January 14, 2014

Harold Seamans – Harley-Davidson Hillclimb Racer

Originally posted on Riding Vintage.

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Syracuse Class B hill climb

In the 1920’s and 1930’s, the sport of motorcycle hill climbing was at it’s peak across America.  The sport was so popular that many movie theaters showed clips from recent hill climbing events as part of the preview reel before the start of the movie.  The rules were simple, whoever got the farthest up the slope was the winner, but the racing was dangerous.  At such steep grades, the motorcycles could easily roll backwards on top of their riders.  Harley-Davidson, Indian and Excelsior all fielded factory racers to compete for the coveted victories hoping that they would result in higher sales.

In 1937, Harold “Hap” Seamans won the National Hillclimb Championship at Mt. Garfield in the 80 Class B division.

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Hornell, NY hill climb, 1936

The following picture of him cresting the top of Mt. Garfield appeared in the September 1937 issue of The Enthusiast.  This caption followed the picture:  “With a tremendous burst of horsepower Class B Champion, Seamans, comes flying over the crest.”

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Hornell, NY hill climb

Filed under Competition Motorcycles, Panhead Jim's Blog by PanheadJim

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