Largest field in 110 year history
The Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb, also known as the Climb to the Clouds, was first run in 1904 as part of the famous Glidden Tour and serves as one of North America’s oldest motorsports events. Following a 3-year hiatus, the 2014 Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb will be a 3-day motorsports festival boasting an 80-car competition field – the largest in the event’s history – filled with some of the best race and rally drivers from around the world competing for “King of the Hill” honors on the Northeast’s tallest peak.
The 2014 entry list includes three of the past five living Mt. Washington Hillclimb record holders; the top twenty teams from the Rally America National Championship; a variety of high-horsepower, purpose-built hillclimb cars and a hand-picked vintage class filled with racecars steeped in motorsports history.
Gunning for the overall victory, as well as a new overall course record, will be three past Mt. Washington record holders. They include multi-time rally champion and former Mt. Washington Hillclimb record holder Tim O’Neil from Dalton, NH who set a record of 7 minutes 45 seconds in 1990 driving a 300 horsepower Volkswagen Rally Golf; the 1992 and 1998 Mt. Washington Hillclimb record holder and six-time Canadian National Rally Champion Frank Sprongl from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada who drove Audi Quattros to both his Mt. Washington titles and the current Mt. Washington Hillclimb record holder and 5-time United States Rally Champion, David Higgins, from the Isle of Man and Subaru Rally Team USA who beat the previous record of 6:41.99 set in 1998 by Canadian Frank Sprongl when he posted a blistering time of 6 minutes 11.54 seconds driving a 325 horsepower all-wheel-drive 2011 Subaru WRX STI rally car in June 2011.
Other notable drivers include X Games legend, extreme sports icon and 4-time Rally America National Champion Travis Pastrana, who set an unofficial Mt. Washington Hillclimb record of 6:20.47 driving a 2010 Subaru WRX STI rally car in September 2010 while recording a television special for Red Bull; former Belgian National Rally Champion David Sterycx who competes in the Rally America National Championship; 2009 Rally America 2-wheel-drive Champion Dillon Van Way from Carencro, Louisiana; current and former New England Hillclimb Association Champions Kevin Gale from Sutton, NH and Sherman Baumann from Moodus, CT.
Also returning to Mt. Washington this year will be three very popular racers from New Hampshire who have competed in every Mt. Washington Hillclimb race since the event returned in 1990 – 14 events in all. These drivers include David Patten from Dunbarton, NH; Drew Young from Loudon, NH and Don Taylor from Claremont, NH. All three drivers are regular competitors in the New England Hillclimb Championship which hosts hillclimb events on access roads at the Mt. Ascutney State Park, Burke Mountain State Park, Okemo Mountain Resort and Mt. Philo State Park – all of which are located in the state of Vermont. Taylor will be pulling double-duty at this year’s hillclimb as he’ll also serve as the event’s Chief Technical Inspector.
The ever-popular Vintage Class meanwhile features a lineup of ten prestigious racing cars from the 1940’s through the late 1970’s. Athough all vehicles featured in this class have played a significant role in motorsports history through the years, the 1958 Porsche Carrera-powered Volkswagen “Bathtub” probably boasts the most Mt. Washington history of all cars entered. Driven to a record-setting time of 9 minutes and 13 seconds in 1961 by the legendary Bill Rutan from Connecticut, Rutan and the “Bathtub”, as it had come to be known, returned to Mt. Washington 29 years later in 1990 and raced to the top of Mt. Washington once again – beating his 1961 record-setting time by almost a minute!
Although Rutan won’t be sitting behind the wheel of the “Bathtub” this coming June, the completely restored Carrera-powered Volkswagen will be driven by another well-known Connecticut racer, Wayne Carini from Portland, CT. The popular host of the Velocity Channel’s “Chasing Classic Cars” television show, Carini will also serve as the Grand Marshal of the 2014 Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb.
The three-day motorsports event will consist of two half-days of practice on Friday morning until noon and again on Saturday morning until noon, June 27th and 28th. Although spectators will not be allowed to view practice runs by the drivers and teams on Friday morning, they will be able to enjoy viewing from the base area of the Mt. Washington Auto Road on Saturday morning.
On both Friday and Saturday, the Mt. Washington Auto Road will be closed in the morning for practice, but will open to the public shortly after noon.
First opened in 1861 as the Mt. Washington Carriage Road, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is the country’s oldest manmade attraction. The 7.6 mile Auto Road located in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire, is one of the ultimate challenges for driver and automobile. The serpentine tarmac and gravel road is lined with trees and dramatic drop-offs as it winds its way to the 6,288 foot summit of the Northeast’s tallest peak. Considered one of the oldest motorsports events in the United States, the hillclimb was first run in July 1904, seven years before the first 500-mile race Indianapolis and twelve years before the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. The 2014 Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb will celebrate its 110th anniversary as one of North America’s oldest motorsports events when it takes place June 26-29, 2014.