~By Ed Evans
This weekend racing reverts back to where racing began in B.C.’s Pacific Northwest, with “The Dave Saunders Memorial Hill Climb”.
This race is the third reincarnation of the “Kitimat Hill Climb”. The first race was a single lane, quarter mile race up Haisla hill in Kitimat in the late 70’s.
Ed Trudeau from Kitimat with his “Wild Canadian” Hemi Cuda made some breathtaking runs and Prince Rupert’s Hans Andreeson’s “Rupert Elephant”, set the track record of 12.00 seconds.
All of the cars raced up a highway hill, situated in a residential area.
It was scenic view, watching a free race on grass that was shaped like green bleachers sloping down to the track.
The “Kitimat Hill Climb” faced a big problem then that it still faces ……… Speed. Or rather the higher speed put on by the faster cars.
The cars of the time were getting faster and faster. Cars like Andreeson’s fire breathing Hemi Pinto put the speeds up over a 100 miles per hour, much too fast to go around the bend at the top of the hill on slicks.
The second version of the “Hill Climb”, in the late 80s, was a 1/8 mile run.
Cars came from Prince George to Prince Rupert to compete. A second race was put on to run against the four fastest entries for the “King Of the Hill”.
Again speeds the fast cars ran were getting too high again. The last 1/8 mile version of the “Kitimat Hill Climb” was run in 2000.
This third version is dedicated to local Kitimat racing pioneer Dave Saunders.
The “Dave Saunders Memorial Hill Climb” brings racers back to Kitimat to run one of the favourite races.
The speeds are still a looming problem so the race is run at 400 feet. This is over half the 1/8 mile race. But the request was brought up by the faster cars.
Race organizers remind us that “Dave” Saunders said that the hill was “Only good for 400 feet”.
The race is still a great fun run and also a great race to watch. You don’t get a view of the cars running at any track like you will see at this race.
See you on the hill Saturday, July 2. Time Trials begin at 10 a.m. and eliminations get underway at one p.m.
The ever popular Kitimat Show & Shine will be held Saturday July 1 in the Tamitik Arena. These are all great reasons to visit kitimat this weekend.
Last week’s Terrace “Summer classic” results did not include the Bike/Sled Class, so here are the winners:
1st – Shawn Enmark
2nd – Jim Braid
3rd – John Symes