All systems go for 80th running of Falken Tire Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- After discussion with U.S. Forest Service and City of Colorado Springs officials, Falken Tire Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race director Phil Layton has announced that the 80th running of the race is still on track for June 29th.

A large wildfire about 25 miles north and west of Pikes Peak, coupled with dry conditions in the area, has created some concern about the running of this year's race. PPIHC officials have remained in daily contact with the Forest Service and city. Both entities support having the race.

"Obviously, we have no control over acts of God, but at this time there is no reason we can't run the event," Layton said.

Race, city and Forest Service officials are taking all necessary precautions to ensure fire safety during practice, qualifying and on race day.

The Pike National Forest is closed to all recreational use. Campfires and charcoal grills are prohibited. Smoking is allowed in enclosed vehicles and buildings only. The race is held each year on the Pikes Peak Highway, which remains open for tourists who wish to drive to the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak.

The PPIHC board of directors has canceled overnight camping on the night before the race. Traditionally, the night prior to the Hill Climb was the only time overnight camping was allowed on the mountain. The decision to cancel camping applies only to the 2002 race.

-ppihc-