The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) is one of the most thrilling racing events anywhere in the world as competitors race motorcycles, automobiles and all-terrain vehicles up the side of a 14,115-foot mountain on a course that features 156 turns – many of which leave little margin for error.
In an effort to provide enhanced safety to the racers at Pikes Peak, Honda has again partnered with the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) to provide soft-barrier technology for some of the dangerous sections of the 12.42-mile race course.
The AirFence barriers are soft, air-filled cushions designed to protect motorcycle and ATV riders in the case of an accident. Honda worked with the AMA and the Roadracing World Action Fund last year to provide the soft barriers, and will do so again for the 2015 edition of the event. Last year’s partnership marked the first time in the 92-year history of the PPIHC that a competitor worked with a sanctioning body – the AMA sanctions the motorcycle portion of the event – to improve the overall safety of the race.
“Safety is a top priority in everything that we do at Honda, and working with the AMA and the Roadracing World Action Fund to provide a measure of safety for the competitors is something we are excited about doing,” said James Robinson, Principal Engineer, Engine Research, Honda R&D. “We saw firsthand last year how well these Airfence barriers work in protecting a fallen rider and while we hope nobody tests them, we feel strongly about having them in place.”
The fencing played a major part in determining the outcome of the Open Motorcycle class in 2014, saving eventual class champion Jeremy Toye after a fall during practice. Toye lost control in a tight turn and landed in the barriers, and later credited them with saving him from injuries that could have prevented him from competing in the race.
“Thanks to a financial contribution from Honda, we’re able to fund deployment of soft barriers from the Roadracing World Action Fund at the 93rd running of Pikes Peak,” said AMA Director of Racing Bill Cumbow. “AMA-sanctioned events strive to put safety first and these barriers can help reduce rider injuries in the event of a crash.”
Honda is currently finalizing its lineup for the July 28 race, which will see the manufacturer campaigning a number of different types of vehicles including motorcycles, automobiles and side-by-sides. Full information on the team’s lineup will be released in the coming weeks.