Pikes Peak Cloud Racers
Intense speed, fatal drops and complete commitment – Pikes Peak is America’s TT
he Pikes Peak International Hill Climb celebrated its 100th birthday last weekend with a field of entrants that the pioneers of the event could barely have imagined. The race snakes up a single road over 12.42 miles of tarmac to the summit of Pikes Peak, some 14,115ft above sea level. And once a year, a bunch of hill-climb addicts pit themselves and their motorcycles, sidecars, quads, cars and trucks in the Race to the Clouds. It’s America’s version of our TT – except they have cliff edges, altitude sickness, snow, and bears to contend with!
As of 2011, the race got faster too. The surface used to be part dirt – part road, but due to the tens of thousands of cars driving the public road to the summit every year, the state was forced to coat the whole lot in tarmac. In total it’s 156 blood curdling bends, each one boasting a higher drop than the last. Sounds like fun.
Winner: Bruno Langlois, Kawasaki Z1000
Bruno Langlois blitzed the Heavyweight division with a time of 10m 13.106s, averaging 70.461mph – making the Frenchman King of the Mountain on his Kawasaki Z1000.
Second place: Don Canet, Victory Empulse RR
Sliding off the road on an oil spill couldn’t stop the American from scooping the Electric Bike class and second overall with a time of 10m 17.813s. He said : “I slithered across an oil stain at the apex, and in a heart-stopping moment I ran out of road and was off on the dirt at high speed.”
Third place: Jeremy Toye, Victory Project 156
Jeremy Toye won the Exhibition Powersports Class on the second outing for Victory’s Project 156, posting a time of 10m 19.777s – only two seconds slower than the Empulse RR piloted by last year’s Project 156 rider, Canet. The performance also bagged him third place on the overall standings.
Fourth place: Rennie Scaysbrook, KTM 1290 Super Duke R
Aussie rookie Rennie Scaysbrook managed an impressive fourth place overall, and second in class in the Heavyweight division aboard a KTM 1290 Super Duke R. “This is easily the most intimidating place I’ve ridden a motorcycle,” says Scaysbrook. “But as the miles progress, the more the mountain and I are gaining an understanding. This mountain demands respect.”
Words: Andy Davidson Photos: Dan Tye