COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With 156 turns and an ascent of 4,720 feet, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb’s motorcycle race is a must for any racer.
“It’s a dangerous event, but I’d be lying if that wasn’t a bit of the attraction behind it,” racer Rennie Scaysbrook said in a phone interview with FOX21.
But the motorcycle “Race to the Clouds” has been dropped by the PPIHC Board of Directors.
In a statement released Friday, the board said the race won’t be part of next year’s event:
“The Board of Directors of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb recently convened to review the 2019 event. It was decided that in order to determine the long-term viability of the motorcycle program there will be no motorcycle program offered in 2020 so that race organizers can gather data and analytics to review more thoroughly the impact on the overall event in the absence of this program.
“Motorcycles have been a part of the PPIHC for the past 29 years, and their history on America’s Mountain dates back to the inaugural running in 1916,” said Tom Osborne, Chairman. “That said, the motorcycle program hasn’t been an annual event. They have run 41 of the 97 years we’ve been racing on Pikes Peak. It’s just time to take a hard look at every aspect of the race, including the motorcycle program, and determine whether or not the event may change,” he added.
PPIHC staff and board members will continue to track all metrics related to the annual race and make a final determination in late 2020 about whether or not the inclusion of a motorcycle program will take place in future years.
The move received mixed reaction from racers and those close to the race.
“I think that things should’ve been done earlier on to make the race a little safe for the bikers,” James Osborne, owner of American Bike Tailor, said.
Osborne formed part of the iconic race in the 1990s and was injured during a Hill Climb race. He currently helps tune bikes for current racers.
“You’re racing on a mountain and there’s nothing to stop you from going over the edge,” Osborne said. “It’s a dangerous race, I’m not going to sugar coat it.”
The board’s move to remove the race from next year’s event comes a month after the death of motorcyclist Carlin Dunne. Dunne’s death is the seventh death connected with the Hill Climb.
“I know Carlin Dunne and I know he wouldn’t have wanted this situation to happen,” Osborne said.
Racers who also knew Dunne agree.
“The race meant so much to Carlin,” Skaysbrook said. “It’s pretty obvious it has to do with Carlin’s death. I’m disappointed.”
“He wouldn’t want his accident to prevent the motorcycles from ever competing there again,” racer Davey Durelle said.
Nothing is set in stone, and the Board of Directors said they will decide the fate of the motorcycle program in late 2020.
“It was a real bummer,” Skaysbrook said. “It’s absolutely one-of-a-kind and a real treasure. I hope that they bring it back.”