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Emerald Empire Sports Car Club
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Featured Articles
The birth of our twin
By Tim Steck


Interesting Stats about the
30 Years of Larison Rock HillClimb

Complied by Tim Steck


Larison Number 30
By James Mueller

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The birth of our twin
By Tim Steck

Back in beginning of the 2015 racing season, SCCA decided it was going to change the Stock classes to Street classes having the same basic rules but tires had to have a treadwear value of 200 or higher. Since the Hoosiers that Peggy and I run, have a tread wear of 40, that forced us to ASP. Well if you are going to go to a street prepared class you might as well use the rules to your advantage and spend more money on some "go-fast" parts and then you need a tune to go with it.

With not having a lot of time to learn to tune the car I decided to go with some Internet guy (He was recommended as someone who know what he was doing . famous last words.) to do the tunes for me. In January 2015, I paid this guy to do my tunes for me. I did logs and sent them to him, he then sent me a tune back, I would flash the car and take it on the street and "test" the tune, do a log of my drive, I would repeat this cycle. On one late February day, I was driving back from going to Safeway in Cottage Grove and there is a side road right beside the freeway that has a little grade and I was in 2nd gear and pushed down the throttle and "BANG" then the smoke came out so thick I couldn't see the road behind me. I instantly knew it blew a hole in the piston. I limped the car home (about 9 miles) and Emailed the guy and said "what happened?" and to make this part of the story short I asked for my money back since I never used his tune in a race but he said "No" - well actually he didn't respond at all!

I asked Jason Braunberger where he had his engine work done and he pointed me to Tim at Schnell Automotive in Portland. Dave Kipperman took my engine out and I drove it to Portland and got the pistons replaced, didn't need any other stuff done. Picked up the motor and Dave put it back in. Back to tuning the car.

I did find a person in CA that has two Solstices and races them, mainly on the track and does a few autocrosses. He really knows his stuff. He said he would help me tune the car but wouldn't actually do the tunes. I had to learn . still learning . how to tune the car. He has given me a very good base to start with and I have been doing adjustment since. Every now and then I send him my logs and ask questions. Per his request, I don't mention his name when talking about my tunes.

In 2015, after the newly repaired engine was back in the car, it used a little bit of water but figured it was getting all the air bubbles out of the car water system. In 2016, it got a little worse and It was using more water, no drips in the garage or at a race, no steam showing water leaks, the tail pipe was blacker then I like. Must be burning it through a cylinder (or two). The tune still wasn't right, couldn't get the MAF adjusted correctly. The boost wasn't smooth at all, especially in slaloms and sweeping turns, and especially on HillClimbs (ask Peggy about Bible Creek). I was beyond frustrated with the tune and water leak. Peggy and I were willing to do a weekend trip down to CA to see if the guy in CA could figure out the tune. On the last autocross we drove it, it went thru a half gallon of coolant.

Over the winter last year, I decided enough is enough, I must find out where all the water is going. I took our car to Edge Motorsports to tear the head off and see if I had a leaky head gasket. Brad Moffett, took the head off and said the head gasket was good but it looks like the head is cracked. Good, found the problem, I get with my GM guy in Nebraska and order every part in the head new from GM (there are a lot parts in a Solstice head) had it shipped to Brad. I get the car back and had to add water when I got home, no problem, just a bubble of air. Then took it for a short drive and added another gallon of water, no drips, no stream and no water coming out of the exhaust pipe. Back to Edge . They drain the oil and instead of 5 quarts of brand new synthetic Mobil One oil there was about 10 quarts of oil (with a little bit of water mixed in ??). Oh, found the real problem the block is cracked. Did you know that water mixed with synthetic oil doesn't turn that greyish thick foam like it did in the olden days (non-synthetic oil)? I didn't, until now - that is why I didn't think there was water in the oil - no foam no water - wrong if you have synthetic oil!

One good thing came out of this, Brad figured out that my MAF and boost sensors were bad. I had already purchased 3 Bar ones (stock version are only 2.5 Bar) so I had Brad install them for me. I made a new tune for the car. The car ran much better for the few miles I actually drove it. Good, found the problem with the tune.

Here it is a few days before Icebreaker 2017 and no race car. Let's race the Prius one weekend while we figure out what we are going to do.

We decided we would go buy an engine, bare block, half block or even a complete engine. Don't need the head it's brand new, don't need pistons they are pretty new too. Couldn't and still can't find an engine of any form for a Solstice style (rear wheel drive), you can find the front wheel drive engine but the water inlets and outlets are wrong. I looked at a crate engine, same stock engine from GM, but they want around $7,000 for a complete engine, plus a core and since the core is bad (cracked) add another $1,500 then shipping. And now I have to get the old engine out and this one installed, more money.

I asked around to other people who owns or owned a Solstice and check Solstice forums and no one had a block for sale. There were a couple listed in the Solstice Forum but they were sold already. Even asked companies that will take your block and build it up, none had a good core laying around.

