DRAGON 7 – Weekend in Robbinsville to Remember!

20140914_091631SCCA’s Central Carolina Region hosted another great event in Robbinsville at the 7th Chasing the Dragon Hillclimb presented by TOYO!  Although weather played a role in keeping our drivers from records being set, the competition was close in many classes. Over 2400 spectators came to watch the event and enjoy hamburgers, BBQ and funnelcakes  while watching cars and drivers compete for trophies and cash on the 2.2 mile course. The range of cars went from rally cars, a vintage MGA, Porsche GT3 RSR , Evo, Ariel Atom, Brunton Staker, FFR Daytonas, chump cars and many street prepped cars. We had great attendance of drivers along with many first timers at our hill. We also welcomed back Cory Friedman, our current overall record holder and the first winner of the Dragonslayer sword at the very first Dragon Hillclimb in 2011.

The event began earlier in the week with Ted Theodore, George Bowland and others that came to prep the hill, cleaning, mowing and weed-eating the worker and spectators areas. Hay bales were wrapped in white plastic and placed along the course. We owe a big thanks to all who came, worked, towed trailers and helped set up and take down the mountain. Rolling out 2 miles of wire from the back of a truck is a lot of work but necessary for timing and scoring. The hardest part is at the end of day Sunday, rolling it all back up! (Thanks Scott Sipler for staying and helping). Friday, registration was held downtown at The Hub before drivers took their places in the paddock and set up for the weekend. First timers on the hill met Friday night at Microtel to go over the course, the danger areas, protocols and event flow with an instructor and mentors.

20140912_15183320140913_150157

Saturday morning went smoothly with our Launch tire and dragon in the air and course green. The damp course was a challenge for our drivers and some did get bit by the dragon. The saying “Saturday is for wreckers and Sunday is for checkers” is never more true than at a hillclimb! In spite of the occasional rain, the competition heated up in many classes and put on a great show for our spectators and course workers. We were honored to have Area 12 Director Tere Pulliam running her first hillclimb in a CSP Miata! Thanks to her and her husband Larry for coming and running with us! I suspect we will see them on the hill next year in THEIR car! We were also pleased to have Thach take a run up the mountain again in Elvira. Thach is a NC Highway Patrolman who is well known in the area… and if we can get him a car, whatever class he is in will have a new contender!

???????????????????????????????

The Saturday night dinner at the Huddle House was enjoyed by workers and drivers. Steak night has now become Steak AND Hat night with prizes for best hats.

Sunday was some slight rain on and off during the day and the course never did completely dry out. While this made record setting runs impossible, it created extra challenge in the competition to get the most out of their cars while making safe runs. Our drivers did a fine job and the crowd cheered on our drivers with cowbells. The younger spectators had plenty to do meeting drivers, getting autographs and playing with dragons! One driver who hoped to make this year’s hillclimb had started a car build specifically for this event and tracked his progress through a blog. He was unable to chase away all the gremlins and decided to leave his car home and come watch. One of our drivers, Rocco Bocchiccio offered his BMW to allow Perry Boykin to make his dream of a hillclimb run! THIS is the sportsmanship and fun we see all see and enjoy! You can expect Perry and his wife, Jamie will be joining us at Dragon 8 in their own car! Another driver and long time hillclimber, Ray Cockerel from Black Mountain, NC began a build of his F500 well over a year ago. He completed the car and with support from his wife Sheila was able to debut his car at the Dragon! We look forward to having Sheila back running with us next year. Another driver, Roy Erickson, bought a Miata 2 years ago with the dream of building it up specifically for time trial and hillclimb. His car known as Breester was finished a week before the event and he fulfilled his goal of competing. Two other drivers Nate Wimbrow and Bill Hightower were co-driving Nate’s  Spec Miata and had the differential pop on their first run on Saturday. This was disappointing as Nate brought family down from New Hampshire just to run this event. A few phone calls later, Henry and Joe Bryan Payne with HP Motors in Pelzer, SC  offered their ITA Miata  on loan to Nate. Nate spent all day Saturday taking his car back to Greenville, picking up the ITA so he could run Sunday! All went well with their Sunday runs and the weekend was not lost. Thanks to Joe Bryan and Henry for their help!

