Ducati News

Aug
13

Pikes Peak – Race Day. Living on the edge.

Posted by Vicki Smith on August 13th, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Greg Tracy takes the start of his then, record run.

Ducati Girls. Not disruptive in the least.

There’s a quote that goes  ”I like living on the edge. It’s less crowded and the view is better”  Nowhere is that more fitting than the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.  While riding up to the summit I decide that the difference between this event and the Isle of Man TT is that this race requires a level of commitment that the IOM does not. There is no run off, no room for error and even if you give yourself a wide margin , the mountain might take even that, by adding rain or snow or oil from a blown motor. If it goes wrong, and it did seven times on Sunday, the view changes dramatically.  But get it right, you become King (or Queen) of the Mountain and you are literally, on top of the world. The Ducati’s got it right and it was something to see. They broke the previous track record by so much that for the majority of the day no car could touch them and it looked like a motorcycle might be the overall King of the Mountain for the first time in history. At the last minute Rhys Millen stuck a run in his “Time Attack” class entry and made the top of the board, but notice had been served and respect, the coin of the realm here, was offered up freely.  Here, all that matters is how fast you go. The Ducati’s were fast indeed.

Yesterday Pikes Peak was at it’s toughest. It threw all it had at the 90th event and then some. When was the last time you heard of an event in August requiring a snow plow? The conditions became so treacherous that the course was cut down by roughly a third so that they could continue to compete. Not racing here is not an option. Not for the event, not for the entrants.  I watched a young woman with a fire suit tied around her waist, on her knees, working with a crew member to hand groove her tires so she could make her run on the ice and hail that she was told she might encounter.  And coming down after you make your run?  Not an option either. All racers wait together, regardless of if you ran at 10 am or 5pm, at the summit, breathing 40% less oxygen than you get at sea level, while the temp drops to sub 30 degrees. When the last car runs, all the racers descend together and the crews and fans wait in the pits at the bottom of the mountain to cheer and hand slap and fist bump each and every entrant as they drive thru the pits. The last two hours of yesterday’s race, the longest Pikes Peak ever, it snowed at the peak and it took a snow plow to get them all down, many on slicks, exhausted and woozy from the altitude sickness that just about everybody gets that spends anytime at 14,000+ feet.

Carlin Dunne. King of the Mountain.

The Ducati crew, fans and staff waited too. Carlin and Greg had earned a party and as daylight turned to dark and they finally remounted their Multistrada 1200′s and made their way back to friends and family that’s just what they got.  I hope they weren’t to tired to enjoy it……