Are you still basking in your post-WCLM haze, or, did you miss out on the WCLM festivities?
Fear not. We’ve summarized the four days, included teaser photos, shared WCLM ridiculousness, and timing results for the first-ever Hill Climb.
On Thursday October 20th, several from the San Diego as well as Orange County areas caravanned to Lotus of Orange County, our first meeting point to kick off the WCLM 2022 events. Another group traveled down from as far as Washington State, San Fransisco and Sacramento. We were all warmly greeted by Nikki Hendricks from Lotus of O.C., the Lotus service technician Eddie, and Dave Simkin from Lotus USA. We viewed their magnificent multi-million dollar car collection and learned about their Lotus dealership while being served a magnificent breakfast.
Soon afterward, the two groups, now united, caravanned to InoKinetic where Shinoo Mapleton showed us around his facility and warehouse. We then headed south to the host hotels in Escondido and Del Mar.
After a long day of travel for most of Thursday, the evening brought the WCLM participants to an Escondido mountain top for registration, wine, charcuterie and conversation. Thank you to Dave Bean for sponsoring this wonderful welcome to our registrants.
Goodie bags that included the WCLM ’22 grille badge were handed out along with event name tags, stickers, and lanyards. SDLC member Steve Goyette welcomed one and all to San Diego, officially kicking off West Coast Lotus Meet 2022. Displayed alongside of the patio were several Lotus models spanning the ‘60s thru the present day.
The warm SoCal evening breeze allowed for casual conversation with old friends and a perfect opportunity to make new ones. A wander through the parking lot revealed some interesting personalized license plates from a wide array of states including Washington, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and from as far away as Massachusetts. All in all the reception was a low key affair that allowed everyone time to kick back, relax and enjoy the view. The evening was capped off by a magnificent sunset.
The first full day of the WCLM started bright and early on Friday October 21st at the SpringHill Suites Hotel as Stewart and Colleen distributed the road books and conducted a driver briefing for the Treasure Hunt Rallye. Some solo drivers decided to pair up to tackle the 75 mile route containing some 50 searching questions. This proved a wise decision as eagle eyes were required to spot road signs, street names, and other landmarks, all while keeping to the interesting canyon roads of the route.
A treasure hunt would not be complete without treasure, but unfortunately the first few crews were a little ahead of the planned schedule and arrived at the designated spot before Stewart had a chance to drop off the treasure chest of prizes. On the way there, some cars were spotted driving in the wrong direction, however with lots of opportunities to get back on the correct route everyone ended up safely at our lunch destination, Sunrise Vineyards.
Answer sheets were handed in and everyone relaxed on the patio area with expansive views of the Ramona valley while enjoying a sandwich lunch and glass of wine. The winners of the team award were Danny and Valerie K., and the solo winner was Steve G. Stewart and Colleen appreciated that many people celebrated the fun spirit of the event by coming up with amusing team names and funny answers to some of the more cryptic questions.
After lunch was the driver briefing and check in for the Hill Climb, and an opportunity to thank the sponsors for the treasure hunt – Lotus of Orange County who supported printing of the beautiful souvenir road book, and Greg’s Race Parts who sponsored the lunch. After that everyone was free to enjoy the roads on the run back to the hotel and freshen up for the Banquet.
On Friday evening, the WCLM held its Banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn, Del Mar. The evening started with a social hour on the Patio, after which the participants were invited into the Banquet room. Don Anderson welcomed everyone and introduced the other members of the WCLM Organizing Committee: Kiyoshi Hamai, Lawrence Sher, Ron Schramm, Dan Gibson, Rodney Grabinski, Stewart and Colleen Abbot.
After a buffet style dinner with plenty of wine, Kiyoshi Hamai introduced the Guest Speaker, Robin Shute, the 3 time overall winner of the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. Robin entertained the group with a slide and video show about his career and his Pikes Peak experiences. We also had Tom Thomas of Lotus Cars USA give a brief speech about the new Emira, which was present at the event for viewing and test drives. Tom was tricked into referring to the WCLM as "LOG West" by Dave Simkin, which gave the audience quite a laugh.
Following the speeches, Don presented Kiyoshi with a painting of him in his Lotus 41 at Laguna Seca as a special recognition of everything he did in organizing this event.
