Pikes Peak International Hill Climb: How Has the Race Changed Since 1916?
The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb got its start in 1916, but how has it changed over the years?
Bahakel Sports, a division of Alabama News Network’s parent company, is bringing you live coverage of this year’s 100th running of “The Race to the Clouds.” This event has only missed a few years due to war.
Bahakel Sports’ Anna Kooiman is in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to find out how the race has evolved and what continues to make it so special to the drivers and the fans.
One person who’s seen the race up close — as a passenger — is Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.
“My biggest impression, all I saw was blue sky because you are going up a straightaway and you see the blue sky. Thank goodness that driver has memorized that course because the turns come so quickly. We were going 115 miles on the straightaways and all you see is blue skies,” Suthers said.
The race is a time trial, with drivers starting one at a time on the course that’s more than 12 miles, with 156 turns and a finish line that’s more than 14,000 feet above sea level.
It’s thrilling for the drivers and a memory-maker for families who wouldn’t miss it over the decades.
“An iconic dirt race that was world famous. Still is world famous, but now we got asphalt. So the cars have gotten lower, faster, the aerodynamics of the cars have changed They are racing on different tires now. They were running on treaded tires and now they run almost exclusively on slicks,” Pikes Peak International Hill Climb board member Bob Gilles said.
“They did away with the motorcycle division a couple years ago because there was a disproportionate number of people that died. If you go over the side in a motorcycle your chances of surviving are very slim,”” Mayor Suthers said.
Seven drivers have lost their lives, and that’s one reason the race continues to evolve.
Although historically on race day, spectators were able to get closer and now they are pushed back with barricades, at Fan Fest, you can get up so close to the cars, you can even touch them.
Watch the 100th running of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday, June 26, at 8AM CDT on Bahakelsports.com.