At the close of the event, we brought our drivers, crews, event staff and many spectators that stayed for the trophy presentation. Tabitha arranged for Miss Black Knight to assist our Dragon (Julius Binninger) with awarding the trophies and money! There were too many outstanding drives : First timer Ned Neuhaus did amazingly well in his Brunton Stalker. Matt Brandenburg and Sebastian Kokoszka in their first run at the Dragon were fearless in their rally cars! Gage Gregory is always fast on the edge in his car… another great run! Another first time, Allen Skillcorn in the LeGrand DSR was 3rd overall in his first event! Cameron Lane with a 4th place was hoping for a better finish but 4th overall is excellent. With some new findings after the event, Cameron may have found a little some extra to show up with at the Dragon 8!  George Bowland, Robert Martai and Robert McManus finished in 5th, 6th and 7th with awesome runs especially considering the weather. In the end, no ladies were close to Vicki Lanning Eckerich as she captured ANOTHER Dragonslayer sword for Queen of the Hill. For King of the Hill, it was Heikki Rinta-Koski  in his Locost 7 and Cory Friedman in his Porsche GT3 RSR. Both turned in incredibly fast runs on the damp course… with Heikki turning in a 117.510 (just 2.5 seconds slower than his best time ever of 115.091) and Cory running a 116.487. Cory took the King of the Hill honors for the second time and now is the owner of TWO Dragonslayer swords. Heikki still owns four swords and will be back in the Spring, ready to do battle with the Dragon again!

20140914_10200620140914_102253(0) ???????????????????????????????

We owe many thanks to our sponsors, TOYO Tires, Appalachian Tire, Greg and The Hub, Brent and Shelly Hyperformance, Grassroots Motorsports, Darryl and Lori of Killboy.com, HeadHeldHigh.com, Tabitha, Steven, Meghan, Jessica and Nikita  from Graham County Travel & Tourism. Also thanks to our event staff, Don Drennon and his F&C workers, Rich and his Timing and Scoring Staff (Eric, Nancy, Lea, Julius). Thanks to Mark Wall who sweated away all weekend to be our on course Sasquatch! Rick Mitchell, Lance, Barbara, Robert, our grid/starters and stewards did an awesome job! A Special thanks to Mark Eversoll … excellent job on communications and control. Steve Eckerich in the CCR Board members who all stepped up to help! AND a thanks to all the first time workers like Jaime and Amanda Honeycutt. We appreciate greatly the sponsors and support from Graham County : Tabitha with Travel & Tourism, Terinda and Charlie with US Forest Services, NC. DOT, Juanita at GC Transit, Matt and Amanda at  Huddle House and Lary and the Graham County EMS and Rescue Squad. Thank you ALL for your help and support! We will see you again in the Spring when we wake the Dragon for Dragon 8!      FULL RESULTS :   chasing the dragon 7_fin_ chasing the dragon 7_raw_

DRAGON HILLCLIMB SPONSORS! THANK YOU!

The Event Management and Board of Directors would like to recognize  the following companies as sponsors of the 7th SCCA Chasing the Dragon Hillclimb!

Please like these folks on Facebook, check out their sites and let them know how much we appreciate their support.

                                They DESERVE our business for helping to make these events happen!  

PRESENTED BY and CASH AWARDS PROVIDED BY

 TOYO-Logo-blau           ARTlogo

http://www.racetire.com/  Great source for race tires and trackside support! 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

grasslogo 

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/  Mag devoted to hardcore sports cars, driving skill improvement, technical advice and amateur motorsports! 

download

https://www.facebook.com/THEHUBOFWNCLLC  Our site for registration, Tech and GREAT FOOD! 

HHH

http://headheldhighbrand.com/   A POSITIVE thinking creative apparel outlet! 

hyperlogo

https://www.facebook.com/hyperformancellc?rf=101278406731463 Fabrication & Paint Studio

 killboy

 http://www.killboy.com/  The ORIGINAL Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap Photographer

GrahamCountyLogo1

http://www.grahamcountytravel.com/  Your WESTERN North Carolina Adventure begins HERE! 

