June 2017

[1-Jun_17_Funkhana.jpg] Karabec Moke in action at the Funkhana.
Photo by Lorine Karabec

Coming Soon: Mini Meet East!
by Lorine Karabec

Mini Meet East (MME) 2017 is hosted by the Central Ohio Mini Owners, and will take place in Columbus, Ohio, June 29-July 2.

As my husband Derick and I prepare for this year’s Meet and decide which Mini to take, we take a moment to reflect on previous Meets and one of our favorite events, the Funkhana. For those of you unfamiliar with a Funkhana, it is a timed event for a driver and navigator. There is an obstacle course that usually reflects the geographic region where the Meet is held. The event tests the driver’s skills, with multiple tasks along the way that must be completed by the navigator — and sometimes also the driver!

MME 2016 was held in Oak Ridge, Tenn., which is 25 miles west of Knoxville and was a production site for the Manhattan Project. The organizers used the Manhattan Project as a theme for the Funkhana. The event started with a drive to the bar to mix a Manhattan, virgin or a stiff one. The choice was yours because you had to drink it before moving on to the next task. After that were a ring toss, a pizza delivery and lastly a whitewater rafting trip around your car.

Participants often make multiple runs through the course, switching drivers and navigators. Drivers are often looking for navigators and vice versa so there is ample opportunity for those who want to take the challenge.

The Funkhana became one our favorite events in 2008 when we attended our first MME in Bethel, Maine, which was hosted by NEMO. I remember Faith asking us if we were going to participate in the Funkhana. Derick and I asked, “A funk what?” We did it, placed 2nd in our class, and had a blast. We haven’t missed a Mini Meet East or Funkhana since, and look forward to it every year. It is fun for both the participants and spectators.

I wonder what the Central Ohio Mini Owners have in store for us at the 2017 Funkhana?

June 2017

[3-Jun_17_COTA_by_Luis_Perocarpi.jpg] The #73 MINI JCW Team car heads around a bend on three wheels.
Photo courtesy Luis Perocarpi

MINI JCW Team at Circuit of the Americas
by Dave Newman

Once again, I took off the time from work to watch the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. The race this time was held at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, on May 5th.

Two classes run in the Conti — Grand Sport (GS), with bigger, faster cars, and Street Tuner (ST), with smaller, lower-horsepower cars. Before the COTA race, the IMSA season standings showed MINI JCW Team car #73 in 2nd place, the Team’s car #37 in 13th place and the Team’s car #52 in 16th place.

The IMSA live video feed was good and the weather appeared to be perfect for racing. The event began with #73 driver Derek Jones winning the ST class pole position (1st place on the grid) during qualifying. Car #37 was 8th and car #52 12th on the grid.

Texas was not kind to the Team this year. The #37 car, driven by Mike LaMarra and James Vance, was sidelined by engine boost problems and finished 14th. The #73 car was fast in practice and had some very exciting early laps in the race, competing against Mazda Miatas and Porsche Caymans. However, #73 was later slowed by wheel speed sensor problems and finished 10th. The top finisher for the MINI JCW Team was car #52, driven by Nate Norenberg and Tyler Stone, coming in 7th in the ST class.

Race team owner/manager Luis Perocarpi expected better results after #73 took the pole and had not anticipated mechanical problems. Such is life in the racing world.

We wish the team better luck in the July 1st race at Watkins Glen International. The great news for Barbara and me is that we will be at Watkins Glen in person and the week after that at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. We will see the Team race live at both venues and report back.

June 2017

[2-Jun_17_Holliston.jpg] The Holliston Historical Society’s Father’s Day Breakfast Cruise is always fun!
Photo by David Schwartz

June and July Event Preview
by David Schwartz

NEMO members attend the better-known New England cars shows and related events, many of which welcome both classic and modern Minis. Below are descriptions of a few events I have attended and highly recommend. Some are local cruise-ins and others are large, well publicized shows. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Visit www.nemomini.org for the full events calendar.

June 4 — British by the Sea, Connecticut MG Club, Harkness Memorial Park, Waterford, Conn., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is the show’s 30th anniversary and Morris is the featured marque. There are typically more than 350 vehicles, with a large turnout of Minis/MINIs, plus cars that are rarely seen at smaller shows.

