Community. We all know what it means. We've all been involved in some form of community activity or another. In a word - it's what TT-West is all about. The fourth annual TT-West was held in Carmel/Monterey California this year on October 21 - 24. As with the three previous west coast events, was extremely well organized and offered a wide variety of activities for the 80 plus attendees. Gina Castle and company spent countless hours sweating the details and it was evident throughout the event. While the Audi TT is the centerpiece of the event, it is as much about the people that own them as it is about the car. TT owners from as far away as Alaska and New Jersey flew in to partake in the festivities - leaving their TT's resting at home. One crazy canuck drove all the way from Alberta Canada to join the party. Some came for the entire event, others for just a day or two. One thing is for certain everyone had a great time.
The three-day event began with a "Crack of Dawn" drive down the Pacific Coast Highway from Carmel to just beyond Big Sur, a spirited drive down one of the most scenic as well as challenging roads in the region. The drive was lead by two white Porsche GT3's, one of which was driven by a former TT owner. Did I mention that this event is about the people? Later that afternoon, the a majority of the group took a more leisurely cruise along the famous 17 mile drive in Carmel - in anticipation of the "Casual Concours" event which was held later that afternoon. Other attendees sampled the wide variety of activities in the area including the shops in Carmel, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the some of the local wineries.
As advertised, the concours was an informal event and included such categories as cleanest car (not socially speaking), dirtiest car (not socially speaking), best modified, best sound system and best trunkmonkey/mascot. It's probably a good idea that I don't try and explain why some owners had stuffed monkeys with Mechanix gloves on their TT's. Everyone had an opportunity to cast their vote and the results were announced during the dinner event held at Baja Cantina in Carmel Valley. Ray Tatyrek from West Linn, Oregon walked away with cleanest car honors for his immaculate Brilliant Red 3.2 DSG Coupe. Jay Comendador from Pleasanton, CA and his incredible Moro Blue Roadster took home the prizes in both the best stereo and best modification category. With no less than four video screens, a Sony Play Station, multiple subwoofers and amps - no other car really came close. The honor, or should I say dishonor, of dirtiest car went to Tim Troutman from Tucson, AZ and his filthy (not socially speaking) Desert Green Roadster. John Zuberbuehler from Portland, Oregon took the prize for best trunkmonkey/mascot and last but not least, Dick Stock from Fairbanks, Alaska won the best rental with a Jaguar Type S.
The third and final day was the highlight of the event with the now famous TT-West drive through the Carmel and Salinas Valley's. Nick Kasenberger from Revo Technik along with David Sarabi from Eurocode Tuning, both event sponsors, were on hand prior to the drive and provided quick ECU flashing of their tuning software for some lucky owners. The roads offered plenty of demanding twists and turns and some outstanding views of the two valleys. After a brief break, the gang headed off to Laguna Seca Raceway for the traditional group photo.
The event concluded with a dinner at the Carmel Mission Inn, which also featured the raffle of all the great prizes provided by the events sponsors. To make sure everyone was well taken care of, Butts Motors Audi dealership of Seaside hosted the bar for the evening. Raffle prizes included a $500 gift certificate from Ronal Wheels, numerous pairs of Mechanix gloves and duffle bags, ECU flashing from Revo, Forge DV's from Eurocode Tuning, a TTDA intake from Modshack Tuned, a complete set of 18" Ace Zeus wheels, speakers and subwoofers from MBQuart, incredible carbon fiber and lighting products from OSIRdesign, gift certificates from TTStuff.com and many others. One unique prize was a poster depicting one of the Auto Union Silver Arrows in the famous Laguna Seca Corkscrew during the 1999 Historic Races where Audi was the featured marquee. The poster was signed by Michael Galati and Randy Probst, drivers for the Audi Certified Champion RS6 team which captured the Manufactures championship in the SPEED World Challenge GT Series, which concluded the week before at Laguna Seca Raceway. In fact, the sponsors were so generous that no one left empty handed, and in fact additional raffle tickets were handed out so that all the raffle prizes could find a home.
As the evening wound down and the crowd dispersed and people said their goodbyes, you couldn't help but feel that those who were attending their first TT-West were warmly welcomed into this community of TT enthusiasts.