Motorcycle hillclimbing is a motorsport stripped to its essence. It's one rider, one machine, one hill. Fastest to the top wins.
Hillclimb racing has captivated devotees practically since motorcycle competition began. High-strung engines and elongated frames have evolved over time, but the elemental challenge of being quickest up the mountain endures.
In the 20's hillclimbers were factory starts, riding exotic eight-valve, alcohol-burning monsters from Indian, Harley-Davidson, and Excelsior. But the factories are long since gone from the sport. Today the rewards are modest for rugged eccentrics who carry on the tradition. No one gets fat and quits his day job. Come race day, it's just the climbers, enthusiastic fans parboiled in the summer sun...and that damned hill.
An ominous rumble builds. Acrid nitromethane fumes hang heavy in the air as the rider scans the hill. His eyes reveal it all: apprehension, anticipation, determination.
All hell breaks loose as he pegs the throttle and drops the clutch. His front wheel trips the timing clocks. His wildly spinning rear wheel peppers half the county with earth and stones.
In mere seconds, it's over. He's either at the top, basking in the cheers of the crowd, or beaten by the hill.