By John Pellerin
Saturday July 20th was touted by the local news to be a scorcher of a summer day with temperatures reaching near 100F. Even the Saratoga thoroughbred racing track had declared it a day too unsafe to race! Nonetheless, a small group of 13 HCP PCA members ventured out unfazed for a drive through western Albany, Schoharie and Delaware Counties to meet up with our PCA friends from the Central NY PCA region arranged by our own Louis Dahoda. Our meeting point was the New York State Safety Track in Jefferson near Oneonta. For those not familiar with this official government-sounding track, it is actually a privately owned racetrack (that doubles as an airstrip) that mostly caters to motorcycle track riders but can also be rented for car track day events as well. You can check it out here: http://nyst.com/.
Our day started bright and early with all of us meeting at HCP member Steve Pivonka’s Brewtus Roasting in Delmar for a shot of coffee. You may recall from our 60th Anniversary Cars and Coffee at the Saratoga Auto Museum that Steve graciously provided the excellent barista service. We had a small but wide-ranging collection of 6 cars from a 1971 911E Targa to the latest GT3 RS to a Chevy Colorado pickup truck.
After a group photo, we went on our way with a route led by Louis along some beautiful winding and hilly country roads south of I-88. As we headed towards Jefferson, we all enjoyed a quick stop at the Conesville Country Store in Gilboa for a break, souvenirs and some snacks.
Arriving at the NY State Safety Track, we were welcomed by a crowded paddock of RVs, trailers and pop-up tents to rival that of any HPDE track event at Watkins Glen. These motorcyclists were a serious bunch with tricked-out track bikes, full leather racing suits, tire warmers and all the associated gadgets and go-fast stuff. It was familiar in many ways to our Porsche track days, but everything was oriented to things on 2 wheels versus our 4 wheeled toys. While waiting for our Central NY PCA friends to join, we were able to get a great vantage point of the end of the straightaway that led to a series of downhill esses. It was quite a sight to see the more experienced riders dragging a knee just like the pros.
Our Central NY PCA friends arrived and everyone introduced themselves and mingled a bit. Rush Pond, Central NY PCA’s Vice President, welcomed everyone and laid out the day’s events which included wandering the paddock to chat with the track riders, doing a few parade laps around the track followed by a catered lunch cooked by the track owner’s mom. Several people from both regions talked about how nice it was to get together with each group doing their own backroads drive to meet up for some socializing and food at an interesting spot. We’ve already talked about a few ideas to do this again in 2020.
If you are wondering how miserably hot it was, you may be surprised to hear that the top temperature we saw in Jefferson was 83F and it was an overcast, breezy day which kept it comfortable. Lessons learned…..(1) don’t always believe what you hear on TV or radio weather and (2) take a day to enjoy a nice drive with your HCP colleagues!
We hope to see many more of you at the August 11th drive that Andy Dorman will lead eventually taking us to the Ice Cream Man in Washington County.