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New Record for Subaru at Mt. Washington Climb to the Clouds

Most people driving up the Mt. Washington Auto Road get a tight sphincter and sweaty palms just driving at a pace that would make a snail lift and eye brow with skepticism. With the 150+ turns to a summit of 6288 ft. and roads barely wide enough for two shopping carts to be side by side, let alone two cars, you might be wondering what are they thinking? Oh, and guard rails are about as foreign to this road as a vegan at a hotdog eating contest, they’re just not there.

25 Kevin Gale in his 1990 Troyer Modified attacking the upper half of the mountain
25 Kevin Gale in his 1990 Troyer Modified attacking the upper half of the mountain

Now what may you ask, would possess a person to take a car, strip it down, rebuild it in the form of a dedicated race car and drives as fast as humanly possible up this mountain? Which would possibly end in a mass of metal careening off the side, burning up as it re-enters the atmosphere before making a smoldering crater at the bottom of the valley. Like some stray asteroid unlucky enough to get caught in the gravitational pull of our little planet. I mean, thats the most plausible scenario.

Higgins heading for the clouds near the summit
Higgins heading for the clouds near the summit

Well, maybe not that, this isn’t exactly Mt. Everest, but you get the idea. I don’t think the people that choose to do this willingly have all their synapses firing here. Maybe a couple crossed wires, but thats ok. I too fall into this category. I would race a car up this mountain, given the chance,  but I don’t think I would be anywhere near as fast as this years overall victor and record holder David Higgins with a new record of 6:09:09. Abolishing his previous record by more than 3 seconds. He beat his previous record by ONLY 3 seconds you say? It may not sound like much but it is a huge accomplishment considering back in 2011, Higgins ran in the Hillclimb’s Open Class, had about 100 HP more and weighed in at 500 lbs less. This year the event was a combined Hillclimb and Rally America event, with Higgins running as a rally car which has very specific requirements versus the Open Class. All these cars though, were giving it their all. Fast and loose. The helicopter was a nice touch too.

Higgins sideways at Cragway Corner
Higgins sideways at Cragway Corner

I don’t know which planets and stars aligned or what sacrifices were made to the race gods, but we had three stellar days of sunny weather and light winds. Anyone familiar with Mt. Washington knows that is just plan unheard of. Sunny, rainy, hail, hurricane force winds, thunder, lightning and back to sunny is more this Mountain’s status quo. It made for some stunning backdrops and gave you a real appreciation for just how beautiful the Presidential Range is. Plus this allowed all teams to practice on both the lower and upper half of the mountain. Something that was unavailable the last time the Climb to the Clouds was held.

212 Duane Foley in his 71" Opel Ascona. This car was beautiful. And it sounded good too.
212 Duane Foley in his 71″ Opel Ascona. This car was beautiful. And it sounded good too.
Pastrana being chased by the helicopter.
Pastrana being chased by the helicopter.

Now for the overall victory, two out of the three podium finishes were by rally cars with full manufacturer sponsorship. David Higgins with co-driver Craig Drew took first place, Second goes to Travis Pastrana with co-driver Chrissie Beavis and third place went to Paul Tingaud with his “Super Chicken” in the Open Class. This is pretty impressive given the fact that Paul is a privateer with no manufacturer sponsorship, with a purpose built tubular frame chassis with the same running gear you would find in a B5 Audi S4. Oh, and did I mention he built it himself?  Ya, pretty impressive.

Paul Tinguad's Super Chicken in the home stretch.
Paul Tinguad’s Super Chicken in the home stretch.

I’d like to take a moment to thank Ernie Mills and Dan Houde for making this event fun and helping me get to the good spots for my life @ SPEED. This event went off without a hitch and ran like a Swiss watch. Thank you to all the volunteers, Mt. Washington staff members, media, race teams, event sponsors and Subaru of America for making this happen. Please keep the tradition alive.

