Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Photos/Words: Stephen Sullivan
This was my first time at the undoubetedly epic race; Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. As a photographer I’m usually overprepared, but not this time. To start off the amount of action occuring around me was unlike anything I had experienced. From drunk people falling off clifs, to semi’s spinning out of control and race cars rolling off 300 foot cliffs, it was on a whole new level from the usual track day. The sheer number of quality autos was astonishing. Everywhere you looked there was a build you could spend all day observing. The bitter cold at 14,000 feet was an element that had to be rekoned with which made me cut a session short at 5am when my fingers were so numb I literally couldn’t press the shutter anymore. Bearing through the cold and showing up at 1am everynight to get on course was so damn worth it, as you can see from the photos it’s almost hard to take a bad photo.
This three minute exposure shows how incredibly windy and trecherous the course is. Top gear said that it’s “Rumor has it that the designer of Pikes Peak (God?) based his design on a strand of cooked spaghetti that he accidently dropped on the floor.”
Jeff MacPhersons Cars inspired 914 placed 5th in the Pikes Peak open class. He spoke to TopGear about his air tank and said that he “mounted the oxygen tank in the cabin, which is right next to the fuel cell and battery. If I go up in flames, I want there to be a mushroom cloud.”
When this dark blue beauty passed by, it was literally hard to take a bad photo. The Knoop-Mann Special is based off a 1958 Jaguar Lister frame as a tribute to Knoop’s father, Fred Knoop. From the recent passing of team owner and co-driver Tom Carruthers who was a Navy Seal during WWII, the car will pay tribute to the Navy Seals and all U.S. service personnel.
It was incredibly unfortunate the Jean Philippe Dayraut didn’t make it to the summit in his awesomely unique Dacia Duster. There was some talk about the car hitting a gopro on track and losing control from the lack of aero.
The first time I heard Michael Bream hauling up the hill in his e36 M3, it was quite different from what I was expecting. The exhaust notes were replaced with a high pitch whine from the electric motor along with a safety siren. This was a DIY project that looks like a blast!
Colorado Springs local Fred Veitch rallied up the hill for his first time ever. Posted up a time of 12:06.341 which placed him 7th in the time attack class with his 2001 Porsche 996 turbo.
Dan Elders Gruter and Gut quadster is powered by a Boxer Twin drivetrain stolen out of an R1150 BMW motorcycle. Elders was lighting up the wheels every other corner all the way up the mountain. He placed 5th in the exhibition Powersport class.
Full carbon fiber body, super charged s2000 motor, 50/50 weight distribution and a chrome molybdenum steel space frame equals a badass racecar. The Skelta G-force was originally built to outperform the Porsches and gtr’s at the 2000km Targa Tasmania road rally. Jeff Denmeade came all the way from Jannali, Australia to motor up the hill and place third in the open class.
David Hackl rockin the legendary rally 1983 Audi Quattro.
Valentin Ivanitski and his co-driver Josh rolled their Audi s4 super close to the summit. That didn’t phase them one bit and told me they’d “be back next year for sure”.
Chris Sarian caught the perfect light during a rain shower. He placed 9th in the Time Attack class rockin an Audi s4.
The Audis were in full force! Randy Pobst wasn’t able to post up a time, but his Audi a4 was screaming up the track in section 1 while practicing.
The gold and black livery looked right at home on Tim Hardy’s classic 1987 BMW 325. He placed an impressive 3rd in the Time Attack class.
Dan Rose’s mellow Yellow 911 looked like a blast to toss into the turns. A slightly common theme, but he didn’t see the summit as well.