Duryea / Pagoda

 

This scenic route locally called skyline drive which overlooks Reading, PA hosts two of the Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association’s premiere events each summer, Pagoda and Duryea Hillclimbs. Pagoda is a shortened version of Duryea, previously starting at turn 2 and finishing at turn 9 of the longer course. Beginning in 2011 the Pagoda Hillclimb has used the same start line as the Duryea Hillclimb and finishing just after turn 9 and below it’s namesake, the Pagoda. This means that there are all new class records and new times to beat!

Duryea Hillclimb – The Blue Mountain Region SCCA hosts the longest hill in the PHA series. Named for the obscure automobile maker and following the same route that Charles Duryea used to test his cars. This is a 2.3 mile hill located above beautiful city park in downtown Reading, PA. With a history dating back to 1951.  Possibly the most diverse and challenging hill in the Northeast, Duryea boasts 13 turns (most of which are negotiated in the first half of the course) coupled with some high speeds at the top. Click the link to see some scenes from the 2014 Duryea Hillclimb.

Hillclimbing presents unique challenges that can only be experienced in this venue of motorsports. A perfect example can be found in turn 6 at Duryea. This turn has a nickname (OH – S*IT) that describes the exact thought of a driver as they discover they have hit the brake either too early or too late. The challenge faced here is the quintessential dilemma of hillclimbing: how long can you stay on the gas when entering the turn without causing the course workers to scramble into the woods? Some drivers fight the urge to break early only to find themselves too deep into the turn, thus causing an involuntary muttering of the turn’s nickname before proceeding into the hay bails. On the other hand, even veteran drivers will sometimes fall prey to the optical illusion that causes the braking point to look closer than it actually is. The result is premature breaking (ask your therapist). In baseball terms, it’s like starting your slide into homeplate halfway between home and third base (very embarassing to say the least). Consequently, this is the most popular turn for spectators. But if using your right foot is the reason you race, then welcome to the top of Duryea. Your thoughts turn to horsepower and freedom as you downshift into second or first gear, trying to keep your momentum around the hairpin turn 10, knowing that what awaits around the bend is a long, steep straightaway. Radar guns have clocked some cars at 140mph on the way to the checkered flag. Then again, if your car handles better than it accelerates, we suggest you bring along a copy of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine to catch up on your reading and to help pass the time as your car chugs its way up to the finish line.

Pagoda – The British cars get their revenge at this event, which is run on the same mountain as Duryea. Named after the Pagoda which decorates turn 10, this is a handling course which offers all the challenges of turns 1-9 (including the famous turn 6), while leaving out the high horsepower final straight of Duryea. The finish line is just below the Pagoda with the turn around being set up at the Pagoda. Shuttle buses are available on the course which will drop you off at well pruned, safe, and accessible viewing areas (Some with Bleachers) to improve spectator access and enjoyment.

Duryea HillclimbPagoda Hillclimb
LocationReading, PAReading, PA
Length2.3 miles1.3 miles
Elevation of Change800'450'
Number of Turns139
Hill Record105.528 by George Bowland in a BBR Shark in 2008
Duryea Hillclimb Records
Pre-2011, 1.1 Miles - Jim Miller - 48.881 (2002)
(2011), 1.3 Miles - George Bowland BBR Shark 73.374
Pagoda Hillclimb Records
Wireless Timing InstructionsWireless Installation Overview
Duryea Wireless Timing Instructions
Wireless Timing Instructions Complete Reference
Wireless Installation Overview
Pagoda Wireless Timing Instructions
Wireless Timing Instructions Complete Reference
Course Map


Driving Directions
Pagoda and Duryea hillclimbs share basically the same road from City Park in Reading, PA up the steep hill toward (and past) the Pagoda. Pagoda is approximately one mile in length while Duryea exceeds two miles. The course begins from Reading’s City Park located at the east end of Penn Street (business Route 422). Penn Street is the “main street” running in an west-east direction through Reading’s downtown business district.

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