The Ely Times
Approximately 113 racers will return to Ely this weekend to fulfill their need for speed at the Silver State Classic Challenge.
The event begins on Thursday morning, Sept. 14 in Las Vegas, with a caravan of cars that head up here for the race weekend. On Friday, Sept. 15, two-time trial events, the Half Mile Shootout and One Mile Shootout, take place on Highway 490 and gives drivers the opportunity to test the speed and handling of their cars at 6500 feet.
Later in the afternoon, participants gather at the White Pine High School parking lot to line up for the Parade of Cars that begins at 5:30 pm and ends at the Bristlecone Convention Center.
This year they are trying something new by closing the streets adjacent to the Bristlecone Convention Center for a evening of games and challenges, beginning at 7 p.m.The community is invited to come and join in the fun, games and challenges or just cheer their favorite driver or team.
On Saturday, participating cars will be on display from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Car Show at Broadbent Park. Drivers plus navigators will be in attendance for a meet and greet, were there will also be other activities in the park. Ely’s local radio station, AM1610 The Loop, will be broadcasting live from the car show. The American Legion, Post 3 will have a food concession stand along with a display of the latest exclusive SSCC merchandise for sale.
Sunday, Sept. 17 is the grand event, with the participants welcomed by OPTIMA Batteries and Suncoast Communications. Drivers and navigators from around the globe navigate down a closed 90-mile stretch of the Silver State Classic Challenge Highway, also known as Highway 318, between Lund and Hiko, which is officially closed to the public.
There is a speed bracket for all participants, ranging in 5-mile an hour increments between 95 and 160 mph, plus the 170, 180 mph classes and the Unlimited class for a total of 17 different speed brackets. The objective is to average as close to the chosen target speed over the 90-mile course, with the exception of the unlimited division as they attempt to beat the Guinness World Record.
In 2000, the SSCC was placed into the Guinness World Book of Records with two records, one for “World’s Fastest Road Race” and the other “Highest Speed on a Public Highway.”
The record originally set in May 2000 by SSCC participants Chuck Shafer and Gary Bockman when they achieved an average speed of 207.78 mph. This record was intact until May 20, 2012, when SSCC participant Jim Peruto became the new record holder, averaging 217.7750 mph while driving a modified 2006 Dodge Charger. This past May during the Nevada Open Road Challenge Robert (Bob) Allyn and David Bauer broke that record at 219.6430 MPH average for 90 miles.
The only way to watch these exciting events up close is to become a course worker. Manning the gates along Highway 318 is a vital volunteer effort in making these events a success and a great opportunity to be a part of this legendary event. The primary responsibility of being a course worker is controlling access through an assigned gate and staying at the gate until the event is declared officially over. Hand held radios for communication between gates and Hams are provided by Suncoast Communications.
The course worker orientation is conducted at the Bristlecone Convention Center in Ely at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16. You must be 18 or over and there are no spectator areas.
Each course worker will receive an official SSCC hat, two SSCC t-shirts, two bottles of water and once the equipment is verified as returned, will receive a check for $50. There will also be a drawing on Sunday night at the Award’s Banquet at the Sam’s Town Hotel that will give 10 course worker gates a chance to win an additional $100. Course workers need not be present to win and the winners will be announced on the event website.
The Silver State Classic Challenge, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation that was created to promote tourism through open road events and support the communities of the rural counties. The events are held biannually, every May and September.