Pikes Peak preparations underway

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The road to the 2001 Adelphia Pikes Peak International Hill Climb begins today and the Hill Climb staff is working to make this historic and prestigious event more attractive and dynamic for everyone. With the New...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The road to the 2001 Adelphia Pikes Peak International Hill Climb begins today and the Hill Climb staff is working to make this historic and prestigious event more attractive and dynamic for everyone.

With the New Year come exciting new challenges and several positive changes for the Race to the Clouds.

Topping the list of changes is our race date. The green flag for the 2001 race will fly on Saturday, June 30th. Traditionally, the race has been held on July 4th. But conflicts with the national holiday made the event increasingly more difficult to run. Race officials believe that attendance will increase and planning and execution burdens will be eased with the new weekend race day. The date change is for 2001 only, but the race may continue to run on the Saturday preceding July 3rd of each year if race officials determine the move to be successful.

Race week is scheduled to begin June 24th with the 2001 Kickoff Celebration and Technical Inspection at the Citadel Mall. Three days of Hill Climb practice begin on June 25th. Cars and trucks will qualify and motorcycles - including quads and sidecars - will practice on June 28th. Motorcycles qualify on June 29th.

The Adelphia Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has always enjoyed worldwide popularity. That support will continue thanks to a new agreement with ESPN. For the next four years, the Race to the Clouds will be broadcast in the U.S. and at least 56 other countries. Three separate shows - one for cars and trucks, one for the Class 8 Big Rigs and a third for motorcycles, quads and sidecars - from each race will be produced and broadcast at least three times each. All of the shows will be telecast on ESPN2 and other ESPN entities with Marty Reid scheduled to call the action.

DIVISIONS CONSOLIDATED: In a move that will enhance competition in the Race to the Clouds, officials have announced that the Sprint and Open-Wheel divisions and the Super Stock Truck and High-Tech Truck and SUV classes will be merged to form two divisions.

This year, the Sprint cars will run in the Open-Wheel division and the two truck classes will become the Super Truck and SUV division.

The move was made to improve the competitive level of the race and to reduce the number of divisions that run in the Race to the Clouds. As in the past, trophies in the Super Truck and SUV division will be awarded to two-wheel and four-wheel-drive winners.

The Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb and Educational Museum is going mobile and design work for the new museum on wheels is under consideration. Plans call for the new museum to have a modern look, including videos, a car for visitors to view and sit in and a Sony PlayStation featuring the Hill Climb game. Race artifacts from years gone by will also be displayed.

The old museum at 135 Manitou Ave. has been closed and the Hill Climb organization has sold the property. The new mobile museum will cost significantly less to maintain, but will have the ability to reach more people. About 10,000 people, mostly tourists, visited the old museum each year. That number will increase exponentially with the new museum's mobile ability and free admittance.

For the first time, the museum can be transported to the race and related activities such as tech inspection. It can also visit schools and community events. Plans call for the new museum to make its debut in June.

Several of the cars and motorcycles from the old museum have been distributed to locations in and around Colorado Springs. One of the oldest and most famous autos ever to race on Pikes Peak, the 1922 Ford driven to an upset victory by Noel Bullock, is displayed at the Carriage Museum, 16 Lake Circle, in the Broadmoor. Two race vehicles, a Chevrolet Super Stock Truck driven by Clive Smith and a 1980s Open-Wheel car which belonged to the Donner family, are now on display at the Pikes Peak Summit House where they will be seen by more than 250,000 people a year.

The 2001 Official Rule Book has been printed and will be mailed along with applications for invitation to compete in the race. Anyone interested in competing in the Race to the Clouds can request a Rule Book and entry information by calling Susan Elliott, director of race operations, at (719) 685-4400, ext. 13.

The official web site of the Adelphia Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, PPIHC.com, is scheduled to undergo a complete redesign over the next few months. The site is expected to be online by April 1 with updated race information, h istoric highlights, race records, past winners, a photo gallery of current and former drivers, ticket information, race-day tips for fans, race memorabilia and merchandise for sale and much more.

-AHC

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