ElectionGGR Logo
Porsche Club of America
Golden Gate Region
Election Issue
2009 ballot
Candidate Statements

Rob Murillo, candidate for Vice President

I joined the Golden Gate Region of PCA in 1999 shortly after the purchase of my first Porsche, a 996 C2.  At my first opportunity, I went to the GGR High Speed Driving School.  It is fair to say that on the date of that first HSDS, my near term  Fate for driving Porsches was sealed. Not only did I immensely enjoy myself, I began to meet many of the other GGR members that make this club so interesting and so much fun.
Now 10 years have passed I can still say that I really do enjoy our members, the various events and especially our DE/TT series. I would be honored to have you continued support as Vice President of GGR for the next term.

van Norsdall
Wayne van Norsdall, candidate for Competition Director

Love driving the cars as fast as possible. A lot.  A real lot.
In fact I took a perfectly good, nicely set up street car and stripped it
out to make a race car--then busted it up in the 25 hour enduro.  Looking
forward to meeting those of you I don't already know from my years of Time
Trialing and racing at the upcoming events!

View on Mooses:  If it moves, I'll shoot it.  If by some miracle I hit it,
I'll skin it, butcher it, serve it up and eat it. That goes for moose or
anything that looks remotely like a moose.

Jeff Kost
Jeff Kost, candidate for Membership Director

Love the cars, like the club, couldn't find anyone to replace me so I'll do it again!  Kids are getting older, more sports, fewer kitchen and soccer passes so use me while you can...

View on Mooses:  I have not shot or killed any moose (or mice?) in the last year, though not for lack of trying. Should I be able to bag me one, I'd be happy to have it made into burgers.  (If you think I'm going to do it, you
don't know me at all!)

TT banner
Mark Powell, candidate for Social Director

Hi!  For those of you who don't know me, I have been an active member of GGR for 18 years.  I own a '74 911 and a '74 914/2.0.  I enjoy Autocrossing and Time Trialing, am an Autocross instructor and have been one of the lead instructors at the Zone 7 Autocross School the last several years.  I was a member of the Rules Committee that drafted the current  points-based classification system and have also served as a member of the Driving Event Committee.  I am currently serving as GGR's Social Director. 

As your Social Director, I have enjoyed making many new friends.  I hope to continue organizing more events like the Brumos and Penske/Flying Lizard tours, as well as make the Vasona Family Picnic/Concours an annual event.  Other events I plan to add (as time permits!) include a tour to Canepa Design and a Tech Session on car preparation for Autocross and Time Trial.  I am also open to new ideas from you, especially if you are willing to help!  

Letter from the Editor
Alameida big
--by John Celona, GGR Secretary

No on Proposition 8.

Although this column is a "Letter from the Editor," I normally don't use the space for writing editorials. However, there is an measure on the November ballot I strongly feel merits departure from this practice. That is is Proposition 8.

Proposition 8 is officially titled the "California Marriage Protection Act." The complete text of the proposition is as follows:

SECTION 1. Title
This measure shall be known and may be cited as the "California Marriage Protection Act."
SECTION 2. Section 7.5 is added to Article I of the California Constitution, to read:
SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

This measure is, of course, in reponse to the decision earlier this year by the California Supreme Court which allowed consenting adults to marry each other even if they were the same gender. That decision followed an earlier 2003 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

Although my longtime domestic partner and I followed these legal developments closely, we never dared to believe that, in our lifetimes, we would be able to marry.

That all changed when the California Supreme Court decision became final on June 17, 2008. The opportunity we never expected had arrived.

We were married on August 8, 2008. It was the happiest day of our lives.

If you had asked prior to these developments what we thought of same-sex marriage, we would have said we were against it and in favor of civil unions with the same rights. Our thought was the term "marriage" raised too many religious objections. We just wanted to pay our taxes and put out the trash like everybody else.

In retrospect, I think we were wrong and the California Supreme Court was right in recognizing that marriage is not only a religious matter, but a civil institution and a fundamental, consitutionally protected civil right.

Separate is never equal. The U.S. Supreme Court came to that conclusion 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education--overturning a century of legal segregation and discrimmination in the U.S.

If the California Supreme Court is ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court on this issue, it's not the first time. The California Supreme Court ruled the miscegenation statutes (prohibiting people of different races from marrying) unconstitutional in 1948--twenty years before the U.S. Supreme Court followed suit.

I don't think anyone today would argue that people of different races shouldn't be allowed to marry. We may even be about to elect a mixed-race person as president.

Certainly, many scary arguments have been advanced in favor or Proposition 8. We received a flyer in the mail stating that, if Proposition 8 didn't pass, churches would lose their tax exempt status, our children would be at risk, and people could be sued for their individual beliefs. Thankfully, many fair-minded people have strongly denounced these spurious arguments.

