Officials of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, who were obliged to postpone this year's 90th edition of the event due to massive wildfires in the Colorado Springs area, have rescheduled the race for Sunday, Aug. 12, "barring any further threats to safety."
Originally scheduled for July 8, the event was postponed last week in the midst of the epic Waldo Canyon fire that claimed two lives, forced 32,000 people from their homes around Colorado Springs, brought the destruction of close to 350 homes, and delivered such an impact to the Pikes Peak region that it is now called the most destructive fire in the state's history.
“With the help and support of the City of Colorado Springs, the U.S. Forest Service, Pikes Peak and the numerous agencies dedicated to the safety of the public and the competitors, we are thrilled to be able to make this announcement,” said Tom Osborne, chairman of the PPIHC and president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corp., after a unanimous vote of the PPIHC Board on Thursday afternoon. “'America's Mountain' and Colorado Springs are ready to welcome everyone to the nation's second-oldest motorsports event.”
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, who has been the point man for the city's response to the fire crisis, said, “Colorado Springs is thrilled that the 90th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is back on track. We are committed to dedicate the needed resources to make this year's Hill Climb the best ever. As we have said throughout this community crisis – Colorado Springs is open for business!”
Osborne and his staff have spent the last few days reaching out to the 211 drivers and racers and their crews to determine their availability for the Aug. 12, as well as local hotel partners, Pikes Peak International Raceway, the Downtown Development Authority and the important agencies that are required to support the event and the busy Race Week schedule of events, Aug. 7-12.
“The response by the competitors has been tremendously positive, and the drivers and racers have been sensitive and compassionate toward our residents and their struggles and loss,” said Osborne. “We will have the majority of the registered competitors here for the event and have positive responses from Nobuhiro Tajima, Jean-Phillipe Dayraut, Romain Dumas, Clint Vahsholtz, Paul Dallenbach, Dave Carapetyan, David Donner, Greg Tracy, and Carlin Dunne, but we will lose some to scheduling conflicts. In fact, many of the drivers and racers have indicated their desire to establish a fund to benefit those agencies that have battled the horrendous fire and now support our ability to stage the race.”
Osborne indicated the this special fund will be established quickly to permit donations from the drivers and racers, their sponsors, and the public that will provide support and sincere gratitude to the men and women of the firefighting agencies who have stepped to the front when their help was most needed. Details will be revealed soon.
The legendary race's list of champions over the years includes Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, Al Unser, Al Rogers, Rod Millen, Parnelli Jones, Leonard Vahsholtz, Roger Mears, and Eddie Mulder.
Competitors from 15 nations are scheduled to tackle the now, fully paved 12.42-mile course to the summit of the peak. The revised Race Week will include technical inspection, practices, a media day, and the downtown Fan Fest on Friday, Aug. 10.
Tickets previously purchased for the event that was scheduled for July 8 will be honored, but no general refunds will be made. Previous ticket purchasers will also have the option of donating their tickets to the special support fund.