Sunny weather greets return of Knox Mountain Hill Climb

Sun comes out for hill climb

Cindy White

It’s Kelowna’s way of roaring into summer.

After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Knox Mountain Hill climb was back for the Victoria Day long weekend. The weather even cooperated, with sunshine and a high of 21 for the final day of racing Sunday.

This was the 63rd time drivers have competed against the clock and the steep and twisting terrain to get to the top of the Kelowna landmark.

It’s the sixth year of racing for Garrett Mealing, who drives a 1995 Eagle Talon.

“It’s a big down-force, big horsepower car. It’s right around 600 horse and I think I still have the fastest trap speed into turn one at 177 kilometres an hour. I’m going on power here.”

He adds that there’s more to the weekend than just the racing.

“All the racers are kind of camped here for the whole weekend, so you make lots of friends. Some of them you don’t see very often, but when you come back here it’s right where you left off,” said Mealing.

Car enthusiasts of all ages turned out to enjoy the show and mingle.

“Hill climbs, they’re just exciting. They’re fast and they’re pretty safe. Nobody’s going to crash, nobody’s going to get really hurt here. It’s a motorsport that is very safe and very fun, ”said John Logel, the president of Central Okanagan Bursary and Scholarship Society. It’s his first year as a volunteer.

“There’s a wide variety of cars that you see for this event, so it’s really interesting to see how they stack up against each other. How the drivers and the vehicles themselves can compete against each other and provide a wide variety of results,” said Martin, who has watched the last six or seven hill climbs with his friends.

Erika was ‘geeking out’ over the modified cars people brought to show off at the bottom of the hill.

“There’s so much unique stuff that comes out.

“You get old Datsuns, you get some European stuff. There’s cars running here and in the show that weren’t sold in Canada. And you get to talk to people. It’s just a really fun time, good environment.”
For anyone considering giving it a go, Mealing says the key is knowing your car’s limits.

“It’s definitely being smooth and being cautious, making sure you know the track.

“You only get to run six times a year so it’s not an easy thing to really learn all the ins and outs of it. It takes a few years to really get it.”

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