This is not to say that, even if Proposition 8 is voted down, all issues are removed for my spouse and I. We still have none of the rights other married couples have under federal law. We still have all the professional and personal pressures and issues that every couple faces in making their marriage work.

And, when we walk down the street in our town holding hands among the other couples holding hands, some people still stop and stare at us. But at least now we're married. Just like them.

I urge you to vote a resounding "NO" on Proposition 8. With time, I pray people will come to agree that we are a better, more fair, more just society for it.

Nugget pic
November 2008. Volume 48, Issue 11
In This Issue
Candidate Statements
Letter from the Editor
President's Message
Competition Corner
Board of Directors
Membership Report
The Power Chef
Porsche Roads
Jim Fleming Says Hello
The Birth of Thunderhill
DentPro Day
Quick Links
Dear Porsche Enthusiast,

Welcome to The Nugget, the email newsletter of the Golden Gate Region, Porsche Club of America.
Alameida big
If you have any trouble viewing this email, you can click here to go to the online versions of this newsletter. For comments or feedback, click here to email the editor.

Thanks for reading.
Click the button to subscribe (The Nugget is free!), and click here to join the Porsche Club of America.
Join Our Mailing List!
Zone 7 logoPCA logo


Pawlina Paraskova CG
Executive Editor of The Nugget
Carlsen ad
President's Message
Bill Dally--by Bill Dally, GGR President

A Drive for Life

At this time of plummeting stock prices, layoffs, and other inducers of worry and stress, it is easy to loose perspective. There is no better way to regain perspective than to take a drive along the coast in your Porsche - preferably with the top down.

I had a chance to do this last week. I was chairing a meeting in Santa Cruz that was over at 4:30PM and had to be in San Francisco for a function at 6:30PM. Google maps said that the fastest route was via highway 17 and I-280, but that didn't look like very much fun, so I put the top down and started up highway 1 - the Pacific Coast Highway - in my '02 Boxster S.

It was slow going at first as I beat my way through Santa Cruz traffic along the short stretch where 1 north is actually going south. Quickly, however, I was on a nice, uncrowded, two-lane stretch of road and was treated to pastoral scenes intermixed with views of surf and beach. I could feel the stress flowing out of my body as I tooled along the lonely stretch of road from Davenport to Gazos Creek.

As the anachronism of the Pidgeon Point lighthouse swept by on my left I stopped worrying about the stock mutual funds holding my retirement savings or trying to secure additional financing for my company and just focused on enjoying the drive.

The view off the left side just before crossing Tunitas creek is one of the best along this drive. Sheer cliffs drop into the ocean where waves break against rugged rocks. The surf was impressive and the wind was blowing foam off the tops of the waves even before they broke on the rocks.

As I drove from Pescadero up to San Gregorio investments did reenter my head briefly. I decided that any well-balanced investment strategy should include a diversified portfolio of vintage Porsches. This investment vehicle has many advantages. First, it has recently been performing far better than more conventional investments. While most of my other investments have lost about 40% of their value, my 64 356 and 69 911 have actually increased in value. They are also a good inflation hedge, and so are likely to protect your investment as our government inflates its way out of the current mess. They do have some unique storage issues - they won't fit in the average safe-deposit box. However, this is more than offset by the fact that you can get great enjoyment from your investment by driving it on a regular basis. You simply can't have this much fun with a piece of paper.

It was slow going through Half-Moon Bay as there was a pumpkin festival going on, but things opened up again past the airport. The sun set as I drove past Devil's Slide, I let some space open up in front of me so I could take the twisties through the rocks at speed. With beautiful tones of orange and blue from the sunset and towering pinnacles of rock on both sides of the car, things were good.

As I pulled into a parking garage in the city, I found that the pleasant two-hour drive had helped me regain perspective. I am healthy, had a beautiful day to enjoy, and great people to share it with. Everything else - investments, companies, and jobs is secondary.

So, if things are getting you down, I encourage you to drop whatever you are doing, hop in your Porsche, put the top down (if it goes down), and take a drive along the coast - north or south - until you gain perspective - unless your problems are very bad, you will have a grin on your face long before you leave the state of California.


Jerry WoodsSmart Racing
Competition Corner
--by Dan Thompson, Competition Director

Dan has been just buried this past month. He'll be exhumed next month! -Ed.
European Autotech
BPS Repro
Board of Directors
Celona--by John Celona, GGR Secretary

GGR Board of Directors
Meeting Minutes for October 15, 2008

The meeting was held at the residence of the President, Bill Dally. The meeting was called to order at 6:55 p.m. Present were Bill Dally, Jeff Kost, Bill Benz, Larry Adams, Mark Powell, John Celona, Paul Larson, Matt Switzer, Mike Cullinan, Andrew Forrest, and Bob Murillo.

Call for agenda changes: three discussion items added

Call for calendar changes: none

Approval of September minutes: already approved via email.

