Sunday, September 12, 2010

Travis Pastrana, Mt. Washington and me



Here's some video from last week when I was allowed behind the scenes as Travis Pastrana tested a Vermont SportsCar Subaru up the 6,288-foot high, 7.6-mile-long Mt. Washington Auto Road outside Gorham, N.H. The highlight of the first day was a ride up the 149-year-old, twisting, undulating, edge-of-the-face-of-God road with Pastrana in a street car. I won't lie. I watch Nitro Circus, and I was therefore a little apprehensive. The two-page waiver didn't didn't alleviate any of the concern. But it was a great experience. Keep checking SI.com for the Pastrana profile I am eagerly working on since returning.

As for the video. This was done with a Flip right out of the box, while trying to maintain conversation, see everything with my own eyes and sort-of poke at an interview at 50-plus mph on a road fit for goat herds. So please excuse the amateurish lack of quality in these snippets.
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Base of the mountain on Tuesday. The road had not yet been closed to the public as we started up.

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And up ...
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Check out that first step.

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Off the asphalt and onto the 15-percent of the road still unpaved. The sensation of speed is amazing here.
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The road never ends. Pure exhiliration as we continue nearer the summit and the finish line near the weather observatory.

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I mention to Pastrana just before this clip begins that it appears a nuclear bomb has been detonated at the summit, as the vegetation has been replaced by fields of granite boulders. Co-driver Marshall Clarke had apparently said the same thing earlier. I'm a trained observer.
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Still going. ...
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Big finale.

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And into the parking lot at the summit.


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Standing atop a pile of rocks at the summit.

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A pseudo 360-degree panorama just as Pastrana begins a brief photo session with the marker atop the mountain. I've seen the proofs. A very cool shot came out of that one.

Rally cars have license plates.
Pretty self-explanatory.
video The next morning, Pastrana smashed the record for quickest trip up the mountain, covering the course in 6 minutes, 20 seconds and .47 hundreds on his first attempt in this car. He averaged 72 mph. Fifty had seemed like light speed the previous day. Amazing. The previous record of 6:41.9 was set by Canadian Frank Sprongl in 1998. He and co-driver Marshall Clarke were unable to attempt any further full runs as clouds and fog socked in the summit.

1 comment:

  1. I drove the mountain in my Integra 4-door in August 1992. There was snow in the shadows of the rocks at the summit.

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