Valentine’s hearts, broken from the rare February snow which cancelled the last Club program, were mended at the BMW CCA Experience trip in May. The Club welcomed fourteen members from across the country to the sunny Carolinas to test their skills at the BMW Performance Center’s one-day car-control program, and rewarded them with a challenging ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains of North and South Carolina.
Winning the long-distance award was John Comisky and his wife Betsy Chaconas from the Golden Gate Chapter, and the near-distance winner was Pete Ticconi of the Peachtree Chapter. We were delighted to welcome back “repeat offenders” George and Roselyn Burns from the Illini Chapter, as well as Leslie Moyer from the DelValley/Nittany Bimmers, and Jackie Bechek from the Sandlapper Chapter, fresh from their stints at the first annual Women’s Two-Day M School.
We had the privilege of welcoming the Hawes Family from the Delaware Valley Chapter, and Fred and Connie Stenger, also from the same Pennsylvania region. Father and son team, Mark and Kevin Ventura, active participants in the Tar Heel Chapter, rounded out our group as enthusiastic participants. Both groups pushed themselves to master the challenges of the one day car control cornering, braking, and skid pad exercises. Many practiced drifting in the agile 335i’s on the skid pad, with some limited success.
We were some of the first participants to drive the new M235 on the handling course, and Betsy Chaconas and Connie Stenger drove as if they wanted to give Danica Patrick a run for her money. Lawrence Hawes was crowned the “King Rat” in the iconic Rat Race on the upper skid pad. That evening, Mike Renner—the Club liaison for the Performance Center—hosted a delicious private dinner in downtown Greenville, entertaining us with his stories.
On the second day, instructors Donnie Isley and Laura Hayes led the group through the tortuous and steep hairpin turns of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Everyone was amazed at the responsiveness and agile handling of the 750Li, 550i’s and X1’s. We enjoyed a delicious luncheon at the HobNob Restaurant in Brevard, North Carolina, and swapped stories of our passion for BMW’s and the Car Club. Although for many this was their first-ever Club outing, it certainly will not be the last based on the positive response from these members.