10ted882 

http://www.thesoutherndriver.com/wp/  Southeastern Motorsports News! 

So what cars will I see at the Dragon Hillclimb?

We do our best to bring you drivers from all over the world and unique cars at our hillclimbs! This year is no exception.

This September, we will have drivers originating from Finland, Sweden, India, Australia, England, Germany, Italy, Thailand, Poland  and right here in the USA.

And the cars…

There are rumors there may be a Miata… or ten.

Hillclimbers – Why do they do it?

Over the last 10 years, I have heard many people asking the question :

IMG_1272

WHY HILLCLIMB?

What creates the desire to take the risk of running a race car flat out up a wild mountain road? Why take a perfectly good street car and put in a 4 point cage and belts so you can roar through the woods and up those hills? Adrenalin junkies?  Death defying daredevils? OR… are these hillclimbers just “a few fries short of a Happy Meal?” I know what drives my passion but what is it for others?  I asked and here is what I found.

“It’s not about just racing up the hill.” – It’s selecting a car that fits your style, speed and budget. For many, it begins with a daily driver street car. You begin visualizing how it will look and what it will take to convert it to a competitive car in the class you’d like to run. Ordering the parts and… while shuffling a job, school, family and other responsibilities… finding time to do the build. Finding the resources to do what you can’t and doing what you can the way YOU want it done.  Enjoying the feel of a car seat, steering wheel, pedal layout… custom built to your body. Painting, striping, numbering and decaling to give the look YOU want. It’s building the very personal TOOL for the job of climbing that hill.IMG_1578

“It’s about the road.” – On a race track, we make endless cycles of the course… learning turn in points, braking zones, squeezing out that tenth here and there. We run the same track 3 to 8 times a year in many cases. For road racers, that perfect line for qualifying is seldom seen in a race due to traffic, passing and yellow flags. On a Hillclimb – you see the road once or twice a year. There are no other cars or obstructions and turns are mostly blind. You can’t see through the mountain. Changing surfaces,  weather conditions, going from sunlight to tree covered shade patches,  driving reactively to what you see in a 2 minute all-out burst… this is a challenge to get the max out of your car,  tires and set up… finding the golden line for the fastest time you and the car can make that day.

“It’s about the other drivers.” –  Hillclimb is more social than many other forms of racing. When you climb out of your car at the top, there are 20 other drivers all standing around talking that just experienced the same thing you did. They are friendly, open… willing to help with tools and advice . Many great friendships begin on a hill. On the occasion of a mechanical problem, drivers frequently offer their car to a competitor for some runs. Twice at the Dragon, that driver beat them in their own car. More and more women are competing and the “Danica Patrick” advantage (less weight / less testosterone) is showing in the results.  Six of the Dragon Hillclimb class records were set by drivers over 65 years old and four records are held by drivers under 25.IMG_0347

“It’s about the crowd.” – Spectators come from all over to watch these cars go up the hill and talk to the drivers in the pits. To kids, these drivers are heroes and give them something to aspire to. For adults, they are a source of memories of motorsports events past, of cars they remember and would loved to have driven and a chance to enjoy motorsports competition. The kids seeking autographs and ringing the cowbells to encourage drivers to go faster…  they don’t want to just watch cars go by at speed. They want to take part in the event, touch the cars, meet the drivers and enjoy the beautiful natural surrounding you find on a mountain. The view from the Observation Deck at the Top of the Dragon Hillclimb is incredible.

IMG_1387

“It’s about the event staff” –  So many people come together to make a Hillclimb happen. All volunteers who donate their time to come be a part of a unique motorsports spectacle.  They receive training so they can be there in a time of need when a car goes off… but their joy comes from a ringside seat for a safe event. The Saturday night social/steak dinner is a great time for workers and drivers to talk and tell stories.  Many of the greatest moments a driver will experience on a hillclimb are shared only by the driver and a few lucky course workers that were there watching over them.

