Burning Brakes In A Van Down The Highest Mountain In The NortheastRaphael Orlove7/11/14 7:34pmFiled to: mount washington hillclimbhillclimbsinfrastructurevanlopnikrally10013EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkEvery car that drives up and down the road to the top of Mount Washington gets a bumper sticker celebrating the car's achievement. I didn't really understand what that meant until I found myself smelling roasting brakes in a church van loaded with a couple hundred pounds of fuel onboard.AdvertisementI was at the Mount Washington hillclimb a few weekends back, following a couple rally teams as they made runs on the mountain. The schedule of the weekend was that the cars went through tech, then the drivers got to review the hillclimb road in ordinary cars, and then in the coming days they made passes on the course in their race cars.I got to ride up the mountain with Troy Miller and my buddy Steve Harrell for their reconnaissance (recce) runs in Troy's Grand Cherokee. Over only eight miles, the road rises from something around 1,400 feet to over 6,100.AdvertisementI'd never been up the mountain before and honestly, it wasn't that shocking. The road was real narrow in some spots, but I'm used to narrow mountain roads. Troy and Steve reviewed each turn and marked dangerous spots and how fast each turn would be in their racing Ford Fiesta R2.We made it down the mountain without any kind of problem. I watched the view while they talked. It was nice.Back down in the pits, I saw that another team I knew was going up for some recce runs. It was the Broken Motorsports team, with Bill Petrow in his Nissan 240SX that would later set a rally record up the mountain, and two other vehicles following him. There was Petrow's family in their Subaru and there was Petrow's crew in a big, old church van. I sprinted over and hopped into the van just before they passed the gate leading onto the mountain road proper.