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Blue Ridge Hill Climb
      
At Sparta George Bowland dusted all of us for overall FTD with multiple runs in the 48s, but then he's driving a toy car anyway (a winged hill climb special that theoretically makes enough downforce at 61 mph to run upside down across the ceiling). Rich Shafer & I battled all weekend for second overall and swapped the "lead" by a few tenths on just about every run. Rich was ahead with a 53.29 to my 53.40 as we got ready for "one last run". I had been on the rev limiter in fourth for about three seconds on my previous run, so I had Data pull the chip just before lining up in the staging area. I did my first burn-out, then right at the end of the second burn-out I felt something pop in the drive train - "engine she run, wheels they no go". Ends up the repeated standing starts had been too much and I broke the layshaft in the quick change, so we didn't get that last shot at Rich. A pretty easy fix compared to what COULD have broken.
     
Data also drove and put down consistent sub-60 runs after getting over his early weekend jitters. He ended up with a 58.6 for fifteenth overall (and second in GTA). My time was faster than Mark Mashburn's GT-1 record, so we SHOULD have entered me in GT-1 and Data in GTA had I known we'd be that close. Data could have set the GTA record and I could have gone after the GT-1 title. <g>
      
Based on being among the five fastest drivers, I also was invited to participate in an exhibition Lawnmower race at the local fairgrounds Saturday night (Rich & George opted out due to health and sanity reasons). It was cross-promotional deal between the Hill Climb folks and the AMRA (Allegheny Mower Racing Assn.) and six SCCA drivers were asked to show up in our driving suits and helmets to battle it out for five laps on a 1/10th mile clay oval on riding mowers donated by area drivers. I was somewhat reluctant (mainly because it meant I couldn't fully participate in the social at the hill Saturday afternoon, but also because I didn't want to embarrass Harriett, Data and Annette by doing poorly), but when we showed up at the fairgrounds around 7:00 PM there must have been 5,000 people in the stands and milling about in the pits and paddock area. These folks take their Mower Racing seriously!
      
We were supposed to race around 7:45, but it was after 9:30 before we actually took to the track (after a short orientation from each of the owners). Bottom line is I started on the pole, led every lap, got to take my victory lap (with attendant doughnut) and apparently we put on a helluva show for the spectators. Harriett, Data & Annette will have to give you the details of what went on behind me, but reportedly there was a bunch of banging and bumping, mowers sideways with dirt flying and Mitchell Wagner (our token flagger that got to play) even managed to roll one of the mowers over. Harriett said it was a great idea for us to be in our driving suits since it set us apart from the regular drivers/riders, but the crowd LOVED it! All I can say is I'm glad I didn't screw up. The cheers from the crowd made up for the missed beer at the social and having to wait until 10:30 for dinner.
     
See ya...