Christine Reinertson cinched the racing harness holding her in the passenger seat one last time. She was surrounded by a full rollcage, reverberating with the exhaust note of a race-bred 450-horsepower small-block. Moments later, her entire focus was on a green, 10-inch-wide GPS screen on the dash directly in front of her.
As each twist of the road came up on the display and rapidly scrolled toward the red diamond indicating her position, she continuously called out its distance ahead, whether it was a left- or right-hander, and the sharpness of the turn.
Before her dad, Rob, a competitor in the Baja Protruck class, had finished apexing the corner, the 17-year-old high-school student was already relaying critical information so he could set up for the next one. That was the routine for 15 minutes, 16.276 seconds, and 156 turns.
It was the experience of a lifetime for both Reinertsons. "Awesome!" exclaimed the co-driver moments after she pulled her helmet off, still seated in the cab of the 2006 F-150 flying the number 234.
"My dad asked if I'd like to ride in this race with him, and I couldn't believe it. I've never been in a race truck before. This is just so, so awesome."
Although the San Francisco-based commercial contractor didn't win his class (the father/daughter team finished ninth), Rob Reinertson says competing in the 2007 PPIHC ranks as "one of the highlights of my life."
That seems to be the norm for Pikes Peak, especially now that the once all-gravel course is currently about 60 percent paved. The twisting, climbing 12.4 miles of 30-foot-wide gravel road now contains big sections where the smooth asphalt has shoulders only 20 feet wide in some of the most dangerous locations. It's the new Pikes Peak.
The Race to the Clouds all-time record was broken when Nobuhiro Tajima, driving a one-off 2007 Suzuki XL7, finally beat Rod Millen's long-standing 10 minute, four-second record by a mere three seconds with a 10:01.408-that's an average speed of nearly 75 mph.