|November 12, 2005
Event Coverage: H2O International 2005
Ocean City , Md - As they say, eight is great. On September 25, 2005 Club H20 organized their eighth International Volkswagen/Audi show, and it was more than just great. It was nearly perfect.
Project Audi A3 took the long route from Philadelphia to Maryland as we first drove to Ocean City, NJ to attend a wedding – a real wedding, not the ‘Wedding Crashers’ variety – on Friday evening. Back on the road on Saturday morning we had the good luck to meet up with two other A3 owners whose origin was North Jersey. We elected to put all three A3’s on a ferry in Cape May, the southernmost tip of New Jersey.
During the hour long transport (destination: Delaware) we got a not-too-subtle reminder that the security system in the A3 includes a shock sensor. So while we were “enjoying” a post-wedding hangover on a rocking ship (which included a chorus of continuously beeping Audis), hundreds of Audi/VW owners were attending a Reggae Fest and BBQ. This is a traditional pre-game treat held the day before H20.
Our group arrived safely in Maryland. We chose to drive a Nav+ equipped car into town where we entered "Hooters" (an official show sponsor) into the Nav’s search engine. Soon enough we arrived at the restaurant only to learn they had run out of food! This was our fair warning that we would see a good showing at the event the next day.
Only a two mile drive from our host's home, we did not need the Nav to get to Ocean Downs Race Track. This location obviously attracts folks from the nearby metropolises of D.C., New York and Philadelphia. That said many of the vehicles on the lawns featured license plates from as far away as Illinois, Georgia and even Oklahoma.
It was the first weekend of the fall season and Mother Nature awarded Club H20 President Jay Shoup with a beautiful 78 degree sunny day. On this day, however, Jay had much more than the weather for which to be proud. The show was hopping!
There was a total of 468 stock, mild or wild Volkswagen and Audi owners who registered to showcase their cars. The show included over fifty classifications of show cars, a burn-out session, and dyno rack. The "Top Dog" award, given to the overall nicest ride, went to Jeff Shemp (Audi A4). Jeff also was awarded this coveted title two years ago.
The Club H20 event serves as the exclamation point to a very busy calendar for vendors. Tired techs and reps persevered and continued with solid customer service throughout the day. Of course this had nothing to do with the occasional distraction caused by the beautiful, east coast girls in attendance, walking around in bikini tops. But this was a show designed to showcase talented cars. And let us tell you, there was no disappointment in either category.
Speaking of talent, the hard-core DUBAUDI crew made their traditional appearance. This group organized a serious cruise which began Friday evening in Providence, RI with approximately 25 cars. By the time they reached Parsippany, NJ, the figures were closer to 80 rides. The club's founder, "J.J." suffered a cracked manifold on his Jetta. Inspired by MacGyver, they repaired the crack with a JB Weld 2 part epoxy adhesive quick fix. After all, the show must go on....
Justin Bellinzoni of Wilmington, Delaware, drove north to the NJ, just to meet, greet and join the DUBAUDI cruisers on their journey southward. Of course Justin doesn't mind putting miles on his Dolphin Gray 2004 A4. This masterpiece includes several mods. Notables include: Revo performance software, Kerscher body kit, iForged wheels, custom exhaust, and a GT28-RS Turbo. This once stock 170hp 6 speed, is now pushing 400hp.
Of the many other car clubs in attendance, "Edition38" literally went the extra mile to show us how serious they are about cars. This club flew seven members in from the U.K. just to see what the VW/Audi scene is all about here stateside. Club H20 recognized the passion and granted Edition38's wish of choosing their own "Best of the Bunch". A representative from E38 awarded Frank Ibiziano (Mark3 Golf) with an award for building a car that best exemplifies what they do and appreciate in Europe.
Among the beautiful S4s on hand was Ed Lee's Imola Yellow 2005 1/2. Eddie has the luxury of owning a 1.8L 2001 A4 as well, but occasionally drives the S4 to the office in Manhattan. For this reason, he pulled out all the stops to place his order with factory Parktronic (rear parking assistance). This option is apparently not available on an '05 B7 (unless your name is Eddie Lee!). Another item Ed is proud of the Milltek exhaust kit, courtesy of Pete from Stratmosphere, which he installed with help from a friend.
Audi's youngest siblings made their H20 debut. Three of the A3s were lava gray, including our own AudiWorld Project A3 which placed second in the 'mild' Audi wagon class. George from Revo arrived in his red DSG Sport.
Two black Sports were also on display on the grass. The first was owned by Chris Cafiero from NJ. Chris' A3 features PDP's 3" exhaust, an AWE boost gauge, and H&R coilovers. The second of the black A3s was Joanna and Greg Dorman's of Port Chester, NY. This A3 arrived in stock form, except for the beautiful Votex body kit. Joanna and Greg took home 1st place in the 'stock' Audi wagon class. Also making the trip home to NY will be some extra horsepower since Greg insisted they get flashed by APR Tuning (the headlining sponsor).
The show was a huge success. Club H20 was thrilled, vendors were happy and many Audi/VW owners drove away with an award, or at least with the inspiration to build or improve their own show car. But it was the camaraderie of the attendees that impressed us the most.
One such thrill is recognizing favorite rides from the discussion forums. At one point we overheard a phone conversation and then spoke to an enthusiast from Toms River, NJ. He had been talking on his cell phone to a friend from Atlanta whom he had become acquainted with through AudiWorld’s A4 Forum. Now here they were in Maryland, ready to meet in person for the first time. We can only speculate how many hundreds of friends have been made through the connected power of discussion forums.
Hopefully next year will bear the same beautiful weather and even more Audi owners. Here is one suggestion for Jay that could make this event more enjoyable for yours truly... Please don't schedule next year's show on the same day as a Nascar event at Dover. Those damn RVs don't have turbos. We told you it wasn't perfect!