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Zone Rep Report December 2009

Sean CridlandIn the Zone by Sean Cridland

October is always one of my favorite months. It’s not just the colors of the trees, but there’s something the about post-equinox angle of the sun that makes earth tones richer and the sky just a little bluer.  Unfortunately, it also means shorter days and colder mornings. In some parts of Zone 9 it means the ski areas are opening. A good thing for skiers, but a lesser-liked signal for those who don’t like winter.

For the Carrera Region it means their biggest event of the year, Oktoberfiesta. For many years it was hosted in El Paso, with the driving portion being held at the Cohen Stadium lot, a fine venue for a sea-of-cones autocross. But for the last few years Dede Rogers, Ray Palomarez,  Lenny Loftin and their crew of Carreras have hosted  Oktoberfiesta in Deming, New Mexico near the Arroyo Seco raceway. It’s often supported by large number of Roadrunner Region and Southern Arizona Region members coming in for  a fun weekend of social and competitive activities.

They combine a day of DE driving on the track with a track-style autocross. In other words, they slow down the faster portions of the track with cones, but leave the tighter corners unimpeded. If you’ve never been to the Arroyo Seco track, it’s a 1.4 mile road-course with 14 turns. It’s main straight doubles as a quarter-mile drag-strip with slowing area. Though it doesn’t have elevation changes, many novice drivers like it because of its vast, unimpeded run-off areas. Even if you never use them, it gives the impression that you could if you had to.

Does it have the ultra-modern facilities of a Miller Motorsports Park or the sweeping corners and elevation changes of a High-Plains Raceway? No. But it doesn’t matter. The Carrera Region makes the event fun and rewarding in an intimate setting.

Friday night kicks the event off with registration/check-in at one of Deming’s wineries, Los Lunas. In case you didn’t know, southern New Mexico is an agricultural area that grows cotton, pecans, walnuts, and grapes.  They have some very respectable wines and I especially like the ports that come from that region.

Saturday Morning starts early with either the DE event for track-nuts or a driving tour of the area’s cultural and geological points of interest. Since I’ve been kind of a track-nut for awhile I haven’t been on the driving-tour, but I hear there are some beautiful spots and a lot of history. Deming is just a few miles from the US border with Mexico. Apparently Pancho Villa spent some time in the area.

Sunday night is a “tons-of-prizes” dinner at the best steak restaurant in Deming, the Rancher’s Café. This year the Carreras outdid themselves with everyone coming away with something interesting. There’s even a tech quiz, which I won this year (!) thanks to them asking questions that I actually knew the answers to (which is not so typical). Oh yeah, and my luck in guessing the ones I didn’t know….

Sunday starts early again with a few practice runs. The course is too long to walk without taking up most of the day. Then the runs.  As always there was a great crew of friendly and competitive drivers on hand, some great runs, lots of fun to be had and stories to be told. The Carreras give out some great trophies, too. Usually the event’s over before two and everyone can enjoy the ride home in the daylight hours. For the Roadrunners it usually includes a stop at a favorite restaurant in Truth-or-Consequences, one of my favorite town names in the USA.

As I write this, I’m preparing to attend the Roadrunner’s 1st annual Charity Benefit autocross out at Route 66 Casino. John and Phylis Davis of the RRR have done a magnificent job this year as charity co-chairs and have raised many thousands of dollars in cash and in-kind gifts for the RRR chosen charity, the Barrett Foundation of Albuquerque. Congratulations and kudos to them for the fine work they have done.

Now the days are getting shorter still and with Daylight Savings Time, nightfall comes earlier and earlier. In the Jemez Mountains where we live, there’s snow up on top and Jemez Pueblo (an Indian village just down the road from us) is getting ready for its November feast day. You often get the blended aromas of the pinon-fired woodstoves and the red and green chili stews brewing over the flames, not to mention the wood-heated hornos used for baking bread the old-fashioned way. Holiday parties around the Zone will be kicking off soon enough and we plan to make a few of them to catch up with more of our great Zone 9 members. As I finish out my first year as your Zone Rep, I have to say that it’s been a great one. I have opportunity to meet so many of you and to have so many great Porsche experiences. I’ve seen many Porsches and met so many great people at such a diverse array of venues and locations. And though we love our Porsches I can truly say that “it’s not just the cars, it’s the people.”

I look forward to seeing you at an event soon!

Sean

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