GGR Kicks Off 60th Anniversary with Awards Banquet at the USS Hornet

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GGR Kicks Off 60th Anniversary with Awards Banquet at the USS Hornet

GGR kicked off its 60th anniversary year by gathering at the historic USS Hornet in Alameda for our 60th Annual Awards Banquet honoring region, autocross, and track award winners. Kudos to Autocross Director Ed Hunter for finding the venue and organizing this great event.

Members formed the “grid” dockside before boarding the ship for more than decent docent-guided tours, passed appetizers and cocktails. The vast ship more than accommodated the hundred or so members and guests among displays that ranged from World War II aircraft to jets (Sabre, F4 and F18) to Apollo capsules. With its keel laid in 1942, the Hornet was in service long enough to recover some of the Apollo capsules on their return from space.

FM-2 Wildcat

For a look at the Hornet’s flight deck, check out the Taycan video Porsche shot there.

Members and guests had their choice of tours ranging from the engine room to the control room

On tour with a docent

Marie Hunter coordinated registration for tours and check in.

Marie Hunter mans the tour sign-up (and the checkered flag!)

Afterwards, members convened in the historic Officers’ Wardroom for dinner and awards. The program kicked off with current and past Zone 7 reps Collin Fat and Sharon Neidel presenting goodies from PCA National: a set of historic documents from the club’s found, a certificate of appreciation, and a letter of congratulations from PCA President Tom Gorsuch.

Sharon Neidel, Yours Truly (the MC), and Collin Fat

GGR Membership Director Capt. USN Ret. Mike Sherman regaled us with the history and purpose of the Officers’ Wardroom and tales of life in the Navy and on ship (hint: it wasn’t a picnic!).

The Captain at the Helm

Then, guests broke for a delectable dinner provided by Pacific Fine Catering and featuring an array of salads, roasted veggies, pork loin, chicken piccata, and vegetarian ravioli. Portions abounded and no one left hungry!

Dinnertime!

Then, it was on to the awards.

First up was the Social Event of the Year, which went to Capt. Mike for the new member mixer at the Steelhead Brewery. This event featured craft micro-micro-brewed beer, lots of great food, and even a board meeting at the end! And what could be more fun than watching a board meeting! Catch the replays you missed on CSPAN 7.

Capt. Mike collects Social Event of the Year

Next up was Enthusiast of the Year, which went to someone who goes the extra mile and then a few hundred more. This person of abundant cheer pitches in endlessly to help put on the Fun Runs and even brought a Boxster Spyder as a featured display car to our Awards Gala at the San Francisco Legion of Honor last year. Winner below!

Vincent Puccetti receives Enthusiast of the Year

The last region award was the Perc Bliss: the club’s highest regular award presented to the member or members who contributed the most to the club over this last year. This year, it went to someone who put in weeks of time organizing, choreographing, directing, and performing at the Legion of Honor Awards Gala one year ago. The club was very lucky to have this accomplished professional put in this time for the club with no compensation. His past credits include directing the opening of the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade, the Nissei Week Pageant, and the opening of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Thank you, Bubba!

Perc Bliss Award presented to Bubba Gong

If you missed this truly once-in-a-lifetime event, below is a little highlight video we showed at the Awards Banquet.

Then, on to the Autocross Awards presented by Ed Hunter!

Drew Powers and Himanshu Patel collect class wins for AX08.
Greg Adams and Ed Hunter clean up in AX04

Throughout the awards, Ed was ably assisted by his utterly adorable little one Amaya.

Ed checks in with the boss

The Bill Benz Memorial Award for overall Autocross winner was collected by Monty Pack.

Monty brings home the cheese

Lastly, Sharon Neidel stood in for couldn’t-be-there track chair Jim McClelland to present the Don Lang Memorial Award.

Sharon with the Don Lang

Then, Capt. Mike got to everyone’s favorite part of the evening: the raffle prizes! A pirate’s trove was provided by Porsche Redwood City and supplemented by local Alameda wine and beer Ed Hunter picked up.

With that, a truly memorable evening came to a close and we made our way up the STEEP stairs (ladders?) while ducking through the steel hatches to make our way out. Thanks to Ed and everyone who pitched in to make this awesome event possible!

The overall Autocross points winners.

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