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Jun 19, 2019

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb: A Preview Of The 97th Running Of The Unique Race

KTM's Chris Fillmore (11) will be aiming to take his third class record during this year's event. Photo by Larry Chen, courtesy of KTM.

88 drivers and riders from 17 nations set for the 97th

running of the legendary Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Colorado Springs-----America’s motorsport world will have its eyes focused on Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain, on Sunday, June 30, at 7:30 a.m., for the 97th edition of the fabled Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo.

Some 7,000 racing fans from as many as a dozen countries and 44 states will watch from designated spectator areas on the 14,115-foot mountain as 88 competitors from 17 countries, including 29 rookies, take on the challenge of the world’s most famous hill climb and the second-oldest motorsport race in America (1916) just in back of the famed Indianapolis 500 (1911).

Media credentials have been issued so far to representatives from the USA, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and Mexico, with others anticipated.

Competitors on the Peak will come from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Belgium, France, Japan, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, China, Brazil, Germany, Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic.

The Race to the Clouds is still basking in the glow of the fabulous performance last summer by French driver Romain Dumas in the 2018 Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak toppling the old mark of 8:13.78 set by Sébastien Loeb of France in 2013. Dumas careened up the 156-turn, 12.42 mile course to the summit in a jaw-dropping time of 7:57.148 to establish a new course record and earn Autoweek’s “Moment of the Year” award.

“We never know what incredible moments each year will become part of the race’s history,” said PPIHC Executive Director Megan Leatham, “We have an awesome lineup of competitors from around the world coming to Pikes Peak again this summer to take on the mountain, so buckle up.”

Pikes Peak has seen champions since 1916 who are part of American motorsport history—Ari Vatanen, Parnelli Jones, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears,Michèle Mouton, Nobuhiro Tajima, Bobby Unser, and Malcolm Smith, just to name a few.

This year’s Indy 500 winner, Simon Pagenaud, took second on Pikes Peak in 2013 in the Exhibition Class.

While it’s unlikely that Dumas’ mark will be eclipsed this year by a talented stable of drivers, everyone will be watching the decorated veteran Rhys Millen, as he attempts to break the Time Attack 2 Production record in the Exhibition Division. The time to beat is David Donner’s 10:26.896 set in 2015, driving a 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S.

Millen, 46, a New Zealander who moved to the USA in 1990, and son of Pikes Peak legend Rod Millen, will be competing for the 24th time in the race, this time in a jazzy, luxurious Bentley Continental GT coupe sporting the Bentley 100th anniversary livery. He’ll also be seeking his 13th championship in his race history, which began in 1992 with a title in the Open Division.

In 2015, he was named “King of the Mountain” after breaking the electric modified record with a time of 9:07.22 — a record he topped the following year by 10 seconds (8:57.118). His fabulous life includes stunt driving for commercials and movies, the latest a sizzling spot for Hankook Tires, seen by millions.

Other notables entered this year:

Automobile drivers

Paul Dallenbach, Basalt, CO – Open Wheel: A fixture on Pikes Peak,Dallenbach has been driving in commercials and feature films since 1992. With a background in road racing, he has over 25 professional wins and a 2nd place finish at the 24 Hours of Daytona. He has won nine times at the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (eight Open Wheel crowns) and set an overall record (10:43.63) in 1993. He won the Open Wheel title last year in his 2006 PVA Dallenbach Special with a clocking of 9:37.135. He also tried his hand in rally racing earning wins at the Alcan 5000 Winter Rally three times. Additionally, he was an instructor at ESI anti-terrorism school for five years teaching Navy Seals, bodyguards and law enforcement personnel defensive driving. He has also spent 12 years instructing at the Mid-Ohio School of High Performance. Paul is a Colorado native and comes from a racing family. His father, Wally, was an IndyCar star of the ‘70s and his brother, Wally Jr, a NASCAR driver for 8 years.

Greg Tracy, Long Beach, CA – Unlimited: Tracy is the only person in Pikes Peak Hill Climb history to complete the race in under ten minutes racing both a car (Mitsubishi Electric, 9:08.188- 2014) and a motorcycle (Ducati, 9:58.262- 2012). He has six motorcycle championships on Pikes Peak, beginning in 1996 with a victory in the 250cc Class. Tracy is one of the top stunt drivers in Hollywood, having spent the last two decades working in several hundred commercials, TV shows, and many of the top stunt driving films including Marvel’s Black Panther, Jack Reacher, The Avengers, The Fast and the Furious, Talladega Nights and The Bourne Ultimatum, a project that earned him a World Stunt Award. He’ll drive a 2019 Palatov D2EV in his move to Unlimited this year.

Liam Doran, Dolton, United Kingdom – Unlimited: Doran is a professional rallycross driver competing in the FIA World Rallycross Championship, Global Rallycross Championship, X Games, and European Rallycross Championship. He is the son of British rallycross driver and Lydden Hill Race Circuit owner Pat Doran. He won a gold medal in the 2011 X Games in Los Angeles in Rally Car Racing. Alongside his driving duties, Liam also heads up the UK-based LD Motorsports squad and oversees the race preparation of no less than eight cars. Doran will drive a 1987 Ford RS200 Evolution on Pikes Peak in his debut.

