Mandatory items, such as brakes, roll bars, fire extinguishers, and other driver safety gear, are not included in that total, however, to keep the costs down, the chief perpetrator has the authority to seize cars at the end of the race – so there won’t be any sleepers in the crowds.
“You go find a crappy car, you put safety equipment in it, and you show up. The whole point of LeMons was to make it not-hard to go from not being a racer to being a racer.” said Lamm. “It’s easy, this isn’t rocket science – just do it.”
Harrell hadn’t had any track time prior to being thrown into an MGB during a LeMons race three years before, and now he has his own team.
“Anyone interested in getting started: you don’t have to build your own car right away. Most teams are happy to have teammates,” said Harrell.
Alongside wife Melissa Rogers of the UW Information Technology , his niece and fellow geologist Andrea Berge, and the person who threw him into the MGB and winner of the Royal Order of MOT Failure Rueful Britannia award, Pete Peterson.
“I went to a car show called the Concours d’LeMons which celebrates the oddball, mundane, and the truly awful of the automotive world, and took home a trophy,” said Harrell. “[I] found out there was a racing series affiliated with it and had a car sitting dead in my driveway that I thought might make a good candidate.”
The Saab was “dragged from a farmer’s field” and used as a daily driver until the engine blew. Afterwards, it moved into racecar candidate and has been holding its own for two years. In 2012, the Freewheelin’ Pikers took home the Index of Effluency for “Doing the Most with the Least” and couldn’t have been more pleased since the team finished the day’s race on two of its four cylinders before driving it home afterwards.
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The idea of keeping it cheap spawns cars of humor, such as the Toyota SupraMarket, and the Scrubbing V’BubbleU (an original beetle), instead of serious racecars. Having $500 cars doesn’t mean that people haven’t put effort into these cars (only look at the restored, though not original, Hudson Hornet to see the painstaking care) and, as behests labors of love, there are penalties for when drivers’ don’t follow the rules.
“I really like the megaphone [penalties] because you can stand out in the street and point and laugh,” said Berge. “I love seeing the cars that have had penalties with pictures painted on the ‘I will not do such-and-such’ – its good memories.”
While the 24 Hours of LeMon’s won’t be back in Washington until next year, they have plenty of other races across the US, such as the Vodden The Hell Are We Doing held at Thunderhill Raceway Park in September or the Arse-Freeze-Apalooza held at Sonoma Raceway in December (both near San Francisco, CA).
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For a journalist starting out in the Auto indurstry, I’ve learned a lot in the last few races. This time, I was amazed by the sense of community you get when you are with fellow gearheads.
When we got to the races, I had a sudden realization that the person who had used the camera last had replaced the lost card with a type 4, not a type 10 – basically I spent the first hour fiddling with the camera’s settings to allow for more than 8 seconds of video before the buffer was full and everything stopped.
Having driven on gravel very seldom, I was tricked by some unpacked rocks and decided to park my Mazda-ratti on top of them – big mistake, don’t do it.
We left my half buried car to start covering the races, hoping that someone would be kind to help us out at the end. Instead of one truck, we got three trucks, four people, and three shovels all trying to help get me and my Miata out of the rocks. (Apparently I wasn’t the only airhead that weekend as a pricier vehicle had to be rescued the day before…)
While we waited for the trucks to come, a nice friendly woman offered me to drive her Abarth (EEEK!, a car I’ve been looking at since Fiat returned to the US) and it was awesome! It was only after my offered test drive that any of us remembered to introduce ourselves – cars take precedence over trivialitis such as introductions and names!
That’s just the kind of people these races bring out, though. People who would rather pull up a truck to help, or loan a memory card loan for the day. Or at least these are the people that I met through out the day – I’m sure there’s a rotten few in any bunch of LeMons.
My husband (backup cameraman) and I also realized that to really cover events like Lemons, the full two days really might be necessary. One day for inside the track photos and video (which we weren’t able to get this time around), and the second day for video/photo/interviews of people involved or watching the races.
We both think that will help us get better, more complete coverage of the races. You live and you learn (and then you steal your house fund to buy an Abarth…).
The comparatively light duty of summer classes allows Harrell the time to go to races, such as LeMons, and other car events, such as the upcoming Concours in Seaside, CA on August 17, 2013.
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Corrections: This article has been corrected to reflect accurate information.
Derik Nelson and Adam Newell drove their 1999 BMW M3 (not pictured) into victory by securing 1st place on the Ray Damitio rally course and 2nd place on the John Nagel Rally course – the only 2-wheel drive car in the top 5.
Second place went to car 232, a Subaru WRX STi driven by Mark Tabor and Kathryn Hansen, while third place went to car 339, a Subaru WRX driven by Chris O’Driscoll and Tracy Manspeaker.
There were many competitors that did not finish (DNF), though their fight is no less worthwhile. Rallys are proving grounds of grit for gearheads – each component of a car needs to be finely tuned, wrenched tight, or secured properly in order for the car to finish.
Burst hoses, overheating, accidents, and more took competitors out left and right. Competitors that DNF’d on the first day were allowed to take to the track on the second day, baring passage of tech inspections. Whereas DNF’s on the second day led to an overall DNF.
Nameless Rally came about in the void that was left when Olympus Rally vanished. Washitonians took matters into their own hands and created this NASA RallySport sanctioned rally, not through Rally America – Olympus Rally’s sanctioning body.
Audiences turned out in droves to view Nameless Rally from the spectator locations, along with the starting line, the finish line, and the service area near the Little Creek Resort and Casino, just south of Shelton.
Nameless Rally has not yet announced whether or not they will return next season, however Olympus Rally has announced its return for the 2014 racing season.
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It was amazing to be: Right. There. You couldn’t get a better seat in the house. There is nothing like hearing the cacophany of engines echoing on the hills and, yet, muffled by the trees. Then, bursting forth from the tree laden roads, a blurry glimpse of speed, dust – and one rock that pelted me like a bullet in the back. I have been christened by the rally. (Video to come…Maybe.)
On our way home, we realized that this was heaven. Auto journalism is where we want to be; whether its trackside, roadside, or manufacturing side – this is the life I (we) would love to live.
Bucket list item checked off… Moved to the career possibilities list.