So in conclusion, the 110th running of the Climb to the Clouds Hillclimb was amazing. No one got seriously hurt, no cars caught on fire or flew far from the edge. All in all, a good few days of racing. I encourage anyone in the Northeast region of the US to visit or participate in this historic event in the future. Cars range from a 1935 open wheel Ford to the latest and greatest. For those of you unable to make it this year, you are in luck, as NBC Sports will be airing this year’s Hillclimb on August 2nd, 12:30pm EDT. Be sure to set your DVR’s. You can also find a variety of photos from the HillClimb below.

Time to find a car to field in this event for next year.

For full race results for all classes, please follow the link: http://climbtotheclouds.com/general-info/results/.

Another shot of Travis Pastrana sideways
Another shot of Travis Pastrana sideways
317, Jaime Melhuish in the 94' Smart Performance Toyota WSR
317, Jaime Melhuish in the 94′ Smart Performance Toyota WSR
Thomas Ellsworth's 35' Ford Amilcar Special was another treasured entry in the Vintage Class.
Thomas Ellsworth’s 35′ Ford Amilcar Special was another treasured entry in the Vintage Class.
165 Ryan Wilcox and his awesome Outback STI above Cow Pasture en route to the Summit
165 Ryan Wilcox and his awesome Outback STI above Cow Pasture en route to the Summit
110 Last Ditch Racing, a Maine based Rally team at Cragway Corner
110 Last Ditch Racing, a Maine based Rally team at Cragway Corner
161, Alexander Grabau's 94' Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. Probably one of my favorite cars from this event. Clean lines and cranked up to 11.
161, Alexander Grabau’s 94′ Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. Probably one of my favorite cars from this event. Clean lines and cranked up to 11.
This Audi was a sight to see. Loud, fast and fun to watch
This Audi was a sight to see. Loud, fast and fun to watch
881,The Southern Driver's own Ted Theodore in his 2004 Westfield Megabusa. This car was a sight to behold and the driver was great to chat with.
881,The Southern Driver’s own Ted Theodore in his 2004 Westfield Megabusa. This car was a sight to behold and the driver was great to chat with.
13, Jon Lee's 1940 Lloyd Rockey Special Sprint Car. This flathead V8 sounded great.
13, Jon Lee’s 1940 Lloyd Rockey Special Sprint Car. This flathead V8 sounded great.
74, William Washburn in his 89' Nissan 240RS14. This was another car not afraid of the throttle.
74, William Washburn in his 89′ Nissan 240RS14. This was another car not afraid of the throttle.
AWE's Audi S4 wide open throttle in the upper straight.
AWE’s Audi S4 wide open throttle in the upper straight.
26, Doug Valliere in his Sunbeam Tiger. This car sounded amazing.
26, Doug Valliere in his Sunbeam Tiger. This car sounded amazing.
600, Dillon Van Way/Andrew Edwards in their 2013 Subaru STI just above Cow Pasture.
600, Dillon Van Way/Andrew Edwards in their 2013 Subaru STI just above Cow Pasture.
Pastrana celebrating on the way back down the mountain
Pastrana celebrating on the way back down the mountain
Team Oniel's Andrew Comrie-Picard/Ole Holter 2014 Ford Fiesta shadowed by the Helicopter
Team Oniel’s Andrew Comrie-Picard/Ole Holter 2014 Ford Fiesta shadowed by the Helicopter
Erika Detota and Mar Warren's I love Boobies 95' Subaru
Erika Detota and Mar Warren’s I love Boobies 95′ Subaru
Pastrana Rooster tails, Cragway Corner.
Pastrana Rooster tails, Cragway Corner.
Travis Pastrana was slinging some dirt at Cragway Corner.
Travis Pastrana was slinging some dirt at Cragway Corner.
Pastrana trailing close behind Higgins
Pastrana trailing close behind Higgins
Higgins rounding a bend near Signal Corps
Higgins rounding a bend near Signal Corps
106 Roger Dowd 1951 Jaguar Special making its way to the summit
106 Roger Dowd 1951 Jaguar Special making its way to the summit
36 Sherman Baumann 2010 Buffalo Racing
36 Sherman Baumann 2010 Buffalo Racing
