The bi-annual MINI Takes The States rally gives participants a once in a lifetime experience for a good cause.
‘MINI Takes The States’ is a bi-annual event organized by MINI which gives owners the opportunity to experience a cross country rally. Spanning ten days, the 2012 edition started at MINI USA headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and finishes in Los Angeles. Participants are treated to a unique experience in the designated city the rally stops in each day. There’s access to racetracks, bike rides, pool parties, and private concerts in addition to cruise in stops where owners can meet and socialize.
A special component of MTTS is the charity program. This year MINI selected the United States Paralympic Team as a charity partner. A portion of the proceeds from each $30 participant registration fee will be donated to the Paralympic Movement, with a minimum of $10,000 earmarked to support the Paralympic athletes who will compete in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London as well as 2016 hopefuls as they train. Michael Johnston, a Para-Triathlon athlete was invited to take part in the entire MTTS rally. A below the knee amputee, Johnston hosted a 10 mile bike ride in NJ prior to the start of the rally and integrated his training into time spent on the trip. Johnston is a hopeful competitor to race on behalf of the United States in Para-triathlon during the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
PSFK rode along on the first segment from New Jersey to Washington DC with a stop in Philadelphia. We spent time in a John Cooper Works Clubman then moved to a European-spec JCW Countryman which won’t be available in the US till the fall. One of the first things you learn when surrounded by several hundred MINI enthusiasts is you don’t talk about driving, you speak about motoring. It was common to hear the term motoring used in about every conversation and this relates to the experience MINI owners share with their cars. MINI has a high percentage of owners who buy their cars with manual transmissions. Thomas Salkowsky, MINI Brand Marketing Manager explained that people drawn to MINI seek an engaged driving experience. We got an in-car demo of the dynamic music feature of the MINI-Connected app which adjusts the instruments and tempo of specially composed songs in real time reacting to the drivers steering, accelerator and turn signals use.
Around 4000 MINI owners registered to participate in the event. MINI said that 89 are committed to going the full distance. Daily posts on the rally’s progress can be seen on the MINI Takes The States Blog.
Ride along on our photo tour of the trip:
Before departing on the trip, MINI held a stunt driving demo with record-breaking parallel parking duo, Han Yue and Tenjgin Bao from China. Here’s a video of them re-creating the Guinness World Record for parallel parking that they set in China utilizing a space just 6 inches larger than the MINI they were driving.
MINI was generous enough to cover our transportation and accommodations during the trip.