My Favorite Event of the Year
Larison Rock HillClimb
By Tim Steck
There is one event I always am anxious for to come around on the calendar – the Larison Rock HillClimb. I started my first race with EESCC in 1996 at VRC at an autocross event and in 1997 I started doing the Larison Rock HillClimb which is held annually on or around the July 4th weekend.
See you at the Hill.
I remember after the first day while at the Saturday night party at the famous Timber Jim’s pizza parlor I was talking with people and they were mentioning the “forever” corner. I thought “What is the forever corner?” I had no clue where that famous turn was even though I went through it twice earlier that day. They were talking about turn # this and turn # that and I had no clue where any of those turns where. Needless to say I didn’t know the Hill very well the first year.
Back then I was in my TransAm and I was video recording my runs so I took one of my runs and put in on a VHS tape (yea back then that was the media to use) 4 times back to back. Before the next year’s event I literally watched that tape, with the same four runs recorded on it, around 200+ times or maybe more. I would watch that tape at night in bed and I would do this “foot thing” for every corner. I would press my right foot down when I would give it gas and I would put my left foot down to brake (the TA was an automatic so left foot braking was easy). My wife at the time (not Peggy) would say while we were lying in bed, would you stop that “foot thing” it’s keeping me awake. It kind of shook the bed and moved the covers when I did that “foot thing”. My determination for stopping to watch the tape at night would be if I fell asleep and missed 3 or more corners on a run then I would turn it off and go to sleep. The next night I would do it all over again. This started sometime in May and it went until right before the HillClimb.
By the next year I remembered most of the turns and at least I knew where the “forever corner” was. From the tape I was watching you didn’t get the perspective on how steep the Hill is and every year it is a little bit of a shock – oh this road is steep in a lot of areas. My advice to anyone that is new to the hill, watch videos, there are many online, until you can shut your eyes and imagine every corner on the hill. If you can shut your eyes and start at the Start Line and imagine every corner correctly and approximately how sharp they are – then you have watched the video enough. Next year do the same process again.
I finally felt like I knew the Hill well enough in 2000 to set the FS record to 124.912. The video of that run is on the website and even though I have been up the Hill over 12 seconds faster than that, it was my most scary run I think I have ever done up that hill but it was a lot of fun.
In 2002 I finally broke the magical 2 minute barrier with a 116.650 and I set the ESP record in 2005 with a 112.706, not in the TA but with Peggy’s Camaro. I still remember that run because when I finally got to the top at Shelton Pits I was shaking so hard I couldn’t get the car out of gear or even turn it off – what a rush!!
In 2007 I wasn’t going to run any car because the Camaro wasn’t running but after being there all day on Saturday without driving I drove back home Saturday night and got our HHR family car. I ran Sunday with my previous HHR which was an automatic and a little gutless – I couldn’t make the car allow me to manually shift the automatic transmission or shut off traction control beyond 1st gear, so after it shifted up to 2nd it was in 2nd the whole way up the Hill, and as you know, a lot of those steep sharp turns would have been nice to get it back into low so I only did 137.140 that year. That was my slowest year to date even counting my 1st year back in 1997. But it was still fun to drive up the Hill and wave at all the corner workers on the way up. Next year was a rental car and you talk about gutless, I only did a 143.798 – now that is taking a Sunday drive but it was fun. If you don’t have a car it is worth it to go rent one for the weekend.
Peggy and I finally bought our current race car in mid 2008, the 08 Solstice GXP, when I set the A Stock record of a 113.933 in 2009. I will have to admit that a 113 is a little fast for a showroom stock car but it really does handle good. SCCA in its infinite wisdom changed our class to B Stock 2010 so in 2010 we started running B Stock and I again set the B Stock record in 2011 with a 115.908. It was 2 seconds slower than the A Stock record set two years earlier in the same car, I guess I’m getting slower in my old age.
In 2014 SCCA decided to change my class again and being the 1st year for this new SSR class I set the record with a 116.541 but it will be broken this year for sure.
2015 is a new year and yep SCCA is forcing us to change classes again, if we want to use Hoosier DOT race tires, which we do, then we are forced to go to ASP. Let’s see what we do this year.
I love this Hill and will probably be running up this Hill for many years to come.
Why don’t you go onto the EESCC website and sign up to run Larison Rock this year and get a taste for the biggest thrill of your life. You don’t need to set any records, you don’t need to even get into the “Under 2 minute club” on your first time up the Hill and you might not even win your class BUT you will have the most fun of your life on and OFF the road.
This whole weekend event is like one big happy family having the most fun possible in one super weekend.
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