The Virginia City Hillclimb
As August drew to a close, the Ferrari Club’s Virginia City Hillclimb brought some spectacular automobiles to the Comstock for the annual ritual to see how quickly the cars could make it from the bottom to the top of the Alternative Route on Highway 341 (affectionately known at the Truck Route to the local drivers). This 5.2 mile stretch of road that connects Silver City with Virginia City is perfect to test the handling and acceleration of any sports car and has been the site of the Ferrari Club of America’s Pacific Region’s for decades.
“We have 65 cars registered this year and have had some folks show up wanting to get in on the fun,” said Dennis Chiodo, event coordinator for the Ferrari Club. “We usually have the event in September and hope to return to September next year, as it is more convenient for our members. We have people here from Texas, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon, in addition to the majority of our members from the Bay Area. There are some spectacular local entries making this a well-represented event
The supercars were well represented with Ferarri, McLaren and Porsche cars, but there were some great classics (Sunbeam Tiger, Ford Falcon, Ford Mustang) and some imports laying down the rubber and tearing up the mountainside.
“Ultimately, our main focus is to have a safe event. Everyone driving today has a special relationship with their cars and nobody is going to push things to a limit that will put themselves in harms way. The most important thing for us is to have everyone drive to the awards banquet and talk about how much fun they had.”
From the looks of the crew at 5:00 pm on Sunday, they gave their all for the drivers. The racing stopped at 5:00 sharp, and everyone looked spent but were looking forward to the banquet at Pipers Opera House. In talking to the drivers, they love the venue, love coming to Virgnina City and had a really lovely time taking their cars up the hill.
Sadly, the venue did little to bring bodies to Virginia City’s C Street commercial district. An informal poll of shop owners indicated they were disappointed with the thin crowds, which were not engaged with the cars. As Saturday afternoon was winding down, a C Street Shop owner was heard saying, “All the traffic is clustered around the starting line in Silver City, and by the time the time trials are over, most shops are shutting down for the day. There was more action around the Comstock Cowboys [band] than there were with the cars. It would be nice if we could incorporate the cars and the businesses along C Street, since we are all paying money to promote this event.”
The crowds were thick at the starting line, and the spectators got what they came for, but the number and types of cars was down from years past. Hopefully, next year will deliver more action. For octane lovers, however, things looked and sounded great.
— Sam Toll