Miatas at Mazda Raceway has been an annual gathering of the MX-5 faithful for several years now; but in 2014 it takes on special significance for the 25th anniversary of Mazda’s sports car.
Rick Weldon started the event after Mazda announced the 20th birthday party at Texas World Speedway. Centrally located, the track made sense to host a nationwide gathering; but Weldon pointed out that the biggest concentration of Miatas is in California, and there is that whole home-track thing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“Miatas at Mazda Raceway has been an annual gathering of Miatas, with a lot of stuff that attracts not only people who want to do track days, but people who want to learn to drive on the track,” says Weldon, who now makes his home in New Zealand. “We’ve had people from Brazil that rent a car in Los Angeles and drive up, a couple that come from Newfoundland. This year they’re going to drive their NA Miata to the event. There’s a whole group that wants to caravan from Canada.”
Of course, this year’s event on Sept. 6-7 is intended to be bigger and better. While each year features the track driving sessions and Miata-related vendors, this year will feature a few unique elements.
“We want to do the Guinness World Record for longest parade and largest gathering of Miatas. We also want to reach the Spec Miata community and plan an exhibition race on Sunday, a 15 minute practice with a 30-minute race in the afternoon. We want people to see what good, tight racing can be with Spec Miatas,” Weldon says.
The downside to the 25th anniversary of the Miata’s introduction at the Chicago Auto Show is that the event has proven extremely popular – the best track spots sold out in 15 minutes, and all the track sessions were gone within 36 hours. Still, there will be plenty of things for Miata owners to participate in.
“At 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, we’ll start staging at a local university and start rolling at 7:30. We’ll enter through the South Boundary Road and do a victory lap of the track. We’re going for a thousand cars; the Guinness record is 687. Also on Saturday morning we’ll have three open discussion groups. Derek Jenkins will talk about design. We’ll also have an engineer and someone to talk about the racing aspects. Saturday evening we’ll have a barbecue in the lakebed areas and a movie.”
All that will follow a car show on Friday afternoon and barbecue Friday night at the host hotel, the Embassy Suites in Seaside.
For more information, see www.miatasatmazdaraceway.com.