COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., June 29, 2014 - The championship trophy for The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will remain in the hands of a French driver for another year.
Romain Dumas of Ales, France, followed in his countryman Sebastien Loeb's tire tracks by winning the 92nd running of the "Race to the Clouds" after finishing with a time of 9 minutes, 5.801 seconds. That left him nearly three seconds clear of Greg Tracy of Long Beach, Calif., who finished in 9:08.188.
Dumas, who now lives in Geneva, Switzerland, averaged 79.150 miles per hour in his 2013 Norma M20 RD Limited to win the Unlimited Division and overall race title. His time was well off Loeb's race record of 8:13.878 from last year, but Dumas was thrilled to add his name to the race's prestigious list of champions.
"After 2012, the target was to win one," said Dumas, the race runner-up in 2012. "This year, we did a perfect job, the car was running good and we prepared how we should. We are very happy, and this is a big win for the team.
"I knew I was running smoothly, so I didn't want to take any risks. It was a clear run. It was not incredible, but it was enough to win and that was the target anyway."
Tracy became the first man in PPIHC history to finish under the 10-minute mark on a motorcycle and in a car while winning the Electric Modified Division in his 2014 Mitsubishi MIEV Evolution III. The time was a division record for Tracy, who celebrated with teammates after returning from the mountain's 14,115-foot summit.
"It feels incredible," said Tracy, a six-time PPIHC motorcycle champion. "I came here to win the Electric Class, to break the 10-minute mark, to get the Electric Class record and the Electric qualifying record. I did all that, and to get up there and see that I'm three second off Dumas, I was like, 'Ahh, I should have had the King of the Hill on this one.
"But that's one of those moments you've got to pull back and say you're so grateful, thankful and blessed that I'm here with such a great team and on this beautiful mountain among friends. It doesn't get any better."
Two race favorites - Paul Dallenbach and Nobuhiro Tajima - had trouble on Sunday. Dallenbach, a three-time PPIHC overall champion, had mechanical issues with his 2008 PVA 3 midway through his run, while nine-time overall winner Tajima had transponder issues and did not have a final time listed at the conclusion of the race.
Hiroshi Masuoka of Saitama, Japan, also drove the same car as Tracy in the Electric Modified Division and finished third overall in 9:12.204. Clint Vasholtz of Woodland Park, Colo., set a division record in winning the Open Wheel Division in 9:54.700.
Vasholtz, who also set the race record in the Super Stock Car Division in 2011, now has 18 career PPIHC titles. Michael Skeen was fifth overall in 9:55.471 while winning the Pikes Peak Open Division with his 2009 Nissan GT-R in his first year racing in the PPIHC.
San Diego's Jeremy Toye was the fastest racer on two wheels, taking the Pikes Peak Open Division in 9:58.687 on his 2013 Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle. He was the lone motorcycle racer to finish in less than 10 minutes and did so in his first year competing in the PPIHC.
Race action was halted for more than 90 minutes early in the morning when 54-year-old motorcycle racer Bobby Goodin crashed just moments after crossing the finish line. Flight For Life airlifted the Flower Mound, Texas, racer to Penrose Main Hospital, but he passed away as a result of his injuries, according to the El Paso Sheriff's Department.
Medical personnel reportedly performed CPR on Goodin, who lost control of his 2014 Triumph Daytona 675R while attempting to stop and fell headfirst into rocks bordering the peak's gravel road. Goodin's death was the first for a motorcycle racer in the PPIHC since 1982 and the fifth race-related death in the race's 92-year history.
Electric Production driver Steve Wickham wrecked early in his run and was taken off the mountain by ambulance, and his status was also unknown at race conclusion.
Temperatures reached 93 degrees in Colorado Springs on Sunday, a great contrast from the race's 2013 conditions. The sunny and warm weather, coupled with breezy wind gusts, created slick track conditions that made drivers adjust their strategy for the 12.42-mile race.
"It was pretty slick, and the course always changes," Tracy said. "It seems like on race day, the course ends up being slick. I don't know if it's because you're pushing it harder or what, but the car worked fabulous."
A total of 130 racers competed in this year's race, navigating the course's 156 turns as quickly as they could in an attempt to reach the summit of "America's Mountain."
Neal Reid is a full-time freelancer based in Colorado Springs who has written for USA Today, Newsday, the Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post, ESPN.com, ESPNW.com and MLB.com, among others. Follow him on Twitter @NealReid21.