June 8 — British Car Night at Wings & Wheels, Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., 5 to 8 p.m. This is a family-friendly cruise night with food available from Nancy’s Airfield Café. There is usually a plane or two interspersed with the cars, with more on the runway. Food sells out, so plan to arrive early. British cars will be grouped in the featured section, though other marques are welcome. British cars are also featured on July 13th and August 10th.

June 8-11 — British Motorcar Festival, Bristol, R.I. If you can’t make it to the British Invasion in Stowe, Vt., this event is the next best thing. It is presented by the same group as the British Invasion and follows a similar format. If you can only attend for one day, make it Saturday and try to arrive by 9 a.m. Be sure to see the full schedule on their website.

June 18 — 15th Annual Father’s Day Breakfast Cruise, Holliston Historical Society, Holliston, Mass., 8 to 10 a.m. Free to all cars and motorcycles of interest. This show features a little bit of everything, including Brass Era American cars, muscle cars, British cars, hot rods, European cars, etc. Paul Saulnier has been known to bring Mini Mouse, his ’64 Morris Mini Van hot rod with a rear mounted V8 engine. The pancake breakfast is always excellent. The show starts and ends early, so there is plenty of time for other Father’s Day activities.

June 22-24 — 4th Annual Vintage Motorsports Festival, Thompson Speedway, Thompson, Conn. I attended the Saturday race in 2015 (along with several other NEMO members) and had a great time. Be sure to arrive early so you can walk through the pit areas and chat with the owners. You can get very close to the race action and see open roadsters leaning through the turns. Bring earplugs for the muscle car races.

June 25 — British Car Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All British cars are invited to attend regardless of make, model or year. This show fills the upper lawn near the Carriage House and about half the lower lawn. Arrive by 8:30 a.m. for the best chance of parking on the upper lawn with other Minis/MINIs. Last year there were five Minis and at least ten MINIs in attendance. A new museum exhibit recently opened — Supercars: Origins, Evolution.

July 7-9 — Gould’s 22nd Annual Microcar & Minicar Classic, Newton, Mass. An entire weekend chock full of microcar and minicar fun, featuring driving tours, a Friday evening wine/microbrew and hors d’oeuvres reception, a Saturday drive and ascent of Wachusett Mountain, a stop at the Gould’s Matchbox Motors to view the entire collection, an eclectic Memphis Barbecue and frozen margarita party, and a Sunday show at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum with optional rides for the public. This is clearly not some stuffy “park-and-polish” type car show on a hot asphalt parking lot. NEMO is always well represented and we guarantee you will have a great time. See the event website for details, www.bubbledrome.com/index2.html.

July 22 — Faneuil Hall British Car Show, hosted by the Boston Area MG Club (BAMG), Boston, Mass., 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For the past few years, BAMG has welcomed NEMO’s Minis at their Faneuil Hall car shows. This is a really unique venue and people don’t expect to see a group of classic British cars parked on the cobblestones between Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. See the BAMG website for details. The show is limited to 15 cars, so be sure to register early.

Other events of interest include:

June 16-17 — MINIs on Top, Mt. Washington, N.H. Details at www.minisontop.org.

July 22 — “Show of Dreams,” hosted by British Cars of New Hampshire, Hudson, N.H. Details at bcnh.org.

July 22-23 — Misselwood Concours d’Elegance, Beverly, Mass. Details at www.endicott.edu/Concours.aspx.

May 2017

[1-May_17_Dave_Holding_Trophy.jpg] Mini JCW Racing Team owner Luis Perocarpi (right) was so impressed with Dave’s driving at the Glen, he gave him the trophy. Just kidding...
Photo by Barbara Newman

MINIs at the Glen
by Dave Newman

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Apr. 9 — Barbara and I drove to Rochester on Saturday and stayed overnight so we could be up bright and early for the rallye from MINI of Rochester to Torrey Ridge Winery. Our group of over 100 MINIs and one 1964 classic Mini Cooper S met up with hundreds of other MINI owners from all over the Northeast and Canada. We bought wine and cider at Torrey Ridge, and then caravanned to the track at Watkins Glen.

