Racers, Rock Stars, Presidents and Impersonators - Bill Heumann

The last couple of days were supposed to be some intensive coaching from Seth and a lot of seat time at Sebring but "the best laid plans of mice and men..."

I probably should have stayed home given the way the trip started. After an agonizing 45 minute delay due to an accident on the expressway I got to the airport with 4o minutes before departure. Not a big deal for a little airport like Louisville. When I got to security, they wanted to check my helmet bag since the number of wires and jacks in the com system must have made it look like a bomb. They unzipped my bag and I see little plastic pieces fall out! The forced air nozzle on my brand new, beautiful, Arai GP5 lid which was newly painted (by Savage Designs) was broken.

Sitting at the gate in Charlotte waiting for my connecting flight to Orlando I was working on getting my zen back. I got a smile on my face thinking about what a great experience this is and that I very well could be the most famous person in the gate area now that I was a PRO racer. This lasted all of about 30 seconds before I see this guy sitting there.....

After a few moments he pulls out a guitar and starts singing a fairly good " West Virginia, mountain momma....."
At this point I realize he is impersonator...... and I still could be the most famous person since this is technically a DQ.

The cheapest car rentals in Orlando resulted in Seth driving a Nisan Cube while I was in a manual transmission Nissan Versa. I thought I had the better end of this deal until Seth took off and I couldn't figure out where reverse was. Fortunately, Florida is flat and I hopped out and pushed it back far enough to get out.

PBOC puts on a great event with Winterfest and they were super accommodating to our change of plans and special requests. Thanks to Joanne Schwartzman and all of PBOC for being so nice and helpful to us. Sebring is such a fun track I regret we are not racing there in the CTS this year.

I had rented the equivalent of JP lite (JPl) for Thursday coaching (with passenger seat for ride alongs) and the equivalent of an IP lite (IPl) for the 6 hour enduro that I was going to run with BMW Club Racer, Jean Luc Bergeron. Night practice at Sebring went well with Seth putting down a fast data lap that caused people to claim our IPl car should be bumped up 2 classes!

The coaching went well although we were hindered by not getting much use of the car we intended to use with two seats so we could jump back and forth. Randy Mueller was paddocked near by and coaching PBOC racer, Robert Chang in his beautiful E46 M3 (pretty similar to well built CM). Robert was super gracious and helped us out with a loan of a car which had a passenger seat. After riding a session with Seth, it was even more clear that there is a lot I can learn from him. He is super precise, quick and smooth. All of his techniques are textbook quality.
We did get about 10 minutes in the JPl on Thursday with Seth riding with me so he could see my driving style. He gave me some things to work on in the 3 hours of seat time I would get in the enduro.

Jean Luc qualified our IPl well then it's race time! He had a good start and had moved up a couple of spots in the field after two laps. All of the sudden he limps the car into the pits...... and we are out with an engine failure! So now I am kind of standing there with my suit on and realize that at this point I am kind like an impersonator of racer, at least for the day. For a few hours, I hang on to hope that either the IPl car will be repairable or that I'll get some seat time in the JPl, but at about the 3 1/2 hour mark, that cars dies with a mechanical failure!

It's now time to call it quits so before heading home. I go to dinner with Randy and Robert to get some time to catch up and thank them for helping with the use of Robert's car. Unfortunately Randy barely finishes the "turf" and about half of the "surf" before he has to give it back up due to Lobster Poisoning. I am glad to report that he has recovered and is mostly OK.

The final piece of weirdness from this trip was the return flight which had Elvis on board! Sorry no pictures of this one but you know what he looks like!