Down From The Mountain: Pike's Peak International Hill Climb Photo Gallery

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Yesterday was a long, long day on Pike’s Peak. Above 10,000 feet, the Colorado sun bakes the will to live right out of you, while the lack of oxygen starves lungs and engines alike. Constant wrecks and breakdowns shut down the course for long periods, but all these things were just minor irritants, forgotten as soon as the next racer came fishtailing up the hill. The big news, of course, was the demolition of the 10-minute barrier by Monster Tajima, but every entrant got plenty of cheers from the thousands of dust-huffing hillclimb fans lining the route to the summit. Make the jump for some of my photo highlights from the day.

The Seat León Supercopa I encountered in a Manitou Springs motel parking lot on Friday looked and sounded great on race day.

Speaking of European cars we never see in North America…

I had a couple of friends driving in the race, but both faced setbacks on race weekend. Bill Caswell, LeMons race winner and low-budget rally hero, ended up stacking his E30 during practice and spent race day as a spectator. Meanwhile, LeMons Supreme Court District Judge Texas Dave of Rally Ready Motorsports was making a crazed underdog run at the 10-minute mark in his Evo. He looked extremely fast passing my vantage point near Gayler’s Straits, but engine failure above the tree line ended his run. Next year!

I was very happy to see a Pontiac Sunbird, of all things, roaring by. Unfortunately, things didn’t go well for Bobby Regester further up the hill. The good news: Regester walked away from the wreck.

Many of the vintage climbers were 60s Mustangs, so it was nice to see a Ford racer changing it up with a Falcon Signet.

Plenty of Carrera Panamericana cars roaring up the mountain. One of my favorites is Doug Mockett’s ridiculously fast ’54 Oldsmobile.

Competing in the Time Attack class was this ’80 Corolla.

The bike contingent provided plenty of nail-bitingly squirrelly antics for the crowds.

Monster Tajima’s car doesn’t look much like a Suzuki SX4, but that’s how the Unlimited class works.

All the entrants that make it to the summit stay there until the race is over, then roll back down the hill to the cheers and high-fives of the spectators. Even some of the wreck victims made it back down under their own power, with an assist from gravity.

Now I’m hooked. Pike’s Peak 2012 or bust!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Edward Niedermeyer Edward Niedermeyer on Jun 27, 2011

    The contrast between the vintage GT350 and the modern-day GT500 is fascinating... it's very nearly the difference between a painting and a print.

  • NSF Racing NSF Racing on Jun 28, 2011

    How did Doug finish. I love to hate that guy. His car is faster than heck and his co-pilot is smoking. b

    • Parkwood60 Parkwood60 on Jun 29, 2011

      I though you always had to refer to him as "Original Cannonball Run Participant" Doug Mockett, the same way you refer to "Academy Award Winning" actors.

  • MaintenanceCosts "But your author does wonder what the maintenance routine is going to be like on an Italian-German supercar that plays host to a high-revving engine, battery pack, and several electric motors."Probably not much different from the maintenance routine of any other Italian-German supercar with a high-revving engine.
  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.