Silver State Classic (Ely to Las Vegas) is an on-highway state sponsored open road race established in 1988. It attracts participates from all over the United States as well as internationally.
I had the honor of covering the September 16th – 19th 2021 challenge on Nevada Highway 318. I shadowed Clayton Bromberg, a Las Vegas local Corvette enthusiast. I met Clayton at the Las Vegas Corvette club and he agreed to allow me the opportunity to ride along as his “navigator” and attend all Challenge events that are held over the weekend. Clayton did not disappoint, other than he is partial to Chardonnay wine, where I am a stead fast red wine connoisseur with Pinot Noir being my favorite (Napa Valley or Russian River).
I enjoyed many events with Clayton and the other Las Vegas Corvette club members and met a whole bunch of new friends. Being 22 years old, I was one of the youngest at the event. I wore a custom fit fire proof race suit, gloves helmet and shoes that were donated by my sponsor www.rbself.com for which I am very grateful. Although I think they got lots of great advertising exposure as I got lots of attention as I was a new face in the crowd of seasoned drivers most of whom have known each other for years.
We left on Thursday and stayed in at the Jail House hotel in Ely Nevada. Clayton, took advantage of my desire to drive a C7 Grand Sport Corvette and quickly put me in the driver’s seat on the trip to Ely so he could sit back and study the course, rules, and updates etc. I drove the entire 3 hours to Ely and it was an absolute pleasure and these 3 hours flew by so fast (as did the mile markers in the actual race).
While the old adage what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas is well known, it appears that the same applies to Ely Nevada when races are being held. Therefore, I am somewhat limited as to what I can recount and the photos I can share. I will thus move into the race itself.
The race is all about timing and not speed. While there are categories up to unlimited speed, Clayton and I were entered into the 105 MPH class which was not that fast but still exciting as everything happens so fast and timing is critical.
If you are caught going over your maximum class speed you are instantly disqualified. There are check points (traps) that you must go through at specific times. So stop watches, computer apps, GPS all play an important role. I spent all of Saturday with a gentleman named Malcom who taught me timing. Malcom taught me lots of old school tricks and I felt prepared for Sunday’s race.
We all met around 6 a.m. at the start line, with our start time set for around 8 a.m. We lined up at the start line and were released 30 seconds behind the car ahead. There is NO passing as this is a timed event. If someone is off by 30 seconds they must be off speed or have a bad navigator. The race was uneventful and there were no serious accidents. There was one breakdown with a blown tire from going off the road due to a distraction. This resulted in a damaged car but no injuries.
Airplanes and drones flew overhead monitoring the action for compliance and safety. At each trap I noted our time and reported such to Clayton. Our times were consistently off by 3 seconds. Clayton was using an iphone App and I was using stop watches and timing sheets as I was taught by Malcom. I checked and double checked my calculations and reported my findings constantly to Clayton. However, Clayton had no reason to trust me as I was a newbie and did not have his seasoned experience.
We finished up the race with Clayton and my timing still off by 3 seconds. We drove back to Las Vegas awards banquet at Sam’s Town where my mom and dad joined me. It was at this banquet that winners and losers are first highlighted as the actual timing results are confidential and sealed until the banquet.
The banquet was fantastic and I introduced my parents to my many new male and female race “buddies”. I was at the top of my game and so happy for the opportunity I was provided by Utah Channel 3 and Clayton in covering the Silver State Classic Challenge. Clayton made it a point to say how well I did navigating and that my “old school” calculations were well done and only 3 seconds behind his fully automated IOS app data.
Our 105 MPH class results were announced and we came in 4th place out of 6. I was pleased were not last and then I saw the numbers. We missed first place by 3 seconds, THE EXACT time I had calculated using the Malcom method. Clayton was speechless but my new dozens of race friends had to chime in and poke a little fun at Clayton. I asked Clayton if it was because I was new, blonde, a girl or what? He never answered me but did take me out to dinner a few weeks later and asked if I wanted to join him for the May 2022 Silver State Challenge.
I did not give him an immediate answer as I am thinking of driving and navigating myself in my fully restored 1997 C5 Red Corvette (See photos below). As Schefter wrote in his now famous book: “All Corvettes are Red. The rest are mistakes.” I tend to agree that Schefter has a good point!
See more photos of the Silver State Classic Challenge below.
By, April Fischer – Automotive Technology Specialist