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Love cars? Love hillclimbs? Love festivals? That’s the premise behind the first-ever West Virginia HillFest on August 9-11.

Tom Zielinski and Aaron Bambach are the two gentlemen behind the endeavor. Tom’s background involves promoting events, such as 4Fest. Aaron’s history involves competing in formula cars, sports cars, prototypes and Robby Gordon Stadium Super Trucks in addition to instructing. The two look to combine their strengths with West Virginia HillFest.

We had this vision to shut down a major state highway in the mountain and race cars up it,” says Tom. “At SEMA, we met some folks from the legislature of West Virginia [who were] very motorsport-friendly and welcoming. We got connected because Aaron had done some stunt driving with Erik Hubbard [of Backroads of Appalachia]. All roads led to West Virginia.”

[An easy place to host a race? How about West Virginia?]

Specifically, it led to Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Being a large resort, it offers the ability for the promoters to create something much more than just a hillclimb.

We want to create a cool cultural event,” Tom says. “The fact that we get to race cars up a mountain road that’s closed is just the cherry on the top.”

In fact, the promoters are calling this event a “car culture celebration.” Sure, there’s a hillclimb. Indeed, it’s geared toward the weekend warrior type of racer. The USAC-sanctioned competition will be open to a wider variety of vehicles than other hillclimbs, they say. Tom and Aaron also added to expect some bigger names, with some star power, in the hillclimb, too, but the focus remains on the grassroots participants. But there will be much more than a hillclimb at West Virginia HillFest.

Other events include drifting demos, scenic drives, car displays, food and drink, and live music. Even if you’re not a participant, Tom and Aaron stress that spectators are encouraged to come and enjoy the festival-like atmosphere they’re looking to produce.

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Written by

GrassRoots MotorsportsBy J.A. Ackley
Aug 29, 2023 | SEMABackroads of AppalachiaSEMA ShowWest Virginia

MotorSports Grassroots

10 Snowshoe Dr.
Snowshoe, WV 26209

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