Pikes Peak Int'l Hill Climb news 2009-06-26

Doug Mockett And His 1954 Oldsmobile Super88 Back On Pikes Peak In Vintage Race Car Field To Defend Title At The 87th Race To The Clouds on July 19 Colorado Springs, June 26-----Fans at the 2009 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on...

Doug Mockett And His 1954 Oldsmobile Super88 Back On Pikes Peak In Vintage Race Car Field To Defend Title At The 87th Race To The Clouds on July 19

Colorado Springs, June 26-----Fans at the 2009 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on July 19 can enjoy a sort of "Time Travel" experience again this summer when they watch the entries in the Vintage Race Car field.

Defending champ Doug Mockett of Chistiansed, St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands is set to seek another title with his co-driver, Angelica Fuentes, and they'll be aboard their 1954 Oldsmobile Super 88 again. They won it all last year on the Hill with a clocking of 14:26.034 to nudge out runnerup Keith Davidson of Golden, Colorado, in his 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint, also coming back to race again.

The Vintage drivers will be at the wheel of autos including 1965, 1966 and 1968 Ford Mustangs, a 1952 DeSoto, a 1955 Chevy Corvette and a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda.

Mockett was a rookie on the Hill last summer when he won the crown, but he's had decades of experience across the globe. In 2002 he won the fabled Carrera Panamericana, viewed by experts as perhaps the most dangerous race in the world.

He began his career in road racing in 1961-62 as a crewman for late Road Racing Drivers Club President Mark Donohue, and then went into racing broadcasting before becoming a promoter of motorcycle races. He has been a successful racer of Vintage cars from New Zealand to Monaco to the Monterey Historics, provides his stable of vintage Formula One cars to young American drivers to showcase their skills to a new audience of potential sponsors, and has been a significant supporter of the development of young American road racers.

Raised in Short Hills, New Jersey (25 miles west of New York City), he attended his first race at nine years old, when his father took him to a race at a board track. "I couldn't believe it, it was just out of sight. It was unreal. They were racing midgets and what you would call jalopies." In his teens and twenties, Mockett helped out local amateur racers, one of whom was Donohue. "Mark Donohue grew up in the town next to mine. I crewed for him over a couple of seasons in SCCA and really got into it. We had a great time, obviously. He was just a real character. Really great. Just a good guy."

Mockett obtained his BA in English from Hobart College in Geneva, New York -- conveniently on the other side of Lake Seneca from Watkins Glen. Hitchhiking down Route 14, Mockett saw his first race at the legendary track in the Fall of 1958. "Joe Bonnier won in a Maserati 250F and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. It was just unbelievable. It was a Formula Libre race, so mainly, it was a run what you brung. I remember he had a big dice with Peter Ryan from Canada, who was driving a sports car of some sort. But Bonnier was clearly the class of the field."

Growing restless in the Spring of 1968, while he was finishing up his MBA at N.Y.U. and doing advertising and public relations for a brokerage house on Wall Street, Mockett decided to take time off. His two choices were sailing the Caribbean or attending all the Grand Prix races that season. "One night after a few beers, I flipped a coin and the Grand Prix races came up. I've often looked back and wondered what would have happened if the sailing had come up."

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is America's second-oldest motor sports race behind the Indianapolis 500, conducted since 1916. The race is run on a 12.42 mile course that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,110-foot summit of America's Mountain.

This year's race has 11 divisions and classes and features a variety of automotive, semi truck, exhibition, open wheel, super stock car, pro truck and motorcycle competition with a field already approaching 200 competitors.

The event's popular "Fan Fest," on Friday, July 17, presented by Budweiser on Tejon, Bijou and Platte in Downtown Colorado Springs, will include seven blocks of entertainment from 5:00-10:00 p.m. for the public to enjoy.

On the scene will be the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales, a chance to meet the drivers and racers, view their cars and motorcycles, music with live local bands, a Firefighters Chili Cook-Off, food and refreshments, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb's Mobile Museum, a merchandise and race ticket booth, displays of custom cars and motorcycles, and stuff for kids like Freestyle Motocross Jumping exhibitions.

-credit: ppihc

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Series Hillclimb
Drivers Doug Mockett , Mark Donohue , Keith Davidson