We here at mini mania are really excited! The winner of our Arrive & Drive contest is arriving in California. We started our Arrive and Drive contest on June 24th, 2010 and held it until Oct 28th, 2010 In that time we saw a lot of great contestants. So many it took a little over 4 months to narrow it down to a few finalists.
We are happy to announce that Russ Hansen is the Winner.
He has a High Performance Driving Experience (HPDE) to look forward to by Hooked on Driving. Held on a closed road course, with managed passing rules, the HPDE is a full day program where most participants bring their own sporting cars and are allowed to drive them on the course in conjunction with focused instruction, monitoring, and are grouped by ability and experience.
Russ, has great appreciation for motoring starting at a very young age. His Father introduced him to auto racing as a child in Sioux Falls, S. Dakota. He remembers seeing a circle track race car leave the track; over the fence! His appreciation for motoring has turned in to a MINI habit.
Spanning decades, his first exposure to mini's during his time in service overseas in Germany for the US ARMY. Fond memories of a 1976 1275gt, and squealing 3 out of 4 gears, have made it hard for him to shake his affinity for the MINI.
In 2005 He acquired a purple haze 1st generation R53 Mini cooper with touring in mind. On his travels in his MINI he came into contact with people that had the same affliction. They loved their MINI; they shared story, and similar interests.
One of his trips in the summer of 2006 was to the Formula-One races in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, which clocked them a little over 4,000 miles! Which was closely followed by a maintenance interval in Utah, and a well executed "since were there" trip to Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats!
After a year of deliberation, his commitment to MINI's went a little further when he purchased a 1972 MINI pickup from another long time MINI enthusiast. The pickup is currently undergoing a full restoration, and we're looking forward to seeing it.
He is a member of Big Sky Mini's, a MINI car club in Montana, and he participates in a annual event; "Mini's On the Beartooth" a epic rally all the way up to the Beartooth pass, an amazing 10,947ft elevation, Wyoming, Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, and winds back around to Bozeman, Montana. Committed MINI enthusiasts in Montana may even drive up to 4 hours just to get to a meet.
Russ joined the MIOHA tour, and participated across his state, for the celebration of Alaska's 50th year of statehood. Then he headed to Minnesota for the "Mini Meet East Meets West 09" the highlight celebration in the USA. His wife, Betty, even got 3rd in a rally driving their MINI.
He committed himself to MINI again, and purchased a Morris Mini Saloon he saw listed on Mini Mania.com. The vehicle was being sold as part of an estate. The Morris Saloon was recognized by a fellow MINI owner, who remembered it being across the US, who knows how many years ago at another MINI event.
Russ, participated in Mini Meet West 2010 which earned him a photo in MC2 magazine. Although they're in the second biggest state in the US, Russ & Betty are eagerly looking forward to driving one of their Classic MINI's to Mini Meet West 2011, in Lake Tahoe, California.
Thanks to MiniMania for the experience of a lifetime! It was great fun, and a great learning experience. It was more than I could have anticipated. Meeting Don, Dennis, Julie, and John helped make the day really special. Arrive and Drive for Hooked On Driving was fantastic! I call it my Christmas present!