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Wildfires Force Delay of Pikes Peak Hill Climb

No new date set as fires spread.

by on Jun.28, 2012

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will have to wait out Colorado's devastating wildfires. (Photo courtesy Drew Phillips/Autoblog.com)

Dozens of drivers will have to wait before they get to burn rubber racing to the summit of one of the act that continent’s tallest mountains.  Rapidly expanding wildfires have led organizers to indefinitely delay the 90th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

The annual event is a magnet for manufacturers and private teams from around the world, 211 competitors currently scheduled for the 2012 running.  Significantly, the race was supposed to see a growing number of “green” entries this year, including battery-powered racers from Toyota and Mitsubishi.

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But Colorado is being ravaged by wildfires that have been spreading out of control.  One, near Colorado Springs, doubled in size last night and is now covering an estimated 24 square miles after destroying scores of homes overnight.

Officials decided on the postponement after meeting with representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, said PPIHC Chairman Tom Osborne, in a statement.  “At the end of our meeting today, it was clear that we would not be able to go as scheduled.”

Among the problems organizers faced was ensuring access to the site, but even more troubling was the likelihood “several agencies charged with public safety would not be able to commit the resources and manpower required,” added Osborne.

PPIHC organizers are now scrambling to notify all participants – and sponsors and vendors.  They expect to announce a new date within two weeks of the original schedule.  Technical inspections were set to begin on July 3rd, according to Autoblog.com, with the actual runs to start on the 8th.

A tradition since 1916, Colorado Mayor Steve Bach said of the Climb, “We are committed to making sure it takes place this year and that we carry on the tradition. We are disappointed, but our first concern is our city, its residents, their homes, businesses and public safety.”

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