Postmortem of events
  • 9/20-21 DE/TT #5 Thunderhill: an increasing number of folks ran for time and the weekend was highly successful.
  • 10/4 Coyote Rally: there was a record low turnout: only 6 cars. Larry Adams will be taking a hard look at getting attendance up. However, between the two zone events there will be a $450 donation to charity.
  • 10//11 Porsche (Boxster) Brunch: attended by 11 people.
Directors' Reports

President: nothing to report.


Upcoming event status report:
10/4  Porsche (Boxster) Brunch
10/17 ALMS Penske LS Tour: sold out
10/18 Alameda Auto X 7
11/8 Dent Pro Day

Certificates are ordered for the following events:
11/8 Dent Pro Day

Certificates are in place for the following events:
10/18 Alameda Auto X 8

Treasurer: after looking at the expenses coming down the pike plus keeping a cash cushion on hand, about two-thirds if the club's cash was put into CD's. The interest on these funds will be donated to charity. We need to be thinking about which charity(ies) to donate it to. People are asked to think about this and bring proposals to the next meeting.

Motion to approve the treasurer's report was passed unanimously.

Secretary: ballots are arriving. Based on practices adopted over recent elections, projections based on exit polls won't be released until after the polls have closed.


We received a $100 out of $230 total refund of our picnic site rental fee due to the sprinklers turning on during the event. The Penske/Flying Lizard tour is full and actually filled up within 3 hours of the email announcement coming out. There is a waiting list for the event.


Motion to approve the new members was passed. Membership levels are continuing to erode slightly, tracking the drop off in Porsche sales. Not sure what we can do about that.


AX: the good news is that we're $9 under the original budget for the new timing system. The bad news is that there are more unanticipated items that need to be purchased (spare batteries, chargers, sales tax, shipping, etc.). The total will be about $1100 over the original estimate of $7,000. Until further issues are sorted out with the new timing software (which runs on a laptop computer), the AX will be using the wireless links but with the existing timing computer.

Motion to approve an additional $1500 for the autocross was passed unanimously.

Time Trial: multi-year transition from separate HSDS and time trial series to a combined DE/TT program has been completed. This change was hugely helped by the adoption of the National DE rules. There have been a lot of compliments for the series as now run. Very few people are unhappy.

Financially, the first event at Infineon was a loss (after four wet years at Infineon in the past). Overall, the series is in the black for the year.

Average attendance has been in the mid-90's, not counting the first event. Instructor participation is slightly up this year, which helps a lot with putting on the event. The percentage running for time, after dropping to a third, is now up to about half of the participants.

Motion was passed to recognize the contributions of the various people who've made the time trial series a success. Motion was passed to make a permanent policy that AX and TT chairs can attend their own events without charge.


The classified ads have been getting a good number of hits since they show up with Google searches. No one yet has purchased Bill Dally's tires.

Topics for discussion

Update on talks with SCCA on a permanent autocross site: SCCA is apparently working on a deal for a 5-year lease on a site. However, issues have emerged and it's not a done deal yet.

Nominations for new zone rep: Bill Dally will take as an action item to talk to potential nominees.

Day care at events: idea is that having day care at events would encourage people with young kids to attend events. Jeff Kost will talk to some moms to see if there's interest in this.

Idea to run autocross in morning and afternoon groups: the idea was to have a morning session in which people would work once, run once (8 laps), then repeat it again in the afternoon. John Celona and Jeff Kost will work on a survey to test member interest in the idea.

Combined three-day DE and race event: Mike Cullinan presented a proposed budget. They are still working on sorting out pricing and logistics issues. The hope is that having a race group will entice enough additional people to make the event work financially.

Motion was passed to approve the pro forma budget Mike presented and to work out additional details necessary to put the race series in place. A final budget is yet to be presented. 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

Club Sportiva2
August Membership Report

Jeff Kost-by Jeff Kost, Membership Director

Total Members:   2483
Primary:             1445
Affiliate:             1037
Life:                        1

