“The Mountain Decides"
Diesel World|February 2021
The ninety-eighth running of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as “The Race to the Clouds,” is an invitational automobile hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain in Manitou, Colorado.
By Matt Morris

This year the event was held on Sunday, August 30th. Fortyfour vehicles raced to the summit of the 14,115 ft. mountain, containing 156 turns and totaling a distance of 12.42 miles.

While the annual running of this event was postponed due to the Covid pandemic, it wasn’t going to put a stop to the race altogether. With limits on attendance, only competitors, pit crew, safety personnel, and media were allowed on the mountain. Even though the international competitor count was down this year, competitors traveled from all over the world in hopes of setting new class records.

Two of those hopeful competitors were Gregoire Blachon (Boxeer TDI), from Knoxville, TN, and Scott Birdsall (Chuckles Garage) from Santa Rosa, CA, who were both after the same record. The rivalry between the two started during the practice sessions this year, but which team would set the new Diesel Record? That record had been previously set by Factory Mercedes Benz back in 2015, with an elapsed time of 11:37.149.

Both teams (Birdsall and Blachon) were plagued with mechanical issues in the days leading up to the race. Blachon was fighting numerous tuning concerns, fluid leaks, and electrical issues. Where as Scott Birdsall had much bigger problems on his hands. Birdsall had transmission issues during Monday’s practice session, which ended up ultimately costing him an engine due to an overspeed failure.

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