VARA Hillclimb @ Horse Thief Mile
A Great Ride At Horse Thief Mile At Willow Springs
The first of four races planned for 2022 by VARA (Vintage Auto Racing Association).
By Dave Wolin
Wed, Feb 23, 2022 06:14 PM PST
VARA’s (Vintage Auto Racing Association) first pilot event hillclimb last year had over 60 cars competing in the one day event (read about that event here). The hillclimb, really one lap from a standing start around the 1 mile, 11 turn circuit of Willow Springs Raceway Horsethief Mile, proved to be challenging and exciting for all, Quite an assortment of cars turned out; half street cars and half vintage cars. The success prompted VARA to expand this into a four race series in 2022.
So VARA got together with insurance giant Hagerty as a sponsor to produce the series, all to be held at Horsethief Mile. The first round of 2022, blessed with great weather, had up and coming young racer Mike Schneider take fastest time of day and setting a new lap record in his Fresno Powersports sponsored Rush SR. Other winners included Morgan Higham in the electric class with a Tesla, Jim Smith in a vintage over two liter class with his 240 Z and Denie Hiestand’s Lancia in the under two liter vintage category.
Unlike other VARA events, this was open to all cars, not just vintage, and we spotted numerous late model BMW’s including a BMW wagon that won it’s class, Camaro’s, an Alfa and some Mustangs in the mix, along with some interesting vintage cars; Shelley Hiestand’s Sprite and her husband Denie’s Lancia, Simon Proppe’ class winning Lotus Elan, Lliya Briden’s Porsche 911, Jim Smith’s Datsun 240Z and Virgil Penton’s cool 427 Cobra.
VARA provided lunch, nice medallions as awards, a goody bag of K&N and Hagerty stuff, and each competitor got a surprising amount of track time. We’re all looking forward to the next hillclimb, set for April 24th. Want a step up from dodging cones in a parking lot ? Keep abreast of VARA’s plans on their website.
About The Author
Dave Wolin has years of experience in the automotive performance industry and professional racing. As a driver and a team owner, he’s won SCCA and IMSA races and championships in events as diverse as the Baja 1000 and Pikes Peak Hillclimb. While still racing, he’s also the Executive Director of the Racing History Project. An LA-area refugee, Dave lives in a cabin in the woods outside Yosemite National Park with his wife Jane, an uncountable number of standard and exotic pets, and a garage (that dwarfs his house) full of enough racing projects to last out the century.