Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Biller Longfall and the Jericho Hill Racing Association

By Bixyl Shuftan

In early June, racing in Second Life made the headlines when the Buddy Forsythe 100 took place, which was won by Biller Longfall. Auto racing in Second Life is nothing new, having gone on for years. Not long ago, Biller asked to talk to me about what goes on with racing in Second Life.

When we first talked, Biller stated he ran a racing group in Second Life. They were the Jericho Hill Racing Association, or JHRA, "We have races every Tuesday at 7 for Factory Stock, Wednesday at 3 for Super Cup, and Sunday at 6 for Gen 6 cars. Factory Stocks and Super Cups are the easiest, while you do more in Gen 6 cars, like pit stops and such." Their championship week was June 26-July 2.

Biller too me to a track at the Jerico Hill sim, which was over 2500 feet off the ground, "This is Flemington Speedway, based off (the) Flemington Speedway in New Jersey in real life. It handles a lot like Indianapolis, very fast and narrow in the corners. (It's) nearly, if not all the way, flat out." There were other tracks on the sim at different heights. He took me to another, the Irwindale Speedway, "based off the real thing, Which is located in Irwindale, California. This is actually the same track the Relay race was on." Jerico Hill currently has "over twelve unique different tracks. JHRA features a variety of oval tracks and a few road courses from builders all over SL, unlike any other racing league out there."

"Anthony Stuart from SLARCA, Kandy Tomorrow from KC, Willis Bailey from WB, a few JHRA originals, and potentially ones from Dowcha Foxdale and Sliver Motorsports in the near future. None of those guys are still around, but I thought a lot of their stuff needed to continue because otherwise, it's wasted siting in inventory. We race cars from R.I.R Racing and currently have partnership with them and the SRL Racing League."

Biller stated Jerrico Hill got it's start, "Back sometime in 2015, I was talking to one of my friends, Anthony Stuart. We were discussing what we thought was missing from SL racing, like realism, while at the same time, more calmer atmosphere. Then we brought Mango Darwinian on board. After many months of up and down, we finally got this thing kicked off and it's been steadily growing with interest ever since. Originally, we were going to do mini scale. But found it to be too problematic, so instead (we) formed partnerships."

"When racing events go on, it's so exciting. I love seeing races on this track."The number of racers per event can vary, As to how close races can be: very, "We've already had finishes of 0.205, 0.156, 0.052, and 0.130 seconds in the last four of five races so far.Side by side, it's very competitive. Good chunk of the field that is competitive to win any week. And what the funny part is, three of those came on Jericho Hill, which is a wide fast track. The fourth came at Flemington, which is a narrow fast track."

Of the cars used for the races, Biller stated, "Currently we use cars provided by our good friends at RIR. They are based off Stock Cars, like NASCAR. He showed me three, his cars having the number "4" and painted orange and black, "The first car is the Factory Stock car... they have steering and downforce options, it is by far the easiest car. But also very competitive. The Super Cup has Steering, Wedge, and Downforce. Hopefully soon, we can make it one setup, so anybody can jump in and go race."

Pointing out the third, "And then the Gen 6 car is my personal favorite. It's fast. It has Steering, Wedge, and Downforce settings... as well as damage. So if your car hits the wall, it will lower your wedge, which will make the car a lot harder to handle. It's also a car you pit in. No speed limit pit stops are fun to watch and to do."

He pointed out a feature that added realism to Second Life racing: draft, or a car having less wind resistance when just behind another car, "All three have draft, so you can ride behind another car and pick up some draft. You can bump draft even on certain tracks."

Biller took the Gen 6 car out out on the track for a few demonstration runs, the timer at the finish line giving his time and speed. His best was 15.446 seconds at 151 kilometers an hour, or 93 miles an hour. Four of his five laps differed by less than 10 kph, "It's really nice during races; it's really close."

Of the requirements needed to race, "Anybody is allowed to come race, just have to remove all scripts. I have no scripts on and I don't look so bad, right?" he chuckled. "We allow free demos in competition. No limit on that, just rez whatever car is scheduled for that race and just have fun."

I asked Biller with the Buddy Forsythe 100 over, what big racing events lay ahead. He answered, "Besides the championship races, beginning next season, we'll be doing a cool All-Star race at a new track, Charlotte Motor Speedway." Of the champtionship races, "We have four championships. Three of those are season based, and one is yearly. It's probably going to be intense. Beginning next season, we will expand the schedule to 12 weeks."

"We are always looking for partnership and I would love to branch off to other forms of racing, like open wheel, dirt, rally, or moto stuff... any progress or news would be announced on the JHRA website."

Their current normal schedule is Tuesday at 6:30 PM SL time, Wednesday at 3PM, and Sunday at 6PM. The week of August 21-27 has only one day of racing: the "All Star Week" on Aug. 23, with events at 4:30 and 6:30 PM SL time.

I would later see one of their racing events, with four other races besides Biller, including one woman: Becky Alder. In the first race, which consisted of 65 laps, Becky won by just 1.071 seconds. The champion of the Buddy Forsythe 100 didn't do so well, coming in a lap behind. Becky commented she didn't always do so well, "I go from the worst possible way to race last night to a win."

So if you feel like burning rubber, there's a number of places you can race around. And Biller and his friends will be happy to make a place for you.

The JHRA lobby is located at Jericho Hill (103/162/2569). Their website, once again, is at: .

*Addition* Biller would later say the schedule had changed somewhat, " Our new times are Tuesday at 6:30PM with Factory Stocks, Wednesday at 5:30PM with Super Cups, and Sunday at 6:30PM with new Xfinity cars."

Bixyl Shuftan

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