Dirt-focused machines will no longer be welcomed at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), says the race organizers.
With the change in the road surface and race course, the 2017 running of the “Race to the Clouds” will be the last one where competitors can use machinery that was originally intended to operate off-road.
How PPHIC will determine what is a prohibited machine is not really clear, with the press release stating only that “vehicles that were originally designed with the intention of competing on Pikes Peak’s traditional dirt surface” would no longer be allowed to race, after this year’s event.
The race organizers did leave the caveat that machines might be allowed if “major modifications have been made that would allow these vehicles to withstand the increased stresses placed on chassis and suspension components,” which suggests that machines will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
With an all-asphalt course now, it makes sense that the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb would move past its dirt-track roots, for better or for worse.
The second oldest motorsports race in the United States, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has had to mature rapidly over the past few seasons, as the event struggles with new constraints on its race course and the changing landscape of American motorsport.
Predominantly a car race, PPIHC has had to change how it treats motorcycle entrants, who have seen a sharp increase in fatalities in recent years – primarily from the increase in speed that the asphalt course affords.
How the race manages spectators has also changed, thus putting every dynamic of this iconic race in states of flux. Every year sees the race organizers announcing another substantial change to the PPIHC format. We shouldn’t be surprised that 2017 is no different.