From the Berks.TV Vault: Pagoda and Duryea Summer Hill Races

All geared up for the lazy, hazy days of summer? The hill climb racers of the Blue Mountain Region SCCA are about to rev things up, with the first of two planned events in Reading taking place June 23-24, 2007. The Pagoda Hill Climb is a 1-mile, 7-turn course ending near – you got it – the Pagoda in Reading, PA.

In these features from the Berks.TV video vault, you’ll get a taste of what the races are like.

Interviews with racers Lloyd Geib Jr. and Tammy Oswald



Skip Levengood talks about how he got into racing and some of the special features of the Duryea Hill Climb


See you at the races!

Toby Parese–Young NASCAR Star


(Click image above to view video.)

Toby Parese, a Governor Mifflin township sophomore, has been racing cars since he was 6 years old and he got his NASCAR license long before he even got his Pennsylvania driver’s license (which he did just 2 weeks ago–congratulations, Toby!).

Toby, who describes racing as “exhilarating,” travels every weekend to North Carolina to compete as a team member of the Bobby Waltrip Racing Group. As the youngest driver in his division, he frequently races against competitors 3 times his age.

This summer Toby’s family will be moving to North Carolina and Berks.TV couldn’t pass on the opportunity to chat with Toby before he moves out of Berks County.




Download Video: Quicktime

If you’re having difficulty viewing this video, you may need to download Quicktime from the Apple website.


Taylor Huey Wins State Championship!

Despite sitting out last season with a broken foot, and a number of injuries this season, Berks Gymnastic Team member Taylor Huey (who you’ve seen before on Berks.TV) took the Level 9 state individual championship earlier this month and led her Level 9 Berks teammates to the team championship. Congrats to Taylor and the entire Berks Gymnastic Team!

Listen to my chat with Taylor about the state championships and what’s next for the 8th grader:

Taylor Huey – Aspiring Teen Gymnast in Berks County, PA

Click image below to view video (5:00).


What’s life like being a teenage gymnast? Not too long ago we had a nice chat with Taylor Huey, a thirteen-year-old gymnast based in Berks County, PA. Homework in the car, jam-packed study halls, long nights at the gym, bone breaks, and sprains – all just bumps along the road to a top ranking and – hopefully – a scholarship to a big-name college.


Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 5:00

If you’re having difficulty viewing this video, you may need to download Quicktime from the Apple website.


Jimmy Torano – Berks Equine Council Benefit Jumper Clinic

Click image below to view video (1:10).


The international Grand Prix champion Jimmy Torano has an outpost here in Berks County, PA, and he gave a benefit jumper clinic recently for Berks Equine Council at Passport Farm in Oley, PA. In this clip, Jimmy talks about what he emphasizes in clinics and how new riders should think about getting started in the sport. The one-day clinic reportedly netted $1500 for the Council, which advocates open space and equine activities in Berks County.


Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 1:10, 8MB

If you’re having difficulty viewing this video, you may need to download Quicktime from the Apple website.


Duryea Hillclimb, the Racing Community, and In-Car Video from the 2006 Reading, PA Race

Click image below to view video.


In a recent segment about the Duryea Hillclimb in Reading, PA, hillclimb racer Skip Levengood waxed exuberant about the community of hillclimbers that gathers each summer at the base of Mount Penn for the Blue Mountain Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) sponsored event. “It’s one of the nicest bunch of people I’ve ever been around” he said.

In this video you’ll see more testimonials to the race and its community — like one from Lloyd Geib Jr., who hasn’t missed the race in more than 40 years (look for his white 1959 MGA #111), and another from Tammy Oswald of Lower Alsace Township, who got into the sport after her husband bought her a race car.

There’s also plenty more ear- and eye-popping footage from the start line and from behind the spectator’s fence from just above turn three. If anyone knows why so many of the cars are yellow, we’d love to hear from you!

HILLCLIMB ON GOOGLE VIDEO: The weekend the hillclimb took over Mount Penn, we met some of the people behind the stomach-turning hillclimb videos getting tons of hits on Google Video lately. Fabio Vlacci kindly gave us permission to embed one of his videos here. We chose this one of his 2006 Duryea time trial in a Toyota MR2. It’s totally cool that this group is into new media like video sharing on the web. Many of them don’t leave the pits without a camcorder strapped into the cockpit!

MORE ABOUT THE RACE: The race is named after the road that starts at the bottom of the mountain, and the road is named after Charles Duryea, the man who invented the world's first hillclimbing car. Duryea tested his inventions right there on the mountain.

