The Subaru Mount Washington Hillclimb returned this weekend after a three-year hiatus, and Subaru Rally Team USA was keen to defend its course record. It didn’t just defend it, though.
It essentially put it out of reach.
Travis Pastrana not only beat David Higgins’ record, set in 2014, but also completed the 7.6-mile course 42.03 seconds faster than any other entrant. He bested his SRTUSA teammate’s previous record by 24.37 seconds, setting a time of 5:44.72 on his second run.
Pastrana also beat Higgins’ 2014 time of 6:09.09 on his first run behind the wheel of his 600-horsepower hillclimb-spec WRX STI rally car. He bettered his time, though, by 1.56 seconds on his next attempt.
“I can’t say enough how fun these cars are to drive, and thank Subaru for providing one to me. I hope this record can stand for a little while,” Pastrana said in a statement. “On our first run we I leaned on the tires too much on the bottom half, which made the top half very loose and scary but really fun, we were sideways a lot but I’m sure we lost some time.”
His was the only SRTUSA entrant to cross the finish line, however, as Higgins sent his car over the edge in his first run. He reportedly misjudged a sequence of turns leading up to a gravel section, carried too much speed onto the loose surface, clipped a rock and went over the edge — though he wasn’t injured in the incident.
“It was going really well up until it went really bad,” Higgins said in a statement. “It’s one of those events that you put so much work into one small run, so the disappointment is massive. If you are going fast enough to win the event you are going fast enough to crash.”
Although he obviously wasn’t pleased with how his race ended, Higgins said he was glad his record was broken by Pastrana so it stays within the Vermont-based team.
All photos via Subaru Rally Team USA