MANITOU SPRINGS, COLORADO…Mike Ryan and his Freightliner Century Class® S/T Super Truck claimed the victory for the seventh time at the 82nd annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb here on June 26, 2004. Ryan competed in the big rig division against entries from Peterbilt and Kenworth. This was Ryan’s eighth trip up the mountain in the No. 77 Freightliner Century Class.
The hill climb takes on trucks, rally cars, ATVs and motorcycles competing in separate divisions to achieve the fastest time up the mountain on a course of pavement, gravel and dirt with hairpin turns and sheer drop-offs. The race begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak.
However, this year’s finish line for the Class 8 segment of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb stopped six miles short of the summit due to severe weather conditions that developed in the afternoon, shutting down the race for over two hours preceding Ryan’s run up the mountain. Only one other time in the history of the hill climb has weather altered the race route.
Although disappointed by not being able to run to the summit, Ryan remained determined. “I don’t care if we only race a mile,” Ryan stated. “We came to play and I’m not going to give up that number one spot.”
“Mike takes that Century Class to the limit year after year,” said Mark Lampert, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Freightliner Trucks. “It’s a testament to his crew and our product that it keeps performing so well in such extreme conditions.”
Ryan’s race-modified Freightliner Century Class S/T features a racing version of the Mercedes-Benz 501 V-6 twin turbo engine that produces nearly 1,300 horsepower. In tests, the 8,000-pound truck topped out at speeds nearing 100 mph on the course.
Ryan’s Century Class S/T Super Truck also features custom-made tires supplied by Michelin. These tires feature special rubber compounds and hand-carved tread which significantly improve traction and vehicle handling. In addition, the tires are filled with nitrogen gas rather than air to slow air pressure expansion.
Ryan finished the race with a time of 6:05:03, thirty-six seconds faster than the second-place time. Ryan also broke his own qualifying-time record at this year’s competition by twenty seconds. “Beating a record by five seconds is incredible. Twenty seconds is gigantic,” Ryan declared.
Ryan credits Freightliner for providing him with a vehicle that stands up to the demands of the Pikes Peak challenge. “Freightliner offers great technology and outstanding engineering,” Ryan said. “I love to race this truck because it gets the job done.”
“We are proud to have Mike Ryan as a representative for Freightliner Trucks,” Lampert adds. “His talents matched with our quality product make a great team time and time again.”
Freightliner Trucks is a division of Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner Trucks produces and markets Class 5-8 trucks and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world's largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.