New Members:    15
Transfers In:         1
Transfers Out:       6

New Members

Parisa Ghezelbash

San Francisco


Larry & Mary Anderson

Portola Valley

2005 911

Loren Barrick

Los Altos


Ross Brensinger

El Granada


Wes Butler

Sutter Creek


Kathy Castle

Daly City


Fulvio Cervone

San Jose

1980 911 SC

Jian Chen

Menlo Park

2008 Cayman

Chuck Colliver

Los Gatos


Brook Dain

Santa Clara

1999 Boxster

Yuliya Drenan

San Jose


Caroline Eiskamp



John Eiskamp


1998 993 C2S

Edward & Ingrid French



Jeff Haas

San Francisco

1965 911

Edward Kupa


2003 996 TT

Daphne Lee



Gregory Liefooghe

San Francisco

2004 Carrera 4S

Michael Marmarou

Mountain View

2008 Cayman

Kate Meyer

San Francisco


Zakary Morgan



Heidi Morrison



Marie Nakazawa

Los Gatos

2008 Cayman

Michelle Richards

San Francisco

1999 Boxster

Erika Sharron

San Carlos


Will Sharron

San Carlos

1959 356 A

Debbie Wolfe

El Granada

2008 Cayman S

April Wu

San Anselmo

1988 930s

Nick Zannis

San Mateo



40 Years

Walter Vendley

Palo Alto

1956 356A

25 Years

Carl Cilker

San Jose

1989 Carrera

20 Years

Adrienne Gaudette



Mario Musto


1965 356

Andy Hospodor

Los Gatos

2000 Boxster

Colleen Scott



15 Years

Susan Angebranndt



Ron Atilano

Menlo Park

1977 911

Geraldine Campbell

San Jose


Gordon Sparkes


1990 928GT

Linda Coturri

Glen Ellen


10 Years

Jeff Chase


1995 993

Sharene Chuang



Doug Clarke


1977 911

Susan Gower

San Carlos


Gary Hamilton

Los Altos

1987 911

Frank Hertlein


2001 Boxster S

Ruth Hill

Daly City

Jeff Johnston

San Francisco

2005 GT-3

Michael Moschella


1972 911

Robert Murillo

Santa Cruz

2003 GT3 Bun Warmer

Grant Tabuchi


1991 911

Wayne Weathers

Foster City

1980 911

5 Years

Trung Bach

San Francisco


Vince Davie


1972 914

Roger Hayashi

San Jose

1968 912

Lorie Johnson



Johnny Lee



Cindy Peterson

San Jose


Christine Bartlett



Jim Miller

San Francisco

1991 911


High Performance House
The Power Chef
NE Bike
Warmin' from the Inside Out

--by John Celona, The Power Chef®

As the weather gets colder and the rain starts falling, I get hankerings for hearty, delicious food that warms you from the inside out--and makes a one-pot dinner!

That led me to ponder the matter of "chili." I've had lots of truly awful versions of chili, intrigued by the promise of all the nutrition in the beans but utlimately hugely underwhelmed by paucity of flavor and indifferent seasoning.

So I set to create what a good, red chile might be. I thought pork and pinto beans might be a good start, with the "chili" from red chile sauce (chile colorado sauce), a little chile powder, and some pureéd chilpotle chiles to give a smoky richness and just the right amount of heat.

Then, following on the smoky theme, I marinated and grilled some pork chops then chopped the meat for the chili. (I will confess: I used pork chops because my mother-in-law had given me some!) Finally, I thought some fresh poblano chiles would add a fourth kind of chile to the mix plus a little fresh vegetable crunch. Caramelized onions lend just a touch of sweetness for the pork.

The good new is I really like how it came out and hope you do, too. The bad news is I'll probably never eat canned chile again! Thankfully, I made a lot and can freeze the extra.

Here's hoping this helps keep you warm through the holidays.

Bon appetit,
The Power Chef

Pork Chop Chili


The Gist

Pork chops get marinated, then grilled. Pinto beans are simmered with red chile sauce, canned tomatoes, and garlic. It all goes together with caramelized yellow onions and sautéed fresh poblano chiles.


2 lbs. pork chops
1 Tb. salt
1 Tb. fresh ground black pepper
1 Tb. granulated garlic
1 Tb. chile powder
2 lbs. dry pinto beans
1 28-oz. can red chile sauce (chile colorado sauce)
1 28-oz. can ground tomatoes in heavy purée
1/2 cup garlic cloves, lightly mashed
2 Tb. chicken stock base
1 Tb. puréed chilpotle chiles (or 1 whole chile)
2 yellow onions, diced
6 fresh poblano chiles, seeded and chopped
2 Tb. bacon fat or olive oil
salt to taste


Rinse the pinto beans thoroughly in a colander to remove any dirt, then put them in something big enough to cover with 3-4 inches of water. Let them soak for a few hours or overnight.
Combine the salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and chile powder. Sprinkle over the pork chops and toss to coat them evenly. Let these marinate while the beans cook (or let them marinate overnight in the fridge).
Drain the beans, then put them in a big pot with the red chile sauce, tomatoes, garlic, chicken stock base, and chilpotle chile. If necessary, add just enough water to cover the beans. Bring them to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender (an hour or more).
Heat a grill to very hot and barbecue the pork chops for 2-3 minutes per side (just enough to sear them). Place them in a bowl to cool.
Chop the onions and poblano chiles. Be careful with the chile seeds because they are very hot. Wash your hands thoroughly with dish soap to remove some of the chile oil from your hands. 
Cut the meat from the pork chops into chunks. Add the bones to the beans if they're still simmering.
Heat the bacon fat or olive oil in a pot big enough to hold everything. Cook the onions over medium high heat until golden brown and caramelized. Add the chopped poblano chiles and sauté until they are just starting to wilt and change color.
Add the beans and cubed pork and heat to a simmer. Check for salt. The chile is ready to eat immediately, or can simmer for another hour. If you pot is oven-proof, it can also go into a 250ºF oven until you're ready to eat.


