The Top Of The Mountain

The Top Of The Mountain

The Beauty of Climb Dance Rally in the 1980s was a very different sport than we have today. The cars were outlandish, cartoonish inflated versions...


The Beauty of Climb Dance

Rally in the 1980s was a very different sport than we have today. The cars were outlandish, cartoonish inflated versions of production cars. There were fewer rules so the cars all had a unique personality and look to them. The levels of danger were even higher than they are now. America has never really embraced rallying in the same way that Europe has, though there is one notable exception to that rule: Pikes Peak. This mountain in Colorado has been breaking hearts since 1916 and though the 12.42 mile road to the top is one long black snake of asphalt these days, this was not always the case.

One of the best things about Pikes Peak is that it is a self-sanctioned event. This means that the racing classes are a little looser than in your average FIA event. Anything and everything, with very few exceptions, is allowed to run up the hill as quickly as they dare. You see everything from muscle cars to UTVs and motorcycles and fully prepped Paris-Dakar racers. The mountain taxes everything on a car, turbos are almost mandatory because of the thin air and four wheel drive, particularly during the all-dirt era, is a nice way to keep you from careening off the side of the mountain.

The 1980s saw a lot of European involvement at Pikes Peak. Many factory teams would bring their ludicrous Group B racers over to try and test their skill against the peak. In fact, Group B cars were running at Pikes Peak after the official dissolution of the series in 1986 in the aptly named “Unlimited” class. Factory involvement extended beyond the Group B cars of course and in 1988, Peugeot sent their 405 Turbo 16 GR up the hill with Finnish driver and eventual politician Ari Vatanen behind the wheel, they won that year and set a record of 10:47.77. They decided to film the event for posterity and hired Jean Louis Mourey to direct it. The short film that they made was called Climb Dance and it remains one of the greatest motorsports films in history.