Roadfly

Toys For Tots

Pepper and I at tech for the Powder Puff

Looks like we’ll be out at the last MORE race of the season, the Holiday 200 on December 1.  The race will be a toy drive for Toys for Tots.  Gotta bring an unwrapped race car for a lucky kiddo!  From my understanding the race is 2 short courses of about 20 miles.  They split up the fast cars and the slow cars and you get a few hours on one course and then you switch.  I don’t know if they’ll put 1600 in the fast group or slow group.  We’re kind of slow fast cars.  At any rate, I’m so excited that Pepper Junus has agreed to co-dawg for me. She and I took 1st in class at the Powder Puff in October and we are hoping for a repeat.  Mark Burke will take over for the second course, with a super secret co-dawg. Let’s just say we are working on having the lightest passenger weight possible with his co-driver. I’ve heard Jason Coleman’s co-driver is a midget, and I aim to beat him.

And my week leading up to the race promises to be full of awesome.  I’ll be hanging out at the LA Auto Show for Roadfly.  Word on the street is Porsche will be debuting a new sports car, and since I just got out of a 911 I’m excited to see what it’s all about.  I’ll also get the chance to drive the new Beetle convertible.  But on Friday evening I have to high tail it out of LA to Barstow in time for tech.  If anyone can give me a ride let me know.

This has nothing to do with anything in this post, but I like the pic.

Remember you can still purchase our calendar, featuring some rockin’ female off road drivers.  All proceeds will go to getting us to Morocco for the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles AND help fund mammograms.  How rad is that?

 

 

 


How’d You Get That F*#^ing Awesome Job?

 

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler...and me.

I’ve had a few people email me in the past few weeks asking how I got started working for RoadflyTV.  (For those of you who know me only from racing, click on that link, then come back here.) In these economic times, where people do well in school, have amazing skills, get out and interview, send out resumes, and otherwise beat their heads against a wall and STILL find themselves out of work, I’m almost ashamed to say how I joined Roadfly.

I got lucky.

No joke.  Yes, I have always been into cars. My car of choice is a small, RWD convertible with a manual transmission (save for a brief dalliance with a little Honda del Sol in graduate school) and I’ve always driven off road in some kind of air cooled VW dune buggy or baja bug.

I had been off road racing with my dad for about a year when I met the Roadfly crew.   Jessi had just left to pursue her Ph.D full time and Roadfly was looking to replace her.  I distinctly remember telling Charlie (that’s the boss at Roadfly), “Look, I can’t replace Jessi.  She’s fantastic and people love her.  But I am a high energy personality.  I am funny and quirky and smart.  I’d love to work for you but don’t think I’m going to wear Jessi’s shoes, because they are not going to fit.”

Charlie agreed.  He wanted someone like me, but he understood that my style wouldn’t be for everyone, and I’ll admit I have my haters (I’m thinking of printing up t-shirts that say “I’m a Holla Hater” and if you don’t get that reference go here around 1:05).  But the people who don’t like me love the other host, Ross and those that don’t like the patented Ross Rapoport Style are,  in general, Emme Hall fans.

I was just in the right place at the right time.  But what about those of you who want to have a totally rad job like mine?

  • Network, network, network.  If you’re not on Twitter, get on it.  Follow all the car accounts, comment on them, hell Jalopnik posts about 100 things a day…send them a tip or an idea.
  • Start your own blog.  Write.  About anything related to cars.  You don’t need access to the press fleet to write about cars.  Check out my pal’s blog Cars Aren’t Scary.  He just writes about what moves him, automotive-wise.
  • Find out if any of your local car dealerships have YouTube channels and offer to do walk around reviews for them.
  • Go to the car shows.  Bring your video camera.  Talk to everyone.
  • Join SCCA.  You’ll meet a ton of people who love cars just like you.
  • Practice in front of the camera and review your tapes.  I realized that I have a tendency to talk too fast and that my excitement can come across as downright crazy unless I rein it in.
  • Be nice.  To everyone.  Offer to help when you can.  It will come back to you, I promise.
  • Did I mention network?  I have made countless connections over Twitter, one of which resulted in me getting seat time in their race car.

As with all things in life, you have to figure out what you want to do and then do it.  It sounds simple but of course it’s not.  So here’s another one:  Never, ever, ever, give up.  Ever.

