Mike Ladden of Drive the Globe shot this awesome video!
Muddy Chef Challenge 2016
On a damp July morning, a large convoy of Ferraris drove slowly in a circle around an encampment of Land Rovers. As Green Oval enthusiasts ogled the Ferraris, Prancing Horse aficionados stared at the Land Rovers. Weirder things have happened, but not many.
At first I attributed this alternative universe moment to the presence of the free beer from the Branford, CT, Stony Creek Brewery, free rum from the Newport, RI, Thomas Tew Distillery and free cocktails from the 13th St. Cocktail Catering. Even the restorative powers of the free Cide Road Switchel didn’t change the oddity of this moment.
This added to the sounds, sights and smells provided by the Muddy Chef Challenge, held July 28-31, in Lakeville, CT, the home of the famous Lime Rock sports car race track. Nestled in the stunning countryside of the state’s northwest corner, the track hosted the Ferrari Challenge race series that weekend. The howl of tightly wound-up engines mixed with the growl of Land Rover’s pushrod V-8’s and ticking pushrods of the venerable 2.25 L four cylinder to provide an aural symphony every morning; the noise also helped shake off the effects of the free drinks.
Eric Yohe created this unique experience eight years ago, a heady cocktail mixing Land Rover models of all vintages with foodies, extreme grillers, campers and off-roaders. Eric and his team also brought in vendors with enticing products and services, and not surprisingly, you find something to please most everyone. A terrific group of volunteers, including Kristen Feeney, Gene Schubert and Peter Batenaro, among others, helped smooth out the bumps resulting from the rainy weather and large turnout. Raffle income would go to the designated charity, Autism Speaks.
Most everyone in attendance had come from CT or bordering states like NY and MA—and there were a lot of them. Registrations ran well over 100 and hundreds more enthusiasts formed some 90 culinary teams. Rovers North’s Rob Smith drove down from VT in his’ ‘94 Defender and enjoyed “the sports cars racing, meeting Rovers North customers, meeting new enthusiasts and the mix of vehicles.” Michael Ladden, Hampden, MA and Carrie Touchette erected a tent large enough for a circus and for unfurling an old “West Connecticut Land Rover Club” banner (with a Yorkie for a guard dog). John Vallerand, Greene, ME, made another one of his epic drives in his Series II-A 88”. This time he packed the Rover with the largest teepee tent I’d ever seen, as well as his mother and sister. Somehow he found room for his signature cooling utensil, a round griddle the size of a manhole cover.
In comparison, my tent was the size of a beach towel which barely covered my sleeping bag and slender air mattress, but only if I lay them out diagonally. My drive from my island town in Maine totaled 7.5 hours, which included a 1.5 hour ferry trip and the muggiest, hottest, most congested drive imaginable along the interstates in Massachusetts (#nomoresummertravel).
I arrived at the fabled race track on a Thursday night, found my assigned camp spot and erected my tiny L.L. Bean tent. I also set up my tiny, two burner camp stove, small cooler bag and diminutive water jug, my one fork and spoon, ready to show off my culinary talents. By that evening a steady stream of Range Rovers, Discoverys and Defenders had emptied out their contents of Tent Mahals, grills the size of kitchen stoves, coolers that rivaled dumpsters in size—and an assortment of tables, chairs, vases, cutlery and linens that accompanied their equipment. All this glamping made me feel like a desert nomad marveling at the encampment of a sheik and his entourage.
Mike Chioffe, Stamford, CT works in IT for a hedge fund, but his escape comes in the form of a ‘95 Range Rover Classic, into which he’s put a considerable amount of sweat equity and overseen some restorative work. Mike’s tent and camp kitchen made mine look like pet’s quarters, but could barely compare with the Big Box Store footprint of Keri and Kieran Dunn from Norwalk, CT. Keri, who works for Vineyard Vines, and Kieran, who works for Pitney-Bowes, have owned their ‘02 P38 Range Rover for just a year; Keri calls it “one classy car.” The daily driver disgorged a tent so large you could stand up in it, complete with an inflatable, full sized double bed. A folding table enabled them to set up their propane-fueled baking oven as well as serve drinks in a refined manner. Durbin Hunter and Haleigh Lipnick, also from Stamford, brought an enormous tent, several propane tanks to fuel their cookstove and with cookware of restaurant quality. For grins they brought along a Golden Retriever with a proper name of Wellington—but who only answered to Mr. Pickles—that entertained every kid in the encampment. Adam and Rebecca Check, Bolton, MA, former winners at the event, created a movie set field kitchen behind their Range Rover that simply dazzled; I slid over every so often to see if I could mooch additional samples of their cooking.
