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 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.
Base of the mountain on Tuesday. The road had not yet been closed to the public as we started up.

And up ...

Check out that first step.

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

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just before this clip begins that it appears a nuclear bomb has been detonated at the summit, as the vegetation has been replaced by fields of granite boulders.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.

Still going. ...

Big finale.

And into the parking lot at the summit.

Standing atop a pile of rocks at the summit.

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.
 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.