Volume 4, No. 1January 97
THE DRIVER

Happy Birthday to Us, Weíre Four Years Old!
On January 30, 1993 at 3:00 in the afternoon, a small group of people met at the Gibbs Memorial Library in Evans, Georgia. There were twelve people present, all from different walks of life: different ages, different lifestyles and different tastes. The one thing they had in common was a love for their Miatas. At this winter meeting, Jerry Godbee founded the local chapter of the Miata Club of America. Everyone present agreed to call this group the Masterís Miata Chapter, and thus this fun club was born. The charter members attending that day were: Andy Smith, Beth Klinstiver, Anita Wylds, Connie Singleton, Constance Downard, Bill Maldonado, Michelle Piscatello, Michael Piscatello, Roger Holberton, Bianca Godbee and Jerry Godbee. Andy Cork from Brainstorm was also present and made an honorary member. He provided door prizes and guidance as he was a member of the Peachtree Chapter, already established in Atlanta.
At later meetings that year an election was held, bylaws were written, a logo was designed and Andy Jones became our sponsor. A great deal of hard work went into the club that year and every year since. Many faces have faded, but many new faces have appeared. From twelve members that day to 42 members today, the Masterís Miata Chapter is going strong.. Happy Birthday to us!


New Officers are Elected to Office
The new officers have been elected for the New Year. Most were re-elected from last year. The officers are as follows: Batb Blatter, President; Tim Johnson, Vice President; Anita Wylds, Secretary; Shawn Arrowood, Treasurer; and Bonnie Faulkner, Historian. The officers met January 8, 1997 to plan most of this yearís rallies and to discuss issues concerning the club. Many members will be coordinating upcoming events and any suggestions or help in planning get-togethers would be greatly appreciated.


Greetings From the Prez...
Hello and welcome to the new year. I hope all are well and excited about the turning of a new page in the last few years of this century. First I would like to give a brief note about the last few rallies we had last year.

"Find the Founder" Rally
This rally by Bianca (and I know a little help from the founder, Jerry) was great. We had 12 cars participate with beautiful "top down" weather. I got lucky and got 2 "Founder" cards and a "wild card" in the first 3 stops. I am proud to have the 4th annual "Find the Founder" trophy sitting in my book case. We finished the rally with a great BBQ lunch at Andy Jones Mazda.

Evening Car Show
Some of us attended the "Cruise In" sponsored by the Augusta Corvette Club in the rain Saturday night, October 26. New members, Ron and Chris Kaufman, Jim, Jerry and Bianca, Shawn and I parked together with other custom cars and trucks all around. Jim was award the "Best Liked Car" trophy by all the people at the show. Way to go Jim!

1996 "Miata Games"
Miata Games: About 11 :00 am on October 3rd Jim and Judy Creer, Ernest and Cheryl Van Horn and I started out on a cross state rally to the 1996 Miata Games in Atlanta. We went cross country on two lane roads through rural Georgia and then a short sprint down I-85 to 285 and into the Games headquarters in Perimeter Center. There we met fellow Masterís Miata members Bonnie Faulkner, Anita and Henry Wylds, and Bill and Donna McCaffery. The next day at Road Atlanta Track we hooked up with prospective members Gary and Marie Richard. We enjoyed the food, companionship, vendors, different driving events including tour laps of Road Atlanta and driving in a line of 212 Miataís down I-285 to Stone Mountain for our final banquet. At the final get together at the Railroad Station at Underground in Atlanta we were told there may not be another National Rally next year due to difficulty finding a location. We certainly hope they find a place because there are great events for the participants and show the love and joy of these "cute" little cars by the owners.

BBQ
Judy and Shawn Arrowood opened their home, garage, front yard and back yard for the first "fix your car" pot luck picnic lunch and rally on Saturday, October 26. We had 12 cars meet at the Georgia Welcome Center. My hawk eyed navigator, Fran Crittenden, noticed Lisa Bushís 92 Red had a flat back right foot as we pulled behind her. Thank goodness for a traveler who loaned her a portable air compressor. She was able to get her tire backt o round condition and with lots of help and knowledge of tires by fellow Master Ďs Miata members, she led the gathering and ended the day with a new set of rear tires. It really helps to have knowledgeable club members! ! Upon arriving at the Arrowood residence we put on a mini car show with all the Miataís in their front yard. It was a great afternoon of fun, food, and tinkering with our cars. Some of us finally got mud flaps, horn and new air filter installed, others got rid of their "fangs" and even found out there was NO oil on the dip stick. We have a great group of members who are willing to share their skills, tools, knowledge, and humor to keep us on the road!! Thanks guys!

The Fall Leaf Tour
This annual rally led by Leroy Delionbach and his wife Hilda was again a great ride. Although the leaves had already turned, all who attended enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Cracker Barrel, some delicious pound cake baked by Hilda, a fun hike with sunny skies and a great drive! We look forward to the leaf tour next year, perhaps earlier in the season.

