Jun 29, 2011
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Driver John Wood and passenger Chris Rizzo in action with the Team Johnny Killmore sidecar on the Pikes Peak course. Photo by Michael Hill/Courtesy Team Johnny Killmore
TEAM JOHNNY KILLMORE BREAKS SIDECAR RECORD AT PIKES PEAK
Colorado Springs, Colorado: Driver John Wood and passenger Chris Rizzo overcame several mechanical issues to break the sidecar class record at this year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. After bending the frame of their Windle/Suzuki Formula sidecar in practice, the pair were beset by terrible instability under braking. Driver John Wood comments, "We really won't know until we get the bike on the bench, but I think the chair wheel mount was tweaked when we hit some potholes on the transition back to asphalt. We got this headshake under braking that wouldn't go away until I tried dragging the rear brake with the throttle on to slow for corners. I was really worried in the race we'd overheat them, but it turned out to be ok."
While the instability cost them some time, they were able to barely edge ahead of last year's winners Dave Hennessy/ Jeremiah Owesly at the start and begin to pull away. The pair of machines actually were extremely close as they exited the final three miles of dirt before Glen Cove, but the purpose built Formula 2 machine of Wood/Rizzo was then able to stretch its legs for the remainder of the 12.42 mile course. Finding the bike would still weave nervously in fast corners, driver John Wood took safe turn-in points and braking markers to keep the machine in check. Sliding through oil at the ominously named "Bottomless Pit" corner and being pushed off line by heavy winds near the top were their only scary moments until after the checkered flag, where the pair made a wild 360-degree spin in the dirt slow-down area, stopping just feet from the boulders lining the parking area.
Transponder trouble meant the pair would not know their official time until later in the evening after the awards ceremony was over. The team's official time of 13:09.04 came as a surprise to everyone, especially driver John Wood. "We had to race so conservative with the bike I really wasn't after the record. I came this year to learn the course with a passenger that hadn't been here before. I was hoping to get into the high-thirteen minute mark, but after the instability started I really didn't think that was possible. I know next year we can go much faster," says Wood.
Passenger Chris Rizzo summed things up after the race in his typical short style, saying, "After all our problems we really put things together and it was an awesome win."
The pair are already looking to next year where they will now have time to reinforce the frame and make several needed adjustments for an expected switch to an all-asphalt course for Pikes Peak's famous 156 turns.
Team Johnny Killmore appreciates the support of Becker Moto Works of Apple Valley, California; Wagner's Welding of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Hoosier Racing Tires; Sinful Flesh Clothing; and Victorville Motorcycle Center. The team normally consists of driver John Wood and passenger Giorgina Gottlieb and competes in the SRA-West Formula sidecar series () and can be found at . They are currently ranked second in the SRA-West Formula Sidecar Division. For more information on the Pikes Peak Hill International Climb- including official results- visit .