I, like most Turbo mag readers, consider myself a car guy. My car of choice has been a Supra I've had for years and cannot seem to part with.
But mention Supra to any RX-7 owners and they might just turn around and shout "Them's fightin' words!" Supra owners and RX-7 owners are much like oil and vinegar; they just don't mix. So when I attended the 2004 Rotary Revolution in Indianapolis, Ind., the first week in May, it should be no surprise I felt much like a piece of meat thrown in a den of wolves.
Arriving at the host hotel, I knew I was at the right place; a myriad of Mazda production vehicles overwhelmed the parking lot. Seeing this was a three-day event with other car guys, I was sure I'd make friends fast, despite my own vehicle. RX-7s of all generations and varying states of tune were the majority, but quite a few RX-8s and a few Miatas were also on hand. Milling around the parking lot, I met co-organizer Mike Ewles with his head stuck in his engine bay. I felt bad for Mike-he was having compression issues with his car at his own meet. But aside from his woes, it seemed like most people were already having a great time in the 70-degree weather, chatting about the latest in car modifications and weekend expectations.
Mild weather was not on the horizon, however. That evening an incredibly large cold front made its way through the area, bringing rain and low-50 degree temps. But, as in Hollywood, "the show must go on!" Rain had only stopped the drag racing planned for the next day.
Fortunately, Mike Ewles and co-organizer Aron Hanson had plenty for the 200-plus attendees to do. A mobile dyno was on hand for owners to flex their muscles for bragging rights, and local dealer Hubler Mazda brought out a slew of Mazda products for attendees to sample on the road course. The majority of people lined up to test their skills on the autocross course set up by local SCCA member Chad Stringer. Most drivers had never been on an autocross course before; the slipping and sliding of the course drivers in the rain (some missing the course completely), was rather entertaining to watch.
After I had enough beating from the cold rain, I headed back to the hotel. However, a few attendees had a great idea. Too nasty to drive outside? Take it indoors to the local indoor go-Kart track. Thirty-five of us jumped on the idea, heading across town plunking down a few bucks to take out our frustrations. It seemed the theme that night was "rubbing is racing" as loose go-Kart bolts became projectiles from "non-intentional" bumping. And two thumbs up to the two drivers with the balls to keep racing when the attendants ordered them to stop. Considering only five of 35 got ejected with the way we were driving, I would say that's a good record.
The final day was reserved for those who paid a little extra for the one-on-one road course instruction. I was envious as I watched many tackle the very fast road course that circled the quarter-mile track. Chris Ott of RX-7.com fame and Steven Kahn, known for his 10-second daily driver, were on hand giving lectures during the lunch break, discussing everything from racing to engine tuning. After lunch, the sun started shining, drying out the track and allowing those brave enough to beat on their daily drivers.
Having covered quite a few club-type events, I walked away from this weekend impressed by the organization of Mike Ewles and Aron Hanson. But maybe even more impressive was that by the end I felt like a welcomed part of the RX-7 community. Do I over-exaggerate? (Supras still rule!)