Travis Pastrana beat the record at the Mt. Washington hillclimb by just under 25 seconds last weekend, to win one of America’s oldest motorsport events.
Pastrana, who is competing in the American Rally Association championship for Subaru Rally Team USA this year, scaled the 7.6 mile course in 5 minutes 44.72 seconds, bettering the previous record set by his SRT USA team mate David Higgins in 2014.
Both drivers were driving identical, specially-prepared Subaru WRX STIs that had double the power of their regular ARA cars thanks to a 2.0 litre 600 horsepower turbocharged boxer engine usually fitted to the team’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars.
“I can’t say enough how fun these cars are to drive, and thank Subaru for providing one to me. I hope this record can stand for a little while,” said Pastrana. “On our first run I leaned on the tires too much on the bottom half, which made the top half very loose and scary but really fun, we were sideways a lot but I’m sure we lost some time.”
“On our second run I was able to conserve the tires and drove cleaner, I really didn’t expect to drop the record further,” he added. “This road is such a challenge, it’s probably the toughest road to drive flat-out in the world.”
The pair were closely matched in early practice sessions, Higgins’ charge ended on his first run on Sunday after he went off the road at Cragway after entering the gravel turn too quickly. The Manx driver emerged from the incident uninjured.
“It was going really well up until it went really bad,” explained Higgins. “It’s one of those events that you put so much work into one small run, so the disappointment is massive. If you are going fast enough to win the event you are going fast enough to crash. But there is no better person to lose my record to than Travis. I’m really happy for him and the job the team has done.”
Pastrana and Higgins will next be in action in the ARA championship on July 21-22 at the New England Forest Rally.
Higgins currently holds a 10 point lead over Pastrana in the championship standings, with both drivers dominating the season so far and locking out the top two positions in every event with Higgins winning three events to Pastrana’s one.
Higgins was unable to complete another record breaking run like in 2011 and 2014 – Credit: Matthew Stryker/ARA