Soaking beans overnight in water, then discarding the water before cooking them seems to do two things. First, they swell up so you know how big a pot to get and they'll cook faster. Second, this method seems to eliminate any gas problems from eating beans. No scenes from "Blazing Saddles," please!

To expedite the process, you can skip grilling the pork chops and just add the chopped meat at the end (be sure to cook thoroughly). It's faster, but you will lose the extra flavor from the grilled meat.
Pork loin or sliced pork shoulder would also work well.


I've not tried this recipe with beef because I like the flavor of pork and beans, but, if a beef chile is more to your liking, go ahead and substitute beef. Something like a top sirloin would be perfect. It's a little tough to have as a steak in my opinion, but it would be perfect in chile.

Porsche Roads
TT banner
--by Claude Leglise, GGR Past President

Jamestown to Modesto via the Tuolumne River

A long, long time ago, before the good Herr Doktor created the 356 and the 911, there was the steam locomotive. Over 175,000 were built in the United States starting in 1831, and they saw service all over the country, from the Atlantic coast of Maine to the sugar plantations of Hawaii. Central Pacific's Jupiter and Union Pacific's 119, the two moguls that met at Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869, upon the completion of the transcontinental railroad, are probably the best known engines. Less famous, but no less storied, are the thousands of locomotives that toiled in the Sierras pulling loads of lumber and ore, as well as the occasional passenger.

in 1897, the first train arrived in Jamestown, in the heart of the Gold Country, and by 1910, 10 scheduled trains came through town daily. Today, the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park features a complete depot, train rides, and no less than six operating steam locomotives. It is a favorite destination for rail buffs, families and school children learning about California history. There are guided and self-guided tours available. If your timing is lucky, you can try turning an 80-ton engine on the turntable. When properly balanced, you will be able to push the engine by hand, and it will turn.

Bill Oct

The pièce de résistance for the mechanically inclined is the fully operational roundhouse and its workshops. The forge has the bellows and drop-hammers to create metal parts and tools of any shape. The metal shop has a lathe with 48" of clearance, a 200-ton hydraulic press, a crank shaper, a 20-foot long planer, a radial drill, and miscellaneous cutters, small drills and lathes, wheel borers and threading machines. I think you could build a 914 crankshaft from raw steel with all that equipment. Sure beats my Craftsman toolbox.

After Jamestown, you might continue the history lesson with a visit to Columbia, one of the hundreds of mining settlements that emerged after gold was found in the Sierras. You can also make a detour through Sonora, named after the miners from Mexico who founded the town in 1848. Eventually, however, it will be time to head home, and, for most members of GGR, this means the Bay Area. Regular folks will probably choose highways 108/120 through Oakdale and Modesto, but Porsche drivers will contemplate the map for a while and look for a more interesting route. If you are not afraid of heights, come along.

In Jamestown, turn east on Highway 49, then right onto Highway 108 towards Twain Harte. About three of miles out of town, make a right onto Mono Way/Tuolumne Road and follow it for about a mile and a half. Make a right onto Wards Ferry Road. This is the fateful turn. Do not take this road if, among other things, your car is not in perfect condition (steering, tires and brakes), you are not in perfect condition (steady hands, no drugs or alcohol, etc), the weather is not perfect (no night, rain or snow), or you or your passengers are squeamish about vertical cliffs. Also, check the calendar, because in April there is often a bicycle race in the area.

Wards Ferry Road starts as a two-lane road in a relatively flat area, where it is easy to maintain a good pace among the farm animals. On Labor Day there was no other car around, and I doubt you will find much traffic on a normal day. Seven miles after the turn-off, the road has narrowed to a single lane, and the descent into the Tuolumne River canyon starts. Take a look at the topographic map nearby; the road drops 1000 feet on the north side of the river, then climbs 1200 feet on the south side. This is the hairy part, as there is no Armco anywhere, so the penalty for a mistake is drastic and instantaneous. You may have to slow to 15 miles per hour. But the views are incomparable and well worth the trouble. Imagine, as you drive with the AC on, that only 150 years ago, the 49'ers were traipsing through this area with mule trains.

Bill Oct

 At the bottom of the canyon, Wards Ferry Bridge is a popular take-out point for the white water rafters who brave the class IV and V rapids of the Tuolumne. You might want to stop for pictures.

From the bridge crossing, it is 7.3 miles to Highway 120 and what passes for civilization in Groveland and Big Oak Flat. Turn west on Highway 120 towards Moccasin and Chinese Camp. Shortly after Big Oak Flat, be prepared for two miles of pure driving joy as the downhill pavement on Priest Grade is near perfect, the corners are well engineered and the visibility is good. At the bottom of the grade, time permitting, you may consider turning around and trying the grade in the other direction. It would make a terrific hillclimb location. At the top, you can choose to make a very sharp right onto Old Priest Grade, which basically follows a straight line down the mountain and rejoins Highway 120 at the bottom.

