April 2005 Meet Pictures - Rotary Revolution

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Another year, another Rotary Revolution. Here's a few pics, and a quick rundown of what took place over the weekend.

I left London around 11 AM on Thursday morning. I had decided to forgo the usual caravan down for a nice, easy drive. That, and the fact that there were only 2 other Canadians making the trip (IAN and Cheers!). The drive to Detroit was uneventful and I literally rolled right through the border. I guess since they detained me last time for 40 minutes, they decided I was no threat this time. From Detroit I headed left towards Toledo, and then onto I-70 straight to Indianapolis. The trip was quite pleasant, and I arrived in Indianapolis around 6:30 PM. After checking into the Wingate Inn I immediately headed over to the Outback Steakhouse for dinner.

After dinner, a cruise around the hotel parking lots revealed that I was indeed the first to arrive save for Mike and Aron, the organizers. While I did see their cars, I could not locate them. After such a long drive and a satisfying dinner, I went to bed after quickly checking my email, and the hopping on the RX-7 forum for a few quick posts.

Friday morning came very early for me, as I awoke at exactly 2:30AM to a horrendous thunder storm. The storm continued for several hours, alternately allowing me to sleep, then rudely waking me as the lightening flashes completely illuminated the room through the thin curtains (my only complaint about the Wingate Inn is the loose fitting curtains...other then that, the rooms were large, the Internet was fast, and the rest of the facilities were quite impressive). After waking up and having a shower, I made my way over to the Lees Inn (main hotel) by mid morning. By that time, the rain had stopped and the sun was poking through.

A few other attendees had gathered, and slowly others trickled in. After a quick midday lunch, the arrivals were still coming as the skies opened once again and dumped a truly impressive amount of rain and hail. Many of us took shelter under the hotel carport. The rest of the day basically continued on like that, with alternate dry and wet periods. By late evening, almost everyone had arrived. I basically hung out, BS'ed and mingled around, then headed up the 3rd floor of the Lees to hang out with the guys from RXTuner. After a few beers and some more socializing, I retired back to my room for some decent sleep in preparation for an early morning (as opposed to last year, staying out until 4AM...).

Saturday morning came, and it was wet. And cold. And windy. At least it wasn't raining. The caravan made it's way down to the track, and as always it was an impressive sight. After checking in at the track and having to park the Insight in the designated outsider (piston) parking, I slowly made my way to the vendor area, while stopping to talk to anyone with something to say. Nice to see some familiar faces from previous years. As luck would have it, I arrived in the vendor area just as they were unloading the 4 rotor car, Renesis display, and a few other Mazda goodies. From there, I spent much of the day at the seminar tent. While the two autocross tracks were in full swing, as well as the road course, seminars were presented on several topics. I enjoyed the Mazda presentation on the Renesis, Rotary History by Jerry Harding, the very basic tuning seminar by Rotary Performance, and the discussion that all these generated. It was particularily interesting to be able to look at the Renesis parts up close, too see the numerous differences between the high and low power version. Talking to the Rotamax guys was also an experience. Pay attention to them, because I think you'll soon be seeing big things. The only sad part about Saturday was the weather. With the cool temps and 30 MPH winds, it was far from ideal. This seemed to scare a lot of people away. Most were bundled up tightly, guzzling hot chocolate. I was disappointed that the drag was closed, but hey, there was already plenty to do. I have to give it to the spokesmodels though; they stuck through to the bitter end.

Saturday night, I once again dined at the Outback. Heading back to the hotel, there was some socializing and then I once again popped up to the 3rd floor to find the RXTuner crew having a few drinks. Talking with them and a few of the spokesmodels for a while, the Michigan people stopped by. They were heading out to get drinks and wanted to know if I was up for it, but at that point I was almost dead on my feet so I declined. It was only 10 PM or so, but a day of wind and cold can really take it out of you. So I retired to my room and slept very soundly.

Sunday morning, I awoke bright and early and immediately headed to the track. It was rather disappointing to see the turnout. Many were still hungover from the night before (apparently, I missed a few "interesting" events), and many of those who weren't had already given up and were on their way home. Wusses. For the next hour or so, I occupied myself looking at a very nicely done 20B FC, all original RX-4, and all the various RX-7s. Soon enough, my attention was drawn towards the vendor area by the siren song of the full bridge 12A RX-2 track car that had just been fired. Since Steve Kahn was late for his seminar (what else is new? :) ), I was more then happy to bask in the glory of a full bridge breathing through an unmuffled 3" exhaust. Simply amazing. It probably took an hour for the smile to leave my face. And it was at that point that Mazda started up their 4 rotor. Wow. Just wow. The car started immediately, and it was clear how perfectly tuned the Motec system was. Both cars took to the track and did some laps, while the models took their photo-ops. Then, off to the seminar tent for a very informative talk by LeatherSeats.com. Sadly, there were only 6 in attendance, including IAN, Cheers! and myself. After the seminar, the track was virtually dead in the vendor area. Heading down to the pits showed that there were still a few die-hards running on the track, and a few people still in the "show" area on the grass. After checking out some of the cars on display (Turbo 1st gens, some modded TIIs, V8 2nd gens), we all headed back to the hotel.

Arriving at the hotel, it was confirmed that very few people were actually left. What was once an entire parking lot full of RX-7s was now primarily occupied by empty space and pistons. Meeting up at the Lee's, IAN, Cheers! and I talked to some of the few remaining attendees then joined Mike, his wife, the RX-Tuner guys and a few vendors for dinner at the Coachman. Back at the hotel we walked to Mike for a while then retired to our rooms in preparation for the long drive tomorrow.

After a good nights sleep, Monday came. Of course, the weather was nearly perfect. The sun was out and there was not even a hit of cloud in the sky. At around 10 AM, I departed from the Wingate and headed out onto the freeway towards home. I was hoping to make the trip in one tank of gas, but a few hundred miles of driving in Indy sucked up some fuel, so I stopped just outside of Detroit to fill up. The border crossing was uneventful, and I had a quick dinner in Windsor before getting back onto the highway. Arriving in London around 9PM, I unpacked, watched Monster Garage, then went to sleep.

Overall, I would say that the weekend was very enjoyable. Yes, the weather did suck. There's no argument for that. But unfortunately we have very little control over the environment so there are some things that cannot be avoided. Weather is primarily an attitude thing anyway. If you don't let it bother you, then it won't. I'm disappointed at how quickly some people gave up. Regardless, the seminars were great, seeing the 4 rotor car was an almost religious experience, and of course all the talking and BS'ing with other rotorheads made it all worthwhile. I do sort of regret not attending the parties of Friday and Saturday night so perhaps next year will be my "wild" year. It would also have been nice to talk to some of those from Michigan as we've sort of lost touch. Aside from that, it was a great event.

I would also like to thank Mike and Aron for all their effort and hard work. It's amazing the effort that these guys put into an event like this, and believe me, it is appreciated greatly!

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