We paid our $25 donation at Watkins Glen and entered the racetrack for three laps on the long course. A pace car kept speeds under 100mph. There were 378 MINIs and over 500 people! Last year they had 208.

The MINI JCW Racing Team brought one of their racecars and the huge trophy the team had won at Daytona in January, having placed 1st in the Street Tuner (ST) class in IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race (see details in the February British Marque). Barbara and I actually got to hold the trophy and have pictures taken with team owner Luis Perocarpi, and Tonine McGarvie from MINI Headquarters.

Our 2016 MINI Cooper S with JCW modifications (all decked out in team decals, including number 73) was wonderful to drive on the track. It ate up the turns and burned up the straights. The car is a joy to drive, with simply awesome brakes. It’s fast. The extra 20hp from the JCW modifications and the track-use exhaust give it some go!

The organizers, along with MINI of Rochester and Towne MINI of Buffalo, put on an after-party at the famous Seneca Lodge, free for the first 450 people who signed up. The race transporter truck brought the racecar to the party, where it was displayed inside a tent. There was great food and raffle prizes, with MINI giving out hats, antenna balls, shirts and other swag. Everyone had a great time.

Barbara and I stayed overnight at the Seneca Lodge and then had a nice eight-hour drive home the next day. The weather was in the 70s all three days of our trip.

A big thank you goes to the organizers and sponsoring dealers for putting on such a great event. It is a winner! An event well worth going to — and there were even two classic Minis out of the 378 participating cars! Check out the MINIs at the Glen Facebook group.

May 2017

[2-May_17_GWM_Truck.jpg] Betty with Chinese-built rental, the GWM Wingle 5.
Photos by David Schwartz

Classic Cars of Bonaire
by David Schwartz

Bonaire is a small Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela. It is about 24 miles long by 3 to 5 miles wide, with the tiny island of Klein Bonaire a half mile off the west coast. Bonaire is known as the shore diving capital of the Caribbean with easy access to over 80 snorkel and scuba diving sites, most of which have a coral reef within several feet of shore.

We rented one of the ubiquitous double cab white pickup trucks so we could travel at our own pace. A vehicle with high ground clearance is required in order to drive the dirt roads in Washington Slagbaai National Park on the north end of the island. Our truck was a GWM Wingle 5, built by Great Wall Motors Company, China’s largest producer of sport utility vehicles. The Wingle engine is a 30-year-old Toyota design.

While driving to dinner our first night I spotted a classic Fiat 500 parked in a small town square. The car remained in the same spot for several days, and my wife Betty humored me when I asked to pull over to take pictures.

A few days later we saw two people trying (unsuccessfully) to get the Fiat started and I had to stop again to meet the owner. He told us that new cars are very expensive on Bonaire, so he bought the car in Italy and spent $1,500 having it shipped over in a cargo container. He claimed to have the only classic Cinquecento on Bonaire. I considered making an offer and shipping it home in the overhead luggage bin.

At the end of the week the Fiat was still in the same parking space, with a ’60s vintage Volkswagen bus pickup truck several spaces over.

One morning while driving toward the capital city opposite direction. From a distance it looked like an MG TD or Morgan Plus 4, but as we got closer a large Citroën double chevron was visible on the grill. An on-line search turned up pictures of similar late ’30s Citroën roadsters.

There were some interesting modern vehicles, none of which are legal in the US. Tiny micro-vans were popular with the locals. These were very narrow with tall roofs and could have done duty as clown cars in the circus. Some wore Suzuki badges while others had no identifiable markings.

One of the best snorkel sites in Bonaire is Wayaka, located on the west coast of the National Park. We were told to allow a minimum of a half-day to drive through the Park, which was surprising given the small size. The short driving route is only 15 miles and the long route is 21 miles. I wanted to take the long route, but within the first two miles Betty vetoed that idea. Initially the dirt road was flat and smooth. As soon as we reached the first hill it became clear why high ground clearance vehicles were mandatory. During the rainy season the steep mountain roads had washed out. What remained were huge boulders, deep ditches and scattered smaller stones.

For us the drive was a bone-jarring experience, though I imagine this was an off-roader’s idea of a good time. The amazing snorkeling spot made it all worthwhile. Our trusty little truck acquitted itself wonderfully, never lugging in first gear at 5mph on the steepest hills.

