Save the date – we’re planning a Street Survival event in June this year on the parking lot at Iowa Speedway in Newton. Plans are to hold this one on Sunday, June 8 – but stay tuned, as at this writing we are still nailing down the final details with the track.
www.streetsurvival.org is the place to register that 15-21 year-old driver in your family. Parents and grandparents, this is one of the best gifts you can give your teen. Look for the Schedule/Registration tab on that site. We’ll have more about the event in the next NewsWerks and on our website as well. You can also check it out on Facebook – go to Tire Rack Street Survival Iowa to see pictures and comments from recent schools here.
We always need volunteers for event staff as well. Please contact event chairman Fred Bell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or registrar Becky Brighton (email@example.com), or look for our staff
registration page on www.motorsportreg.com.
Registration should go live in early March. Not sure how you can contribute? – just call or email us about where you can serve. Street Survival is a great public service that our chapter provides to the community, and you’ll even get a free shirt and lunch for helping out!
We have held our Longest Day Driving School every June since 2002 when MidAmerica Motorplex first opened. But this year, we’re going to do things just a little differently. Because of a schedule conflict with BMW CCA Oktoberfest, our driving school will be on July 18-20. And since we’re not so close to the longest day of the year (the source of the original name), this time we’re calling the event Hot Cars in the Summertime. (With apologies to Sly and the Family Stone, for those of a certain age…)
Expect to see all of the usual features of our driving schools, like great instruction in high-performance driving, a wonderful Saturday dinner catered by Don and Stacy Van Lengen, and all-around good fun. Count on some exciting new features as well. Host hotel will be the Holiday Inn Express in Council Bluffs, and they already have a room block available for us – just ask for the Iowa BMW rate. Registration opens on www.motorsportreg.com on April 1. More to come in the next NewsWerks, but meanwhile go to event info and forms: http://www.bmwia.org/driving-school/
We have some traditions in our chapter, and one of the longest-standing is our Longest Day Driving School, held every June since 2002. This year’s details: MidAmerica Motorplex (near Council Bluffs) is the Where, June 7-9 is the When, and YOU are the Who. The tradition always includes some of the same elements – fun on the track, good times with fellow club members and enthusiasts, and several social gatherings as part of the whole event. And each year, we try to add some new features to complement both the instructional side and the fun factor.
MidAmerica Motorplex (MAM) is one of the best tracks available for learning more about high performance driving and car control. The track layout is considered very technical, so figuring out the best line through its large variety of corner shapes can be challenging. Meanwhile, it has very low penalties for doing something wrong, unlike tracks that are lined with steel (“Armco”) barriers or concrete walls. Advanced drivers can keep working on new techniques with only the grass as the main casualty from error. And, novices find MAM very easy to get used to while learning what high-performance driving is about.
Saturday and Sunday are when most of the action happens for students; Friday’s track session is reserved as an orientation and skills-polishing day for instructors and advanced students.
Just go to the LDDS page, Longest Day Driving School. Or, register online at Motorsportreg.com. Hurry – we have a very useful event memento that is free to those who register by May 7, our way of saying thanks to those who sign up early. Our host hotel, where we also provide the Friday evening reception, is the SpringHill Suites in Council Bluffs, phone 712-256-6500. We have a block of rooms reserved; just ask for Iowa BMW Club. The room block is in effect until May 5. Final deadline for registration – Monday, June 3 or sooner if the school fills up.
Oh – we missed the Why in the leadoff! In no particular order – because it’s fun, it can be a challenge, it can help you in street driving skills – and it’s fun!
When this NewsWerks lands in your box, there will be only about a week left to sign up for our new May version of the Tire Rack Street Survival teen driving clinic. At this writing we still have a few spots left, so don’t delay!
Go to www.streetsurvival.org, and register that 15-21 year-old driver in your family. Parents and grandparents, this is one of the best gifts you can give your teen. They may resist getting up early on a weekend morning for it – after all, they KNOW how to drive… But once they get there and start trying to do the car control exercises, they’ll see that there is a lot more to learn about driving skills and traffic awareness, and they’ll have fun learning it. By the afternoon, they’ll be thanking you for providing the opportunity!
We can use more event staff as well. If you haven’t already signed up, please contact Fred Bell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or registrar Becky Brighton (email@example.com), or just go to our staff registration page on www.motorsportreg.com. Not sure how you can contribute? Just call or email us about where you can serve. Street Survival is a great public service that our chapter provides to the community, and you’ll even get a free shirt and lunch for helping out!
For the last 8 years or so, we’ve had a Tire Rack® Street Survival teen driving safety course in Iowa each fall. We have a NEW angle on it this season – in addition to the fall events in the Des Moines and Quad Cities areas, we’re also doing a spring school at the Iowa Speedway parking lot in Newton.
