Sometimes you don’t need a giant field of race cars to create and epic battle. All you need is one or two remarkable race car drivers, some dope cars, and a mountain to race up. Pikes Peak isn’t a battle against competitors, or the mountain, its’ a battle against fear. Let’s face it, racing is cool because you might die. Do you think Hemingway would have heralded car racing as one of the three ultimate mens sports if it was safe? No. Do you think McQueen would have bothered racing the current for of NASCAR? I think not. That’s why Pikes Peak is still Cool.
Even cooler are two guys who are still trying to knock down the 10 minute mark to make sure their names are etched in the history books under badass! Monster Tajima and Rhys Millen can’t be more different, yet they both are reaching for the same shimmering brass ring,…..Infamy. When you time is up most people have a burning desire to leave their mark. For some that burning desire compels them to spend vast fortunes and risk their lives trying to accomplish something that they believe means something. A reason for living.
For those of you that are not familiar with the legendary Pikes Peak hill climb let me give you a crash course. The idea is simple. Go up the hill as fast as possible without dying. You can build anything you can dream up to get you up the hill faster. The race is run on a 12.42 mile course with 156 turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,110 feet. As the drivers climb toward the summit, the thin air slows reflexes and muscle strength. The thin air also robs engines of up to 30% of their power near the summit. Oh and the cliffs, oh yeah we are talking some of the treacherous corners on the planet with names like bottomless pit, and devils playground. Miss your corner and the good news is you wont suffer the embarrassment of facing your friends after a friendly crash, you simply wont survive.
This year hundreds of entrains in cars, trucks, bikes, and even semis will make an attempt to set new class records, but the two that the world will be watching will be Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima and Rhys Millen. The current record is 10:01.41 and was set by Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima in 2007. Can “Monster” break his own record? Can Rhys break the record? Will the 10 min mark fall? Stay tuned with race-dezert.com and let’s find out.
Words: The Martelli Brothers – Photos:Yujiro Otsuki