Past Moccasin Creek, turn left on Highway 49 and follow it for 10 miles or so to Coulterville, where you will turn right on Highway 132. These two highways are fairly straight and well paved. They provide a nice contrast after the high dose of slow corners on Wards Ferry Road. Soon you arrive at Don Pedro Lake, named after a Frenchman, Pierre Sainsevain, who sailed from Bordeaux in 1838 to settle in Los Angeles near his uncle Jean-Louis Vignes, who is widely considered the father of the California wine industry. Sainsevain, named Don Pedro by his Mexican friends, found gold in June 1848 under what is now the lake.

Bill Oct

Highway 132 comes gently down from the Sierras, and soon you are in La Grange, more ghost town than metropolis, and not to be confused with La Grange, Texas, of ZZ Top fame. A haw, haw, haw, haw, a haw.

The distance between Jamestown and La Grange is 60 miles, but you should plan on two hours for a comfortable drive. From La Grange, it is straight to Modesto for 30 miles, through rich farm land and abundant orchards.

Scale: 1∆ to 5∆          Twistiness          Pavement quality        Scenery
Highway 108                     ∆                        ∆∆∆∆∆                   ∆∆
Wards Ferry Road         ∆∆∆∆∆                        ∆∆                   ∆∆∆∆∆
Highway 120                 ∆∆∆∆∆                     ∆∆∆∆∆                 ∆∆∆∆
Highway 49 / 132              ∆∆                       ∆∆∆∆∆                   ∆∆∆

 Bill Oct


Vineyard Specialties2

suspension performance
Jim Fleming says Hello
--by Jim Fleming, long-long-longtime GGR member

I have attached a composite picture I put together spanning 37 years of myself, Dwight Mitchell, Gary Evans and the late Brian Carleton (the old Super Tub racing team). They had a recent going away party for Brian in his old neighborhood in Saratoga. The picture of Brian is from the GGR old timers party held 2 years ago.


In the late 1960's and early 1970's I had a lot of my pictures in the Nugget. I am still driving Sweet Pea, my 1959 Conv'D and have added a 1961 B coupe to the stable. Attached is also a shot of Sweet Pea from several years ago in my front yard in Phoenix.


It has been fun to see our "generation" in GGR getting their 40 year PCA national notification over the last year.
Later, Jim Fleming

The Birth of Thunderhill
--by David Vodden, CEO of Thunderhill Raceway Park

The story of Thunderhill is a good one. For me it began a bit after the fact as the San Francisco Region of the Sports Car Club of America came to me looking for someone to "manage their track". I had been the promoter and general manager at Baylands Raceway Park in Fremont. That track was closing due to the expiration of the land lease with the railroad.

Geoff Provo was the first SCCA member to tell me of the Club's need for a track manager. He led me to an interview in Berkeley with Directors Roger Eandi and Jon Norman. Lunch was good. They offered me the job. My first question was, "where is your track?" The answer was that they did not have a track yet but they did have a site near La Grange in Stanislaus County where their track would be built. A very talented club member named Steve Crawford had designed a track for the site and everyone involved in the vision felt good about the prospects for success. This was California.

Following a town hall meeting in La Grange and a subsequent story in the local paper that contradicted what was said at the town hall meeting, the project took a decided downhill turn. Ultimately it became obvious that the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors was never going to grant a permit to build a road race track in their jurisdiction and the site was abandoned.

As a result of this setback, I found myself in the business of looking for a site to build a road race track somewhere within one hour of the intersection of the 580 and 680 freeways. Not long before I had tried to get a permit for a circle track at the old Vaca Valley site and left with a sense that building a race track violated every environmental law ever in existence in the State. There had not been a race track built in California since 1969 when Ontario Motor Speedway opened in Southern California. The prospects for being the next new race track in California seemed, to put it bluntly, impossible.
Fortunately the SCCA leadership did not know this at the time and jumped right in when then Regional Executive Tom McCarthy said the Club could deal with their lessening status at Sears Point Raceway by building their own track. Right!

As with most Club endeavors, the early days of the project included huge amounts of input, ideas and a lesser, but still large amounts of help, often with conflicting agendas. Funding proved to be the biggest source of controversy. The idea of a surcharge on race entries was devised with $120 per entry being the proposed fee. At a huge meeting in Santa Clara the membership spoke and, despite strong opinions that there should be no fee assessed the drivers - ever, a $50 per entry fee was implemented.  This funding, collected over ten years, ultimately was a major component in the success of Thunderhill Park.

I attended this meeting in Santa Clara and met the SCCA for the very first time. They were a vocal bunch but I had experienced the relationship between money and racers many times before. I guess my biggest surprise was that they ended up with any surcharge fee at all.

