Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
2003 Mach 1 Mustang - Top Of The Rock
Adam Sampson Runs A Different Type Of Race With His '03 Mach 1
Whenever family members or friends come into the New York metro area, there are certain things you tell them to go see and/or do. Whether it is eating "real" pizza, taking a look at the Statue of Liberty, or catching a Broadway show, there are certain landmarks, historical and food finds, that are must-sees when it comes to the New York metropolitan area.
While getting to the top of the Empire State Building is a definite for anyone who is visiting the Big Apple, for the first or the umpteenth time, there is a grand old structure with an address of 30 Rockefeller Center that is just as nice. That structure is the 70-story Rockefeller Building with an observation deck at the top called the Top of the Rock.
For Adam Sampson, knowing the sights and sounds of the New York metro area is a way of life. For the Keansburg, New Jersey, native, though, he visits a different rock, each time he ventures to nearby Pennsylvania to compete in hill climb events with his '03 Mach 1 Mustang.
Yes, you read right-we said hillclimb. While an image of a Mustang with Super Swamper tires may come to mind, by hillclimb we mean Adam's participation in the events put on by the Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association (PHA). The PHA was founded in 1963, and holds events where drivers show fast they can climb a paved road on an uphill grade, usually over the course of one mile or so.
The PHA is a part of the Sports Car Club of America, better known by its acronym, the SCCA. To participate, a willing contestant must join both the PHA and the SCCA. To do so, you need a valid state driver's license, the SCCA membership, and a willingness to earn an SCCA time trials Novice license (either before, or at, your first event). After that, you pick up the required safety gear, such as a helmet, firesuit, Nomex socks, fire retardant shoes, and gloves, pick the class in which your car will fit-of which there are 11-and cruise on out to the next event. It's that simple.
When we chatted with Adam at a recent tech install at Crazy Horse Racing, he told us all about the hillclimb racing he does with his Mach 1. We were eager to tag along for an event and see not only how big of a following hillclimb racing has, but also check out what goes into preparing a car for this type of racing. We also wanted to know why someone who lives in an area rich in drag racing history would choose to turn left and right up a hill with trees and other foliage a mere foot or two from either side of his precious Pony. With cameras in hand, we met with Adam at the last PHA event of '08, the Weatherly Hill Climb.
"I have been into Mustangs ever since I was 14 years old," the 31-year-old explains about the beginning of this interesting journey. "It started when me and a couple of my friends were on our bikes hanging out and we checked out a friend's older brother's Mustang. We all swore that when we got our driver's licenses, we would own one. Some of us bought one, some of us didn't. I picked up a black '85 GT with a five-speed at 18 while I was in the service. The thing was, I bought it without knowing how to drive a stick!"
Being from central New Jersey, it was a given that Adam would spend his spare time on Wednesday and Friday nights banging gears with the rest of the Ford faithful and Mustang maniacs at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. Eventually, though, Adam tired of the quarter-mile strip, and started searching for a different venue in which to fill his need for speed. "Years later, I picked up the Mach, and I realized I needed to stop drag racing when I tried making the turn for the return road at Englishtown faster and faster," Adam says. "Drag racing was getting boring very quickly due to the amount of cars that would go. You'd make a pass and then sit for hours on end."