Colorado’s Race

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This article was originally published in Issue 8 of EuroBerge and has been converted into a post on the site for your enjoyment. It was originally published on July 15th, 2010.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb celebrated its 88th running this summer, making it America’s second oldest race. The climb boasts 156 turns all packed into a 12.42 mile course. Amazingly the record time for the race is 10:01.41held by Nobuhiro (Monster) Tajima; that’s an incredible average of 80MPH!  Many expected the infamous 10 minute barrier to be broken during this years running of the hill club, but sadly Tajima finished in 10:11.5. With plans to pave the road to the summit the climb will certainly be seeing many changes in the upcoming years. After the beautiful scenery from the mountain the next thing you notice when start to look around is the diversity of the fans. Some have Jeff Gordon #24 lawn chairs and others sit in their euro hatchbacks awaiting the beginning of the race.  The race is really is a place for all petrol heads of all preferences to meet and enjoy automotive history in the making.  With 22 different classes ranging motorcycles to semi trucks, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone.

This year the historic race was taken on by 16 year old Savannah Rickli of Littleton. Over the past several years Savannah’s racing experience has been quickly growing. She first became involved in the world of motoring with a 1995 Margay Chassis  cart racer powered by a Briggs & Stratton 5-horsepower engine at the age of 11 and has since won two junior championships. In 2010 she teamed up with the SCR race team to take on SCCA and many other racing events including the PPIHC.

With months of preparation and a MINI Cooper S put together with support from MINI of Loveland, SCR Performance and Built-By-Bones, She took on the Pikes Peak Hll Climb. The climb is no simple task; drivers race towards the summit with 156 turns and many fast straights to worry about. That’s not even the real challenge; there’s the sheer altitude of the race, which begins at 9,390 feet and is finished at the 14,110 summit. The cars and the drivers face fatigue and many adverse conditions on the course due to the lack of oxygen and sometimes-arctic conditions. Nevertheless, with Navigator Rebecca Greek in the passenger seat the two ladies completed the course in a time of 13:58 and finished 3rd in their class. Savannah was awarded the rookie of the year for the 88th running of the hill climb.  In Rickli’s words; “We were ecstatic with our finish. Finishing Pikes Peak was such a personal victory for me, and it was very exciting to be the youngest female competitor and the youngest driver to ever finish the race”. Completing Pikes Peak Hill Climb is an impressive feat at any level. And to be setting world records at an age of 16, Savannah is certainly a driver to keep an eye out for in the future. Savannah will be finishing out the season working on a National Competition License so that she can once again take her racing to another level.