Racing to the Top at the Knox Mountain Hill Climb

Updated: May 10, 2024

Racing to the Top at the Knox Mountain Hill Climb

Jon Wright, a seasoned field service technician at Leavitt Machinery, is not only dedicated to ensuring the safety and efficiency of machinery but is also a passionate race car driver. With 20 years of racing experience under his belt, Jon's racing journey has been a thrilling ride, long before he joined our team. This year, he's gearing up for a particularly special event – the Leavitt Machinery Knox Mountain Hill Climb in Kelowna, BC.

A Perfect Blend of Passion and Precision

Jon drives a striking 1991 BMW E30 chassis 318is, modified with a 1999 BMW 528i engine. This upgrade swaps a 4-cylinder engine for an inline 6-cylinder, nearly doubling the horsepower and providing the necessary boost to tackle the demanding 2.2-mile climb up Knox Mountain. Jon’s BMW isn’t just a car; it’s a testament to his technical skills and racing passion, adorned with hundreds of stickers representing the kids supported by charity initiatives at the event.

Knox Mountain Hill Climb Jon Wright BMW FrontKnox Mountain Hill Climb Jon Wright BMW LeftKnox Mountain Hill Climb Jon Wright BMW Front

Challenges of the Climb

Preparing for Knox Mountain's unique challenges requires a mix of physical and mental preparation. The course's steep grades, off-camber corners, and the potential surprises from local wildlife make each of the 6-8 annual runs a test of memory and nerve. Jon's strategy involves walking the track to refresh his memory and reviewing past race videos to mentally prepare for the demanding ascent.

More Than Just a Race

For Jon, the Knox Mountain Hill Climb transcends the competition. It's a deeply social event that embodies the spirit of community and philanthropy. Over the years, it has become a reunion of sorts, where Jon connects with fellow racers who have become lifelong friends. The event supports several charities, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation and local initiatives like Hands Together For A Cure, which resonates deeply with Jon and his peers. The commitment to leaving the park better than they found it underscores their respect for the venue and their hope to keep this tradition alive.

Leavitt Machinery: A Proud Sponsor

As a representative of Leavitt Machinery, the title sponsor, Jon takes immense pride in his dual role as competitor and ambassador. The company's sponsorship not only enhances the event but also aligns with its values of community support and safety. Jon’s participation underscores the synergy between his professional and racing endeavors, showcasing the commitment of Leavitt Machinery to both its employees and the broader community.

Setting Personal Records

Jon's racing goals are as much about personal achievement as they are about competition. While the hill record is a lofty 1:34.903, Jon focuses on beating his personal best of 2:06.280, set back in 2013. Last year, he came close, and this year, he's more determined than ever to set a new personal record, chasing that perfect run up the mountain.

Looking Ahead

As the event approaches, Jon's excitement is palpable. He's grateful for the support from Leavitt Machinery, which not only sponsors the event but also fosters an environment where passions like his can thrive. This year, as every year, he’ll be at the start line not just to race, but to celebrate everything that makes the Knox Mountain Hill Climb a highlight of the year.