The North Carolina Region held its third annual picnic at North East Park in Gibsonville on Saturday the 8th of August and it was a blast. The weather couldn’t have been better, sunny, in the low 80’s, and no humidity to speak of, thanks to thunderstorms earlier in the week. The food was fabulous! Master Griller (and Chief Starter) James Buckberry (left) served up both hamburgers and hot dogs, with all the fixin’s. (I had two myself!) Barbecue chef (and Worker of the Year) Pete Romanowski prepared his most excellent pork and beans with green peppers and other secret ingredients, which literally got rave reviews. And everybody else brought an assortment of chips, potato salad, cole slaw, snacks, cookies, and even cake! We had over 35 people so there was lots of food. We ate well!
It was a very laid-back affair. West Chapter coordinator and Chief of Tech, Buddy Matthews (on left, in picture at right) brought softball equipment, along with most of the other supplies, but I think we only used it to weigh down the paper products so they didn’t blow away with an occasional breeze. We all preferred just to chat and catch up instead, without the pressure of having to get a race underway. People came from all over. Flag Chief Eric Danielsen made it in from Roanoke, Virginia! Heather Clark and Todd Cohen took a weekend off from flagging and came in from the West Chapter. So did Dwight Cooke, who brought me a huge stack of old Bulletins for the Region History project, including some from the years 1997 thru 2000 that we did not have in the archives. Thanks, Dwight! And even RE Rex Deffenbaugh managed to make it up from Moncure. That’s a bit of a drive! There was even a new guy, not a member yet, named David Wooten, who came by to see what we are about. He has a Honda he wants to campaign and he’s looking for help. David came all the way up from Wilmington to visit his wife’s family, but had to stop by to make some new friends. So, next year I don’t want to hear any excuses for not showing up at this picnic just because Gibsonville is a bit off the beaten path. Like VIR, it’s a fabulous facility. You just have to make an effort to get there. It’s worth it! Just ask Annie and Steve Martin who were among the first to arrive.
I got to meet and interview Tim Lyons about his long “career” with the Club in GT1. I also met his good buddy and crew chief Darryl Hunter, his wife Rhonda, and Tim’s wife Brenda Lyons. Darryl added his perspective to the interview and the gals joined in from time to time. I also chatted with Jerry Pell and Paddock Marshall Hayden Beatty about their racing careers. Lots of good stories there! But I couldn’t get to all of them. I saw Dean Bumgardner talking about his NASCAR racing with a group that included John Lindquist and his wife Annie and Steward Clyde Kiser, but I never managed to do more than just say “hi” to them all. There were lots of interesting conversations to join.
Oh, and the cars? Well, the king of the hill was Treasurer and Steward Steve Keadle’s 1970 Ford Torino (left) in competition trim (blacked-out grill and hood with “429 cu. ci.” emblazoned in big white letters). Steve said it cost him about $140 to fill it up with the proper fuel at eight dollars a gallon. And he used almost half of it driving the beast up from Cary with his son Scott, who was in from Atlanta. Steve smiled when he said he gets lots of waves but nobody ever even tries to beat him off the line at stop lights!
The other car that brought a smile to every one’s face was Hayden Beatty’s early 70’s MGB with the chrome bumpers and the roll bar. It’s a pretty little tomato-red time machine and Hayden looks perfect driving it. Of course there was more modern iron too, like Romanowski’s sinister grey Mustang coupe and Tim Lyon’s brilliant blue M3. And of course, we had a couple of Miatas, too. Can the members of the SCCA get together anywhere without a few Miatas showing up? It seems unlikely.
So all in all, we had a great time. Why not make a vow to join us next year? I can promise you it will be a very pleasant Saturday afternoon.
Below, (left side bottom to top): Carol Bumgardner, Darryl Hunter, Rex Deffenbaugh (right side, top to bottom): James Shanks, Tim and Brenda Lyons, Dean Bumgardner
Below, (left to right): Scott and Steve Keadle, Todd Cohen
Below, (left to right): Scott Keadle, Todd Cohen, Steve Keadle, Eric Danielsen, Buddy Matthews, Heather Clark