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Motorsports in the Eastern Sierra: 53rd Annual Lone Pine Time Trials

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The smell of hot rubber and high-octane gas are smells not familiar to the Eastern Sierra. Growing up in Bishop as a car fanatic isn’t the easiest. You have this blossoming interest and not much community. The police know you and your car so everything must be done exactly to the letter of the law. No engine modifications, no spirited driving, no tint, no exhaust, no cruising Main St., and definitely no removing your front license plate! There are not many opportunities to push the limits of your car or show off your hard work and your skills. Of course, there is the Destruction Derby at the fair every year. There are lots of off-roading and motocross opportunities and the Fall Colors classic car show so if it’s not a colorful classic or a dirt machine, forget it! When I left Bishop for automotive tech school in Phoenix I got immediately hooked on the car culture and all it had to offer. So many good friends and fun times. Your car quickly becomes an extension of yourself and a big piece of your individuality. Coming back to Bishop I was pleasantly surprised at how the car culture has grown. There are Cars and Coffee events occasionally next to Hings. Flo’s Diner in Chalfant is hosting their 3rd annual car show on June 24th. Our Bishop Napa dealer, Steve’s Auto Parts held a tool expo and car show last October. There is a mud bog event in Fish Lake Valley on the 4th of July. The Choo-Choo Swap meet held a car show at their Cino De Mayo event. Things seem better!

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One event that has been going on for a long time that hardly catches any attention is the Lone Pine Time Trials. On May 20th and 21st they celebrated their 53rd anniversary of the time trials on the historic WWII Manzanar Airport. Cal Club division of SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) brings their timing equipment and bus and throws one great event! There’s a class for everyone and anyone 16 years and older can race. It’s a simple one car at a time race against the clock. It’s a 2-mile track and they had to cut-off the entrees at 80 cars! 14 of the drivers were local to the Eastern Sierra and we had drivers come from as far away as Tukwilla Washington and Colorado Springs. There was everything from a 1969 Triumph gt6, a 2022 Audi A5, a 2018 Porsche GT3, a 1991 Acura Integra, a 2022 Toyota Supra, to a 1977 Firebird. The amount of Subarus was staggering! As the owner of a Subaru specialty shop, I couldn’t be happier! The Street Modified Class on Sunday was 100% Subarus and almost all local drivers. Tim from Sierra German Auto had his 1955 VW Beatle and DOS Tuning had a crew of Subarus beside him. Seeing everyone from local kids, local shops and businesses, and people from states away come together to enjoy their cars and the presence of each other was a very special treat. There was no hate, only love and congratulations on great track times! I truly believe that this type of event is so important to our area. The proceeds of this event go to support The Braille Institute Youth programs as well. Many thanks go out to the Lone Pine Time Trial Committee, Cal Club SCCA, all of the volunteers, the participants, and the spectators for helping keep motorsports alive in the Eastern Sierra!

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Words and photos by Robert Hardin of Shorty’s Speed Shop and ShutterMeShort Photography

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