2018 Silver State Classic Challenge

When I bought my Porsche I did not buy it just for the name, but because of what the name stands for: quality, exceptional performance, a grand tour car and an inspirational way to get from point to point. 15,000 miles later it just gets better.

Where can you drive such a fine car safely and at speed? Where can you go and wave at the NHP and have them cheer you on? And have the Sheriff escort you with their lights on to your starting point and wish you a great day? Where else but in Ely, September 13-16th at the Silver State Classic Challenge. This was my second open road race event and it was even more thrilling knowing what to expect and being able to enjoy the moment. As usual the drive to Ely proved to be exceptional and we had some fine scenery and several exciting stretches of road to enjoy. On this journey I had the unique experience to crest a pass only to be met by the NHP waiting for me with lights on. Humm. I knew that I was legal so what had I done? The smiling officer told me that a “wide” vehicle was coming up the road and if I would please pull over to the gravel turn around area and that it would not be too long of a wait. 

I love understatements!

I have never seen up close and personal one of those super gigantic mining trucks. There was a heavy police escort followed by two large trucks crawling up to the top of the pass hauling dump truck beds. Each was so wide that they only inches from fog line to fog line and maybe 40 feet long! Incredible. At least I knew were all the local NHP and Sheriff cars were going to be for the next few hours!

Participants gathered for dinner Thursday night to do all the usual pre-planning for the days to come and talk a bit of strategy, followed by a pub crawl in downtown Ely.  Friday and Saturday are busy days: registration, tech inspections, route review, barbecue lunch, a visit to the train museum, the parade of cars through town, followed by the evening social hour.  If that is not enough, there is also a shoot out for those wanting see how fast they can go in a ½ mile and full mile course.  Next is the Saturday car show, a time to visit, see all of the cars, meet locals coming to the show and just chat, clean and prep the cars for the rest of the weekend.

The SSCC is a terrific way to explore your car’s performance without and major risk to life and limb. This is not a contact sport, the road is closed, you have the whole road to drive in and if you stay in the touring group the cars need no modifications, just be in good condition with very good tires. So where are the Porsches? The place is crawling with Corvettes, Chargers, Camaros, vintage cars, but three Porsches? Really? Three Porsches?

Race day starts early. In the car at 6am to drive to Lund for pre-grid. The next 3 hours go quickly as cars are pulled to the final grid. This is a TIME and DISTANCE event. Each class has a minimum speed, you cannot go below. A target speed (110mph in my case) and a tech speed that you cannot exceed. Speed category’s go form 95-180 and above. In my class I cannot go slower than 80 nor faster than 124.

After completing a final tire and cabin check, I pull up to the starting line. Cars are released at one minute intervals and soon I’m headed south on Hwy 318. I was thrilled to see that I had it “nailed” at my halfway point, I was shooting to be close to my target time of 49 minutes 9.01 seconds. All was well until I pressed the wrong button on my stopwatch and lost all my timing. Now I’m trying to do all the math in my head. And it is really hard! I wound up finishing 12th out of 23 with a time variance of 1.5 seconds. Not bad considering the circumstances.

With the race complete, it is time to head back to Reno via the Extraterrestrial Highway, Hwy 95, Hwy 361, and Hwy 50. Not the most direct route for sure, but the most fun. In fact, this drive is one of the best parts of the weekend. Enjoyed a nice lunch a the Hotel Mitzpah in Tonopah as well.

The next event is in May. Is is an out and back course and starts and finishes in Ely. Don’t miss this opportunity to use your car for what it was designed for!

The starting grid.
Cars await the green flag at the starting line.