2009 Spring Speed Weekend

April 26, 2009

The Hill Climb in Auburn was certainly a joy for those of us who like fast cars. The Martinez Family, the Calabrese Family, and I were there for the Saturday seminars and time trials. Tom and Terry Machado came up Sunday morning for the final runs and brought a wonderful homemade lunch for all to enjoy.

On Saturday Demitri Elgin (Elgin Racing Cams) presented a program on custom ground cams. The “take away”? Start at the top and work down. Don’t skimp on quality. Don’t discount new ideas – you might learn something.

The real fun is had by those who race their cars. Anyone can do it. They have a class for every car. The requirements: You must be a member of FAST, pay the entry fee ($35), and subject your car to inspection. Your engine can have no more than four cylinders and must be manufactured sometime prior to 1935. There are a few other safety requirements like wearing a helmet and having something on board to put out a fire – but that is about it.

We saw a number of former Club members in Auburn. Bob Ambrose was there with his “Dragster”. Ray Fiorese brought his speedster, #47. Ray won the first hill climb in 1994 in Tacoma Washington. This year Olive Moore had the best time with an average time of 8.69 seconds.

The track is one eighth mile up hill (10% grade). Stock four-bangers can do the job in about 14-16 seconds. The hot-fours with modification can do it in less than 9 seconds. Greg Martinez turned in times averaging a little over 14 seconds in his new never-been-run black roadster. Some of the more modified engines sound like V-Eights and can produce several hundred horse power. I was surprised at how competitive this event had become since the first Hill Climb events of the 1990’s.

I plan to enter my coupe next year. I don’t expect to win. I just want to see how fast the old car can go. It costs about $25 to join FAST. You receive all the rights and privileges and four issues of their club magazine with your membership. It is a good organization for hot prodders, gear heads, and speed demons and just about anyone who is challenged by speed technology or who likes to drive their four-banger FAST.

Photos by Barry Kinney