22 July 2011

2011 Pikes Peak Int'l Hill Climb: Wrap-up and Photos

I posted a bunch of my Pikes Peak photos throughout the blog. Click here and use the "Newer Posts" link at the bottom of each post to see photos of:

Practice Day 1
Practice Day 2
Practice Day 3
Fan Fest
Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing BBQ at Bob Hill's house
Bobby Unser Jr. signing and driving the Phatt Man
Pre-race prep and antics
Race day and post-race parking lot party

07 July 2011

2011 Pikes Peak Int'l Hill Climb: Article on Bobby Regester after the Crash

Bobby Regester announces his retirement after his crash on Pikes Peak this year:



Regester lives to tell of crash on Peak

Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2011 9:00 am

Updated: 11:34 am, Fri Jul 1, 2011.
Danny Summers

Contributing Writer Colorado Community Newspapers
OurTellerCountyNews.com 


Divide stock car driver Bobby Regester examines the damage to his car just days after his wreck on Pikes Peak during the 2011 Hill Climb. Regester and his Pontiac Sunfire took a 200-foot fall during this year’s race off the side of the mountain. Photo by Danny Summers


Divide stock car driver Bobby Regester examines the damage to his car just days after his wreck on Pikes Peak during the 2011 Hill Climb. Regester and his Pontiac Sunfire took a 200-foot fall during this year’s race off the side of the mountain. Photo by Danny Summers

The back end of Regester’s Sunfire is almost unrecognizable following its bout with Pikes Peak June 26 at this year’s Hill Climb. Photo by Danny Summers

Regester and his crew surmised after the wreck that Regester likely lost his bearings on Pikes Peak due to inhaling methanol flames from an exhaust leak inside his car. “It looks like the exhaust pipe got pushed inside the passenger side door,” he said afterwards. Photo by Danny Summers

Divide stock car driver Bobby Regester stands next to his 2005 Pontiac Sunfire just days after he and the car tumbled 200 feet off the side of Pikes Peak at the 2011 Hill Climb. Photo by Danny Summers


Bobby Regester knows Pikes Peak Highway about as well as anybody. After all, over the last 30 years he’s raced up it hundreds of times in practice and as a competitor in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

But on June 26, about a quarter-mile below the 16-mile switchback, Regester lost his way on the mountain about eight minutes into his run. In an instant his life flashed before his eyes when he flew off the mountain backwards and down the side of the 2,000-foot cliff at 70 mph, while wide open in third gear.

“I’ve never lost my place on the mountain,” said Regester, 57, a resident of Divide and a grandfather of seven. “I thought I was in the left hand turn in the third leg of the ‘W’s’ going through the W switchback. I came into 16 Mile and I was looking for the guard rail but it wasn’t there. I was thinking about my brakes and lost concentration... Then when I went off the mountain I thought it was the end of the road. I thought that was my last run. But the good Lord stepped in and had me live another day.”

The only reason Regester, who reached a top speed that week during qualifying of about 130 mph at Bottomless Pit, was able to walk away relatively unharmed — aside from a few bruises and a sprained left foot — was because his No. 44 2005 Pontiac Sunfire came to rest upon a boulder some 200 feet down the cliff. Prior to stopping, Regester’s car appeared to have hit another large boulder, thus slowing his car down as it broke apart into many pieces.

“When I stopped, I got on the radio and let my son (Bobby, Jr., his crew chief) know what happened, and that I was all right,” said Regester, who was racing his first Hill Climb since 2008. “I got out of the car, hiked down and got in a safety vehicle which took me to the top to get checked out by emergency crews.

“I made a decision an hour later that I was retiring from racing. It’s time to hang up the helmet on Pikes Peak.”

Regester, who drove two years in the Indy Racing League at the turn of the century, added that he wanted to thank his wife, son, family and friends for helping make all his successful racing years so enjoyable.

By Tuesday, Regester’s car was back at his shop in Divide. He and his crew surmised that Regester likely lost his bearings on Pikes Peak due to inhaling methanol flames from an exhaust leak inside his car.

“It looks like the exhaust pipe got pushed inside the passenger side door,” he said. “It probably happened that morning when we were changing tires.”

By late Sunday night, a video of Regester’s horrifying crash was posted on YouTube. By 6 p.m. Tuesday, there were nearly 90,000 hits of the 13-second spectacle. By Thursday afternoon that number was 370,000. Counted among those who saw the video was Hill Climb legend and Woodland Park resident Leonard Vahsholtz.

