S2000’s dominate at the 2010 Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival

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Picture Thread here.

While the home page may have been quiet of late, the past few days have been a blur for us. Energetic was holidaying on an exotic Greek Island and I made my annual trek to the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival at Watkins Glen, NY to participate in the Knapp Vineyards Sporting Roadster Tour. You will recall that I wrote about last years festival during February of this year. As always it was a fun time, only more so as S2000 owners kicked it up a notch.

The tour itself is sponsored by Knapp Vineyards, a Finger Lakes wine maker as one of the supporting acts  for the Vintage Grand Prix. The tour is open to roadsters of all makes and typically we have always been outnumbered by the Miata crowd. Well 2010 put paid to that, and the S2000’s were the most dominant group with 31 cars (of 135 roadsters) present for the drive. What is more, we even had participation from some of our members that do not reside in New York. Participants came from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maine, New Hampshire and Ohio, but the honor for the longest drive goes to Berlina Blaster of the Oklahoma S2000 Owners forum. Although he suffered a destroyed tire on the morning of the tour, Berlina Blaster was able to participate in the festivities by riding along in the lead Spa Yellow S2000.

Stone Bridge

The tour began early for most of us. The key to driving together was to meet up early at a pre-determined spot before heading down to registration. There was rain during the morning, but that did not dampen our enthusiasm for spirited driving. This was evident in the surprised look on the faces of the organizers at our first morning stop as the S2000’s arrived much ahead of time and way ahead of the other cars that were behind, after driving 100 miles through rain and slick roads. As we had time on our hands at this point, we gathered all the owners around and wished one of our own a Happy Birthday with a card and bottle of wine.

The rain and clouds dispersed as we headed off on the next leg of our tour. This was a scenic route at a somewhat slower pace, so our significant others would get a chance to appreciate the surreal topography of the Finger Lakes Region. We arrived at Knapp Vineyards for lunch and got an opportunity to socialize with the rest of the crowd. We all got presented with a commemorative bottle of wine and a free wine tasting before we left for our last leg of the tour.

After 50 spirited miles we all gathered up in the staging area for the infamous parade laps around the old Formula One road course. It is always very special driving the old course being cheered on by throngs of spectators that line all the roads and streets. This year by a stroke of luck or some wizardry on part of the organizers, the S2000’s got to go out ahead of all the other cars and lead laps of the old course around the Alfa Romeo pace car – Alfa Romeo was the featured marquee of honor for this year. Several members had pictures taken of them going over Stone Bridge as we went around on the parade laps. After the parade laps were complete, we parked in our designated places and took on the role of spectators as cars from the other tours and the cars participating in the Vintage Grand Prix took their laps of the old course. There were also cars on display and it was indeed a sight to behold, when one of our members Triple-H, disocovered that his grand father’s car that participated in the 1948 Queen Catharine Cup, was on display and was able to get in it for a photo op.

The next day had a full schedule of events as well. People participating had the opportunity to either go sight seeing, join on a tour of the local vineyards or drive out for a tech day hosted by another of our members. Most of the S2000 owners gathered that evening though, at an Inn, where a few of us were staying for a grand BBQ. We also threw in a surprise cake for Triple-H, our CO who turned 50 earlier in the year. It was a fun evening spent in the company of like minded owners and significant others while we partook of local brews and single malt whisky.

On Sunday, most of us headed home, but for some the adventure had only started. One member, Neutered Sputniks got on the road to California for Homecoming II, following which he’d drive back east for Fall Crawl, and then head home. Several of us wish we’d followed him, and for sure all of us were enthused about coming back in 2011 to Watkins Glen. The roads in the Finger Lakes area make for good driving, add in a top down roadster and you have a recipe for fun memories that will keep you coming back. The target is to get greater S2000 participation next year so we reassert our dominance against the mobile chicanes or Miata’s as some call them.


Images courtesy of zzziippyyy, blueosprey90, maksim, Tadashi, neutered sputniks and yours truly.

NOTE: S2KI welcomes the opinions of its members on the S2000 and on all topics related to the S. Should you feel the creative urge to pen a few words then by all means do so and PM Energetic, Aashish2 or Onehots2k OR send us links to what you would like us to write about and we will feature you (or your community) on the S2KI Home Page.

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