Peggy suggested, why don't just we buy another Solstice, same year, GXP (turbo) and, if we are really lucky with the Z0K package (factory suspension upgrade - which our Solstice has).

Checked eBay but prices were too high for what you would/might get. Let's try Craigslist, checked all of the West Coast cities from LA to Seattle and their surrounding areas. Must be close enough that Peggy and I could drive and pick it up if we found one we like.

Our thought process was, if we get the same year and it's a GXP we can just transfer over the go-fast parts over without any issues and we are back in business - or is that back in racing.

We did find a Yellow one in the surrounding Seattle area that we liked but he wanted too much for the miles and it had one minor (I think) electrical problem. The seller was moving down in price, we were getting close to buying it. He only had an electronic title (must be a Washington thing), he had to order a physical title so we couldn't buy it until he had the physical title in hand.

Then Dave Kipperman suggested that we look in the Boise Craigslist because he saw one there. We found it, same year (2008), same GXP and it was the same color. Color really didn't matter as long it wasn't orange - give you a hint, I'm a Duck fan - got it.

We were talking to both buyers. The car in Seattle had 41,000 and the car in Boise had 12,800. Say that again, 12,800 on a 2008 car. He wanted a little more money but I did get him to drop $500 of the price. Sold! Did you ever try to get a loan on a used car from the bank when the car is out of state from a private party and you can't get the title until you pay for the car and the bank won't give you a loan until they get the title? Talk about a Catch-22, well this must have been a Catch-11 because the bank did give us a loan and money in hand before we got the title. We must look trustworthy. The lady at the bank asked us when we were leaving, we said "As soon as you put the money in our hand we are leaving - like now!". Literally, we left the bank and headed for Boise as soon as we had the money and lunch, here we come.

On Wednesday, May 24th we drive to Boise, Lucy had to stay at a puppy sitters. Thursday morning, we went to the guys house and I took it for a test drive. When I got back to his house, Peggy was talking to the wife and I said "Boy, I really miss our go-fast parts and our tune!". It was a little bit slower than what I'm used to. This car did have the GM Performance Package option on it but didn't seem to make much difference compared to our Solstice.

We left the guys house and headed for home, Peggy drove the Solstice back from Boise and I drove the Prius. Peggy says it's a pain to follow a car when you have the standard cruise control and the car you are following has the adaptive cruise control.

The next weekend (8 days after we got back) was our next race. OK, let's started transferring go-fast parts from one car to the other. Do you know Lee Corso on ESPN's College Gameday? I will give you a hint, "Not so fast!".

The car is basically new, and Peggy said we can race the car in Autocrosses but NOT HillClimbs. We can't put holes in the floor to bolt on the roll bar. I'm thinking, "What about Larison in just over a month . hmmm".

Sidebar: At Larison this year we drove our Prius - it was the absolutely the slowest either of us have every driven up that Hill. We rented a car one year and it was slower than that. You have a lot of time to look at the scenery (I mean correct lines) and your speed odometer - can't do that in the Solstice. We weren't DFL this year even without the Shermans being there! Hey, they have fun at the Hill, we did and we drove a Prius! You can a lot of FUN even in a slow car.

We took the new Solstice to the Roseburg event and raced it with no go-fast parts on it. Did throw in a quickie tune and got Eric Jones at Eric Motorsports to adjust the camber and install the "old" ZOK springs from the old Solstice at the same time. (Now we need to get the rest of the ZOK package ordered.)

Most people didn't realize that was our twin we raced in Roseburg. If you didn't notice, take a look at it when you come to Willamette Pass - the first weekend of August. It is so straight, almost no stickers and no logos on it. It's basically a new car with just over 14,000 miles on it now.

When you look in our garage, they look like twins sitting there. One is clean, straight and looks like she has been pampered all of her life (which she has - she was garaged/stored for 9 years in a garage) and the other car looks ruff and like he has been through a few rumbles (it has). He has been ridden hard and put away wet!

Now we need personalized license plates, what do you think; HIS SOL, HER SOL or OLD SOL and NEW SOL?

We are still looking for a block for the "OLD SOL", know where one is? Contact us - thanks!

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Larison Number 30
By James Mueller


As you may or may not have heard, Bonnie is stepping down as event chair, and neither her nor myself will be at next year's event. It has been a wonderful ride, but 30 years is a long time, and we would like to do something else that time of year. The good news is it looks like we have a lot of interest by other individuals in keeping the hill going. Bonnie and I will be available for information, but won't be at the hill next year.

Preparation of the hill was a challenge again. The hill was swept once and blown three times with the Billy Goat blower. Things looked pretty good to start with in April, but a massive wind storm at the end of the month again gave us a large amount of debris to remove. Our last blowing was on June 27th, which made the course ready to go.