“I know for a fact that sometimes when you’re racing and you concentrate you forget to breathe,” Vahsholtz said. “In all the years I raced the Peak, I never crashed or anything, and I never thought about going off the cliff. Sometimes you just get disoriented. You’re not superhuman.”

Leonard’s son, Clint, who tied his father on Sunday for the most individual victories in Pikes Peak Hill Climb history with 18, started about a minute behind Regester and was not informed of the crash until after he reached the summit.

“When I drove back down I looked at where he went off,” Clint said. “I said to myself ‘It would be bad to go off here.’ When you go up the race course you have to be on top of everything.”

Few drivers know Pikes Peak as well, or better, than Regester. He is a fourth generation Woodland Park resident and a 1972 graduate of the high school. He started racing short track while still in high school and made his initial start in the Hill Climb in 1980, earning rookie of the year honors.

He won his first championship in the Open Wheel Division in 1985, and followed that with victories in Super Stock in 1994, 1995 and 2007. His run in 1994 of 11:39.17 was the record that lasted for 16 years until Clint Vahsholtz bettered it by six seconds in 2010.

Unfortunately for Regester, this is not the first time he’s crashed on the mountain during the Hill Climb. In 1999, while driving a Chevrolet Camaro, he crashed at 19-Mile and had to be taken away in the Flight for Life helicopter to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. He suffered from internal injuries.

“I just got my guts shook up that time,” Regester said.

This time he’s just grateful to still have his guts left.

05 July 2011

2011 Pikes Peak Int'l Hill Climb: Grandpa and Grandson

I'm still working on finding time to write some stories and post photos about this year's PPIHC.

I love this story! A grandfather, 74, and his grandson, 20, both competed on motorcycles this year. And Grandpa in the vintage division won by 14 seconds!


Grandpa, on his 1962 Honda Eddie Mulder replica in the vintage class posted an 18:13.

Grandson, on his 1985 Woods Rotax in the 450cc class posted an 18:27.


Grandfather and Grandson at the top of Pikes Peak.  Photo courtesy of
JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE.


Grandpa, #501, in the parade down the hill.

Grandpa Gerberick.

Grandfather and grandson complete motorcycle races up Pikes Peak

June 26, 2011 9:33 PM

SCOTT KANIEWSKI

THE GAZETTE

When grandma tells you to do something you do it.

So when 20-year-old Joshua Hamblen was told by his grandmother that he was going to race in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, he said OK.

Hamblen had plenty of experience to draw on. His grandfather, Robert Gerberich, 74, competed in the Hill Climb from 1991-2006. So Sunday was a return for Gerberich in the Vintage motorcycle class and a first time for Hamblen.

Hamblen raced in the motorcycle 450 class. It’s a ride the Wadsworth, Ohio, resident won’t soon forget. He fell twice. Cracked the shield on his helmet. And could hardly see by the time he got to the top of the peak.

“It was tough,” Hamblen said. “Toughest thing I’ve ever done.”

But he knew he had to finish.

“Getting up to the top to see my grandpa,” Hamblen said, “that’s all that mattered.”

He’s already planning on riding next year.

“Definitely going to come back,” Hamblen said. “With a bigger bike and better equipment.”

Gerberich, Grandma Loa and Hamblen all race back in Ohio. Gerberich first started riding Pikes Peak because of its tradition.

“I follow the races,” Gerberich said. “Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, they’ve all done this. So I said ... hey, I’ll do the same thing they did.”

The grandfather-grandson duo wasn’t the only relatives to make it up the hill. Brothers Stuart and Leeland Sinclair won their respective motorcycle races. Stuart won the 750 class, while Leeland won the Super Moto 450.

After winning his race, Leeland had to do a few interviews. He wanted to get them finished quickly.

“I ran out to find him,” Leeland said, “and heard a V-twin and prayed and prayed it was him. I’m more excited for his win.”

Sure enough, the V-twin belonged to Stuart.

“It’s really a big deal,” Stuart said. “It’s a big deal for us as brothers and to be up here together.”

For the second consecutive year Davey Durelle won his motorcycle event and will probably move up. A year after winning the 250 class, Durelle moved up to win the 450 class Sunday.

“It was fun,” Durelle said. “We wanted to come into the 450 class and (win again).

With the track expected to be completely paved next season, Durelle said he’ll probably go up another class for one more race up Pikes Peak.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” Durelle said. “Being that it’s going to be paved it’s going to level the playing field as far as times. I didn’t think the top section would be as fun as it was, all paved, but it wasn’t bad. I actually had a lot of fun up here, so I think I’ll be back for one more year.”