July 2016 Newsletter

 July 2016

Sports Car Club of America – Yellowstone Region 108

 Barn find? No, a Laurel thrift shop find. LS or rotary power? (See below.)
 Meeting Minutes

June and July 2016 Meetings 

There were no monthly membership meetings held in June or July. Informal meetings took place during the workers’ breakfasts prior to the MetraPark and YDS II events.

 Yellowstone Drag Strip II

By the Newsletter Editor

The Region’s second event at YDS bested the attendance record set in May by 4 cars. Thirty-one drivers logged an average of 9 runs each for a total of 270 runs. The course was long and fast with the fastest time just shy of 50 seconds–clearly a “Corvette” course!

Appropriately, a Corvette driver (and new daddy), John Bonner, posted fast-time-of-day in his C7 Z06. Riley Kelly–with his Corvette-powered Mazda RX-8–placed second just 0.687 seconds behind John. James’ Reuss’ third-place finish in the $300 Civic bumped Luke Bonner and his Camaro SS off the podium. New Region member David Greenfield, in his super-fast Evo, was fifth. Jim Coons edged out (new mom) Rachel Bonner (driving the family Z06) by 0.110 seconds. Jeremy Vansant, James Papallo, and Tom Litton rounded out the top-10.

PAX scoring put the Bonner brothers on top, followed by Litton, Vansant, andPapallo. A notable PAX finish was Holden Knutson in his Mazda CX-5. Eddie Salcedo placed 11th in PAX scoring, unquestionably aided by much missing bodywork.

The temperatures were hot, but so was the competition. Complete results and more photos are available by clicking here.

 MyT13B’s Corner

From the Regional Executive

The Region recently received a check from the Black Otter Hillclimb Association. After many years of inactivity, the group decided to call it quits and donate the proceeds in its bank account to its closest relative, theYellowstone Region SCCA.

Many current members of the Region are not familiar with the Black Otter Hillclimb, so I asked friend-of-the Region Kristi Mathson to put together the following brief history:

The Black Otter Hillclimb was established in 1959 by a group of sports car enthusiasts and was initially called “The Stairway to the Stars.” The course was in Swords Park and was 1.10 miles in length. The starting line was midway between 6th Avenue North and Airport Hill Road, on what is now named the 6th Avenue Bypass Road. The finish line was at the top just before Yellowstone Kelly’s grave. In 1959, the fastest time was a Corvette driven by Dave Corville.  Dave turned an amazing 1:09.7.  Several years later, the Hill was taken over by the Sports Car Club of Montana (SCCM) and the name changed to the Black Otter Hillclimb. From 1959 to 1979, drivers attacked  the Hill with all they had and eight hill records were set in twenty years dropping the Hill record to 1:01.551.   In 1980, Grant Cameron, a veteran of the Hill, driving a Caldwell Formula Ford, broke the one-minute mark for a new Hill record of :59.654.  Grant’s record would stand for 3 more years before being broken again. The 60 Second Club was established to honor the men and women that could race the Hill in 60 seconds or less.  To date there are 9 drivers with that distinction.  Grant Cameron, Dick Hager, Dwight Gilliland, Larry Althoff,George Bowland, Jim Arnett, Kristi Gilliland, Kenny Richlens, and Susan Hagaman. There are also outstanding records and efforts in 42 other classes by men and women racing anything from a street-driven car to a home-built car to an off-road vehicle.  The Sports Car Club of Montana ran the event until the club’s dissolution in 1986.  The 1987 Hillclimb was to be ran under a different sanctioning body, but organizational problems and road construction prevented it from happening that year. In the following years, road construction at the base of the hill and insurance problems with the event itself kept the Hillclimb shut down. In 1994, a small group of dedicated diehards aligned themselves with the Northwest Hillclimb Association. With major effort, the 29th running of the Hill was a reality!  Once again, the Hill would come alive every August with the sound of race cars and the smell of tires! Unfortunately, due to construction and an interchange to allow traffic between Main Street, 6th Avenue, Alkali Creek, and Airport Road, the last running of the Black Otter Hillclimb was its 39th running in 2004.


 Race Notes

From the Competition Chair

Two “tallish” entries at YDS gave rise to a review of the “Rollover Potential Guidelines” of the SCCA Solo Rules. Unstable vehicles with a high center of gravity and a narrow track, including SUVs, minivans, and 4WD pickups, must be excluded if they have a potential to roll over. Rule 3.1 sets forth two guidelines which do not appear to be mutually exclusive. The first guideline compares the overall vehicle height to the average track width. The acceptable range is 1:1 or lower. In other words, if the vehicle is shorter (less tall) than its track width (the distance between the centers of the right and left wheels), you are good to go! Craig Perkin‘s 1987 Ford Ranger was initially suspect, but his 92″ track put him “in the clear.” See below.

The second guideline sounds more precise, but it is difficult to apply in practice. The guideline provides that vehicles with a “Static Stability Factor” (SSF) of less than 1.30 should not be allowed to complete in Solo events. SSF is defined as 1/2 the track width divided by the height of the center of gravity above the road. While measuring the track width and dividing it in half is easy, figuring out the height of the center of gravity cannot be accomplished during a typical pre-event tech inspection.


 The Finish Line

From the Webmaster

The $300 Civic returned to the track at YDS after a few teething problems were sorted.The throttle problems are behind us. The clutch held up for the entire day, but periodic ominous odors suggested that further work might be necessary.  A third-place overall finish byJames Reuss demonstrated that the car has real potential. Team members James and Kaitlin Staebler could not agree on what gears–out of the 6 available–worked best on the long course, however, James’ strategy of leaving the car in third resulted in faster times. The little compact didn’t have the legs to match John Bonner‘s Corvette and Riley Kelly‘s Mazda on the straights, but it obviously held its own in the “twisties.”


 Next Monthly Meeting

August 2, 2016
GH&R Law Firm
175 N. 27th Street, Suite 903
6:00 p.m.

No rotary or LS power here–looks like an American V-6 with a 2V carb.
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