Article by Ryan Randels. Photography by Corey Davis and James Harris.
On Thursday, we ventured to the top of America’s Mountain for Day 2 of the official practice and qualifying sessions. As we described in Day 1’s recap [link out], the classes are divided into three run groups, and the course is divided into three sections. Every day of practice each group gets a dedicated section of the course. Starting at Devil’s Playground (elevation 12,780 ft.), the third leg of the course extends to the top of Pikes Peak at elevation 14,110 ft. Taking on the top leg of the course were all the motorcycle divisions, including Sidecar, 1205cc, 750cc, 450cc, 250cc, Heavyweight Supermoto, Quad Modified, Exhibition Powersport (including the Z-electric bikes), and the Vintage motorcycles.
It’s always refreshing to vary from our regular coverage and provide something that we feel simply doesn’t get enough attention—the motorcycle classes. These riders and "monkeys” (co-riders in the sidecars as they’re affectionately referred to) are simply balls-to-the-wall crazy. With many displaying their true track bravura, they push their machines to their mechanical limits on the asphalt twists and turns of the mountain, laying their bikes to degrees seen at a MotoGP race. With nothing more than a helmet and a thin layer of leather to protect them from the mountain, these guys (and women!) have arguably the biggest spines in the race. Since Revvolution.com is technically an automotive community, we don’t regularly cover motorcycle events, but when we do, the coverage turns out something like this . . .
Sidecar Class PPIHC Thursday Practice Session
According to PPIHC.com, three wheels, two riders ("driver” and "passenger”), and one winning mission. The passenger (or aptly named "the monkey”) lets it all hang out in the turns, making for some interesting action. Sidecars are always a crowd favorite. Sidecar record: John-Thomas Wood (2012), 11:41.406.
Pikes Peak 250 Class PPIHC Thursday Practice Session
Don’t let the size fool you. There are motorcycles with bigger engines on Pikes Peak, but the 250 Class is fast and competitive. These machines are usually factory built for racing with two-stroke and four-stroke single- or twin-cylinder engines. Pikes Peak 250 Record: Jason Archuletta (2012), 11:41.015.
Pikes Peak 450 Class PPIHC Thursday Practice Session
A popular class with many riders. Two-stroke and four-stroke engines are eligible. Many older design machines of this size are successful in this race, but bikes off the showroom floor can also be competitive. Single- and twin-cylinder engines are allowed. Pikes Peak 450 Record: Travis Newbold (2012), 11:06.618.
Pikes Peak Heavyweight Supermoto PPIHC Thursday Practice Session
Many riders choose to use a lightweight, single-cylinder, four-stroke 700cc engine in this class. This engine creates an excellent power-to-weight ratio, something all Pikes Peak racers strive for. Twin-cylinder engines may be as large as 750cc. Pikes Peak Heavyweight Supermoto Record: Gary Trachy (2012), 10:40.753.
Pikes Peak Superbike 750 PPIHC Thursday Practice Session
A new class in 2012, Pikes Peak Superbike 750 will feature two-, three-, or four-cylinder superbikes with no supercharging or turbocharging.
Pikes Peak 1205 PPIHC Thursday Practice Session
This class gives the new breed of over 900cc twin- or triple-cylinder off-road motorcycles a place to race. In 2006 four of these powerful bikes ran in an exhibition with impressive times, proving their adaptability to Pike Peak. All eyes will be on these thundering machines. Pikes Peak 1205 Record: Carlin Dunne (2012), 9:52.819.
Quad Modified PPIHC Thursday Practice Session
Essentially four-wheeled motorcycles, these machines are limited only by tread width and the use of an ATV engine of 500cc or less. Stability is aided by extreme weight shifting by the rider. Cornering velocity is very high, while the relatively small engines hold down outright speed. Quad Modified Record: Steve Tutt (2012), 11:40.521.
Exhibition Powersport PPIHC Thursday Practice Session
This division includes Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) and Quads 750cc-up. Also included in this division (new for 2013) is an electric motorcycle class that will feature riders competing on stock Zero Electric Motorcycles courtesy of Hollywood Electrics. Exhibition Powersport Record: Doug Siddens (2012), 10:40.669.
Vintage Motorcycles PPIHC Thursday Practice Session
This division includes 650cc–750cc, four-stroke twin-cylinder bikes that would qualify for current AHRMA events. Vintage Motorcycle Record: Marc LaNoue (2012), 12:39.782. [Thursday results]