We were approaching the end of the second day of practice for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and I heard over my radio that the last car was on the course. I could hear the “throatie” V8 powered car making its way up the course, getting closer and closer by the minute. When the race car was a turn of so from my location I raised my camera with anticipation and focused on the location where the car should appear. The sound level increases and I hold my breath, finger poised on the camera shutter release as the white 1970 Camaro of Ralph Murdock comes flying around the corner.

The Camaro is really moving and swings just a little bit outside of the normal race groove, leaving a fresh path of tire tracks in its wake. As I’m popping off the first couple of pictures it becomes apparent that things are about to get a little exciting. Now he’s just inches from the edge of a 50 foot drop off so I just hold down the shutter of my 9 frames a second camera hoping to catch a shot of what is now the inevitable…. he’s going over the edge! To my surprise and I’m sure to the drivers, something snagged on the undercarriage of the car that kept the car from going down the hillside. Half stunned at what I saw, I called the accident in on the radio then ran toward the car. I could see that the scenario was much like what you’d see in the cartoons…here’s a car teetering on the edge and it would only take the weight of a small bird landing on the trunk lid to make it lose balance and plummet down the hillside. So I slowed my approach to the car and called out to the driver, “Are you OK?”…followed by, “What ever you do, don’t move, help in on it’s way”. When the driver replied, “Nice view of the blue sky” I knew he had a sense of humor. A good ending to a scary moment as the tow truck plucks the Camaro from its perch and the engine roars back to life for a safe and uneventful trip back to the pits.

Click here for a view the Dave Philip collection of images from this years hill climb.

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