Most days we snorkeled from shore at two or three different sites. One day we made a picnic lunch and took the water taxi to Klein Bonaire. This tiny uninhabited islet is another top snorkeling spot. We walked south along the beach for half a mile, put on our gear and swam about 25 feet off shore to the edge of the reef. Then we did a drift dive where the current slowly brought us back to our starting point. We saw our only sea turtle on this trip.

We also booked a snorkel trip on the Sea Cow, an old Venezuelan fruit vessel. The boat is painted in a white and black cow pattern and has a horn that sounds vaguely like a cow mooing. The Sea Cow visited two sites off the coast of Klein Bonaire and guides identified a wide variety of fish and coral. The owners of the Sea Cow transport passengers to their dock in a 1983 Land Rover, which also sports a white and black cow pattern paint job. This was the only classic British car we saw in Bonaire, though we did see one modern MINI.

Betty and I are hoping NEMO members can help us solve a mystery. One day we were having lunch at a beach shack restaurant at Lac Bay on the southeast coast. We were sitting in the shade watching windsurfers on the bay. A couple walked by on the beach, backlit by the bright sun, and the man said, “Hello, Schwartzes.” This happened very quickly and we had no idea who they were! Since Betty doesn’t go by Schwartz we assume that the man knew me, perhaps through the British car hobby or NEMO. If the mystery man was a NEMO member, please let us know!

We have snorkeled at three other spots in the Caribbean, in Florida, Hawaii and on the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland, Australia. Bonaire is at the top of our list and the car spotting was an unexpected surprise.

May 2017

Calendar of Events

May 3-7 — MINIs on The Dragon, Deals Gap, N.C. and Tenn., www.minisonthedragon.com.

May 18-May 21 — A MINI Vacation in Vegas, Silverton Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nev., www.amviv.com.

May 21-October 8 — Kringle Cars & Coffee 2017, Kringle Candle, Bernardston, Mass., second Sunday of the month (except in May, when it is the third Sunday), 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Free to exhibit, people’s choice awards, inside.kringlecandle.com/events/calendar.

June 4 — “British by the Sea,” hosted by the CT MG Club, Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford, Conn., www.ctmgclub.com/BBtS.html.

June 8-11 — British Motorcar Festival, Bristol, R.I., www.britishmotorcarfestival.com.

June 16-17 — MINIs on Top, Mt. Washington, N.H., www.minisontop.org.

June 22-24 — Vintage Motorsports Festival, Thompson Speedway, Thompson, Conn., www.thompson speedway.com/events/.

June 25 — British Car Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass., larzanderson.org/events lawn-events.

June 29-July 2 — Mini Meet East, Columbus, Ohio, Holiday Inn Columbus North I-270 Worthington, 7007 N. High St., Worthington, Ohio, http://www.mini meeteast2017.com.

June-August — Wings & Wheels at Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., Thursdays 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., wingsand wheelsma.com.

July 7-9 — Gould’s Microcar Classic, Newton, Mass., www.bubbledrome.com/index2.html.

July 9 — Microcar Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass., larzanderson.org/events/lawn-events.



April 2017

[1-Apr_17_Izzo_by_Izzo.jpg] Chris Izzo is obviously pleased with his raffle selection at the Annual Meeting.
Photo by Robert Izzo

NEMO Meets and Plans
by David Schwartz

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I., Mar. 5 — We had a good turnout for the NEMO Annual Meeting, with 21 adults and two children. The past two years were standing room only at Faith and Bruce’s house, so this year we held the meeting at The Pines restaurant. The Pines seated us in a comfortable private dining room. We ordered the Family Style Chicken dinner (soup, rolls, salad, pasta, chicken, French fries and ice cream), a specialty at many northern Rhode Island restaurants.

It was great to meet Lisa and John Mastrandrea and their daughters. They are regulars at Mini Meet East and are often seen in Funkhana photos with Derick and Lorine Karabec. Several new members were also present as well as all the usual suspects.

