16 Year Old Teen to Race to the Clouds at Pikes Peak Hillclimb in a MINI

Discussion in 'Racing MINIs' started by Nathan, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
    25,144
    10,033
    113
    Writer
    Short North
    Ratings:
    +10,050 / 0 / -0
    [​IMG]
    From Home - The Denver Post

    LITTLETON — Doughnuts helped buy Savannah Rickli's first go-kart. Now, Rickli hopes to parlay that childhood campaign to the top of Pikes Peak.

    Rickli always has possessed a craving for speed. At age 11, she sold enough doughnuts through a fundraiser for a school field trip to Washington, D.C. Money that Rickli's grandmother had sent to cover the trip was instead combined with saved allowances for $1,050 toward a 1995 Margay Chassis equipped with a Briggs & Stratton 5-horsepower engine. Fiona is her name.

    Sweet!

    Rickli, a 16-year-old junior at Dakota Ridge High, is set to be the youngest female ever to race in the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which fields more than 160 drivers and racers, including 14 returning champions.

    The nation's second-oldest motorsports race at 88 years (behind the Indianapolis 500) is run on a 12.42-mile course that climbs 4,720 feet to finish at 14,110 feet, where temperatures are expected to top out at 48 degrees Sunday. As the air becomes thinner, fatigue sets in for the car and its driver.

    "My head is just spinning," said Savannah's mother, Carol. "She has always said for many, many years that she wanted to race the Hill Climb, and I didn't expect it to be this soon. But we have always encouraged her to follow her dreams."

    The age requirement for Sunday's race is 18, but a long-standing relationship coupled with confidence in Rickli's resume allowed race director Phil Layton to approve her application.

    A realization struck Rickli as she drove down Interstate 25 on Tuesday. "Pikes Peak was just staring at me. It was emotional," Rickli said. "It's kind of all starting to hit me, and I'm starting to realize that I am a part of (Sunday's race)."

    Rickli's first major investment paid off within a year of the purchase date. In 2006 she drove the red kart to a junior championship on a national race tour, and in 2007 and 2008 she won junior championships in a local division for racers age 12-16. "Fiona" rested in the garage until last summer, when Rickli ended the relationship, selling her first love for $1,100 as she sought to increase her competitiveness.

    Rickli contacted SCR Performance manager Grant Barclay, who placed her in a 2003 Mini Cooper S in January. Now she's attempting to become the youngest — at 16 years, 334 days — to make it to the top of the hill. Anthony Marcovich — two months younger than Rickli when he tried the climb July 3, 1999, fell short of reaching the top.

    Rewind to the Indianapolis 500, May 28, 2000.

    Rickli, then 7, was in the crowd watching 19-year-old Sarah Fisher make history as the youngest woman to compete at the Brickyard. Although Rickli didn't fully understand the meaning of Fisher's accomplishment at the time, she does now.

    "Now looking back on it, that was huge," Rickli said.

    In two days, Rickli steps into similar shoes.

    "Comparing myself to Sarah Fisher and other drivers, we are all women who are passionate about what we want to do, and we're going out there to succeed and do our best," Rickli said.

    Enter the Rickli household in Littleton and it doesn't take long to figure out how much racing means to this family.

    Race-themed photographs decorate the dinning room. There's a picture of Rickli posing with her family outside the Indy 500 racetrack a decade ago. A photo of Rickli sporting a confident smirk and one of her sponsor's logos on a plain black T-shirt. A photo, taken in March, of Rickli standing beside her yellow Mini Cooper at High Plains Raceway in Byers.

    Racing fuels the Rickli home. The family attends between 25 and 30 races a year.

    Carol fell in love with racing at the same time she fell in love with her husband, Neil. As race officials for the past six years, Carol and Neil will be positioned 1 mile up from where Rickli will start the race. Together, they have been ice-racing competitively for 27 years, driving a 1964 Jeep CJ5. Rickli and her brother, David, adopted their parents' passion for the sport at an early age. Rickli read a book titled "Bob Bondurant on Race Kart Driving," inspiring her to pay for her way through driving school while winning a few championships on the side.

    All of which has led to her big moment Sunday, when Rickli makes her debut in the Time Attack two-wheel-drive division alongside navigator Rebecca Greek, who has navigated Pikes Peak five times. They are the only all-female team in their division.

    "I am feeling pretty good," Greek said Wednesday. "Savannah and I spent a lot of time preparing for the event and everything went well over the last two practice days. The main goal is just to finish the event, and I feel we are on track to reach that goal."

    The two experienced success on the mountain in practice runs over two days of training earlier this month. After making a combined 156 turns en route to the top, Rickli and Greek celebrated by dousing each other in age-appropriate apple cider.

    "I'm looking forward to standing at the top and giving Rebecca that huge hug once we cross the finish line knowing that we did it," Rickli said.

    How else does Rickli plan to celebrate if she makes it to the top? "Doughnuts!"

    That would satisfy Rickli's hunger after the biggest challenge of her budding racing career.

    "The elevation makes the doughnuts really good," Rickli said, smiling.
     
  2. mini_racer

    mini_racer Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2009
    1,046
    55
    48
    Engr Manager
    Austin, TX
    Ratings:
    +55 / 0 / -0
  3. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
    Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    8,753
    2,533
    113
    Bend, OR USA
    Ratings:
    +2,653 / 1 / -0
    :cool:

    good luck to her!
     
  4. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    5,364
    3,928
    113
    Male
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +4,422 / 1 / -0
    I appreciate her desire and even her skills, but I question why we're allowing 16 year olds into these very hazardous endeavors - much like the girl who tried to sail around the world solo at 16......there's a reason the entry age is 18.

    On the one hand I hope she does well, but on the other, if she does, it will just encourage more kids to try to do things before they might be ready.....seems a real possible waste of youth and talent. Why can't kids be kids, don't they have to grow up fast enough as it is?
     
  5. Tüls

    Tüls New Member

    Apr 3, 2009
    438
    12
    0
    The sky
    Ratings:
    +12 / 0 / -0
    Why not?

    I did things that were prolly just as dangerous as a 16 year old. Difference was I did them with out knowledge and acceptance of my family etc etc. That's when you can really get hurt. It's very old school to me to say "NO, you might get hurt!" Ok well, that's all I ever heard. So you know what. I went out and did it anyway.

    Why not have it be organized. Trained for. Prepared as best as possible. Yeah crap happens. So what. If we go through life always thinking "what if" then nothing ever gets done.

    Again, At least in these cases they are prepared.
     
  6. wmwny

    wmwny Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2009
    3,932
    2,121
    113
    Male
    Retired
    Piqua, Ohio
    Ratings:
    +2,607 / 8 / -0
    Next, we'll be seeing some 3 yr. old pedalling his MINI over the Dragon...yep...he's been "training for it all his life"....:rolleyes5:
     
  7. Tüls

    Tüls New Member

    Apr 3, 2009
    438
    12
    0
    The sky
    Ratings:
    +12 / 0 / -0
    Yep, or better yet, let's stifle every person who's trying to do something we can't, couldn't or even imagine doing. That's a way better solution.

    I wish her all the luck. It's pretty epic. I wish I had that kinda support at that age. Who knows where it coulda taken me.

    Oh wait, I just realized. You guys might have a point. I think we should also start taking people's licenses who are over 60. They are not only a danger to them selves but others. After all, Look at the LFA test driver. Killed him self after leaving the test track. Which coulda been avoided if someone had just said. "hey, you're a little too old for this. Leave it to the 18-40 year olds. LOL :rolleyes5:
     
  8. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    5,364
    3,928
    113
    Male
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +4,422 / 1 / -0
    You missed my point competely, she's a minor competing in a sport for adults. There's a reason they keep kids from doing things their skill might let them but their maturity isn't ready for.

    That's my point, and my whole point.

    It has nothing to do with what they might physically be capable of doing......
     
  9. Tüls

    Tüls New Member

    Apr 3, 2009
    438
    12
    0
    The sky
    Ratings:
    +12 / 0 / -0
    Oh I got your point. But who are you or me or anyone to judge anyone on maturity. I know plenty of 30x year olds and plenty of 50x year olds that are completely immature. The reality is, there's exception to every rule. Maybe the rule is out dated. etc etc... there's always a place and time and person who can change the rules.

    This just might be that.

    Of course, I'm a rule bender/breaker. ;)


    Btw, I'm not saying you're wrong. I was simply trying to give another perspective. From someone who grew up racing and doing extreme sports. But back then it wasn't even established. It was just "you crazy kids!" Now things that were extreme and reckless have become olympic or other recognized sporting events that are huge. Look at what Ken Block is doing with Gymkhana. Someone who's just doing it for him self, but now it's gaining momentum. I think it's awesome. Sure he's older. But what if he was told it was "crazy" and shouldn't do it by someone he listened to. :\ That would suck for all of us.
     
