Announced late today, the 90th Pikes Peak International Peak Climb, scheduled for Sunday, July 8, 2012, has officially been postponed due to safety concerns and conditions resulting from the wildfires threatening the communities in and around Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Pikes Peak Highway has been closed for almost 4 days now, due to the devastating fires.
More than 35,000 people have been evacuated from fires that include the 24-square mile Waldo Canyon Blaze. Hundreds of homes within city limits have been destroyed with an unknown number of buildings in surrounding communities also burned to the ground.
“We have been informed by the U.S. Forest Service that conditions are so extreme, along with the inability to forecast the future of the fire, and with access to Pikes Peak in jeopardy that the agency can’t permit the event to go as scheduled, “said Tom Osborne, Chairman of the Board of the PPIHC and President & CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.
The nation's second oldest motor sports race (behind Indianapolis 500) will still be run, according to Osborne. It will just have to happen later in the summer.
211 race crews were scheduled to arrive for Technical Inspections beginning July 3rd, followed by a Fan Fest in downtown Colorado Springs on July 6th and practice and qualifications for the race. Tickets already purchased for the canceled event dates will be honored for the new dates, said to be chosen by race organizers in the next 2 weeks.
After meetings between the race organizers and the Forest Service, Osborne stated, "At the end of our meeting today, it was clear that we would not be able to go as scheduled,” said Osborne. “Our deepest concern is for the safety of the public and the competitors, and it was obvious that several agencies charged with public safety would not be able to commit the resources and manpower required to ensure those requirements because of the critical need for their resources at this time. Our city is in an unprecedented struggle right now and we are deeply sensitive to it.”