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Theo Bernhard - 18 Years Racing Pikes Peak

Theo Bernhard has been racing at Pikes Peak for 18 years. I've known him for 15 of those.

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Even though quad riders often get overlooked, He's probably one of the most talented riders on the mountain. After all, he races & rides two wheeled machines all around the bay area in California.

Pikes Peak is the only race he chooses to race an ATV which is very similar to myself when I was doing hillclimbs on quads but every other minute riding was on two wheels.

Theo Bernhard Pikes Peak 2014 Practice Launch

Regardless, Theo brings with him a crazy impressive quad he's developed over the past few years.

It's a YFZ450 chassis but powered with the peak proven twin-cylinder two stroke banshee motor stuffed inside.

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Hybrid quads are always fun to look at up close. The thing is loud, fast, and crazy which is also exactly how you have to ride it.

Hands down he's the most fun quad to watch because he backs it in to the hairpins and drifts the corners with the style of the formula drift guys that come up like Rhys or Gushi. Though sometimes that can end badly, see the results from his crash here in 2011 which left him with a broken hip and nasty road rash.

Theo has been racing this race since the course was 100% dirt and loves to slide the corners like it still is!

Off the bike, you wouldn't think it's the same guy riding like a mad man. Super mellow and nice.

He let's his riding express what he doesn't in person.

You'll find him wrenching on his bike all alone in the pits, changing tires, ect. No catering to by mechanics or crew.

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Of those 18 years he's always been one of the top guys but this year was looking promising for a win every day in practice.

After qualifying, he was the fastest. That means we had to force him to go display the bike at Fan Fest since fastest qualifiers are required to attend.

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On the start line for Race Day. It's always pleasing to see 2-stroke exhaust since it's becoming more rare on the Peak. The Place gets covered in smoke and we couldn't see but he was soon blazing up the road.

The fans are the only ones seeing him now as everyone in the pits waits for times to come in.

And after the smoke clears...


Keith Steidl finished this year in 6th place

Jeremy Harbison finished in 5th.

Troy Smith placed 4th.

Former Winner Mike Ell got 3rd.

Brandon Tubbs had a great rookie year on the mountain placing 2nd.

 

So that meant...

Theo had won. Finally. His times were looking like he'd get a new overall record if conditions were right on race day but that didn't happen. It didn't matter because he had gotten the class win which has eluded him for years.

Coming down is an awesome experience from the riders and drivers point of view. You get to thank all the fans that have been up since 2am just to watch the race.

It's even better when you do it with a flag signifying you're the winner of your class.

The 2014 Pikes Peak Quad Podium.

It's always good to just make it to the top of the mountain, but even sweeter to get the hardware for being the fastest.