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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Pre-WWII Racing


The New York Times
December 4, 1909

Seventy-five Starters Will Compete To-day on Edgewater-Fort Lee Course.

There will be seventy-five starters in the Edgewater-Fort Lee hill climb, which takes place this afternoon, by far the largest number of automobiles ever to compete in a hill climb held in the United States.  When the entry list closed, fifty-seven entrants had nominated cars, and as some of the cars are named to start in several of the fourteen carded events, the number of starters will exceed all records.

Final preparations for the hill climb were completed yesterday afternoon by the officials of the Edgewater-Fort Lee Automobile Association, under whose auspices the hill climb will be held.  Steam rollers were put on the road in several places where it had become a trifle rough.  A gang of workmen will go over the road again this morning to see that it is in perfect condition when the competition starts at 1 o'clock this afternoon.

It is the plan of the officials in charge of the climb to have the class for commercial vehicles and delivery wagons run off first, to be followed by the motor cycle class.  With these two events out of the way, the stock car and stock chassis events can be run off with dispatch.

E. L. Ferguson, Secretary of the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association, will act as starter in the place of Fred J. Wagner, who is out of town.  Wagner notified the officials by wire that he would not be able to be here in time to start the cars.  Ferguson is considered one of the most competent starters in the business, and the drivers are well pleased with his selection.

There was a large crowd lining the Fort Lee hill course yesterday afternoon, when a number of the entrants had their cars out for a final try out.  It was impossible for the drivers to try for fast time, because of the speed regulations, but it was interesting to the spectators to watch the drivers familiarize themselves with the difficult turns and bad places on the hill.

Charles H. Warner, who has made a special trip from Beloit, Wis., to officiate as timer, was at the hill yesterday with W. C. Poertner, in a National car, to see that everything was in readiness for the installation of the timing instrument.  This will be the first time the Warner timing machine has been used in a hill climb.  The instrument is so arranged that it automatically prints the time of each car as it crosses the start and finish line, even to the one hundredth part of a second.

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