Wednesday, January 5, 2022

NMS-North 2021 Review

New Year? New Helmet!

Happy New Year to one and all! We're going to look back at the last 12 months and look ahead at the next 12 months on the blog. Thanks for following along, because against the better judgement of our lawyers we WILL be continuing blogging here in 2022, with or without the dumb Covid pandemic!

Overall, 2021 was another fun year of automotive activities around NMS-North, despite the Covid pandemic, and despite a heart attack, and despite the first ever tornados in November on Long Island in history! All in all, it wasn't quite the end of the world, not quite worthy of a major novel or motion picture, so here's just some motoring highlights from the now passed year. Besides driving, we still did some Cars and Coffee events, visited some automotive museums, and worked on the cars. Some things never change!

Another day, another BUGATTI spotted on Long Island, here at an Autosport Design
sponsored Cars and Coffee event!

With 2021 being my first full year in the German car (AKA: built in Finland) Porsche Cayman, I was having fun early in the year doing some minor maintenance and basically figuring out how this mid-engine car works! Basic stuff like oil changes and changing filters and wiper blades I can handle, so getting familiar with how Porsche does those types of things was very educational. Thank goodness for books and YouTube videos! With the car in pretty good shape, including new wheels and tires, as well as new race strength brake pads and doing my own brake flush, I was hoping for a lot of driving this year. While I'm no professional, and don't have any fancy endorsements, I will recommend a few businesses that have given me great service this year. For European car parts, check out FCP Euro and ECS Tuning on line, and Rock Auto for just about anything for any vehicle. Here on Long Island, if you need anything for your Porsche, I had a great experience with M-Chanics, and would suggest you join the Porsche Club of America if you own a Porsche. 

Track driving wise, I had a blast with the Porsche Club of America (PCA) over a big three day weekend at Watkins Glen, as well as weekends with NASA-NE at New Jersey Motorsports Park (AKA: NJMP) on the Lightning course and back at Watkins Glen for another weekend on my now favorite track.  During my first ever visit to NJMP I moved up from beginner level NASA  HPDE 1 (with an instructor) to HPDE 2 (instructor not required.) That was a good way to kick off the year, so the next NASA event I drove at Watkins Glen was solo on track. The Porsche event was my first on track with that group, and I was lucky enough to have a great driving instructor, Steve Drgon.  The PCA  ran a very well organized and fun event for all the drivers. Between that, and hitting Watkins Glen on two different weekends, it was a great year right there! Other than buying some gas (OK, a lot of gas) and several sets of front brake pads, what a lot of fun! With those 3 events I hit my goal of just doing more track events, driving on a new-to-me track, and hitting Watkins Glen again with the PCA, so I'm checking those goals off my list!

Welcome to Watkins Glen, my favorite track!

Autocross wise, I managed to get to most, but not all, the PCA Metro NY Region events, so that meant driving at two different locations, Tobay Beach on the south shore of Long Island, and at the Nassau Coliseum. My autocross goal was to finish the year in the overall top ten PAX for Porsche cars, so I'm happy to say while this is not official, it looks like I accomplished that! So, in October I was sitting in the top 10, and got to compete in the Just-For-Fun top 10 run-off. That was a lot of fun, with the top drivers all driving 3 runs in the exact same car. Well, the driving part was fun, even with my lower-down-in-the-Top-10-performance, but after driving at that event and then helping pick up a few cones,  I started feeling really bad. After managing to drive about 40 minutes to get home, and then going go an urgent care place, I ended the day in the hospital getting a stent put in for a heart attack. On the bright side, I'm still alive, and as Gomez Addams would say, "I'm feeling much better now!"

One last thing; at the end of the year the Metro NY Region Porsche Club of America awarded me the "Autocross Enthusiast of the Year" award, so that was a great way to wrap things up. I've had a ton of fun with the club, and all the members have been very friendly and always ready to help a fellow driver! Thanks to Autocross Chairman Dan Fishkind for handing me this cool trophy, Mitch Hackett for being an all around good guy, and Steve Drgon for being the best instructor at Watkins Glen. 

While I'm not a doctor or anything, take my advice: take care of yourself and your family, keep on driving, and have fun! See you soon for some new goals for 2022!

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