Every year we hold a free raffle of Mini- or classic car related-items donated by members. Faith handed out raffle tickets as people arrived. Prizes included die-cast cars, magazines, a coffee mug, a Union Jack umbrella, books, a MINI jacket and a can of Monty Python’s Holy Grail beer.

The meeting followed our usual format, with a social hour followed by lunch. The roast chicken and side dishes were very good, and the quantity of food was far more than we could eat.

Faith called the meeting to order by pulling the first raffle ticket. This got everyone’s attention and the best prizes went quickly. Paul Berton took home the MINI jacket, and Barbara Neiley was seen guarding the Holy Grail beer.

After the raffle we moved on to the actual business meeting. Dave Black provided a financial report. The NEMO bank balance is healthy, with the Holiday Party being our major expense.

April 2017

[2-Apr_17_Dave_Black.jpg] Dave Black gives his report.
Photo by Robert Izzo

Ken Lemoine told a heartwarming story about a Hrach Fund donation. An uninsured MGB owned by a 17-year-old named James Nifong was lost in a fire. James was restoring the MGB with help from Kurt Steele and members of the Boston Area MG Club (BAMG). About a month after the fire, BAMG members found another MGB and worked tirelessly over four weeks to make the replacement car roadworthy in time for Christmas to present to the heartbroken James. The Hrach Fund, intended to help young people get involved in the British car hobby, supplied a new convertible top.

For the complete story, see Ken’s article on page 22 in the January/February British Marque. Be sure to have a box of tissues handy.

Yours truly provided an update on the NEMO Facebook page, which currently has over 506 likes.

I then led a discussion of the 2017 events calendar. Several members recommended additional events: Kringle Cars & Coffee, MINI on the Mack, and MINIs in Foliage. See the NEMO Calendar of Events for more information.

Mini/MINI events are listed on the NEMO website and the Facebook page, which are updated throughout the driving season. I also made a plea for newsletter articles covering events I don’t attend or on any other topics of interest to club members.

There was a proposal for a trip to a drive-in theater in Saco, Maine, for a screening of The Italian Job or Pork Pie. We also discussed looking into a private screening at the Mendon Drive-in as this is closer to home for many NEMO members.

Bruce Vild requested more member car photos for the NEMO website. The event photo galleries are updated regularly, but the car galleries are quite out of date. We also need more member car photos on the Facebook page. You are welcome to post photos to the Member Cars album on the NEMO Facebook page or create new albums.

People started trickling out around 3:30 p.m. and the meeting ended by 4:30 p.m. The consensus was The Pines will be a good venue for next year.

April 2017

Calendar of Events

April 9-October 8 — Kringle Cars & Coffee 2017, Kringle Candle, Bernardston, Mass., second Sunday of the month (except in May, when it is the third Sunday), 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Free to exhibit, people’s choice awards, inside.kringlecandle.com/events/calendar.

May 3-7 — MINIs on The Dragon, Deals Gap, N.C. and Tenn., www.minisonthedragon.com.

May 18-May 21 — A MINI Vacation in Vegas, Silverton Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nev., www.amviv.com.

June 4 — “British by the Sea,” hosted by the CT MG Club, Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford, Conn., www.ctmgclub.com/BBtS.html.

June 8-11 — British Motorcar Festival, Bristol, R.I., www.britishmotorcarfestival.com.

June 16-17 — MINIs on Top, Mt. Washington, N.H., www.minisontop.org.

June 22-24 — Vintage Motorsports Festival, Thompson Speedway, Thompson, Conn., www.thompson speedway.com/events/.

June 25 — British Car Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass., larzanderson.org/events lawn-events.

June 29-July 2 — Mini Meet East, Columbus, Ohio, Holiday Inn Columbus North I-270 Worthington, 7007 N. High St., Worthington, Ohio, http://www.mini meeteast2017.com.

June-August — Wings & Wheels at Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., Thursdays 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., wingsand wheelsma.com.

July 7-9 — Gould’s Microcar Classic, Newton, Mass., www.bubbledrome.com/index2.html.

July 9 — Microcar Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass., larzanderson.org/events/lawn-events.