December Rally
We met at the parking lot of the Graniteville, S. C. middle school on Saturday, December 7th for the annual "Graniteville Christmas Parade" Although I was unable to attend, I understand the rain stopped in the "Nick" of time and, as usual, there was a huge turn out. Nine Miatas and two non-Miatas drove in the parade. I hope no one ran out of candy!

New Members
Ron and Chris Kaufman, Kenny and Roxanne Padgett, Brian Wynne, Karen Stillman and Wendy Creer. Glad to have you with us. Also, it has been great to see some members that we havenít seen for awhile. Great to ride with you Jim Heany and Bill and Donna McCaffery!

Paint Damage?
One of our members has voiced concern about the use of the "DriWash Ďn Guard" product demonstrated and sold at our August meeting. I have questioned several other members who have used the product. Yes, there will be some of paint color on towel used in cleaning process, but our "gurus" say it should not be enough to wear paint. It maybe some of the normal oxidation coming off. If anyone else has concerns or knowledge about the product or service from "enviro-tech" please let me know (706) 868-9377.

Thanks to Brian
Brian Bogardus has put together a great web page for the Masterís Miata Chapter. It can be reached at http://www.scescape.net/masters_miata/. I have seen it and it is a great way to share information with just a phone call. Thanks Brian for a job well done!

New Officers
Somewhere in this edition of the newsletter, Judy will announce the new officers for next year. I thank everyone for making my year a fun and challenging one. Thanks to each of you and especially our sponsor, Andy Jones Mazda and his staff!!

See you all at all the rallies, remember the "Miata Wave", and Happy New Year!
Barbara


Anonymous Writer, Please Read!
This is a note to the anonymous writer who sent me a great story for the newsletter. I loved your piece but because of unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to get out a newsletter in the fall. Please submit another story and let the mystery continue!
Judy Arrowood, newsletter editor.


Master's Miata Team Trek to Miata Games '96
by Jim Creer -I was asked to jot a note on our trip to the Miata Games in Atlanta, so my personal perspective is submitted.
After a string of deterrents I was unsure if we would be ready for the trip. At 9:30pm on Wednesday, while lowering the car from jack stands, the power steering reservoir relieved itself on my driveway. Fortunately, Wal-Mart is open 24 hours. 4 1/2 hours later I started packing for the trip, with the warm thought that it may be repaired.
Thursday, 3 October 1996. Three gum ball hued Miatas queued at the Georgia Welcome Center for the trip to Atlanta. Two red cars were polished and sparkling while the blue one looked quite nasty. Barbara, our outstanding leader previously made the trip and had all the little turns and potholes mapped. Judy and I took the middle position and Cheryl and Ernie kept watch at the rear. With one eye on the sky (40% chance of rain) we followed the back roads to Atlanta. Barbara was considerate of the Georgia recommended safety speeds so it was a long trip on a stiff suspension. She led us directly to our parking spaces in the Crown Plaza and later departed to a less expensive hotel 40 miles nearer Road Atlanta. Anita and Henry were waiting at the hotel. They were to make the trip with us, but it was rumored that the spring on their clock radio was defective so their wake-up channel was broadcasting late. Bonnie was there and answered questions on registration and suggested not to have the breakfast and save a bunch of money. Those white leather seats really look great Bonnie! With pleasant company, we all met for the overpriced Mexican Feast (yuck) dinner in the hotel. It was even worse because I suggested we eat there although others wanted to eat elsewhere. It was then that the 40% chance increased to 100%. What a gaggle of Miatas, 3 floors in the parking garage with Miatas and drivers milling about. On display was the new Coupe, Speedster, and even a Police vehicle. We were supposed to park on the lowest parking level, but that was too many scrapes on the under carriage. Didnít get to enjoy the opulence and amenities of the Crown Plaza as the 7am Tech Inspection was drawing near. Retiring hungry and early, I eagerly awaited my $15 breakfast and 5am wake up call. It would be an hours drive to Road Atlanta in heavy traffic.
Friday, 4 October 1996. At 5:40am and still savoring the $15 cheese Danish and apple juice (favored breakfast of diabetics), we scraped out of the garage when another setback occurred. After hearing a loud pop and whoosh, I discovered the Bug Eye was now normally aspirated. Opting to go to the track anyway, hoping the trouble was easily repairable, we were refreshed by the cool air. Fortunately, the heater was sufficient to keep my fingers from going numb when the air vents were directed at the steering wheel. Couldnít use the top because of the roll bar padding. Limping into Tech, I was feeling fine that I beat the bulk of other cars and may have time to troubleshoot. It was at that time another little stumbling block occurred. Didnít have a mechanicís signature on the inspection sheet. Had to pull over and let the other cars through first. I was honest and paid the consequences. The drivers behind me started scrambling for their pens. Five minutes to track time, I located a ripped vacuum hose and repaired it.
Finally on the track. Zipping around Road Atlanta was more fun than people should be allowed to have. Legally experiencing the fuel cut out in 5th gear was a combination of excitement and panic. Other drivers said the stock Miata can get to 105 mph on the course. The instructors from Car Guys were great! We were connected by an intercom, and one talked me through the track. There are blind hills and corners. Parts of the track are memorized by tree top patterns and landmarks. Confidence increasing with each lap, I began "tanking" the instructor around the track. An interesting moment occurred when I did a "lift and turn" instead of a "brake and turn." My instructor began making rapid hand movements. Thought he was trying to applaud my brilliance. The 5 point harness kept him from reaching the dashboard. The proper apex was slightly off but I still executed a beautiful braking maneuver and turned. With a very slight "bobble" we raised only a small dust cloud, and ended up on course. Fortunately ,the sun came out later and the seats dried okay.
The Skid Pad. Here we raced around a circle painted on wet cement to induce skids in a controlled environment. I expected my modified suspension to break loose (not induced) from the front. I was pleased to find most of the skids were front and rear together with slightly more at the rear than the front. An instructor accompanied the driver and advised on corrective actions. If anyone has an opportunity to try a Skid Pad-DO IT !!
Stop! Another driving exercise was on accident avoidance. We raced toward a series of changing stoplights and practiced hard braking and abrupt lane changing.

