Earlier in May, you may have seen some stories about the recent Pine Mountain HillClimb at SCCA.com or GrassrootsMotorsports.com. It was an amazing event that combined the strengths of three different SCCA Regions to pull off. If you saw media coverage from that weekend, you may have thought to yourself, “Darn, I’m sorry I missed that.” If that’s the case, the list below of upcoming HillClimb dates will be of great interest to you!
Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association
Founded in 1959, the Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association (PHA) was created to standardize the rules between many different HillClimbs of the time. Today, PHA remains an enthusiastic group of clubs that conducts events on tracks and winding uphill roads in the Northeast. Some of the clubs under PHA’s umbrella are indeed SCCA Regions, and all the PHA events are sanctioned through Sports Car Club of America with participants required to be SCCA members.
Jon Krolewicz, SCCA’s Senior Manager of Time Trials and Track Events, said, “HillClimbs have been part of SCCA’s history since almost the very beginning and are a component of our Club’s DNA. Today, the Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association carries on the tradition and adds to the suite of motorsport activities offered to SCCA members. And while HillClimbs are both competitive and exciting, PHA also does an incredible job of bringing together passionate people to host and promote events. That is a wonderful attribute SCCA and PHA share.”
This year’s PHA calendar contains eight events stretching from the end of May to the middle of September. They include well-known venues in Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. On the docket are events such as the Pagoda Hillclimb, Giant's Despair Hillclimb and two Weatherly HillClimbs. The full 2021 PHA schedule is as follows:
- May 29-30: Summit Point Motorsports Park - Jefferson Circuit; Summit Point, WV (Registration)
- June 12-13: Spring Weatherly Hillclimb; Weatherly, PA (Registration)
- June 26-27: Pagoda Hillclimb; Reading, PA
- July 10-11: Giant's Despair Hillclimb; Laurel Run, PA
- August 7-8: Polish Mountain Hillclimb; Flintstone, MD
- August 21-22: Duryea Hillclimb; Reading, PA
- September 4-5: Summit Point Motorsports Park - Shenandoah Circuit; Summit Point, WV
- September 18-19: Fall Weatherly Hillclimb; Weatherly, PA
What’s a HillClimb?
HillClimbs are among the oldest motorsports events in the world, dating back to early manufacturers wanting to test their cars uphill over the most demanding terrain possible. Pikes Peak in Colorado and The Climb to the Clouds on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire are HillClimbs known around the world.
Usually, HillClimbs are run on a paved mountain road over short distances between one and two miles in length. The fastest time in a car class wins. There are safety equipment requirements for both car and driver, and you can learn more about those here.
Rich Rock, PHA’s President, said, “HillClimbs combine some of the best aspects of autocross, Time Trials, rally and road racing. It’s a fantastic and fun test of driving ability and car preparation. The scenery is usually breathtaking, and the people at events are extremely friendly and supportive, especially to beginners.”
Certain courses favor particular driving styles. Autocrossers can have an advantage on hills that offer many second gear twists and turns, while road racers tend to benefit on the high-speed hills where precision braking and heel/toe downshifting is required.
Photo by Perry Bennett