The world famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, America’s second-oldest motor sports race, has been postponed due to severe wildfires in Colorado Springs that have already claimed 346 homes and forced the evacuation of 35,000 people.
The 90th running of the iconic event was scheduled to take place on Sunday July 8 but will instead be pushed back to later in the summer.
Chairman of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) board and president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation Tom Osborne said, “We have been informed by the US 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.”
While Osborne confirmed the 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb “will be run”, new race week dates will have to be set with enough time to allow the 211 race crews and their drivers from around the world as well as the myriad of agencies that are required to support the race to reorganise themselves.
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach said it was important to have the race, that first began in 1916, continue to be run, saying, “We are committed to making sure it takes place this year and that we carry on the tradition. We are disappointed, but our first concern is our city, its residents, their homes, businesses and public safety.”
Race organisers are hoping to finalise and announce a replacement date for the event within the next two weeks with all tickets already purchased being honoured for the new date. Teams from Lexus, Mitsubishi and Skelta were all due to compete in this year’s event.
Reuters reports that US President Barack Obama is planning to visit the fire affected area on Friday.