Ride Along with Team O’Neil at the Mount Washington Hill Climb
Andrew Comrie-Picard flies up the mountain in the team’s Ford Fiesta ST.
Pikes Peak gets the glory, but those who know will tell you that the infamous Mount Washington Hill Climb in New Hampshire is serious business. In addition to featuring a steeper climb and more corners per mile, the Mount Washington Auto Road is much narrower and in far worse shape, making the 7.4 mile dash all the more insane. Last run in 2014 and coming back this July, it's one of the oldest motorsport events in the country—and you can get excited for its return by experiencing the whole thing firsthand in this unedited onboard video recently posted by the fine folks at Team O'Neil.
The event was created in 1904, seven years before the first Indianapolis 500, and winner Harry Harkness finished in a blistering 24 minutes and 17 seconds in his 60-horsepower Mercedes. More than a hundred years later, competitors were rocketing up the mountain in all manner of Subarus, Audis, and even a Hyundai Elantra, posting times between six and seven minutes. It hasn't been run every year—in fact, it took a 29-year break between 1961 and 1990 before being revived by Tim O'Neil himself—and there's more pavement than there used to be, but what hasn't changed are the unpredictable conditions and all the dangers lining the narrow, twisting road.
In 2014, Canadian 2WD rally champion Andrew Comrie-Picard was behind the wheel of Team O'Neil's Ford Fiesta ST for the aptly-named "Climb to the Clouds." That's another thing that differentiates this race from Pikes Peak—instead of purpose-built hill climb cars with huge wings and splitters, here the drivers rock more traditional rally machines, upping the intensity even more. This video comes from his second run that year and does a great job illustrating the crazy course and the vision needed to get to the top safely. We think you'll agree he and that Fiesta earned their "This car climbed Mount Washington!" bumper sticker.