Rhys Millen made it to the summit in record time last year before storms shortened the race.

Rhys Millen made it to the summit in record time last year before storms shortened the race.

The 100th anniversary (and 94th running) of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will kick off with Fan Fest this weekend, culminating in the Race to the Clouds Sunday, June 26.

Friday, June 24 will launch celebrations with Fan Fest, where competitors, exhibitors and race personalities join 30,000 fans from 5-10 p.m. in downtown Colorado Springs. Fans can see their favorite drivers, riders and vehicles as they prepare to take on Pikes Peak. Entertainment includes motorcycle exhibitions, vendor booths, a beer garden and a firefighter chili cook-off. Admission is free.

“We’re extremely excited about the 100th anniversary,” said Tom Osborne, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corp., the event management company behind the Hill Climb. “Everything to date is going smooth and our staff has been working with more than 300 volunteers over the past year.”

Osborne said the anniversary should mean larger than normal crowds.

“Ticket sales are up and we’ve limited the field from 140 to 150 participants in the past to the top 100 riders and drivers,” Osborne said. “There’s a significant impact when you cut a third of the field. We can get people off the mountain in a timely manner, and it also helps that we have only the best riders and drivers.”

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An historic drive

The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second-oldest motor sports race in the country.

To commemorate the race’s 100th anniversary, a pair of special exhibition runs will happen shortly before the official racing begins.

The Broadmoor Special Yellow Devil, driven by Pikes Peak Hill Climb Museum Educational Museum Hall of Famer Frank Peterson, will race from the start line to Halfway Picnic Ground beginning at about 7:25 a.m. Peterson won the 1970 PPIHC Super Stock Car championship and competed in his last Hill Climb in 1989. Bill Hybl, chairman and CEO of El Pomar Foundation and president emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee, will join him as navigator.

The Yellow Devil is a fully-restored 1918 Pierce-Arrow Touring Car that once belonged to Hill Climb founder Spencer Penrose and competed in the Race to the Clouds eight times. It made its racing debut in 1922 on Pikes Peak. While the race car never won, it did defy odds and finished every race it entered.

The other exhibition will feature Hill Climb legend Rod Millen and his famous Toyota Celica Super Sport Turbo that recorded a remarkable time of 10:04.060 in the Unlimited Division on Pikes Peak’s traditional gravel racing surface on July 4, 1994, establishing the all-time dirt course record. Millen’s record would stand until 2007, when more than 75 percent of the racing surface had been paved.

Millen, who will be inducted this year into the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Educational Museum Hall of Fame, will pilot his record-setting Celica on a short exhibition run from the start line to Glen Cove.

About the Climb

The race is run on a 12.42 mile course with 156 turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,115 foot summit of Pikes Peak. Divisions range from electric vehicles, to motorcycles to vintage race cars and quads. As the drivers climb, the thin air robs engines of up to 30 percent of their power.

The current record is 8:13.878 and was set by Sebastien Loeb in 2013.

For tickets and more information, visit the race’s website at ppihc.com.