Hill climb and stunt jump on tap for Motorcycle WeekBy BEA LEWIS
Union Leader Correspondent April 11. 2018 11:15PM
LACONIA — Motorcycle Week could be reverting to its early roots if plans calling for Tower Hill to be the site of an exhibition hill climb come together.
Charlie St. Clair, president of the Laconia Motorcycle Rally and Race Week Association, detailed the proposal for the City Council on Monday.
Promoter Bob Coy is organizing a group of about two dozen professional riders with vintage machines who would compete to see who could climb the hill in the fastest time on Tuesday, June 12, for a two-hour period between 11 and 1 p.m.
Located in the heart of Weirs Beach — the epicenter of Motorcycle Week — Tower Street was used for hill climb competitions until the early 1920s.
“It’s generated a lot of enthusiasm from our participants,” St. Clair said of the tentative plans that must still pass muster with the Special Events Review Committee which meets on May 2.
In response to questions from the council, St. Clair represented that the promoter wants to have the start line about 100 feet in from the intersection of Lakeside Avenue to reduce the speed of the competitors and to create a safe space for spectators to watch. The finish line will be before the crest of the hill to give riders sufficient time to stop.
Councilor Bob Hamel said with the number of vendors on the decline at Motorcycle Week reducing revenues, the city is in no position to take on any added expenses.
St. Clair said there will be a cadre of volunteers, but that public works would have to move the Jersey barriers that are placed on Tower Hill, prohibiting through traffic during Motorcycle Week.
During the event, an ambulance will be stationed on site and the promoter will be billed for the service, according to St. Clair.
Most property owners along the street have voiced their support for the event, according to St. Clair, but that the proprietor of the bed and breakfast on the street has expressed concern about the potential for damage to his lawn.
The event will be sanctioned by the AMA and will obtain insurance indemnifying the city.
The council voted 5-0 to allow the event to be held on the condition it is approved by the special events committee, that an agreement on costs is signed, and proof of insurance for $5 million is provided to the city.
St. Clair also broached the subject of Lakeside Avenue being the site of a stunt jump performance by professional showman Cole Freeman, a Missouri native.
Freeman, who typically jumps a Harley-Davidson street motorcycle over a 50-foot span, finances his performances by attracting sponsors who benefit from having their products showcased when video footage of the jumps is shared worldwide via youtube.
The council agreed to allow the jump to take place on the condition that it too is approved by the special events committee, that an agreement is signed assuring that the city will bear no expense in connection with it, and that the city is protected by insurance.