Mazda Midwest Meet 2018

Perfection.  It’s really the only word to describe the kind of day last Sunday was for the Mazda Midwest meet in Humboldt Park.  Clear skies, warm sun and cool air provided the perfect setting to fill with the sounds of salsa music, old school house music and barbecue smoke.  Sprinkle in the scent of fuel rich rotary exhausts, and the occasional pops of those high revving engines being rung out for fun, and you get the feel for what a day at Mazda Midwest old school and rotary meet is like.  You may debate the importance, the effectiveness or the efficiency of the Mazda Wankel rotary engine, but what is beyond debate is that it’s devotees are a small but fiercely loyal group.  It is a family really, those spinning metal triangles the common bond, and the staccato braps they deliver the anthem of that family.  Six degrees of separation is the idea that we are all just six steps away from being connected to one another via friends or family, but within the Mazda rotary community it feels more like three degrees of separation.  Members of the family often are known not just by first and last name, but first name and the description of their car, “Robert with the black FC”.  Odds are you know that person, or the car, and with each of these rotary events, it feels like the degrees of separation grow smaller.  It is hard to say why this piece of engineering lunacy that is the Mazda Wankel created such an irresistible draw and faithfulness to it.  It could be the visual impact, the incredibly compact nature of the engine under the hood, in some cases dwarfed by the turbocharger feeding it air.  It could be the smooth manner that it delivers power, climbing to a screaming red-line with ease.  It could be the sound, the distinct rhythmic idle, or the furious howl it emits at full throttle.  It could be the spewing of flames from the tail pipe and the pops that go along with it.  Perhaps it is a combination of all those things and more, but on a gorgeous late summer day in the heart of Chicago, it’s clear the rotary family’s love and devotion was not going to fade any time soon.  This was the fourth annual event for this group, and between this year and last year’s, I’d say this event is a keeper.  Start planning for next year!
– photos and writing: Robert Sixto

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