If you spend enough time around motorsports, you will eventually come across a T-Shirt or bumper-sticker quoting legendary American writer Ernest Hemmingway: “There are only three real sports - auto racing, bull fighting and mountain climbing – the rest are just games.”
SCCA HillClimbs take two of those – auto racing and mountain climbing - and put them together for an extreme sports worthy addition to the motorsports world.
Like Time Attack or TrackSprint - HillClimb is a form of Time Trials Competition. Unlike Time Attack and TrackSprint, HillClimb doesn't take place on a track purpose-built for driving and racing, but on a closed-down public road.
Boasting some of the oldest events in the world, some dating back more than a century, HillClimb is when a section of road on a mountain is blocked off from commuter traffic and drivers take turns seeing who can complete the course the fastest. Unlike a road course – which may have multiple levels of barriers, or an autocross where rubber cones are usually the biggest risk – a HillClimb course is lined with trees and rocks. Getting to the top unscathed is a mix of bravery and discretion, and the most successful are crowned “King of the Hill.”
The SCCA typically hosts about 10 HillClimb events each year with the majority of them as part of the Pennsylvania HillClimb Association, and other events in Michigan, North Carolina, Kentucky and Arizona.
Also unlike Time Trials and Autocross, the added risk dictates added safety gear. Competition cars will need roll bars and racing harnesses at a minimum, and drivers will need approved flame retardant racing suits and other safety gear. Some events allow novice drivers, and some do not, so if you’re planning on competing in a HillClimb, you will want to look at the rules to make sure you’re ready.
So why push your limits driving up a mountain road as fast as you can – because, as famous mountaineer George Mallory said when asked about climbing Mount Everest in 1923, “Because it’s there.”
Coming soon, this page will detail HillClimbs as part of the overall Time Trials Landscape and will be the home to find rules, regulations and events to participate in.