With the Chicago-based media association in its 31st year of running as an organization and holding such events, this was my first MAMA rally event.
This year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) held their Spring Rally at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI on May 24-26, 2022. This event brought together over 90 automotive-related journalists in the region and across the country the opportunity to evaluate over 70 different vehicles provided by major automotive manufacturers.
With the Chicago-based media association in its 31st year of running as an organization and holding such events, this was my first MAMA rally event. And all I can say is “Wow!”. What an amazing way to get a chance to acquaint oneself with many different vehicles in different scenarios like on a race track for sportier vehicle models, on an off-road course for all-terrain vehicles and on the regular roads around Road America for street driving. They place the vehicles in the various environments to truly test them in the way they were designed for.
The schedule for the event kicked off the evening of the 24th which allowed time for everyone to travel to the event and accommodations nearby at The Osthoff Resort with dinner and a social gathering. The 25th was a full day of street driving, off-roading, and track driving (and breakfast, lunch and dinner in between.) The 26th was a half day of street driving then departing for home after lunch.
Unfortunately, our publisher Randy Stern could not attend this event due to his duties at the magazine, so it was up to me to make the most of it. My focus at the event was to primarily look at the vehicles we at Victory & Reseda have been eagerly wanting to evaluate but they had so many to choose from.
The first order of business for me was to get checked out on driving vehicles on the track. After picking up my loaner helmet, it was into a BMW M3 Competition with an instructor and three others to get a first-hand guide of the track. Even though I drove my own vehicle on the track last year for a different event (though at parade lap speed), they wanted to give us a proper orientation at race speeds which was welcomed.
After returning from the check ride and getting approved to drive vehicles on the track, the vehicles designated for track vehicles were all checked out. So, I turned my attention to vehicles of interest thus queued up for one of the two Ford F-150 Lightning trucks. They both had just left with other journalists, and I was next in line. Unfortunately, they kept the vehicles out for a well longer than the allotted 20 minutes or so and that burned up my time. While waiting we huddled under the tent to try to stay dry with the manufacturer representatives from Ford and others waiting for the F-150 Lightning trucks. (The track had to close mid-afternoon due to thick fog.) My last-minute trip to get a good raincoat before the rally paid off!
After one of the trucks was returned it was my turn and I was able to give it a proper drive and got a good feel for it. Vehicles after that were relatively easy to obtain and was able to better maximize my time. I passed on the track and off-road drives with the weather being so poor. Weather for the street drives on the half-day 26th was thankfully dry and partly sunny.
Prior to the rally, I scoped out the area roads to create a driving course which included some bumpy back roads to test ride quality, some deeper twists and turns to check handling, entry onto a four-lane highway to test acceleration, cruising a bit on the said highway with some uneven concrete pavement for highway ride quality, cloverleaf off the highway for steady cornering and smooth asphalt highway driving to check for overall highway handling and wind noise. With this route planned out I was able to make the round plus some time to attach some camera gear and brief photography in about the 20 minutes allotted.
Here is the list of vehicles we were able to get some initial impressions on:
- 2022 BWM i4 M50
- 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2
- 2022 Ford Expedition Limited
- 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum
- 2022 Mazda CX-50 Premium Plus
- 2022 Subaru WRX Premium (6-speed manual)
- 2022 Toyota GR Supra (#VOTY2020)
- 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone
- 2023 Genesis GV60
- 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid EX AWD
- 2023 Nissan Z Performance (6-speed manual)
- 2023 Subaru Solterra
With the exception 2022 Toyota GR Supra (it has been covered previously but I wanted to drive it to help compare with the Nissan Z), review content of first impressions is planned for the Victory & Reseda YouTube channel and potentially other social media outlets for Victory & Reseda.
I’m looking forward to the planned MAMA Fall Rally sometime this October and future rally events. What a great way to experience these vehicles and I will definitely try to get to the offroad and track courses at future events.
DISCLAIMER: All travel was by Victory & Reseda. All logistics were provided by the Midwest Automotive Media Association and its sponsors
All photos by George Torline