DRAGON 7 – Weekend in Robbinsville to Remember!

20140914_091631SCCA’s Central Carolina Region hosted another great event in Robbinsville at the 7th Chasing the Dragon Hillclimb presented by TOYO!  Although weather played a role in keeping our drivers from records being set, the competition was close in many classes. Over 2400 spectators came to watch the event and enjoy hamburgers, BBQ and funnelcakes  while watching cars and drivers compete for trophies and cash on the 2.2 mile course. The range of cars went from rally cars, a vintage MGA, Porsche GT3 RSR , Evo, Ariel Atom, Brunton Staker, FFR Daytonas, chump cars and many street prepped cars. We had great attendance of drivers along with many first timers at our hill. We also welcomed back Cory Friedman, our current overall record holder and the first winner of the Dragonslayer sword at the very first Dragon Hillclimb in 2011.

The event began earlier in the week with Ted Theodore, George Bowland and others that came to prep the hill, cleaning, mowing and weed-eating the worker and spectators areas. Hay bales were wrapped in white plastic and placed along the course. We owe a big thanks to all who came, worked, towed trailers and helped set up and take down the mountain. Rolling out 2 miles of wire from the back of a truck is a lot of work but necessary for timing and scoring. The hardest part is at the end of day Sunday, rolling it all back up! (Thanks Scott Sipler for staying and helping). Friday, registration was held downtown at The Hub before drivers took their places in the paddock and set up for the weekend. First timers on the hill met Friday night at Microtel to go over the course, the danger areas, protocols and event flow with an instructor and mentors.


Saturday morning went smoothly with our Launch tire and dragon in the air and course green. The damp course was a challenge for our drivers and some did get bit by the dragon. The saying “Saturday is for wreckers and Sunday is for checkers” is never more true than at a hillclimb! In spite of the occasional rain, the competition heated up in many classes and put on a great show for our spectators and course workers. We were honored to have Area 12 Director Tere Pulliam running her first hillclimb in a CSP Miata! Thanks to her and her husband Larry for coming and running with us! I suspect we will see them on the hill next year in THEIR car! We were also pleased to have Thach take a run up the mountain again in Elvira. Thach is a NC Highway Patrolman who is well known in the area… and if we can get him a car, whatever class he is in will have a new contender!


The Saturday night dinner at the Huddle House was enjoyed by workers and drivers. Steak night has now become Steak AND Hat night with prizes for best hats.

Sunday was some slight rain on and off during the day and the course never did completely dry out. While this made record setting runs impossible, it created extra challenge in the competition to get the most out of their cars while making safe runs. Our drivers did a fine job and the crowd cheered on our drivers with cowbells. The younger spectators had plenty to do meeting drivers, getting autographs and playing with dragons! One driver who hoped to make this year’s hillclimb had started a car build specifically for this event and tracked his progress through a blog. He was unable to chase away all the gremlins and decided to leave his car home and come watch. One of our drivers, Rocco Bocchiccio offered his BMW to allow Perry Boykin to make his dream of a hillclimb run! THIS is the sportsmanship and fun we see all see and enjoy! You can expect Perry and his wife, Jamie will be joining us at Dragon 8 in their own car! Another driver and long time hillclimber, Ray Cockerel from Black Mountain, NC began a build of his F500 well over a year ago. He completed the car and with support from his wife Sheila was able to debut his car at the Dragon! We look forward to having Sheila back running with us next year. Another driver, Roy Erickson, bought a Miata 2 years ago with the dream of building it up specifically for time trial and hillclimb. His car known as Breester was finished a week before the event and he fulfilled his goal of competing. Two other drivers Nate Wimbrow and Bill Hightower were co-driving Nate’s  Spec Miata and had the differential pop on their first run on Saturday. This was disappointing as Nate brought family down from New Hampshire just to run this event. A few phone calls later, Henry and Joe Bryan Payne with HP Motors in Pelzer, SC  offered their ITA Miata  on loan to Nate. Nate spent all day Saturday taking his car back to Greenville, picking up the ITA so he could run Sunday! All went well with their Sunday runs and the weekend was not lost. Thanks to Joe Bryan and Henry for their help!

