The 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, created in 1916 and interrupted since only by World Wars, will go on Sunday, August 12, and the storied motor sports race has a chance at showing the world that Colorado Springs is a vibrant, courageous and resilient city in a way that only a sports event can do during tough times.
The race, postponed from its July 8 date by the horrific Waldo Canyon fires and the devastation it brought to the city, now has the unique chance to help deliver a message that is vitally important to the area’s economy and image – one used now often by Mayor Steve Bach, “Colorado Springs is open for business!”
Pikes Peak, America’s Mountain, has served before in history as a source of inspiration and pride for Americans, and it is a well-known story.
Her visit to Colorado in 1893 and the view from Pikes Peak inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write the poem, "America the Beautiful," and those inspiring words have become part of our nation’s history.
Reporters and broadcasters from more than 50 international news organizations will be here to cover the race, and the race itself has garnered massive attention already because of the postponement and the reason for it.
But despite the postponement and the impact it has had on international travel schedules, airline bookings, hotel arrangements and scores of other details, the majority (only ten cancellations) of the drivers and racers, including those from the USA and 15 other countries, will be here for Race Week, August 7-12, and aware of the impact that the fire has had on the community.
Two-time Pikes Peak Open Champion Dave Carapetyan, Austin, Texas-------“I was 17 the first time I drove up Pikes Peak. It was my third race ever and I was driving up with my co-driver Ryan Schnell having never seen the mountain. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies affecting Colorado Springs and all of the mountain communities. We are simultaneously moved to see the love, camaraderie, bravery and spirit of both firefighters and citizens alike in this difficult time. There is nothing that makes us happier to say that the show will in fact go on. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb will still be here to help boost the economy and recovery of this community. And we will be there rain or shine (hopefully a bit more rain!) to race and to support the community that has supported us for so many years.”
I want to come in Colorado Springs and to be at the start of the PPIHC! I want to be there for the race of course, but the human aspect is really important in this challenge. I want to meet the citizens of the city, the fans.
Rookie Driver Romain Dumas, Basel, Switzerland----“I would like to express my support to all the citizens of Colorado Springs and the state. I have seen some images of this horrible fire and I feel really sad for the people who lost their homes and possessions. I can imagine how this situation has been difficult, and of course racing is not the priority in this kind of moment. Nevertheless, Pikes Peak stayed in my mind and even when the race was delayed, I was still thinking about racing there, no matter the date. I want to come in Colorado Springs and to be at the start of the PPIHC! I want to be there for the race of course, but the human aspect is really important in this challenge. I want to meet the citizens of the city, the fans. I am still motivated, maybe even more. I am looking forward to coming with all my team and sharing good moments with people from the city, the organization. I can’t wait to be there.”
Six-Time Class Champion and 17-time competitor Rhys Millen, Huntington Beach, CA---- “With the tragedy of the recent fires in Colorado Springs, I respect the decision to postpone the race date to support the community in a time of need and to protect the drivers, teams and spectators on the mountain. My family and team are excited once again to make the annual trip out to Colorado and look forward to a great week of racing and leisurely entertainment.”
Six-time Open Wheel Division champion Paul Dallenbach, Basalt, CO-----“Our team was devastated to hear about the fires and loss of homes. With the support of all my sponsors, there was no way that we would miss the race no matter what date was picked. We want to support the community any way we can.”
2010 Rookie of the Year Savannah Rickli, Littleton, CO------ "The Fingers Crossed Racing team and I are still very excited to attend the 90th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. If anything, we are more excited as the anticipation for the event continues to grow across the map. We are using the extra month to continue testing and developing the 1991 Audi Coupe quattro. We have been encouraged by the love and support from all of the Pikes Peak drivers as Colorado continues to fight the harshest fires in the state’s history. As Colorado drivers, we are looking forward to returning to the event and showing our Colorado pride!"
Pikes Peak Legend Clint Vahsholtz, Woodland Park, Colorado------“I feel that the decision to delay the race was a need be situation. I am sure it was a hard decision. I hope that all the fans and competitors will be coming out to the race because this is a once a year event and a spectacular one at that. Vahsholtz Racing is prepared to compete at the highest level we can. I feel the course being paved the whole way will not only lead to records but also will bring a new element to our one of a kind event. I am looking forward to seeing all the new and old. Please keep all of those who lost their homes in your prayers. The fire was a very touchy and scary event. All of us at Vahsholtz Racing wish the best to all affected by the fire.”
Jean-Philippe Dayraut, France (3rd in Unlimited last year)----“I followed the fires which affected your city. In France, it was the subject number 1 on the TV news. I am going to try to make a donation for the association by means of my sponsors to help a little for the people who have been hurt by the disasters and I would not miss the chance to dedicate my result, if I make the podium, to all the persons who worked to fight the fire. This year I hope to do better than last year on Pikes Peak, too. See you very soon.”
The nation’s second-oldest motor sports race behind the Indianapolis 500 is a central component to a menu of Colorado Springs Sports events in July and August that will spotlight the city, its compassionate citizens and rebound, and give millions a sense of the community’s pride and sports reputation.
The big events begin this weekend, July 20, with the first of two weekends of the Rocky Mountain State Games, followed by the gala Olympic Downtown Celebration on July 27, the second week of the State Games, July 27-29, Race Week for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, August 7-12, and the prestigious Stage 5 of the USA Pro Challenge on August 24, with millions of viewers around the world for the cycling spectacular.