A heavy cloud layer provided moisture cycling between constant drizzle and heavy rain all day. It slowed the course of things.
Hillclimbers started up the Mt. Washington Auto Road along with tourists. Some of the racers drove their hillclimb vehicles, which gave onlookers an audio indication of their locations among the trees. I watched a number of these vehicles as they started up the mountain, only to disappear in the foliage and fog.
A Weekend of Champions
A good number of champions are listed in the weekend's program. Some are human, and others are machines. They've gathered at Mount Washington for a number of reasons, but at the heart of it all is the challenge of climbing the mountain road in the shortest possible time.
Among the competitors are three former record-holders: Tim O'Neil, Paul Choiniere, and Frank Sprongl. Sprongl holds the official hillclimb event record of 6 minutes, 41.99 seconds.
Vehicles, too, are champions. Cars in the Vintage Class have competed in the Mt. Washington Hillclimb in the past:
- 1931 Studebaker factory Indy car -- one of three (won both the Indianapolis 500 and Pikes Peak in 1931)
- 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 (Tazio Nuvolari won Le Mans with this car, and it won the Mt. Washington Hillclimb in 1937)
- 1934 Reuter Special
- 1951 Jaguar XK120
Climb to the Clouds with Subaru
Members of Vermont SportsCar's Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT USA) will be taking part. In fact, Vermont SportsCar played a key role in organizing this year's edition of Climb to the Clouds. SRT USA driver David Higgins will be tackling Mount Washington in a specially prepared WRX STI.
There are many more interesting drivers and vehicles taking part in the weekend's hillclimb, all with their own stories. You can get a sense of the extent of these stories by taking a look at the entry list on the Climb to the Clouds website.
Practice for all vehicles starts at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning, June 24.
-- Ric Hawthorne