Giants Despair Hillclimb
|Location||Laurel Run, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Hill Length||1 mile (1,800 yd)|
|Hill Record||38.024 s (John Burke, 2014)|
The Giants Despair Hillclimb is a hillclimb established in 1906 just outside Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in Laurel Run, Pennsylvania, United States. The contest was first run in conjunction with Wilkes-Barre's centennial celebration. It is the oldest continuing motorsport event in Pennsylvania. Race drivers from across the nation gather annually on East Northampton Street, a road that winds its way through a 1 mile (1.6 km) section of Pennsylvania's steep mountains. Rising 650 feet (200 m), the course reaches grades up to 20% and has six turns—including the 110 degree "Devil's Elbow"— on the way to the top. The original race was won in 2 minutes 11.2 seconds.
In its first years, the race was used as a proving grounds by the biggest names in the automotive industry. Louis Chevrolet raced the hill in 1909 driving for Buick. He won Event No. 2, Gasoline stock cars, selling from $851 to $1,250 in a time of 2:34.4 sec, his car being the only entry in the class. He is chiefly remembered for an accident: "A Buick with Louis Chevrolet driving, turned turtle on the course and narrowly missed a group of people. Chevrolet was not badly injured."
Carroll Shelby, Roger Penske, and Oscar Koveleski are just a few of the famous drivers that set out to tackle the mile. The hill has been paved many times and the records have been shattered. The current record holder is John Burke, who ran the course in 38.024 seconds in 2014. Today, the Hillclimb is run on the second weekend of July and is organized by the Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association (PHA).
Giants Despair events and past winners
|1906||Hugh N. Harding||English Daimler 35 h.p.||2:11.2 sec R|| May 10.|
|1907||William Wray||Simplex-Peugeot (Motorcycle)||1:40.0 sec|| May 30.|
|Walter C. White||White Steamer (Steam car)||1:49.8 sec|
|J.B. Ryall||Matheson 60 h.p. (Gasoline car)||1:59.2 sec R|
|1908||Willi Haupt||Great Chadwick 6-cylinder||1:38.4 sec R|| May 30.|
|1909||David Bruce-Brown||Benz 120 h.p.||1:31.6 sec R|||
|1910||Ralph DePalma||Fiat 200 h.p.||1:28.4 sec R|| June 14.|
|1911-1915 No events.|
|1916||Fred Junk||Chalmers||1:41.0 sec|| Oct 7.|
|1917-1950 No events.|
|1951||Dellevan Lee||Allard-Cadillac||1:07.5 sec R|| May 11/12.|
|1952||Phil Walters||Cunningham CR-4K||1:02.3 sec R|| July 24/26.|
|1953||Dellevan Lee||Allard J2||1:04.4 sec|| July 24.|
|1954||A. Erwin Goldschmidt||Ferrari 4.5||1:01.26 R|| July 24/25.|
|1955||Duncan Black||Ferrari 4.5 #44||1:02.4 sec|| July 22.|
|1956||Carroll Shelby||GP Ferrari 4.5-liter||58.768 sec R|| July 20.|
|1957||Dr. Louis Winkler||Chevrolet Corvette||58.35 sec R|| July 19.|
|1958||J. Robert Bucher||Allard-Cadillac||1:00.933 sec|| July 18/19.|
|1959||Roger Penske||Porsche RSK||59.1734 sec||July 30/Aug 1.|
|1960||John Meyer||Meyer Special||57.5 sec R|| July 29/31.|
|1961||John Meyer||Pontiac Spl.||56.576 sec R|| July 30.|
|1962||John Meyer||Meyer Special||55.858 sec R|||
|1963||Charlie Kurtz||Porsche RS-61||56.3543 sec|| July 27.|
|1964||Hal Keck||A.C. Shelby Cobra 4.7-litre||55.6619 sec R|| July 24/25.|
|1965||Harold Keck||A.C. Shelby Cobra 7-litre||51.9152 sec R|| July 24/25.|
|1966||Oscar Koveleski||Cooper-Chevy||50.336 sec R||July 30.|
|1967||John Meyer||Cooper-Ford||53.281 sec||July 29.|
|1968||John Meyer||Lola T70-Chevrolet||49.100 sec R|| July 27.|
|1969||Oscar Koveleski||McLaren Mk6B||47.636 sec R|| July 27.|
|1970||John Meyer||Lola T70||52.524 sec|
|1971||Jerry McKown||Caldwell Super Vee||54.391 sec|
|1973||Craig Smith||Cooper-Chevy||51.551 sec|
|1974||Don Smith||McLaren Mk8B Chevy||48.455 sec|
|1975||Oscar Koveleski||McLaren Mk6B Chevy||45.123 sec|
|1976||Oscar Koveleski||McLaren Mk6B Chevy||45.206 sec||July 17/18.|
|1977||Oscar Koveleski||McLaren Mk6B Chevy||44.127 sec|
|1978||Jim Willauer||LeGrand 5000||48.661 sec|
|1979||Oscar Koveleski||McLaren Mk6B Chevy||46.110 sec|
|1980||Robert Oswald Sr.||VW-Kellison||51.185 sec|
|1981-1985 No event run.|
|1986||Tommy Van Scoy||Ralt RT1 Formula Continental||49.666 sec|
