MINIs on the Dragon 2010

Over the years we’ve made it clear how much we adore MINIs on the Dragon as an independent US based MINI event. Arguably the largest MINI event in the US not hosted by MINI USA, MOTD is unique in that it is centered around one road in a vastly rural area. But what a road it is. The Dragon (as it is known) is an 11 mile stretch of US 129 that starts in extreme eastern Tennessee and turns 318 times before it ends in western North Carolina. To put it mildly it is arguably the best stretch of road in North America. With it’s inspiring layout and excellent banking, the Dragon is a rare road in that it has almost a magical rhythm do it. And in early May MINI’s take over the entire thing

The Full Run

With over 600 registered (and many others sneaking in) MINI on the Dragon (MOTD) is arguably the largest US MINI event outside of MINI USA’s MINI United. It’s also our favorite here at MF. Why? Because it’s all about driving the best road in North America. Everything else (no matter how good) is secondary to the road and the driving experience. Which begs the question, are you going?

+ MINI’s On the Dragon / Event Site

+ Road Site / 129 Website

+ Wikipedia Dragon Entry / Wikpedia

The Way Down (Chicago to MOTD)

  • You are right…it does beg the question, is Motoring File or WRR going?

    Even with the rock slide that has closed off access from the TN side there are still lots of great roads in the area.

    The piece of road known as The Dragon is lots of fun, but even more fun is the people. This will be my 4th year. The 1st year I went for the roads as here in flat Dallas there are no roads with elevation changes or very many curves. I go back year after year to see the friends I’ve made and make new ones.

  • Noel

    This will be my first and am looking forward the the drives.

  • Todd
    …it does beg the question, is Motoring File or WRR going?

    The answer is yes. I (Todd) will be at the Dragon this year representing White Roof Radio and Motoringfile. Can’t wait to hit the legendary stretch of road in a GP.

  • Lee

    It will be a great time this year on the Dragon. The TN State Troopers are going to open the Dragon up for use from 8AM to 8PM so everyone will get to drive U.S.129. The rockslide (its not on the part considered the Dragon) is still there so you will have to find a different rout if your coming from TN. The good part about it is that means less traffic for all of us that are there to enjoy the 318 turns!

  • I think it only raises the question. /grammar

  • Yep, I’ll be there as well as my daughter with her MINI. We went last year for the first time and it was a blast. I will never not go if I can help it 🙂

    We should have a fairly good crew from our AtlantaMINIS club in attendance.

    I also second the comment that there are tons of good drives in the area. The Dragon is a focal point but don’t restrict yourself to just that stretch of road.

  • matt

    Lee can I get a source for that statement?

  • DavidB

    Awesome photo! Shame I can’t go to the Dragon 🙁

  • CarNut

    The rock slide is between the Tabcat Bridge and the Foothills Parkway so driving the Dragon will mean turning around at the Tabcat Bridge and driving back the other way.

    Full information is on the Newsroom site. Part of the article states: “Law enforcement will have zero tolerance for traffic law violations and will diligently enforce the area. U.S. 129 will be closed to traffic at the North Carolina state line at 8:00 p.m. each night until 8:00 a.m. the next day.”

  • Just realized that means no Midnight on the Dragon. Too bad…it’s my favorite part of MOTD. Guess they should add “and all I got was this t-shirt” to the Midnight shirts.

    If the rock slide is between Tabcat and Foothills, why does the rest of the road need to be shut down between 8pm and 8am?

  • I wouldn’t miss this event for everything. It has become a permanent fixture on my calendar and I am very excited that it’s coming up – my 6th one. 🙂

    It should be quite an interesting dynamic with no through traffic… however it will be strictly policed. Of course, it’s been heavily policed the last several years so I don’t see the downside, other than having to take a longer route to get to the area in the first place. 🙂

  • DaCrema

    They need to close the road to through traffic in case a trucker wants to take a short cut. ;~) I was lucky enough to be at the first few(03,04,05,06). It is a trip every MINI owner should take once. But be careful. Some shots here:

  • So wish I was going, but I too have always heard 318 turns not 129. Typo?

  • BartMack

    I can’t be there this year (no MINI and no time) -but after 4 MOTDs in the past I can say I still envy those who go!! Stay off the line, don’t brew and twist, and say hello to that nice lady at Ingles for me.

  • This will also be my first time to the Dragon and I can’t wait to try it out. Glad to see Todd from WRR making the trip. I listen to White Roof Radio in the MINI often so it will be good to meet one of the crew in person.

    See you guys in a few weeks!!

  • Frantic Freddy

    This will be my fourth trip to MotD. This is my Christmas Vacation. Ever since my first trip down, on the way back I am planning for the next year. When I leave,reservations are made for the next year. And believe me, it’s a long 360 days. This will be my second year to lead a drive over to Tellico Plains for dinner and a return trip over the Cherahola Skyway, another “Must Drive” road.

    Less then 3 weeks to go!!!

  • Ashboomstick

    Joe- the number of turns IS 318. the “129” is the the route number US129. 🙂

    and Todd, ’bout time you come out for this ya bum! 😉

  • Scott Purvis

    I can’t wait to go again. ALL MINI owners need to experience the Dragon/Fontana at least ONCE in their lives!! C’mon y’all just do it!!

  • salamander

    Which begs the question, are you going?

    Sorry for being pedantic, but you really mean to say “raises the question”. Begging the question has an entirely different meaning.

  • goat

    Ok well even though blog writing is not formal literature on this I have to agree with salamander… “begging the Q” is essentially to make a circular argument (if you allow me to simplify the logical fallacy).

    In a nutshell: “beg the Q” <> “raises the Q” “beg the Q” = “present a statement that should require proof as being true”

    Some comfort can be taken in the fact that this is a very common misuse of language (I know I’ve made it in conversation, despite knowing better). 🙂

  • @ goat & salamander neal stangis… who cares!

  • jbkONE

    For those who haven’t been before (or those habitual offenders) please STAY IN YOUR LANE!!

    Fail Of The Dragon: