The field for the 99th running of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo, is shaping up, with old favorites and new headliners primed to return to America’s Mountain in 2021.
The 99th running, scheduled June 27, will feature drivers from nine countries and 18 states, and invitations have been extended to more than 65 competitors, according to an early release obtained by The Gazette.
Codie Vahsholtz, a three-time motorcycle division winner and son of the 98th King of the Mountain and local legend Clint Vahsholtz, will compete for the first time on four wheels in 2021. He will join the Open Wheel division and plans to pilot the Vahsholtz 2013 Ford Open, which won the race with Clint behind the wheel in 2020 with a time of 9 minutes, 35.49 seconds.
The Hill Climb will not feature a motorcycle division for the second year in a row after the death of Ducati racer Carlin Dunne in 2019. The board of directors announced in September that they will be postponing the decision of whether or not to include motorcycle competition until after the 2021 race.
Former champion Robin Shute, of Norfolk, England, will return and attempt to win back his title as King of the Mountain in his Wolf GB08 TSC. He missed last year’s race due to travel restrictions and the pandemic. Shute won the 2019 title in the Unlimited division in 9:12.476. Former champion Paul Dallenbach, of Basalt, will also return in the Open Wheel division. Dallenbach placed second last year in his 2006 PVA-03 Dallenbach Special with a 9:36.181.
Two of the most memorable cars from 2020 will also return to the 99th running. Scott Birdsall and Old Smokey, a show-stopping 1949 Ford F1, will attempt to break their 2020 diesel record of 11:24.065. And last year’s Rookie of the Year, Kathryn Mead of Austin, Texas, who raced a beautiful turquoise 019 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, will also return after her third-place finish in the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy By Yokohama division (11:37.219).
“When I crossed the line it was the most euphoric I’ve ever felt in my whole life. It was the hardest but coolest thing I’d ever done,” said Mead, an astrophysics professor turned racecar driver.
Randy Pobst of Gainesville, Ga., will return to the Exhibition division in a 2020 Tesla Model 3. Last year Pobst crashed during a practice run, and had a triumphant return after his crew worked around the clock to repair his 2020 Tesla Model 3. He placed second in the Exhibition division with an 11:04.131.
Though she is not new to the course on Pikes Peak, Laura Hayes of Inman, S.C., will race in the Time Attack 1 division as a rookie in a 2021 BMW M2CSR. Last year Hayes escorted the competitors down the mountain in the Parade of Champions BMW after the completion of the race.
Other notable returners include Dai Yoshihara of Cerritos, Calif., who won the Unlimited division and placed ninth overall in his 2013 Toyota 86 as the final competitor up the mountain in 2020. He crossed the finish line in 10:05.006. Fumio Nutahara of Hokkaido, Japan, will also return after having to skip the 98th running due to travel restrictions. He will drive a novel electric-powered car, a 22 GLM ZZ in the Unlimited division.
Correction: A previous version of this story included dates for the 2021 Fan Fest as listed on the website. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb officials have not officially announced the return of the event to downtown Colorado Springs.