Royalty Return to Pikes Peak for 100th Running  - Engine Builder Magazine
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Royalty Return to Pikes Peak for 100th Running 

There have been 98 King of the Mountain titles awarded and one Queen of the Mountain since the inaugural Pikes Peak National Hill Climbing Contest in 1916. On June 26, the 100th King of the Mountain will be celebrated by race fans around the globe when The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo, welcomes six champions back to the mountain.

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Bob Bodor, Executive Director, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, shared, “We are thrilled to welcome these outstanding drivers and teams back to Pikes Peak. Perhaps there is no greater claim in motorsport than to be King of the Mountain at the most spectacular hill climb on earth.”

Definition: King of the Mountain – The title earned by the fastest competitor in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb each year.

ROD MILLEN – 5-time King of the Mountain

New Zealand’s Rod Millen’s first attempted Pikes Peak in 1981, entering a 1981 Mazda RX7 in the Rally division and finishing in 13:58.7. From 1984 through 1988 he ran in the Open Rally class, slicing nearly two minutes from his finish time in the interval. Still competing in a Mazda, Millen returned in 1989 in Pikes Peak Production, claiming his first division win and record. A repeat performance was in store in 1991 when Millen notched his first sub-12-minute run.

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In 1992 and 1993 Millen moved from the Mazda RX racecars to the Hyundai brand, claiming first in Showroom Stock 2 Wheel Drive and second in Pikes Peak Open.

A Toyota Celica was next for Millen and, in 1994, his win in the Unlimited division and new course record of 10:04.060 would make headlines in the racing world. Everyone had their eye on breaking that 10-minute barrier. Millen’s near perfect run on the all-dirt course was the mark to beat, and eventually was bested in 2007 by the “Monster”, Japan’s Nobuhiro Tajima. However, from a historic standpoint, Millen’s run will stand forever as the dirt-course hallmark since by the early 2000s some segments of the course – the Start Line to Halfway Picnic Grounds, and Glen Cove to the beginning of the famous switchbacks – had been paved. But 1994 was only the beginning of Millen’s success on the mountain. Four consecutive King of the Mountain wins, all behind the wheel of a Toyota, were recorded from 1996 through 1999, including two in a Toyota Tacoma. Millen was inducted to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Museum Hall of Fame in 2016 during the 100th Anniversary celebration. He will return for his 20th run on Pikes Peak in June to introduce a new generation of fans to his 1998 King of the Mountain-winning Toyota Tacoma.

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DAVID DONNER – 3-time King of the Mountain

In 1987, David Donner of Colorado Springs set his sights on following in his racing family’s footsteps on the 12.42 mile course. He would claim his first King of the Mountain title a mere four years later in the Open Wheel division behind the wheel of a 1991 Donner-Dykstra in 11:12.42. Donner consistently finished on the podium throughout the 1990s in the Open Wheel division and then in the Showroom Stock class, where he strapped in behind the wheel of a Subaru Impreza.

The early 2000s were golden for Donner as he garnered King of the Mountain crowns in 2002 and again in 2005 in the Open Wheel division, again driving a Donner-Dykstra Special.

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As the third-generation member of a family with enormous success on Pikes Peak, service to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, fan favorites and race ambassadors, David Donner and the Donner family were inducted to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Museum Hall of Fame in 2016.

Donner took a different role in 2019, leading the competitors up the mountain as the pace car driver. His next win came in 2020 in the Time Attack division. When asked what brings him back to Pikes Peak, Donner replied, “Pikes Peak is like no other event. Certainly, the challenge, but it’s a week of pure adrenalin that can go many different ways. It’s also one of the few races left that allows competitors to build some innovative equipment.” This will be Donner’s 26th event when he again showcases the Triple Zero “000” on a 2022 Porsche Turbo S.

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PAUL DALLENBACH – 3-time King of the Mountain

Growing up near Aspen, Colorado, Paul Dallenbach’s love of motorsports was instilled early on as he witnessed his father, Wally, compete in the Indianapolis 500. In 1989 a young Paul Dallenbach took to the 14,115’ mountain in the Pikes Peak Production class for the first time with a finish time of just over 15 minutes. He returned in 1991 in the Open Wheel division, finishing 5th and shaving almost three minutes from his time. Two years later, 1993, he would set a course record in his #98 Davis Chevrolet in 10:43.63 – his first King of the Mountain.