“It’s about the feeling” – You don’t have to race a carbon fiber winged monster to enjoy driving a Hillclimb. You don’t have to win a trophy or set a record for your class. It’s about the feeling of being at the line belted in, feeling the vibration of your engine, looking up at that giant tire arch looming ahead. Watching the starter count down and checking your gauges for last seconds “all systems go.”  Seeing the view from inside your helmet, inside your car with only the first 50 yards of the asphalt visible and after that…nothing.  Remembering where it goes and trusting your memory, your car, your tires, the workers that the course is clean and safe so you can give it all you have and …GO! You don’t see signs, you don’t see workers, you don’t see trees… you see green blur on the sides and a ribbon of gray road as it is revealed to you. In 2 minutes time (that feels like 10), you see the finish line and your heartbeat and breathing begin to return to normal.  It’s a rush… and you will do it 10 to 16 times over the course of the weekend. Each run, turns begin linking together in your memory and you carry more speed and brake later. If you do it right, the last run is the fastest as it all comes together. If you do it wrong, any run can be your last run of the weekend.

I guess the bottom line is HILLCLIMBERS ARE NOT DRIVERS. Hillclimbers are the drivers, the workers and the spectators who all come to take part in making the event special. They all come together to compete,  fellowship and bond with their friends and their cars at the non-denominational church called NATURE.

IMG_0440

Yes, some of us hillclimbers might be a few fries short of a Happy Meal…

but we are also some of the happiest people I know.     

                                                        

988367_10151726549821942_1864982871_nDSC00919

Article by Ted Theodore – The Southern Driver (7/14) . Thanks to Darryl Cannon for pictures and support from Day 1 to make the Dragon Hillclimb a reality!   See more of his work at www.killboy.com                

RECORDS AT THE SPRING HILLCLIMB!

Many personal bests and NEW Class Records were set at the March 22-23 Hillclimb!

Congratulations to NEW CLASS RECORD HOLDERS :

Robert Gomer in GT1     127.795

Richard Good in GT3     131.169

Mark Rothermel in FV  137.185

Ken Owens in EP   144.989

Rich Burgess in DSP   126.925

Brian Halecki in A Sedan 133.451

Full Class Records along with Past records at the Dragon can be found HERE

Dragon 6 – We ROCKED THAT HILL!

1613968_10152028703373873_1036180085_n

Congratulations to all involved in a great event at the Chasing the Dragon Hillclimb Series in Robbinsville, NC! Our dragon slaying drivers came to take on the mountain from New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and the Carolinas. The weather held up long enough for a beautiful day of competition Saturday but on Sunday, the rain moved in. Thanks to all our staff who worked hard to set up, run the event (even in rain and fog Sunday morning) and take it down. Once again, we all enjoyed the wonderful hospitality from Graham County, the City of Robbinsville, merchants, lodgers and residents! It is such a pleasure coming to a community that appreciates us and we continually hear individual stories of relationships growing with locals and our event staff and drivers. Special thanks to Tabitha Myler, director of Graham County Tourism, Darryl and Lori Cannon of www.killboy.com, Greg McCoy of The Hub, Juanita Colvard and the Graham County Transit Authority, Larry Hembree and the Graham County EMS and Sheriff Mickey Thompson for providing us night security on the mountain. Thanks to you and to all the spectators who come to watch our event each year! 

Our Friday registration was held at a new location this year. The HUB in downtown Robbinsville turned out to be a perfect spot for registration under a covered shelter with great food and  coffee specialties from the cafe there. Nancy Peck and Cyndi Duckworth handled worker signups while Sue Seiler and Vicki Eckerich handled driver registration. Mark Seiler handled tech and was assisted by a local resident, Steven Myler.  This was the smoothest registration we have ever had at a Dragon Hillclimb! Thanks to all of you for your part! We received many compliments on flow and location.

1980489_841016222581733_270199457_o

1932535_841012582582097_486169838_o

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday morning, worker meetings and drivers meetings were held EXACTLY on schedule. Don Drennon handled the Worker meeting at top of the hill while Ted Theodore handled the Driver meeting at the launch area. Mark Seiler covered safety areas and David McDaniel explained run group order. We sent all first time and novice drivers up the hill for a slow recon run with an experienced mentor. (This has proven to be helpful in conveying good info and main danger areas to newcomers to this hill.)  The Course went hot at 8:57 AM … three minutes before the schedule. Great job to all staff who pulled timing and communications to make that happen. Also a special thanks to Cyndi Duckworth, Nancy Peck and Rich Little in Timing and Scoring and Michele Eversoll for a GREAT job on Control at her first hillclimb.

