Jun 26, 2014 10:00 AM by Jordan Mason
When the flag is dropped at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning at the Start Line for the The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, located at 9,390 feet, there will be a flood of varying emotions among the drivers and riders in the 2014 field of 135 entries.
This will be the 92nd Running of the world's most famous hill climb, and America's second oldest motor sports event behind the Indianapolis 500, which kicked off in 1911, five years before Spencer Penrose staged the inaugural Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 1916.
On Sunday, there will be 42 rookies spread among the field of 70 autos and 65 motorcycles, and some of them might be wondering what they have taken on.
While fans are still buzzing about Sebastien Loeb's astounding record of 8:13.878 in winning the Unlimited Division in a specially built Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak last year, there's plenty of new cars and bikes and talented drivers and racers to make Sunday's Race To The Clouds memorable and thrilling.
There is no shortage of talent in this loaded lineup to be sure, with returning champions Nobuhiro Tajima, Clint Vahsholtz, Paul Dallenbach, Randy Schranz, Jeff Clark, Bruno Langlois, Michael Henao and Codie Vahsholtz.
Randy Schrantz will be making his 40th straight appearance on the Peak after winning a bout with cancer this year, and is going for his 11th title. He'll race in the Pikes Peak Challenge-Pikes Peak Open Division, which he won last year.
The cast of competitors also includes some who are among the fastest in history on America's Mountain, like Greg Tracy (9:58.262 in the 2012 Pikes Peak 1205 Motorcycle Division.) He moved over last year to run in the Electric Auto Division after winning six motorcycle crowns; Spencer Steele (9:57.513 in the 2013 Unlimited Division); England's Mark Rennison (9:46.634 in the 2013 Unlimited Division); and Romain Dumas of France (9:46.181 in the 2012 Pikes Peak Open & Rookie of the Year.)
Returning to the Peak this year is the first woman to capture a title by herself in the automobile division since Michelle Mouton of France won the Unlimited Division in 1984 and 1985 in an Audi Sport Quattro.
Brianne Corn of San Marcos, Texas, won the Time Attack 4WD Division in 2011, driving a 2005 Subaru STI. The other female driver in the auto field is veteran Lorie Wood of Woodland Park, Colorado, who has raced for 20 years in the event.
A lot of attention will be on Romain Dumas of France, who won the 2012 Pikes Peak Open Division with a blazing time of 9:46.181. He also won the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans in an Audi R15 TDI.
Dumas is entered in the Unlimited Division this time, driving a 2013 Norma M20 RD Limited that underwent a long series of tests in France before being shipped to the United States.
Dallenbach (Basalt, Colorado), who has raced at Pikes Peak 20 times since 1989 will be a favorite in the Pikes Peak Challenge-Open Wheel Division which he has won six times. He'll be facing Spencer Steele of Denver, who has won the same division three times.
Both drivers have cracked the ten-minute mark, Dallenbach (9:46.001) in winning the combined Time Attack crown in 2013 in a Hyundai Genesis Coupe and Steele (9:57.513) in last year's Unlimited Division, driving a 2013 PVA.
Dallenbach will be behind the wheel of a 2008 PVA 3, and Steele will drive a 1994 PVA Special in what is a loaded field that includes Clint Vahsholtz (Woodland Park, Colorado) driving a 2013 Ford Open after winning the Division last year. Vahsholtz has an amazing record on the Peak, winning the Super Stock Car Division 16 times, including 11 straight from 1996 to 2006.
Tajima, again in the Electric Modified Car Division, won the Division last year with a record time of 9:46.530, but he will face Japan's Ikuo Hanawa, who won the division in 2010 and 2011, and veteran Greg Tracy and Japan's Masuoka Hiroshi, both driving sleek new Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III models. Tracy won motorcycle crowns six times and is one of only two motorcycle riders to break the ten-minute mark with his 9:58.262 in the 2012 Pikes Peak 1205 Division.
Tajima made a name for himself ("Monster") by winning the Unlimited Division nine times, including six straight from 2006-2011. He became the first competitor to break the elusive ten-minute mark in 2011 when he roared to a time of 9:51.278.
In the motorcycle field, a tremendous amount of attention is being focused on England's Guy Martin in the Pikes Peak Challenge- UTV Exhibition Powersport Division. Martin is a superstar in Europe based on his great success in the Isle of Man TT Races.
He's coming to Pikes Peak for one stated reason only, to break the Peak's motorcycle speed record. The Peak motorcycle record was set in 2012 by Carlin Dunne in the 1205 Pro Division with a clocking of 9:52.819 on a Ducati Multistrada. Martin will go after the record on a 2014 Martek Custom bike that he built for himself.
23-year-old Codie Vahsholtz will represent the famous family in the motorcycle Pikes Peak Lightweight Division. He captured last year's 250 Pro title and will pilot a 2005 KTM SMR model this year.
Bruno Langlois of France is entered in the Pikes Peak Open Division, coming off his 2013 victory in the 1205 Pro Class. He'll face strong competition from Micky Dymond (Santa Rosa, California), who won the 750 Pro Division in 2005 and Rookie of the Year honors. Langlois will be aboard a 2013 Ducati Panigale and Dymond has selected a 2014 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Pikes Peak S.
After 12.42 miles and 156 turns on a fully-paved course, there's going to be a lot of action and thrills at the Summit of America's Mountain, where the finish line is located at 14,115 feet.