Hill Climb - Mount Gambier

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"Legend of the Lakes" Hill Climb

Written by Sean Day
S&J Automotive Adelaide

After a season of small track days and local hill climbs we thought it was time to go on a road trip and race somewhere new, we chose the Mount Gambier "Pirtek Legend of the Lakes" Hill Climb as we had 5 customers entering plus one of our mechanics, Simon in his freshly built RX4 13B turbo. This is the second year this event has run, and I can see why it had so many rave reviews in '06, a sensational piece of road in one of the most picturesque surrounds that you could imagine, not to mention the perfect weather!
The competitive section of track is 1.2 km of fast flowing 3rd gear corners then straightening to a high speed uphill (top of 4th gear) climb with 2 kinks, at 160kph it's time to brake hard for a square left into a tight right hairpin then another square left and a square right with 100m to the finish line!

The S&J flagship "Tarmac" rally car is a V5 STI type R built by us in house during 2006 using almost every MRT & Whiteline product imaginable. With a strong 2.0L sporting AVCS and EcuTek ECU reprogramming and Data monitor! 200kw ATW has been safely achieved with the help of the Hyperflow TMIC.

As promised to Jo (my wife), I eased into the first run, setting a 62.43 which would have been just outside the top ten. By the third run on the first day I was in a very comfortable 3rd place with a 58.51. At this time I realized that 1st & 2nd place, held respectively by Kevin Mackrell in a 700hp 4WD Nissan 260Z, and local Peter Gazzard in his Evo IX with 275kw ATW were already 3.5 seconds away.

The 4 wheel burnouts during the tyre warm up and launch were thanks to the PPG Dog Box! I can't speak highly enough of the Silverstone FTZ type-RR's that we have been using for the last 4 events, combined with the service and advice that has come from Mark at S.A. Motorsport Tyres also, grip is no probs!

Unfortunately Trent Brand had a small crash in his V5 STI on the first run which put him out for the rest of the day. Damien Brand however was stiff competition in his '97 2 door which is lighter but not as heavily modified as ours, and Michael Willis in his beautiful '99 road car was improving his times at a rapid rate too!

Day 2 saw us maintain 3rd place for the first run, but from just behind an R33 GTR pulled a blinder time of 55.93 on his 2nd run of the day, this was over 1.5 seconds quicker than my best run and with my current improvements as small as .3 of a second I had settled for 4th . Never too confident though, as the field was extremely close, and then on the last run one of our own local heroes, Doug Lehmann in his EVO VI ripped .4 from me after being just .2 behind on every other pass. In summary we finished 5th out of 95, and were happy that all 4 cars ahead had anywhere from 100-300 extra hp.

Thank you to all of the hard working organizers, we will be back next year!