Crowds come out for Giants' Despair Hillclimb


    LAUREL RUN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WOLF) -- At the Giants’ Despair Hillclimb in Laurel Run the cars are fast.. and loud.

    And for Joseph Stackpole of Ashley, there’s no place he’d rather be.

    “See the cars, see the people. That’s it!”

    This hillclimb has been held off-and-on since 1906 – and is one of the oldest races in the country.

    It attracts thrill seekers from all over the country to Luzerne County every year, with 126 registered to race this weekend.

    Each one revving their engines before getting into position.. and taking off.

    Drivers start at the bottom of the mountain on East Northampton Street and navigate six turns along the one-mile course.

    “Course starts out, little bit of an uphill, then there’s a little bit of an easy turn, and then there’s what’s called the devil’s elbow. A hard right hand turn," Matthew Rowe, chief steward of the event, said.

    For Darryl Danko, that turn is no problem.

    He lives just up the mountain in Laurel Run, and is the former world record holder on the course.

    He and his family have been coming to the race for decades, first as spectators, but eventually getting in the driver’s seat.

    “To get the first run in, to get that at least to take some of the edge off of you, you know you get those jitters. It really helps to get that one in. Then I look forward to every run," Darryl Danko said.

    His dad, Jack Danko, also races and has been the organizer and chairman of the hillclimb for 17 years and has seen it grow over time.

    “It does my heart good to see all the drivers here. Because there were times when we had 75 cars. Now, it escalated up until this point where we have 120," Jack Danko said.

    Drivers are trying their best to get the fastest race time of the weekend – and the bragging rights that go along with the title.

    But Danko says sportsmanship goes above all.

    “All the drivers are just such nice people. I think that’s a trait in racers. They just feel that – they like everybody around them because that’s in their element. They’re doing the same thing everybody else does," Jack Danko said.

    The next set of races kicks off tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock.

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