Mount Washington Hillclimb 2017 Provides Thrills as Records Fall

Episode 169

July 9, 2014

After breaking team-mate David Higgins record from Climb to the Clouds 2014, Travis Pastrana celebrates with the Vermont Sports Car Team Subaru USA in their pit area. HTF Motorsports photo

Pastrana Shatters Mt. Washington Hillclimb Record By 20 Seconds

David Higgins in the #75 2017 Subaru WRX STI ripped the left rear suspension off in an unplanned meeting with some rocks and the edge of the road on his first run of Sunday’s Climb to the Clouds (#CTTC2017) . This opened the door for team-mate Travis Pastrana in the #199 Subaru.

Pastrana did not disappoint the hundreds gathered at the famous Mount Washington Toll Road. In his first run up the hill he knocked 20 seconds off the old record set by David Higgins of 6 minutes and 6 seconds.

On his way to setting a new record of 5 minutes and 46 seconds is Travis Pastrana in the #1999 Subaru. HTF Motorsports photo

David Higgins at lift off on Mt. Washington. Photo courtesy Scott Bryson

David Higgins over the side at Mt. Washington Hillclimb, Photo courtesy Scott Bryson

David Higgins was okay although his Subaru WRX was finished for the day. Photo courtesy Scott Bryson

Shot of rear of the David Higgins #75 Subaru after spinning on the way to the top at Climb to the Clouds 2017. The damage precluded any further attempts at the record this year. Higgins did find some consolation in setting fastest time in the speed trap, 116 mph. Pastrana was second fastest at 115 mph. HTF Motorsports photo

Bangor’s Last Ditch Racing Knocks 30 Seconds Off Previous Time

Bangor’s John Cassidy with co-driver Dave Getchell, Camden leave the line in Steel Tulip 4 at the Mount Washington Hillclimb 2017. The team bettered their 2014 time by more than 31 seconds thanks in part to engine tuners Synaptic 3 Performance of Northwood, New Hampshire. HTF Motorsports photo

In 2014 Last Ditch Racing (LDR) was having a tough go of things. Their turbo was giving them a difficult time and parts were breaking that never had broken and probably never should have broke. The race gremlins were tormenting the efforts of the Bangor-based Open Class Rally team.

This year the team had to deal with finishing a new race shop, finding specific and somewhat rare pieces of transmissions, and late night work sessions. After a tuning session at Synaptic 3 Performance the reliability and preparedness of the team shot up.

In fact, the team had no breakage after the practice sessions on Friday and Saturday. Rather than sit back, the team pitched in and helped a fellow competitor repair their racer after it had an off-road experience. The team members looked around at one another and wondered about the unique experience of not needing to wrench on the team’s 2003 Subaru WRX STi.

Co-driver Dave Getchell of Camden after being introduced prior to the Sunday morning race session. HTF Motorsports photo

I  had the chance to sit down with co-driver Dave Getchell after their Sunday morning run where they lopped 31 seconds from their 2014 best time. He said, “We got back in the car for practice Friday and it felt totally normal. We had not been in the car together racing since the New England Forest Rally in July 2016.”

Getchell noted that they were not satisfied with their total performance despite a 31 second improvement. Just as they do after every run the two experienced rally racers compare notes during a post race debrief looking for areas where they might improve.

“We really worked on a couple of places on the course where we know we are slowing down more than we wanted to”, said Getchell. “We are working on that”.

To what did he attribute the improved time, “More Boost! Those guys at Synaptic gave us good power.”

Last Ditch Racing Subaru on the Synaptic 3 Performance dyno.

At press time I am unsure about the Bangor rally team’s second run time.  The first session time was 7:36:04 for 27th place out of 80 entries.

Moultroup Racing Has A Blast

Luke Moultroup hazed the rear tires as he blasts out of the starting gate on his way up Mt. Washington on his initial run. which netted him a 7:30:25 time. Run two later that day, he improved his time with a 7:08. HTF Motorsports photo

You may recall from an earlier episode where I interviewed the Moultroup family, from Richmond, Vermont about their hillclimb experiences. The car owner, Luke Moultroup, dream came true this summer when he entered and competed in his first Climb to the Clouds race up Mt. Washington.

The son of a farmer built his modified Howe chassis in the family dairy barn in his spare time. Moultroup is a Pratt & Whitney jet engine mechanic at the Burlington, Vermont airport.

He has raced in multiple events in the Vermont and New Hampshire area always with his eye on the crown jewel of hill-climbers in New England, the Mt. Washington race. You can imagine how pleased he was when he posted the fourth fastest time in the initial session on Friday.

The Climb to the Clouds will probably be the last hillclimb for Moultroup Racing in 2017. He and his wife Angela plan to concentrate on finishing construction of their new log home in Richmond.

And Who To My Wondering Eyes Should I See…?

