by Ralph Routon
Organizers of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb decided Tuesday afternoon to run the 90th Race to the Clouds on Sunday, Aug. 12.
The 12.42-mile event had been initially set for this Sunday, July 8, but was postponed due to the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Hill Climb officials considered several alternatives for rescheduling the race, and the PPIHC board went with Aug. 12, with the race-week activities starting on Tuesday, Aug. 7.
Almost all of the drivers and teams have indicated to the Hill Climb that they will be here for that week.
Here's the full release, just sent out by PPIHC officials:
90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Set To Go On Sunday, August 12, After Postponement Connected To Waldo Canyon Fire
The venerable Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, launched in 1916 and an important part of Colorado sports history, has been re-scheduled for Sunday, August 12, barring any further threats to safety.
The legendary race, originally scheduled for July 8, was postponed last week in the midst of the epic Waldo Canyon fire that forced 32,000 people from their homes around Colorado Springs, brought the destruction of close to 350 homes, and delivered an impact within the Pikes Peak Region in historic fashion with its tragic force. It is now called the most destructive fire in the state’s history.
“With the help and support of the City of Colorado Springs, the U.S. Forest Service, Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, and the numerous agencies dedicated to the safety of the public and the competitors, we are thrilled to be able to make this announcement,” said Tom Osborne, Chairman of the PPIHC and President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation after a unanimous vote of the PPIHC Board at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon. “America’s Mountain and Colorado Springs are ready to welcome everyone to the nation’s second-oldest motor sports event.”
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, who has been on point for the city’s efforts this week on behalf of the massive response and strategic action, said “The City of Colorado Springs is thrilled that the 90th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is back on track. We are committed to dedicate the needed resources to make this year’s Hill Climb the best ever. As we have said throughout this community crisis – Colorado Springs is open for business!”
Osborne and his staff have spent the last few days reaching out to the 211 drivers and racers and their crews to determine their availability for the August 12, as well as local hotel partners, the Pikes Peak International Raceway, the Downtown Development Authority and the important agencies that are required to support the event and the busy Race Week schedule of events, August 7-12.
“The response by the competitors has been tremendously positive, and the drivers and racers have been sensitive and compassionate toward our residents and their struggles and loss,” said Osborne. “We will have the majority of the registered competitors here for the event and have positive responses from Nobuhiro Tajima, Jean-Phillipe Dayraut, Romain Dumas, Clint Vahsholtz, Paul Dallenbach, Dave Carapetyan, David Donner, Greg Tracy, and Carlin Dunne, but we will lose some to scheduling conflicts. In fact, many of the drivers and racers have indicated their desire to establish a fund to benefit those agencies that have battled the horrendous fire and now support our ability to stage the race.”
Osborne indicated the this special fund will be established quickly to permit donations from the drivers and racers, their sponsors, and the public that will provide support and sincere gratitude to the men and women of the firefighting agencies who have stepped to the front when their help was most needed. Details will be revealed soon.
The legendary race’s list of champions over the years includes Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, Al Unser, Al Rogers, Rod Millen, Parnelli Jones, Leonard Vahsholtz, Roger Mears, and Eddie Mulder.
Competitors from 15 nations are scheduled to tackle the challenging, fully-paved 12.42 mile course to the summit of the peak - Luxembourg, Russia, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Sweden, Scotland, Italy, Canada, the Czech Republic and the United States.
Barring conflicts, drivers and racers could be on the Peak from 25 states, including 89 from Colorado, 26 from California, 15 from Texas, even a pair from Vermont.
The revised Race Week will include Technical Inspection, practices, Media day, and the downtown Fan Fest on Friday, August 10.
Tickets previously purchased for the event that was scheduled for July 8 will be honored, but no general refunds will be made. Previous ticket purchasers will also have the option of donating their tickets to the special support fund.