The MBCAEF conducted its first SD-SF program at Heimatfest on October 5th 2014. The event was held at the beautiful Barber track in Birmingham Alabama. Dr. Jim Roberts chaired the event in co-operation with the Porsche and Lotus clubs to reduce the high cost of using this world class facility. Attached to the track was the Barber Museum that held some 1400 motorcycles and other historic racing cars. One of the disciplines taught at the SD-SF is “ situational awareness” which came in handy as we were returning from a dinner at the “Club” when Jim spotted a pickup truck with no lights coming around the bend. We missed the “grim reaper” but a car behind us took the force of a front end collision with the truck that had strayed out of its lane into our oncoming traffic.
A tour of the Mercedes=Benz plant where the ML and C class are produced was very instructional as we were introduced to the 1700 robots busy welding.
A new model is being introduced that is currently a secret but it could have been that body in “white” that was being tested for metal thickness and consistency. As no photographs were allowed under the watchful eye of security, we can only guess as to what the body shell was for.
The Barber museum is a must see if you are visiting the plant’s gift shop or participating in the track events.
On the Sunday Jim’s fellow section members along with Frank, Mary Alice Cozza, section helpers and I set the cones in a paddock area where we could run the autocross and SD-SF program together. Unfortunately we were competing with College football that weekend so our expected 12 students were reduced to 5 but we did have 4 new car coaches that we trained to help. Students and coaches came from as far away as Memphis and Florida.
After completing the autocross, the students were asked to drive the course while texting. The number of knocked down cones were enough to prove the point of the dangers of being distracted while driving.
As a special treat during the lunch break, we took the students out onto the Barber track for 4 laps so they could practice some of their new skills at 45 miles/hr. We want to thank the Alabama Section for its gracious hospitality and those from the MBCA such as Terry Kiwala, Frank and Mary Alice Cozza and Bill Hopper for their support for Heimatfest and SD-SF and we received very positive feedback for the students and car coaches on the event.