Well, it’s finally happened. After almost 2 years of prep and a ton of help from a ton of friends, all the stars aligned and I was finally, FINALLY able to make my first Hill Climb.
Honestly , just being there with my car in good health felt like a massive win after all the bumps in the road leading up to this weekend.
The weather forecast was perfect, but you never know in the mountains so I brought everything but the kitchen sink. The little Honda generator and shop fan were invaluable in keeping our drivers cool during down-time between runs. We paddocked and shared a cabin with Heikki (Turbo Miata powered Locost 7) and near Lars (Factory Five Cobra NASA Challenge).
Friday included loadout at the paddock spaces, registration, and my car’s first Club Racing tech inspection. Everything went smoothly and I ended up, as hoped, with my car’s brandy-new Logbook number stamped into the roll cage.
With the formalities out of the way, we beat feet back to the cabin for some brews and a bonfire under the stars.
Saturday ended up being one of the most fun days I’ve ever had racing. After I got the butterflies out with my first couple of runs, I was able to make steady progress on the time sheets. By the lunch break I was in the top 10 overall.
I kept progress pretty steady through the day. I lost the time slip for my 142 second recce run my 1st time up the hill, but other than that, progress was steady as I felt out what the car liked on the bumpy surface, and where I could push and carry more speed.
By the end of the day, I was 1st in class and managed to snag a spot on the leader board. I knew a few of the faster cars were struggling with gremlins (including eventual, and multi-time King of the Hill Heikki), but I could not be happier with how the day went.
At the close of day 1, it was definitely Beer O’Clock, then off to the worker appreciation party in Robbinsville.
For me, Sunday was a relaxed, fun day. As far as I was concerned, I did the work I wanted to on Saturday. I ended up ripping off a flyer the last run before the lunch / quiet time break that chipped a few tenths off of my Saturday fast time, but mostly ran consistent, fun 130 second runs while playing with line choice through the corners.
That change in line came back to bite me in a small way leading to the only real issue I had of the weekend, where on the final run of the day I hit a bump through the spectator section I had previously missed that knocked 1 of the front mounts for the splitter off. By the last sequence of corners, the second mount had also failed as I could hear rubbing but everything felt ok on the car. At the top of the hill I removed the splitter for the run down. Thankfully it will be an easy fix that I already have better designs for.
It was in good enough shape to hang on the car (with some help) for the tow home:
After that minor bummer, we packed up and headed to the trophy presentations.
The King and Queen of the hill were crowned and received engraved stainless steel swords for their efforts:
And I took home what I feel like was one my hardest earned wins given the family health issues and car trouble and effort it took to even show up on the mountain. And I couldn’t have done it without the help of a huge number of folks who I can only try to thank enough.
Check out my full album of the event HERE. There’s some REALLY cool hardware at these events.
This was my fastest run up the hill.
And again, because I literally cannot say this enough: thanks again to everyone who helped get me and the car to this event, and to the CCRSCCA & SEDiv Time Trial organizations and the corner workers who worked their TAILS off putting on this event.
EDIT: A friend tracked down the overall event records and times, and found out that I was only 0.5 seconds off of the SPU class record. As though I needed motivation for next year! Maybe I’ll pull the ballast and corner balance the car (for the different weight) next time 😀