Glen Helen Hillclimb - Dirt Rider Magazine

Glen Helen HillNAHA Round 2
Hillclimbing is considered the oldest form of motorcycle racing, but in areas of the U.S. and smaller parts of Europe, the sport continues to thrive.In the western U.S. the North American Hillclimber's Association has the premier professional series, and it returned to SoCal in 2007 for the first time in many years. Glen Helen Raceway is the location of the relatively short but rough and technical climb.When the dust had cleared, for the 2008 round second generation hillclimb star Robie Peterson (DR's guest hillclimb expert at its 2008 Torture Test) had swept all three classes - the second time on record a rider had accomplished that feat. He used highly modified KTM machinery in all three classes including the open exhibition class where he piloted a 950 V-twin running on nitro methane and methanol.In addition to the three normal classes - 450, 451-700 and 701cc and up, there was a King of the Hill challenge for the top riders in each class. Utahan Brandon Whitlock captured that title.There was a cross-over challenge as well, and it was for riders from other aspects of motorcycle sport, and KTM ISDE and WORCS star Kurt Caselli took on former pro motocrossers David Pingree and Chad Pederson.This was the first climb for Pederson, and he had a grin a mile wide. We asked him about the toughness of the hill, and he responded, "When we walked the hill this morning, I assumed a motorcycle couldn't climb this, and speculated I'd make it about a third of the way up. Then the first guy went over the virgin hill! Then I went over. These extended bikes make hills possible that would be impossible on a normal bike."

Robie Peterson used potent KTMs to sweep all three classes at the Glen Helen round. His 450 SX runs on gasoline, his 700cc ex-supermoto bike runs gasoline and nitrous oxide and his big bike runs nitro methane.
Younger sibling Brett Peterson nailed down second open riding the same 950 KTM. This is his 505.
All three crossover challenge riders (Kurt Caselli, David Pingree and Chad Pederson) qualified for the 10-rider 450cc final. Caselli was the highest scring rider and won the crossover challenge.
It was Chad Pederson's first attempt at pro hillclimbing, and he acclimated himself well.
Mild looking Jason Smith gets a lot meaner looking with helmet on. He was one of the riders who attempted to leap over the gnarly sections.
Not every ride was graceful or successful, despite the modest height of the hill.
Harold Waddell is the 07 Open champion, but he could only get close at Glen Helen.
Jason Smith's 700cc and Open bikes are based on 1972 Yamaha 650 twins running nitro methane. The bikes are superbly constructed using late-model Yamaha running gear and suspension.
The shot of a Husaberg pilot gives a good feel for the steepness of the ledges included in the hill.
Two-stroke 500s still love in climbing, but some didn't have a happy result.
These are Harold Waddell's massively modified Suzukis. Most of the top big bikes make over 200 horsepower.
What to do when your Husaberg needs a new engine.
Dusty Beer (perfect name for a hillclimb star) piloted this Kawasaki 650 Ninja twin in the 700 class.
Late in the day the ruts go deep, and the big bikes would drag the engine cases at speed with predictable results.
It takes a lot of throttle, clutch and self control to keep this from getting uglier fast.
Standing the line of fire behind a 200-horsepower dirt bike is not a good idea. Dusty Beer shows why.
Peterson's 950 KTM is compact, relatively light and massively powerful and effective.
Multi-time champion Travis Whitlock was a threat in every class.
The Peterson Racing Team just adapted a former stock car team transporter into a hillclimb super-shop and pit area. That is a lot of KTMs parked in front!