As the project lumbered along in the new site search mode, veteran SCCA regional manager Don Wixcel became ill. It happened after a Laguna Seca club weekend and I was asked to go by the Club office in San Francisco and "see what was going on". I had never met Don nor had I met Vince Burgess, Don's right hand person or Ali Arsham, Don's young college student assistant who worked part time in the Club office. The office was above a glass company that actually did industrial things with class. It was interesting at 1610 Pacific Avenue in San Francisco.

That visit and Don's illness added the job SCCA Region Manager to my resume in addition to new track person. Don got well and returned to help and retired years later after Thunderhill Park was up and running. He was very proud of his contribution to the Club and the fact that the Club actually was able to create a road race track of their own.  Don was inducted into the SFR/SCCA Hall of Fame. A most deserved honor for a man whose life was the SCCA.

Site searches continued to be done by many members including myself. The effort resulted in options in Fresno County, Solano County and Yuba County. The most aggressively pursued among these was Fresno County. Located south of Los Banos and west of the I-5 freeway in the hills, the track Steve Crawford designed for this site was incredible. Why? Because the terrain was incredible. 

It turned out that a prolific little animal called the kit fox was using our site for habitat and the cost of purchasing an equal number of acres and endowing it in perpetuity was a deal killer. Good by Fresno County. The story was the same most other places and the project lost momentum. It seemed that building a race track in California was going to be impossible.

With the faltering momentum, the attention paid the project by the larger body of the SCCA membership waned. It really looked bleak so it was time for desperate measures.  One day there was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle that read, "Yuba County Broke!"  My reasoning was that a county that was broke could not (or would not) put up such a strong objection to the idea of a race track. I called.

Bill Oct

A meeting followed and I suggested to those in attendance that day in a Yuba City restaurant that the SCCA was looking for a "home" to build a two mile road course for recreational use by its membership. All but one person there was only casually interested. It seemed working for an employer who is broke reduced ones attention to the job. It turned out that that one person was from a county that was not broke- Glenn County. His name was Dick Mudd. He was a race fan of sorts. He suggested that I pose the same questions to his county planning people. So I did but I changed the way I did it.

Instead of finding a site and going into the county planning offices and saying, "we want to build a track here," I met with the key people and asked, "If we were able to find a home for our Club in Glenn County and desired to build a road race track here, where would you like to see such a facility. County officials Vince Minto and John Benoit pointed to the big map of the county on the wall suggesting west of Willows where the farm land was not so good and where the development of small ranchettes was not desirable.

Aimed by the people who would have to approve the project, the next step was to find land for sale in that area that would fit the Club's needs. Here again we had help. In a small town people know things that an outsider or big-city person would never uncover. I was aimed at Thor Oden; the relatively new owner of the Scheeline Ranch now called the Thunderhill Ranch. In typical win-win style he agreed to sell us 530 acres for $600 per acre and we were back in the game.

The next step was to revisit good friend Steve Crawford and see what kind of track he could design for the rolling topography once known as the Voodoo Hills. He did just that and the new track team of SCCA members re-assembled as the prospects began to look good.

Walking back into the Glenn County Planning offices I said, "We (the SCCA) want to build a race track here in your county." They looked at the location and I reminded them that they picked it. The rest was easy. While I worked with John Benoit in the County offices, Art Siri and his cousin Richard began talking about the actual construction. The cross section of the track was designed by Art. Steve did the layout and members like David Ray, Tom McCarthy and others I should remember, added ideas about the number of turns and where they should be and so on. When all was said and done the question of money came forward. We only had enough to build a 1.3 mile course with no paved paddock and a dirt entry road.

 In my opinion this would not have worked. With help from people like Swede Olson, Clint deWitt,  Jon Norman and Roger Eandi we approached the National SCCA office for a loan of $300,000. They made the loan for 1% over prime and a claim to the deed for the land.

We were still short so I found some friendly SCCA members including Kevin Jenkins and borrowed another $300,000 at prime with nothing more than an IOU. In the end this enabled us to build a 1.8 mile, nine turn course,  a paved entry road and a fifty foot wide paved paddock area up to and including the access from the paddock to the race track. All of this money, including the loan from SCCA National, was paid back.

The success of the permitting process and the location of the project were not shared outside of a small circle of SCCA leaders until everything was in place. I am convinced that bragging about a pending race track project when it is just a twinkle in the eye of the developer only inspires the opposition. The recent Riverside project in Merced County suffered this very fate. I have seen it many times. TH2

For our project the prognosis of successfully building a track in Glenn County became public on a sunny fall day when a gathering of SCCA members stood on VooDoo hills, where our water tank now sits, and looked down over a plowed rendition of what Steve Crawford had designed as our track. It was awesome. And still we did not brag nor create copious press.