 


PRI and Fun in Florida

Well, in what some may call “crazy” and I refer to as “quirky and charming”, I got back last night at 2:30am after solo driving nearly 1000 miles at one stretch from outside Tampa, FL to DC.  I realized that was my second longest marathon solo car drive, the longest being from Santa Cruz, CA to Glenwood Springs, CO this past summer.  Although I did nap a bit on that 1100 mile drive, so maybe it doesn’t count.  Nah….it counts!

So why was I in Florida?  Not only did I need a road trip, but I wanted to attend the Performance Racing Industry tradeshow in Orlando.  I was able to meet the ladies from Female Racing News,  for whom I have been blogging about the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles.  I also got to meet some of my Twitter pals.  If you’re interested in some great racers who just happen to be female, check out @Shea Racing  @AshleyFreiberg  @Shannon_Mac and @ColleteDavis.
I also shopped around our Team Courage Gazelles sponsorship package and spoke with some suit manufacturers about some design ideas I have for fireproof suits designed specifically for women and off roading.  Not only do our suits need to actually FIT us, but there are specific needs that women have while out in the middle of the desert that men just don’t have to deal with.  I also got re-acquainted with someone I thought I had totally blown it with, so all in all I’d say it was a very successful weekend.
And if you’re a fan of my reviews where I embarrass myself with dorky accents, check out my review of the 2011 Jaguar XK Convertible.  It was so much fun to drive around for a week…although I’m pretty sure it was the only Jaguar parked outside for that week in all of America.

Video, Video, y Mas Video

Okay, maybe only two videos.  Not a lot to report in my off road racing world.  We are still looking for a 2 seater class 10, 12, or 1600.  Chassis and suspension only is okay.  Shoot me an email if you know of anything.

A few weeks ago I got to test the 2012 Beetle for Roadfly.  The good volks at VW have completely redesigned it:  no more flower vase, no more doinky little tail lights.  It’s much more butch now and tho the turbo takes a second to spool up, once it does the car is a lot of fun.  The full review should be up on Roadfly in a few weeks.

Photo by Andrew Albosta.  He’s kinda good.

 

I’ve had some good cars since I got back from Santa Cruz in August.  The Mustang Boss 302, Audi A6, VW Beetle, and 2012 Jaguar XK Convertible.  I’m hoping to get the new Miata soon and the 2012 Challenger, which I heard will be offered in convertible but no confirmation on that just yet.  A convertible Challenger just might make me change my devotion to 2 seater RWD convertibles.  Might.  Speaking of RWD convertibles, the last autocross of the season was on my birthday, October 23rd.  I ran in the novice class, which means I’m competing against a bunch of different cars, the only thing we have in common is that we are in our first year of competition.  There were M3s, M5s, a Neon, 335i, GTI, among others…a fairly big cross section.  I got a PAX time of 41.889 and first place was 37.608 in a (I’m not making this up…it’s what the results sheet says) 2011 Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Black Bat Man.  I have no idea what car it actually was.  But I ran with the C Stock people, which were 2 RX-8s, a 350Z, and a Miata.  Compared with those guys I was 3.5 seconds out of first.  At any rate, here’s video of my best run, with an actual time of 50.288.

And just for fun, I got all Roadfly on our baja bug while out at the Powder Puff.  I didn’t have all the fancy Roadfly equipment, and I recruited my mom’s friend Jane to be my camera gal, but I still think it turned out pretty well.  For the in-car segment, that’s my mom riding shotgun.  That was her first time in the car with me and she only shrieked once!

Things for Gazelles are slowly moving forward.  Michele has been working on getting us classified as a non-profit and I’ve been busy brainstorming possible sponsors.  I will definitely talk to the Moroccan embassy here in DC.  I’m here…I might as well use all the resources I got.


Roadfly Posts 400th Car Review

Roadfly’s first car review was for the 2005 Audi A4, so it was only fitting that our 400th review be an Audi as well: the 2012 A6.  Check out my review below.  It’s over 7 minutes long because we wanted to spend some well deserved time in the interior.  It’s a tech geek’s dream come true!

