20 July 2009

2009 PPIHC: The Colorado Springs Gazette Point of View on Spectators on the Race Course

From the Colorado Springs Gazette:

Hill Climb competitors keep eye out for spectators after Tour de France death
July 19, 2009 - 8:55 PM by JUAN LOPEZ

In the wake of Saturday’s accident in the Tour de France, in which a 61-year-old woman was hit and killed by a police motorcycle, awareness for spectators pervaded the 87th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

“Some of the fans were very close to us, and I did have that (incident) in mind,” said Marcus Grönholm, who finished second in the unlimited division. “It made me slow down.”

Although the drivers were more cautious for the most part, some fans didn’t follow suit.

“There were people walking across the road and crossing the road just as I was driving by,” said Melissa Keeney, who finished third in the time attack 2wd division.
Her husband, Jimmy Keeney, wasn’t so vigilant.

“I don’t slow down for them,” said Keeney, who finished second in the open wheel division. “It’s not their race to win, it’s mine. If I clip one, it’s their deal, not mine. I obviously don’t want to hurt anybody, but if there’s somebody in the road, I’m not going to slow down.”

Race director Phil Layton said there is not much else he and his crew can do about the fan interference.

“We send out messages through radio about spectator safety,” he said. “I’ll send the sheriff’s department up the hill, and we’ve got sheriffs all over the hill. They have public address things on their car, warning people to stay back. Short of handcuffing people to trees, I don’t know what the answer is.”

No comments: