Most folks have heard about the stories of the first Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Lets look at a different view by the seeing a couple of the manufactures advertising after the race. There were three races (events) over two days , August 11th and 12th 1916. Having several events on the race over two days has lead to some confusion over the winners . Three separate races, events as they were called. With events number one and two happened on the eleventh . Event number three “Main Event”on the 12th of August.
DAY ONE :
Event No.1 Class “E” Non-Stock-Open to Class “C” cars with piston displacement of 230 cubic inches and under.
Winner was Fred Junk in the Chamlers Special, with a time of 23:04.6
Event No. 2 Class “C” non-Stock-Division 6c, for cars with piston displacement of 231 to 300 cubic inches.
Winner was Ralph Mulford in a Hudson Super-Six Special. at 18:24.7 . Ralph sets the bar for the course time record on day one.
The Main Event No. 3 on August 12th was a Class “D” Non-Stock-Free for all. Open to ANY gasoline car which complies with the definition of a motor car.
Winner was Rea Lentz in a Romona Demon Special . 20:55.6
The car was a homemade racer with a 402 cubic inch 125 horsepower airplane motor. Event number three was the big money race and the winner received the Penrose Trophy. Above photograph taken with the trophy in the town of Manitou Springs at the foot of Pikes Peak. Few pictures exist of the Romona special and there is some debate on the type of aircraft motor used. Some have it listed as a Curtis engine which may not be correct. Below photograph is from “The Sunday Oregonian” newspaper July 23,1916 . This picture was from prior to the Hill Climb race . Best known picture of the Romano Demon Specials aircraft engine.
Postcards also become available of a couple of the 1916 Pikes Peak Hill Climb race car drivers.
The first Hill Climb was a success and would begin the discussions of factory cars running with the home-built race cars . Freak cars as they would call them later. Having the three events also allowed more then one person or factory to claim they won the first Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Some feel that Ralph Mulfords’ time of 18:24.7 on day one,should have been the overall winner , as it was the fastest of the all three events.
World War One would stop the race until 1920 and there would be still be multiply events when the race returned. The Free for all Main Event #3 being the one to win. ( only one combined class started in 1925 )
So goes the lesson learned from that inaugural Pikes Peak Hill Climb race