Giant’s Despair

Giants Despair Hillclimb is held just outside of Wilkes-Barre, PA, in Laurel Run Borough on East Northampton St. This community has been host to this event since it was first held in 1906. It is one of the oldest continuing motor racing events in the world. The Giant is rich in tradition. In its early years, all of the world’s major manufacturers sent their top cars and drivers to capture honors at the event. Early notables included Ralph DePalma (Fiat Team) and Louis Chevrolet driving for Buick. Rejuvenated in 1951, the list of Who’s Who in the driving world included Carroll Shelby (first driver to brake the magic minute), Roger Penske, Oscar Koveleski, etc. The hill starts out with a long gently rising straight about one quarter mile in length that leads into a fast left hander that tests both nerves and skill. Then on to a short chute and “Devils Elbow,” a sharply rising hairpin that goes off camber at its crest. Next is a series of ninety-degree turns connected by short straights. Then comes “The Incline,” a meandering quarter mile stretch that rises at twenty- two degrees to the finish.

LocationLaurel Run, PA
Length1 mile
Elevation ChangeApproximately 650'
Number of Turns6
Hill RecordDarryl Danko - 38.360 (2007)
Giants Despair Records
Giants Despair Wireless Timing InstructionsWireless Installation Overview
Giants Wireless Timing Instructions
Wireless Timing Instructions Complete Reference
Course Map


Interested in advertising in the Giants Despair program?
The organizers have included this handy form.

Driving Directions

“Giants” is located in Laurel Run, PA. approximately one-half mile east of Interstate 81 at the south end of Wilkes-Barre. Get off I – 81 at exit 168 (Highland Drive). Proceed on Highland Drive to Route 309 (located at the first traffic light) at which point you turn left (south). Proceed on Route 309 for several hundred yards and make a right onto the East Northampton Street ramp (near a Sheet’s gas station). Turn left (east) and follow East Northampton Street under I – 81 into Laurel Run. Continue straight and you will run directly into the hillclimb. The start line is on East Northumberland Street at the eastern edge of town.

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