On August 5th, 1906, the first French Hillclimb competition was organised by the Automobile Club of the Vosges, on the road between St.Maurice-sur-Moselle and the summit of the Ballon ,finishing at the frontier post of the Haut Rhin(Alsace). One of three roads leading over the Ballon, this route is 9 kilometres long with 13 hairpin bends and an average gradient of 6.83% (steeper than Shelsley Walsh) and climbs 678M(2,237 feet). Blessed with superb weather, this first mechanised event was a roaring success.

Fifty drivers from various motor clubs of Belfort, Alsace, Lorraine & The Vosges competed with their own vehicles such as Peugeot,Lion,Dietrich,Corre,Minerva,Clément-Bayard,Rossel, DeDion-Bouton,Berliet,Mathis and Buire. They were divided into several classes(according to price !)and the winner on handicap was 19-year-old Gules Goux on a 6HP Peugeot-Lion, in a time of 19m59s. Fastest Time of the Day went to M.Schwob on a 40HP Berliet(12m42.8s) ; and the Baron de Turckheim,founder of the great Lorraine-Dietrich company, took second in class on one of his massive 60HP models(14m57s).

The young Goux was not the only debutant to make his mark that day – there was also a certain Ettore Bugatti, recently arrived from Italy, on a 60HP Mathis.

Thus the great Hillclimb Sprinting tradition was born .

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