You could off-road during the day, with extreme trails a long ride away in MA. Across the hills lay Dutchess County, NY, with its own quaint villages, hillside gentleman farms and country roads. It’s also the home of the Orvis Sandanona Shooting School with its own off-road trails, and Crown Maple Farms, on whose property you could also go off-roading on forest trails. Both required about a 45-minute drive and some long waits on the trails, but in the beautiful landscape, whining about it seemed ridiculous. Besides, the Orvis lodge combined stunning rifles and gear with private club levels of leather chairs, drink and food, which Tim Smith, Norwalk, CT and I enjoyed enormously. Crown Maple Farms’ buildings hid their production inside handsome barns featuring tours, free samples and outdoor dining. Each day’s off-roading also featured an “Iron Chef” competition for those challenged to cook on the fly.
If you tired of the culinary world you could enjoy the Land Rovers surrounding you. Manny Backman, Warrington, PA, and his son, Kevin, Titusville, NJ, arrived in their ‘04 Discovery II. Kevin works for Major League Baseball and takes his ‘67 Series II-A to the train station. Nancy and Vincent Chong, Chappaqua, NY, found their ‘85 Land Rover 110 on Ebay and had it shipped from Florida to New York. They painted it themselves using a roller brush and treated it to a personalized plate that reads “CLIFF4D,” as in Big Red Dog. Professional race car driver Mark Hamilton Peters, Lakeville, CT and Sophie Purdy, Sharon, MA, enjoyed the day in a ‘64 Series II-A 109”, a former NATO Belgian military vehicle with a glorious patina. Bill Schimkowski, Westborough, MA, brought his restored Sage Green ‘61 Series II-A 88”; it reminded me how nice mine would look if I would stop using it for work. Bill let me drive his and demonstrate some of its off-road capabilities.
Pediatrician Lin-Lin Remenar, her husband, David, and children Van, Jude and Sydney, arrived in their ’88 and ‘95 Range Rovers. She noted that the Land Rover people they’ve met come from “all walks of life.” “Land Rover owners love leads to passion, which we need more of!” She admitted to some nerves when first off-roading, but said it had become “amazingly addictive!”
During one afternoon event Will Hedrick gave a presentation on his efforts to help enthusiasts hold onto their imported Defenders. Throughout the event the UK firm Arkonik presented their refurbished Defenders to excite the gathering. Founder Andy Hayes has spent several years searching out 25-year-old Land Rovers for importation to the US. He calls them “pieces of history, designed brilliantly and refurbished as such.” He seeks to have them leave his shop “better than they were in the day.” Most are from Continental countries so they can be LHD for the American market. For legal importation, the 90/110’s and Defenders must leave with their original engines; for now, that means 3.5 V-8’s or 2.5 L petrol or diesels. The handsome paint jobs and custom seats (one of which would not lift to access the underseat battery) made them look even more striking and certainly added to the joy of the test drives/rides offered generously throughout the event. Client Communications Manager Jasmin Clinton spoke of the many efforts made to educate Americans unfamiliar with these models—and also enjoyed her first ever trip to the US. Prestige Motors of New Jersey works with Arkonik on US sales and became a sponsor of the event.
The “Challenge” part of the Muddy Chef Challenge kept the judges exhausted. Jim and Robert Wollschlager, of Mystic, CT and Omaha, NE, respectively, won the Team Spirit Award with their twin Series Land Rovers. Lars Vigen, Madison, CT, won the Best Campsite award due to the weekend edition of a stuffed coyote [don’t ask]. The culinary competition categories included dessert, appetizers and entrees. You earned extra points for using locally-sourced ingredients (I learned that purchases made at a nearby grocery store didn’t count), in addition to numerous other considerations. Terry Jackson, Lewiston, ME, brought his winning ingredients in his ‘11 LR4. They combined to create “sashimi tuna with a soy, sesame oil and Hillrock Distillery Bourbon glaze, on a mango and roasted corn salsa bed.” Oh—no wonder my stuffed mushrooms failed to garner an award.
By Jeffrey Aronson
Photography: Jeffrey Aronson, Aimee Almstead
Join Arkonik and The Muddy Chef Challenge crew for an afternoon of Polo. This is the sixth annual Gold’s Dragoons Polo Cup match. Watch Gold’s Dragoons battle Squadron A. Come early so we can park alongside each other and tailgate in style! Pack your Yeti coolers and grab your pop-up canopy, lunch baskets, and head out for an amazing afternoon of polo.
The match is held at the Fairfield Hunt Club. Located at 174 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880. Tailgating starts at 1:00 and match play begins at 3:00. Prizes are awarded for the best ladies hat and the best tailgate. As this is a Muddy Chef Challenge affiliated event, the price of admission is – FREE!