At the close of the event, we brought our drivers, crews, event staff and many spectators that stayed for the trophy presentation. Tabitha arranged for Miss Black Knight to assist our Dragon (Julius Binninger) with awarding the trophies and money! There were too many outstanding drives : First timer Ned Neuhaus did amazingly well in his Brunton Stalker. Matt Brandenburg and Sebastian Kokoszka in their first run at the Dragon were fearless in their rally cars! Gage Gregory is always fast on the edge in his car… another great run! Another first time, Allen Skillcorn in the LeGrand DSR was 3rd overall in his first event! Cameron Lane with a 4th place was hoping for a better finish but 4th overall is excellent. With some new findings after the event, Cameron may have found a little some extra to show up with at the Dragon 8!  George Bowland, Robert Martai and Robert McManus finished in 5th, 6th and 7th with awesome runs especially considering the weather. In the end, no ladies were close to Vicki Lanning Eckerich as she captured ANOTHER Dragonslayer sword for Queen of the Hill. For King of the Hill, it was Heikki Rinta-Koski  in his Locost 7 and Cory Friedman in his Porsche GT3 RSR. Both turned in incredibly fast runs on the damp course… with Heikki turning in a 117.510 (just 2.5 seconds slower than his best time ever of 115.091) and Cory running a 116.487. Cory took the King of the Hill honors for the second time and now is the owner of TWO Dragonslayer swords. Heikki still owns four swords and will be back in the Spring, ready to do battle with the Dragon again!

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We owe many thanks to our sponsors, TOYO Tires, Appalachian Tire, Greg and The Hub, Brent and Shelly Hyperformance, Grassroots Motorsports, Darryl and Lori of Killboy.com, HeadHeldHigh.com, Tabitha, Steven, Meghan, Jessica and Nikita  from Graham County Travel & Tourism. Also thanks to our event staff, Don Drennon and his F&C workers, Rich and his Timing and Scoring Staff (Eric, Nancy, Lea, Julius). Thanks to Mark Wall who sweated away all weekend to be our on course Sasquatch! Rick Mitchell, Lance, Barbara, Robert, our grid/starters and stewards did an awesome job! A Special thanks to Mark Eversoll … excellent job on communications and control. Steve Eckerich in the CCR Board members who all stepped up to help! AND a thanks to all the first time workers like Jaime and Amanda Honeycutt. We appreciate greatly the sponsors and support from Graham County : Tabitha with Travel & Tourism, Terinda and Charlie with US Forest Services, NC. DOT, Juanita at GC Transit, Matt and Amanda at  Huddle House and Lary and the Graham County EMS and Rescue Squad. Thank you ALL for your help and support! We will see you again in the Spring when we wake the Dragon for Dragon 8!      FULL RESULTS :   chasing the dragon 7_fin_ chasing the dragon 7_raw_

So what cars will I see at the Dragon Hillclimb?

We do our best to bring you drivers from all over the world and unique cars at our hillclimbs! This year is no exception.

This September, we will have drivers originating from Finland, Sweden, India, Australia, England, Germany, Italy, Thailand, Poland  and right here in the USA.

And the cars…

There are rumors there may be a Miata… or ten.


Many personal bests and NEW Class Records were set at the March 22-23 Hillclimb!

Congratulations to NEW CLASS RECORD HOLDERS :

Robert Gomer in GT1     127.795

Richard Good in GT3     131.169

Mark Rothermel in FV  137.185

Ken Owens in EP   144.989

Rich Burgess in DSP   126.925

Brian Halecki in A Sedan 133.451

Full Class Records along with Past records at the Dragon can be found HERE

Where to Stay… What to do… at the Dragon Hillclimb

We are receiving a lot of questions about lodging and activities in the area. Here’s some inside Hillclimber information!