 

I just got back from the  2012 Subaru Impreza launch.  It was my first press trip for Roadfly so I was a little nervous, but had a great time!  We started in NYC with a presentation about the car, including every. single. piece of tech information you could ever want.  Driving impressions are embargoed until Monday October 3rd, but I can tell you that it’s been totally redesigned to be a bit more angular and they’ve really focused on making the Impreza fuel efficient.  In fact, it gets the best mileage of any AWD car available here in the US.  The car will come in 4 or 5 door models. I’m in love with the hatch, but I got the sedan for my test drive.

I’ve got my first radio interview coming up this Sunday, October 2nd on SOCAL Off Road Radio on KCBQ 1170AM at 7pm PST.  Michele and I, along with Team Courage badass Heather Berger will be chatting with host Dave Stall about Gazelles, next week’s Powder Puff, the Team Courage brand, and our general awesominity.  You can listen live online at www.kcbq.com.

Speaking of Powder Puff, time has run out to donate via my Indie GoGo page,  but we raised almost $2000 for  Cedars-Sinai Breast Cancer Research Center.  It’s not too late to donate, though.  You can go here and donate directly to Cedars-Sinai.

And if you’re in the San Diego area, take a look at my previous post about our fundraiser at Hooters on Monday, October 3rd.

 


Driving for the Dingo

I leave tomorrow evening for VORRA’s inaugural Master Pull USA500 in Reno, Nevada.  We’ll have a day of media, tech and contingency, and I’ll even sneak in a Roadfly review!  Local Motors will be there with their Rally Fighter and if all goes well I’ll get some face time with their Chief Sales Officer and get to drive it around a bit.

I’ll be co-driving or driving about 120 miles total of the 500 mile course for Desert Dingo Racing.  Jim has been an awesome mentor in PR and social media for me.  I’m going to pay him back by showing him how to drive!

 

To be honest, I’m glad the Dingo is ahead in points for the season.  It takes a little bit of pressure off.  We will have six (!) drivers on this race and I want to kick ass.  Just not *too* much ass.  Class 11 is a much slower class than I am used to, and a big challenge for me, besides the usual stay focused mantra, will be to remember that I’m not in a class 5 unlimited.  This race will be slower and rougher than anything I’ve done so far.  Well…almost anything ;)

 

You can follow along if you’re so inclined on the Twitter.  I’m @MMMotorsports and I’ll be using the hashtag #USA500.  I’ll post pics and video as much as I can.

And if you’ve ever wanted to see me in a dress driving what can only be described as one of the oddest production vehicles on the road these days….

 


Funny Hat and Silly Accent

The folks at Roadflydug up some older footage of me testing the 2011 Range Rover out in the mud.  It just proves that I am the textbook example of dork.  An entertaining dork, but dork nonetheless.  Enjoy!


Test Driving the Tesla

Who has two thumbs and got to drive a Tesla around town for two and a half days?  THIS GAL!  This Roadfly reviewing gig is working out quite well.  I’ve been able to drive some boring cars, some expensive cars, some middle of the road cars, but this is the first sexy car I got to drive, and oh what a ride it was.

 

For the uninitiated, the Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport is an all electric supercar.  It will rocket you, and I do mean rocket you, from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds.  And they gave it to ME to drive!   I tried not to think about the $159,150 price tag as I drove around DC.  Instead, I concentrated on the 273 lb/ft of instant torque.  You step on the accelerator and she takes off.  Quick merges are a thing of the past.  Snaking in and out of traffic is a breeze, and beating that Porsche off the line and through the 9th Street tunnel?  Easy.


Photo by Andrew Albosta

It’s highly impractical.  You get 245 miles to a charge, depending on driving style.  I got 175 or so.  If you have a high speed charging station you can get a full charge in 3.5 hours, otherwise charging via 220v, like your dryer outlet, will take about 8 hours.  You can also charge using any old wall socket, but you’ll only get 5 miles of driving for every hour of charging.  The top takes a while to take on and off, there is little cargo space, it practically writes its own speeding tickets, the cup holder is useless, and if I had the money I would have bought my test car that day.

Photo by Andrew Albosta

At the end of Day 2, after having driven around town until 11:30pm, I had a heart to heart with the Tesla.  I told her I loved her, which is funny because A) I’m not gay and B) I really meant it.  I haven’t said those words in a really long time, but it seemed to be the most natural thing to say at that moment.  I love the Tesla.  It is genius.  It is beautiful.  It is the future.

In other news, my interview with Gearbox Magazine was published today.   There are some great pictures and I talk about my experiences off roading in baja and beyond.

