Aussie Jeff Denmeade is about to embark on an amazing journey.  He is heading to the United States to compete in this year's Pikes Peak hillclimb.  Here's his story.....

Well, after much planning and sorting and going down many different avenues we can now confirm that we will be taking part in PIKES PEAK Hillclimb in 2010, and doing so as a proud Australian effort, with livery on the vehicle to match this.
 
Due to the myriad of classes for the event, we have found the best class for our entry will be the Time Attack class. Although we believe we will be very OUT-classed by the other cars we still believe there is hope for a lower podium finish. Rhyce Millen currently holds the class record, which he achieved last year with a very respectful 12:09.397, in his 550hp Hyundai Genesis mid-engined coupe, this is the only Pikes Peak class for cars that require a chassis per manufacturers build, the other classes are Rally America classes but these require restrictors (34mm) and many other changes to our car which we cannot fathom changing due to this being a one-off event for us.
 
We will be running our current Lancer Evolution 8 that we used in December to win our class and finish 11th overall in the fabulous 16 kilometre Mt Buller Sprint hillclimb, held in Victoria. The Mt Buller Sprint was used as a serious test session for our Pikes Peak effort, resulting in getting a good indication of tyre pressures and suspension bump/rebound and sway bar settings.
 
The car will be transported from Sydney to LA in April where we will collect it and transport it across to Colorado, which we have discovered is cheaper to buy a suburban and tow the car than it was to rent a worn out truck from one of the many rental agencies there. Top Gear was right! but we already knew that....
 
Pictured is the side view of how the car will look in its Pikes Peak presentaion livery.  Pikes Peak is currently going through sealing to tar the road from the bottom to the very top. Currently the road is 60% paved and 40% dirt, but the dirt has a seal on it to minimise dust so it actually has a fair bit of grip, they tell me. Pikes Peak is a 12 mile hillclimb and the finish line is at the 14,000+ foot level - calculations tell us we will be down to 155hp at this level.
 
We have also run at Mt Washington in the past, which is based in northern New Hampshire on the Northeast of the US, and also took class records there in two classes; a BMW 3 series Grp A and an Lancer Evo 5 (built by Ralliart Australia's Bob Reilly).  Mt Washington is an 8 mile hill and is now run as a vintage festival hillclimb. It will be an honor if we can take a record at Pikes Peak for class to match our standing at Mt Washington and our recent class win at Mt Buller, but this is a very slim chance.

My girlfriend and excellent navigator, Catherine, will be joining me as usual doing her duties from the navigators seat.
 
Due to the road at Pikes Peak being 60% tarmac and 40% gravel, setup is a complexity, you need a tyre with good sipes for lateral grip, while eyeing high speed tarmac stability, but not a tyre cut that will overheat the tyres, we have not made a final choice on these yet but are due to test two different types shortly. On the suspension front you need to concentrate on the tarmac setup with perhaps a serious nod to roll which gives you grip in the gravel.  We'll find out on June 27 if we made the right decisions....
 
Pikes Peak hillclimb details can be viewed at www.ppihc.com
 
Current Pikes Peak standings and times can be seen here from 2009;
http://www.ppihc.com/contentx.aspx?tabid=14&xsltfilename=PPIHCRaceDay&xmlfilename=~/Results/PPIHCResultsRaceDay&contentid=258
 
Wish us well! 
 
Jeff Denmeade

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