The race's thirteen turns, 800-foot-plus elevation change, and 140 mile-per-hour top speeds make the Duryea Hillclimb one of the favorite courses on the hillclimb circuit in North America.

Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 6:16, 60MB

If you're having difficulty viewing this video, you may need to download Quicktime from the Apple website.



This segment is sponsored by Pipe Up! Media, LLC, a Greater Reading, PA-based company offering web video, blogging, and search engine optimization services for companies of all sizes. Let Pipe Up! Media help get your business or event online with their unique self-publishing model. Contact them at


Skip Levengood, Duryea Hillclimb Racer: “It's quite an adrenaline rush”

A couple times each summer, a group of racers gathers at the bottom of Duryea Drive in Reading, PA, to test their cars and their driving skills in time trials up the mountain. Skip Levengood, a Birdsboro, PA, resident and six-time Duryea participant, spent some time with us on camera at this year’s event.

Click image below to view video – 3:06.


A couple times each summer, a group of racers gathers at the bottom of Duryea Drive in Reading, PA, to test their cars and their driving skills in time trials up the mountain. The event is produced by the Blue Mountain Region SCCA (Sports Car Club of America).

The thirteen turns, 800-foot-plus elevation change, and 140 mile-per-hour top speeds make the Duryea Hillclimb one of the favorite courses on the Hillclimb circuit in North America.

Local drivers abound at this one, and Berks.TV had the pleasure of speaking with many of them on a recent August weekend. Skip Levengood, a Birdsboro, PA, resident and six-time Duryea participant, spent some time with us on camera. He and his Legend car (#8L) are featured in this segment.

“It's quite an adrenaline rush when you're going up that hill, and every corner you take, you might be down over the guard rails or in a tree,” Skip said.

It seems every driver has a memorable experience to share from Duryea. “It probably slowed me down when one guy took out 14 guard rails on the hill,” Skip recalls. “After I saw that, I think I slowed down a little bit.”

The race and the hill have a strong connection. The drive itself was named after Charles E. Duryea, inventor of the first hill climbing gasoline automobile. He used the winding road as a course to test his cars in the early 20th century.

In an upcoming segment, we'll share more footage from the racetrack and two more interviews, one with a racer who hasn't missed an event at Duryea in more than 40 years.



We want to take a moment to thank this segment’s sponsor, Colorteck Network.


High-quality, feature-rich webhosting for $6.99 per month. Packages include Fantastico Deluxe with dozens of pre-packaged software for e-commerce, blogging and more. Colorteck…we’ll supercharge your web experience.

Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 3:06, 20MB

If you’re having difficulty viewing this video, you may need to download Quicktime from the Apple website.

Tags: , , , ,

Reading Fair’s Dirt Track Double Figure-Eight 2006

Click image below to view video.


This one will make you wish you hadn’t missed the Reading Fair this year.

Reading, PA, has a long history of dirt track motorsports, and this year’s fair continued the tradition with a series of main events, including Friday night’s crowd favorite double figure-eight, which pits 4-cylinder junkers against each other in a mini-maze race of tractor tires, dust, and impossible intersections.

Many thanks to JM Productions, promoters of this year’s double figure-eight, who interviewed for Berks.TV, talked us through the finer details of the track rules and safety regulations, and granted us backstage access to capture this exclusive footage.

PROGRAM NOTE: No one was injured, and the demolition derby encore continued after a brief car fire on the field. Thank heaven the Leesport fire company was on hand just in case.

NOT A RACER: Believe it or not, covering the double figure-eight was *her* idea. Below, Berks.TV’s managing editor Tara Karleen poses with the ambulance and heavy machinery on hand trackside.


NOTE TO READERS: You can sign up to receive our weekly email update, or you can use an aggregator or iTunes to subscribe to our RSS feed. Just a reminder that if you sign up by August 31, 2006, you’ll be eligible to win one of three CD’s from Berks County Singer/Songwriter duo Kris Kehr and Julie Edlow.

Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 3:15, 27MB

If you’re having difficulty viewing this video, you may need to download Quicktime from the Apple website.

Tags: , , , ,

Equestrian Sports Make a Comeback in Berks County: Riders Compete in Mini Prix

Click image below to view video (Quicktime, 4:40; click here to get Quicktime).


It was a glorious weekend for a horse show. Riders treated a few hundred spectators to a series of events hosted by the Berks Equine Council at the 4-H Center in Leesport, PA, August 12-13, 2006, including the first significant competitive equestrian event in Berks County in forty years.

The main event, a $1000 Mini Prix Open drawing participants from as far as the Philippines, saw nearly thirty riders compete on speed and accuracy in clearing a prescribed course of jumps.