Then, it was time for some awards: Mike Y. was presented the Award for the "Longest Distance Driven in a Lotus", having driven from Boston in an Elise. Stewart and Colleen presented the Treasure Hunt Rallye awards for highest scores in "Solo Driver" to Steve G., and "Driver with Navigator" to Danny and Valerie K., following which Colleen entertained us with the Funniest answers on the score sheets.
Kiyoshi recognized our event sponsors: Dave Bean Engineering, Lotus of Orange County, JAE, InoKinetic, Hethelsport, Greg's Racer Parts, RD Enterprises, Mountune, EV Guide, and The Video Garage and presented them with Thank You Trophies for each Sponsored event.
The evening concluded with announcements about Saturday's Palomar Mountain Hillclimb and Sunday's Concours at Tidelands Park, Coronado overlooking San Diego Bay and the Coronado Bridge.
On Saturday October 22nd, the San Diego Lotus Club wanted to try something different for this year’s WCLM. And boy did they succeed. The Palomar Mountain Hillclimb sponsored by InoKinetic was this year’s WCLM cornerstone event. It was run on a 3 mile closed road course with 37 turns up the challenging San Diego County Highway S6 / South Grade Road.
The starting line sat at ~3800 feet above sea level at milepost 44 with the finish line 1200 feet above at the 5,000 feet sign at milepost 47. Saturday’s hillclimb action started early with volunteers arriving on the south slope of Palomar Mountain starting at 4:00am to get set up. Volunteers were busy inspecting / sweeping the course with brooms, setting up corner Marshall stations, getting the HAM radio communications up and running, establishing roadblocks at the bottom and top of the course, and setting up and testing the timing / scoring equipment. The course itself is beautifully paved asphalt with a generally posted 30 MPH speed limit with some turns marked as low as 15 MPH. San Diego County was so cooperative that the Department of Public Works twice ran a street sweeper up the course in the three days preceding the hillclimb. Participants started to arrive at the staging area around 6:30.
As the day dawned at 6:58 am the sky was overcast gray and chilly below about 4500 feet elevation. Up on top of the mountain it was crystal clear. The sight of the wispy marine layer mist as the sun rose was ethereal. At about this time the emergency medical team, the onsite tow truck and CHP support were all on scene and the road was officially closed to public use for the day.
The event started with Ron Schramm and Stewart Abbot leading a driver’s meeting followed by a ‘follow the leader’ group familiarization run up the hill. Once everyone got back down the hill to the staging area the hillclimb started in earnest. The field of 56 cars was divided into 4 run groups The staging area was about 1/4 mile below the starting line. The entered cars ranged from a ‘62 S2 Seven up to current model Evora GTs with a ’69 Lotus Twin Cam powered Brabham BT29 F2 car for good measure. Cars in Run Groups 1 and 2 were lined up and sent up to the starting line in groups of 3 or 4 cars. This being the first time the San Diego Lotus Club had ever run a hillclimb it took a while to get a good rhythm going. It took about 2 hours to complete Run Group 1 and almost 5 hours to get through all 56 cars initial run up the hill. The initial plan was for volunteers to swap positions after every pair of run groups were completed with cars coming back down the hill after each group. But the time required to move all of the cars, swap volunteer crews and get the operations team coordinated was too much. Colleen came to the rescue and recruited a team of dedicated operations personnel such that once they were all in place and running smoothly the second time thru all four run groups was completed in less than 2 hours! Way to go everyone.
Sometime during the morning Dave Simkin arrived with a beautiful new Yellow Emira. Thank you very much Lotus USA. Attracting large crowds in the staging area, the Lotus fans were drawn like fish to a shiny thing, with everyone giving the new model a thorough going over. Robin Shute arrived in time for the familiarization run and was eager to check out the course. He rode up the hill with SDLC member Steve in Steve's Exige S. Steve treated Robin to the full Palomar experience by returning to the bottom via East Grade Road instead of backtracking to the staging area. Steve graciously volunteered the Exige so that Robin could take a run up the hill. Robin did not disappoint clocking in at 199.952 seconds having never seen the course prior to the familiarization run as a passenger.
The scoring system for the hillclimb was based on a regularity run format with driver’s attempting to match a set of predefined run times; Novice, 260.000 seconds, Intermediate, 240.000 seconds, and 210.000 seconds for the Advanced class. The aggregate delta between the target times and the entrants’ two run times would determine the winners. While some drivers chose to see how fast they could go up the hill, others worked diligently to try to win a prize. Brad R. from Salt Lake City in his Evora GT won the novice class with a 0.256 second total delta over 2 runs. Keith L. won the Intermediate Class with a 3.264 second aggregate, and Don A. of San Diego won the advanced class in an Evora with a 0.370 second margin. At the other end of the scale no prizes were awarded but bragging rights went to Oceanside’s Bill S. in an Exige S 240 with a time of 188.516. Overall FTOD went to SDLC member Rodney G. in that gorgeous Lotus powered Brabham at 178.240.
