Pikes Peak Hill Climb Driver Rolls Race Car, Finishes Run Anyway

·2 min read
Photo credit: Pikes Peak International Hill Climb / YouTube
Photo credit: Pikes Peak International Hill Climb / YouTube

Yesterday's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was marred by substantial fog, which greatly reduced both visibility and grip in the lower sections of the track. How substantial? Take a look at Pikes Peak rookie Levi Shirley, who was flying up the hill in his King of the Hammers-style Ultra4 spec buggy when he came up on a fog-shrouded corner out of control and slid off course. He rolled completely and landed on his wheels. Then, he just kept going.

As Shirley's on-board video shows, the roll happened surprisingly early in the run. Shirley's line, alongside the inside of where the corner would be, suggests that he had simply misjudged when the next corner was coming up in the thick fog and had to adjust too quickly. (The day's winning times up Pikes Peak were considerably slower than in past years with a fully-paved track, a good exhibition of how much the fog cut into what drivers could see.) Fortunately, Shirley slid off at a relatively gentle slope and into as perfect a rollover as you'll ever see. He rolls just once, does not hit anything in the air, lands on all four wheels, does not stall, and settles onto the runoff with a path to simply drive away.

He keeps going, too. Shirley finished the run in a respectable 13:44.532, all while still driving a car that had very much been rolled over two minutes into his run. While that was only good for 57th of 63 finishers, it is still remarkably fast for a car more attuned to climbing rocks than hills. More importantly, it makes Shirley the winner among all cars that flipped in the air during their actual hill climb run.

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