Named after a man by the name of Zebulon Pike, an explorer who led an expedition to the area in 1806, Pikes Peak is home to the second oldest motorsports race in America second only to the Indianapolis 500. First completed in 1916, this year marks the 87th running of the “Race to the Clouds.” If the math doesn’t add up, this is because there were several years that the event did not run over the course of its 93 year history. The 12.4 mile trek up the mountain consists of 156 treacherous turns to an elevation of 14,110 feet. Featuring 11 diverse classes of vehicles, the varied grid is made up of of automobiles, semi trucks, open wheel race cars, super stock cars, pro trucks and even motorcycle and ATV classes – making up a field of nearly 200 competitors.
The 2009 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb’s motorcycle classes should be particularly entertaining to watch as defending champion John “Krash” Stallworth will be looking for back to back wins in the Quad 500 Class. Competing on his 2006 Yamaha Banshee, Stallworth won last year’s Climb on a 2004 Banshee with a time of 12:19.204. 2008 runner-up Mike Ell will be returning this year to challenge Stallworth on his 2002 Banshee. Ell was the 2007 champion and took third in 2006 on the Hill. 2008 750cc champion Davey “Super Dave” Durelle will also be looking to repeat after winning his class last year on his 2008 Aprilia SM 550 at a time of 11:42.991. Durelle is also the current record holder for the 750cc and over motorcycle division.
The Pikes Peak “Fan Fest” is one of the event’s highlights for spectators and is expected to attract some 35,000 fans this year. The streets of downtown Colorado Springs will be flooded with people on Friday, July 17th as crowds will be able to see the cars, trucks and motorcycles of the event up close. Fan Fest also features the opportunity to meet and interact with the drivers in addition to offering music, food and entertainment.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.