Drivers Take to Tricky Road

LUZERNE COUNTY — A century-old tradition brought the roar of engines to Luzerne County Sunday.

Dozens of race cars, and thousands of fans lined the route called Giants Despair for the annual hill climb race.

The route runs on East Northampton, just outside of Wilkes-Barre. Cars climb 600 feet up the route of slightly more than a mile.

And the event brings drivers from all over the northeast.

“This is a great hill,” said Jed Keech of Maryland.  “Since they’ve paved it, it’s beautiful. This is one of the renowned hill climbs in the Pennsylvania area, so we definitely wanted to do this one. It’s a bucket list thing, you know?”

Gary Reider of Boyertown wanted to see how fast his 20-year-old Saab could take the hill. He’s not going to let his age, or his car’s age get in the way of a good time.

“I did this for a 21 year old for a year and a half, then I quit,” Reider said. “Last year, I came back after 40 years and I started again.”

The climb is also a good time for local race fans who line the hill hoping to see records fall.

Some like to see the variety of race cars.

Where else could a compact that looks like it drove off the set of an Austin Powers movie get passed by an open-wheel racer seemingly straight from the Indy 500?

But driving up the hill known as Giants Despair with a sharp turn known as Devil’s Elbow, the track can be tricky and dangerous.

That didn’t stop Reider from living a dream.

“I got tired of watching and seeing old guys having fun, so I thought, ‘I can do it, too,'” he added.

The money raised benefits the Laurel Run Volunteer Fire Department.



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