Tim O’Neil in the 2014 EVSR, sideways in the only fully electric car at the Hillclimb
Tim O’Neil in the 2014 EVSR, sideways in the only fully electric car at the Hillclimb
Tim O’Neil in the 2014 EVSR, sideways in the only fully electric car at the Hillclimb
Tim O’Neil in the 2014 EVSR, sideways in the only fully electric car at the Hillclimb
15 Broken Motorsports 1991 240sx. If there was a decent corner, he had it sideways.
15 Broken Motorsports 1991 240sx. If there was a decent corner, he had it sideways.
411 69" BMW 2002 rounding the corners at Signal Corps
411 69″ BMW 2002 rounding the corners at Signal Corps
425 FY Racing 2007 Subaru STI close to the summit
425 FY Racing 2007 Subaru STI close to the summit
202 Nick Roberts 2014 Subaru STI with a ripped off left rear wheel after swinging it too wide at Cragway Corner and hitting a boulder on Day 2 Practice.
202 Nick Roberts 2014 Subaru STI with a ripped off left rear wheel after swinging it too wide at Cragway Corner and hitting a boulder on Day 2 Practice.
202 Nick Roberts 2014 Subaru STI with a ripped off left rear wheel after swinging it too wide at Cragway Corner and hitting a boulder on Day 2 Practice. here's a closer look at the aftermath.
202 Nick Roberts 2014 Subaru STI with a ripped off left rear wheel after swinging it too wide at Cragway Corner and hitting a boulder on Day 2 Practice. here’s a closer look at the aftermath.
202 Nick Roberts 2014 Subaru STI back at it after ripping off the left rear wheel on practice day 2.
202 Nick Roberts 2014 Subaru STI back at it after ripping off the left rear wheel on practice day 2.
134 John Schieffelin 1939 MG TB. Beautiful car.
134 John Schieffelin 1939 MG TB. Beautiful car.
77 Matt Gottlieb 06' STI throwing it sideways for the fans and film crew on Sunday.
77 Matt Gottlieb 06′ STI throwing it sideways for the fans and film crew on Sunday.
Higgins sideways during the parade down the mountain
Higgins sideways during the parade down the mountain
Higgins makes his way back down the mountain after winning this years overall Climb to the Clouds Hillclimb
Higgins makes his way back down the mountain after winning this years overall Climb to the Clouds Hillclimb
David Higgins showing off his perfect hair after being in a helmet for a few hours. oh and he got the fastest time up the mountain today.
David Higgins showing off his perfect hair after being in a helmet for a few hours. oh and he got the fastest time up the mountain today.
David Higgins and Craig Drew pose for photos at the base after the end of the race.
David Higgins and Craig Drew pose for photos at the base after the end of the race.

Editor’s Note July 24, 2014:

Alexander Grabau’s name was listed in the reverse and that’s the way we published it. Our apologies to Alex for the faux pas. – Marsha S. Haneiph

Written by Jason Brackett

Jason Brackett

I've been addicted to power and speed ever since the first time my head got pushed back into the seat under acceleration. I grew up with an affinity for engines and the arts, blending them together into my passions. Photography, writing and motorsports.

I've traveled the country in pursuit of my passions and paid the price with my health. I'm a living marvel of modern medicine and a beacon of the human spirit.

I was down and out for sometime but now, I'm back! With new hips, a slightly shorter digestive track and a drive to further my own ability.

I'm from Maine. I have a small farm with 57 acres in the foothills of the White Mountains. I have a beautiful wife with a little girl, 2 dogs, one cat, ten chickens, and garage space to build something terrifyingly awesome.

So ya, I'm living my American Dream.

I don't particularly care for long walks on the beach
Sunsets are cool but I prefer the smell of race fuel.
One of my favorites songs is the sound of a Audi five cylinder at 9000 RPMs under wide open throttle, spitting hellfire and brimstone between gears. That always puts a smile on my face.

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