110th Anniversary Look Back

110th Anniversary Look Back - Day 145

110th Anniversary Look Back - Day 145

98 years ago this month Julius Kegel participated in a hill climb that proved to be too steep for most, as written about here in an article from the Freeport Journal-Standard!



Many riders narrowly escaped injuries yesterday afternoon in the hill-climbing event staged at Krape park by the Freeport Motorcycle club. when the hill on the west bank of Yellow Creek proved too steep for the climbers. In a number of instances. as machines neared the top of the bank, they tipped over backwards and both riders and machines rolled to the road at the base of the embankment.

The "climb" was attended by about thirty riders from Freeport, Rockford and other cities in northern Illinois, and was witnessed by several thousand people who watched from the parch and grouped themselves along the side and top of the bank. The climbing commenced about 2:30 o'clock, continuing until after 4 o'clock, and furnished innumerable thrills not only for the climbers,  but for their audience as well.

Only four of the entrants succeed - in gaining the top of the bank, which was chosen as the steepest in the vicinity of Freeport. The hill, which about two hundred feet from base to summit, has a grade of between fifty and sixty degrees. and at the beginning was rough, increasing to a great extent the difficulty in mounting it.

The successful riders were Royal R. Wheat, Julius Kegel, and William Miller and Jake Edebaugh of Rockford. Wheat was the first to gain the top without mishap, riding an Indian motorcycle. Kegel went over the top next on a Harley Davidson. Miller rode an Indian and Edebaugh a Harley-Davidson.

Despite frequent slight mishaps and damaged machines, the riders went back undaunted and attempted many times to scale the bank without success. The steepness of the hill made it a difficult matter for the riders to keep their balance, and when they were so unfortunate at to strike small obstructions, the machines usually fell backwards and failed to stop till they reached the bottom.

When the rider preceded the machines in these descents, several of them barely got out of the way of the machines in time to escape from being struck.

The spectators who watched the riding from the top of the hill were at one time put to sudden flight when on of the successful climbers pulled over the top and headed into the crowd. A number of them rolled down the bank part way, and one fell to the road, but landed unhurt save for a jarring and bruises.

The climbing event was put on by the club as a practice for subsequent similar events to be held during the spring and summer. The officers of the organization will appreciate receiving information as to the location of hill of unusual steepness for climbing.

Three prizes. furnished by the local club, were awarded yesterday, the first being a tire, the second a spotlight, and the third an inner tube, all for motorcycles.

The annual gypsy tour of the central and northern state motorcycle clubs is to be held on June 7 and 8. The tourists will make Starved Rock and Deer Park their destination. It is expected that twenty-five or thirty outfits will go from Freeport.

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