SCCA Pine Mountain HillClimb | Is Chimney Rock Back?

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Feb 4, 2021 | SCCA, hillclimb, Pine Mounttain

Back in the day, the Chimney Rock Hill Climb was a big part of the SCCA calendar. The twists and turns that made up this North Carolina event attracted both road racers and autocrossers. In 1996, after 40 years, the event went silent.

Its spiritual successor has perhaps returned: The SCCA will host the Pine Mountain HillClimb in Pineville, Kentucky, May 1-2, 2021.

GRM will discuss this new event live February 10 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern with Heyward Wagner, the SCCA’s Senior Director of Marketing and Experiential Programs. This live Q&A will be broadcast on GRM’s YouTube and Facebook.

Read the full press release below:

HillClimb fans, block off May 1-2, 2021, on your calendars for a brand-new HillClimb taking place at Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Pineville, Kentucky, thanks to a collaborative effort put forth by SCCA’s East Tennessee Region, Blue Ridge Region and Central Carolinas Region with some help from SCCA’s Region Development and Experiential Programs Departments, as well as support from the Pennsylvania HillClimb Association.

The two-mile, 10-turn Pine Mountain HillClimb layout will feature an elevation gain of 650 feet. George Bowland, who has competed at 16 different HillClimbs and holds the overall record at 11 of those, previewed the course personally and believes it to be the best he's seen in the United States. He added, "it has everything you would look for: fast flowing sections, slower technical corners, a great surface and plenty of dips and rises that both offer challenge and just makes the hill fun."

Registration will open later in March for the Pine Mountain HillClimb. The park also features a 30-room guest lodge and 15 vacation cabins, along with a full restaurant and catering services on site. Participants will be able to reserve rooms or a cabin when registering for the event. Check out the event page for more information, and fill out a simple form online to receive updates about the upcoming event.

Of course, the city of Pineville — located just two miles from the competition site — is eager to host SCCA’s event in their community. Already, plans are in place for a Friday afternoon fan-fest in downtown Pineville.

The city of Pineville and Pine Mountain State Resort Park are extremely excited to welcome SCCA HillClimbing,” said Jacob Roan, Economic Development Director for the City of Pineville. "We are big believers in this concept and see tremendous value for our community and local businesses in bringing this event to eastern Kentucky.”

The Pine Mountain HillClimb is also made possible thanks to Backroads of Appalachia, a non-profit organization whose mission it is to bring events and tourism to Eastern Kentucky. Make sure to check out their Facebook page.

Rick Myers, SCCA’s Senior Manager of Region Services, noted that “bringing three regions and national staff together to launch an exciting new event really shows the strength SCCA has in our ability to work together to bring motorsports events to enthusiasts.  The community is excited to have us and we are thrilled to be able to show a new audience what the SCCA has to offer.”  

For those unfamiliar, SCCA HillClimbs take place on a section of mountain road that has been closed to commuter traffic. Competitors take turns seeing who can complete the course the fastest. Unlike a road course, which may have multiple levels of barriers, or an autocross where rubber cones are usually the biggest risk, a HillClimb course is lined with trees and rocks. Getting to the top unscathed is a mix of bravery and discretion. HillClimb cars need roll bars and racing harnesses at a minimum, and drivers need approved flame-retardant racing suits and other safety gear.

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View comments on the GRM forums
Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
2/4/21 8:59 a.m.

Somewhat related: I was born around 12 miles south of Pineville, in Middlesboro, Kentucky.

This might be the perfect excuse to head back up that way.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/4/21 9:03 a.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

Put a roll bar in the Fit and you're ready. 

2/4/21 12:15 p.m.

How can you begin to call that the successor to the Chimney Rock Hillclimb? CCR-SCCA has continued running hillclimbs almost every year, and sometimes twice a year, since they had to shut down Chimney Rock. The Chasing the Dragon Hillclimb near Robbinsville, NC is the actual successor to the Chimney Rock Hillclimb. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/4/21 12:32 p.m.

From what we hear, the total event feel will be very close to Chimney Rock, a GRM favorite from back in the day. Others hill climbs exist, but Chimney Rock was special. 

Sparkie New Reader
2/5/21 12:01 a.m.

Yes, others do exist, but when the Central Carolinas Region SCCA (CCR-SCCA) had to stop running at Chimney Rock, NC we moved to Beech Mountain, NC for a number of years, and then to Sparta, NC, thanks to Tommy Richardson, and then Eagle's Nest, and Wolf Ridge for a few years before we moved to Robbinsville, NC near the famous Tail of the Dragon for the current Chasing the Dragon Hillclimb. I'm not trying to be a dick, I'm not taking anything away from the new place, and I hope it's hugely successful for the sport, but don't discount what the CCR-SCCA has been doing for decades by implying that it's just now the return of the Chimney Rock Hillclimb!

trucke SuperDork
2/5/21 8:01 a.m.

BTW, the final running of the Chimney Rock Hillclimb was in 1995.  I was the registrar for the last 3 events and got to drive it in 1995.  Finished first in SSC with the FX16 GT-S.  Still have this mug on my desk!  Trophy is at home!

The following year (1996) when it moved to Beech Mountain, the Morse family who owned Chimney Rock Park at the time hosted a drivers/workers dinner.  They were a great bunch of people to work with!

It is awesome to have new location host a hillclimb.  If you have never driven in a hillclimb, it is highly recommended.

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