Summer Road Trip: Silver State Classic Part 2

Annie Sam and Chuck Johnson Silver State Classic

Summer Road Trip: Silver State Classic Part 2

By Mike Kojima and Annie Sam

As we left off last time, we had survived the Z1Z challenge, the flying mile High Noon Shootout, slipping clutches and the Silver State Classic dog and pony show with the mandatory car shows, dinners and parades. It was time to get it done and run the main event.

Read Part One Here!

annie sam and chuck johnson silver state classic
We had to get up at 0-Dark hundred to get the race car staged up and our tow support truck down the road before the highway was closed off for the event.  It was really dark and cold.  If you are a city dweller, its hard to comprehend how dark it can be out in the middle of Nevada.  Vegas this isn't.

As the Silver State Classic is in all classes except for the Unlimited Class, a high speed TSD rally, it is critical to stay as close as possible to the class target average speed for the win. Of course this is harder in the higher speed classes. With the clutch troubles the car was experiencing it was decided to run conservatively in the 110 mph class, well under the Super B12’s 160 mph capability. To run at a 110 mph average, the car would have to run at around 140 mph for a few miles to reach a 110 mph average, then be dialed back to keep the average speed close to 110 mph so minor corrections to keep the speed average at 110 mph could be done.

sunrise over the start line, silver state classic 
sunrise, silver state classic 
Finally the sun rises over the start line revealing other cars! 

Navigator Annie Sam calculated what speed the car would have to run mile by mile and directed Driver Chuck Johnson to drive her predetermined speed as calculated in her route sheet. Annie would also be busy watching the cars location on the route and keeping Chuck informed of turns and hazards in route. The navigator is pretty busy. The route and speed were also cross checked with a GPS system to keep the average as close to 110 mph as possible.

the starting line, silver state classic
As day breaks, the cars are cued up by class, the fastest cars start first.

Since all finish line pick up and service vehicles had to be past the Lund Nevada starting line at 5 am, we had to be up at 3am to get to Lund, unload the car and get the tow rig started down the road for the finish line just outside of ash springs 90 miles down the road. It was dark and cold. After unloading the car and dropping Annie and Chuck off at the starting line, my job was simply to drive to the finish line and wait.

silver state classic
Meanwhile at the finish line, I found this place, a reminder that we are near the boundaries of area 51.

In the dark of the early morning, while driving towards the starting line, I could see the lights of course workers setting up checkpoints in route every few miles as far as I could see. Every bit of the course is under supervision by the course workers who continuously stay in touch via radio with race control. There are also observation aircraft watching the course and several EMS helicopters ready to respond in an emergency. For all of its festive nature, the Silver State Classic is a dangerous event and safety is taken very seriously. Over the years there have been several serious accidents and a few deaths so the organizers take every prudent precaution to be prepared for the worse.

silver state classic
The Super B12 in the starting queue waiting and waiting.


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