Don’t want to pack a lunch or cooler? No worries, you can buy drinks and a catered lunch at the club. The lunch is $25.00 for adults and $15.00 for kids.
Land Rover stopped manufacturing the Defender on January 29, 2016. After being produced in various forms for the past 68 years, the iconic Defender – the quintessential safari vehicle is no more. What’s a US based enthusiast to do? Have you seen the prices on e-bay? Huge sums for Defenders in a wide variety of conditions – from rusted out hulks to “brand new” models of dubious legal status. We’re talking serious risk and serious money. What can a potential buyer do to find and purchase the Defender of their dreams? Have one custom made. Your color, your options, your ideas, your dreams. Arkonik is dedicated to creating the finest Land Rover Defenders in the world. 100% legal for import to the United States.
Visit with Tom Maxwell of Arkonik at the polo match to learn more (and perhaps take a test drive) in one of their bespoke Land Rover Defenders.
Meguiar’s® Celebrates More Than 110 Years of Polishing the World’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Passion Still Remains Strong to be “The Surface Care Specialists”
What began a century ago as a simple furniture polish laboratory and plant in the garage of founder Frank Meguiar, Jr., now spans the globe as an international car care brand. Celebrating its 110th anniversary in 2011, Meguiar’s®Inc. has become one of the world’s leading surface care product companies, providing highly specialized products for almost every conceivable type of surface.
The difference for the Meguiar’s® brand has been the inborn passion for what we do; it fuels the driving force that moves us forward and exhilarates us every day. We view the company as much more than a business or an opportunity to make money; Meguiar’sproducts are a way to provide car crazy enthusiasts an opportunity to express their utmost pride with their vehicle and overall passion for the car hobby.
In his wildest dreams, it’s doubtful that in 1901 Frank Meguiar, Jr., could have foreseen what his first bottle of furniture polish would evolve into over the next 110 years. When Meguiar first began, he made one bottle of polish at a time using an eggbeater. Eventually, he was able to produce enough products at night, to fill the orders he would generate the next day and pay for the family’s groceries.
The arrival of the first horseless carriages turned Frank Meguiar’s attention to the automobile. Made out of wood, they were initially coated with the same finishes that were applied to furniture. It was an easy transition that set the course for the company’s preeminence in the car wax business today.
From his first bottle of furniture polish, Frank Meguiar, Jr. was steadfastly determined never to sell a product unless he was convinced it was the very best of its kind on the market. To this day, the company follows that dictate and, as a result, has generated millions of enthusiastic users around the world. We describe our customers as “raving fans.”
When Frank Meguiar, Jr. passed away in 1950, his three sons, who were his business partners, took the company to the next level. Maurice, the oldest, was the sales manager. Next came Malcolm, who shared his dad’s love for formulating and created most of the products that the company offered, some of which are still marketed today, including Meguiar’s Cleaner Wax, which is still one of the best selling liquid car waxes in America. The youngest of the three brothers, Kenneth, was in charge of production. It was the perfect partnership and through their hard work and leadership the company thrived through its second generation.
In the early years,
Meguiar’sMirror Glaze polishes and waxes, intended for professional use, were primarily used by car manufacturers, car dealers, body shops and detailers. Most custom painters polished their customer’s automobiles with Meguiar’sproducts, so the majority of cars put on display in car shows reflected finishes achieved with the use of Meguiar’s professional-line products. As car shows became prevalent in the 60’s, those attending began to recognize that the use of Meguiar’s polishes was the key to create brilliant, high-gloss finishes. Growing numbers of people began pressuring retailers to stock Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze products. Compelled by the demands of these enthusiastic fans, the family formally introduced its Meguiar’s brand of consumer automotive products in 1973, headed by current President of Meguiar’s Inc. Barry Meguiar, the son of Malcolm Meguiar. Fast forward to today, the Meguiar’s line of products still saturate the consumer marketplace, offering car care solutions for the hobbyist and the do-it-yourself lover alike.
From its inception, Meguiar’s has been an active participant in the collector car hobby. Barry Meguiar explains, “We are car guys who happen to be in the car wax business. The ultimate experience for us comes when our two passions merge in the exhilaration of “Best of Show” winners who regularly use our products.”
Meguiar’s sponsors and staffs more than 100 car show events across the country and around the world each year featuring every type of collector car from hot rods and muscle cars to exotic sports cars and vintage classics. In addition, the company supports more than 3,500 car club events every year. At almost every car show and automotive museum in the country, you will find an abundance of Meguiar’s products proudly used to maintain and showcase prized automobiles.
Meguiar’s love for the collector car hobby is also expressed on the country’s airwaves. Barry Meguiar hosts Car Crazy radio and Car Crazy television on the Velocity Channel, providing listeners and viewers from around the world with an insider’s look at icons of the collector car hobby.
