Is the PPIHC Getting a Safety Upgrade?

Over the past few years, there has been a shadow hanging over the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Several racers have died while competing in the event, which has led some to compare the event to the Isle of Man TT—which is widely considered the deadliest race in the world. Those comparisons didn’t sit right with the race organizers, so they set out to change the way the world sees the PPIHC. But did their efforts work?

Why Is Safety on Pikes Peak So Important?

When Carl Sorensen crashed and perished back in 2015, fans of the PPIHC began sitting on pins and needles. Sorenson’s was the second deadly crash to happen at the event since 2014. This stirred rumors that several sponsors of the race were going to end their contributions and end the century old Colorado tradition. Race organizers didn’t take this news lightly.

The council in charge of drafting to rules for the PPIHC immediately changed the rules for the motorcycle portion of the event. Any motorcycle that had clip on handle bars as original equipment from the manufacturer would not be allowed to race. This effectively banned every sportbike from competing in the Race to the Clouds, which forced many racers to use standard/naked motorcycles. These motorcycles come with one piece handle bars on top, and are detuned when compared to most sportbikes.

This new rule rolled out last year, despite loud protests from racers, and the effects seemed very positive. There were fewer crashes during the 2016 PPIHC, and no deaths. Race organizers also relied on Ducati’s new safety program Race Smart to help make the track safer. Former hill climb champions joined Ducati’s squad of riders to help monitor road conditions and ensure rider safety.

For 2017, Ducati will be expanding their Pikes Peak Squadra Alpina by adding first of their kind motorcycle ambulances. These two bikes will be piloted by Doctor Gary Klien, and 20-year EMT veteran Duxton Miliam. They will provide even faster safety support for any racer who crashes, and add an extra safety net for an event that is looking to clean up its name.

For more info on the Pike Peak International Hill Climb, keep checking in with the attorneys who ride at the Metier Law Firm.

Tom Metier

Tom Metier

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