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SevenStock X Wrap-Up - MazdaNews.com
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SevenStock X Wrap-Up
Submitted by Dan Mazzella on Saturday, September 29, 2007 - 11:45Old School

Rotary Nirvana. RX-7 Heaven. The Best Yet. SevenStock X was the place to be last weekend if you even remotely consider yourself a Rotorhead. The event started 10 years ago as a little BBQ, the first large get together of the SoCal RX-7 club. Since 1997, many things have changed. The club exploded in membership, changed their name to SoCal RX Club, and they turned the yearly little BBQ to the largest Rotary Event in the WORLD! Not only was this a special anniversary of the event, but it is also a special anniversary of the Rotary Engine at Mazda. In 1967, the rotary powered Mazda Cosmo 110s was introduced to the world. 40 years later, the rotary revolution is going strong, and SevenStock marked the dual anniversary in a spectacular way, with the theme centered on rotary heritage.

The weekend started out on Friday night with a meet and greet at K1 Speed Indoor Race Track. Guests from around the globe raced locals and special Mazda guests in an event to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). One of the highlights of the evening was "Koby" Kobayakawa winning his heat hands-down.

But unknown to most, a special invite only event went on across town. Earlier this year, one of the five Mazda Cosmos in North America was horribly damaged in transit for an event in Mexico. The Cosmo was "fixed" before it returned to the US, but more damage was done by the mechanics than was fixed. Once Mazda saw the car back in the US, they knew some special attention was needed. After some connections were made in Japan, the help of the Mazda Cosmo Sports Club was enlisted, as well as Glen Roberts from Arizona, an old school rotary restoration expert. Thus the SOS International Cosmo Sport Rescue Team was born. A list was made of all the parts needed, and every single part was DONATED by the good folks in the Cosmo club from Japan. Glen received all the parts, and was able to get the car together fast enough for it to be driven 540 miles from Irvine to the Monterey Historic Races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in mid August.

The Friday night special invite only event was to thank the members of the Cosmo Club and Glen with a super exclusive pre-event at Mazda R&D. A presentation was done, showing photos of the car before and after the restoration. Award trophies were given to the entire SOS Cosmo Sport Rescue Team. Then with special guest Hiroshi Yamamoto, he gave an in-depth speech on the early motor sports development at Mazda. The evening concluded with a 40th anniversary "Rotary Cake"

Dawn the next day... cars begun showing up at the staging area before sun-up. Saturday was the big event: the SevenStock car show. Rain threatened to ruin the event, but it did not dampen any of the enthusiasm the Rotorheads had for their cars. The logistics of this year was much improved, the staging area was cleared out 40 minutes after the gates to the car show opened at 9am. The weather cleared up around 10am, just in time for the big entrance parade. Not only were the old-school Cosmo 110s to be featured at SevenStock X, but the very-very new school Mazda Kabura concept made an appearance. The crowd ooh-ed and aah-ed at the concept, the Cosmos, and the race cars in the parade.

SevenStock spokesman Berny Herrera introduced Mazda President Jim O'Sullivan, who welcomed the large crowd to the event. He went on to introduce the special guests in attendance. The climax of the event kickoff presentation was the introduction of Franz von Holzhausen, the lead designer of the Kabura. What happened next was an exchange between the crowd and Franz about the fate of the Kabura… Would it be built? Would it have a rotary? Franz pointed over to Jim O’Sullivan and said "talk to him!" The crowd yelled out "BUILD IT!" "Make it a Rotary!" "3 Rotor Twin Turbo!" Clearly the crowd outburst made an impression.

The other highlights of the daytime activities included two Tech Session, "Rx8 3-Rotor GT Racing Review" by Sylvain Tremblay from SpeedSource Race & Engineering, and "Looking at the RX8/Renesis from Down Under" by Mark "Hymee" Pickering from Performance Design, Australia. The carshow was in full swing too. After the morning showers, enthusiasts dried off their cars and proudly displayed their rides. The vendor area was packed with many tuned rides, individual after market parts, Rotary and Mazda gear for sale. The daytime events concluded with the world famous raffle, where parts, kits, and supplies were raffled off to the dutiful crowd.

