Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Race Day
It’s the big day and we’re excited and nervous. We only get one shot at this and anything can happen. In 12.5 miles, 156 turns, and a 5000 vertical foot climb, there is a lot that can go wrong, not the least of which involves bike and rider tumbling down the mountain. But even something as trivial as snapping a belt can end this race before Jeff reaches the top. It was a particularly early morning, even by PPIHC standards, as we approached the campsite that serves as our pit area for the day. The uneven dirt ground makes it particularly challenging to setup but we have plenty of time before the race. About an hour before race time, we start staging the bike on the street, throw on the tire warmers and place the bike on the stand. At this point there is a small procession of bikes lining up towards the start line as the weekend comes to its climax with riders start making their final runs towards the top. We carefully roll the bike a few feet at a time as we balance it on its swingarm and fork stand to keep the tire warmers active. Finally it’s Jeff’s turn and we’re surprisingly calm and he speeds off the start line. I head over to the timing center to watch his progress up the mountain. His section 1 time is the fastest of all the motorcycles so far, even besting that of veteran TT racer Guy Martin on his Turbocharged Liter Bike! The rest of his section times were respectable, and in the end, Jeff finished with a time of 11:59 beating out last year’s time but just over one second. This was not exactly the result we were hoping for but at least it was satisfying to know that we were faster than last year. It was also very exciting to see that we were able to finish the race at full power without hitting any thermal cutbacks. It is a bit frustrating to have spent so much time advancing the technology in the bike and ultimately what held us back was a simple but essential detail, the gearing of the bike was set too high. We noticed in earlier practice sessions, we were rarely hitting top speed but thought the added top end would give us more of an advantage than the higher torque. But this is why we race, so that we can learn from experience and go faster next time! Huge thanks to our team who came out to support us! We’re looking forward to returning next year!