William Au-Yeung, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada – Unlimited: As the 2017 and 2018 Global Time Attack Pro Unlimited Champion, Au-Yeung also recorded the fastest North American time in 2018 at Sydney Motorsports Park, where he took second in the ProAm Class. Known as the fastest Time Attack Driver in Canada, Au-Yeung will drive a 2012 Honda Civic on Pikes Peak, one of the fastest time attack cars in the world.

Robin Shute, United Kingdom - Unlimited: The British driver is back for the third time on Pikes Peak after a sixth-place finish last year in the rugged Unlimited Division. He’ll be driving a 2018 Wolf TSC Honda on June 30 in the field of Unlimited entrants from the UK, Canada, Belgium and the USA. He’s a professional test/development driver and has worked on projects with Jaguar Land Rover, Tesla Motors, Faraday Future and Adess. Hampered by the weather on the Peak last year, Shute, a Formula Pro Mazda champion, is anticipating better things this time around.

Motorcycle racers

Carlin Dunne, Santa Barbara, CA – Exhibition Powersport: Back to the Peak aboard the highly anticipated 2019 Ducati Streetfighter V4 Prototype comes Dunne, one of the most accomplished riders in the history of the race with four victories. Dunne won the PP Heavyweight crown last year with a time of 9:59. 102 on his Ducati MTS-1260 Pikes Peak. He holds the Pikes Peak record for Electric Motorcycle (10:00.694, 2013) and held others until Chris Fillmore exploded on the scene in 2017. He was the 1205cc winner in 2011 and 2012 and became the first rider to crack the ten-minute barrier in 2012 (9:52.819) on a Ducati Multistrada 1200. Born into motorcycling, Dunne’s father, a South African road racer and former Isle of Man competitor, made sure there was a small bike waiting for Carlin when he was born. Living above his family’s 1,000 sq. ft. motorcycle repair shop until the age of seven, it’s no surprise that his toys growing up consisted of old engine parts.

Chris Fillmore, Oxford, MI – Pikes Peak Lightweight: The fastest rider in Pikes Peak history,Fillmore is aiming to become the first triple record holder on America’s Mountain. He currently holds Heavyweight and Middleweight titles on Pikes Peak (9:49.625), 2017 and (10:04.038) 2018, respectively, and is hoping to add the Lightweight Division trophy this year. He’ll enter a KTM 450SX-F Factory Edition motorcycle this summer in his attempt at another record. He got started racing motocross before turning pro, spending seven years in the AMA Pro Supermoto series and five in AMA Superbike, campaigning KTMs all the way.

Codie Vahsholtz, Woodland Park, CO – Pikes Peak Heavyweight: He’s a third-generation member of the famed Vahsholtz family, which owns more Pikes Peak titles than any family in history. He was third last year in the Heavyweight Division (10:12.703). He also established series victories with the record time in 2017 for the Middleweight Division, the record time in 2015 for the Lightweight Division and in 2013 for the 250 Pro Class. With the 19 victories of his grandfather, Leonard Vahsholtz and the 23 wins of his father, Clint Vahsholtz, he carries on the family legacy on America’s Mountain again this summer. He will ride a 2019 Ducati Multistrada MTS-1260 Pikes Peak.

Rafael Paschoalin, São Paulo, Brazil—Pikes Peak Middleweight: He’s considered the only specialist in street racing in Brazil. In 2012 he made his debut on the world calendar, participating in races such as North West 200 and Macau GP. The following year, he became the first Brazilian in the famous TT Isle of Man. The accomplished South American rider is coming back for his fourth crack at America’s Mountain following two straight podium finishes in 2017 and 2018 in the Pikes Peak Middleweight Division. He was third last year behind superstar Chris Fillmore and veteran Davey Durelle, and will race a 2019 Yamaha MT-07 on June 30 in an attempt to win a title. A three-time Brazilian Supermoto champion, Paschoalin, 35 years old, is an official Yamaha Road Racing rider and races Brazil and the world for the biggest challenges that exist on two wheels.


Feel the need for speed?

The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), brought to you by Gran Turismo, also known as The Race to the Clouds, is an invitational automobile and motorcycle hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain in Colorado, USA held annually on the last Sunday of June. Founded in 1916 by Spencer Penrose (also the founder of The Broadmoor Hotel, Pikes Peak Highway and El Pomar Foundation), The Broadmoor PPIHC takes place on a 12.42 mile (19.99 km) public toll-road boasting 156 turns, while competitors climb 4,720 ft. (1,440 m.) from the 9,390 ft. (2,862 m.) Start Line at Mile 7 marker on the Pikes Peak Highway to the 14,115 ft. (4,300 m) Finish Line at the mountain’s summit. As the drivers climb toward the summit, the thin air slows reflexes and saps competitor’s mental and muscle strength in addition to robbing internal combustion engines of up to 30% of the power they are capable of at the Start Line. Competitors and vehicles must be in top shape and condition simply to finish, let alone win. The race is self-sanctioned and is the most diverse one day motorsports event in the world.

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