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Hillclimb Grand Championship comes to Bay City this weekend

A view of a hillclimb run from atop the hill. (Herald file photo)

BAY CITY – Can you handle 6,000?

It may not come to that many people attending this weekend’s American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Hillclimb Grand National Championship. But the organizers with Valley Springs Motorcycle Club hope their course, located just on CTH. EE in Isabelle Township (just north of Hwy. 35 from Bay City) can handle what’s expected to be a huge crowd attending the national hillclimb championships.

“We watch videos of hillclimbs out East and they’ve drawn crowds of five or six thousand people,” Dan Prebe of the Valley Springs Motorcycle Club said. “We really hope for a good crowd. We’ve done a lot of advertising and even had a booth at the Pierce County Fair to promote it. We know we’re ready for good attendance.”

The Pierce County hillclimb course hosted its first Grand National competition back in 2012 and drew nearly 4,000 in attendance. The course had only been re-opened for a year after sitting dormant for over 20 years. At least 500 riders from across the U.S. have registered for the competition so far which begins at 8 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. There will be three quad classes and 18 bike classes from 50cc to open motors. Participants, male and female, will be from 4-50 years old.

“A lot of work and cost goes into hosting a national completion,” Prebe said. “For one thing, you have to buy bigger trophies and those alone cost some $10,000. And the club is just renting the course to use for the competition. You have to pre-register the riders, have the volunteers to maintain the course and handle things like parking for example for such a big event.”

When those riders make their way to Bay City in 2014 they’ll find the course slightly altered from they experienced before.

“The top will be steeper,” Prebe said. “We’ve changed the jumps to where we feel we’ve made them better. We’ve put more dirt on the course for better traction. The course is going to be more of a challenge.”

Admission is $10 and there will be food vendors along with parking on site. Prebe said depending on how the competition progresses, it should be completed by approximately 6 p.m. on both days. The Grand Nationals will take place rain or shine. For more information go to the Valley Springs Motorcycle website at