Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
While this is an old race – America’s oldest motorsports race, in fact – it is still a relative newcomer to the motorcycle racing world. This is because of the nature of the course itself – for most of it’s century-long history, the winding, 12.42 mile course that heads straight up to the peak of a 14,110-foot tall mountain was mostly unpaved, and the race was known more of an off-road rally competition as a result.
But paving began in 2002, and was finally completed in 2011. With the course fully paved, the race was finally open to road racing motorcycles, meaning the world’s fastest bikes could finally attack the course with their firm road suspensions, aerodynamic bodies, and sticky race tires. Quickly, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb became one of the most important events in the world of motorcycle racing.
Supersports quickly became the weapon of choice to attack the mountains 156 turns, many of which are remarkably treacherous to navigate, as the course is lined with either massive trees or with corners completely lacking in side rails. One wrong move will likely result in either a quick stop from triple digit speeds by a pine tree, or taking an expedited trip down the mountain by going over its side!
Incredibly, only 5 racers have died in the race’s 100-year-long history. But two of those were in back-to-back years in 2014 and 2015, which prompted a rules change banning ultra-fast supersports from competition. But that didn’t slow racers down – the most recent course record was set this year by Chris Fillmore in a wickedly powerful KTM Super Duke R, who finished the race in a blistering 9 minutes and 49 seconds!