We knew the Pikes Peak Hill Climb‘s Board of Directors was going to have a hard time saying yes to Travis’ entry for the 2012 race. There were tons of things to consider, with insurance issues likely topping the list. We weren’t privy to all of their discussions and when we did ask how they were going, the responses we got were typically brief and void of details. At the same time, we were counting on them not being able to say no. For lots of reasons. Number one being that Travis is a great competitor, a true professional, and he genuinely deserves to be there.
Travis received an email letting him know that the board would be meeting in mid-March and would give him an answer shortly after. We all began holding our breath. The date for the board meeting came and went, and we still hadn’t heard anything. Finally in the last week of March, Travis sent me an email, a text and gave me a call letting me know that Chairman of the Board, Tom Osbourne and Director of Operations Megan Leatham had called him and given him the green light.
Of course there were conditions….some of them we had already talked about; and things like the hand controls, health concerns, etc. Some, however, we were hearing for the first time. They want Travis to take a co-driver. They also want us to mount some sort of hand brake between the driver and co-driver in case the co-driver needs to take action. Those were the two main considerations. Easy enough, we think. Who’s gonna co-drive…?
I called John right away and let him know Travis was accepted. John and I were discussing some of the details, when I mentioned to him about the Board wanting a co-driver. So I asked John what he thought about maybe going along as the co-driver. He said “Well, I’ll probably be scared ‘sh*t-less’, but I’ll do it”. I talked to John and Travis about it a bit further, and it makes perfect sense. John will have built the vehicle and will know it better than anyone, and as a five-time champion, it’s pretty clear he knows the road.
The folks over at Stewarts ATV and Buggy are some of the coolest people we’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Loaning out a brand new Polaris RZR worth well over fifteen grand, is a pretty big deal. These guys have never been to Pikes Peak, and they didn’t know Travis when this whole process began. But they know John and they trust him. So when John told them about the project and what Travis is trying to accomplish, they jumped right in. Pretty amazing people, huh!? At the very least I encourage you to go visit their web page and also give them a “like” on Facebook. At the very least… Without their help, this is just a pipe dream. Over the next several weeks as we lead up to the Hill Climb, we’ll be telling you more about Stewarts, and some of the other fine companies that have decided to lend their support to this monumental endeavor.
Last week Travis also reached out to the company that makes the hand controls for his daily driver (Sure Grip), and after a few conversations with their marketing manager, it looks like they will be helping out the project as well. Not only supplying a complete hand control package for the RZR, but they also sent Travis a set of controls for his Playstation, so he can get some exercise and “seat time” right in comfy confines of his home in Oklahoma. Look for an upcoming feature on Sure Grip, as well. We’ll see if we can give everyone some insight on what they do and how they help folks in the same position as Travis gain some freedom.
“Real” seat time, behind the wheel of his newly minted beast will begin early next month.
Stay tuned! There’s much more to come.