by Vic Rola
The Smoky Mountain Region not only takes in a fair portion of East Tennessee but is known for the friendliness of its membership and of its hosting of the multi-event weekend “Spring Thing”. All of this is merged into the Region’s motto : Great Cars, Great Roads, Great Friends.
The Region celebrated its 40th anniversary by putting on a very special Spring Thing. The host hotel was the regionally celebrated General Morgan Inn, initially built after the Civil War, and totally renovated fifteen years ago. Forty-five cars began showing up as early as Thursday, with Mike and Sharon Minster from Michigan being the first on the scene. On Friday, cars began to quickly roll in. Registration opened up at three in the afternoon, with Carol Neubauer and Carol Rola ably handling the horde of participants, by far the largest crowd ever at a Spring Thing. The hotel lobby overflowed with PCA’ers, as everyone enjoyed not only the registration welcome party, but also a slide show of previous Spring Thing events compiled by Warren Sylvester, Paul Burch, and Mike Parker (all original members of the Region).
Saturday morning, with not a cloud in the sky, Mike Parker and Suzan Bowman (event chairs) began staging cars on Depot Street, adjoining the Hotel, for the Harper Porsche sponsored Concours. Twenty-eight cars came under the scrutiny of three judging teams chosen by the event chairs. The new PCA introduced Street Class proved to be the popular place to show your car. The Hotel’s coffee shop overlooked the Concours area and made for a neat gathering place for old friends and newly found acquaintances. Top honors were taken by Greg, Patsy and Dylan DeBord’s 1973 914/6 conversion which was awarded the Judges Choice trophy, while the much admired 2006 Carrera S of Bob and Sue Southerland took the Peoples Choice award.
Immediately following the Concours, TSD Rallye Chairs Clyde Peery and Allan Cox held a rallye drivers and navigators meeting at the Hotel. Once all of the rallye procedures and safety items were discussed, the crowd was moved two blocks from the Hotel to Greeneville’s Car Museum. The museum is of local cars, race cars, and collector cars. A great venue on its own, the ninety PCA folks not only enjoyed the cars but lunch there also.
The TSD Rallye also started at the Museum. The checkpoint workers went out first and the rallye’s first car left out at 1:00pm. Allan worked the start while Clyde monitored the checkpoint activities. A miscue on checkpoint #2 made for some scoring issues at the rallye’s end, but the quality of the roads traversed coupled with the gorgeous weather enjoyed by the participants made up for it. The rallye winners were Dick and Carol Kjellsen, while the highly coveted DALBF (Dead Ass Last But Finished) trophy went, for the second year in a row, to Jerry and Nancy Thompson.
The Region’s banquet was Saturday evening after a social hour in the Hotel’s lobby. Not to be outdone by the food served, or the door prizes won, or the trophies awarded, was a panel of PCA’ers – Dick Kjellsen, Paul Burch, Bobby Vann and Mike Parker moderated by Suzan Bowman – who offered many stories of past Spring Thing events. During dinner, a Power Point presentation was offered showing past events from the Region. Outstanding! Zone Rep Jim Cambron spoke to the crowd and presented the Region with letters and awards from the PCA Executive Staff.
Sunday morning came too quickly but without a cloud in the sky… It’s autocross time!
The Eurotech sponsored autocross was held at the Greeneville Airport. First car off was at 10:30AM. All drivers had five attempts on the forty-plus second course put together by Rick Berry and Vic Rola and assisted by Jim Cambron and Peachstate’s Bob Clark. By 1:00pm, when the last run was completed, the men’s FTD was held by Jim Cambron and the ladies’ FTD was held by Janis Berry. Ray and Suzan Morgan’s daughter, Katie, had the most improved times, improving by over seventeen seconds!
Another one for the books! If this looks like something you’d like to do in 2015, then join in as we’ve already booked the Hotel for April 24, 25 and 26, 2015. Join us!
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