The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has just been postponed due to extreme weather conditions and safety concerns resulting from the ongoing devastating wildfires in Colorado.
Wildfire Near Pikes Peak
More than 32,000 Colorado residents have been ordered to leave there homes thus far. Approximately 21,000 homes and other buildings are presently within reach of the wildfire. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed, according to Mayor Steven Bach of Colorado Springs.
The 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Race officials say that 211 drivers from around the world were set to compete at this year’s event. Originally scheduled for July 8, the 90th annual PPIHC will be held some time later this summer. A new date should be announced within the next two weeks, according to organizers.
"We have been informed by the U.S. Forest Service that conditions are so extreme, along with the inability to forecast the future of the fire, and with access to Pikes Peak in jeopardy that the agency can't permit the event to go as scheduled,” said Tom Osborne, Chairman of the Board of the PPIHC and President & CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.
Prior to officially delaying the event, PPIHC officials and Sports Corp met with Forest Service officials to address all possible safety concerns. Aside from examining the race day festivities that would take place on July 8, officials on both sides discussed auxiliary events like the Technical Inspections on July 3, the Fan Fest on July 6 and practice and qualification runs to be held from July 4 through July 6.
By the meeting’s conclusion, it was deemed hazardous to continue with the scheduled event. Not only would it be unsafe for athletes and spectators, but officials also concluded that going ahead with the 90th PPIHC would be insensitive to the citizens of Colorado. “Our city is in an unprecedented struggle right now and we are deeply sensitive to it," said Osbourne.
PPIHC Is Delayed, Not Cancelled
According to Osbourne, on thing is for certain: "The 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be run.” Aside from Osbourne’s sentiment, Mayor Bach also expressed the importance of the event. "We are committed to making sure it takes place this year and that we carry on the tradition,” Bach said.
Race organizers are currently hard at work in search of a new date for this year’s PPIHC. Officials have already begun notifying the 211 competitors, who hail from 15 nations outside the U.S., news outlets, and fans. Tickets that have already been purchased will be honored for the rescheduled date. Additionally, all sponsor, vendor and supplier agreements will be fulfilled.
The Pikes Peak Hill Climb
Originally run in 1916, the PPIHC is the second-longest running race in North America. Last year’s motorcycle race was won by Carlin Dunne, who set an all-time motorcycle record. Dunne road to victory on the Ducati Multistrada 1200, giving the Italian brand its second consecutive victory at Pike’s Peak. The open wheel car-racing event has been won by the likes of Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Bobby Unser and Robby Unser, who is the current class record holder.