Flying up the hill

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt The first ramp on the hill climb sets the pace for the entire run and the larger the bike motor, the more air a rider gets.

NEW ULM — Local motorcycle enthusiasts were all revved up for Sunday’s Hill Climb.

The Flying Dutchmen Motorcycle Club held its annual hill climb event on club house grounds near New Ulm.

The Flying Dutchmen Hill Climb is an annual tradition going back decades. Les Stadick said it dates back further than the club house grounds. The Flying Dutchmen purchased the club house land in 1994 and brought the Hill Climb there in 1996, but before that the contest was held near the KC Road.

The hill climb attracts riders from all over the Minnesota and a few from outside the state. Several riders from Wisconsin joined in the fun, as well as a few from Kansas and Nebraska.

Club member Tony Effenberger said there were 165 registered riders in this year’s climb. The numbers were lower than last year, possible due to unfavorable weather conditions. Rain was anticipated for most the weekend. A gray overcast sky did hang over the hillside throughout the morning and the humidity was high, but not a single drop of rain fell. In fact, the hill conditions were nearly perfect for the climb.

In the hill climb, motorcycle and 4-wheeler riders compete to be the fastest in their division to reach the top of an over 200-foot hill with a 45-degree incline. The hillside is made of a clay material and a light rain Friday night allowed the vehicles to dig in for good traction.

The riders compete in 18 different divisions. The most popular division was the 450 cc motorbikes. Effenberger said there were 24 riders in the 450 cc division.

“It changes which division is the most popular,” Effenberger said, “but the 450 cc bikes are popular for climbing hills.”

The age range of riders was across the board. The oldest rider was 65, but there were several child riders as young as 6.

Many of these young riders had been riding bikes since they learned to walk. For the young riders the hill climb is a learning experience that teaches them to handle the bike. Not all of them are able to make the top of the hill.

Nine-year-old Cameron Mack of New Ulm was the first of the 65 cc division to make the top of the hill. In both of his runs Mack made it up in under 10 seconds.

The hill climb is only one of several events hosted by the Flying Dutchmen. The motorcycle group will host a two-day flat-track race series on Sept. 15-16.

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