Shana and Heather didn’t join us, so Paul and I had an all racing, all man’s weekend at this year’s Larison Rock Hillclimb. And once again, this proved to be a well hosted, well run, perfect weather weekend.
We both took off work Friday to prepare the car (apply stickers) and drive it down to scenic Oakridge. Yep, we drove the car! Truth is, the cup suspension with 55 series tires isn’t that harsh, and Paul said he actually liked the racing seat for the journey! Biggest problem with driving the car down there is being responsible on public roads while race gas fueled exhaust keeps wafting in the window at stops 😀
We arrived at the hotel about 3ish to find we had been booked into a smoking room, and we weren’t getting out of it either. However, we were assured that the room had recently been converted from non-smoking to smoking just one week earlier. Well, I don’t know how much smoking folks do in Oakridge, but whoever was in the room the week previous must have smoked non-stop! Se la ve, we sucked it up and inhaled and exhaled the stale motel room knowing it would take more than that to spoil our weekend!
But it didn’t take long for someone else to try us! Registration and tech wasn’t set up yet, so we went out to the course to get Paul acquainted. While taking our survey runs, this dickhead in a Z06 nearly ran us off the course as he was coming back down. Obviously here for the event and practicing himself, we both shook it off and figured ‘whatever’. But when we went for our next survey run up the hill, Z06 boy appears in our mirrors from behind. Mind you, surveying the course has to be done at the 35mph speed limit as the race isn’t until the following day when they shut the course down to public access. He gets very close filling my mirror completely, and then in an instant, he passed us on a single lane road!! Unbelievable!! Paul gives him the bird and I try to remain calm. Continuing to the top of the course, guess who we find… Yep, Z06 boy has managed to fishtail his barge and high center it on the edge of the road. He then has the audacity to ask for help pushing the car out! We end up helping out, but then he’s going to just leave with no mention of his very dangerous pass earlier – which is when I decided to stop him. I politely explained it was foolish and unsafe and that it was just the kind of thing that could end this event for everyone involved. During the lecture, I couldn’t help but wonder what this 50-something year old must be thinking as he’s getting the 3rd degree from me, LOL! He apologized half heartedly and continued on his way. Sadly, after the weekend was over, he ended up posting the fastest overall time of the event. Unreal!
We ended up making probably a dozen survey runs before heading back to Ray’s to stock up on supplies. Getting back to the hotel, it was time to get checked in and tech’d. While Paul was getting up to speed in the novice meeting, I got unpacked and got the essentials in order:
Paul returned from the meeting commenting once again that my instruction on the hill was more valuable than that of the official novice meeting where beer was consumed and water balloons tossed about the room! Noticing I had Ultimatebet ready to go, he wasted no time in getting into a couple games:
And then we discovered what broadband internet is in Oakridge: Shit! Our connection was getting dropped every 5 minutes, and getting worse. When I inquired at the front desk, I was informed that it was peak hours in a rural area, and it wasn’t getting better. I thought to myself, that’s odd, they advertise wi-fi access right on their readerboard. By the time we left that weekend, the signage was taken down, LOL!
The next day, we arrived at the hill to find we didn’t have any work assignments as we weren’t members! This put us with a run each in the morning and afternoon. Paul was up first, and was suddenly very nervous. I did my best to play coach, but he wasn’t having it. Then Brad took a turn talking him down as well:
Paul’s run went great though, and came back down with a huge shit eating grin, as I knew he would. Excited to get back out there, he’d have to wait until the afternoon for his next chance.
I was up next and lined up on the grid. As I got underway, I suddenly felt like it had been 10 years since my last run up the hill, not 2. Plus, this car is much lighter than the 337 was and felt like it could skip off the course at any time in comparison. Of course it wasn’t going to, but I definitely took it very easy on the way up the first time out.
But while waiting at the top waiting to come back down, there was an unexpected break in the run group as the next car hadn’t arrived at the top at the next 2 minute interval. Then the radio started buzzing that a car hadn’t passed checkpoint 8 yet, and it was quickly determined the car had to be between checkpoints 7 and 8. A long time passed before we heard what had happened, and the first words we heard were, “Does anyone have a camera?”
After the corner workers and tow truck cleared the wreck, the car was brought up to our meeting area where they would turn around. Here’s we saw the nearly brand new Evolution RS nearly completely totaled, with only the driver compartment remaining:
I asked the owner later about the car, and he explained it had an aluminum roof to save weight, and they didn’t have a rollbar. I later got some more shots at the bottom where the car rested during lunch:
Needless to say, next on the list of things to buy for the car is a rollbar!
Our afternoon runs were both much improved, especially Paul’s time, which cut 13 seconds off for a best time of 2:25 for the first day. I was only doing slightly better at 2:22. My best run in the 337 was 2:15, so I was looking to destroy that mark the next day with the rabbit having 85% of the same power, and probably 1200 less pounds.
But my first time the next day was actually 2:23, a second slower. This was starting to get discouraging as I really expected sub 2:10 times by now, and i only had one more run to try to improve.
In the meantime, Paul surpassed me with a 2:22 and followed that up with a 2:18! At this point, our Panama Brown rabbit was familiar and folks in the scoring booth noticed we were trading fast laps and it became the battle of the two new guys in the rabbit.
I really pushed it my last lap, and even still, I could only best Paul by 1 second with a 2:17! Nice runs Paul, I have my work cut out for me next year!
We ended up placing 10th and 11th in the OSPU class. I chose the OSPU class because the last time I went up, most of the rabbits ran SM, and some of the mods on our car didn’t quite fit those rules. But in my 2 year absence, most of the SM guys got more serious about their cars and modifications, and now run the more generic OSPU class. As a result, we were waaay outclassed here as these guys had taken full advantage of the loose rules, and cars ran full slicks, fiberglass and plexiglass components, completely stripped interiors, and very slick race suspensions.
Nonetheless, we assured ourselves we were just racing the clock and not our competitors and had a great time. Major kudos to Emerald Empire Sports Car Club for hosting another fantastic event, can’t wait to come back.