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Analyzing Turn by Turn- the Leavitt Machinery Knox Mountain Hill Climb Course Technical Analysis

by Frank Ewald

 

This is the 60th running of the Knox Mountain Hill Climb hosted by Leavitt Machinery. To this writer's knowledge, this is the oldest continuously running hill climb event in North America. Sanctioned by the Confederation of Car Clubs (commonly known as CACC), an affiliate of ASN Canada FIA, all participants must have at minimum a senior time attack licence (or your district's equivalent). Of course, there is nothing like a driver's meeting at the starting line to get an event rolling. The parkland at the start line quickly changes to the mountainous terrain that you can see in the background. That should give you a hint for what is in store. First, we will look at the Knox Mountain course and then in the next article we will focus upon some of the cars. The cover photo is of Wouter Bouman's 3-rotor Mazda that put down 916 whp the week prior to the event while. During this 60th anniversary edition of Knox Mountain Hill Climb, Wouter captured the overall victory and set a class record in the process.
 
Looking at the straight ahead of the start line, I am sure that like me, you're thinking that the road is not straight. It's a good thing that there is a portable rest station close by, because you can probably tell that if this is viewed as a straight then you're going to need those facilities!
 
Please note, this is not a corner either. It is, however, a public park road that has limited access. Those massive concrete filled steel gate posts cannot be removed. They do have tire barricades set up around them for the event. What the photos do not effectively show is how narrow the road that makes up this course is. At the public limit of 30 kph/18 mph it will be daunting to meet another car; while the racers would not be facing any traffic apart from a moment or two at the start line, it is unlikely that they were ever slowing down to the official speed limit.
 
Looking back at the start line, which is about in the middle of this photo, I hope that you can begin to see the complexity, elevation changes, and challenges that the course offers. As we progress, you're going to see that it just gets better and better from here. I honestly think that the 9 official corner numbers could easily be double that. Curious about trying your luck on a regular weekend - well don't. This is a popular tourist and biking area, there are speed bumps placed throughout the roadway (well, there will be after the race weekend), and the local RCMP will be giving you a large fine. Plus, you'll likely be disqualified from running in the official event. This hill climb only occurs one weekend in May each year.
 
Turn 1 is a wonderful switchback with what seems like a natural banking to help you around the corner- unless you're carrying too much speed. You cannot see it here, but there is a little knoll close to where most would use as their braking point that causes the car to go light with a resulting loss of braking grip.
 
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