Pine Mountain HillClimb: What happens when helpful people rise to the occasion? Success.

J.A.
By J.A. Ackley
Apr 25, 2023 | Pine Mountain HillClimb, SCCA Appalachian HillClimb Series

Photography by Alec White/SCCA Appalachian HillClimb Series

Hillclimbs test the mettle of man and machine, and that was on full display, in more than one way, at the Pine Mountain HillClimb this past weekend in Pineville, Kentucky.

Part I: Good Overcomes Evil

Under the cloak of night’s darkness, perpetrators not only stole a timing readout board and generator, but also cut the timing cable at the end of the course. The motives behind the theft and vandalization remain unclear.

Event organizers discovered the issues at the break of dawn, but quickly found out that a bunch of good people can overcome one or two people with malicious intent.

[Rita Jackson-Edmonson] at Pine Mountain Resort made a phone call to a family member and they were put in contact with an AT&T employee,” said Rob Leslie, board member for the Appalachian HillClimb Series. “[The employee] was able to get a contractor and they came out to take care of the [cut cable] for us.”

They used another generator from the SCCA North Carolina Region, and electronic scoring resumed by mid-morning. Leslie added that they experienced a brief delay during the cable repair, but while the system was down, they hand-timed cars and kept the show rolling.

Part II: Mini Mistake, Major Comeback

The most important part of doing hillclimbs is staying on track. Seth Rogers, who holds the Super Sport record time, found that out the hard way–on his first run.

Conditions Saturday morning were less than ideal,” Rogers said in his Facebook post. “Cold with a wet course. I was feeling out the course and about halfway I started to gain confidence in my grip. That was a mistake. Shortly after passing the hay bale chicanes I got into the throttle a little too hard. I smoked the front tires and subsequently lost the rear end. The rear began to come out to the driver side and I was immediately along for the ride with no control of the car. I slid off the side of the road and impacted a tree driver-side rear. This sent the car into a counter-clockwise spin and sent me down the side of the hill. I bounced off another tree and left a mark on that tree about five feet off the ground. The car landed and slid down the embankment 50 to 60 feet backwards until it impacting a rock–dead center of the rear bumper.”

Fortunately, when all was done, Rogers was okay. He also felt his car still might have a shot.

The exhaust has crunched, and saved the motor and other components from damage,” added Rogers. “The splitter mount provided a barrier that protected the motor. I bent the driver-side rear-strut mounting bolt and broke another end link Heim joint. Everything else was able to function as needed, and the rest of the damage was all cosmetic.”

With help from some friends, drivers and some others, Rogers got his car rolling by Saturday evening.

However, was the car up to the task of a hillclimb?

Or, perhaps a better question: Was he up to the task?

I returned to the start line first thing Sunday morning, and I have to say I was extremely nervous and shaken,” Rogers said. “Luckily, I was able to make four passes on Sunday, improving on time and regaining confidence with each pass. The fourth pass ended up being strong enough to take first place in our class.”

Appalachian HillClimb Series Round 1 Results

Pine Mountain HillClimb
Pine Mountain State Resort Park
Pineville, Kentucky
Course Info: 2 miles, 10 turns, with an elevation change of 650 feet
Total Number of Cars Taking Time: 73

 

King (Overall Winner) & Special Open Class

Justin Reed, 2016 DF Kit Car The Goblin, 1:40.608

 

Queen (Top Female Participant) & Modified Unlimited

Tracy Gaudu, 2008 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 1:53.968

 

FWD

Geoff Zimmer, 1980 Volkswagen Scirocco, 1:51.923 (New FWD Record)

Placed 16th overall and second in Super Modified

 

Sport

Raymond Kochin, 2010 Honda Civic, 1:54.752 (New Record)

 

Super Sport

Seth Rogers, 2009 Mini Cooper S, 1:54.015

 

Sport Unlimited

Cody Puckett, 1970 Chevrolet 70.5 Camaro, 1:44.006 (New Record)

 

Modified

Bryan McCrea, 2013 Scion FR-S, 1:53.378

 

Super Modified

Heikki Rinta-Koski, 2005 Locost 7, 1:48.936 (New Record)

 

Special Limited

Ted Visscher, 1957 Messerschmitt TR500, 1:56.277 (New Record)

 

Find complete results here.

The second round of the SCCA Appalachian HillClimb Series, the Flag Rock HillClimb, at Flag Rock Recreation Area in Norton, Virginia, takes place June 2-4. If you’re interested in registering, click here.

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