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Australian Jeff Denmeade completed another Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in the USA recently. This is his story on a challenging day.

"After a long week of build up with practice, data gathering, tire pressure and tyre heat data gathering it was the final day of an early wake call.

Plans were set, it was a simple plan, get to the top.  

After seeing that we had a small chance to take the number two Viper, we knew fourth place was ours to loose, a finish was more important than a fantasy. The mountain was yet to play all its cards, it had 10 hours left to teach some lessons.

With an amazing amount of red flags that left us bewildered, with a huge amount of cars being turned around and sent back down the hill for restarts, the day dragged on.

Finally the gates opened for us and we were let into the start zone area, safety checked, we were now under starter orders.

Revs raised, launch control enabled. Great start! The best all weekend. A good start sets the atmosphere for the mood for the run.

Concentrating on accuracy first for the lower section, quickly into fourth gear hitting all the high speed apexes, all in fourth gear. This sets the mind up for the run, accuracy first, speed second.

In all the run was effortless, even faultless, but at some point it felt like the car simply ran out of air, not pulling as strong as it did in practice, no real time to fight it, just had to keep getting it to the apexes.

Suddenly cars were stopped all over the course, hoods up and steam coming out, in large places there was little grip on the pavement due to heat, brake zones were harder to read with over run forcing diving into the apexes.

Data later showed that the car ran out of air, due to a zone on the mountain where there was simply no humidity to cool the air going into the airbox, or radiator. The car became a barometer meter itself. The car spiked from 97 degrees Celsius, to a whopping 113 in this odd 'dead-zone'.  But the old dog hung in there.

Running the same specification we ran in 2010 when we won the Time Attack class, even the same turbo, the old Evo proved it can run reliably, with simple ECU updates and reflashes running constant all week.

Typical of Pikes, we were entertained with a ice storm, then a hail storm at the top, leaving all of us to tip toe down a few miles on the ice with race rubber when we were rounded up, let loose to come down under a safety car. How we all made it down without someone sliding off is beyond me.

End result for us was fourth, which was expected, and achieved, and certainly not wasted.  We drive the car up into the trailer on it's own power, lock it down, and have a post race drink in the spa.

In reflection, it was an amazing year, and the team was simply the best to have around me.

Mike and Matt and Bryce from Road Race Engineering in California, and our tuner David Hinde (aka Merlin) from Sydney kept the car at its peak, and were always ahead of the curve on anything that may have happened.  We'll be back."

- Jeff Denmeade


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