The events were well planned. We had individual schedules for activities. I had 12 events the first day and didnít visit the vending area Occasionally would see Judy and other members of the group walking around taking pictures and buying stuff. They appeared to be enjoying themselves. Evening was spent with our group at the Crown Plaza The company was great and other members thought the meal was delicious. Early to bed, had another 7:00am Tech Inspection.
Saturday, 5 October 1996. At 6am, after savoring a $15 muffin and orange juice, we scraped out of the garage into an even colder AM. Traveled for a while with the Wiz Performance car. Hoped he wanted to demonstrate his hot rod unit against the Bug Eye. I think the cold, traffic pattern, or his disinterest discouraged the event.
The autocross was a very tight and narrow and perfect for the stock Miata. I think the stock cars ran it in 1st gear. My handicap was so large I knew there was no chance of winning, but still had fun slipping and sliding while finishing in my accustomed position near the end of the pack.
All participants were allowed to drive at least two touring laps of Road Atlanta. Unfortunately, passing was not allowed and we were behind a driver who thought 40 m.p.h. was a safe and prudent speed on the straights and it was necessary to make California stops on the curves. This was a good photo opportunity. Didnít need helmet either.
By late morning it warmed up enough to defrost my fingers. Had a late lunch, but was fortunate enough to get the last biscuit and all the cold greasy chicken legs I cared for. Others said the lunch was good but they ran out of food. I saw Ernie with his face matching the color of his car. His car broke during Defensive Driving School. We found the trouble, he fixed it and salvaged the remainder of his day. Had my first opportunity to walk around the vendor area and spend more money. Got to see other Miatas and talk with several of the owners. This was a good chance to see the huge variety of installed aftermarket stuff.
The Stone Mountain Adventure. Over 200 Miatas traveled as a group from the hotel. A Police escort led us out of the hotel and onto I-285. Driving with emergency flashers added more confusion. I flipped over to CB channel 19 to hear what the truckers were saying. Comments were not favorable to Miatas or the ancestry of Miata owners. The string of Miatas extended several miles, and in the dark, only a sea of brake lights and flashers were visible. Other members else said the dinner was very good. After speeches, a drawing was held for a huge pile of vendor goodies. It looked like enough stuff that everyone would win something. Our club members got a lot of practice applauding fortunate members from other clubs.
Sunday, 6 October 1996. On this day we had a self guided tour of Atlanta. This was a nice event, glad I went instead of leaving for home. We met for brunch and closing remarks at Atlanta Railroad Depot. They had real food. Finally got to eat. After the ceremonies we all went our separate directions. Anita and Henry accompanied us for a tour of the Holy Water (Coca Cola) museum next door.
Overall personal comments. The scheduling of events at Road Atlanta and activities were outstanding. Peachtree club members were readily available to provide accurate assistance. A "Miata Net" was established on CB channel 5, so there was always assistance available. The Performance Driving School was worth every penny spent. I think the Autocross and registration fees could have been cheaper considering the audience and prepayment. The luxury of the hotel was wasted if you participated in the events. Would prefer to save 2 hours daily driving time and probably 60% of the hotel bill. Would have liked to see a drag strip to verify performance claims of after market products. A dyno would have been nice, but would not simulate true conditions or test the skill of the driver.


The Classifieds!
For Sale: Red hard top with rear window defrost and hoist..$1500.00 Call Tim Johnson 481-8162, or e-mail.

For Sale: White hardtop....$1200 or best offer. Call Cindy Bentley at 868-9541.


[ current newsletter | home page ]

Last updated January 23, 1997