Pikes Peak qualifying report

Durelle sets record in 500 Pro, Parr above par in Falken Tire Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Motorcycle/Quad/Sidecar qualifying. COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- It was a quick day on Pikes Peak. The top four qualifiers in the 500 Pro division ...

Durelle sets record in 500 Pro, Parr above par in Falken Tire Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Motorcycle/Quad/Sidecar qualifying.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- It was a quick day on Pikes Peak. The top four qualifiers in the 500 Pro division broke the existing qualifying record of 5:50.47 set in 1999 by Greg Chicoine during Friday's motorcycle, quad and sidecar practice for the Falken Tire Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

This time Chicoine - a four-time 500 Pro champion - riding a 1999 Kawasaki, smashed his record with a 5:35.76 ride, on the 5.5-mile stretch from the starting line to Glen Cove. But that was only second-quickest on the day.

Four-time motorcycle title winner (two in 750 Pro, two in Open Pro) Davey Durelle of Fountain, who qualified in the same heat as Chicoine, passed him late in the run to post the top run of 5:34.55 on his Suzuki.

"I got by him at the finish line, but not by much," Durelle said.

Durelle said he moved from 750 to 500 because of the better competition between manufacturers and riders in 500.

"I had it easy the last couple of years," Durelle said. "Brian Anderson and I have battled but I have carried some more speed. Now I've got to fight it out with three other guys."

Greg Tracy, of Long Beach, Calif., runner-up to Tracy the last two years in 500 Pro, riding a 2001 Honda, was third-fastest with a 5:37.05, while Anders Jansson, of Furuvik, Sweden, riding a 1997 Honda, was fourth quickest posting a 5:43.20.

Both Chicoine and Durelle believe that the close competition might not lead to record runs in the race.

"It really forces you to race more on reaction," said Chicoine of Jefferson South Dakota. "It pushes you closer to your limit. I think it's going to push all of us to our limits. When you push so hard you're not as smooth and you make more mistakes."

Chicoine and most of the other motorcycle riders seemed to like the pavement on the first-mile of the 12.42-mile course.

"The pavement is really, really fast," Chicoine said. "I haven't found the limit yet, but the scary thing is, I think once you find that limit, you'll be on your head. You have to get up to that edge, but not over it."

SIDECARS: The Whitney Brothers, driver Pete and passenger Scott, cruised to the top qualifying time in Sidecars with a 6:19.86 effort on their custom-built 2000 EML.

This year, two more Whitney's are competing on the mountain. Father of the clan Ralph (driver), and youngest brother Eric (passenger), were second-fastest with a 6:41.59 on a 1998 Harley Davidson.

Anders Nilsson and new passenger Magnus Ericksson said mechanical problems slowed them to a 7:21.70 qualifying time in their 1992 Saab Viggen Suzuki. Ericksson replaces Tom Grindberg, who rode as passenger with Nilsson in 2001, and in their championship year of 2000.

"If either me or Nilsson makes a mistake, dad will be right in there," Pete said. "Age hasn't slowed him."

250 PRO: Gary Trachy of Orange, Calif., piloted his 2002 Honda to a near record run of 5:49.92, just .92 off the record set by the late Don Bruner in 1999.

PRO QUAD: Bobby "Lonestar" Parr, riding a 2002 Lightweight Lone Star, set the qualifying record with a 5:22.77 effort that shaved almost two seconds off the old record of 5:24.58 set by Darin Reutter in 1999.

John "Crash" Stallworth of Andover, Kansas was second quickest with a 5:29.20 ride on his 2001 Yamaha. Stallworth won the now-defunct Super Quad class in 1997 and 1998.

During practice runs, Matt Lee of Tulsa, Okla., crashed on the turn above the Halfway Picnic Area. Parr and Colorado Springs' Rick Ambrosino cut short their practice runs to tend to Lee.

"You have to stop," said Ambrosino, who qualified fifth fastest with a 5:45.26 in is 2002 Yamaha. He is also president of the Colorado Hill Climb Association.

Ambrosino said it appeared that Lee went sideways off the corner, slid in the ditch, flipped over the handlebars and had the quad land on top of him.

Lee was taken to Memorial Hospital as a precaution and released Friday afternoon.

750 PRO: Don Wilson, riding a 1999 Rotax, beat the field with a 5:44.39 effort.

VINTAGE: Steve Poggi, of Alameda, Calif., riding a 1971 Yamaha was fastest with a 6:24.16.

-hhihc-

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Series HILLCLIMB