Virginia City Ferrari Hillclimbs Up to Speed

VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. -- Many people headed to Stead to watch the Air Races this weekend, but Virginia City had its own special event that usually falls under the radar. It's the only weekend of the year when drivers can put the pedal to the metal and legally race down Highway 341.

53 racers from across the country are revving up their engines to race in the 42nd Annual Virginia City Hillclimb.

"We basically round up a bunch of maniacs and their cars that like to go out and not worry about highway patrol behind them or anyone coming the other way," Dennis Chiodo, event coordinator, said. "We tell them to drive what we say is a safe speed for themselves."

Racers speed down a 5.2-mile stretch of asphalt for chance at a blue ribbon and bragging rights. Mike Seeliger is no stranger to the danger; he's been racing for nine years.

"I always liked speed when i was a kid," the Reno local said. "I started with motorcycles and dirt bikes and raced motocross in the desert and as time went on and the pain of breaking bones racing motorcycles moved into something a little safer."

Seeliger holds one of the fastest times in the race with 3:26, but it's not just a "man's" sport. Terri Molakides loves the adrenaline rush.

"Where else can you take your car and race legally on the street?" the Bay Area racer of 4 years asked.

The cars in the competition don't come cheap--they cost anywhere from $300,000 to $2 million--racing at speeds up to 136 mph.

"Ferrari made these cars to go fast so they're doing what they're designed to do," Chiodo said. "Most of these drivers are people that enjoy the car to drive not just to park in front of a restaurant and say 'that's my Ferrari.'"

Once every year, the rules of the road don't apply to the members of the Ferrari-Shelby Hillclimb. They're burning rubber down the streets of Silver City to satisfy their need for speed.


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