We attempted to get in a third run for everyone but ran out of time with about 1/2 of the field making one more run as the day drew to a close. Rain was in the forecast and threatened but never materialized. The clouds grew heavier as the day progressed with heavy dew making its presence felt as the last of the clean up crew volunteers were leaving the mountain after dark around 8:00 pm. Overall it was a bucket list worthy day for the WCLMers. As participant Eric S. commented, “This event will be talked about for decades!”
The concluding day, Sunday October 23rd, saw our members off with a view of the San Diego Bay, the Coronado Bridge, and the city skyline. After contacting nearly 30 potential sites for our concours, we were thankful to the Port of San Diego for hosting us, on the grass, at Tidelands Park in Coronado. We were also able to have such a beautiful venue because of the support from HethelSport, our title sponsor for the concours.
Volunteers arrived at 7am to help blockade the parking lot for trailers, and mark off the lawn for a picturesque arrangement of our beloved Lotus. Registrants arrived by 9am - some having cleaned their car after the overnight rain shower, others washed on site, or merely left the evidence of the weekend’s adventures on their car as a fond memory.
Voting for four classes of cars occurred: Classic, Neo-Classic, Elise/Exige, and Evora. An amazing lunch was provided by Dang Brother Pizza - who uses 1960s fire engines turned into wood-fired pizza ovens.
The Concours concluded with awards. Don V. won the Classic class with his Lotus 7, Joshua S. won the Neo-Classic class with his Esprit V8, Michael W. won the Elise/Exige class with his Green/Yellow Elise, and Bryan C. won the Evora class with his laser blue Evora. The People’s Choice award, voted by the public, went to Marc G. with his Elise, and the Best in Show award went to Rob B. with his yellow S1 Esprit.
Thank you to everyone who participated, volunteered, and thank you to all of our sponsors. WCLM 2022 was an amazing success because of all of you.
By Kiyoshi Hamai
The 2022 WCLM is over, but the memories will last a lifetime. Some of those memories could be filed in “Out Takes”.
Tom Addresses “LOG West”
We surprised everyone! Thanks to the unrelenting lobbying by Dave Simkin LCU arranged to get an Emira to the WCLM. It all came together a mere week before the start. The WCLM committee decided to stay silent and let the Emira make a surprise appearance. Escorting the Emira was LCU’s Western Regional Sales Manager, Tom Thomas.
We asked Tom to say a few words about the Emira at the WCLM Banquet. Tom stepped to the
mic and greeted the room, “It’s great to be here. This is my first LOG West!” The instant reaction from the crowd of WCLMers was a priceless mix of laughter & friendly boos. Now corrected, Tom apologized for the error and continued.
Why was Tom confused? There were banners everywhere saying, “West Coast Lotus Meet”, it
was on his badge, on the bag he received at registration. During the week leading up to the
WCLM Tom was receiving emails about the meet from Dave. And in every email Dave referred to the meet as “LOG West”. Set-up!! It worked!!!
It’s become a long running gag within Lotus Cars between MD Matt Windle and LCU’s Dave
Simkin. What started 3 years ago at the North American introduction of the Evija in Monterey has endured the pandemic only now is starting to show signs that it’s aging. But, we wanted to keep the gag going one more time and we put a broom in Dave’s hands and asked him to clean up around the staging area of the WCLM Hill Climb.
“Sorry, I’m in Austin…”
I’m standing in the Hill Climb staging area. Our guest speaker and 3-time Pikes Peak Champion, Robin Shute comes up, shows me his phone and asks, “Can I tell this guy to join us?” I look at this phone and see a DM, “I wish I’d known; I would have brought the Radford. Next time.”
Nothing unusual, until I looked at the sender, “Jenson Button”. Yes, that Jenson Button, World
Champion Jenson Button!!!
“Of course, he’s welcome!”
Robin responded and within a minute, Jenson replies that he’s in Austin doing TV commentary for the US GP.
WOW! We almost had JB at the WCLM Hill Climb.