Vermont’s Jimi Heyder who usually can be found at Loring Timing Associations (LTA) Speed Trials bought a midget! He said the midget has eaten all his funds and will not be at the LTA Summer Race. He plans to be at the fall event with his motorcycle and midget. HTF Motorsports photo

Fresh from Pikes Peak Hillclimb earlier this month , Colorado Springs, Colorado’s Dan Novembre in his Novembre Special used to set second fastest time of the day. HTF Motorsports photo

Four Pikes Peak Hillclimb Open Class Racers Make the Trek to Climb to the Clouds 2017.

Four Open Class racers who competed at this year’s Pikes Peak Hillclimb combined their resources and put their cars into one hauler and came east to compete in the Climb to the Clouds 2017.

Making the trip was Todd Cook of Arizona (2000 Wells Coyote) who had been to the 2014 race, and encouraged his fellow competitors to race in New England. Joining him were Dan Novembre (2016 Novembre Special), Spencer Steele (1990 Wells Coyote), and Rodney O’Maley (2012 O’ Maley Special Spec III).

Novembre, a Project Manager for Harris Corporation in Colorado Springs, noted, “I heard about this mountain since 2011. Todd Cook told us what a great event is. We turned this trip into a family reunion. I have family on the east coast and they came here to see us race.”

Novembre and his wife Kajasa brought their four children to enjoy the sights and sounds of New England.

When asked to compare Mt. Washington to Pikes Peak, Novembre replied, “Mount Washington is very different in comparison with Pikes Peak. The biggest difference is that it is very tight and technical with lots of little turns.”

“To know the road is a huge advantage. The first time I saw the road was on Wednesday in a rental car when I tried to memorize it as quickly as I could. It is winding and very narrow; much narrower than Pikes Peak. Pikes Peak feels like the autobahn highway now that we had this experience here.”

“Knowing how to brake in such a steep tight incline takes time. This is a momentum course vs a horsepower course. I probably have twice the horsepower of Todd (Cook) yet he is right there with me. He got the technical agility.

I thought Novembre had a unique sponsor, similar to one of my race sponsors. His primary sponsor is Overdrive Raceway kart track in North Colorado Springs. My sponsor is Maine Indoor Karting from Scarborough so we had something in common.

Some Unique Hillclimbers

Paul Tignaud , nicknames his cars “Super Chicken”. The Vermonter is known for his unique racers which are rarely consistent but always very quick. Note the shovel nosed front air foil. HTF Motorsports photo

Paul Tinguad’s “Super Chicken” unique home-made transfer case. HTF Motorsports photo

New Jersey’s Enthropy Racing Mike Wilson’s electric racer. Electric racers were so quiet they required a siren when they raced up the hill so that corner workers and spectators might know they were in the area. HTF Motorsports

David Wallingford’s 2016 Ford Fiesta R2T after a significant off-road trip on Saturday. Wallingford and co-driver Scott were okay other than bruised egos and were in a back-up car for Sunday’s races. HTF Motorsports photo.

County Native Shawn Martin Finds the Winner’s Circle 

Shawn Martin formerly of Frenchville , mow living in Auburn in Victory Circle at Oxford Plains Speedway. Photo courtesy Joseph’s Photography www.

It had been awhile since Shawn Martin had been in the Winners Circle at Oxford Plains Speedway. The drought came to an end last Saturday. The victory could not have come at a more opportune time according to Martin, ” We really needed this after the races we had at the beginning of the week. Sunday we got the car great in practice but once we bolted our race tires on the car was horrible. On Monday we got hit on lap 1 of the race and bent my trailing arm and a bunch of sheet metal. We worked late nights all week to get the car repaired and the thing was a rocket on Friday.”

County Kart Racers Continue Winning Ways at Richmond

The North Maine Karting Association (NMKA) Friday Night Kart Racing Series at Spud Speedway was washed out once again forcing officials to re-schedule a double-header once again on the next race date July 21 at 6:30 pm.

Team JRT of Caribou made the trek to Richmond Karting Speedway on Sunday where they were rewarded with another win by the youngest of the team, Damian Theriault in the Animal Engine class. The team also was named the Race Family of the Week.

Team manager of BAS Racing, Stephanie Ball noted that driver Bryan Searles worked his way to the front of the pack in his class and was leading for the first time this year when he ran out of fuel. Though disappointed she noted they were excited to see Bryan gaining confidence and experience to run with the leaders.

Austin Theriault continues to impress, this time with a second place at Iowa Speedway, Race winner, Dalton Sargeant still remains in second place as the series rolls into Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis, Indiana for the Sioux Chief Power PEX 200 on July 21. Photo courtesy Austin Theriault Racing

Don’t Forget The Loring Speed Trials

Loring Timing Association will be offering five days of racing for their summer event July 12-16! With the East Coast Timing Association lacking a place to race this year after the Ohio Mile venue closed, it is expected that several new names will make an appearance at Loring. Should be an exciting series of races with many records set and many records broken. Check for details

Let’s Go Racing!

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria



Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine