Written by Sara Woods
I’ve spent the last fifteen minutes looking through my thesaurus (yes, I still have a thesaurus from my pre-Kindle college days) trying to find an adequate word to describe the feeling of riding in Ol’ Blue with Mike Maier behind the wheel. I’m not sure the word exists yet.
I’ve been an employee of Mike Maier Inc. since its inception and a friend of the Maier’s for over five years but it took my upcoming cross-country move to finally score a ride in the passenger seat. After six years in sunny California, my family is packing up and moving to New Mexico, closer to grandparents and cousins. It’s bittersweet.
With my last day at MMI looming, Mike promised me a ride around the course at Crows Landing following their run at Fontana. Unfortunately, the transmission had other plans and Ol’ Blue came back from southern California with a busted third gear. As we all know, the amazing guys at C&R had it up and running in time for OUSCI in Las Vegas but, to my disappointment, not in time for Crows Landing.
“My chance came last Sunday afternoon when I strapped myself into the harness and surreptitiously looked for a place to hold on. I’ve heard Ol’ Blue running the shop (the walls literally vibrate)”
Luckily, when Mike Maier makes a promise there’s not much you can do to stop him from following through. My chance came last Sunday afternoon when I strapped myself into the harness and surreptitiously looked for a place to hold on. I’ve heard Ol’ Blue running the shop (the walls literally vibrate) but sitting inside while the engine is begging to go is unbelievable. Then Mike opened her up on the hillside of northern Livermore.
“But the control Mike had taking the corners (way too fast, I might add) was unreal. I have never had more respect for Mike and the crew at MMI for the products they designed, created and continue to improve.”
To go from zero to 100+ in seconds in Ol’ Blue is second to none. But the control Mike had taking the corners (way too fast, I might add) was unreal. I have never had more respect for Mike and the crew at MMI for the products they designed, created and continue to improve. They work and they work very well.
During my year with Mike Maier Inc., the guys designed and put into production an entire suspension line for early model Mustangs, along with a strut program for the 2015 Mustang. They established solid relationships with top sponsors, vendors and dealers. They took the space on Research Drive from an empty shell to a full production shop and a lobby filled with product displays and trophies. The website went from a basic “about us” site to an e-commerce set-up with the complete product line available. And in their spare time, Mike and Brianne continued to win at various events, topping off the season with Mike’s record-breaking eighth win and Brianne’s fourth win at SCCA Autocross Nationals.
“I felt like one of the guys and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I leave with a heavy heart, hopes to catch a race or two in 2016 and a kick-ass metal pumpkin.”
It’s hard to say good-bye. It’s hard to walk away from the computer where I spent many hours responding to emails, posting on Facebook, and trying to organize all the parts Mike and our engineers designed (complete with silly but obvious names like “ninja star” and “batwing”). I’ll miss the hodgepodge of sounds coming from the shop, the music ranging from Beastie Boys to Johnny Cash, and the banter shared between us all. I felt like one of the guys and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I leave with a heavy heart, hopes to catch a race or two in 2016 and a kick-ass metal pumpkin.