What is the Waumandee Time Trials?
It’s an annual competitive driving event limited to vintage cars, trucks, and motorcycles that takes place on a wooded, twisty, and hilly closed public road in the “Driftless Area” of western central Wisconsin, near the town of Waumandee, usually on the fourth weekend in September.
My car isn’t quite 20 years old. Can I still register?
We want to maintain a “vintage flavor” at the Waumandee Time Trials, but we do have some flexibility on the 20 year rule. New kit cars that are designed to look like vintage cars are allowed. Vehicles with vintage bodies but modern drivetrains are welcome. If a particular vehicle model was produced 20 years ago, and you have the same generation model but a more recent year, we will probably let you in.
What does the tech inspection check?
Vehicles must be in sound mechanical condition and will be required to pass a technical inspection for safety. Participating vehicles must use DOT approved tires (street or race) in good condition. Driver and passenger must wear working seatbelts (lap belts at least, shoulder belts strongly preferred). Everything loose must be removed from the vehicle. Numbers on both sides of the vehicle, and on the passenger side of the windshield. Battery bolted down (not bungeed) with the hot post covered. Brake pedal firm. Steering and suspension responsive and tight. Gas pedal springs back positively after being pressed and released.
Can I camp and/or park my car/trailer in the paddock?
Yes. Free parking and free overnight camping are available in the paddock from Thursday afternoon until Sunday morning. There is no electricity or running water in the paddock, but there is a porta-potty.
How stiff is the competition?
It’s not. This is just a fun social event that happens to involve driving vehicles up a beautiful hilly road. There’s no competition for trophies or prizes. After the hillclimb course goes cold at the end of the day, we enjoy an awards banquet dinner where every driver receives a paper certificate showing their personal fastest time up the hill. The certificates are handed out in order from slowest to fastest, but that’s as far as the competition goes.
Will all drivers get the same number of runs?
No. The hillclimb is supposed to be a fun, low-key, social event. Both the morning and the afternoon have an equal amount of scheduled run time, but it has never been a goal of this event to make sure all drivers get the same number of runs. After the drivers meeting and delivering corner workers to their stations, we start running cars at approximately 9:00am. We break for lunch at 12:45pm. After a delicious meal and a few low-speed “fun runs” for the kids, the competition resumes at 1:45pm. Usually around 5:00pm all remaining drivers from all three run groups are invited to the grid for “last call,” one final combined run group. We have a hard stop at 5:30pm. Depending on which group ran just before last call, who’s sharing a car, and how many red flags are called throughout the day, some drivers may get more runs than others. And that’s okay because this isn’t a super competitive event.
What is the history of this event?
What is now known as the Waumandee Time Trials started as the Waumandee Hillclimb in 2012. Originally sponsored by the Minnesota Austin-Healey Club (MAHC), the Waumandee Hillclimb was the brainchild of Tom Hazen, a longtime member and former president of MAHC. From 2003 to 2012, Mr. Hazen successfully ran the annual “Healey Hillclimb at Afton Alps” at a ski resort near the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, a change in policy by the local town board ended the Afton event, but Mr. Hazen had already envisioned moving the hillclimb to a longer and more desirable course out in the “middle of nowhere” in the beautiful Driftless Area of western Wisconsin. The Waumandee Time Trials is now run under the auspices of Vintage Time Trials LLC, a company that Mr. Hazen formed to celebrate the joy of driving vintage vehicles.
How did you find that incredible road?
Most people don’t know that hidden in the bluffs and farmland of western Wisconsin, you will find some of the best driving roads in the United States. The “Driftless Area” was spared by the glaciers that flattened the rest of the upper Midwest. Drivers who know where to find them revel in these twisty, hilly, wooded, and usually deserted country roads that link fertile valleys with windswept ridges 450 feet higher. The locals give the best stretches names like Big Coulee, Rose Valley Dugway, Alligator Slide, Pretzel Pass, and Mr. Hazen’s personal favorite, Blank Hill Road. This fabulous 2.3 miles of pure driving joy was named after the family of dearly departed Mike Blank, a true Norwegian bachelor farmer and a gentleman, on whose road we now race every year.