HUBER'S HASH by Walt Huber

April 2015

HUBER'S  HASH  for  APRIL...   or MAY....    (Aw,  Hell!  --  Whichever....)

Well it's been a while.  ...More than a year, in fact, since I sat down and penned one of these.  I used to do it every month.  That was way back when our Region published an ink & paper "Pole Position" newsletter and mailed it monthly to each household.  A number of years back it was recognized that our region could no longer economically support printing and mailing the old "Pole Cat" to everyone on a monthly basis and a decision was made to reduce its frequency to semi-monthly. 

So starting around 2007, issues were cut to six per year.  And although we only broadcast our NNJR news to the membership half as often, we were still giving folks news of what was going on in our region and here in the NorthEast Division.  Members weren't being kept in the dark and they were receiving something for their membership bucks besides "opportunity."  That continued with only a few exceptions through 2011. 

Unfortunately by then the costs of producing and mailing the printed Pole Cat even six times a year had risen to again make it prohibitively expensive.   In 2012 our Region was forced to follow in the footsteps of many other regions and car clubs which were also struggling with similar newsletter cost issues.  In the age of personal computers and email, the Pole Position became an "e-mag" and continued as an electronic publication.   However, photos of cars & people could now be in color.  That was a pleasant change for the better.

Unfortunately, it was more difficult to bring the Pole Cat with you to the home library (typically the room in the house with the smallest window) to read unless you had a laptop computer.  But for those who did read it in the "home library" (phew!), it gave increased meaning to the appellation "Pole Cat!" 

With a few exceptions, this continued for more than a year and a half.  But there were problems and at the end of 2013 the e-mag morphed into simply posting this Hash column and the Regional Exec's report plus an occasional column from other writers on the region's website. 

Members who had once been sent club info monthly in the mails now got bubkus unless they stumbled onto these offerings which were listed in a box on the side of the NNJR website's home page.  I doubt that anyone has ever read these several stale columns which are still listed there.  As you might guess, it's not easy to write a column when you expect that it won't be read by anyone.  I haven't written any for over a year.  

The lack of any proper means of bringing club information into the hands of our members was addressed by the NNJR Board of Trustees at their March monthly meeting.  They will try to set something in motion which will place important information (along with drivel such as this) into the hands -- or onto the computer screens -- of the membership on a monthly schedule.  In other words, if SCCA has an e-address for you, you're gonna get this -- like it or not!

Okay -- Moving along....  Let's get you'all caught up-to-date with some info about what's been going on with us SCCA Jersey folks here in the top half of the state.

About six months ago our Rally maestro, Peter Schneider, teamed up with his rally partner, New England Region member Gary Webb (who lives in Arizona; Go figure!), to compete in the AlCan 5000, a rally covering almost 5000 miles and which is contested over a nine day period.  The rally route is run into and through the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory as well as the US states of Washington and Alaska.  Peter and Gary are not newcomers to rally competition on a high level and the AlCan 5000 is not your Sunday afternoon ride in the park TSD rally.  They did pretty well, too, finishing in first place.  By the way -- That's not first in class,  that's first place overall!  Congrats to Peter and Gary!

Maybe such a long trip to compete in a rally sounds like it might be a once-in-a-lifetime event for even a dedicated rallyist such as Peter.  But he's done this sort of distance travelling numerous times to enter events.  As a matter of fact, when I sent him an email to check on a fact, I got a reply from him which came from Australia!  He and his wife, Joanne, were getting ready to return to this side of the world from an eight day, 1200 mile event they ran in Kangaroo-land.  This particular Tour Rally must have been geared to older model cars since Peter reported that there were 187 cars in the rally which were pre-1984 vehicles.   He and Joanne borrowed a '71 Hillman Hunter from an Aussie friend to drive on the rally.

I was driving a school bus up in the Jefferson Twp - Oak Ridge area recently and I happened to read the license plate on a Mini coming toward me.  When I got home that evening, I sent a note to JD King down in the South Jersey Region to tell him I'd seen what simply had to be his license plate on this Mini.  The plate was NJ registration "CRAZY JD".   I can't tell you the specifics of the reply I got from JD;  this is a family publication.

By the way -- At last month's National Convention held in North Carolina, JD was honored by the SCCA as the "2014 Member of Excellence."   This recognition is awarded to the member selected by the SCCA Board of Directors who provides a great contribution to the Club overall regardless of competition area.  ...Way to go, JD!

