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Updated: Jul 27, 2023

The Wilbraham Massachusetts Hill Climb is a re-enactment of the 1908 historic race up Wilbraham Mountain, an unofficial proving ground for many of the early automobile and motorcycle manufacturers of the Brass Era. The 1908 event was run by the Automobile Club of Springfield, Massachusetts and sanctioned by the racing board of the American Automobile Association. The cars were timed over a measured mile by the Timing Club of New York City. VSCCA member George Holman reactivated the hillclimb in 2013 with subsequent runs in 2015, 2017 and this year’s event on May 13, 2023. The May 13, 2023 event saw an entry list of 28 vehicles ranging from outright competition specials to road cars. Bill Holman’s Stutz scored a blistering first-place win with a BTD of 49.18 seconds. VSCCA veteran Ben Bragg wasn’t far behind with a BTD of 50.32 seconds in the steadfast Old Grey Mare. Third place went to brother George Holman Jr in a 1932 Sprint Car with a BTD of 52.32 seconds. A mere 6.23 seconds separated sixth place finisher Tom Ellsworth from the winning Holman Stutz. Of note, former NASCAR competitor Erin Everhham and Wilbraham native took another Holman Stutz to fifth place with a BTD of 54.68 seconds… a vehicle she met only the day before! A pair of Bentleys jockied for 13th and 14th place with the big displacement Speed Six of Piers Macondal edging out Jim Callahan’s 4-½ with a spread of just 54 seconds. Of course, gear changes matter and one wonders how the results might have changed based on the first 100 yards? The newly-constructed 1934 Ford hiboy of TV personality Wayne Carini managed a highly respectable seventh place and looked even better in period-correct stance and speed goodies. The Heritage Plantation Museum of Sandwich, Massachusetts entered its 1912 Mercer Racebout, the oldest vehicle to officially time. It managed a BTD of 1:36.40 minutes to achieve 21st place. I couldn’t conjure a more suitable steed to represent the spirit of this historic event. A delightful prior day’s dinner was served at George Holman’s intown residence followed by lunch at the same venue. For this writer, it was a trip down memory lane having seen so many familiar faces of bygone days of the VSCCA. May those days never end!

Event organizers Ed Cenedealla and Jeff Demarey with ensure continuance of the Wilbraham Hillclimb into future years for fellow vintage racers and for the benefit of the local community and the Springfield-Boston Education Foundation and Charity.

View the complete photo gallery here.

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