The Final Drive 13.2

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We’ve been incredibly busy working in both garages. One for business and the other for gasoline and steel. With the Fuelfed Founders Group 100 almost full, we felt it’s time to convey what we’ve been up to since summer. We’ll start from the most recent and work backwards chronologically.

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Our long running and often copied The Final Drive (TFD) series is always the driving season closer. 2013 was no different. Our eager TFD13.2 drivers couldn’t have asked for better weather in November to drive the twisties of rural Wisconsin. We had a mix of experienced TFD wheelmen and some new drivers. As is tradition, we met early at the Belvedere oasis for the driver meet and greet. Drivers filled their tanks with cold 93 octane and their bellies with hot 10 oz. caffein.

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We all made our way to New Glarus with local Swiss men Bruno & Dave Rohner leading the way as their father did nearly 40 years earlier. Todd B. of course drove ahead to get his seat at Puempel’s for a few quick Spotted Cows. The New Glarus Hotel was warmly waiting for us with schnitzel & pastetli as we had the entire dining room to ourselves.

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At 1:00 we broke into small run groups and proceeded to drive quickly into the land of no cell service and no road signs. New drivers quickly learned the importance of paper maps as Stage 1 proved quite the cluster.

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The experienced driver group of Don, Tom, Shahin & Todd set the pace and completed Stage 1 in record time without incident. The other groups trickled in at the designated stop. Poor Nick separated from his group and probably drove an extra 50 miles to catch-up. But he and his silver 993 turbo did make it, and the field full of cheering enthusiasts waved him on.

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Gathered and giddy like 5th graders with a new pack of firecrackers, the run groups set out for Stage 2. As we hit the tight & technical section, we were flagged down by Paul R. for help. Oh shit! Who flipped? Thankfully it wasn’t that dramatic, but we had a driver down with a burst radiator hose. Frank’s bad luck with all things automotive continued as his Dinan 540 lost it’s coolant. As air-cooled 911 owners were secretly snickering and donating their water bottles for the cause, it was Nick and his 993 that saved the drive with a donor ISV clamp to reattach the BMW’s slipped hose.

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Stage 2 completed. Drivers were now getting into the groove with their respective groups driving style. Driving notes expressed and pucker moments shared, it was off to attack Stage 3. Stage 3 proved to be the overall favorite with it’s constant elevation changes and sweeping blind curves. With the sun quickly reaching the horizon, some run groups didn’t wait for everyone to arrive at Pat & Greg’s Pour House to recharge. Regardless, everyone knew what they were doing and were excited to be doing it.

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Stage 4 is always a race against darkness. This is always the fastest stage with breathtaking vistas and long high-speed sweepers. Bonus this year was the 20 miles of glass-like fresh asphalt for the first half. Crossing CR 27 starts the downhill sepentine race to Old Man River and the Great River Road. Rumors of one supercharged v8 M3 hitting 160mph on Stage 4 were flying as we gathered for cocktails at the Pocket City Pub in McGregor. It may have been the beer talking, but one driver confessed that TFD13.2 was more challenging and enjoyable than his bucket-list trip to Deals Gap. While others proclaimed TFD is why they don’t need a track fix for the next six months. We’re just glad no one died.

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Steaks, camaraderie & more cocktails culminated at the Barn for dinner. The $2 craft beers, rolling stuffed office chairs and preserved 3 foot tall beavers (don’t ask) always make the Barn a reminder that you are 300 miles from Chicago. After dinner, drivers hit the local taverns in Prairie du Chien. Somehow the beer always tastes better in great company. The after-bar party was held around the indoor pool at the hotel.

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Sunday morning, no one seemed to notice the cigar smell left by the evil Corvette club. Some drivers left early, while others made their way back to McGregor for breakfast under the legendary Mississippi “Crockorat”. Blue skies and warm temps made the long commute back to civilization along the Wisconsin river the perfect finish to a great 2013 driving season.

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