Since NJMP opened back in 2008, JD has frequently been the race chair for our events there.  And he races.  And he's there at all the Pocono events, also.  JD is a man of many talents.  I cannot think of even one event when JD had been in charge that we've ever run out of beer at an end-of-day party.  Never!  That's probably one of the criteria which was considered when SCCA's Board of Directors was vetting the candidates for the "Member of Excellence" award.

The April SportsCar arrived a couple days ago.  And the May electronic issue was available before this "went to press."  On the "Anniversaries" pages there were a number of NNJR folks celebrating significant membership milestones. 

Celebrating 25 Years:

            Martha G. Weis & Nicholas J Podgorski

            June Cioppettini & Frank V. Cioppettini

Celebrating 30 Years:

            Sharon Shayka

            Ted Descovich, Jr.

Celebrating 40 Years:

            Dennis M. Fox

            David A. Schmidt

            Scott Vandeweghe

Celebrating 45 Years:

            Gary Mahanna

Celebrating 50 Years:

            Terry Hanushek

Congratulations to all!

 

Back in early February, Northern New Jersey member Trent Hindman was spotlighted in the  "Member Profile" corner of the SCCA website home page.  Trent is a high school student who lives in Ocean, NJ.  He holds a Full Competition license and competed in GT-2 in the Majors last year.  Trent started in karts, moved to Formula Ford and now competes with Fall-Line Motorsports in several series of closed-wheel cars including the Northern Conference of the SCCA Majors.  Best wishes with your racing career, Trent!

Early this year Big Joe Russell, III fell in his apartment in Dunellen and could not get up to summon help.  After lying on the floor for almost a day he managed to call out to a passing neighbor who got him to call for assistance.  Joe had become dehydrated and he spent several days in the hospital.

As a result of this, Big Joe missed attending the NNJR mid-winter social and Awards Party.  That event is a favorite of his and I'm sure he missed seeing a lot of his friends, just as we missed seeing him.  However, Joe had recovered sufficiently by early March to drive out to the Poconos for the NorthEast Division Spring RoundTable.  There he was able to represent and support our Region as well as being able to see many of his friends from around the Division.

Also in early March, Mike Feno had called me and suggested that we drive over to Dunellen to take Joe out to lunch.  Plans were set in motion prior to the RoundTable date to meet up with Joe on the Wednesday after the RT.  When we got to Joe's, the door was not answered but a weak voice could be heard inside.  On gaining entrance, we found that Big Joe had again experienced a medical issue.  Tests at the hospital where he was again incarcerated for several days indicated that he may have suffered a small stroke.  Joe is now at a rehab facility near where his son, Little Joe, lives and he is making progress.  Our thoughts & prayers are with you, Joe.

The NNJR racing calendar is kind of sparse for 2015.  Having dissolved the connection between us and South Jersey Region regarding several of the race events at NJMP, our name will be on only one race this year.  In August NNJR will team with the remainder of the "Tri"-Region Race Group to conduct a Divisional at Pocono.  (With South Jersey having also pulled out of the Tri-Region Race Group, it is effectively now simply a "Bi"-Region grouping -- although for this August event, our inclusion might be said to again bring it up to full strength.)  The dates are the weekend of August 8th & 9th.

On the other hand, the NNJR Solo Gang has a strong schedule of events for the 2015 season at the Meadowlands complex.  As this is written, the full schedule has not been posted to the Solo pages on the NNJR website, but I'm sure it will be shortly.   And I know that NNJ is on the schedule to host a ProSolo at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on the weekend of Friday, May 8th thru Sunday, May 10th.  That event has an entry cap of 220 cars.  NNJ Solo events are popular and with the inclusion of entries from outside our normal 'draw' area, it would be wise to get your butts in gear and sign up if you're planning on joining the fun!

Solo had a very successful year in 2014.  Trophies for all the class winners in the NNJR Solo Series were awarded at the NNJR Mid-Winter Region Party & Awards Gala on January 24th at the Packanack Lake Clubhouse.  Perry Aidelbaum's  AutoX4U.com website has a complete list of all the competitors who podiumed and took home some bling.  Congrats to all!

Board members and all Chiefs of Specialty were recognized for their service to the Region at the party.  Workers of the Year were also recognized for their dedication to our Region and the club.  Once again, the buffet spread put out by the caterer was delicious!  I certainly enjoy getting together with friends to chase away those mid-winter blahs at this dreary time of year.  I think we all do!  To be sure, the winter weather this year has been unusually severe.  Once again it threatened the party that weekend.  But thankfully, the weather was not able to postpone the party and awards.