Date for the event is Saturday, May 18. Our chapter is leading the effort on this one, with help from the Des Moines Valley SCCA folks for equipment and some volunteers. DMVR’s club racers will be competing on the infield road course that day, while we use the parking lots to teach teens to learn a lot more about car control and accident avoidance than they ever saw in driver’s education. Plans are to use a break in the racing action to also take the students out for a parade lap around the track behind the pace car!
The course is aimed at ages 15-21; students must either have a driver’s license or have held a learner’s permit for at least half of the period required before licensing by the state of issue. Students learn what it feels like when the car is about to lose traction, and learn how to avoid or correct the problem. Street Survival is an excellent prep for winter driving in Iowa, but also applies to many other instances where dealing with traction is an issue – gravel roads, rain, or emergency situations.
Check out http://streetsurvival.org/ for more information about the course. The site includes a very good video showing how the training is done in the student’s car by a trained instructor on a closed course.
Registration for students is on the Street Survival website under the Registration/School Schedule tab, Iowa Speedway student registration. For local information, the contact is registrar Becky Brighton (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please help us to publicize the event to parents of potential students: contact friends, family, and co-workers who have young drivers in their households – the life you save may be theirs!
We are not going to have as many of the usual volunteers available from DMVR because of their race commitments this time. So we really need additional help from Iowa Chapter members as in-car instructors and as volunteer workers at the event. Please contact Becky or myself with any questions about how you can help or what it takes. Street Survival is a great way to contribute back to our communities – let’s all make it a ‘smashing’ (pun-only, not literal) success! Staff volunteers register on Motorsportreg.com – look for it on their schedule as the Iowa Chapter event on May 18.
Every year in the September issue, we promote the upcoming local school of the Tire Rack® Street Survival teen driving safety course. For 2012, we have TWO schools happening in our area.
On September 30 at Southeast Polk Junior High, we’ll be working again with the Des Moines Valley SCCA folks to do our seventh school in central Iowa. And on Oct. 7, at Bettendorf High School, we are hosting the inaugural school in the Quad-Cities! Our club is being assisted on this one by Great River Region SCCA and Porsche Club of America members.
Street Survival is a great way for teens to learn a lot more about car control and accident avoidance than they ever saw in driver’s education. The course is aimed at ages 15-21; students must either have a driver’s license or have held a learner’s permit for at least half of the period required before licensing by the state of issue. Check out www.streetsurvival.org for more information about the course. The site includes a very good video showing how the training is done in the student’s car by a trained instructor on a closed course. Students learn what it feels like when the car is about to lose traction, and learn how to avoid or correct from such situations. It’s always an excellent prep for winter driving in Iowa.
Registration is on the Street Survival website for both events. For local information, contacts are registrars Rick Talbot in the Des Moines area (email@example.com) and Chuck Gipson in the Quad-Cities (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As always, we need your help in two ways: putting out the word to parents of potential students, and as volunteers at the events. Please contact friends, family, and co-workers who have young drivers in their households – the life you save may be theirs! And if you are interested in instructing or being a volunteer worker at the event, please contact the local registrar. This is a very worthwhile program, and the huge effort that it takes from club volunteers is more than repaid in the service we provide to our communities.
It was the highest of water, it was the lowest of water…. Okay, enough damage to Dickens. But as in the famous novel, the contrasts between events were stark and momentous.
Last year, our Longest Day Driving School was held in the shadow of impending doom. The Missouri River was rising at an unheard-of pace, setting new records for flood height and water flow. Our event barely managed to happen. Only a few days beforehand, we were meeting with the Corps of Engineers and FEMA to see if we should even hold the school. The weather while we were there was actually pleasant, but that weekend was the last one that MidAmerica Motorplex would operate for about three months. Just days after we wrapped up, the local roads went under water, and then the track property and finally the track itself also were covered by rising groundwater over the next few weeks.
In contrast, 2012’s event was after a very dry fall and a warm winter, which was followed by a dry spring as well. No damage occurred to the track at all from either flood or freezing. The MAM staff has been busy all spring on repairing the buildings, replanting the infield, and generally putting things back as good as they were a year earlier. Last October’s moonscape appearance when the track re-opened has been replaced by nice green grass – and soybean plants in the infield! (We’re still in Iowa, after all). Our crowd was royally roasted in 90-plus degree temps and high winds, but we avoided the predicted Sunday thunderstorms and all sessions except for the very last ones were completely dry.
The participants had a great experience, as our chapter consistently provides at Longest Day. Comments from one first-timer: “I had an absolute blast this past weekend at this event….my expectations were totally exceeded. [T]he quality of the instruction and the approachability of everyone in the group really made this a sport I could absolutely see myself getting into. I will definitely be back next year”.
