After three days of threatening weather, Sunday (June 26) promised some relief. At the base of Mount Washington, though, clouds still obscured the top.
The clouds would rise from below, and sometimes they held enough moisture to create a mist that could be a borderline shower. At times, too, we could see the paddock and parking area at the foot of the mountain.
Many spectators chose to drive their cars to the top of Mount Washington to watch the hillclimb from there. No matter where you were located -- at the halfway area where I was stationed the previous day, Cragway, or the mountain top -- you were committed to spending your day there. We weren't disappointed.
We were on the mountain for more than an hour before the competitors were turned loose on the road. They ascended in reverse order of their practice times, from slowest to fastest. For those who thought far enough ahead to pack some food, the time between cars and between the morning and afternoon sessions was enough for a picnic. (I'll be better prepared for the next hillclimb!)
The progression of slowest to fastest cars meant that the cornering speeded up from one vehicle to the next. By the time the fastest cars reached us, they were drifting through parts or all of the corner. The crowd of spectators at that point cheered louder and louder.
David Higgins in the #75 WRX STI had the most spectacular cornering by far, starting to drift earlier than anyone else.
Here Higgins rounds Cragway during his morning pass:
Here is Higgins at Cragway for his afternoon pass:
Higgins' efforts yielded the fastest time of the day and a new record for the Mt. Washington Hillclimb event, taking only 6 minutes, 11.54 seconds to climb the 7.6-mile road. Read more about David Higgins setting the record here.
Complete results are here.
-- Ric Hawthorne