So where to begin? For me, one of the newfound joys of being an official member of the motoring press is being included in annual test days. At it’s core, the concept is that it give writers an opportunity to compare many vehicles back to back under controlled conditions. In reality though, my first visit to the International Motor Press Association’s annual Test Days was much more. Yes, the cars and trucks were the stars, but the chance to network with fellow motoring scribes was priceless.
The event was headquartered at the Split Rock Resort in Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania. Thursdays on road testing took place on the winding roads around the resort, while the off roading took advantage of the ski hills set behind the main lodge. Things moved to Pocono Raceway for day 2, where the trucks gave way to all manner of cars and even the odd SUV for high speed testing on an infield road course that utilized one of the track’s banks for it’s main straight.
Registration was quick and easy and events were well planned so that things flowed well. Food was plentiful, though the cold water did run out too early on off roading day. The pace for both days was relaxed and casual, which allowed for lots of time for participants to renew old ties or in my case meet new ones.
Speaking of new ties, most of the newcomers to IMPA seemed to be from the online world and we gelled quickly. There was little of the animosity I suspected from the traditional print folks. In fact there seemed to be genuine interest from many people as they learned who all these new guys and girls were and what they do. I was somewhat blown away by the number of people who are readers of The Garage and more than a little flattered that these folks were even aware of our existence.
One of the highlights of the event for everyone is the goody bags and prize draws. Oh and what prizes they are! The goody bags must weigh at least a ton and include all sorts of schwag from just about every manufacturer. That bag was cool, but did I mention the prize draws? Thanks to the very generous folks at Lime Rock Park, I’ve won yet another goody bag. This one includes a couple of really Lime Rock shirts and a hat, a poster and an envelope. Inside that envelope was a certificate for two passes to a race at Lime Rock in 2008, including hotel and meals. Very cool!
The timing of the event allowed for a nice early September mini vacation for the kids, one that we are hoping to make again and again over the coming years. It was a great time, and I’m already looking forward to next year.