Dirt Bikes Persona Non Grata at Pikes Peak

03/07/2017 @ 11:54 am, by Jensen Beeler31 COMMENTS

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.

Source: Pikes Peak International Hill Climb; Photos: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • Travis Zilch

    So it kinda sounds like flat track style “framers” will no longer be allowed. Though it’s not clear if supermoto/DTX bikes would be allowed in.

  • Joe Bold

    Wasn’t it just last year they outlawed bikes with clip-ons? Sounds like they want motorcycles completely out of the race.

  • Pikes Peak is a car race, first and foremost. It’s easy to get the impression that the motorcycles are merely tolerated at times.

  • Rightwheel

    Annoys the car drivers to get smoked by the bikes?

  • TheSeaward

    That’s not the case at all. The fastest cars are minutes ahead of the bikes.

  • Fastest car, not cars. Minute ahead, not minutes.

  • TheSeaward

    1:45 between fastest car time vs fastest bike time. I’m a huge motorcycle fanboy and I fully realize the difference between arguably the greatest driver of all time in a purpose built car in comparison to a dude on a modified streetbike, but motorcycles are not competitive with the cars. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8648e110481f8484d534279d15f472245a789f5104ff626780be178263e06268.jpg

  • Bobby Mills

    It really is a car race, run by car guys who don’t really understand motorcycles and the needs of the motorcycle racer. The 2 deaths that caused the “no clip-on’s” rule where both on middle weight bikes, one had nothing to do with speed the other nobody really knows because none of us saw what happened. If they want to make the race safer for the competitor, they need more marshall’s and more eyes on track. When you can go an entire racetrack worth of turns without a single corner worker to be found, you’re not really keeping the competitors safety at the front of your list of priorities.

  • Christopher Horrell

    Well to be fair, 1:45 is still a minute and not minutes. And the fastest bike, ZX10R is a production motorcycle and not a prototype. Almost every car on that list is either a prototype or factory built race car based on a production car.

    Everyone here should know that a purpose-built prototype car will end up beating a motorcycle up the course and even though I know it will never happen I would love to see a factory supported MotoGP bike have a go at it with one of the Aliens piloting it use to see how fast two wheels can get to the top.

  • madchilli

    Wtf do these people want??
    Be more specific and stop changing the rules.!

  • Calvin Silver

    Now that it’s paved I think it would be fitting to invite some of the road racers from the Irish rounds or the TT.

  • Rightwheel

    Don’t know a joke when you read one, eh?

  • Christopher Horrell

    That would be fantastic to have them come over and run it.

  • This.

  • TheSeaward

    You didn’t use the sarcasm font, dude.

  • I’m here because of Persona Non Grata 😁

  • Rightwheel

    And actually, the first bike was only 1:21.659 behind the fastest car, which was a purpose-built supercar, and bikes are well represented among the top 25 finishers, starting in 14th place. The first 13 finishers are almost universally in specialty cars. So, “a minute”, not “minutes”, and these are ordinary bikes. So it’s not as if they aren’t competitive.

  • Rightwheel

    Excuse me, my mistake. ;^)

  • RF

    They have ruined this event. Having been a life long fan, (I’m 55), I am disgusted by the sanitizing of this historic event. At this point they should just put a maximum speed limit of 25 mph “so everyone will be safe” and cage spectators in armored steel boxes. They have forgotten it is a race, that there are risks, and that nobody is forced to compete or spectate. Take a hint from the Isle of Man…..get over your “right to protect everybody” and allow the individualism and freedom this race was intended to be run under. Sure the course is faster, but the old cars were hideously dangerous….so what…..you have taken the human right to live your life the way you choose out of this amazing historic event. You should be ashamed and I am disgusted. I will not return to the mountain.

  • MikeD

    This guy here it’s our MVP. He got it.

  • MikeD

    Shouldn’t 17″ wheeled, street tire’d SuMos be fine ?

  • Neil__S

    And if your a motorcycle racer who publicly criticizes the race you get banned from competing…

  • Travis Zilch

    I would hope so. But who knows what the organizers are trying to accomplish.

  • Benji

    Guy Martin tried to run it on his turbo’d Martek 1260cc crazy thing. It didn’t go well.

  • Benji

    When they made that “No clip ons” rule, my imagination ran wild with thoughts of a GNC1 bike with 17″s on it. I bet that would be an absolute riot.

  • Matt Carpenter

    Almost all of the super fast cars have been multi million dollar efforts. The bikes more then hold there own, as far as speed goes. Rule change about no more “made for dirt “was more about the older open wheel type cars and a few vintage stock cars. I still believe the motorcycles could carry the entire race by themselves. The survivability issues in case you go off is a major insurance issue in the USA that IOM doesn’t have to deal with. Timing of the two races are too close together for riders to make both. Riders have to pick either or PPIHC or IOM.

  • Spurdog1

    Sounds like its going that way. You are never going to make the course safe unless there are more barriers and run offs and in this day and age there is a fine line between what is considered dangerous and what is unacceptable.

  • Spurdog1

    Agreed. When you see how brilliantly the IOM TT course is marshalled, Pikes Peak looks bad.

  • n/a

    If they were getting the right amount of dollars I’m sure they’d do it.

  • Roland J Cannon

    I wish you could find some more info about the winning z 1000, from last years event. That bike was incredible.

  • racerX

    The real question is: who is going to win this year’s race overall, and what will they be riding? Electric?