The construction went quickly as Richard Siri worked with Jackson Baker paving to get the job done. There are stories that local citizens came out to the track and drove on the compacted surface that would hold the asphalt. One story says a kid flipped his truck. I doubt that this really happened. It took less than a half of a year to build all that we could afford. In October of 1993 we open Thunderhill Park.

The name, Thunderhill Park was not our first choice. Again, in California, spotlighting the generation of noise in the facility name seemed counter productive. I wanted Quiet Acres but alas, it was Thunderhill and so it became Thunderhill Park. Thanks Thor!

The Grand Opening remains the facilities biggest event in terms of attendance and gross revenue despite the awesome presence of the 25 Hours of Thunderhill held the first week in December each year. SCCA President Nick Craw raced at the grand opening as did actor Craig T. Nelson. Nelson gave us $5,000 dollars to name turn five the "Eagles Nest".  There were rumors that Tom Cruise and Paul Newman were here. I cannot say for sure but I doubt it.

That first race weekend in October and was another miracle. We did not have a track broom to clean the surface. We used hay bales for walls. We did not have electricity and ran timing and scoring using a generator. We had no food concessions so we asked and received support from the local service clubs.  We did not have a public-address system nor any real bathrooms. Viewing the pictures taken on that historic weekend with the huge crowd is an eye-opener.

For some strange reason the Club put tires around the outside of the track, probably because we had no curbs. All they did was get caught under the various race cars that had the misfortune to drive in their way. We also had construction gravel all around the edge of the track, a common edge for paved highway roads, but a terrible idea for a race track. These small rocks ended up everywhere, mostly where they were not wanted.

The SCCA had a pumpkin carving contest on Saturday and one of the last pit lizard events, as I recall.  I was unable to run my PT Mitsubishi Starion in the opener because it failed tech when a new log book was needed because the original was full. There was more but that is enough. 

For all who attended it was an historic day. The SFR/SCCA and all who had a hand in the vision and implementation of the development of a Club-owned race track, experienced the reality of that dream. The ceremonies from that day are captured on film. The progress made in the fifteen years that have followed is here for all to see. It has been a fun ride and it is not over yet. There is more on the horizon for Thunderhill with the hope and expectation that the track will be here and successful for as long as there are men and women who want to enjoy recreation with motorized vehicles being the prime directive.

Thanks to all who have had a hand in the creation and success of Thunderhill Park. I truly hope that your biggest reward for whatever you have done in making Thunderhill Park a reality is in seeing the result and the progress over these past fifteen years. Stay tuned for more. Please.

DentPro Day Nov. 8
It's that time of year again.  Another opportunity to get that sheet metal back to its pristine condition, and at a discount, too.  For the past 15 years, I have arranged a DentPro Day for the Bay Area RX-7 (BARX-7) Club  of which I am a member, and over the past four years have held joint PCA-GGR/BARX-7 events.

DentPro provides an excellent alternative to body repair shops for those minor (and some not so minor) dings and dents.  Taken to a regular body shop, a door ding can be an expensive proposition requiring not only the body repair, but also a likely repaint of the damaged panel.  We're talking hundreds of dollars here.  With DentPro, through the artistry of getting behind the dent/ding, they massage it out.

DentPro's normal pricing is $89 for the first small dent in a panel, and $45 for any others.  Their pricing goes up to $189 per 4" dent, so they can handle that softball dent.  At this year's event, we will receive a 20% discount.  In most cases, no repaint is needed.  In each
case, DentPro will examine your car, point out any blemishes that you may have missed (and I guarantee there will be some), and provide you an estimate before beginning work.  You may opt out at that point.

To start the day, DentPro will provide bagels and smears, and coffee.  They will also have drinks for us to soothe our throats as we bench-race and tell lies about our cars.  At noon, a tasty lunch of burgers and dogs will be provided.

This year's DentPro Day will be on Saturday, November 8, beginning at 9 AM at the DentPro facility at 2205 Winchester Blvd, Campbell, CA 95008.  Click here for a map.

We will schedule in 3-4 cars per hour.  However, you are welcome to come early and leave late, just hang out to see all the cars passing through.

Click here to send an email RSVP to Joe Ramos, giving an idea of how much work needs to be done on your car (number/size of dents and location), and a requested time.  If the time requested is filled, I'll provide alternative times.  BTW, any and all cars are welcome, but priority will be given to PCA-GGR/BARX-7 Club members.

Hope to see you there!

Remember to vote! We count 'em all. And we wouldn't want underhanded write-in candidates slipping in just for the August junket!

As always, thanks for reading.
John Celona
Porsche Club of America-Golden Gate Region
Safe Unsubscribe
Update Profile/Email Address | Instant removal with
John Celona
Porsche Club of America-Golden Gate Region
Safe Unsubscribe
Porsche Club of America--Golden Gate Region | Nugget Headquarters | 505 Vista Ave | San Carlos | CA | 94070