March 2017

[2-Mar_17_Dave_Black.jpg] Dave Black snags a Mini-themed Watkins Glen poster in the Yankee Swap. Ah, but will he keep it?
Photo by Robert Izzo

NEMO’s Holiday Party
by David Schwartz

WESTBOROUGH, Mass., Dec. 3 — The NEMO Holiday Party was held once again at the Chateau Italian Restaurant in Westborough.

We had a good turnout with 28 adults, but no children. Lorine and Derick Karabec were the long-distance travelers, driving in from Ulster Park, N.Y. The Party began with a social hour and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a buffet lunch and the ever-popular Yankee Swap.

There was some very creative packaging including a greasy paper bag and some cleverly disguised British food (digestives and spotted dick sponge cake), which drew the biggest laugh of the day. Other gifts of note included an Italian Job framed print, a pencil sketch of a classic Mini, a gingerbread house with a Mini in the garage, and a Watkins Glen race poster.

The hot gift this year was a crystal Mini at about 1:32 scale. This changed hands many times but was ultimately taken home by Bruce Vild.

Be sure to check the Facebook page and NEMO website for photo albums showing all the guests.

March 2017

[3-Mar_17_Newman_MINI.jpg] The newest Newman MINI.
Photo by Dave & Barbara Newman

Living with (and Loving) a new Cooper S
by Dave Newman

Sometimes, having a day off from work can change your life. Like the day I learned that skiing is not my sport. Or the day when a Honda 90 motorcycle, some wet railroad tracks and undeveloped skills taught me that motorcycle driving isn’t for me, either.

Since I had Veterans Day off, I decided to skive off the domestic tasks and go visit Barbara at work at South Shore MINI in Rockland, Mass. Around noontime I dropped in and after helping myself to coffee and cookies I looked across the showroom, and saw it. The 2016 MINI Cooper S with a JCW package, all done up in the MINI JCW Team livery — although the car is BRG and not red like the racecar. It was the car Phil Wicks drove at the South Shore MINI Track Day in Palmer last summer. It had a little less than 500 miles on it, and a big tag proclaiming “Sale.” What I saw was a sign that said, “Buy Me, Dave.”

So I talked with Barbara. And then with the Sales Manager. They had to move three other cars out of the way so I could take it for a test drive. A few minutes later, I was at the long straight at the old South Weymouth Naval Air Station, doing a touch over 100mph, braking for the roundabout. Flick right, flick left, flick right and onto the next stretch. You can see other cars for a mile there, especially multi-colored ones with LED roof racks.

Back to the dealer. How much to trade it for my old 2009 Honda Odyssey? That much? A few days later, it was ours.

So what’s it like to drive the most modern of MINI Coopers?

There are millions of combinations of options and, in theory, no MINI is the same as another. Ours is a 2016 MINI Cooper S Hardtop two-door with a 2-liter BMW engine built in Germany. The car is built in Cowley, UK. Before the John Cooper Works (JCW) kit, it had 189hp and 207ft-lb of torque. It has the kit options, which means it is a “partial” JCW (the “full” JCW is a different model). The engine modifications give it another 20hp.

The Pro Tuning Kit includes a really nice two-mode exhaust, with “Track Use Only” activated by Bluetooth buttons. Then the exhaust just about doubles in volume and drops in tone. And when you are in Sport mode and back off the gas quickly, it belches and burbles just like our classic 1275 Mini. It has to be heard to be appreciated.

The car has other options — a Sport Package with Dynamic Dampers, meaning the shocks are adjusted hundreds of time each second by the computer, which makes this MINI stick to the tarmac like no other. It also has 17-inch wheels with very sticky tires. And all the lights are LED. Then there is the JCW leather steering wheel: pure pleasure to the touch. And automatic headlights that come on when it gets dark, two moon roofs, an auto dipping mirror, Bluetooth phone, and Sirius radio.

If I were Jeremy Clarkson, I’d tell you that the car would save the environment, keep pedestrians from harm, and keep the poor roads of New England from getting worse. Here’s why: in the Green mode the car sips gas and the engine shuts off when you come to a stop. The loud exhaust alerts pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks. And since the car is only 3,000 lbs. and has those dynamic dampers, it doesn’t pound at the roads. So you can drive a sports car that saves the earth like a Prius. Of course, I shut off the Green mode, go right into the Sport mode with the exhaust open, and the comparison to a Prius goes right out the window.

