Saturday morning was clear and crisp, perfect weather for the annual Joe Pearlstein Memorial Bear Mountain Fall Foliage Run. As our little convoy from central New Jersey rolled into the Sheraton driveway in Mahwah at 8:30 am, we were greeted by the fabulous sight of a string of MR2s as far as the eye could see stretched out along the winding hotel road.
Expectations had already run high. This year’s organization committee (JD, Mark, Anthony, Pun, Lloyd and everyone else) had gone all out to make this the biggest and best JPMBMFFR yet, contacting more than 50 vendors for prizes and giveaways, deciding on judging categories, setting the route and the order of the stops to give the best possible experience for everybody. A total of 91 cars had signed up on MR2OC, the MR2 Owners Club website, the highest number ever!
MR2s of all colors and generations streamed in—some could be heard approaching miles away, sounding like jet fighters performing low-level passes at an air show. Club members were in awe of all the stunning cars and were all snapping photos while others gathered around and simply hung out talking shop and everything about MR2s.
After a beautiful and stunning ride along the highway and side roads, everyone gathered at Bear Mountain State Park, where a Toyota OEM oil filter donated by Toyota of Morristown was given to each car entering the parking lot. What a compact, useful and cool surprise!
Judging was to be done by model categories (AW11, SW20 and MR Spyder) subdivided into Street Modified, High Modified and Ultimate Modified classes, with a Stock category crossing all model lines, because so few owners had been able to resist the temptation to mod their rides! There was also a class for the Celica AllTracs that were the only other model of car allowed to participate in the event—a historical brotherhood that had served both MR2 and AllTrac owners well from the past. The participants did all the judging when it was time to vote on their favorite cars in each category. It was extremely difficult to pick winners, especially in SW20 Street Modified, the largest class.
Many raffles were held as the day went on with small and big-ticket prizes handed out. As the sun set, the final leg of the run began and more than 80 MR2s roared off into the mountainous landscape for some spirited runs. Having covered more than 140 miles of paved terrain and a record turnout, the organizers of this event (all unpaid volunteers who put in countless hours) had exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations and made the Joe Pearlstein Memorial Bear Mountain Fall Foliage Run one to remember. If you’ve got an MR2 and would like to be a part of next year’s event, please visit www.mr2oc.com or many of the other MR2 online forums. Lastly, without the help of the sponsors this event couldn’t be a reality, so we’d like to thank you all for your donations and prizes.