RSAmerica.net


at PCA Parade 2004 - Fort Worth TX.

by: Keith V of CA


Cooling down in the infield after the DE.
Cooling down in the infield after the DE event at Texas Motor Speedway.
Parade 2004 was a great event for anyone with any interest in Porsches and consisted of a week of pure Porsche indulgence in Fort Worth, TX.

The Sunday night Welcome Banquet set the tone of the week's events, with door prizes (including a set of tires) and the presentation of several awards for achievement within PCA.

The first award at Parade this year went to the best web site put together for the Special Interest Group Registries, which are set up to focus on specific Porsche models.

The 2004 PCA National Register Website Award went to ....

 

the registry website www.rsamerica.net

 

2004 SIG National Website Award   2004 SIG National Website Award   2004 SIG National Website Award

2004 the year the Registry won the National Registry Website award!

Other awards included best PCA Region website and many more which, to be honest, I don't recall much of (put it down to being in minor shock from winning a website trophy).

Monday

Monday was the Concours where the city of Fort Worth closed down Main Street and lined the center of the street with barely used, immaculately detailed Porsches of every model and hue.

In addition to the multitudes of Porsches lining the center of Fort Worth Main Street, with the historic city hall building as a backdrop at one end, there were also Porsches on display down the side streets. All across Second Street was a display celebrating 40 years of the 911, with an example of each year on display. This was particularly interesting because a lot of these cars were Porsches owned by enthusiasts who drive them daily. As a consequence, some of them were far from the show cars one would expect to see at a Parade concours and, in some cases, they had been personalized to the point where a serious concours competitor would wince at the sight. Hey! Different strokes for different folks ..... right?.

In the Preparation-Touring-C2: 911 Carrera (Incl 964) & Turbo (1984-93) class, Allan E of TX entered his fabulously turned out Grand Prix white and, despite him modestly assuring everyone that he was doing this for the fun of participating and that he was certain he wouldn't win an award, he won 2nd place! Well done Allan .... great job!

Allan E of TX gets 2nd place in his concours class!!.
The fabulously turned out Grand Prix White belonging to Allan E of TX captured 2nd place in his class.

At the junction of 4th and Main was an area reserved for the Registry and there were two street on display: the Ferrari FLY Yellow car of Keith V of CA (driven 1,350 miles from San Diego), and the Grand Prix White car of Fred S of TX proudly wearing Purple Heart license plates. Although Fred is from TX, his home is about 300 miles from FW, so he is not exactly a local.

On another street crossing Main, the PCA Club Race cars belonging to the participants of the Club Race to be held at Texas Motor Speedway the last weekend of Parade, were backed up against the curb in echelon formation. I'm not sure if I was imagining it, but it seemed to me that every time I went past this line of race cars, a different one of them was an inch or so ahead of all the others. As the day went on, the whole line of cars gradually inched its way across to the other side of the street. I guess these guys really are competitive!!

   One of the side streets had an area reserved for club race cars to be displayed. This included Michael V's car #158
Jim C's car #158 also parked with the club racers.   

Among these totally non-concours cars were the two GPW of Jim C of AR (#56) and Michael V (#158).

The Monday night concours Banquet consisted of presentation of the Concours awards, the region of the Year award (Riesentoter), PCA family of the year won by Bob, Jill & Jack Beck from Arizona Region, and Enthusiast of the Year (Tom Brown - 2003 President San Diego Region) plus numerous door prizes including yet another set of tires.

After the banquet, everyone was invited to go out onto the hotel patio (actually the rooftop tennis courts) to enjoy the 4th of July Fireworks. Unfortunately, there were a number of large buildings between the hotel patio and the FW stockyards where the firework display was actually being held, but I must say that almost all of the 500 people on the patio agreed that the fireworks certainly sounded great!

Tuesday

Tuesday was Rally day with a couple of hundred Porsches scattered hither and yon over some beautiful backroads through trees and around lakes all around the FW area. There were photographers posted at several “scenic” locations throughout the rally from Hart photography (for images go to www.hart-photography.com and click on TX Porsche Parade) who managed to get some pretty interesting shots of rally participants and their cars.

There is a certain feeling that only those who have rallied at Parade in the novice class can relate to, where you are following rally instructions, unsure if you're on the right track and you see another Porsche sporting Parade numbers coming towards you, with the guys in the other car holding rally instructions and wearing a look of mixed surprise and confusion, and none of you are quite sure which of you is heading the wrong way.

Sometimes this is resolved when you continue the rally to find that you end up going back the way you came, at which point it is great fun to see the anxious look on the faces of the rally participants as they come towards you and see you going in completely the opposite direction.

