Pikes Peak must be one of the scariest places on earth to race a car. With its terrifying cliff locked course, which climbs to a vertigo inducing 14,110 feet (4,300 metres) over a 12.1-mile (19.5kms) stretch in the Colorado Mountains.
Sydney driver, Jeff Denmeade has not only driven it, but this year smashed the Time Attack 4WD class in his Aussie-prepped Mitsubishi EVO 8.
Denmeade said, “It was a massive joy just to compete at Pikes Peak – to end up with a trophy seals a magical time for us”
Organisers said he was almost certainly the first Aussie to come away with a class win at what is now a world-renowned motor sport event.
Pikes Peak is the oldest motor racing event in the United States behind the Indianapolis 500 and this was the last time that it was run on a mix of asphalt and dirt. The top course will be sealed before next year’s climb, which means a 90 percent tarmac course.
In claiming the Pikes Peak Trophy, Jeff beat two US rally champions and one Canadian champion to the finish by just 1.1 second.
He said of his win “In motor sport, any trophy is nice, and I’ve collected a few. But the Pikes Peak trophy holds a special place with me as it’s a one-shot deal when come race day – and the hill climb is one helluva challenge.”
Jeff was also one of the few competitors who chose to use a co-driver, his regular rally partner Catherine Hammond, who was clearly a key asset during class winning run. “I really wouldn’t like to have done the event alone. You remember some corners, but many look the same and a few people went off thinking they were at a corner they thought they knew, and it turned out to be another corner altogether”
Well done Jeff and Catherine.