Sent in by daily Motoringfile reader David Sims
Last May, Brian Mathis and I drove my 2004 MINI Cooper S in the Nevada Open Road Challenge, better known as the Silver State Classic. That’s the “high speed rally” where you drive as fast as you want on a Nevada public highway for 90 miles.
This 2.5 minute video is our story.
Brian and I are in the video. Brian plays Bobby Orbis. I play the down-and-out guy who aspires to be a great driver, just like Bobby Orbis. Brian’s much funnier than I am. 🙂 I do all the MINI driving in the video, including that dusty hard stop. We both work at Flux, a 13-person Java software company in Billings, Montana. I own Flux, and Brian’s our sales guy.
The race footage in the video is from Brian’s helmet cam during the actual race. I drove; Brian navigated.
In the race, they close 90 miles of public highway in eastern Nevada. Each car chooses a target speed to run the course, starting at one minute intervals. For rookie drivers like me, I was limited to the 110 mph class. That meant that we aimed to run the course in exactly 49 minutes, 5 seconds. The car that came closest to that time would win. We ran the course 2.2 seconds slow, placing us 14th out of 28 entrants in the 110 mph class. There’s a set of standard tactics that most everyone employs to try to come in at exactly the target time. Next time I’ll try to do better. Next race is this September. I’ll be there. 🙂
The fastest class is the 170 mph class. There’s also an unlimited class where you simply drive the course as fast as you can. Very few cars enter the unlimited class. 🙂
When racing, the biggest danger is rolling by running off the course into the desert or by hitting a coyote, jackrabbit, bird, or other animal. If you go too fast, they disqualify you. In my 110 mph class, you were allowed to run a maximum of 124 mph.
It’s quite a kick to be running along at 110 mph over 90 miles. The course has long straightaways with gentle curves that you don’t need to let up on, except for one section of the course called The Narrows, where you do need to slow down. Of course, for those in the higher speed classes, like 150 mph and up, they let up on all the curves.
There were all sorts of interesting cars there, including a Lotus Elise, Ford GT, McLaren, and lots of Dodge Vipers and Corvette Z06s.