The Fastest Mountain in the Rockies!
By Aaron Storms
Being an automotive race fan, I was looking forward to the second annual PIT Rally on Saturday, July 18th to be held on the beautiful 8.25 mile winding mountain Central City Parkway from I-70, with 23 sweeping turns ascending 2,500 feet to the historic town of Central City. Last year was a bit unorganized, but could be expected for a first-time event of this magnitude, especially since it was primarily designed for the driver and not as a spectator event. By collecting entry fees and leasing the parkway from early morning to 4 pm, this allowed the PIT Rally team to utilize all four lanes so drivers could push themselves and their cars to the limit, or until their common sense kicked in. The PIT Rally team were much better organized this year, with most spectators either driving themselves to the KOA Campground to self-park, or to take the shuttle back and forth from Main Street instead at 15 minute intervals most of the day. Main Street was filled with automotive vendors, live bands, delicious grilled food and BBQ, and of course lots of beautiful cars.
For the racers, who wouldn’t want to race on this road if you have the car and guts to do it! With speeds capable of reaching in excess of 150 mph, they can finally drive their cars the way they were meant to be driven. There was only one car that crashed in one of the high-speed areas, when the driver attempted to shift from third to fourth gear and missed, catching second gear instead. That caused him to spin out and hit the wall, and from the photos it looked totaled. I was told that the driver was okay; but that the race car was rented…I wonder who’s picking up the tab for that!
There were two classes to race in, with a cap of 150 participants allowed so that multiple runs could be made by the drivers during the allotted time frame.
Touring Class: The cars have a very spirited speed limit that will keep the adrenaline up, but out of danger. Racers were encouraged to run with their friends for bragging rights. The entry fee was $350 if you want to bring your car next year, and the qualification is fairly simple.
Competition Class: For the purpose-built racecars and racecar drivers, the fastest one to the top wins. There were prizes for pole positions, leaderboards on the PIT Rally website (pitrally.com), and more. The entry fee for this category was $500, and was for serious racers with supercharged or turbo-charged motors, tuned for the most horsepower that could be squeezed from the engine. The qualification for this class requires more safety equipment and experience. There is a mandatory practice and qualifying session before race day to give drivers the opportunity to experience the road and driving conditions. Most of these were Corvettes, Mustangs, and Camaros, but there were plenty of other makes and models as well, including some cool vintage supercars.
Even though the event is designed for the driver’s racing experience, it’s completely free for spectators to come and spend the day with them and they provided a shuttle bus that was kept busy all day. Spectators were able to get up close and personal to experience the race, the cars, the automotive parts and builder vendors, and the town. There were plenty of free giveaways, food, music, and seriously fast cars in a wide open race venue. Custom cars and exotic cars were displayed from almost any manufacturer you could name. There was even a contingent of vintage race cars from the ‘50’s that were there to promote the Hot Rod Hill Climb in Georgetown on August 14th & 15th. After the high-speed racing was completed at 2 pm and drivers and spectators took a break to get a BBQ sandwich during the light rain, the sun came back out and the noisy drift cars left Main Street and headed up to the KOA area to start the drifting exhibition at 3 pm. After last year’s drifting session, the melted rubber on the Parkway was visible for months, and was one of the most anticipated events that spectators were looking forward to from a sheer entertainment perspective. The drifters put on a great show and were cheered on by all the onlookers, closing the event in a spectacular fashion.