The ninth “American-style hill climb” of the Portsmouth Motor Club provided many thrills on Sunday on what is known as “Yule Konk Hill”, an acclivity (Look it up) in the front of Fort Southwick with the remarkable gradient of one-in-one and rising to a height of about 206 feet.
About 4000 spectators gathered at the spot, and were rewarded
by seeing two competitors reach the summit - the first time this
has been accomplished.
The event was divided into two classes: one for machines with
plain or standard tyres; and the other for machines with
competition or spiked tyres.
The programme opened sensationally, for the second competitor
in Class 1, Mr Reg Clark, riding a 500cc Douglas magnificently
reached a distance of 192 feet which smashed the existing record
of 167 feet easily. R. Wigmore 350cc AJS made a very creditable
climb of 119 feet.
Another excellent ascent followed immediately afterwards when C. A. Pearce, 500cc Douglas (a previous holder of the record), made his attempt. Snaking from side to side with spinning rear wheel, his climb looked hectic, but he came to a standstill at 159 feet, with the wheel buzzing round merrily. His brother V. Pearce AJS was obviously over-geared and only reached 86 feet.
Reg Clark, on his second run, made an even better performance
than his first, for riding superbly he succeeded in reaching the
summit, the crowd cheering him enthusiastically as the first
rider to accomplish this feat.
With the standard tyre class proving so good, the spectators
waited for the inevitable “fireworks” which were bound to follow
when competitors had fitted their specially prepared tyres with
iron spikes. They were not disappointed, for the first man, C.
A. Pearce, now having no trouble with wheelspin fairly streaked
up the gradient and disappeared from view over the top, the
crowd again thundering their applause.
When Clark was announced everyone held their breath, but what
looked like another “over the top” climb was spoiled half-way up
when his rear chain snapped. Some breathless moments were
experienced when “Skid” Hodges’ machine, went well up the hill,
and dashed off at a tangent amongst the crowd lining the side of
the course. The spectators literally fell down the hill out of
the machine’s way, but fortunately it came to rest without
hurting anyone. Later E. Tilbury’s machine reared into the air
and somersaulted over and over in a sickening manner to the
bottom where it lay looking badly bent.
By this time R. Clark had fitted a new chain, and his next
attempt was up to expectations, for in one surge of power he
roared up to the top and leaped three feet into the air.
Unfortunately, however, some spectators had carelessly parked
their bicycles in the direct line of his course, and his machine
crashed into them and he was thrown heavily. Luckily he received
nothing more serious than a sprained wrist, although his machine
was somewhat damaged.
C. A. Pearce made one more climb over the top and this closed a most interesting and thrilling display. The event gained additional interest inasmuch as it was filmed by Pathe Gazette and Movietone News and will be shown in all their reels at cinemas at the end of the present week.
The Portsmouth Motor Club during the afternoon made a
collection for the Portsmouth Royal Hospital, and this is
believed to have realised a handsome sum.
The results were as follows:
Class I: 1, R. Clark, reached summit; 2, C. A. Pearce, 159 feet; 3, R. Wigmore, 119 feet.
Class II: 1, C. A. Pearce and R. Clark, both reached summit; 2, R. Wigmore, 125 feet; 3, “Skid” Hodges, 121 feet.