On June 24,1812, Napoleon’s French Grande Armée crossed the Neman river, beginning the invasion of Russia.
On June 24, 2018, French citizen Romain Dumas captured the global world of motorsport and the city of Colorado Springs.
Neither will be the same again.
The 40-year-old racing driver, buckled up in the smallish cockpit of a futuristic, all-electric 2018 Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak, navigated the 156 turns and 12.42 miles of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb course to the 14,115ft summit of America’s Mountain in an astonishing 7:57.418, averaging 90 miles per hour and vaporizing the previous course mark of 8:13.878 set in 2013 by fellow Frenchman Sébastien Loeb in a gasoline-powered Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak.
Among the thousands lining the course in the secure spectator areas, visiting fans from Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Brazil, Finland, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and South Africa strained their necks to catch a momentary glimpse of the man and his car as they sped by on the way to their moment in time.
So were those who came from 45 states, from Alaska to West Virginia, to take part in the grandeur of the mountain, the amenities of Colorado Springs, and the magnificence of the week and an epic Sunday not to be soon forgotten.
Almost 40,000 were on hand on Friday night in downtown Colorado Springs to enjoy Fan Fest, see some of the cars and motorcycles, enjoy good food and a beer, and gape at the daredevil maneuvers of the Red Bull Motocross team, courtesy of Sam and Kathy Guadagnoli.
Build something unique and they will come.
In less than eight minutes, Dumas catapulted Colorado Springs and our mountain onto the worldwide stage of motorsport, right to the center.
By the end of a cloudy, windy and snow and rain-showered afternoon, there were moments of greatness from Hill Climb stars Rhys Millen, Paul Dallenbach, Clint Vahsholtz, Carlin Dunne, Codie Vahsholtz, Davey Durelle, and fresh faces like Italy’s Simone Faggioli and Switzerland’s Fabien Bouduban, but it was Dumas’ time and place in history.
Superb Gazette columnist David Ramsey said it best at the end of the day Sunday atop Pikes Peak.
“In years ahead, carmakers will be willing to spend a mountain of cash in pursuit of the record, the one currently held by Dumas and Volkswagen. At the start line on Sunday, visitors from across the globe were examining cars, taking photos with their phones and staring at Pikes Peak.”
By mid-day on Tuesday, the Colorado Springs Sports Corp was provided with data that outlined more than 650,000 worldwide mentions of the race across platforms including news media, social media, twitter, blogs and others. TV and radio results logged 167 segments equating to 4,470,419 impressions.
Competitors from 18 nations came to challenge the Peak, along with journalists, photographers and broadcasters from 14 countries.
Already, the buzz is on for next summer. Will Dumas return again in another auto? Will Loeb return to reclaim his record? Is seven minutes on the horizon?
Restaurants, hotels and motels were jammed with visitors speaking a plethora of languages, as well as the region’s menu of attractions.
Our prestigious motorsport clambake set the stage perfectly for this week’s grand U.S. Senior Open at the Broadmoor’s majestic East Course, and the thousands more from around the world who will come to Colorado Springs to watch the spectacular golf tournament and the millions watching in their homes on FOX Sports.
So, Olympic City USA embraces a pair of sports events that add glamour and glitz to the city’s already glowing reputation.
Not something to dismiss.
Mike Moran is the Senior Media Consultant for the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation and the chief spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1979-2003. He was inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. firstname.lastname@example.org