Clint and Cody From Patriarch Family Gearing Up For Competition in Hill Climb
The Vahsholtz family from Woodland Park has been famous for decades through their vast presence on America’s Mountain during the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
In fact, the three generations of racers have had such an impact on the race that many call Pikes Peak “Vahsholtz Mountain.”
For the 100th running this Sunday, two of the famous Vahsholtz racers will take their chances on the 150-plus-turn course. This year marks a big return for veteran racer Clint Vahsholtz as he is slated to return in an Aston Martin. The third generation competitor Codie Vahsholtz will be returning in the open wheel car his dad once raced for the second year in a row.
The legacy started when the patriarch, Leonard Vahsholtz, raced up the mountain in for the first time in 1977. His first win was in 1993 and he raced the mountain for a total of 32 years.
Leonard’s son, Clint Vahsholtz, started his racing career in a motorcycle in 1992 before moving on to racing cars. In 2020, the second generation family racer earned the title of “The King of the Mountain” by earning the fastest time up the course.
Clint’s son and Leonard’s grandson, Codie, started racing motorcycles in 2011 and accomplished quite a bit on the course. But then in 2019, when Carlin Dunne tragically passed away during the race while on a motorcycle, officials have since banned motorcycle racing.
South African Racing Team Picks Veteran Racer to Pilot New Aston Martin
Clint took the year off last year, but he has decided to return to the course for the 100th running for the race this weekend. However, he will be racing in a new car sponsored by the rookie racing team SG Motorsports. But unfortunately, he has had little time to get used to his new vehicle.
The team had planned to go with a different driver for the car, but due to a scheduling conflict they reached out to the hill climb officials for a veteran driver that needed a car to race. Clint’s name was on the top of the list, so the South Africa racing team, which has a hub in Denver, opted to have Clint race their 2015 Aston Martin equipped with a V12 engine.
But due to issues of getting parts through customs from other countries, the team was behind on putting the car together. But Clint said last week that he did have some time to practice his new ride before trying to conquer the 14-teener.
The veteran racer said that they just want him to make it to the summit because that would be the first time an Aston Martin has ever raced up to the top in the iconic race. However, Clint has higher aspirations and plans to use his experience on the mountain to be successful.
“I will be racing in the Pikes Peak Open Division and we will be running against Ken Block, Rhys Millen, and a handful of other good drivers, “Clint Vahsholtz said. “I don’t even know what to expect I would like to hope that it is a podium car. I personally am going to have to drive it to its ability and I am going to have to find that somehow some way. And I don’t know how much time that will take. The 100th-year race is going to be cool to be part of and I have high hopes that this comes together and it’s a very competitive car.”
Codie Vahsholtz Returns in the Same Car as Last Year with a Few Notable Changes
Codie Vahsholtz said that during his first race up the mountain in a car last year, he placed second, but he was further behind the top spot than he wanted. He said that he had to deal with adverse road conditions including a slick course and limited visibility.
He did say though, that his crew has helped him tremendously the last two years and that this year his team was key in helping him make some needed changes. “We did some pretty significant suspension changes to get the car a little bit more suited to my style of driving,” Codie Vahsholtz said. “And, we did a lot more testing and I got more seat time in the car.”
He said that there are many similarities to racing a car up the mountain versus a motorcycle, but also some key differences. “One of the biggest things between a motorcycle and a car is that in a motorcycle you have a lot more freedom with body movement so you can counteract and make the vehicle do what you want it to do,” the third generation Vahsholtz racer said. “Whereas in a car, you are strapped in super tight and there is nothing to do other than use the steering wheel, brakes and throttle.”
Codie said that he is happy to be back in a car this year and that it has been a fun challenge. “It’s super cool to be involved in the 100th-running,” he said. “The only thing that would make it cooler was if my grandfather (Leonard Vahsholtz) was racing in it.”