Hornell Hillclimb: Where Fast Competition Determined the 1935 National Champions

By Unknown, Photography by Unknown

The National Hillclimb Champion of 1935 is Joe Petrali! Winning a second place in the 45 Class A, and first place in the 45 Expert, at the great National Championship Hillclimb at Hornell, New York, September 1, the points he gained put him at the top of the list in both of these classes.

Willis Wolfe (Indian), Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, hillclimber who has made some remarkable performances this year, won the 45 Class B event and with it the National Championship in that class.

Pete Uebelacher (Excelsior), took first place in the 80 Class B to win the National Championship. This is the third National Championship for Pete, as he also won the 80 Class B title in 1933 and 1934.

With eight thousand spectators gathered in the valley, the event started on schedule at 1 o’clock. The first event was the 45 Class B, and every rider eligible to compete, with the exception of Syl Polacek, was on hand with his hillclimb wares, ready to demonstrate.

Earl Buck (Indian), of Palmerton, Pa., the high point man in his class, was first man to take a shot at the hill, and in rapid succession the others of the 45 B riders followed their two rides. When the smoke had cleared away it was found that Willis Wolfe had won the event and with it enough points to overcome Buck’s lead and make him the National Champion in Class B for 1935. Wolfe’s time was 17.09 seconds. Uebelacher had placed second in the event and Buck bad to be content with a third place. The good medicine Buck has been making through the 1935 season evidently lost some of its potency in this, the most important crisis of the year.

Next event was the Class A 45 National Championship. The line-up of fifteen of the best riders in the country was promise enough that there would be fireworks of a high degree before the event was finished. Among those waiting to tackle the big hill, some say the biggest hill in the East, included such veterans and well-known stars as Mitzell, Petrali, Reiber, Moore, Carswell, Lindstrom, Paradise and others.

Petrali jumped into first place with a remarkable exhibition of hill generalship and trailing him closely were Moore and Mitzell. It looked as though they were sitting pretty when Lindstrom came to the start. Lindstrom is from California; some had heard of him or read of his performances on Pacific Coast slants, but few thought he would be a factor in upsetting the dope in such an aggregation as had assembled for the Hornell hill holiday. But they took a second look when the now famous Windy dropped in the clutch and attacked the hill.

Attacked is the only word that can be fittingly used in this connection. There was no hesitation, no slowing, no loitering. He smacked the hill as though it had been a flat spot in the highway and busted the tape in 11.77. Second trailers booted their mounts and strained and tore at the old hill, but to no avail, and Lindstrom’s time stood, with Petrali in second place. Ralph Moore in third and Top Carswell in fourth.

Mitzell took the first ride in the Expert Class and held top speed until Lindstrom again rode. This time he flashed over the top in 11.63 and was really in the driver’s seat. So it was through the list until Petrali came to his second ride. He flattened out the hill worse than Windy had done in the Class A and showed a time of 11.51. That was enough for the boys, and Petrali captured the event, with Lindstrom second, Carswell, third, Flummerfelt, fourth, and Reggie Pink. fifth. Winning the event had cinched the Expert Class National Championship for Petrali.

Joe Herb, Merced, California, furnished Pete Uebelacher his main competition in the 80 Class B, taking second place and nosing out Willis Wolfe, who got third. Happy Seamans was fourth.

By Unknown
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