Giant's Despair Hillclimb  (2)

This east coast event is well outside the scope of this website, but the beautiful photos by Earl Gandel and Joe Gregory make its presence here more than worthwhile.

East Northampton Street is the road that climbs a 1 mile (1.6 km) section of a Pennsylvania mountain. The course rises 650 feet (200 m) and features grades of up to 22%.   There are six turns, including the 110° "Devil's Elbow".

(8-3-11)   From website contributor Joe Gregory:

"I was raised in Laurel Run Borough.  The Giant's Despair IS Laurel Run's main street, East Northampton Street, once called the Wilkes-Barre Turnpike. Wilkes-Barre is one town away from Laurel Run. 

The whole town was since been razed because of an underground mine fire.

The race was suspended, probably before or during WWII, and was resumed about 1951. It is still run but not with the classic sports cars of yesteryear.

The parking space for cars getting ready to run was the turnaround for the transit buses. I was a teenager when the race was resumed. I was checking out the cars in the parking area when I saw a man with a hacksaw sawing away at the rear tires of a Ferrari. 

I figured he wasn't a vandal since none of the other drivers stopped him. I asked what he was doing. Someone said he was "microsyping" the tires. I asked what that meant and was told that he was cutting narrow grooves across the tread to give the tires a better grip on  the road. I believe I was told the man with the saw was the driver, Carroll Shelby."

Comments: Please email me!
Carroll Shelby -- Ferrari 375 4.5 Liter Grand Prix/Indy Car
Jack McAfee -- Porsche 550
Bish Hines -- Elva Mk.III
John Meyer -- Meyer Special-Pontiac
Jim Ladd -- E-Type Jaguar
????? -- Cooper ?????
Back to:  Giant's Despair Hillclimb -- 1  (Earl Gandel's Photos)

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