PA HillClimb's Mid-Season Rundown

PA HillClimb's Mid-Season Rundown

With six of eight events complete in the 2021 Pennsylvania HillClimb Association (PHA) schedule — the series that tackles public roads in the Keystone State and Maryland, along with a couple of road courses in West Virginia — we checked in to see how the country’s most prolific mountain-slaying series is doing just past mid-season.

So far this year, PHA has seen a total of 511 total entries, and 40 “hill records” have fallen at the series of events — a good recovery from most of the 2020 events being canceled due to COVID-19.

“It wasn’t until the middle of May that we felt confident we would be able to start having HillClimbs.” said Rich Rock, President of the PHA. “Overall people are thrilled to be able to participate.”

Though the year off from HillClimbs may have left some organizers and participants a little rusty, the character of the events hasn’t changed.

“One new participant told me the event, ‘felt like dropping in on a family reunion and a HillClimb broke out,’” Rock said. 

Bryan Fritzler has been dominating “King of the Hill” honors, being the fastest driver at five of the six events in his 1973 Tui BH3 HillClimb Special, losing the fastest time Honor at Giant’s Despair to George Bowland by just 0.03 seconds.

For drivers of sedans, the results have been more mixed, but Mark Aubele in the Chevy-powered Ford Mustang (yes, you read that right) has been the fastest production car at three of the events with Cameron Johnston, Dan Foley and Mike Robinson capturing “fastest with fenders” at the other three.

“Mark’s always way up there,” Rock said, “always very close to those top guys, even though he is in a production car.”

Those battles, combined with the overall battle between Bowland and Fritzler are joined by good competition down the field including father-daughter, sister-brother with some good family rivalry, as well as the usual class battles.

“It’s really exciting to watch family members have close battles,” Rock said.  

Looking ahead, there are two more events in the PHA 2021 series — a Time Trials TrackSprint format on the Summit Point Raceway Shenandoah Circuit on September 4–5 and the Fall Weatherly HillClimb in Weatherly, PA on September 18–19.

“We’re looking forward to the battle for Fastest Time,” said Rock, who pointed out that Bowland should be in place to take a good fight to Fritzler, “But overall, I’m looking forward  to good weather, good turnouts and just happy to be able to go.”

To read more about each 2021 PHA event, visit the PA HillClimb blog