Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 2014 — April 2014
Did I ever tell you about the time when I was serving as a counselor at a summer camp in Colorado? I was a counselor in one of the cabins at Rocky Mountain Camp just south of Divide, Colorado. If you look on a map, you will see that it is located south of Denver about fifty miles and then west on the western slopes of Pikes Peak. Our campers were juvenile delinquent and emotionally disturbed youth from Denver’s inner city and the surrounding counties. The camp was located, as I said, on the western slopes of Pikes Peak at about the 9,500 foot elevation level. We did lots of outdoors type of events with the youth, especially hiking, fishing, and overnight camping. If we had a group of campers that, we felt, could handle it, we would arrange for a hike to the summit of Pikes Peak. This would be a one-day hike that would take us to the 14,114 foot elevation mountain top. Over a distance of the four mile hike, we would gain nearly .9 mile in elevation. To put that into perspective, a person traveling from sea level in Oregon to Denver, Colorado will gain about one mile in elevation while hiking the four miles from our base camp to the summit of Pikes Peak, we would gain almost another mile in elevation. This was not a hike for someone who was not in shape.
I was able to serve at this camp in this capacity for two consecutive summers. Each summer, we were privileged to hike to an area of the mountain where we could view the switchbacks on the single lane gravel road (with turnouts) that tourists use to drive to the summit of the mountain. From our vantage point, we could see the cars way below us and watch them climb the mountain turning left and right, sliding sideways as they maneuvered through the hairpin corners, and accelerating with the goal of covering the 12.42 miles in the least amount of time possible.
Having grown up at the Oregon Coast near Beaver, Oregon there was many times that I and my brothers would drive to the Willamette Valley to visit our grandmother. Our drive always took us from Hebo to Valley Junction. We’d watch the milepost markers and had a specific 22-mile stretch that we called our private race course. Our goal was to cover these 22 miles in 22 minutes or less without ever going over 70 miles-per-hour. Often we would be impeded by slow-moving traffic which, of course, would prevent any chance of achieving the goal. However, from personal experience, I can affirm that it is possible to cover this 22 mile stretch in less than 22 minutes. It can and has been done. Another challenge was to follow the forest service roads from Blaine along the Nestucca River and go over the Coast Range with Willamina or Carlton as the final destination, depending on which gravel road the driver would choose.
Having had that experience and having witnessed the Pikes Peak Hill Climb first hand, I have always wondered if I could be competitive in that race. Therefore, I am taking this opportunity to make this announcement. In the summer of 2014, I will not be racing at Woodburn Dragstrip. Rather, I have purchased a used Suburu WRX and will be entering it in the “Rally Class” in the 2014 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. A Suburu currently holds the record for this class and I believe that in order to be competitive, I will need a similarly competitive car if I would like to place near the top. I have purchased a USAC Rule Book and have spoken by phone to USAC tech inspectors regarding tech requirements for this class.
I have two brothers living in Denver and will make that my home this summer for three weeks in June. Race day is Sunday, June 29th. The schedule has Sunday, June 22 for racer registration. Monday, June 23rd will be tech inspection for vehicles. Tuesday, the 24th will be a practice day, with three days of qualifying and additional practice on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Saturday will be set-up day and a day for campers to drive to their allotted locations to park their campers for the race the following day. I understand that there will be Wi-Fi available at designated spots along the way, so I intend to post any additional information on Facebook as it becomes available. If you would like to receive this information, you might want to “friend me” on Facebook so that you can know the latest.
One last thing. This article was posted on April 1. April Fools!!
Elvon Kauffman has been drag racing since 1975. He has been a NHRA Northwest Division Bracket Champion twice – first in 1978 when he defeated fellow Woodburn racer, Joe DiFillipi at Seattle International Raceway and secondly, in 1980 when he again defeated a Woodburn racer, Ron Burch at Woodburn Dragstrip. He was the first and only World Champion in Heavy Bracket, winning with his 1970 Plymouth Road Runner 4-speed at the now defunct Ontario Motor Speedway in October, 1980. Elvon’s variety of life experiences become the basis for the stories he shares in Straight Talk, a monthly column produced by Woodburn Dragstrip.