How many of you knew where Puerto Rico was located before the 2013 World Baseball Classic elimination game between the U.S. and Puerto Rico? Not many of you, right?
Now, I don’t want to generalize the lack of geographical knowledge some of you (and I, for that matter) might have, but it doesn’t help when people I know had asked me if it’s located in the Pacific Ocean or if it’s a Mexican town, when in fact, is a U.S. territory situated on the Caribbean Sea. That’s ok, given the fact that is a 100x35 (or 114x47.5 or 111.5x39.83, nobody is still sure) island with less than 4 million people living on it, so everything that happens locally, will not make the headlines in cable or some news site, except sporting events, the Olympics, and the Puerto Rican parade in New York. Unfortunately, the automotive event I went to is included on the “I didn’t know they did that” list, so I’m here to inform you about it.
I decided to borrow my mother’s black cherry 370z because it was a far better choice over my 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T and more comfortable than my father’s gun metal 370z Nismo or the 2001 Nissan Pathfinder lying dormant in their garage. I met up with another friend who had a pearl white 370z and we took off at approximately 10:00am. On a Saturday, with few cars on the road, we estimated to arrive in approximately 2 hours.
Halfway through the trip, when an older 350z started tailgating us, we felt a little bit uneasy, but after 10 minutes of following us and dodging some potholes, we just knew he was going to the same event. By 11:30, a grin streaked across my face when we saw the tower of the airport, but it was quickly dissolved in an expression of anguish when a traffic jam of sports cars delayed our actual arrival an hour more. When we parked, we were the only 370zs on the horizon.
The event is called “La Media Milla” (The Half Mile) where modified exotic cars try to post their best times on an airstrip by going solo or in pairs. They charge you for the event, but part of the earnings goes to local charities. It only takes place twice a year. This year, it was celebrated on Rafael Hernandez International Airport, in Aguadilla, a coastal town on the northwestern part of the island. The airport is a former US Air Force Base with some federal government agencies still using its facilities.
The first thing I experienced was the sound of high performance exhaust thundering down the runway, luring you to the first corner you can find between the spectators to catch a glimpse of the action. We saw an SLS AMG, a Shelby KR, several BMW M1s, GTM FRR kit cars, a boatload of Nissan GTRs, and other sweet cars howling past us.
After realizing that I was ill prepared with a crappy cellphone camera to record all the epicness I was witnessing, I decided to eat something. It was an interesting menu, consisting of cheeseburgers, hotdogs, pinchos, cuajitos, and mollejas. Obviously, I chose the tasty cuajitos and gorged on them while visiting car booths of aftermarket car products.
Then I heard it: the sound of cheer. Did somebody break the record from the last event? I doubted it, because the cheers could easily be confused with another wipeout like the unfortunate BMW M6. Apparently, one of the GTRs did 188.91 mph, the best record for the day (or so I thought… after I left, a Toyota Supra MKIV won the event by doing 197 mph). Except for the ballsy Supra, the GTRs were devouring every Ferrari, Lambo, Mustangs, and Porsches thrown at them.
When we decided it was time to go, we were delighted to see the unscripted huddling nature of matching car models on the improvised parking lot, especially the 370zs, where their numbers duplicated in a matter of hours.
Finally, as we rode off to our different destinations, I was already thinking about the next event, excruciatingly gathering up the patience to wait 6 more months for such an occasion. So, if you happen to visit the island on December or in June, and want to satisfy your car lust in a different environment you’re used to, and also help local charities, go to one of these events, you’ll not regret it.
You can also see other pics from the event courtesy of Jenaro A. Colón on the comments below.