May 4, 2014 11:46 PM by Kelsey Kennedy
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has been attracting competitors and spectators to Colorado Springs for almost 100 years. As vehicle technology improves and speeds continue to climb, Executive Director, Megan Leatham says drastic changes are in order.
Six safe spectator viewing areas are new to this years hill climb.
"We need to make sure we do this not one year to late after something catastrophic or really tragic happens," she says.
New regulations meant to keep spectators, officials, drivers and riders safe mean only about 1.5 miles of the race will be open to spectators. Fencing will go up, and private security and law enforcement will be on hand to make sure spectators stay within the designated spaces.
Spectator viewing areas include: the starting line, the halfway picnic grounds, the ski area, glen cove, cove pit and devil's playground.
"It's just been a problem with spectators crossing the road at ill advised times, and those type of things, so the drivers and riders are really excited about it," Leatham says. "We know that there are some spectators that wish it were going back to the old ways, but honestly, it's a change we have to make. If we don't, shame on us."
The Pikes Peak International Hill climb is the second oldest motorsports event in the United States. Only the Indianapolis 500 has enjoyed a longer tradition. No other race course in the world offers the combination of distance, elevation and challenging turns as Pikes Peak.
This year's drivers and riders will race to the clouds, attempting to beat last year's record breaking run of 8 minutes and 12 seconds by Sebastien Loeb.
The 92nd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is set for Sunday, June 29th.