Tuesday evening was a night off with no social events officially planned so this was the night to go out and explore Fort Worth with both old and new-found friends

Wednesday

Ms Martha in pregrid at the Drivers Ed at Texas Motor Speedway.
Ms Martha in pre-grid at the Drivers Ed at Texas Motor Speedway.
Start-Finish at TMS - on a good lap, drivers would be braking hard (but smoothly!!) from around 130 to about 80mph for the chicane.
Start-Finish at TMS - on a good lap drivers would be crossing the finish line at around 135 and braking hard (but smoothly!!) to about 80mph for the chicane.

Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) which is about 20 miles North of Fort Worth was the venue for two days of Driver's Ed (DE) on the 24 degree banking and 2.8 mile combined oval and infield track.

For those of you who have never driven a banked oval at high speed before, initially it is quite a daunting experience. The fun and excitement of holding the gas pedal to the metal in an through the first four gears and then easing off a tad and holding it at about 135mph on the banking, is something quite remarkable and is only marginally affected by that nagging little voice in the back of your head reminding you that this is the only vehicle you have to drive home in.

I'm not sure if it was remembering home was 1,350 miles and 20 hours of seat time away, or watching other guys on the banking flat out in their full-on track cars, with their trailers and tow vehicles waiting in the pits (and significantly different budgets to mine) that helped me develop the rationale I used for me not holding the gas pedal to the metal in 5th gear as well ..... not to mention the “pucker factor.”

With myself and my significant other, Martha M (previously crowned most improved driver in San Diego Region)(and a woman with the tolerance of Job) sharing “old yeller”, we both managed to thoroughly enjoy four 20 minute run groups each, learn the nuances of TMS and improve our high speed driving technique.

Martha drove the car back into the pits after the final cool-down lap of the last run group, and as she pulled up outside the garage, the brake pad warning light came on! A quick visit to the trackside vendors to purchase new pads followed, because I bought an extra set of brake pads just in case this happened, but of course - I left them at home in the garage. Then, with the generous loan of a floor jack and tools from -Meister Keith O of TX, and the kind assistance of John Sandusky, Parade DE event master from PCA Maverick Region, the front end was jacked up, the front wheels removed, new pads fitted, wheels back on, lug nuts torqued and all ready to go, in less than 20 minutes!!!


Wednesday evening was the rally awards banquet - with all these giant banquets and fabulous meals, Porsche Parade definitely has the ambience of a luxury cruise - the usual door prizes were given out, along with ..... you guessed it ..... another set of tires!

Thursday

Autocross day!

Although the autocross ran for three days (Wed, Thurs & Fri) in order to get through all the competitors at Parade, autocross day for class P16 (964 C2s and C4s) was Thursday.

At Parade registration at the beginning of the week, the autocross registrar warned us that the surface of the parking lot the autocross was going to be run on had just been re-sealed and would cause even the best set-up cars to understeer. As the 964 in stock form is already famous for significant understeer, due mainly to Porsches early '90s attempt at designing out the infamous 911 oversteer, my hunch was “..... we have a problem Houston.”

   Autocross timing Texas style - up on the roof.
Autocross timing Texas style - up on the roof.
Ms Martha taking off from the start line.
Ms Martha taking off from the start line to win the P16 Ladies class.
  

There were 7 drivers in class P16M (men's) and two in P16L (ladies) classes with two present. The two were the Grand Prix White car of Fred S and mine. After some wicked fast driving, a small amount of swearing and a large amount of tire squealing, the final results for class P16 showed that the two had finished in 1st and 2nd place in the men's class with me beating the wily and skillful Fred S by 2/10ths of a second with 87.551 vs 87.762 [but Fred ..... they were reeeally long tenth's of a second!!] and Ms. Martha winning the ladies class in the yellow car.

   

Bottom line: Every time an autocrossed at Parade 2004, it either won it's class outright .... or came an alarmingly close 2nd place.

   

The autocross format consisted of doing two initial sighting laps, and then three full-on go-for-it laps. After which all cars had to go to the impound area and be parked for around 20 minutes with all doors, hood and engine cover open so all drivers in the class could inspect each other's car and have ample time to lodge a formal protest, should they choose to do so.

There were no protests in class P16, so after the minimum specified time, we all signed off the scrutineering sheet confirming we would not protest anyone, and we were free to go.

   Trail braking to get more weight on the front wheels was required to get through some of the gates.
Trail braking to get more weight on the front wheels was required to get through some of the gates without understeer.

Fred S and I decided to head over to the PCA Hospitality area where we were able to cool off with a cold drink and trade tall tales about how tough (or easy) the various parts of the autocross track were. We did find time to fire off a few photos of our two in front of the TMS condos.


RS Americas came in 1st and 2nd in class at the autocross.
1st and 2nd place cars from Autocross class P16M, and 1st place in P16L.

Thursday evening was an informal supper for Tech Quiz participants, where awards were given for the winners of the Tech quiz for each model of Porsche.