On the upper right hand corner of this webpage, you will see a tab marked LODGING. Here you will find info on hotels, motels, rentals and campgrounds in the area. We have also received word recently from these hillclimb supporting owners that they do have rentals/rooms  available. PLEASE let them know you are an SCCA hillclimber when you call. ALL of these folks have supported our hillclimbs, many have sponsored cars  and we do appreciate them and their help! :


Griffin Cabins – contact Mary at 828-479-6470     http://www.griffincabins.com/

Smoky Mountain Mansion – contact Greg LaVecchia –  828-479-4220    www.smokymountainmansion.com/

The Treetops – contact Ron  828-479-8400    www.thetreetops.com/

Mountain Manor – contact Brenda  828-479-4555       www.mountainmanorhotel.com./index.html

Hog Hollow Cabin Retreat – contact Rick or Pat   828-479-3141  www.hoghollowcabinretreat.com 

Simple Life Campgrounds and Cabins – contact Alan or Betsy 828-788-1099    www.thesimplelifecampground.com/

Microtel Inn – The Ditmore family has been instrumental in starting this event – 828/479-6772   www.microtelrobbinsville.com/

Dragons Rest Cabins – contact John or Kathy  828-479-4726   www.dragonsrestcabins.com/ 



If you are bringing spouse and family, it’s nice to find other activities in the area. We hear many stories from drivers that come to Robbinsville and Graham County for a hillclimb …and come back later for a vacation! The Nanatahala Forests, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forests, Cherohala Skyway, the Tail of the Dragon, Lake Santeetlah … all make a wonderful backdrop for a family getaway with arts & crafts, fishing, boating, hiking, and beautiful drives. Click here for a great list of things to do compiled by our own Safety Steward – Karyn Culligan Hudson! 



More lodging and travel & tourism information at :  http://www.grahamcountytravel.com/




Site Review for Dragon IV – June 22 & 23

Several of us drove up to Graham County to meet with the new Graham County Tourism Director  – Tabitha Myler, our Chamber contacts – John and Valerie Feil and Terinda Whisenant with Forestry Services. All meetings went well and we are making plans for Friday night and Saturday night socials. It was a pleasure to see several of the other local vendors who have sponsored events and cars! The county is excited and looking forward to having us back for our June and August events. The Chamber of Commerce gave us a Certificate of Appreciation for our help in their 2012 year events.

A ride up the mountain was interesting… with bare trees, many turns look completely different. You can actually see the Santeetlah Lake and many of it’s fingers from one point that is usually hidden by the trees and flora. The view from the observation deck at the top of Maple Springs is beautiful year round. If you have time one weekend, ride up to Robbinsville, ride the Tail of the Dragon, grab a bite in town and take a drive up the Hillclimb course site. It’s really beautiful this time of the year!

About half way up, we encountered a recent rock slide… nothing major. This will be cleaned up well before our event June 22-23. Everything is on track for a great Chasing the Dragon IV Hillclimb! We look forward to sharing a GREAT event with you. Stay tuned for more announcements… we have some special news coming up in a few weeks!


SCCA Central Carolinas Region is proud to announce registration is now open for the 2012 Chasing the Dragon II Hillclimb in Robbinsville, NC JUNE 23-24th!

We look forward to a great weekend in Robbinsville, NC and a lot of fun at the DRAGON! You will be entered in a drawing for a set of HOOSIERS and a set of TOYOS from one of our sponsors APPALACHIAN TIRE to be awarded at the awards presentation Sunday at 4:30… MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN! Please let our sponsors know we appreciate their support  of hillclimbing in the Southeast!     www.racetire.com

Please email Name, email address, phone, and specialty to vickieckerich@att.net  This will save you having to fill out all unnecessary entry questions.  Also please add if you need lodging for the weekend and the name of the person you would like to room with. (Breakfast and lunch is provided Saturday and Sunday and your dinner at our Saturday party downtown is covered by Graham County!)  We appreciate you and you will be well taken care of… some surprises are in store for you! We will recognize two more workers with the coveted ORDER of the Maroon Dragon in appreciation for their service this weekend.


How to Ready YOUR Solo Car for Time Trials and Hillclimbs

ENTERING THE TIME TRIAL RANKS? Been doing a lot of SOLO? Thinking it would be great to get your car on a race track and see what you and it can do? Want more seat time than you can get in SOLO? It is not as difficult or as expensive as you might think. You do not have to have a road race prepared car to participate. My daily driver Miata is still used for SOLO, Hill Climbs and Track Trials. Read more