President’s Column, December 2008
by Bob Morin
On October 5th, Jim Merriman organized a bike trip in Western Massachusetts, in the Northampton area. A small group made the trip with seven cyclists and two people who decided to walk the bike path for their exercise. Thanks to Jim for making the arrangements.
October 10th was our final Driver’s School for 2008, held at Lime Rock Park. As has been our norm recently, the event was a complete sellout. Thanks to Frank Giacalone, Steve Wasley and Wally Thomas for their work in organizing this event. Special thanks to all our volunteers for the day of the event, as Frank has been having some health issues and was unable to attend and Wally had a previous engagement on the day as well, and missed being there. Therefore, our workers and volunteers had to fill in for them as well. We wish Frank a speedy recovery as it has been a long haul already. Stayed tuned to these pages for details on next year’s Driver’s School program.
The Corvette Club invited our Chapter to participate in a Poker Run they held on October 19th, which ended at the new Monticello track in Central NY State. Several members joined them and had the opportunity to view this new facility in person, and I’ve heard that most were quite impressed with it.
If you’re looking to start your 2009 calendar, mark down January 24th for our Annual Dinner Meeting/Election at the Laurel View Country Club in Hamden, CT. 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. We’d also appreciate your comments on the survey portion of the ballot.
Since last month’s column, the F1 season has come to an exciting conclusion. The Japanese Grand Prix was next up and the title was still up for grabs. Hamilton showed he was taking the challenge from Massa seriously by taking the pole, with Räikkönen lining up beside him. Kovalainen put the second McLaren in 3rd with the rejuvenated Alonso completing the second row. Massa slipped in 5th with Kubica 6th, while Heidfeld was a very disappointing 15th on the grid. Once the race began however, the main challengers for the Driver’s title failed to do much with Massa finishing 7th and Hamilton falling to 12th, so Massa gained two points. Alonso made it two races in a row with Kubica finishing 5.2 seconds behind, keeping his slim title hopes alive. It’s amazing that Alonso had a clause in his Renault contract that said if the car failed to perform well enough, he had an out. Once all the good positions with other teams began to fill, the car suddenly started to perform better. Anyone else think he wasn’t really trying until he had no more options and then he figured he might as well make the most of the remaining races?
China was next up and once again Hamilton took pole, but this time Massa was 3rd, behind his teammate Räikkönen. Alonso was 4th again and Kovalainen and Vettel completed the top six. The BMW Saubers were both in bad shape with Heidfeld 9th and Kubica 11th. Hamilton took advantage of his pole position and won the race with Massa moving up to 2nd, surprising everyone by being able to pass his teammate without team orders (Wink! Wink!), but still giving back the two points he had gained in Japan. Heidfeld did manage a 5th with Kubica 6th, so both made up some ground along the way.
So, going into Massa’s home race in Brazil, he trailed by 7 points. Even if he won, Hamilton only needed to come home 5th to take the title. Massa put his Ferrari on pole with Trulli (?) in 2nd, followed by Räikkönen, whom Massa hoped would run interference on Hamilton who was 4th. The BMWs were 8th and 13th on the grid, with Heidfeld besting Kubica. Just to make things interesting, there was a heavy rain shower just before the race started. So, of course, there was no way everyone would make it through the first turn without the need for a safety car. After four laps behind the safety car, the track had begun to dry. As the race progressed, Massa knew he needed to win to have much of a chance and he intended to do just that. After the first round of pit stops, Hamilton dropped from 5th to 7th, which meant that if Massa were to win, Massa would be Champion. But, Hamilton managed to work his way back to the 5th he needed. He moved up to 4th briefly, but then, with rain predicted before the conclusion of the race, teams started to make tire decisions that could change everything. With only two laps to go, Hamilton fell to 6th and out of the Championship points he needed. It appeared he would be unable to get by 5th place runner Vettel. Massa crossed the line and the celebration began, but on the last lap, approaching the final turn Vettel and then Hamilton both passed Timo Glock and suddenly Hamilton was back in 5th and he took the title by one point. What an amazing finish to a really exciting season.
In News From National, membership is 75,034, down 1.58% from last year. The nominations for National office are closed and in the positions for which we vote this time around, Louis Goldsman is running unopposed for Treasurer and JR Schneider and Chris May are running for Secretary. The National Driving Events Congress will be in New Orleans March 6, 7, and 8, 2009. Oktoberfest 2009 (the 40th) will be at Road Atlanta from 9/28, 2009 to 10/4, 2009. Hotel information and the tentative schedule of the week’s events are already on the www.bmwccaofest.org website and you can subscribe to the mailing list to keep up with the latest announcements at email@example.com. Many of you may have received an e-mail blast about the new program being offered by National, Membership Plus. Membership Plus includes a roadside assistance program with your membership. Check the ‘CCA website for more information. For those interested, a BMW CCA group has been created on LinkedIn.com:
A group has also been created on Facebook:
BMW CCA merchandise is being offered for sale online, just in time for your holiday gift giving needs.
Sheila and I would like to wish all of our members and their family and friends a very Happy Holiday. Drive safely and enjoy the season.