When some of my friends asked me where we were going for vacation this year–I told them Columbus, Ohio. I received several weird looks and many responses of “really?” I needed to inform the less knowledgeable, that Columbus was the site of our annual BMW Annual Oktoberfest Event and we would be seeing about 900 of our favorite BMW friends. After spending the night in Cedar Rapids with Katie, we started out in the technoviolet M3 and the blue 325ci about noon on Sunday to travel until we determined we needed a rest for the night. After several discussions back and forth with our traveling radios, we determined we would pull off at Danville, Illinois and find suitable lodging. Later on Monday evening, during the Liberty Mutual Welcome Reception in Columbus, we discovered the Bells had stayed very close to us and then visited with the other 17 Iowa Club members that had made the trip to Ohio.
Along with the driving school held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Tuesday is devoted to the Concours de Elegance so that those participants can get the event out the way in order to concentrate on other events throughout the week. Tuesday was the only day it rained, and to the dismay of the Concours entrants, not all cars were totally ready for the judging that began at noon. It was an equal distraction for all entries, but the rain stopped about an hour before judging would begin. After the judges finished with the white gloves and Q-tips, we had two winners from Iowa walk up to accept their trophies during the Dinan Performance Concours Awards dinner that evening. Russ and Brian Wiles finished in first place in the 3rd Generation Clean Class with their 1995 M3 Lightweight and David and Becky Brighton finished first in the 3rd Generation Super Clean Class with their technoviolet M3.
Driving school at Mid-Ohio continued on Wednesday, as well as the Odometer Gears TSD rally. The rally was a 4-hour course that wound east out of Columbus about 120 miles through the foothills of the Adirondacks of eastern Ohio. When the scores were tallied, we had 4 cars from the Iowa Chapter that had won a trophy. In “Class B” David and Becky Brighton placed first and were followed closely by Russ and Brian Wiles who finished 3rd in class. “Class C” was won by Alex Totten and Sean Hayes followed by Alison and Fred Bell who finished 3rd in class. Gymkhana was also held back at the Polaris Hilton parking lot and the trophies began to pile up for Iowa members. The Iowa Chapter came home with some of the best times of the day with Russ Wiles finishing 2nd, Brian Wiles 5th, Alex Kotten 8th, Katie Brighton 15th, David Brighton 16th, Cindy Wiles 19th and Becky Brighton 31st out of about 75 participants. Wednesday evening was highlighted by the second version of “Casino Night” with proceeds going to the BMW CCA Foundation.
Over the years, I have been asked many times “why are so many trophies won by Iowa Chapter members?” and I always respond that we have the best members in the county.
Driving school is held each day, so that was also true on Thursday, as well as the first day of autocross–non “M car” day on the course. Iowa was well represented again with Alex Kotten finishing 1st in class 3A, Jan Gerber finishing 2nd in class 9, and Katie Brighton finishing in 7th place in class 3D. Thursday evening was highlighted by motorcoach rides for all participants to the buffet meal hosted at Kelly BMW. Kelly BMW had the showroom filled with historical and rare BMW’s for viewing preceding the highlight of the evening–special guest speaker Joey Hand with his E46 M3 race car driven in many races about 3 years ago.
Friday is “M” day at autocross and it is dominated by M3’s and M coupes. This year, the new 1 Series M was also well represented. The fastest time of the day went to Russ Wiles who finished 1st in class 5B. Brian Wiles finished 1st in class 4A. In class 5A, Scott Smed finished 4th, Don Van Lengen finished 9th and Stacy Van Lengen finished 12th. In class 5C David Brighton was nudged by 2 hundredths of a second for a trophy and finished 4th. Friday night at O’fest is always Banquet and Awards night and it usually lasts well into the night. This year’s Banquet was highlighted by a special award presented to Larry Koch who is retiring after 28 years with BMW NA and also with special speaker Joey Hand of RLL Racing.
Saturday morning brought another day of driving school and is also time for friends to pack up and say “good-bye” for another year until we meet again.
Oktoberfest 2013 will be held at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, California August 19-24, following the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.