Evening activites started with the SevenStock X Reception and Happy Hour at the DoubleTree Hotel. This popular event was a place where many people who correspond online-only got a chance to meet face to face for the first time. Name tags were handed out, people wrote their real names, and internet handles down. The evening concluded with the banquet. There were multiple presentations, started by the "RX-7 List's" very own David Lane (for President!!). For those long time email-list readers out there, David is just as eloquent speaking as he is with the written word. Then a surprise auction was held for the JDRF. Mike Garcia from Mazda brought in a 792p Carbon Fiber winglet, and two Mazdaspeed-Laguna Seca, 40th Anniversary hoods. The grand total over the last few years raised by SevenStock for the JDRF climbed over the $40,000 mark!

The next presenter was Vice President of Research and Development, Shiro Yoshioka. He spoke about the history of the Mazda Rotary, and the future: "Sustainable zoom zoom… The Hydrogen Rotary Engine is for the future, so the RE is for ever!" Koby-san then introduced the SOS International Cosmo Sport Rescue Team, with 15 Cosmo Sports Car Club members in attendance at the event. Hiroshi Yamamoto then took the stage, and talked about his experiences with Motorsports at Mazda from 1963 through 1973. The then talked about being the testing manager, and finally the manager for the Eunos 3 Rotor Cosmo program. The night concluded with Sylvain Tremblay from SpeedSource, and a video of the season highlights. He went on to thank the crowd for their support this year; he said the support from the Mazda Rotary enthusiasts made all the difference in the difficult times in the season.

So, what was the best part of SevenStock? It differs from person to person. Charlie Martin’s favorite thing about the event is the fact that the cars change from year to year. This year the "race cars, and more old school and 1st gens in years past" were present.

For Portland Oregon resident, and owner of rotaryengineillustrated.com, Blake Qualley it is "establishing the real relationship with people you have read about, emailed with or had phone conversations with." Having dinner with the movers and shakers of the rotary community like Rick Engman and Carlos Lopez were the highlights for Blake.

And finally for RX8Forum member Zoom44, Charlie also from Portland said "seeing the Kabura in person and talking to Franz about it" was his favorite part of SevenStock X. The Kabura was the big draw for many people. Judging by the crowds reaction, the bean counters at Mazda should seriously think twice about not pushing the program through (with a Rotary Engine!).

At one point a few years ago, the future of SevenStock was unsure. But with continuing the success of the event, and the large following, plans for the next SevenStock are already being kicked around. Stay tuned to RotaryNews.com and SevenStock.org for news on SevenStock 11 in 2008!

Support SevenStock! There are over 70 images from Sevenstock 5, 6, and 7. They look great printed in full gloss. You can buy the calendar here!

Photos courtesy of Stephen Chiang: StephenChiang.com

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subject:
David Lane's comments at the Banquet
author:
date:
Sat, 09/29/2007 - 11:50
I had the pleasure of opening the presentations at the Sevenstock 10
banquet on Saturday, September 22nd. It was an honor to express my
thoughts to friends and heros present. Several people suggested
creating a version of the presentation for distribution on the
internet. Here it is.

David Lane
1985 GSL-SE
Cartech Turbo
----------------------------------------------------------


We are here tonight for various reasons--good, rational reasons for
some of us, but I'm thinking that for MOST of us the reasons would be
hard to explain to others. I'm not an automotive professional of any
sort. I'm just a clarinet player. Yet it was....somehow...important
for me to be with you today. The reason we get together, of course,
is that we own GREAT cars. Mine is a 1985 RX-7. I've owned it since
new.

And that's what I want to talk about. Great Cars.

Collectors might tell us that a great car is one that is rare and
gains value over time. Collectors don't want to drive their great
cars very much. It decreases the value, and makes them dusty.
Collector cars are not the sort of cars I'm talking about. Their
greatness typically resides in a motionless state--stationary on the
grass at Pebble Beach, or on the auction block.

Exotic cars are not always great cars.
Costly, yes.
Relatively rare, yes.
Fun to drive?........Sometimes.
Practical for us average types? Hardly. Even if we could squeeze
the money together to buy one, we'd never be able to deal with the
upkeep.

Some might tell us that a great car requires the kind of power that
results in instant immortality when the accelerator is pressed.

