President’s Column, November 2008
by Bob Morin
On September 21st, we held our annual Humpa Picnic at Williams Park in Glastonbury, CT and a very nice sized group attended again this year. I’m pleased to announce that we raised over $700 for ALS and that many of our members also supported Team Marshall the following weekend for the ALS walk that was held close by, where Team Marshall was able to raise in excess of another $4500. Although Sheila and I were already in Watkins Glen, NY helping the Connecticut Valley Chapter’s efforts to support the Concours at that event, we received a full report on the Humpa from Barbara Bisset and it sounds like it was terrific. Thank you to all of our members who brought the food, beverages and other necessities, to Tony’s Imported Auto for once again providing the beer, and to Barbara Bisset for organizing the event and for making the arrangements with the Town of Glastonbury for us.
Many Chapter members of course, did head over to Watkins Glen for Oktoberfest, which began officially the following Tuesday. This was a really well attended Oktoberfest, with total attendees apparently exceeding 1000 and it was definitely a jam-packed week. Many Chapter members did well in the various competitions and took home some trophies as a memento of their trip. Thanks to everyone involved with the event for letting us come out and play for the week. The Village of Watkins Glen was a terrific place to visit and everyone was extremely friendly toward the many BMW visitors.
By the time you read this, the next event will be our Annual Dinner/Election Meeting on January 24, 2009. You will notice the ballot in this month’s DZ. Please take a few moments to complete it and mail it in, or even better, bring it with you in person to the dinner. You will notice that I have decided it’s time to step back and let someone new take over the reigns of the Chapter for awhile. After my retirement at the end of January, we have been doing more traveling and Sheila and I have been missing more events than we’d like and our attendance at monthly business meetings has suffered as well. It’s not fair to Willy to have to fill in so often. Of course, since he has agreed to run for President, and assuming there won’t be a huge write-in for another candidate, I guess he’ll be filling in all the time as he takes over as President.
My F1 coverage left off last month with Belgium and all the controversy surrounding Hamilton’s win being taken away by the FIA. Well, needless to say, the appeal wasn’t even heard as it was deemed a penalty that could not be appealed. Big surprise! So, that brings us to Monza and the Italian Grand Prix; Ferrari’s home track with grandstands filled with red. Boy, were they in for a disappointment! Due to rain in qualifying and in the race, the results of both had to be the least likely you could have imagined. In qualifying, Sebastian Vettel in the STR-Ferrari took the pole with Heikki Kovalainen completing the front row, followed by Mark Webber and then Sebastian Bourdais in the other STR-Ferrari! Yikes!! Ferraris qualified 6th and 14th. Hamilton was 15th. The BMWs were 10th and 11th. What was going on? The race was nearly as surprising as Vettel dominated and took his first victory becoming the youngest driver ever to win a Grand Prix. Kovalainen must have been surprised to have only been able to hold position and finish second while Kubica came all the way up from 11th on the grid to finish 3rd. The Ferraris could only manage 6th and 9th in front of the home crowd. Vettel could not have been more ecstatic over his victory and he drove a brilliant race.
Next on the calendar was another first for F1 as they held the first ever night race in Singapore. This weekend was slightly more normal, but not without its surprises too. At least qualifying was a bit more like normal with Massa taking another pole, followed by Hamilton, then Räikkönen and Kubica in the second row. But the race was something else all together. Fernando Alonso came from a disappointing 15th on the grid to win the race, with Nico Rosberg 2nd, followed by Hamilton and Timo Glock. This season is nothing, if not unpredictable, unlike last year where you pretty much knew the top four at every race; you just had to figure out the order. So now, with three races left, Hamilton has widened his lead over Massa to 7 points with Kubica another 13 points back in 3rd. McLaren-Mercedes has a slim 1 point lead over Ferrari in the Manufacturer’s Championship, with BMW still with a chance, 15 point out of 1st.
As we are preparing to leave on vacation as I write this, I’m a little earlier than usual this month, so I’m afraid I don’t have a News From National this month, as it comes out later in the month. We’ll catch up next month though. Until then, enjoy the Autumn colors and Drive Safely!