Team Ducati/Spider Grips Take a First and Third Place Finish at Pikes Peak Colorado
Racing motorcycles is hard enough at sea level, but when you have to race three miles up in the atmosphere things get a bit more challenging. Team Ducati and spider grips not only raced, but took a first and a third place at this year’s annual race at Pikes Peak Colorado. The team managed by owner Paul Livingston raced the pro class on the brand new Ducati Multistrada 1200. Greg Tracy number 555 took first place and team mate Alexander Smith took third both on the Multistrada.
Pikes Peak is the tallest eastern mountain in the continental USA. Within a stone’s throw from Colorado Springs the peak casts a shadow on the great Colorado plains and on a clear day can be seen from Denver. When Lieutenant Zebulon Pike first set eyes on the mountain he swore that it would never be conquered by man or beast. Now the peak is the course of the Pikes Peak international hill climb, the second oldest motorsport function in America.
Car and motorcycle enthusiasts race this partially paved twisty 12.42 mile course for their chance at victory. As they get closer to the 14,000 foot finish line their bodies and machines are put to the test as they must endure thinner air and harsher conditions.
For this invitation only race, top racers normally finish the race in around 12 minutes which means they are averaging speeds above 60 miles per hour on precarious roads. In 1914 the first race was won with a time just over 22 minutes. In 1994 a Japanese car racer set the record at 10 minutes cutting the original winning time in half. Greg’s winning time was in the 11 minute range which really goes to show why he got the results he did.
Paul has been involved with his Spider Grips team since 2001 and has been involved with racing for a lot longer than that. When Spider Grips first started out they helped racers in the Baja and the Bonneville salt flats. “K&N was partially responsible for our success from the very beginning” Paul said “With their filters and tuning we were able to know exactly how fast we could go which lead to our first records in the salt flats. Since our first success in Bonneville I have had an almost superstitious link to K&N to where the first thing I do is change the air and oil filters on all my race vehicles.” Another one of Paul’s secret to success is a no drama policy that he firmly believes in.
For both his win this year and his win in 2008 Paul had his Ducati Spider team ship out to Colorado’s high altitude 5 days before the race to start getting acclimated. In the weeks before this he has his riders go out and get familiar with the bikes so they know exactly what they are riding when the race starts. Since these bikes are so new that Paul had the very first bikes on US soil he had his riders spend as much time on them as possible. They trained on the track so they could get used to cornering the Ducati so that they would be ready for the 130 some odd turns that await them on the peak. While the more traditional “dirt bike” has an advantage on the graded sections of the course the Multistrada really brought the win home on the street with speeds over 138 mph between corners.
Paul and his team have the mind set of having going out to have fun but with a little preparation this substantiates into wins for the team. If Ducati Spider grips team keep doing what they do and more results like this are sure to follow. For now they are off to Laguna Seca where Ducati plans to show case this winning crew.