Two words: Bugeye Sprite.

So, What makes the kind of cars you and I drive GREAT cars.

Great cars were meant to be driven every day. There is no other way
an owner can truly bond with a machine.

Great cars are visual candy. How many of you turn back to look at
your car when you get just the right distance away? Research tells
us that when a male sees a beautiful female, the physiological
reaction is similar to the one a woman gets when she takes a bite of
chocolate. That explains a lot of things, but certainly looking at a
beautiful car is a pleasure of its own. After all, that's what we
have been doing all afternoon. At least looking at cars won't make
you fat, or get you fired for creating a hostile environment in the
work place.

Great cars create great memories. Certainly we all have our favorite
car stories--whether from the track, the street, or an event like
this one. But more than that, a great car creates memories in others.
I can't bring my 1st gen to an autocross without people stopping by:

"My Dad owned one of those."

"I had an Aunt who drove a car like that to work every day."

"I had 1983 RX-7. I beat the living hell outa that car for 70
thousand miles, and it never gave me a lick of trouble"

And--I knew it was going to happen eventually: "That's an RX-7? I
didn't KNOW Mazda made an RX-7 that looked like that."

I was putting gas in the car last week, when a fellow came up behind
me and started to stare. All he said was: "Rotary!" I nodded my
head, and asked if he had owned one. "Not me," he replied. "My
brother." I asked if he had a "pet car" in his past, and he had. A
BMW 2002. Another great car.

Great cars are totally involving. Every sense is heightened when you
are driving a great car--even if you are just moving the thing from
one parking space to another. There are no words for this, but Mazda
got it right when the little kid, who looked like one of the
Munsters, whispered, "zoom zoom."

It's that quality in a car that makes you want to take the long way
home.

It's what makes you look at a twisty road, and wonder what would
happen if you tried it just a little bit differently this time.

A great car doesn't demand. It just wants to play.

There are highly capable cars out there that are simply too reserved
to get excited about anything. You know the ones I mean--expensive,
usually German, stylish, and capable of mighty feats. But most lack
the spirit Mazda captures. It's a happy puppy thing, responding to
every move you make. "Come on! Let's go for a ride!"

Great cars beget other great cars. It's what happens when people
like you and me take one of Mazda's great cars, and make it our own.
The results are, well, unpredictable, but as we all know, delightful.

..... which brings up the next item:

Great cars are not perfect cars.
They are simply the cars worth fixing and worrying about.

Great Cars change lives. In 1967 I bought a Lotus Elan, and someone
said: "Why not autocross it?" Three years later, my Mom was watching
me get totally lost in a sea of cones when she struck up a
conversation with a fellow enthusiast. She ended up marrying the
gentleman.

In 1985 I bought the RX-7. A year later I put one of Corky Bell's
turbo kits on it--just to get even with the 5-liter Mustangs of the
day. And here I am....

People thought I was nuts when I bought the Elan, and people thought
I was nuts when I put the turbo on the RX-7.

They were right.

But sometimes you just have to do something quirky......and it can
change your life.

Great Cars don't just happen. They come from great people.
Great cars do not come from committees.
They do not come from bean counters.
They do not come from car companies that always play it safe.

Great cars come from people of vision and passion. And in the hands
of nut-balls like us, they morph into personal expressions of our
dreams and desires.

Okay......and our pocketbooks.

Some of us dream of what would happen if our cars had just fifty more
horsepower. Others dream of racing. At a quarter of a century old,
1st gen RX-7s are STILL being beat to death as Spec-7 racers on
tracks across the country. Can you imagine a Spec-8 racing class in
2028? That's what you can do with a truly great car.

So, here's to the great people at Mazda who dream of great cars and
bring them to market. And here's to the great people who provide us
with what we need to keep them running, and to make them our own.
And here's to the great people who bring us together around the
country--but especially here at Sevenstock.

As a musician, I understand that the most powerful part of being
human comes from our ability to feel; to be passionate; to experience
life more fully. In truth, there are no words for it. But for
people like us, it's about great cars. And to paraphrase my favorite
philosopher--Tom Lehrer: "When there are no words for what you wish
to say, the least you can do is to SHUT UP. And that's exactly what
I'm going to do.
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