Going up Pikes Peak on a nice day at race pace is a feat for the brave, but climbing the mountain in foul weather with poor visibility is pure lunacy. This year, Victor Kuhns was the last person to make it all the way up Pikes Peak before officials paused the race for foul weather and shortened the course, and you must watch him brave hail, snow and fog to make it to the finish.
Kuhns’ No. 151 DMRally GC8-body Subaru Impreza was left at stage rally height for his run, which might have been just fine considering all the hail that was falling on the road. Riding on soft dry-weather Hankook rallycross tires, on the other hand, probably didn’t help.
It didn’t just come a torrential downpour on Kuhns’ run. Right after Kuhns was sent from the start line, a storm pelted the bottom of the mountain with golf-ball-size hail, parts in between had thick fog blocking Kuhns’ view, and the top was blasted with snow.
Christy Carlson at Right Foot Down spent the weekend with Kuhns’ team, and her full tale of Kuhns’ wild ride up the mountain is worth a read over there. There’s one part Carlson points out that makes this an even more insane run than it already was:
A safety crew member of the PPIHC came and told us later there were discussions as to if they should flag him and stop him on his run. The decision was made that it would be up to the driver to stop at this point, as the driver could not see the safety crew, nor the safety crew easily see Victor.
That’s right: they couldn’t even see Kuhns’ car well enough to flag him to stop on the mountain on his way up. Holy moly.
This wasn’t Kuhns’ first attempt at Pikes Peak, but it may just be one of his most memorable. He made it all the way up the hill with a time of 15:20, and was the last one this year to do so. Competitors who ran after the weather-mandated break were only allowed to run up to Glen Cove, below the treeline.
That’s Pikes Peak. A full run only happens if the mountain lets you.