Getting the Most Out of Giving Back
Photography provided by Jaguar Land Rover
Most drivers like to keep their cars clean and avoid driving through mud and puddles. However, Jaguar Land Rover Cincinnati not only encourages going off-road and getting dirt on their vehicles, they promote it.
“We have a three-acre off-road track,” says Rich Allen, vice president and general manager of Jaguar Land Rover Cincinnati. “We have side-tilts, water obstacles, hills and balance beams you drive on top of.”
Located in Blue Ash, Jaguar Land Rover Cincinnati is Cincinnati’s only Land Rover dealer and they don’t mind showing off the versatility of the British-made vehicles with their Land Rover RoadQuest track located directly behind the dealership.
Since 2009, president Edward J. Neyra has been donating a day on the track to be auctioned to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati.
“We like giving back to the community,” says Allen. “Ed has always supported Ronald McDonald House and has a passion for organizations that help children.”
In 2014, Mike and Caitlin Sanders won the auction. Caitlin comes from a Land Rover-owning family and used the day of off-road driving for her father as a surprise birthday present.
The “RoadQuest Adventure” package is for 12 guests to learn and drive the rugged course. In addition, they receive a catered breakfast and lunch of their choice.
“It was super fun,” says Caitlin. “It was such a cool experience! I learned how to drive better; you drive almost sideways and go through water. It was such a fun day to experience with our family.”
They liked it so much, they bid again and won the following year.
“We built that track to highlight the capability of our vehicles,” says Allen. “I was surprised that the Sanders’ purchased the package for a second time. For them it wasn’t really just seeing what the cars can do, it’s the fun time they spent with their family and friends driving through the obstacles on the track.”
The second year, the family invited friends and cousins to join them.
“It’s a really fun experience,” says Mike. “Everyone that comes with us has a blast.”
“The first time I did it, I was so nervous,” says Caitlin. “I didn’t know what exactly it was going to be like, but the driving guides at the Land Rover track were really helpful and friendly. It’s a neat experience because it’s not like you’re out in the middle of nowhere by yourself. The guys are there to help you if you get stuck.”
“When anyone first comes out on their first few laps, they are very cautious,” says Allen. “They grip the steering wheel too tight and are worried they are going to damage the vehicle.
“But by the end of the day they are maneuvering through the obstacles like professionals.”
Caitlin’s younger siblings weren’t old enough to drive the course, but they had just as much fun riding in the vehicles as she did driving.
In addition to the time spent driving up steep inclines and water trenches, Mike also enjoyed being with the staff of Jaguar Land Rover Cincinnati.
“We looked forward to being with them just as much as experiencing the track,” explains Mike. “They’re incredibly nice and made our time there really special. It was a lot of fun.”
Guests can bring their own Land Rovers or drive vehicles from the dealership.
“There’s no other brand that can handle our track,” says Allen. “Land Rover vehicles have a unique suspension system that allow the wheels to retract deeper into the wheel wells as well as let the wheels extend further than any other brand. This gives you maximum traction to go over any obstacle.
“Land Rovers can wade through water without causing any damage, while braking and steering are unsurpassed. There’s a reason the British royal family, athletes and our loyal customers continue to be such fans of our brand; it’s not just the name recognition, it’s because Land Rover is the best 4 x 4 x far.”
Land Rover is the only manufacturer to produce all models to always be in four-wheel-drive mode, which makes it ideal in rough terrain or on slippery roads.
“What makes us the best off-road makes us the best on-road,” says Allen. “These vehicles handle well and can help the driver if they’re in a panicked, emergency stop situation or if the roads are icy or wet. If you are forced to go off of the side of the road to avoid an accident, our vehicles are going to be able to get back on the road.”
Mike and Caitlin regret their decision not to bid on the package this year at Ronald McDonald House’s auction held at their annual Red Tie Gala.
“I didn’t want to hog it,” says Caitlin. “We wanted someone else to get it and have the opportunity at an amazing experience, but I already miss not going this year.
“It’s great to have so much fun and to be giving to charity at the same time.”
Jaguar Land Rover Cincinnati is located at 9115 Blue Ash Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242. You can reach them at 513.791.1000 or visit their website at www.cincyjlr.com.