The 2024 Pine Mountain HillClimb breaks records

J.A.
By J.A. Ackley
Apr 24, 2024 | SCCA, Pine Mountain HillClimb, SCCA Appalachian HillClimb Series

Photography by Alec White/SCCA Appalachian HillClimb Series

Why did the 2024 Pine Mountain HillClimb hit its max number of entries within hours of registration opening? Competition. Camaraderie. Community.


Heyward Wagner. Photo by Alec White/SCCA Appalachian HillClimb Series.

A total of 93 drivers made a run during the first round of the SCCA Appalachian HillClimb Series. That's the largest number of participants in the Southeast since the 1995 edition of the legendary Chimney Rock Hill Climb.


Erik Mohn.

A total of eight class records fell. Gary Smith, in a 2019 Suzuki Crosskart, traversed the 2-mile, 10-turn hillclimb course with a record time of 1:38.097 in the Special Open class. With a 2003 Ford Mustang, Mark Aubele set the Open record with a 1:41.727 run.

Nine Lives Racing sponsored two new awards, too. The Ice Cream Cup presented by Nine Lives Racing is awarded to "the fastest car on the hill that you could legally drive into town to get ice cream." That honor went to Cody Puckett with his 1970 Chevrolet Camaro. The Fastest Slick Car gets $1000 toward a Nine Lives Racing aero starter kit. Christian Aranha, with a 2022 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE, became the first to receive that award and the prize that comes along with it.


Mark Aubele.

Of those 93 participants, 36 were rookies. The top novice was Zach Penland, who placed 49th in a 1987 Chevrolet Corvette. Even the event team had a fair share of newcomers, with 10 of the 50 making the journey to Pine Mountain for the first time.


Members of the Pine Mountain HillClimb event team.

The competition, while fierce, was also quite friendly. For example, Rob Wilmoth and Jeremy Lowder, both of whom race under the Racing for ALS banner.

At one point I had [Jeremy] by .004–right before the last run up the mountain,” Rob says. “I laid it all out … and picked up a lot of time, so I got him.”


Jeremy Lowder and Rob Wilmoth.

The Pine Mountain HillClimb had a few significant incidents, but SCCA said all drivers involved have been “cleared and released.”


Raymond Kochin.

Away from the course, 10 competitors took their cars to local schools, where kids could experience up close the thrill of what makes the Pine Mountain HillClimb a destination event. For those in the community who spectated, they had six local drivers to cheer for.


Jim Greenleaf showing school kids what hillclimbs are all about.

The next SCCA Appalachian HillClimb Series event takes place June 28-30, the Flag Rock HillClimb, in Norton, Virginia. Registration opens on May 1, 6 p.m. Eastern. Entries sold out within hours for Pine Mountain, so interested participants should sign up as soon as possible. (You can sign up for a reminder here.)


Tom Plaza. Photo by Alec White/SCCA Appalachian HillClimb Series.

2024 Pine Mountain HillClimb
SCCA Appalachian HillClimb Series
Pine Mountain Resort Park
Pineville, Kentucky
April 20-21, 2024

Class Winners
Special Open: Gary Smith, Pearl River, N.Y., 2019 Suzuki Crosskart, 1:38.097*

Outlaw: Mark Aubele, Irwin, Pa., 2003 Ford Mustang, 1:41.727*
Sport Unlimited: Lawrence Shue, Gibsonville, N.C., 2003 BMW M3, 1:45.713
Super Mod: Heyward Wagner, Weaverville, N.C., 2005 Mazda RX-8, 1:48.593*
Special Limited: Ted Visscher, Powell, Tenn., 2008 Red Devil T-82, 1:50.948*
Classic Stock Car: Tom Plaza, Arlington Heights, Ill., 1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 1:51.755*
Sport: Raymond Kochin, Weatherly, Pa., 2010 Honda Civic, 1:52.188*
Modified: Dillon Broyles, Roswell, Ga., 2006 Mazda MX-5, 1:53.259*
Super Sport: Erik Mohn, Crestwood, Ky., 2004 Mazda Miata, 2:02.189
* New Record

Special Awards
Ice Cream Cup presented by Nine Lives Racing (fastest street-legal car): Cody Puckett, Gainesville, Ga., 1970 Chevrolet Camaro
Fastest Slick Car ($1000 to spend with Nine Lives Racing): Christian Aranha, Holly Ridge, N.C, 2022 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE

Queen of the Hill presented by Haltech: Tracy Gaudu, Johnson City, Tenn., 2008 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
King of the Hill presented by Haltech: Gary Smith, Pearl River, N.Y., 2019 Suzuki Crosskart

Gary Smith.


Dillon Broyles.


Ted Visscher.

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Comments
Duckzero
Duckzero GRM+ Memberand New Reader
4/24/24 6:06 p.m.

This sounds super fun. I definitely would have attended if it was closer to me.

Every time I see a RX-8, I get closer to wanting to buy one!

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
4/25/24 10:54 a.m.

I keep kicking myself for missing this event because it's so close to where I was born.

Someday. I'll go spectate someday.

Josh_R
Josh_R New Reader
4/25/24 12:09 p.m.

I'm always shocked by the number of people who want to experience a hillclimb but haven't. They are SO accessible on the East Coast! 13 THIS year (well, 12 now)!

metallitubby
metallitubby New Reader
4/25/24 4:03 p.m.

Any event where Heyward competes is OK in my book.

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
4/25/24 4:51 p.m.
Josh_R said:

I'm always shocked by the number of people who want to experience a hillclimb but haven't. They are SO accessible on the East Coast! 13 THIS year (well, 12 now)!

Love the map! Thank you for sharing.

Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos)
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/25/24 5:26 p.m.

Having been up and down Mt. Ascutney a few times, a hillclimb there would certainly be exciting.

 

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