1492522_841012722582083_258860086_o

10001158_841019555914733_796712483_o

 

 

 

 

 

Run groups continued through the day, with a few interruptions on timing. John Willes, Robert Mayes, Lance and Lane Russell, Ron Wilcox, Thomas Mitchell and crew did a GREAT job running grid and start all day. The timing issues were not system problems but battery problems, though they still required some time to diagnose and repair. Spectator crowds were good all day and the Funnel Cakes at Spectator #2 were a BIG hit! We had a lot of drivers giving autographs and putting kids in cars for pictures. Travel and Tourism took surveys from spectators to better help us how to grow this event and work with Graham County for successful future events. Groups ran smoothly and driver times continued to improve. There were regular reports of Sasquatch sightings on course but none were confirmed. The bigger battles in several classes were really fun to watch. Heikki Rinta Koski, our returning King of the Hill, was having some technical issues with his Locost 7 that were slowing his runs. Cameron “Boo” Lane, in the beautiful Datsun 240Z, jumped on the opportunity and was leading overall most of the day. His work over the winter was obvious as his runs continued to get quicker and quicker. Steve Eckerich debuted his new RED Mazda RX7. It is an amazing car and with Steve at the wheel, it placed 3rd overall for the weekend. Another set of tires and a few more runs, and you can expect that this Fall, he will be a force to be reckoned with in SPO class.  TJ Theodore (past CSP winner) and Rajat Aggarwal were having a great Miata duel and it looked like it could go either way. Scott Cotten and Mike Tablas also were in the hunt for a CSP win. E Street Prepared had quite a match up – Brian Gause in his  Z28 Camaro against PHA’s TM and Dennis Williams in their silver Mercedes C43 AMG. Three other highly noteworthy entrant performance:
Rich Burgess – This was Rich’s first hillclimb in his Mini Cooper S and he finished 4th OVERALL! That is an amazing achievement. Congrats for a fine performance.
Robert Gomer – Also his first hillclimb in his GT1 monster Camaro. That car was shaking the earth as it went by and the fans LOVED it. 5th place OVERALL.
Todd Reid – Todd was driving the EVSR electric race car along with Charlie Greenhaus, Project Manager and Chief Engineer for Team Entropy. The car was amazing to watch, quiet but with enormous torque. The car ran flawlessly and required little in the way of maintenance or charging for the full day. Congrats to Todd and his Team for a successful debut of the car on its FIRST hillclimb and the 8th OVERALL and First in Class finish! They also took “King of the Puddle” honors with fastest run on Sunday in the rain and fog. Safe, dependable and environmentally friendly is all good… but they were FAST as well! Bravo! More info at www.EVSR.net

Day 1 wrapped up around 5:15 PM as our particpants stayed late to squeeze in a few more runs in the dry; weather forecasts did not look good for Sunday. We did have a couple of incidents in the last run group of the day :  Marvin Fordham and Rajat Aggarwal each made light contact with the guard rail and a rock.  While both cars were done for the weekend, neither driver was hurt. The Dragon bites but he did not get much of a meal from our knights this year. The drivers and staff closed up the hill and met up at Huddle House for steak dinners and HAT NIGHT! This is a tradition we will be continuing and the grand prize winner was Sheila Cockrell! Dinner and fellowship is a BIG part of this event and we had a great evening! Thanks to Huddle House for a great place to meet, eat steaks and have fun.