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Ten years later, Dallenbach would again claim the overall crown, and the following year, 2004, he would share the honor with co-King Robby Unser.

Dallenbach would claim a division record in 2013 in the Time Attack division in a 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe in 09:46.001. The Pikes Peak Challenge – Open Wheel record would fall in 2015, another record for Dallenbach.

Getting ready to grid in a new vehicle, Dallenbach remains in the Open Wheel division but moves his iconic #98 to a 2020 Sierra Alpha for the 100th Running. This will be his 28th run on America’s Mountain.

Along with his father, Wally Dallenbach and brother, Wally Jr., Paul and the entire Dallenbach family will be enshrined in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Museum Hall of Fame in June. 

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RHYS MILLEN – 2-time King of the Mountain

Millen’s first run on the mountain, like his father’s, was in a Mazda. His time of 12:29.10 scored a first-place finish, and 1992 rookie of the year honors in the Pikes Peak Open class.

With 13 division wins, including two King of the Mountain crowns, ten division records, and an overall course record, he has become one of the most successful drivers on the famous mountain.

Millen’s first King of the Mountain crown was awarded in 2012 after a course record-setting win in the Time Attack division in a 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe – 09:46.164. Within two years Millen could again receive the crown, and this was one for the record books. In 2015, Millen bested every other competitor on the mountain in his 2015 eO PP03 – an electric powered race car. This was the first time an electric vehicle would triumph on the mountain, winning in 09:07.222. The next time would be 2018 with Romain Dumas and the Volkswagen I.D. R setting the new time to beat – 07:57.148

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In 2018, Bentley Motors traveled from the UK with a goal to set a new Production SUV record, and they chose Rhys Millen for the attempt. This proved fruitful as Millen’s vast experience paid dividends with a new Production SUV Record of 10:49.902. Millen returned in 2019 to capture a second record with Bentley, this time Millen would topple the Time Attack 2 – Production mark in the 2019 Bentley Continental GT in 10:18.488.

Millen marks his 26th year at Pikes Peak this summer and moves to the Pikes Peak Open division in a 2016 E-Motion Porsche GT3R TT. Father and son look forward to a celebration together at the summit of America’s Mountain in the milestone 100th Running.

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ROBIN SHUTE – 2-time King of the Mountain

Robin Shute travels to Colorado for the fifth time this summer in an attempt at back-to-back King of the Mountain titles. Although he has lived in the United States for the past 10 years, his roots are in the United Kingdom. 

Shute’s first run on Pikes Peak was in 2017 in a 2016 Faraday Future FF91 entered in the Exhibition division. He finished second in the electric-powered race car. Two years later he was King of the Mountain in his Wolf TSC Honda in the Unlimited division. His finish time was 09:12.476. In 2021, Shute was again crowned King in the 2018 Wolf GB08 TSC-LT on the weather-shortened course. 

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Shute has entered the winning Wolf for the 2022 event and is eager to compete with other Pikes Peak royalty. 

When asked about Pikes Peak heroes, Shute exclaimed, “I’m excited to see Rod Millen in the Tacoma run up the mountain this year…legendary guy and legendary car.”

CLINT VAHSHOLTZ – 1-time King of the Mountain

No driver has more division wins than Clint Vahsholtz. His love of the mountain began in childhood as he was raised in its shadow in Woodland Park, Colorado. His father, Leonard, was one of the most successful stock car and truck racers on the mountain throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

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Beginning as a motorcycle competitor in 1992, Vahsholtz raced cycles for four years earning three wins and two class records.

In 1996 he was named Rookie of the Year in the Stock Car division when he finished first in 12:10.83 behind the wheel of his #18, a reversal of Leonard’s #81.

His wins on the mountain total 24, including his long-awaited King of the Mountain title in 2020. 

Clint Vahsholtz, and son, Codie are both on the entry list for the 100th Running – Codie in Clint’s King of the Mountain #18 Ford Open and Clint in a 2015 Aston Martin Vantage, aptly sporting #007.

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