2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Report

Records get smashed in a new era at the world's most famous hill climb


The 90th running of the PPIHC will go down in history as the fastest to date. The average speed of the winners was between 72-73 mph. This is because this year, for the first time, the entire 12.42-mile, 156-turn course has been paved all the way to its summit.

Another contributing factor is the date change. The PPIHC traditionally runs one month earlier in the summer than it did this year. A local wildfire of catastrophic proportions scorched more 18,000 acres and consumed nearly 350 homes the week before the scheduled time of the race. The slightly cooler temperatures, under brilliant sunny skies, surely kept the asphalt cooler than it would have been in July. As one might expect, these factors had profound effects on the racer’s setups.

Last year’s motorcycle winner, #5 Carlin Dunne on the Ducati Multistrada 1200, eclipsed his 2011 time of 11:11.3 with an unbelievable 9:52.8 to take the 1205 motorcycle class victory. Dunne’s Ducati was fast, achieving a maximum of 144 mph on the course.

2012 Pikes Peak Hillclimb Carlin Dunn

Second place on a motorcycle with a time of 9:58.3 for 4th place overall went to #555 Greg Tracy on another Ducati Multistrada 1200, while the third-place motorcycle racer, Gary Trachy #357 in the 750 Class, finished with a time of 10:40.8. Travis Newbold led the 450 class with a time of 11:06.6. 

2012 Pikes Peak Hillclimb Greg Tracy

“Today was an emotional day,” said Dunne. “The year of work the Spider Grips Ducati team put into preparing for Pikes Peak got us across the finish line in under 10 minutes, an achievement we’re very proud of. When we heard that we won and broke the record for the second time, I was speechless. The one-two finish proves the Ducati Multistrada 1200 S is the ultimate bike to conquer Pikes Peak.”

The fastest four-wheeled racer, Rhys Millen in a 700-hp Hyundai Genesis Coupe, beat Dunne by just over 6 seconds with a time of 9:46.164. The second-place overall finisher, Romain Dumas, was fractionally behind with a 9:46.181.

I’ve ridden Pike’s Peak many times on a motorcycle, and my biggest thrill of attending the race was imagining being able to have the road to myself and just being able to ride it flat out. It must be an amazing feeling for these guys.

2012 Pikes Peak Hillclimb Racing

I was a little surprised the bikes went one at a time rather than racing in a pack. It was kind of dull from a spectator point of view, but I’m going go again next year for sure. And now that the road is paved all the way to the top, I expect more superbike-mounted road racers to enter next year.

As always, racing at Pike’s Peak can be dangerous. One motorcycle rider and two car drivers went off course by 3 pm – El Paso County Sheriffs and paramedics were very busy. Thankfully nobody was seriously injured. And fortunately for me, I left the corner where the first car in the Unlimited Class went off course moments before it happened...

According to the ticket agent at the bottom of the hill, attendance was up this year over last. The large crowds around the start line and a plethora of bikes with out-of-state tags supported that claim.

2012 Pikes Peak Hillclimb Umbrella Girl

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