1978894_594523587304991_1189472109_n

 

1510520_455138221299560_459343920_n

 

 

 

1614116_10203271594221306_1050026740_o

Sunday, we woke up to cold rain. It was foggy on the hill but our workers took their positions and prepared for a hot course. Hillclimb officials met with drivers and agreed that while we usually DO run in the rain, this rain was not blowing over and we did not want to put our corner workers in the elements for a long time when no drivers would be improving their times. Two groups ran in the fog and rain as a thanks to workers and made some awesome videos. We brought our workers off the hill and got everyone together for trophies. Heikki Rinta-Koski was able to pull out the win on his next to LAST run of the day Saturday to take his 4th King of the Hill Dragonslayer sword …only 2/10ths of a second faster than Cameron Lane! Vicki Eckerich took her 4th Sword as fastest Lady of the Hill! Congratulations to all our participants and workers for a wonderful weekend of motor sports, fellowship and fun. The weekend was closed with a special presentation of the Susan Coleman Award… a new service award given by Steve & Vicki Eckerich. Alan Coleman was on hand to help present this year’s award to  – Mr. Don Drennon! We greatly appreciate the job that Don has done leading our troops on the mountain and helping maintain a safe course and a well managed event. Thanks to SCCA and Central Carolina Region for putting on a wonderful weekend in spite of the weather. BIG Thanks to Robert and Melissa McManus for hauling the truck to and from the event and working all weekend so others could run… and  thanks to Steve and Vicki Eckerich, Jessica Hunter, Steven Haupt and the Weaverville, NC gang that did so much work setting up and taking down in the wet and cold. YOU GUYS are awesome!  We look forward to continuing this great Hillclimb Series with Dragon VII September 13 & 14 in Robbinsville. Stay tuned… to www.dragonhillclimb.com  and www.sedivtt.com for more great Southeast Division Time Trial Events. Hope to see you at the TGPR Time Trial, April 12& 13 in Munford, Alabama.

Results Dragon 6 Hillclimb FINAL

Results Dragon 6 Hillclimb RAW

Site Review for Dragon IV – June 22 & 23

Several of us drove up to Graham County to meet with the new Graham County Tourism Director  – Tabitha Myler, our Chamber contacts – John and Valerie Feil and Terinda Whisenant with Forestry Services. All meetings went well and we are making plans for Friday night and Saturday night socials. It was a pleasure to see several of the other local vendors who have sponsored events and cars! The county is excited and looking forward to having us back for our June and August events. The Chamber of Commerce gave us a Certificate of Appreciation for our help in their 2012 year events.

A ride up the mountain was interesting… with bare trees, many turns look completely different. You can actually see the Santeetlah Lake and many of it’s fingers from one point that is usually hidden by the trees and flora. The view from the observation deck at the top of Maple Springs is beautiful year round. If you have time one weekend, ride up to Robbinsville, ride the Tail of the Dragon, grab a bite in town and take a drive up the Hillclimb course site. It’s really beautiful this time of the year!

About half way up, we encountered a recent rock slide… nothing major. This will be cleaned up well before our event June 22-23. Everything is on track for a great Chasing the Dragon IV Hillclimb! We look forward to sharing a GREAT event with you. Stay tuned for more announcements… we have some special news coming up in a few weeks!

REGISTRATION is Open !!! SIGN UP NOW!

SCCA Central Carolinas Region is proud to announce registration is now open for the 2012 Chasing the Dragon II Hillclimb in Robbinsville, NC JUNE 23-24th!

DRIVERS –     REGISTER HERE!
We look forward to a great weekend in Robbinsville, NC and a lot of fun at the DRAGON! You will be entered in a drawing for a set of HOOSIERS and a set of TOYOS from one of our sponsors APPALACHIAN TIRE to be awarded at the awards presentation Sunday at 4:30… MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN! Please let our sponsors know we appreciate their support  of hillclimbing in the Southeast!     www.racetire.com

WORKERS : THANK YOU FOR VOLUNTEERING!
Please email Name, email address, phone, and specialty to vickieckerich@att.net  This will save you having to fill out all unnecessary entry questions.  Also please add if you need lodging for the weekend and the name of the person you would like to room with. (Breakfast and lunch is provided Saturday and Sunday and your dinner at our Saturday party downtown is covered by Graham County!)  We appreciate you and you will be well taken care of… some surprises are in store for you! We will recognize two more workers with the coveted ORDER of the Maroon Dragon in appreciation for their service this weekend.

 

1 2