WEDNESDAY July 27, 2016
Staff arrives, headquarters tents are setup, banners, flags and signage erected, assorted pre-event activities (vehicle placement, radio setup, media room setup, welcome bags, computer technology, registration, fire pits, etc.). All vehicles should be on site on this day. Vendor Village spots assigned and marked.
THURSDAY July 28, 2016
10:00 – Gates open, registration begins, participants arrive. All staff will already be on site. Campers and vendors’ setup – this will take most of the day.
1:00 – 3:00 Driver Training and Technical Sessions (not presentations)
3:00 – 4:00 Tour of Lime Rock Park and Track Laps (Land Rover SVR and Jaguars)
5:00 – 6:00 Arkonik presentation in Orange Tent
6:00 – 7:00 Complimentary BBQ in Green Tent
7:00 – close Vendor Village opens
8:00 – 9:00 Will Hedrick “Defender of Defenders” presentation Orange Tent
9:00 – 13th Street Cocktails will open the bar, bonfires, cigars, etc.
FRIDAY July 29, 2016
6:00 – Expert off-road trip departure – Ma Bell, Northampton, MA
7:00 – Coffee with Staff
9:00 – Duct Tape Genius Contest. Participants divide into teams
10:00 – Depart for Orvis Sandanona and other off-road destinations
2:00 – 3:00 All groups back at LRP to change into cocktail attire
3:00 – Depart for Hillrock Estate and The IRON Muddy Chef Challenge
4:00 – Contestants setup for the IRON Muddy Chef, attendees tour distillery,
5:00 – 6:00 IRON Muddy Chef Challenge begins
6:00 – Judging and Prizes
7:00 – Depart for LRP (dinner is on you own)
9:00 – 13th Street Cocktails – open bar, cigars, bonfires
SATURDAY July 30, 2016
6:00 – Expert off-road trip departure – Old Florida Road, North Adams, MA
7:00 – Coffee with Staff
9:30- Depart for Crown Maple/Madava Estate for Off-Roading
12:00 – Lunch on your own or can be bought at Crown Maple
3:00 – Return to Lime Rock Park
4:00 – 7:00 Muddy Chef Challenge begins
8:00 – Charity raffle ends
8:01 – 13th Street Cocktails – open bar, cigars, bonfires
July 31, 2016
9:00 – “Recovery” – Coffee with Staff
10:00 – Muddy Chef Awards and Prizes and Raffle Winner Announcement
11:00 – The famous parade lap around Lime Rock Park!
12:00 – Departures
If Land Rover made an aircraft would you fly in it? Why/Why Not?
My dream plane is a Grumman Albatross, which is a 1950s/60s era amphibious “flying boat”, probably the closest comparable plane to a Land Rover from an aesthetic and reliability standpoint, so yes I would fly in it, but given my track record, my wife would kill me before it could.
Tell us a little about your background, your career, and where you live.
After graduating from Dickinson College in 2006, I moved to NYC where I worked as an Insurance Underwriter focused on Private Equity and Venture Capital. After 6 years as an underwriter, I moved to the Brokerage side and joined Bullen Insurance Group in 2012. I recently moved back to my childhood town of Locust Valley NY on the North Shore of Long Island.
Can you tell us a bit about your company?
Bullen is a boutique brokerage that for over 100 years has specialized in providing creative insurance solutions for affluent families. With this specialty we are exposed to many beautiful homes and collections, but my favorite component is working with our Collector Car enthusiasts. From vintage Land Rovers, to some of the rarest vintage Ferrari’s in the world, each car and the story that comes with it is a unique and exciting experience.
How many Land Rovers have you owned and which was your favorite?
When we moved out of the city, I purchased a 1995 Defender 90. It had been my dream car since early childhood.
What’s the best thing about owning a Land Rover?
Aside from the joy that comes from driving my dream car, the comradely of owners is unique. I always enjoy meeting another owner and comparing notes. Seeing my two-year son turn into an enthusiast is pretty high up there as well.
What’s the worst thing about owning a Land Rover?
That my dad’s mechanic was correct when I first looked at one with him 15 years ago, they break all the time and aren’t cheap to fix!
What upgrades/modifications does your Land Rover have?
By forced choice, replaced 3.9L with 4.6L, new trans, brakes, shocks, hoses, wiring etc. Shout out to Chris Viola, Rovertek, for saving my ass on new engines and repairs, without you I would have had to sell my 90 for scrap
If you were on safari which three (living or dead or fictional) people would you pick to bring along?
My grandfather would be my first pick. He spent many years in Africa and had a concession in Botswana. He was an ace shot and had an amazing game room filled with heads and other collections and images from Africa. Hemingway is a tough one to pass up as a second, and of course my travel partner and wife as the third!