Speaking of the weather, we heard also that Diane & Dave Miller, along with several other thoughtful and kindly folks from NNJR, had felt it necessary to head south and bring comfort and solace to those unfortunates living down south who were suffering through the oppressive warmth and discomfort of the weather in Florida.  These selfless Northerners trekked south for several recent weeks while many of the rest of us chose to stay north, basking in the wonderful briskness of occasionally sub-zero temperatures and enjoying the loveliness of frequently refreshed snowstorms this year.

So a special note to Dave, Diane, Dom, Carol, Len & Louise and any others who headed south in order to commiserate with those poor, suffering Floridians:  Thanks for keeping our unfortunate brethren who live down south not only in your thoughts and prayers, but thanks also for taking the time to go and offer them the comfort of a sharing visit.  Just keep in mind that you're tough Jersey Folks and that you're strong enough to suffer through and triumph over any of that horribly warmer weather that Florida is capable of throwing at you!

Longer term members who remember our NNJR members, Linda Gronlund and Joe DeLuca who were lost on United Flight 93 in Shanksville Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001 may recall that we received a US Flag which had been flown over the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville.  This flag was sent to our region and the South Jersey Region as a 'Thank You' for donations we sent to the Memorial back around 2012.  Flag started traveling to SCCA competition events, plus conventions and social functions, and other auto oriented happenings across our nation and beyond.  Wherever Flag visited, the registrar was asked to attach an event credential to his hoist hem.  In this way, it was as though Linda and Joe had participated.

With the Region having had no publication or other means available to spread the news of activities and happenings in our region, the membership is likely not aware of all the places where Flag has been shown in the last year and a half.  Flag was to the SCCA Runoffs at Laguna Seca  last  year and flew over the winners' podium all week.  He was in Nevada twice for some open road races.  Flag was to both the 2013 & the 2014 Formula One US Grand Prix events in Austin TX at The Circuit of the Americas.  Flag even paid a visit to the parapet at Ground Zero in New York City where Linda's & Joe's names are engraved alongside one-another.   And of course, Flag was to many, many races and events here in the NorthEast.

But there's one stop which I wish to specifically mention:  Flag attended the Commissioning ceremonies for USS Somerset last March 1st.  Somerset is one of the three 'tribute ships' in our Navy named for the counties where our nation was attacked on 9/11.  USS New York has steel in her bow stem reclaimed from the rubble of the World Trade Center.  USS Arlington has steel from the Pentagon.  And USS Somerset has 23 tons of steel in her bow stem which was melted down and recast from an abandoned drag-line excavator previously used in the coal mining which took place where United Flight 93 crashed.  This Marion 5000 Dragline Excavator was possibly the only manmade object to witness the actual impact.

On Saturday, March 1, 2014, we had at least eight SCCA members and friends in attendance at Somerset's commissioning.  We had wanted to have Flag and our SCCA group link up for a group photo with folks we know who had come in from Shanksville and the Flight 93 Memorial, but the thousands of people attending the commissioning made this impossible.  However, a number of other photos were taken which included Naval personnel and Marines with our SCCA attendees and Flag at the event.  

Somerset is the only tribute ship whose home port is on the west coast.  After her commissioning in Philadelphia last year, she sailed through the Panama Canal in April and is now serving our nation in the Pacific.  She goes to sea out of Naval Base San Diego.  We wish Somerset and all who serve aboard her  Fair Winds and Following Seas

But Flag has one more stop to make.  Our Flight 93 Flag will be making a stop at the offices of BMW-NA in Woodcliff Lake soon.  This spring Flag will be flown at the atrium garden which is named in Linda's honor at BMW where she worked.  And, yes -- Flag's going to be retired.  Really! -- Flag's been to so many venues and has so many wristbands and other tags on his hem that there's precious little room for any more! 

Flag's complete story can be linked to from our NNJR website.  Or it can be read directly with this link: http://www.scca-nnjr.com/images/flag/TheFlag.pdf 

Lastly, having commented on the recent weather, and since I'm on the topic of our Stars & Stripes, I'm sure you're all aware how severely damaging the ice and snow and wind have been to many of the flags which are being displayed at our homes and elsewhere.  Many are now faded,  ripped and shredded as a result of the winter's effects and are in desperate need of being replaced.    Please:    "Let's roll!"....  and get that done!