In this clip, Berks County resident Nick Edmunds, who designed the course, shares his thoughts on the weekend’s success and his hopes for future equestrian events in Berks County.

And we think the footage from the riding ring is positively breathtaking, so we invite you to take a look and relive the event.

Congratulations to Nick, the Berks Equine Council, and all the riders on a successful weekend!


NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this segment, you might want to check out a recent segment with Sarah Reese, president of the Berks Equine Council, who shared with Berks.TV about the Council’s activity in the region.

8/14 UPDATE: We’re considering releasing this video on DVD so that you can enjoy coverage of the event on your own television. We shot and edited this event in high definition, which is much sharper than standard consumer video. While the DVD won’t be in high definition, the resolution will be very high. We are also willing to consider distributing the actual high definition version of this segment as a very large Quicktime file, on a DVD that could be played back on a computer capable of playing back a Quicktime file at 1280×720. If you’re interested in either of these options, please contact us.

Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 4:40, 58.2MB

Tags: , , ,

Sarah Reese of the Berks Equine Council: Why more adults are getting passionate about riding

Click image below to view video.


We’re pleased to present this follow-up to last week’s segment with Sarah Reese, president of Berks Equine Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to horses, horse owners, open space, and educating people about what horses bring to Berks County. We spent some time last week at Sarah’s Passport Farms in Oley, PA, learning about her farm and work with the Council.

Here, Sarah talks about how she became hooked on horses and why she thinks more and more adults are gravitating towards riding.

“Traditional sports just don’t quite offer the complexity they’re looking for,” she said. “I think I’m typical of a lot of adults who yearn for something that gets them outside and demands a lot of them in terms of expertise and learning. You’re never done learning about a horse. You’re never done learning about the sport. When you think you know what you’re doing, it’s time to get a new horse and try something different.”

This weekend–Saturday, August 12–the Berks Equine Council is hosting a “Mini-Prix” competition. You can find more information about this and other upcoming events on the Council’s calendar.

Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 2:36, 21MB

Tags: , , ,

Bill Thompson: How National Pro Fastpitch Will Succeed

Click image below to play video.


If you tuned in last week for our talk with Jaime Dacey, you learned about southeastern PA’s newest pro team, the Philadelphia Force. We caught up with co-owner Bill Thompson prior to a recent home game, and he told us what it will take for individual teams and the young National Pro Fastpitch league to succeed.

“We need to get attendance to 1200-1500 to survive as a team and keep the prices down to family-affordable prices. We’re running it similar to small-venue format like the minor leagues where we have the in-game entertainment. We have the mascots, we have the hot dog, pizza, and cheesesteak races, tug-of-wars and dizzy bats, and sumo wrestling. Anyone who’s come to the stadium says they would definitely come back, that they felt it was a great experience.”

“The players are playing their hearts out, the owners have acquired a great product, and now it’s up to the community and the businesses to get behind it,” he continued.

A longtime softball coach himself, Bill is excited by the team’s talent, depth, and potential.

They’ve certainly caught ESPN’s attention; the Force’s July 26th and 27th games will be broadcast on the well-known cable sports network.

Download Video (400×225): Quicktime, Running time: 3:39, 20MB

Tags: , , , ,

Jaime Dacey, Pro Fastpitch Player, And How She Joined the Force

Click image below to play video.


Think nothing’s new in Philly sports? An energetic team of national fastpitch standouts is anxious to convince you otherwise.

On a sweltering July afternoon, Berks.TV traveled across the county’s northeast border to Allentown’s Bicentennial Park to learn more about the area’s newest professional sports team, the Philadelphia Force. The 21-member Force is part of the four-year-old National Pro Fastpitch league consisting of teams from across the U.S.

Right fielder Jaime Dacey, a Bucks County native, spent a few minutes with us prior to warmups for a game with New England (which the Force took in extra innings). She’s one of two locals on the team; the other is catcher Jaime Wohlbach, a Kutztown University grad.

Despite several of the first few games being rained out, and some close losses, Jaime senses things are about to turn a corner. “We have really good team chemistry, so hopefully the rest of the season we’ll do well.”

As for the prospects for the sport itself, Jaime is equally optimistic. “We’re at the grassroots of the league,” she said. “Hopefully it gets bigger.”

With Major League Baseball officially backing the effort, we’d say she’s onto something.

The Force face Akron Racers in their next homestand beginning July 26, in a game that will be carried by ESPN.

Look for more segments on the Philadelphia Force in coming weeks on Berks.TV.

Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 1:52, 10MB

Tags: , , ,