As always, the event takes a lot of help from many people. Chief Instructor Scott Smed worked many late hours ahead of the event to find sufficient qualified instructors and to make the student assignments that are key to the effectiveness of the school. Jeff Daly helped with pre-event planning, Brian Smith and Dana Schrader provided the classroom instruction, Candy Gerber organized the Friday reception, and Rick and Kathy Talbot reprised their stellar work on the grid again this year. The Saturday night feast at the track prepared by Don and Stacy Van Lengen was a highlight as always. We also had a new face leading the Saturday night track walk/ride after dinner – Dana did the honors in showing nuances of the track contours that just aren’t visible when driving at speed. Several other members helped with pre-event or on-site grunt work. And last but definitely not least, our key sponsor BMW of Des Moines provided our event mementos plus additional support in several ways. When you’re in the store for either sales or parts/service, please express appreciation for all they do for our chapter.
We had concerns about the viability of this year’s event, as a competing driving school was held by four neighboring chapters together – on top of our perennial place in the schedule and only 150 miles away. But Iowa Chapter made yet another difficult event happen, and with great success. We had as many participants in our school as the other one did, with only our one chapter as the host. That’s a testimony to the strength of what we offer our students and instructors for a weekend experience – and participants came from eight states for LDDS!
It is a far, far better thing that we do, than we have ever done….
In our culture, certain things just come to mind when you think of June. Graduations and weddings are what many come up with first. But if you’re in the Iowa Chapter of the BMW club, there is another tradition – the Longest Dat Driving School!
Every June for the last decade-plus – which is most of the chapter’s existence – we have hosted a driving school at MidAmerica Motorplex near Council Bluffs. Veteran LDDS attendees know what to expect; Great fun in your BMW on the track, great camaraderie with your fellow attendees and chapter volunteers, and great food at our Saturday barbecue dinner at the track.
For those of you who have not tried it yet, here’s a little more on what you’ll encounter. MidAmerica Motorplex (MAM) is a wonderful track for learning more about high performance driving and car control. It’s very technical (that means there are bunch of turns, none of which look the same) and it has very low penalties for doing something wrong, unlike tracks that have concrete walls or a lot of ‘Armco’ steel barriers. This allows advanced drivers to work on new techniques with little consequences other than mowing grass, while novices will find it very friendly in getting their feet wet in this part of our club’s activities. We have added some new features to our classroom and on-track instructions, too – come check it out!
When does all this fun happen, you ask? Well, that’s pretty easy. Just visit LDDS homepage and you’ll find all the information you need. Our host hotel, where we also provide the Friday evening reception, is the Spring Hill Suites in Council Bluffs, phone 712-256-6500.
Final deadline for registration – Monday June 4th or sooner if the school fills up. See you at the track!
This year’s gathering of the faithful is in Birmingham, Alabama, on October 10-14. For BMW fanatics, there’s nothing like the annual CCA Oktoberfest. Every year, hundreds of members gather from around the country to celebrate the joy of owning a BMW. There’s something for everyone, whether you love to compete (on and off the track), want to improve your driving skills or are just there to have a good time. Events include the Clean-Car Concours, time-speed-distance rally, safety school for teens, gymkhana (driving skill competition plus silliness to complete along the way), a BMW trivia contest, fun rally, photo contest, autocross, and driving school.
The track events will be held at Barber Motorsports Park, a beautifully landscaped facility with unique features – how many racetracks feature both a world-class museum plus sculptures around the track? The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is home to the world’s best motorcycle collection. The collection now has over 1,200 vintage and modern motorcycles as well as a substantial collection of Lotus and other racecars. The collection is the largest of its kind in the world. Several of the social events will be held at the museum and the track. Your O’ fest registration includes functions almost every evening, so there is plenty to do on the social side in addition to the driving and show events.
Host hotel is the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa (800-593-6419 Code: BMWA). Rooms may or may not be available when you call, as their room block filled quickly. There is a waiting list so you can take advantage of others’ cancellations. Random calls to the reservation number have also magically produced rooms at the club rate. The other main hotel for O’ fest is the Birmingham Marriott (800-228-9290 Code: bmwbmwa). Numerous alternatives are available as well.
Come on down and join the fun! We expect at least a couple of caravans from Iowa heading that direction, depending on the sightseeing desired along the way. Iowa Chapter has been very well represented at Oktoberfest for a number of years, as we keep finding more addicts who go year after year.
Register with BMW CCA for O’ fest at https://www.bmwccaofest.org/registration.phtml.
Any questions? – contact me at email@example.com.
Once again this year there will be a “FUN” t-shirt for Ofest. Go to http://bmwccafoundation.org/BarberT-Shirt.pdf for the order form for the Second Annual “Fun” t-shirt for Oktoberfest. These shirts are based on pre-orders so don’t miss out. Order date deadline is Sept. 19. The extra proceeds from sales are going to the BMW CCA Foundation.