The Pikes Peak record has been smashed! Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima has accomplished what has been seemingly impossible for decades; he broke the 10-minute mark. Tajima finished the epic hill climb in 9:51.278, easily eclipsing his previous record time of 10:01.408, which he set back in 2007. The Japanese racing mogul attacked the mountain in a near flawless run in his custom built Monster Sport SX4 Pikes Peak Special. Race-Dezert.com got an exclusive with the new “King of the Mountain.”
How does it feel to have gone down in the history books as the man who broke the 10-minute mark?
“It feels fantastic! It’s been 23+ years in the making, it’s a dream come true. I am king of the mountain!”
How much of your life has been dedicated to this goal?
“Really when I think about it, almost 100%. I have done many different forms of racing over the years. Racing Pikes Peak you need to apply rally skills with pavement skills. It’s very challenging.”
Describe the feeling of racing in a vehicle with such power on a course that requires so much precision. How do you stay focused and not let adrenaline take over?
“It’s awesome! The 2011 Monster Sport SX4 Pikes Peak Special is purpose built to race Pikes Peak from the ground up. It feels like a cross between a F1 car and a rally car. You have to stay focused but it is an adrenaline rush for sure.”
Does the fear of death ever cross your mind when you’re pushing the limits?
Yes. Not so much from a mistake I am going to make. I have 40+ years of driving experience and I feel confident with my skills. I have taught myself to drive disciplined and hold back and drive carefully because there is no escape if you fail. You are done. I worry more about mechanical failure. There are a lot of moving parts on the vehicle and no matter how many times we check and re-check, components are bound to fail, its just the nature of pushing equipment to its limits.”
Did you know that you were going to be able to break the record when you approached the race this year?
Yes. We had a really good feeling going into the race. Testing was good. We felt this was going to be the year. First, we made several modifications to the car so it was better on asphalt. Second, we had great weather. Last year the weather was bad, we had to race on a wet road.
Tell us a little bit about where the idea for the design of your car came from.
I designed and built the car from the ground up. The design is a culmination of all my knowledge from racing and building racecars. I know every bolt, so when we have a problem, I know exactly what is going on.
So, where do you go from here? What’s next?
I already have a better new car design in mind! I want to build a new car and do it faster!
Photos by Yujiro Otsuki / Team GoPro Monster Sport with BC
Interview by Matt Martelli