Higgins Wins Mt. Washington Hillclimb, Smashes Course Record

(June 27, 2011) Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins broke the long standing Mt. Washington “Climb To The Clouds” Hill Climb record set in 1998.  Piloting his 2011 Subaru WRX STI rally car, Higgins crushed the time set by Frank Sprongl by more than 30-seconds with an official time of 6 minutes and 11.54 seconds.  Higgins also beat the unofficial record time set by Travis Pastrana last year of 6:20.47.

True to its reputation, the mountain yielded poor weather throughout the practice days on Friday and Saturday.  The field of almost 70 competitors, in the four race classes, was kept to the lower half of the course because of intermittent rain showers and fog.  The weather cooperated long enough on Sunday for competitors to get in two timed laps before the course was again engulfed in fog.

“It was a very big challenge because the road was still wet in spots and would turn very slick suddenly. With the clouds the visibility was so low I could hardly see past the hood of my car,” explained Higgins. “Our Subaru is setup perfectly for a road like this but I have never raced here before and it was a lot of work to try to learn the course. It’s fantastic to have the record at such a prestigious event.”

Higgins was the last to race in the field of the competitors, which built up anticipation of a new record amongst the fans and enthusiasts in attendance.  On his first attempt Higgins was able to surpass the record by more than 20 seconds. Higgins bested his record by an additional eight seconds on his second attempt, cementing his place in the record books.

Mt. Washington is located in the Presidential range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, known for its extreme conditions, scientists have been researching and studying weather trends since the 1870’s.  The carriage road, now the Mount Washington Auto Road, was erected in 1861 and is the country’s oldest man-made attraction.  Spanning a distance of 7.6 miles, the mixed gravel and pavement road winds its way up the mountain lined with trees and at times steep drop-offs.  First run in 1904, the race to the 6,288 ft. summit of the Northeast’s tallest peak is one of the greatest motorsports challenges for both man and machine.

About the Mt. Washington “Climb to the Clouds” Hill Climb:

First opened in 1861 as the Mt. Washington Carriage Road, the Mt. Washington Auto Road, located in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire is the country’s oldest man-made attraction. The 7.6 mile Mt. Washington Auto Road is one of the ultimate challenges for driver and automobile. The serpentine tarmac and gravel road is lined with trees and dramatic drop-offs as it winds its way to the 6,288 foot summit of the Northeast’s tallest peak. Considered to be one of the oldest motorsports events inthe United States, the Climb to the Clouds was first run in 1904, seven years before the first 500-mile race at the Brickyard inIndianapolis and twelve years prior to the inaugural Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado. The last time the Climb to the Clouds was run was in 2001.

Organized by Vermont SportsCar and sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of New Hampshire, the 2011 Mt. Washington Hill Climb  served as one of several  events to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Mt. Washington Auto Road as the nation’s oldest man-made attraction.

About Subaru Rally Team USA

Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), BFGoodrich Tires, RECARO, Vision X, Alpinestars, Motul, Exedy, VP Fuels and Vermont SportsCar. For more information on Subaru Rally Team USA, as well as exclusive photo and video galleries visit subaru.com/rally and for the latest news follow the team on Twitter: twitter.com/srtusa.

All photos: Lars Gange – subaru.com/rally

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Photography: Lars Gange - rally.subaru.com