We love driving events, and given the name of our magazine, that tidbit of truth shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, it's hard to argue that a Camaro is a "performer" if it spends its life posed under a tree or shined up on some fairground's asphalt. Now, to us the performance part doesn't have to be hanging it all out at some road racetrack, or even an innocuous autocross course; it can be as simple as a spirited drive through the countryside. The point is, we like our Camaros to be in motion, and with all the driving-based events popping up, it seems like we're in the majority.
One such event was a fifth-gen cruise hosted by the guys at Camaro5.com. We heard about it at the last minute and decided to go check it out. To our surprise, over 120 new Camaros had made their way to Stillen Performance in Costa Mesa, California. These were our kind of people, and after chatting it up with website moderator Guillermo Garcia Jr., an idea started to coagulate in our craniums.
A few weeks later our intrepid Editor, Nick Licata, called Guillermo to see if he was up for combining forces and putting together a weekend event. It really wasn't surprising that he jumped at the idea and what came together was a plan to have a cruise, but we would twist it up by making the Super Chevy Show in Chandler, Arizona, the destination. This way, the relaxing cruise could be tempered by some track action at the Firebird Raceway dragstrip and autocross track.
What evolved was dubbed the Duel in the Desert: a points-based competition with the final scores accumulated from the fastest times on the dragstrip and autocross. We also gave bonus points for those who participated in the cruise and awarded a few more points based on a show 'n' shine competition. We didn't want to have just fifth-gens, so the competition was broken into two classes: one for the newest generation of Camaros and a separate class for first- through fourth-gens. It was more work than we expected, but thanks to the hard work of Camaro Performers magazine Associate Publisher Joe Rode, Ryan Haas of the Super Chevy Shows, and all the folks at Firebird Raceway, we were able to line up the ducks and kick off our inaugural event in smooth fashion.
We also received great support from our advertisers who kicked in everything from raffle prizes to goodie bag stuffers and big-ticket items to the event winners. The fine folks at Spectre Performance in Ontario, California, offered to host our kickoff spot and supplied trophies, while the fine staff at Baer Brakes in Phoenix, Arizona, volunteered to be the finish line of our cruise through the desert.
In the end, the event went off with nary a hitch, and going by comments of many participants afterwards, everyone had a blast, which was the main goal.
We have a bunch of ideas on how to make next year's event bigger and badder. And rest assured, there will be a next one.