|1987||George Bowland||LeGrand Formula Continental||49.110 sec|
|1988||Jerry Coffee||March Formula Atlantic||45.840 sec|
|1989||Tommy Van Scoy||March Formula Atlantic||45.368 sec|
|1990||Carl Jones||Open Chevy Sports Racer||49.786 sec|
|1991||Jerry Coffee||March Formula Atlantic||45.485 sec|
|1992||John Halbing||Chevy Camaro GT-1||43.491 sec R|
|1993||John Halbing||Chevy Camaro GT-1||43.919 sec|
|1994||John Halbing||Chevy Camaro GT-1||42.632 sec R|
|1995||Jerry Kieft||The Bandit S2||44.308 sec|
|1996||John Halbing||Chevy Camaro GT-1||45.213 sec|
|1997||Ron Moreck||Formula Reynard S3||43.320 sec|
|1998||Ron Moreck||Formula Reynard S3||43.784 sec|
|1999||Ron Moreck||Formula Reynard S3||43.259 sec|
|2000||Ron Moreck||Formula Reynard S3||43.595 sec|
|2001||Ron Moreck||Formula Reynard S3||39.914 sec R|
|2002||Ron Moreck||Formula Reynard S3||40.865 sec|
|2003||Barry Griffith||Swift Formula Continental||44.743 sec|
|2004||Mark Mashburn||Chevy Camaro GT-1||44.309 sec|
|2005||Darryl Danko||Swift Formula Atlantic||43.559 sec|
|2006||Darryl Danko||Lola TB900 Special 3||39.000 sec R||July 7–9.|
|2007||Darryl Danko||Lola TB900 Special 3||38.360 sec R|
|2008||Darryl Danko||Lola TB900 Special 3||40.047 sec|
|2009||Darryl Danko||Lola TB900 Special 3||41.157 sec|
|2010||George Bowland||BBR Shark||40.917 sec||July 11/12.|
|2013||John Burke||1997 Reynard Champ Car||39.672 sec||July 13/14.|
|2014||John Burke||1997 Reynard Champ Car||38.024 sec R||July 12/13.|
Key: R = Course Record.
- STAFF REPORT. "Burke sets Giants Despair mark". thetimes-tribune.com.
- "Giants Despair Hillclimb - Laurel Run, PA". Archived from the original on 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
- Nardone, Ralph (May 30, 2006). "Giant's Despair Hill Climb marks centennial". Northeast Business Journal (Northeast PA Business Journal). Archived from the original on 2009-06-16. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
- The Patriot, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, June 2, 1909, Page 6.
- Sports Car, S.C.C.A. magazine, Sept-Oct 1955, Page 27.
- Dallas Morning News, July 21, 1956, Page 11.
- Pennsylvania Hillcimb Association. "John Burke takes Giants Despair record from Darryl Danko". Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association.
- Pennsylvania Hillcimb Association. "Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association". Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association.
- Trenton Evening Times, May 11, 1906, Page 15; New York Times, May 11, 1906, Page 10.
- New York Times, May 31, 1907, Page 10.
- New York Times, May 31, 1908, Page S1.
- New York Times, Jun 1, 1909, Page 11.
- Chicago Daily Tribune, June 15, 1910, Page 12.
- Chicago Daily Tribune, October 22, 1916, Page F9.
- New York Times, May 12, 1951, Page 30.
- National Newsletter, S.C.C.A., No.2, July 30, 1952. Coupled with Brynfan Tyddyn road races.
- National Newsletter, S.C.C.A., No.7, July 31, 1953.
- Sports Car, S.C.C.A. magazine, Sept-Oct 1954, Pages 14-16, 18-20, 22, 44; Road & Track, November 1954, Page 28. Coupled with Brynfan Tyddyn road races.
- National Newsletter, S.C.C.A., No.25, August 10, 1956; Dallas Morning News, July 21, 1956, Part 1, Page 11.
- New York Times, July 24, 1957, Page 22; Sports Car, S.C.C.A. magazine, Sept-Oct 1957, Pages 20-22.
- New York Times, July 19, 1958, Page 10.
- Competition Press, August 27, 1960, Page 3.
- Road & Track's Competition Press, Vol.7-No.3, Aug 12, 1961, Page 1; Sports Car, S.C.C.A. magazine, Sept 1961, Page 35.
- New York Times, July 29, 1962, Page 122.
- Road & Track's Competition Press, Vol.11-No.3, Aug 17, 1963, Page 6. See also obit: Competition Press and Auto Week, Vol.11-No.3, Aug 22-Sep 11, 1964, Page 3.
- Competition Press and Auto Week, Vol.11-No.3, Aug 22-Sep 11, 1964, Page 6.
- Competition Press and Auto Week, Vol.15-No.4, Aug 28, 1965, Page 9.
- Competition Press and Auto Week, Vol.18-No.33, Aug 31, 1968, Page 9.
- Competition Press and Auto Week, Vol.19-No.33, Aug 30, 1969, Page 23.
- For the story of Ray Caldwell, race car constructor, see: Competition Press and Auto Week, Vol.21-No.33, Aug 28, 1971, Page 5; Competition Press and Auto Week, Vol.21-No.34, Sep 4, 1971, Page 5.