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|BOWLAND BLOWS THE FIELD AWAY George Bowlands ground effects Spec 1 racer carried FTD for the weekend by over four seconds. ||MELOTTI REPEATS Herm Melotti won the AS class title amd was the only defending champion on the hill, having captured a trophy on Polish Mountain back in 1962. |
|POLISH MOUNTAIN ROARS BACK TO LIFE |
FLINTSTONE, MD After a 40 year hiatus for road racing in Western Maryland and 2 long years of negotiation and regulatory diplomacy, the Polish Mountain Hill Climb roared back to life Saturday, August 4th.
A new era of SCCA hill climbing began with the raspy launch of a four cylinder production class car up the hill on old Scenic Route 40, now known as Gilpin Road, but the history of the moment soon gave way to a spirited two day chase for glory between 93 entered race cars the biggest turnout this season on the Pennsylvania Hill Climb Association Series.
By weekends end, FTD belonged to George Bowland, a many time national champion and hill record holder from North Carolina. Bowland laid down a scorching 53.410 pass up the steep 1.2 mile course to complete his Western Maryland Speed Week hat trick, having won twice in the National Road Autosport Miller Lite Cumberland Airport Autocross Series on the previous weekend.
Leith Wain from Rockville MD was 4.1 seconds behind Bowland, gaining the second fastest time of the weekend - a remarkable performance in his SPO class 2002 Porsche 996, beating a field full of formula cars and hill climb specials in a production car. PHA regulars Kurt Eikenberg (CSR Prince) and Ken Taggert (FC Tigger) scored the third and fourth fastest times up the mountain in their immaculately prepared track cars. Mark Aubele rounded on the top five, winning a neck and neck battle with Jeremy Dietzels 6th overall Mitsubishi Evo to take Street Mod class honors.
Mark ended the weekend badly, however, losing his trusty primer black Mustang to a suspension failure and subsequent front-end collision with an Armco barrier on Sunday afternoon.
Other close class battles included ITB, where Mike Fairfaxs GTI edged the beautiful Audi Coupe of Glenn Colbaugh by a mere .055 seconds. In ITC, local driver Gregg Honeycutt edged car owner Fred Schroeder and the Hondas third driver Steve Wilson by a combined .323 seconds after trading the class lead with his car-mates throughout the weekend.
In C Street Prepared, the Miata of Bill Oswald edged Dale Witmans RX7 in an all-Mazda battle by .718 seconds. Scott Williams, in from Atlanta GA, nipped local autocrosser Dave Williams in their shared EP Porsche 944 by .809 seconds after trading the class lead back and forth on Saturday.
Cumberland native SCCA veteran Herm Melotti squeezed by Bob Lewis by .419 seconds to win the AS class. Morgan Wilson won a hotly contested fight for S2 class honors in his Beach MK V over Bob Campell and Bob Oswald, Sr. both driving tube frame VW powered specials.
In the Historic 2 class, Dennis Williams TR4 was a scant .882 seconds up on the gorgeous Aston Martin of John Stinsmen.
Good performances were also logged by Cumberland area drivers Matt Felten who was the fastest local driver finishing 9th overall, as well as John Felten co-driving the family Reynard and Porsche Club of America standouts Mark Boggs, Fred Pfeiffer and Sean Pfeiffer.
Overall, it appears that the first Polish Mountain Hill Climb in many years was a big success and our local operations and permission teams are already talking about 2008!
- How about the Friday night band, Queen City Funk and Soul!
- Standing O for the Flintstone VFD cooks at the Saturday Night Dinner
- What a crew at the top of the hill! More ornery than old, Mose Wilson, Alvey Ford, Pops Pfeiffer, Rich Brant and Mike McCagh did a great job greeting drivers at the finish, diagnosing mechanical issues with their centuries of experience and leading the racers on spirited jaunts down the return road. They were having so much fun with escort service, Mike brought a faster car on Sunday.
- Special thanks to the course workers who made like the Donner Party at their stations while our first-time event ops team worked to reach them with food, water and bathroom break transportation. Well get that part right next year, but thanks a bunch for putting in tough duty this year.
- Special thanks also to all the neighbors on Gilpin Road who put up with our commotion for the weekend.
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|HILL CLIMB NATION The base of Polish Mountain played host to the usual PHA collection of colorful cars and friendly campers. ||FASTEST HOMETOWN HERO Cumberland autocross ace Matt Felten ran 9th overall, but only after running over dad Johns foot on the grid. |