2005 Mazda RX-8 - Doing Deals Gap - Project RX-8

Joe Ferguson and Dave Sibbitt resuscitate Project RX-8 and take her to the Deals Gap Rotary Rally.

By David Pratte, Photography by Dave Sibbitt

You know that saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? Well, I’m here to tell you that the Citrus Growers of America need to STFU already, because the truth is sometimes life gives you lemons and your only option is to choke down the bitter pulp of defeat while two of your friends resuscitate your neglected RX-8 and take it to the Deals Gap Rotary Rally.

That’s exactly the sour scenario I was faced with after tearing my Achilles’ tendon and being unable to drive Project RX-8 down to this year’s DGRR, where I had committed to judging the car show and awarding the overall winner a feature story in the mag (not to mention flogging the 8 around all 318 turns of the Tail of the Dragon, a world-famous piece of twisty tarmac that runs along the Great Smoky Mountains of southern Tennessee). Rather than bailing on DGRR organizer and all-around rotary fanatic Phil Sohn, I enlisted Joe Ferguson (the rotary engine-builder who’s putting together a potent Renesis for the 8) and Dave Sibbitt (tech extraordinaire at SG-Motorsport) to drive down to Deals Gap, documenting the trip and judging the car show in my place.

So while I sat at home with stitches down the back of my right cankle (and cursing lemon squeezers the world over), Joe and Dave enjoyed the 1,600-mile roundtrip in Project RX-8. And since any good road trip is better with a few more friends along, Joe and Dave convoyed down with a gray RX-4, two white FCs and a red FD. That’s some rotardedly good company right there, and as you’ll see in a future issue, Joe’s pick for DGRR Best in Show is a pretty tasty RX-7 out of the Garden State.

For more information on this rotary pilgrimage, point your browser at dealsgaprotaryrally.com. If you’re a rotary fan or just a lover of modified Mazdas and twisty mountain roads, you need to attend this annual gathering of more than 250 Wankel-engined Mazdas (and even a few motorbikes) of just about every vintage. With any luck, I’ll see you there next year — feel free to bring me a Snapple lemonade or two.

By David Pratte
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