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Steeplechase Wrap Up

Seeing as it was just going to be Donna and I attending the Steepelchase, we concocted a plan to just walk over. This would make getting out at the end of the day much quicker, there would be no car to have to drive out one of the only three exits, along with the other 10,000 vehicles at 4:15 PM after the last race.

That plan promptly fell apart on Thursday afternoon when we realized that our Little Red Academy Sports Wagon was over 50% full with just our small gas grill in it. After stacking the two small chairs on top of the grill (the other two, optimistically for guests, would be carried by the person not dragging the wagon) there wasn’t any room left over to take all the other items we needed. There was still a tray of chicken shishkabobs, a bag of hot dogs, cookies, brownies, and chip & dip, and another bag with the tablecloth, condiments, paper plates, bowls, and utensils. Don’t even think about adding the styrofoam cooler with ice and drinks on top of that.

Plan B was implemented. On race day, Brian packed up the gas grill, the 4 chairs and the bag with the tablecloth, condiments, paper plates, bowls, and utensils into the Big Red Mini Cooper Wagon and drove over right at 9:00 AM, when the gates opened. He parked the car and walked the mile home. At 11:00 AM we walked over with cooler and food in the Little Red Academy Sports Wagon. Then maybe after the 4th race they would pack everything into the Big Red Mini Cooper Wagon and drive out the gate with maybe tens of cars.

After we walked over and set everything up, we started eating. Hard not to, with the once or twice a year treat of chips and dip staring right at us. Didn’t help that the tent next door was grilling chicken on their grill. After our pre-meal we walked over towards the finish line to the rail side spot of the company (ASCO) we used to work at, to bring them some of Donna’s chocolate cookies in trade for a drink and to sample some of their bountiful spread. When we got back to spot #471, its owner Tom Varallo, was next door chatting up with the the chicken grilling crew. He talked with us a bit and said he’d probably be done working somewhere between 2 & 3:00 PM and would stop back over for a longer visit. We promised to save him some chicken and a hot dog.

The rest of this timeline and details are hazy, might be old age or it might have been the Moscow Mule I got at the ASCO spot, but two women popped into our rail side spot and asked if we knew a so and so. They were supposed to meet them at spot 471. We of course didn’t because as far as we knew we were the only ones from the Club coming, so we told them maybe they got the number wrong. They hustled off texting madly.

A minute or two later a couple showed up and said their names were Renee and Allen. They had run into this nice man called Tom and explained that they had purchased Guarantor tickets to the VIP tent but were supposed meet someone, but those folks couldn’t get in to the VIP tent. Tom, knowing it was just Donna and I at his spot, told them to meet their friends at #471. At this point in the story we said, “I think they were just here.” “Two women, one older than the other?” we asked. “Yes” We said, “They just went that way maybe you can catch them.” But they didn’t.

Sometime after the first race, two women did show up, a mother, Shirley and her daughter, Kate. The daughter is Renee’s dressage instructor and was accompanied by her boyfriend Eric. They brought with them a couple kinds of chips, a couple kinds of dip and some potent potables. We welcomed them to stay. Eric and Allen were sent across the street to their truck to get some more chairs. Then another mother/daughter team joined our group, Randy and Katelyn. At this point I’m not sure which duo was the one that showed up first. The second pair brought some chicken wings and cookies to add to the smorgasbord. After the second race, Donna and Renee walked across the street to get a cooler that had wine and cookies out of their truck (stuff the guys should have brought.)

This is where Plan B dematerialized. We were having too good of a time and the weather was too nice to go home early, so Donna and I stayed with our new found friends until all 6 races were through. Everyone pitched in to cleanup and started packing up. Renee and Allen left. Randy and Katelyn drifted off. Finally then Shirley, Kate and Eric left, leaving Donna and I to wait out the thinning crowd. To kill some time waiting for the roads to clear we made a loop of the inside of the track stopping in at the ASCO tent again for a few minutes. We then tried to stop in at Donna’s Yoga teachers spot to say hello again, but they had already gone.

I guess because this was (supposedly) a Masters Miata Club event, I should mention that Chip Cunningham dropped in for a bit of a chit chat and Tom Varallo did make it back in the afternoon, not to eat though as he was still driving around on a golf cart solving event issues.

25 Years Ago – Spring 1994


Men say women drivers are road turtles. Ha.

In our culture, women — bikini-clad and draped over a shiny hood — are perceived to be good at selling cars, not at driving them. According to men, the self-styled mandarins of the macadam, we women don’t have the right stuff; testosterone, they insist, is necessary for merging or passing with finesse on the highway, not to mention parallel parking.

The notion that women are bad drivers is as archaic as arranged marriages; ability to drive has nothing to do with whether you have an M or F on your license. Many of us are terrific drivers, or could be, if we would just loosen up and let our instincts for the road take over, if we would stop turning the wheel over to our fathers, boyfriends and husbands. Reader, you are not the ungainly driving turtle that men would like you to think you are. There’s a cheetah inside of you, perfectly poised, coordinated and fast.

I love to drive. Admittedly, I’m a special case; not all women grew up playing with cars as well as Barbies, tagging along with a big brother to a slot-car racing track on countless summer afternoons. David would help me at the remote control, watching carefully as I guided miniature cars around the curves, encouraging me to go faster, to take more risks. When I grew up I left the Barbies behind. But not the cars. Never the cars.

If you met me in, say, the super-market, you’d never suspect my fearlessness on the road. I’m only five foot one; I need help opening a jar of peanut butter. I am craven when it comes to rodents, snakes and flying (it’s not the altitude, it’s that someone else is steering), and if the truth be known, I slept with the light on for a week after seeing Jurassic Park.

But what I don’t have in physical strength or courage, I make up for with a lifelong passion for speed and an innate feel for the road that I’m sure many women share, I learned to drive a stick shift my fresh-man year in college when I purchased a used car. After a week or two I no longer needed to rely on my tachometer to determine when to shift; I could interpret the sighs and rumblings of my engine as easily as a new mother can distinguish her baby’s wet cry from its hungry one. Soon I was weaving in and out of traffic on the Santa Monica Freeway life a native Californian. Guys who rode with me would invariably exclaim, “You can really drive!” The unspoken end of the sentence —”for a girl”— was all the prodding I needed to throw the car into fourth and show them what I was made of, that I could outdrive any man, all the while silently praying to the Goddess of Vehicular Karma to protect me from LAPD radar.

If you love to drive, you know the incredible sense of freedom that comes while cruising along a windy road

with the top down on a breezy moonlit night, foot on the throttle, double-clutching into the turns. There is nothing better. You are the car, and the car is you. It is then, with the wind wildly tossing your hair, that you finally feel liberated, that you are relaxed enough to entertain secret thoughts of getting your brilliant novel published or of being stuck in an elevator with Sam Shepard. It is then that you are uninhibited enough to sing along with the radio and convince yourself that you are harmonizing not only with Bonnie Raitt but with all of humanity.

My memories of driving pleasure are far too numerous to describe, but my supreme moment (so far) happened about five years ago. After dinner at a restaurant, my friend Terri and I were getting into my car when we heard heavy footsteps running toward us. A man rushed past, followed by a cop on foot. “He went that way,” I yelled, pointing ahead of us. The cop opened the passenger door of my Honda Civic, yelled at Terri to get in the back and jumped in.

“Step on it!” he ordered. I kid you not; those were his very words. I needed no further instruction. hook off, foot to the floor, heart racing as my dream came true — permission to floor it with no threat of recrimination. When we got to the edge of the park the cop yelled “Stop!” and jumped out, to chase the man down a ravine. As we watched them slip away into the darkness, I felt like a guest heroine on Cagney and Lacey.

Why should the excitement of driving well be left to the male of the species? Two women have already made it to the Indy 500, the nation’s premier auto race. The most recent, Lyn St. James, placed a respectable eleventh in her 1992 Indy debut and was the only rookie to cross the finish line. I’m not suggesting you enroll in the legendary Skip Barber Racing School (although I am planning on attending it one day). I’m suggesting that the next time you get behind the wheel of a car, you embrace the opportunity to excel, and accelerate; your car couldn’t care less whether you’re a man or a woman. No one else on the road should, either. Particularly you.

by Miata Owner Barbara Feinman

Copyright 1994, Glamour Magazine. Reprinted without permission.


March 2019 Meeting Minutes

When: March 7th, 2019

Where: Emishiya Korean BBQ, Martinez

Who: Brian and Donna Bogardus, David and Ellie Brock, Mike and Shirley Dyer, Larry Garner, Glen and Deb Link, Dennis and Karol Mason.

Emashiya Korean BBQ was different but good, we had our own room and enjoyed dinner and appetizers.  Everyone found something on the menu that they liked.  Shirley particularly enjoyed the Fried Rice and Karol and Dennis enjoyed the Goon Man Du and Bulgogi and rice.

Treasurer’s Report: The balance started at $951.91 from last month, and added $10 in dues to end at $961.91.

Club Business:

  • Dues for this year are past due!, So please prepare to contribute at the next meeting, and see Mike Dyer to pay them. Thank you for your support!
  • Please remember to RSVP to our events – it makes it difficult for the planner if we don’t know how many will show – especially for smaller venues.  Your RSVP is greatly appreciated, so please don’t forget.


  • See Dennis Mason for name tags, if you so desire.
  • Club merchandise is available: Pins are $3 each; “Support Vehicle” car magnets are $25 per pair, canvas tote/shopping bag $20 each. The 3” window stickers have come in and are available now.
  • Coffee mugs and other items are available from http://www.cafepress.com/masters_miata
  • Communigraphics in North Augusta has our logo, for $8 you can have it embroidered on just about anything.

Upcoming calendar events:

16 Mar Someone wanna plan a drive or breakfast or something??
23 Mar Optimist Club Pancake Breakfast – North Augusta
23 Mar Aiken Steeplechase – we have a nice spot at the rail (thanks Tom & Sue) but you have to buy your own tix this year.
4 Apr April Dinner Meeting – TBD
20 Apr Outing Club picnic/pot luck Bob & Pat Tarrant
25-27 Apr Miata’s at Myrtle Beach


On your own
6-8 June Zoomin’ in the Mountains of East Tennessee https://www.facebook.com/pg/Zoomin-The-Mountains-Of-East-Tennessee-161861850537211/events/ On your own
TBD August Bug Splat Brian & Donna Bogardus
1-3 Nov Deals Gap trip Brian & Donna Bogardus

Tyler Loves His Porsche 914 and Doesn’t Care What You Think

Of all the possible Porsches to inspire Tyler Hauptman’s passion, why on earth is he so enthusiastic about the 914? He’d be happy to tell you, but he’d rather show you. Check out Hauptman’s loud, obnoxious, and charming 1974 Porsche 914 in the latest “Why I Drive” video from Hagerty.

There is a 1973 Porsche 914 for sale right now on Bring a Trailer. Presently it is sitting at $5,000 with 4 days left, but it’ll probably go for 3 or 4 times that in the end. What ever you spend for it, Tyler would approve.