A mile and a half in under 30 seconds – that’s the speed at which the fastest runners completed the course at the former Loring Air Base in the 12th Annual Loring Timing Association Land Sprint Race.
LIMESTONE, Maine – A mile and a half in under 30 seconds – that’s the speed at which the fastest runners completed the course at the former Loring Air Base in the 12th Annual Loring Timing Association Land Sprint Race.
During the four-day event, Loring Timing celebrated a historic 10,000th sprint on the old airfield track. This race was taken by veteran participant Mike Tomany. But he was just one of dozens of motorcycles and cars from across the country that raced on the base to take on one of the most competitive cobblestone speed events in the country.
Distinct from other types of motor racing, land speed events do not involve wheel-to-wheel combat. Rather, pilots race against the speedometer, trying to set personal, track and all-time bests as they fly solo on the road.
Runners completed hundreds of sprints during the event, which began Wednesday, July 14 through Saturday.
Ron and Bob Keselowski – both linked to top 10 NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski – took their Corvettes to the track on Friday, setting the weekend’s top speeds at over 260 miles an hour. Loring’s historic track record is 311 miles per hour.
Land speed races take vehicles of all kinds, from overpowered streetcars and vintage vehicles to an open-wheeled, electric-powered single-seater.
Veteran racer Tom Schaefer is chasing 1,000 ground speed records. He brought three bikes to Loring from his home in Georgia, all in different competition classes. Throughout the weekend, Schaefer tinkered with the constructions to allow him to race in even more categories.
At the start of the weekend Schaefer held over 700 records, but with all the different permutations of race distance and bike build he competed with over the weekend, he left Loring with over 900 records. .
Even with its cracks and grooved pavement, Loring is “the best and smoothest track there is,” Schaefer said.
Meanwhile, motorcycle safety instructor and first-time land sprinter Matt Molmar of Pennsylvania was trying to wrestle his Kawasaki motorcycle at up to 200 miles per hour.
Even after a weekend, Molmar already felt that the addictive quality that so many longtime riders have reported has come with dirt racing. He ran race after race: hitting 194, 196, 198 miles an hour, but never quite made it into the “2-Club.“
Right at the start line, event organizers and other pilots gathered around the walkie-talkie during Molmar’s races, waiting to hear reports from the mile and mile and a half radars. In unison, they gasped and moaned as he moved closer and closer to the line, never quite crossing it.
The atmosphere of the event was almost that of a family reunion. The racing community is incredibly close, with many organizers and participants having known each other for years.
Joe Timney is the father of cobblestone sprint racing, according to Loring Race Director Joe Daly. Longtime owner of the East Coast Timing Association, Timney helped Loring organizers start races in Maine in 2009, and he travels up north to attend the event every year.
âI’ve never met a nicer bunch of people,â Tinley said. “I can’t fill a hand with people I don’t like.”
Timney prides himself on “ruining lives” – of making people addicted to the sport he has devoted himself to for decades. While drag racing and track racing brings thrills you can’t really experience in a land sprint race, the format forces competitors to race against themselves and pushes them to constantly improve their vehicle mechanics. and their own running technique.
The feeling is second to none, said Timney.
“[Itâs like] anything you’ve ever tried where you really, really like it – but then you take it to the extreme.