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Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 2012 – a round-up of the winners


August 30, 2012

Fumio Nutahara set a record time among electric vehicles

Fumio Nutahara set a record time among electric vehicles

Image Gallery (33 images)

For a few days each summer, the esteemed, placid hunk of Colorado rock known as Pikes Peak transforms into a dirt- and exhaust-enshrouded scene of motor-powered mayhem. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb challenges vehicles of all sizes, shapes and makes to tackle thin mountain air, nearly 5,000 vertical feet (1,524 meters) of ascent, and more than 150 turns and corners.

This year, a weekend packed with high-stakes drama began with drama of the highest order. The event was delayed by more than a month due to a massive wildfire that ravaged thousands of acres of national forest and hundreds of homes around Colorado Springs.

The massive Waldo Canyon Fire pushed the Pikes Peak event back by more than a month

When race day finally did roll around on August 12, a wicked weather pattern hammered the mountain with wind, rain, hail, snow and near-freezing temperatures, requiring a shortened course for some of the events. But nothing stopped this year's pack from making it the fastest Pikes Peak hill climb since the race's inception in 1916. Thanks to the fact that the 12.42-mile (20-km) course was fully paved for the first time in history, a total of 11 records were set during the festivities.

Two wheels, under ten minutes

Ducati rider Carlis Dunne set the fastest time for a motorcycle (Photo: Scott Paine)

Ducati's Carlin Dunne laid claim to the fastest time ever on the mountain by a motorcycle. He won the 1205cc division with a 9-minute 52.819-second time, blowing away the 11:11.329 record he set last year. Dunne's time headlined records across nearly every motorcycle division.

Romain Dumas sets (short-lived) world record

Romain Dumas set a world record in the Pikes Peak Open division (Photo: Paat Kelly)

The 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Romain Dumas powered his Porsche 997 GTR-3 to a world record time of 9 minutes 46.181 seconds.

Rhys Millen tops Dumas and brings the record back home

Thanks in part to some new asphalt, Rhys Millen set a new Pikes Peak record

As sweet as Dumas' record was, he didn't get to savor it for too long. The ink had barely dried on the first reports of the new record, when Red Bull driver Rhys Millen piloted his 700-hp Hyundai Genesis Coupe to a time of 9:46.164, shaving just milliseconds off of Dumas' time. Rhys' father Rod had held the record until 2007, and Rhys brought it back to the family with style.

No seven-peat for Monster

Nobuhiro Tajima didn't repeat past successes this year (Photo: Paat Kelly)

Japan's Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima had won the Pikes Peak Unlimited division six straight times going into the 2012 event, so expectations were naturally high. After breaking the ten-minute barrier last year, Tajima decided to do things a little differently, competing in the Electric division. He was taken out of the race early on by a car fire in his all-new Monster Sport E-Runner Pikes Peak Special electric race car. He probably didn't have any room on his trophy shelf, anyway.

"I will be back next year. Watch out for me!" Tajima said in a statement.

Electrics make a little noise

Nutahara's official time was 10 minutes 15.380 seconds

The main focus may have been exhaust-coughing engines, but Fumio Nutahara made sure to tilt the spotlight toward the electric pack. He set the record for electric vehicles with a 10:15.380 time in his Toyota Motorsport EV P002.

Crash at Devil's Playground

A screenshot from the video of Jeremy Foley's crash

The event wasn't all roses and records. One of the stories that crossed the threshold between auto news and general interest news was Jeremy Foley's horrifying crash. Foley and his co-driver skidded off course at the Devil's Playground section and tumbled violently down the adjacent rocky hill. They were taken to a local hospital, and news reports at the time indicated that they were shaken but OK.

A full list of division winners, times and records follows, and our photo gallery has more highlights.

Time Attack: Rhys Millen, Huntington Beach, CA – 9:46.164 (Course record)

Pikes Peak Open: Romain Dumas, Basel, Switzerland – 9:46.181 (New Record)

Open Wheel: Spencer Steele, Denver, CO – 4:13.240 (course shortened due to weather)

Super Stock Car (Modified): Layne Schranz , Birmingham, AL – 4:21.290 (course shortened due to weather)

Super Stock Car: Clint Vahsholtz, Woodland Park, CO – 4:36.870 (course shortened due to weather)

Vintage Auto RMVR: Jess Neal, Colorado Springs, CO – 12:03.858 (New RMVR Record)

Unlimited: David Donner, Colorado Springs – 10:04.652

Electric Auto: Fumio Nutahara, Hokkaido, Japan – 10:15.380 (New Record)

Exhibition: Rick Knoop, Laguna Beach, CA – 10:56.240

Motorcycle Classes

250cc: Jason Archuleta, Colorado Springs, CO – 11:41.015 (New Record)

450cc: Travis Newbold, Montrose, CO – 11:06.618 (New Record)

750cc: Gary Trachy, Orange, CA – 10:40.753 (New Record)

1205cc: Carlin Dunne, Santa Barbara, CA – 9:52.819 (New Motorcycle Course Record)

Quad Modified: Steve Tutt, Platte City, MO – 11:40.521 (New Record)

Sidecar: John-Thomas Wood, Victorville, CA – 11:41.406 (New Record)

Vintage: Marc LaNoue, Houston, TX – 12:39.782 (New Record)

Exhibition Powersport: Doug Siddens, Austin, TX – 10:40.669

Source: Photos

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
1 Comment

So now that the course is fully sealed how long before we see the detuned former F1 cars on it? If the fastest bike was 9:52.819 and the fastest car was 9:46.164, it shows that the bikes without any down force aren't that far behind the cars with wings. On anther note I guess the electric vehicles don't need to worry about the thinning air, so potentially this could be faster in the next few years?

6th September, 2012 @ 02:25 am PDT
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