  10. wmwny

    wmwny Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2009
    3,932
    2,121
    113
    Male
    Retired
    Piqua, Ohio
    Ratings:
    +2,607 / 8 / -0
    Okkkk...just remember, you'll be in that group, too, one day. :D Will you carry on when they take YOUR license away? :devil: I'm not a bad driver, and I have had wayyy too many track days to even consider that. However, I am NOT a test driver...gee, let's make THEM relinquish THEIR licenses when they hit 60....:rolleyes5:

    My point is, that, after that gal trying to sail around the world and barely escaping with her life, a lot of under age kids are going to try some pretty dangerous things for the sake of getting into a record book.
     
  11. Mrsideways

    Mrsideways New Member

    Apr 12, 2010
    85
    5
    0
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -1
    Always wanted to do Pikes Peak. Never had a car or finacial means to do it.
    Wish them the best of luck. :Thumbsup:
     
  12. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
    25,144
    10,033
    113
    Writer
    Short North
    Ratings:
    +10,050 / 0 / -0
    Tood Cook of TCE has a Pikes Peak Class record.

    2007: The Mini Sprint record was broken by Todd Cook. He ran 11:37.62 in his 2000 Wells TCE Coyote despite a spin on the way up, bettering his own record set in 2005

    Mini Sprint - Small bore Open Wheel category. Smaller and lighter with no more than 220ci (3.6 L) engines and no forced induction.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuBxSGOhXLs]YouTube - Pikes Peak 2007, Todd Cook, practice: upper section[/ame]
     
  13. bee1000

    bee1000 New Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    177
    1
    0
    Marketing
    San Diego, California
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
  14. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
    25,144
    10,033
    113
    Writer
    Short North
    Ratings:
    +10,050 / 0 / -0
  15. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
    Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    8,753
    2,533
    113
    Bend, OR USA
    Ratings:
    +2,653 / 1 / -0
    Ok....it's been awhile since I've seen any coverage of the hillclimb so I gotta ask.

    When did they do all of the paving?
     
  16. Tüls

    Tüls New Member

    Apr 3, 2009
    438
    12
    0
    The sky
    Ratings:
    +12 / 0 / -0
    I was wondering the same thing! haha
     
  17. gepperso

    gepperso New Member

    Jun 6, 2010
    4
    0
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Age

    Heck, let them all do it (Anything) if they die then they die, that was their fate.. :yikes:
     
  18. MINIMaybee

    MINIMaybee Club Coordinator

    May 4, 2009
    486
    15
    0
    Engineer
    Centennial, CO
    Ratings:
    +15 / 0 / -0
    MINI5280 supports, cheers and otherwise goes bonkers for Savannah!
     
  19. miniconcarne

    miniconcarne New Member

    May 5, 2009
    246
    38
    0
    Machinist
    Home
    Ratings:
    +38 / 0 / -0

    Started about 8 years ago. Paving is "cheaper" to mantain and more invironmentaly "frendly". The gravel road base washing down the Peak was the concern. Only one small section at the top is still not paved. It will be totally paved by end of 2012.
     
  20. maxmini

    maxmini New Member

    Jan 24, 2010
    112
    10
    0
    Ratings:
    +10 / 0 / -0
    Couple of points if i may. Tul's I will be 60 in sept STFU :)

    I am still pretty deep in the sailing world and the story of " team abbey " the 16 yr old that was just rescued at a cost of over $300,000 is getting more ugly by the min. It was not a case of understanding parents but parents that were trying to make a buck off of risking their 16 yr daughters life for fame and reality TV fortune. There are a number of sailing sites with hours of reading on this if anyone is so inclined .
    Comparing what the girl attempting to run Pikes peak is doing to what the failed RTW attempt is not even in the same ball park. She has not left her crib in comparison. She has proper safety gear , a seasoned co driver , a good amount of track time and more importantly has the confidence of the organizer of the event . I am sure he would not take a chance of the bad publicity from allowing something to happen that he did not feel had a very good chance of success. Sure things happen , hell a spectator at the top of Pikes Peak was killed one year but to rule out ALL entrants because of a arbitrary age doesn't seem proper to me . Make it 18 for all unless you can convince me other wise like this girl was able to do .

    Randy
     

Share This Page