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K&N Sponsored Team Peterson Conquers Glen Helen Pro NAHA Hillclimb

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The inaugural winner Jason Smith and Bret Peterson launched into the history books with the first ever X-Climb event.
The inaugural winner Jason Smith and Bret Peterson launched into the history books with the first ever X-Climb event.
Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California, recently hosted round two and three of the Racer X/Malcolm Smith Motorsports North American Hillclimbers Association (NAHA) Pro Hillclimb Series. And for the fifth year running the world's top riders agree that Glen Helen is indeed one of the most technical and competitive races on the circuit, with 50-foot jumps, motocross style berms and vertical ledges throughout the course.
The X-Climb featured motocross-style starting gate.
The X-Climb featured motocross-style starting gate.


Over 7,000 spectators turned out for the event which included a weekend of closed-course off-road truck action, motocross, along with the two rounds of the NAHA Pro Hillclimb Series, and an exhibition of a new fan favorite called X-Climb. The NAHA is an organization of professional hillclimb competitors and they sponsor events held primarily in the western United States.

North America's best hillclimbers made their way to the famed raceway to attempt a nasty 500-foot hill and take part in the first-ever X-Climb. After two days of competition K&N sponsored Team Peterson walked away as the big winners of the event.
Before the first ever X-Climb had even completed, there was already talk of including the event as a part of the regular schedule.
Before the first ever X-Climb had even completed, there was already talk of including the event as a part of the regular schedule.


"Team Peterson's success over the weekend can be attributed to all of our sponsors help in providing us with the most competitive bikes on the circuit, and all of our riders dedication to bringing their 'A' game to the race when it counted," Bret Peterson told K&N Race News. Bret is the son of five-time Hillclimb World Champion Kerry Peterson, and along with teammates, Austin Fox and Logan Mead, they owned the hill.

Bret continues, "With two class wins over the two days of racing, as well as numerous podiums and top ten finishes, Team Peterson was the most dominate team of the weekend. We came away with valuable points to keep our team at the top of the leader board and will continue to dominate the rest of the six round series."
Bret Peterson was not only a big winner in the hillclimb, but also with his crowd pleasing X-Climb event.
Bret Peterson was not only a big winner in the hillclimb, but also with his crowd pleasing X-Climb event.


We asked Bret what he thought comprised the unique skill-set required to being a successful hillclimber.

"Each race is so unique in its own way. You definitely have to have the right setup on your bikes as far as length, gearing, tire choice, and so on. But it really takes a well rounded rider to put it all together and stay up front race after race. Every hill is different and tests a different set of skills as a rider, some are fast, some are really technical, and some have big jumps or cliffs. Having confidence in your bike, and ability, play a huge part in achieving consistent podium finishes."

One of the clear highlights of this year's event was the first ever X-Climb, featuring drag-race-style bracket racing, which saw two riders battle side-by-side up the course. What made this exceptional was the fact that riders started in a motocross-style starting gate, hit regular freestyle ramps, and jumped up 40-feet to the base of the hill. In the end, Utah's Jason Smith won the inaugural event and took home $500 during the exhibition.

"The idea of X Climb actually came from me," Bret explained. "I had this idea after seeing Jeremy McGrath's hybrid motocross race he had years ago, where he integrated freestyle ramps into his track layout. During the off season I was getting the hill ready for this year's climb and saw the 40-foot cliff next to the already existing hill and the gears started turning."

"Working with, Mike Metzger, I was able to borrow a ramp and go out and see if not only I was able to hit a ramp on an extended hillclimb bike, but if I could also do that, and clear a 40-foot cliff. I guess I got lucky with the minimal setup I did and was able to make it happen. The next issue I came into was the 'fear factor' involved in hitting the ramps. Luckily we proved to enough riders that it was possible, and we thereby raised the bar on what is actually possible in the sport of Hillclimbing."

"After the first Exhibition was held on Sunday, there was already talk that the next round in the series would have an X-Climb event. The crowd loves the side-by-side racing and all the riders said it was the best part of the weekend. I am proud to be the brainchild of X-Climb. I definitely see it being a big part of Professional Hillclimbing in the future."

Mike Metzger will be riding for Team Peterson at select events in the 450 Pro Class. The next event is in Columbus, Montana, on June 17 and 18.

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