Drivers and workers began arriving on Friday and were greeted by a very friendly new hatch of mosquitos. It seems the wet winter had supplies them with lots of new breeding places and they were the worst I had ever seen in 30 years.

The runs got started on Saturday Morning at 9:22. The morning group got three runs and we broke for lunch. There seemed to be a lot of cars that couldn't make it all the way up the hill for one reason or another. Not really crashes, although one car did go into the ditch. All was OK, except that lunch wasn't yet delivered to the hill. It seems that somebody was killed on Hwy 58 west of Oakridge and shut down the highway for 3 hours. Lunch was delivered around 1:50 (and was delicious as usual) and we got going again. We limited the afternoon runs to 2. We reversed the order the next day so that everybody got a total of 5 runs.

On to the race results: Queen of the Hill was Jen Ocker with a 1:58.256, 4 tenths faster than 2016, and King of the hill was Dave Kipperman, with a 1:50.416.

There were 11 new class records. They are Tony Chilton in B Mod, Alan Bowers in CSP (beating a record that has stood since 2004), Doug Drouet in E Mod, Mini Ingraham in E Production Ladies, Brad Moffett in E Prepared, Stefan Denham in F Prepared, Peggy Steck in H Street Ladies, William Cosby in SSM, Mary Richardson in STUL, Dave Kipperman in X Prepared and Brenda Kipperman in X Prepared Ladies.

We had 2 new members of the Sub Two club, Ryan Davis and Gared OeDell.

Personal Bests this year were Ed Thompson, Jess Burk, Jesse Rice, Alan Bowers, Eddie Sanders, Mike Mullikin, Ryan Rink, Alex Rosser, and Mary Richardson.

Last but not least, Deborah Thompson had her name added to the Oh S**t award. Sorry Deb.


Interesting Stats about the
30 Years of Larison Rock HillClimb

Complied by Tim Steck


I thought it would be nice to look at some of the stats for the Larison Rock HillClimb for the last 30 years.
Note: A class with a # in front denotes a retired class.
* Drivers that have driven the Hill 15 or more years.
     - 25 Years
          . Pat Ezard
          . David Lumbra
     - 20 Years
          . Andrew Hafner
          . Tim Steck
     - 18 Years
          . Loma Garman
     - 17 Years
          . Dave Bard
          . Bonnie Mueller
          . Jim Mueller
          . Peggy Steck
     - 16 Years
          . Dave Kipperman
     - Only drove 1 year
          . 218 different drivers
* Different drivers: 478
* Different driver and class combinations: 877
     - This includes NFT runs (NFT runs are usually when a car breaks after making a run and then the driver drives another car in a different class or drives two different cars in different classes, the runs in one class will be NFT’d)
* Different Classes at the Hill: 99 (see Hill Class Records)
     - Includes retired classes, excludes NFT runs
* Most drivers in one class: OSPU – 61 different drivers
* Total number of runs: 6,052
     - This is an estimate because I only have one timed run per driver (fastest) from 1988 – 1998
* Years with the most runs up the Hill:
     - 2008 had 250 runs started (but 4 runs didn’t make it to finish)
     - 2007 had 249 runs started (but 8 runs didn’t make it to finish)
     - 2017 had 246 runs started (but 9 runs didn’t make it to finish)
* Fastest up the Hill
     - Dwight Gilliland - 2004 – FL - 02 Avenger MKIII Yellow – 100.872 seconds (1:40.872)
* Slowest up the Hill
     - Art Tegger – 1988 – #CS - unknown car description - 279.920 seconds (4:39.920)
* Slowest driver under 2:00 (Sub 2-minute club)
     - Bill Baugh – 2000 – BSP – 98 Corvette Red – 119.998 seconds (1:59.998) – 3rd run
(Note: His other three runs that year were: 120.898, 120.320, 120.679)
* Fastest driver that just missed the Sub 2-minute club
     - Bryant Adams – 2016 – SPO – 06 Mitsubishi Evo Blue – 120.035
* Number of drivers under 2 minutes: 95
* Fastest Record - FL - Dwight Gilliland – 2004 – 02 Avenger MKIII Yellow – 100.872 seconds (1:40.872)
* Slowest Record - FSPL – Marie Sherman – 2008 – 74 MGB White – 149.401 seconds (2:29.401)
* Longest Record (30 years) - #GT5 – Nick Moore – 1988 – Civic – 125.570 seconds (2:05.570)
* Drivers with the most records (* denotes under 2 minutes)
     - Ladies: Peggy Steck (ASPL*, ESPL*, #BSL*, SSRL*, #ASL*, OSPUL, HSL)
     - Open: Lorin Mueller (CC, STF, #ST, #HS, TR)
* Most “King” titles: Jim Mueller (4) – 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997 and Kenny Richins (4) – 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
(All 30 King’s times were under 2 minutes.)
* Most “Queen” titles: Peggy Steck (9) – 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015
(23 Queen’s times were under 2 minutes.)
 
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