Video: Chip Yates tackles Pikes Peak

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Practicing for the race on June 26, Chip Yates put in his first runs up Pikes Peak this weekend. “I was leaned over dragging my knee at more than 100mph at Bottomless Pit corner, with a 3,000 foot dropoff on my left and a giant snowbank on my right,” says Chip. “This has to be the most extreme racing spectacle in the United States.” This is his first visit to the mountain, but riding his 240bhp, 400lb/ft electric superbike, Chip still placed seventh out of 33 riders in practice.

“I’m extremely pleased with how well the bike performed this weekend right out of the box and this test gave us the invaluable chance to meet everyone and start a dialogue with the mountain based on respect, humility and preparation,” describes Chip. “As extreme and majestic as the 14,110 foot mountain is however, I was even more struck by the quality and camaraderie of the people involved.  Not only were we treated wonderfully by Race Director Phil Layton and his team despite being complete rookies with an unproven Pikes Peak bike, but on Saturday when I tucked the front tire on a white line and had a little crash, none other than Alexander Smith (Ducati factory rider and son of legend Malcolm Smith) pulled over on the course to help me lift my 585 lbs superbike out of a ditch.  Shortly thereafter, I was warmly welcomed by Alex’s Ducati teammate and 6-time Pikes Peak winner and hillclimb legend Greg Tracy.”

“The mountain demands respect, which I believe can be paid in two ways: 1) caution, or 2) extreme preparedness.  Some choose to proceed slowly and cautiously, which is totally valid.  I have chosen to show my respect for the mountain by spending 12 hours a day for 3 months learning the course and preparing for this epic adventure.  I respect the mountain by bringing my “A” game and doing my homework.  If I crash, it’s not out of cockiness or a lack of respect, it’s because I brought my “A” game to the mountain and the mountain is showing me areas for future improvement.”

“The key to approaching Pikes Peak seems to be that a racer should be humble and expect the unexpected.  Competitors have been exposed to rainstorms, hail, snow, wind, fog, animals, spectators, loose terrible dirt, grippy awesome dirt, heat, cold and everything in-between.  With all the factors at play, combined with how I want to ride, I believe there is a significant chance of crashing or otherwise not finishing this year and I accept that.  I plan to race to the bikes potential rather than ride up just to get a finish.  This is a learning year for us and we are here to build relationships, learn about the mountain course, and prepare ourselves to be a serious factor in the results once the entire road is paved either in 2012 or 2013.  That being said, if things go our way and if the mountain agrees, I believe we could still surprise a lot of people on Sunday, June 26th!”

“The bike is incredible and very well suited for an epic event like Pikes Peak.  It turns well and makes 240 horsepower at sea level and 240 horsepower at the 14,110 foot summit.  I also have 400 ft/lbs of torque available the instant I open the throttle, which was a huge benefit when I was exiting the 156 corners during practice.  The batteries on-board can last the full duration of the 12.4 mile race making full power, but at 585 lbs, the bike is too heavy for me to pick up by myself if I should crash during the race – for that I will need help from the fans!”

  • Denzel

    Fantastic EV venue… I wish him the best. Also love the pit tent against the mountain backdrop…that’s camping…

  • noone1569

    Yates is a lunatic.

    He is my idol.

  • JaySD

    Awesome. Looking forward to seeing the bike impress some folks.

  • Devin

    Looks like he has some speed holes in the back of his leathers.

    Best of luck. I am a huge torque fan, and 400ft/lbs of torque… holy man.

  • Deryl

    Is the course now paved all the way to the top, or is there still some dirt?

    • Wes Siler

      There’s two miles of dirt left, it’ll be gone soon.

      • Devin

        Yeah, that’s a little disappointing actually. I always liked the somewhat rally type aspect of it and that you really needed an all-around type of vehicle.

        • Wes Siler

          It’s a public road that’s occasionally closed for racing. So the paving is motivated by what it does the other 364 days a year.

    • Deryl

      To answer my own question; according to the PPIHC web site only 6 of the 12.42 miles are paved. Muscling a 585lb bike with 400ft/lb of torque in the dirt with clip-on bars, Mr. Yates I salute you.

      • Deryl

        OK, so their web site needs an up date. Even it it is only 2 miles in the dirt Mr. Yates still gets my salute.

  • Sean Smith

    What’s Chip wearing for a back protector? It looks pretty substantial.

  • Joel

    wow, that wonderful pop punk instrumental just keeps on going doesn’t it.

  • Ted

    I’m just curious, did the pizzas on the back of the bike stay warm all the way to the top?

  • wwalkersd

    I think there might be something to be said for caution. A “little crash” can quickly become a long flight with a hard landing at Pikes Peak.

    So, 585 lb. That’s like a Yamaha FJR1300. I’m guessing Chip’s bike is a little faster, though.

  • jason

    Here is an idea, kill the shit ass music. How about letting the video, sound and rider skills speak for themselves. I had to turn it off, no point watching it on mute.
    Anyone that hasn’t ridden up Pike’s Peak on a bike has no idea how insane all of these guys are. Isle of Man insane.

    • Гена

      +1 to kill the redneck rock.

      • T Diver

        +100. I almost killed myself. WTF is wrong with you people? Who on earth listens to that shit? The artist doesn’t even listen to that because it couldn’t have possibly been created by a human. Just when your my non-riding friends are beginning to open up, they come by when I’m watching this. They thought I was coming out of the closet. Thanks.

  • Edward

    I enjoyed the video, and thanks HFL for having cool interviews with all the interesting people on the ‘fringe’ of motorcycle design/engineering. Where the envelope is being pushed is the most interesting place.

    As I side note, I’ve never been to pike’s peak but flew over it recently. Even at 35,000 ft in a commercial airliner I could see the road, and it looked awesome.

  • Johndo

    crazy, crazy, crazy.

  • Beale

    One the most fun races I’ve ever been to. It’s like a little league game/picnic in the mountains…with stupid fast racing. The rally cars and open class quads are unbelievably fast up the mountain.

  • matt

    go chip. Love what you are doing buddy. Kick some ass but please don’t fall off the mountain.

  • Michael

    Ditto on the cheeseball music.

    Would have been much awesomer to actually hear the bike and the road.

    Similarly but different, check out the cool video of Travis Pastrana making a run up the Mt Washington auto road.

    That’s the way you make a motorsports video: nothing but the lovely engine sound (and the co-driver, of course. It’s a rally car video.)