April 4th, 2023

Women of the Third Annual Pine Mountain Hillclimb

Women of the Third Annual Pine Mountain Hillclimb

The 2023 Appalachian Hillclimb Series is set to kick off with the 3rd annual Pine Mountain Hillclimb in Pineville Kentucky, April 21-23. The sold-out event brings 90 competitors to the hills of Eastern Kentucky racing a variety of HillClimb machines. 5 of these competitors have two things in common; they are all female, and they are all competing for this year's Queen of the Hill title. The woman who sets the fastest run this year will earn this coveted title and own bragging rights for the next year. Let's learn a little bit more about these 5 ladies to see how the competition stacks up.

Tracy Gaudu (main image at top of page) of Team Tracy Motorsports, and the 2022 Pine Mountain Hillclimb Queen of the Hill, returns for her third year of competing in the event. Tracy just recently received her Sport Unlimited prepped 2008 C6 Z06 back from Lingenfelter. The car spent nearly a year in Lingenfelter's care getting engine repair work and motor upgrades. Tracy, however, hasn't been sitting on the sidelines while her car was under the knife. She continued to climb hills throughout 2022. She borrowed a friend's Sport Unlimited prepped 2002 C5 Z06 for the Chasing the Dragon XVI Hillclimb and co-drove Lance Dotson's Sport prepped 2001 Miata for the inaugural Flag Rock Hillclimb. Tracy wasn't quite able to find the same success as she has had with her own car. We are riveted to see her defend her Queen of the Hill title with the fresh engine and upgrades.

Ryan Cheek of Ryan Cheek Racing returns for her third year of competing in this event. Ryan has consistently been the second fastest woman on the hill since the event's inception. However, this year her Super Modified prepped 2006 Mustang GT has a little more pep in its step. Over this past winter, Ryan sent off a 3V V8 to TKM Performance race shop in hopes of finding more horsepower. The build took longer than expected and the team has been spending the weeks leading up to the event installing the engine. Ryan has done well in the past with a relatively underpowered car, having podiumed in every HillClimb she's attended and claimed the Queen of the Hill title for the 2022 Chasing the Dragon Hillclimb XVI while also resetting the record for fastest woman. We are interested to see if Ryan can wrangle all those new ponies and finally take the Queen of the Hill title at Pine Mountain.

Michele Aubele, the inaugural 2021 Pine Mountain Hillclimb Queen of the Hill, returns for her second year of competition at this event. After not attending in 2022, Michele returns in her Sport Unlimited prepped 2012 BMW 135i. However, she's ditched the turbo'd inline six and is now packing a push rod V8. A long-time competitor with the Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association, Michele currently holds two class records on their Giant's Despair Hillclimb. Michele has also done well in the south. In 2021 she set the fastest woman record when she claimed the Queen of the Hill title at the Chasing the Dragon Hillclimb XV. Coming back to Pine Mountain Hillclimb with more power is sure to help her run times drop. We are eager to watch her race and see if she reclaims the Queen of the Hill title.

Vicki Lanning returns for her third year competing in this event. Vicki has moved on from her Super Modified prepped 2006 Mini Cooper S to a Super Modified prepped 2004 Mazda RX8. Thus, dropping cylinders for rotary power and moving the power wheels from the front to the back. But don't be fooled, Vicki is no stranger to RWD, rotary power or HillClimbs. She has more than a couple of rotaries in her garage and is a dedicated SCCA road racer and hillclimber. Her shelves hold many road racing trophies, HillClimb trophies, and Queen of the Hill trophies. Vicki also currently holds a class record on the Chasing the Dragon Hillclimb. We look forward to what this seasoned racer can do with her new car and competing for the Queen of the Hill title on another hill.

Andie Wolfe is making her debut in HillClimb this year. Although Andie is a HillClimb rookie, she's no stranger to being behind the wheel. She has a lot of experience in the world of motorsports with a background heavy in autocross. Andie is a 3-time Solo National Champion within 2 different Ladies classes, F-Mod Ladies & FSP Ladies. For this event, she will be piloting a Geoffrey Zimmer built 1977 VW Rabbit, affectionally called the Lamborbunny. The car recently brought home a championship win in the FSP class at the 2022 SCCA Solo Nationals competition with Zimmer behind the wheel. As Andie lines up to compete in the Super Modified class, will all her wheel time and driving skills cultivated in autocross translate to this newcomer adding a fresh name to the Queen of the Hill records? We can't wait to see.

5 competitors. 1 title. Who do you think is taking home Pine Mountain's Queen of the Hill award?