Virginia City Hillclimb Report

The Virginia City Hillclimb is one of those rare, special phenomenon in life that represents a throwback to a simpler, less litigious time. A regular and cherished occurrence for over 20 years now, the hillclimb combines tradition with technology to make something truly unique. Take an old wild-west gold rush town that needs tourist revenue, place it on a 5 mile stretch of old road, mix it with local charites, spice it up with high-horsepower, and stir with a bunch of crazy car owners and viola! - you have the Virginia City Hillclimb, the FCA Pacific Region's most cherished event.

Virginia City resides atop a hill just outside Carson City in Nevada. The town used to be accessed via a five mile stretch of road that switches back and forth up the hill with over 20 less than 35 MPH turns. Nowadays, there is a new road, called Gold Hill, that is much more direct but not nearly as fun. The existence of this alternative by-way, however, allows the local police to shutdown the old road to let adrenaline-seeking Ferrari owners bonsai up it for time and then cool back down Gold Hill at a more reasonable 35 MPH for attempt after attempt. This year's event occurred September 30th and October 1st.

Saturday morning started with the annual O.B. Challenge foot race up the hillclimb course. Bill Canihan won the race with a time of 43:10 up the 5.2 mile uphill course. It was a beautiful day for racing - clear and 68 degrees with a light breeze and all the participants were raring to go. First, the Virginia City Chamber of Commerce requested a parade of the hillclimb participants through the town, complete with numbers and stickers on the cars. Townspeople cheered and waved as we went by and the parade ended at the bottom of the hill.

The driver's meeting started with a reminder of how special an event this is and, after a late start, the hillclimb got underway. The event ran smoothly and everyone got a few practice runs to familiarize themselves with the hill before the timed runs on Sunday.

At the end of the day a car show was organized that included both the Shelbys and the Ferraris. This was followed by a banquet at the Delta Saloon which featured a "comstock style" buffet, complete with barbecue ribs, roasted chicken and chili. A full day was topped off by line dancing that was enjoyed by all.

Sunday was another beautiful, clear sunny day about 72 degrees. The day went smoothly and everyone got plenty of runs. I was able to beat my previous best time of 4:08 with a time of four minutes flat. Best of all, Ferrari emerged victorious when Amir Rosenbaum took the hill this year with a time of 3:29. Unfortunately, we also had the dubious honor of a 456 GT sauntering up the hill in almost six minutes, putting a firm lock on last place as well.

Another tradition of the hillclimb is the Sunday night Awards Banquet. Here, class ribbons are given out for 3rd place and up. The Big Wheel Award, which is given out for the largest screw-up of the weekend, was won this year by a Shelby Club member for his spectacular spinout. As tradition dictates, he had to ride the Big Wheel across the stage in front of everyone at the banquet.

But the real fun was Amir Rosenbaum. He is known for his hilarious commentary from the stage at the banquets but this year he was in rare form, slicing into the blue-collar Shelby owners without mercy. The Shelby Club attempted a pathetic rebuttal but failed. You had to have been there - and hopefully next year you will!

Results of Ferraris at the 1995 FCA Virginia City Hillclimb

1 Amir Rosenbaum 512 TR 3:29.87
6 Frank Adams 348 TB 3:44.09
12 Steve Westrate F355 3:49.91
14 Bob Teal 308 GTS 3:52.00
15 Joe Reitmeir 308 GT/4 3:52.29
19 William Dussell 308 GTBi 3:54.97
21 William Canihan 308 GTSi 3:55.63
22 Jeff Garrett 308 GT/4 3:56.40
23 Jim Condon 365 GT4 BB 3:57.12
24 Johannes Huwyler 308 GT/4 3:58.65
26 Gary S