Friday

Friday morning Martha and I worked in the Goodie store. Traditionally Parade runs on volunteer workers who get the benefit of attending a free workers party where tons of Porsche related paraphernalia is given away as door prizes. This left Friday afternoon free for detailing the car.

That evening the workers party was held in Fort Worth's stock yards, a sort of used-to-be cattle market turned tourist attraction with all kinds of souvenir shops selling all kinds of souvenirs (hmm .... funny how that works isn't it) with everything from Fort Worth belt buckles to stetson hats.

The evening was fun, we were entertained with both Country and Western music, including live performances by Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton impersonators singing songs such as “Momma don't let your kids grow up to drive Porsches”. The dinner was excellent and consisted of Texas barbecued brisket, with potatoes, beans and plenty of Shiner Bock beer.

   

For me, the Friday evening Texas barbecue, accompanied by Shiner Bock Texas beer at the Parade workers party was well worth driving 1,350 miles for .............. so effectively, all the Porsche "stuff" that week ............. was a bonus!

   

Saturday

This was PCA Club Race day at Texas Motor Speedway where the big boys run the track ..... and run it hard!

The immaculately turned out and well driven RSA of Fred S of TX.
The fabulous looking and well driven of Fred S of TX.

Initially, there were four in the club race: Keith O of TX (#127 Midnight Blue Metallic), Jay W of TX (#525 Black with white pin striping), plus Jim C of AR (#56) and Michael V (#158) both Grand Prix White.

Unfortunately, Jay W suffered a brake failure and Jim C had a significant engine problem at over 7,000 rpm but thankfully, despite both these car problems, neither driver was injured.

During Club Race practice, all cars were timed and their lap times recorded. This meant that for the main event Sat PM, the organizers staged the start such that the car with the slowest lap times started first and then successive cars were delayed over the calculated time for them to run the same number of laps and finish at the same time as the car they were chasing. This meant it was tougher than normal to keep track of the field throughout the race, but, if it all went according to plan, and everyone drove in accordance with the times they put in during practice, then the whole field would finish at roughly the same time.

Keith O of TX showing 4th in the Club Race.
Keith O of TX showing 4th in the Club Race.
    Michael V showing 1st in the Club Race.
Michael V showing 1st in the Club Race.

This system actually worked pretty well as was evidenced by the fact that for the last two or three laps, the cars were grouped fairly closely together and then they all closed up for the final sprint on the last lap.

Saturday evening was the formal Victory Banquet in the top tower of the Speedway Club at TMS with ladies in evening gowns and fine jewelry and gentlemen in suits and ties. The Autocross and Club Race awards were presented followed by a special presentation given by Jutta Aldenhof from Porsche AG on the new 997. This consisted of a short speech and a 7-minute video advertising the new car with some phenomenal photography of both the 997 and the 997S perfectly executing 4 wheel drifts in extremely tight formation. Needless to say, this earned whistles and cheers from the gathered assembly. I can't wait 'til that video shows up on eBay!

We then watched another video promoting next year's Parade which will be in Hershey PA the week of June 25th to July 2nd. More door prizes then followed including several more sets of tires, and then, the door prize to end them all ..... an all-expenses-paid trip to Stuttgart to the Porsche factory. This includes five star hotel accommodation, gourmet meals as a VIP guest of Porsche AG, and oh yes! .... the use of a Porsche for a week! This package was won by a local Maverick Region couple who were attending their first Parade!

Then Panorama's ace photographer Leonard Turner closed Parade 2004 with the traditional Welsh prayer, and it was all over and time to start thinking of next year's Parade, to say farewell to the friends you had made and met over the last week, and to head back to the hotel.

There were numerous other events during Parade - and although I didn't participate in them this time, they certainly warrant mention. These include (but were not limited to) such things as a golf tournament, a 5K walk/run, an ice-cream social, radio controlled car autocrossing, a walking rally, children's autocross plus a whole suite of kids activities, an art show with associated silent auction, several Tech Sessions on such topics as Porsche repair and maintenance, Porsche wiring diagrams plus much more.

Once you've participated in a PCA Parade and enjoyed the friendship and camaraderie of the people there, you can understand why there are people who have been to as many as 47 out of the 49 parades to date!

As 2005 is PCA's 50th anniversary, the team managing the Hershey Parade have promised some very special events - including a parade of Porsches (as in actually driving en-masse with every Porsche attending the event in a convoy!!) with a parking area reserved for each of the SIG Registries.

Perhaps, if I start coordinating registry members now, Hershey 2005 will be the parade with a huge gathering of .

See some of you ..... (the more the better) in PA June 25th to July 2nd next year when we can decide whether to head home from Parade on July 4th, or stick around and listen to the firework display!


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