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Silver State Classic Challenge September 22, 2002
 Jan & Jay O'Brien

We won our class and overall best time!

Click here for more information on the Silver State Classic Challenge Races.

Click here to see our other race pages and a table of our results.

September 22, 2002 on the grid

Ready to go! Yes, that is a 1963 Studebaker Avanti on the right.

This was our eighth Silver State event; we finally did it right and came in first. Not only first in our 110 MPH class, but also most accurate overall. We are proud of our achievement, but the reader should understand that lady luck was also smiling upon us.

There were fewer participants this time, thanks to the problems with the economy.  Most who participate do so with "discretionary money", and almost everyone's pot of discretionary money took a big hit in the past year. The SSCC wasn't affected by the economy, however; the event was well managed, and we certainly had a great time. The Sunday dinner at Ely's Hotel Nevada had 39 attendees, up from 33 in May. Note that most of the participants attend the "official" Sunday Banquet in Las Vegas, but a few of us opt to stay in Ely, one of the friendliest Cities in the world. Click here for more information on the award winners at the Ely dinner.

We had a very good run. The only exception was near the end of the run when another car passed us and cut back in only a car length or two in front of us. I could hear small particles hitting the windshield, so I had to slow down. The second car that passed us stayed in the left lane long enough to avoid any such problems. I'm sure the driver of the first car wasn't aware that she caused any problems; it was obvious, however, that the driver of the second car was concerned about how his actions affected me.

How to win at the Silver State?

It seems that everyone who participates in this event has a slightly different slant on how to win. None of these approaches are "wrong".

Here's a link to Pete Marshall's excellent "Winning at the Silver State", our first exposure to the fine art of timing.  Paul Kraght has perfected the use of a "Walkman" for solo drivers; here's a link to a discussion of his method.  Pete won the 110 MPH trophy in September 1997, and Paul won it in September 1998.

Here's our refinements (no secrets here, sorry!):
All of this is still not enough!  Our inconsistency in starting the stopwatches can be as much as 250 MS (0.25 seconds). Often first and second places are separated by only 20 MS; our error in this September 22, 2002 event was reported as 18.5 MS. We just aren't that accurate! It seems to us that we can reliably stay within 250MS, and doing better than that requires some Nevada gambler's luck. In effect, those who finish within a quarter second (250MS) are given a "roll of the dice" to determine the winner. Our work to be as accurate as possible only serves to reduce the amount of "necessary luck" to a minimum. Lady luck (and the timing team, thanks Rod and crew!) smiled on us this time.

We are dedicating our win to our good friend Kathy Kennel, who passed away a few hours after Sunday's race. Kathy was President of the Mercedes Benz Club of America (MBCA) from 1994 to 1996, and was one of the very best mailing-list "List Moms", encouraging Mercedes enthusiasts to enjoy their cars and the camaraderie with other MB owners. Kathy died after a valiant ten-year battle with cancer. God speed, Kathy.

Jay and Jan O'Brien

Some of this year's pictures are below for your enjoyment.

Shoe Tree

The famous "Shoe Tree" on US50 between the Middlegate and Eastgate turnoffs

Welcome Banquet

Hot food is back at the Friday Welcome Banquet. What a way to start the event!

Tech 9/21/02

Tech inspection first thing Saturday - we passed

Pancake Breakfast at the Car Show

The line starts here for a delicious breakfast at the park

Pancakes at Broadbent Park

Umm! Lion's Club pancakes. Delicious!

Broadbent Park Car show 9/21/02

The three Mercedes at the Car Show Saturday at Broadbent Park in Ely

Event Director Gary Patterson

Event Director Gary Patterson slows down long enough for a picture

Car Show 9/21/02

At the Car Show, Broadbent Park, Saturday

Road Closed

On the way to the race at dawn Sunday: SR318 is closed and the moon is full

It's not closed to us!

Closeup: We take over the highway!

MedVac copter at start line

MedVac stationed at the starting line

Bill Brant and his Avanti

Bill Brandt and his 1963 Studebaker Avanti was next to us on the grid


Jan performs her magic as navigator

September 22, 2002 SSCC trophies

Our trophies: First Place Navigator, Most Accurate, First Place Driver
Between the trophies are the "Official Finisher" awards given all who finish

Click here for more information on the Silver State Classic Challenge Races.

Click here to see our other race pages.