Also, the autocross times from last weekend came out.  Due to my multiple DNFs,  I was dead last.  All I can say is, “I’m the best at being the worst!”

 


Minivan Madness

I am quite pleased with this review, so I am publicly saying to myself, “Good job, Emme!”

 


Two Months Til the Mexican 1000

Well, dad has gotten the baja all ready to go for the Mexican 1000.  YAY!  2180cc engine, new tranny, dual 40 mm Dellorto carburetors.  We’ve also got a new tire rack on the back that will fit a front or rear tire, and a roof rack.  Dad has promised pictures soon.  The San Felipe 250 is this weekend.  The gang down in Mexico will be watching from Matomi wash.  I really hope to be able to race in the 250 soon. 

A few pictures for y’all.  I got my mug in the March issue of S & S Off Road.  Here’s a screen shot.

 

And it seems I am now driving around a bit of a Franken-Miata.  I got the SECOND tear in a month in the top of the car.  I had put the top down this morning to bring a dress mannequin to work (don’t ask), and later in the day when I popped it back up…huge tear!  I’ve fixed them both with Shoe Goo.  It’s raining now…I hope it lasts.  The Shoe Goo, not the rain.   I just need to buy myself a few weeks until work slows down.  Then its hello roll bar and brand spanking new top!  

 
 
Oh, and before I forget…my review of the 2011 Subaru Forester should be out this week.  Andrew and I shot my review of the 2011 Kia Sorento last week.  I enjoyed having both of them, but if I were buying, I’d go for the Kia.  I know, surprise, right?  But it had a 6 speed vs the 4 speed of the Forester, and I enjoyed the extra power as well. I was going to get the new Mazda rx-8 for this week, but I’m way too swamped at work.  I’m not happy to be missing out on driving the 232hp rotary engine of the rx-8.  grrrr……

 


NORRA Releases Classes for Mexican 1000

NORRA released the list of classes for this year’s Mexican 1000 and all I can say is…wow.  FIFTEEN classes in the Vintage Division, and five classes in the Evolution Division.  NORRA’s motto is “Honoring the Past-Forging the Future” and they are definitely working their goals.  Looks like Dad and I will be in class 4A :  Non-production two-wheel drive buggy style vehicles raced with two or more occupants pre-1991 with less than 2000cc engines. 

 

Since we’re rebuilding the engine from the blowout before the Powder Puff, we’ll fit right into this class.  We were running a 2180cc with dual Weber carbs, but now we’re down to an 1835cc.  Dad and Jimmy were thinking about only running a single carb, which I definitely don’t like, but I defer to Shook Hawk Performance Engines on the mechanics.  I’ll make sure to kick up a lot of dust either way!

2/9/11 CORRECTION:  We will actually be running in Class 9: pre-1991 baja bugs.  What does this mean?  It means I’m calling Dad and Jimmy and demanding the 2180cc engine goes back in!

In other news, my latest review is up .  It really is amazing how people either love me or hate me.  It’s mostly love, I think.   Sometimes it’s hard to read people’s criticisms, but ain’t no way I can please everybody.  My boss at Roadfly is happy with my style, I’m happy with my style…I guess that’s all I can do.  Haters gonna hate but at the end of the day, I’m the one driving the cars, bitches!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcZK9ekmUIE]

 


First Review is Up and I Look Gooooood

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vto8KBR9kh8]

 

I can’t believe that I’m actually pleased with my first review.  I am usually super hyper critical of myself, and honestly I was afraid to watch this.  I had to have Jenny and Karina on the phone with me before I would watch it.  You know, for moral support.  But I am really happy with it.  I know I’m gushing a bit, but this is a new feeling for me. 

Next up is the 2011 Infinity FX50.  This reviewing gig is pretty damn cool!

 

 


Crazy for Car Reviews

Well, it looks like I’ll be doing some car reviews for RoadflyTV on You Tube.  They are the fourth largest car review site on You Tube and their videos routinely get tens of thousands of hits.  Sweet!  You can check out fellow reviewer Ross Rapaport’s take on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNqbO8shKe8]

 

And while you’re checking out their You Tube channel , why not subscribe and you’ll be emailed  when my review of the 2011 Jetta is up.

You can also check outwww.roadfly.com , the complete automotive resource for buyers, sellers, and owners like you.  And ME!