AutoMatters & More: San Diego Bayfair & Wavecrest Woodie Meet

A Very Busy Weekend

Friday through Sunday, Sept. 18-20, was both a great and frustrating weekend for motor sports and auto enthusiasts in San Diego County. There was too much for us to see and do.

Consider this. On the same weekend, historical cars were racing at the annual Coronado Speed Festival, as part of Fleet Week San Diego; the world’s fastest boats were racing at San Diego Bayfair; the world’s largest collection of woodies was on display at the Wavecrest Woodie Meet in Encinitas; and a large collection of electric cars and related technologies was on display at Electric Vehicle Day San Diego.

I understand that there will be multiple car shows held on the same weekends, since there are so many car shows held here throughout the year, but why would two major motor sports events — the Coronado Speed Festival and San Diego Bayfair, both of which appeal to motor sports fans — be scheduled for the same weekend? How are we supposed to go to both?

Since this is traditionally the weekend for the annual Coronado Speed Festival, hopefully the organizers of next year’s San Diego Bayfair will realize that their scheduling choice this year was not in anyone’s best interests, study the racing calendar a little more carefully and then choose a different weekend for their event. Both events could only be more successful as a result, which would benefit their fans, the event organizers, beneficiaries and participants alike.

I am a stubborn person. I wanted to see and photograph all of these events — and somehow I did! Here’s how.

On Friday I went to the Coronado Speed Festival’s Media Day, during which I took photos of cars in the pits, racecar ride-alongs and practice.

On Saturday I covered the two car shows and San Diego Bayfair. Naturally, I did not spend a lot of time at each, but at least I got to see them and take some more photos.

Finally, on Sunday, I returned to the Coronado Speed Festival, where I divided my time among shooting photos of the racing, checking out the vendor booths and touring three great Navy ships. Since I spent most of my time at the Coronado Speed Festival — and shot literally thousands of photos there — I’ll save sharing that coverage with you for another week. Needless to say, by Sunday evening I was totally exhausted.

San Diego Bayfair

H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes are considered to be the fastest boats in the world. As exciting as it is to watch modern IndyCars and NASCAR stock cars race at speeds in the neighborhood of 200 mph, seeing Unlimited Hydroplanes skip across the water in San Diego’s Mission Bay at similar speeds kicks the excitement level up a notch.

Whereas racecar drivers need to contend with wind, temperature and the marbles off the racing line, boat racers face the added challenge of racing on an ever-changing track surface. Several times each lap, they hit what are essentially bumps of sometimes significantly variable size, seeming to come ever-so-close to going airborne and flipping over. Lap after lap, they raise towering rooster tails of angry white water, in stark contrast to the deep blue of the bay.

Nearby, spectators watched from the decks of pleasure boats that were leisurely bobbing in the water. Others, myself included, were watching from a bridge, high above the action on Mission Bay.

It was fascinating to watch as giant cranes lifted the Unlimiteds into and out of the water. Together they formed a spectacular scene of bold colors and shapes.

Wavecrest Woodie Meet

Held annually along the beautiful Pacific coast in Encinitas, California, Wavecrest is billed as the largest of all woodie meets.

The earliest woodies were beautiful examples of meticulous automotive craftsmanship, many from the 1930s and 40s.They featured hardwood construction on the exterior of their passenger compartments, with a raised wooden framework surrounding recessed wooden panels, the look sometimes accentuated by the use of contrasting light and darker woods.

On display this day were woodie convertibles, coupes, sedans and my favorites, iconic station wagons — with surfboards on their roof racks, of course.

For reasons that included practicality, cost, ease of construction and maintenance, eventually the classic woodies’ real wood was replaced on newer automobiles by a variety of other materials that included steel, plastics and vinyl.

Well, that’s all there is room for this week. Please write to with your comments and suggestions.

Copyright © 2015 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #403