The 99th running of the famed Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will take place Sunday on America’s Mountain.
The Race to the Clouds features many familiar faces and several former Kings of the Mountain. Among them is three-time overall winner Paul Dallenbach, a resident of Basalt, who recorded the fastest qualifying time and setting a new record in the process.
Dallenbach’s time of 3 minutes, 52.497 seconds in his No. 98 2006 Dallenbach Special eclipsed the former qualifying record by .363 seconds to top all 55 competitors.
The annual “Fast 15” fastest qualifying times covering all six classes includes competitors representing France, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and USA..
Clocking the second-fastest qualifying time is rookie Codie Vahsholtz of Woodland Park (3:52.880) -- also breaking the previous fastest qualifying record – in his No. 18 2013 Ford Open.
It is the same car his father, Clint, drove last year to win the race, claiming his first King of the Mountain title.
Both Dallenbach and Codie Vahsholtz are competing in the Open Wheel Division.
Three other drivers also came in under four minutes, two of them previous Hill Climb overall winners. Robin Shute (2019 champion) of the United Kingdom clocked 3:55.149 in his Unlimited 2018 Wolf GB08 TSC-LT, while France’s Romain Dumas (four-time winner) came in at 3:56.164 in his Time Attack 1 2019 Porsche 911 GT2RS Clubsport.
Dumais, in 2018, set the record for the fastest time to the summit when he blistered the 12.42-mile course that features 156 perilous turns to the 14,115-foot summit in 7:57.148. He broke the previous mark by 16 seconds.
Other familiar names in the “Fast 15” include Wasson High School alum Layne Schranz, Rhys Millen, Air Academy alum Dan Novembre and Lewis-Palmer alum Tommy Boileau.
Millen, a former two-time King of the Mountain, is driving a 2021 Bentley Continental GT3 that has captured the fancy of competitors and race fans.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this group,” said Hill Climb executive director Megan Leatham. “They represent the best of the best.
“Every year we plan to welcome 15 new members, and as our 100th running approaches, we will integrate the Fast 15 competitors and their vehicles into several planned activities.”
Lisa Haight, daughter of the late Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame member Nick Sanborn – a Hill Climb icon – said planning for the 100th running will begin in earnest once Sunday’s race is complete.
“We don’t have anything planned yet, but we’re working on a few things that will really make it a special event,” said Haight, the Hill Climb’s media coordinator.
The Hill Climb is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. beginning at Mile Marker 7. It is a timed event with driver’s speeding up the mountain one at a time.
Haight said that between 3,500-4,000 ticketed spectators will be in attendance, and that between 7,500-8,000 people in all will be on the mountain, including crew and media.
The car chosen to lead the drivers back down the course in what is known as the Parade of Champions is the BMW M3 Competition. It will be driven by Matt Mullins.
Mullins is the Chief Driving Instructor for the Performance Centers in the US and has been with the BMW Performance Driving School since 2001. He has raced professionally in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, ARCA Stock Car Series, Continental Tire Challenge Sports Car Series, Formula Mazda, Karts and more.
The first Hill Climb was held in 1916 when Spencer Penrose, invited competitors to compete in an event to show off his Pikes Peak Highway that was completed the year before.
Rea Lentz was crowned the winner with a time of 20:55.600.
The race was not held during World War I and World War II.