Orie Steele, Sr.
Motorcycle Hillclimb Champion

 

Steele Has Real Competition in
Home Town Climb
By E. B. Holton
After traveling from the east coast to the west coast and back again,
topping hills in competition, Orrie Steele showed the folks in his home
town how he conquers grades. He won the 61 and 80-inch open events, and
made the fastest time of the day in the Silk City M.C. climb on
Preakness Mountain; but he was forced to ride his best by a trio of
strangers who came to Paterson to win.
Sam Maletesta, of Philadelphia, won the 61-inch Novice, while Fred Yeo,
on his Pearl River Express Scout, took the 37-inch event. Thus did four
Indian riders sweep the boards with four victories.
Charlie Bakels started the big event right after the band played the
"Star Spangled Banner." Bakels drew from the Harley Davidson fans by
topping the 417-foot grade in 16.72 seconds. It was his best ride, and
won him second place, for Sam Maletesta, on an Indian, went across the
crest tossing a shower of stones and dirt in 16.24 seconds.
Fred Yeo put his scout across the top tape without the timer recording
in the 37-inch event. The Horace Fritz, of Reading, walked his mount up
306 feet, but it did not go. Referee Kunath disqualified him. Louis
Skimski, on a scout, from Reading, then drifted back and forth across
the courseuntil he hesitated at 171 feet. Yeo's second ride was clocked
in 21.31 seconds, while Fritz, with his feet gingerly in the air, got
second place with a rise of 260 feet.
The crowd that fringed the cleared lane up the stony slant moved back as
the 61-inch event went on. Steele went first and rose in 12.19 seconds.
Art Jones, of Reading, astounded the crowd by beating Steele's time down
to 11.64 seconds. J.H. Tracey on a Capistrano Ex., made a wicked ride of
14.56, while Skimski's Indian failed him. C. Bean, of Philadelphia, put
his blue Harley-Davidson over in 20.26 seconds, which prompted Freddie
Yeo to tackle the grade with his Scout again. He got over in 20.98
seconds.
Steele on his second trial did not better his first mark, and Jones sat
pretty with the fastest ride. Tracey cut his time down and went into
second place. It was not until the third trip up that Orie got rolling
right. Then he was timed in 11.43 seconds. Jones, who has a pretty style
of riding, attempted to better his mark, but when his Indian up-ended he
stepped clear and let the red rocket go flying on up across the tape.
The 80-inch open was started by Steele making a slow climb, his motor
cutting out near the top for an interval of time. Harry Immel on a
lengthy Excelsior, went up hill in approved Pittsburg style. Then out
rolled Sid Heim on an ancient and honorable Excelsior. Sid has been away
from us motorcyclist ever since the Dover climb in 1921. With no
practice at all he got his time down from 16.38 in the first ride to
12.08 in his final ride. It won him third money.
The course was well cut up and slashed by spinning wheels, but that did
not annoy the riders much. Jones made one ride of 13.73 seconds, having
more hard luck in his other two rides.
Immel began to find the groove by this time, and his 12.02-second ride
took second place.
Orrie, on his second trial, made the best time of the day. Riding his
tried and trusted "money wagon" - a 61-incher, by the way - he journeyed
up the grade in 11.35 seconds.
Tracey was going fine on his Excelsior when he got into rough going,
and, wrestling with his mount, threw in with a half-nelson twist.
Reggie Pink, whose streak of hard luck in hill climbing is never ending,
made a good ride of 13.94 seconds; then in his final ride wrapped a skid
chain around the hub and pulled everything out of line. Pink is one of
the pluckiest hill toppers we ever saw. HE has no pit service, riding
and working on his motors in between trials.
Sam Maletesta, the winner of the Novice event, kept right on competing,
and he made three consistent rides in 15 and a fraction seconds
Good Crowd on Hand
About 3,000 were on hand to see the contest. Many of the riders who were
in the Crotona Six-Day Trials were on hand. Pink and Tracey rode, while
Fowler, Enos, Dodson, Julius Stern, Tom McLoughtin and Wally Stuart
looked on. Paul Anderson and John Seymour were also present.
The events were interesting and R.B. Fritz brought half the Second Ward
of Reading with him to see Horace Fritz, Arthur Jones and Louis Skimski
in action.
Philadelphia riders also were amoung the competitors, and they showed
that they knew the game of hill climbing. For their first event the Silk
City boys did effiecentwork from selecting the hill to running off the
contest. Summaries:
37-Inch Solo
1. Fred Yeo, Indian, Crotona M.C., over the top twice 21.31 sec.
2. Horace Fritz, Indian, Reading M.C., 260 ft.
3. L. Skimski, Indian, Reading M.C., 171 ft.
61-Inch Solo- Novice
1. Sam Malatesta, Indian, Philadelphia. 16.24 sec.
2. C. Bakels, H.D., Paterson, 16.73 sec.
3. H. Leavitt, H.D., Philadelphia, 20.09 sec.
4. F Spear, H.D., Paterson, 400 ft.
61-inch Open
1. O. Steele, Indian, Paterson, 12.19,12.8,11.43
2. A. Jones, Indian, Reading, 11.64, upside down
3. J. Tracey, Excelsior, New York City, 14.5,12.08
4. L. Skimski, Indian, Reading, . . . ., 15.0,19.74
5. C. Bean, H.D., Philadelphia, 20.26.19.7,20.95
6. Fred Yeo, Scout, New York City, 20.98
80-Inch Open
1. O. Steele, Indian, Paterson, 12.19,11.3,....
2. H. Immel, Excelsior, Pittsburgh, 12.8,12.74,12.02
3. S. Heim, Excelsior, Westchester, 16.3,14.18,12.08
4. J. Tracey, Excelsior, New York City, 12.9,upset,12.25
5. A Jones, Indian, Reading. .. . , 13.7,....
6. Reg Pink, R-S, Westchester, ......, 13.9
7. Malatesta, Indain, Philadelphia, 15.1,15.72,15.55
8. L.Skimski, Indian, Reading, .......,15.7
 

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