Aussie driver conquers Pikes Peak Hillclimb
- 20th July 2010, 1:39pm
Denmeade drove his Australian-prepped Mitsubishi Evo 8 to fastest time in the Time Attack 4WD class, earlier outqualifying all but one of the 'open class entries along the way.
"It was a massive joy just to compete at Pikes Peak - to end up with a trophy seals a magical time for us," said Denmeade, who was told by organisers that he is almost certainly the first Aussie to notch a class win.
Pikes Peak, the US's second oldest motor sports event after the Indianapolis 500, is run over a breathtaking, snaky 12.1-mile course, ending at a head-spinning 14,110 feet in the Colorado mountains.
This year was the last time the run was held on a mix of asphalt and dirt - the top course will be sealed before next year's climb meaning a 90% tarmac surface."
"For our name to be in the record book with a new qualifying record, even for a short 12 months until paving is complete is a huge thrill," Denmeade said.
"In motor sport, any trophy is nice, and I've collected a few. But the Pikes Peak trophy holds a special place with me as it is a one-shot deal come race day - and the hillclimb is one helluva challenge."
Jeff went on to beat two US rally champions and one Canadian rally champion to the finish, taking the win by just 1.1 second over the 12.1 miles.
Unlike some competitors, Denmeade elected to use a co-driver, his regular rally partner (and girlfriend) Catherine Hammond, to call pace notes on the climb.
"I really wouldn't like to have done the event alone. You remember some corners, but many look the same and a few people went off thinking they were at a corner they thought they knew, and it turned out to be another corner altogether. I remember some of the braking zones more than the corners, oddly enough. I guess we are all wired differently, this seemed to have worked for me."
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