COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For more than 20 years, Clint Vahsholtz has been competing in the Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb and despite claiming 23 class wins, he’d never captured the overall victory.
That changed on Sunday as Vahsholtz, driving the 2013 Ford Open in the Open Wheel division, was the fastest up America’s Mountain during the 98th running of the Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb.
Vahsholtz navigated the 12.42-mile, 156-turn course in nine minutes and 35.490 seconds to secure the overall and Open Wheel class victory. It’s the first time an American has been the overall winner during the Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb since David Donner in 2005.
Paul Dallenbach, a veteran of the Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb and a two-time overall winner, was second overall and in the Open Wheel class, aboard his 2006 PVA-03 Dallenbach Special. He came up .691 seconds short of claiming his third overall victory in the Race to the Clouds.
Vahsholtz’s strongest competition was expected to come from David Donohue, who was driving a 2019 Porsche GT2 RS Clubsport in the Time Attack division. Donohue was faster than Vahsholtz at the first two timing lines up the mountain, but he was unable to complete his run. Reports indicated a flat tire derailed his drive up the mountain.
Donner finished third overall, which was enough to give him the Time Attack class crown in a 2019 Porsche GT2 RS Clubsport. Cole Powelson was fourth overall and third in the Open Wheel division in his 2020 Sierra Alpha, while Jeff Zwart finished fifth overall and second in Time Attack, aboard his 2019 Porsche 935.
The Pikes Peak Open class was won by Layne Schranz, who finished sixth overall in a 2018 Chevrolet SS stock car. Dan Novembre finished seventh overall and fourth in the Open Wheel division. The top-seven finishers broke the 10-minute mark.
Daijiro Yoshihara, the last driver to make a run up the mountain, topped the Unlimited division and finished ninth overall aboard a 2013 Toyota 86. The Porsche Trophy By Yokohama division was conquered by Blake Williams, who drove a 2018 Porsche GT4 Clubsport up the mountain. Blake Fuller, driving a 2018 Tesla Model 3, was the winner in the Exhibition division.
Kathryn Mead, the only female in the race, was the fastest rookie this year. She finished third in the Porsche Trophy By Yokohama class and 30th overall.
Of the 45 competitors to make an attempt, only three failed to make it to the summit of Pikes Peak. One was the aforementioned Donohue. The others were David Schmidt, who was unable to finish due to a mechanical issue, and Rob Parsons.
Parsons, a paraplegic competitor driving a specially modified 2014 Chevrolet SS stock car with hand controls, crashed early in his run. He was uninjured according to a report during the official Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb live stream, which was available free via Mobil 1’s Facebook page.
The event was run without spectators due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.