This car is fun to drive. Put the pedal down on a straight stretch of road and before you know it, you have rowed through all six gears and are doing 120 in about 15 seconds. I wish we had an Autobahn.

Barbara’s 2012 MINI, the previous model, is a whole lot of fun to drive and was my “track car” at Palmer this last summer. It feels a lot like a classic 1275. The new 2016 feels more like a BMW 3-series, just half the size, with great handling and a sturdy feel. But before you think I race around town screaming around corners, I have found that my usual “Captain Slow” street driving is very comfortable in this car.

The heated seats are great. And the traction in snow and rain is very good it climbs our icy driveway better than the van it replaced. Driving it in the summer will be great, too. I can’t wait.

I love the new MINI. But now that I have no tow vehicle for trailering classic Minis to faraway shows, maybe next year it will be time to buy a used Mercedes motor home. Change is good. Even Barbara agrees. And I have a huge smile on my face each time I get into the car.

March 2017

[4-Mar_17_73_Daytona.jpg] Number 73 from the MINI JCW Team at NASCAR Turn 1, Daytona.
Photo by Tom Murray

MINI Wins at Daytona
by Dave Newman

Being a mega MINI fan, I took the afternoon off work on Friday, January 27th, to watch the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge IMSA race live from Daytona. It’s easy to hook your laptop up via an HDMI cable to your big screen TV. There is great commentary, no commercials and no cuts, so it is the next best thing to being there. I watch from www.imsa.com, as the IMSA app has much lower resolution.

When I asked my boss for the time off, he said what’s up, and I told him. I expected a strange look, but he said, “Sounds like fun for you!” and off I went. He sees my BRG MINI Cooper S in JCW Team livery in the parking lot every day and of course thinks I am nuts.

The three team MINIs are in the ST (Street Tuner) class in IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and the Daytona session was known as the BMW Endurance Challenge. In ST the MINIs racing against Porsche Caymans, Mazda Miatas, Nissan Altimas and similar cars. The team had not had a 1st place finish in the last two seasons and this was the first race of 2017.

The MINI JCW (for John Cooper Works) Team is run by Luis Perocarpi’s LAP Motorsports and sponsored by MINI with Tonine McGarvie from MINI HQ. They are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. So here I was, 1,300 miles away, when I really wanted to be there!

The three team cars are #37, #52 and #73. If you are a MINI fan, think of the 1960s when Minis were winning Monte Carlo and other rallye events year after year and you will note the significance of the numbers.

I won’t go into the details of the race, but after four long hours, the last ten minutes I was standing in my TV room, jumping up and down yelling as loud as can be, “Go, MINI, go!” And after four hours, the ST class 1st place winner was MINI #73, beating out the next three Porsches by less than two seconds. Imagine that, after 14,400 seconds of racing, the win was decided by less than two! Amazing, and the first class victory for the MINI JCW Team.

You can watch the race on-line at the team website, www.minijcwteam.com/news/article/imsa-continental-tire-sportscar-challenge-2017-bmw-endurance-challenge-at-d.

March 2017

[1-Mar_17_Table.jpg] Come on, join us!
Photo by David Schwartz

Calendar of Events

March 5 — NEMO Annual Planning Meeting & Luncheon, The Pines, 1204 Pound Hill Rd., North Smithfield, R.I., (401) 766-2122, 12 noon to 4 p.m.

May 3-7 — MINIs on the Dragon, Deals Gap, N.C. and Tenn., www.minisonthedragon.com.

May 18-21 — A MINI Vacation in Vegas, Silverton Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nev., www.amviv.com.

June 4 — British by the Sea, CT MG Club, Waterford, Conn., www.ctmgclub.com/BBtS.html.

June 8-11 — British Motorcar Festival, Bristol, R.I., www.britishmotorcarfestival.com.

June 16-17 — MINIs on Top, Mt. Washington, N.H., www.minisontop.org.

June 29-July 2 — Mini Meet East, Columbus, Ohio. Host hotel: Holiday Inn Columbus N, I-270 Worthington, 7007 N. High St., Worthington, Ohio, http://www.minimeeteast2017.com.



 

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