“MONSTER” TAJIMA BREAKS 10-MINUTE MARK, TAKES PIKES PEAK CHAMPIONSHIP
28 Jun, 2011
The world has changed once again. For the sixth consecutive time, Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima combined experience, skill and Falken tires to claim overall victory in the 89th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, breaking his old record of 10:01.41 set in 2007, and lowering the mark by 10 seconds in the Unlimited Class, becoming the first driver to go below 10 minutes.
Monster, who has competed at Pikes Peak since 1989, took the win with plenty of drama. For the final half mile of his attempt, Tajima had to contend with an overheating radiator, as his 910-horsepower Suzuki began to boil over. Wind gusts also threatened his effort, as he negotiated his race car through 156 turns from the start at 9,390 feet to the 14,110-foot summit.
The 60-year-old Japanese driver covered the 12.42-mile course in 9 minutes, 51.278 seconds, driving his GoPro Suzuki SX4 Hill Climb Special equipped with Falken tires.
Before the race, Tajima predicted he would break the course record, finish under 10 minutes and win this special event, which was the final time the course would include a section of gravel. New Zealand-born Rhys Millen was second in 10:09.24 in his Hyundai-powered RMR PM580 and Jean Philippe Dayraut was third in 10:17.77.
“This is a great day for Monster and for Falken Tire,” exclaimed Nick Fousekis, Falken's Director of Motorsports Marketing and Events. “The confidence Nobuhiro brought to Pikes Peak was clearly evident and we share in the joy of his accomplishment. I want to give a special thank you to our marketing partners, GoPro Cameras, HRE Wheels, and Mobil 1 Oil.”
“We are delighted to celebrate with Monster and humbly state that Falken played a small role in his accomplishment at this historic moment,” added Andrew Hoit, Falken’s Director of Marketing. “Being a part of Monster’s win underscores our overall commitment to participate in numerous levels of North American motorsports.”
Race officials said the course will be completely paved for the 2012 race, which may change driver strategy and tire choice next year, as well as the course record. In addressing fans and media post-race, Tajima slyly did not say if he planned to retire from the annual climb.
Proving that Pikes Peak continues in popularity, thousands of fans gathered in downtown Colorado Springs on Friday night prior to qualifying for Fan Fest, and Monster, who first won overall in 1995, was the center of attention, posing for photos and signing autographs for fans.