Watch a Pikes Peak Racer Roll, Continue Racing Anyway
Rolling off into the woods couldn’t stop Levi Shirley from finishing his run up to the top of Pikes Peak.
The 100th Pikes Peak International Hillclimb was held Saturday and Sunday, and it was defined by foggy conditions at the base of the mountain which slowed most cars to a snail's pace. One of them, a Single Seat IFS racer, driven by Levi Shirley, took on the mountain a little too hot, though. Just over two minutes into his run, the Pikes Peak newcomer went into a corner too quickly and the road disappeared right from under him. He tumbled into the woods at high speed and flipped—it can happen on the hill. Despite rolling, he landed on his wheels and immediately drove back onto the track and raced again.
His car seemed to be pretty much unharmed by the crash. Indeed, Shirley didn't skip a beat and set a time of 13:44:532 up the 12.42-mile track. While that's not necessarily a very competitive time, the driver did finish ahead of six others according to The Gazette—a testament to his perseverance in the face of a crash that likely would've put almost every other car racing that day out of contention.
Shirley's car was a factor in why he was able to continue. He was driving a car that typically races in the Ultra4 series—basically an off-road-buggy wearing street tires. The car has a tube frame and plenty of suspension travel to absorb impacts. When he went off, well, it really wasn't anything out of the ordinary for the vehicle. Sure a few things might not be exactly where they were installed, but as Shirley's performance suggests, the machine was not seriously damaged.
The entire ordeal is definitely a testament primarily to Shirley's tenacity, though. Right next to the shifter was the vehicle's kill switch, clearly labeled. It doesn't look like he even thought about reaching for it. It seems like he was determined to finish his first run up the mountain no matter what. Nothing was gonna stop him from reaching the summit.
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