Six-time champion Paul Dallenbach returns to Lands End Hill Climb
Paul Dallenbach has the all-time course record, but this year he could barely hold off his nephew.
The six-time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb champion and Lands End Hill Climb record holder from Basalt returned to Lands End for the first time in five years, but his record time of 4 minutes, 32.54 seconds set in 1993 was out of reach Saturday. His best of four runs was 5:22.35.
The Lands End Hill Climb continues at 10 a.m. today. Each driver will get two runs to break a course record and win this year’s title.
Dallenbach’s time Saturday wasn’t much better than his nephew’s, who is competing in his first hill climb race of his life.
Nineteen-year-old Wyatt did quite well, finishing seven seconds behind his uncle.
“That’s pretty good,” said Paul, who is often the professional driver on a closed course for television commercials. “That car’s more suited for this road, but he’s doing a great job. He didn’t drop a wheel. He didn’t do anything stupid. We’d like to build on that and try to get him ready for Pikes Peak next year.”
Wyatt, who has raced in the Jetta TDI Cup, enjoyed it.
“It was a lot of fun,” Wyatt said. “The first run, I was just testing it out. It seemed like every run after that was better and better, a little bit faster each time.”
Wyatt completed his first year of college in the spring and is transferring to Colorado Mountain College this fall.
He attended the University of Texas-San Antonio last school year.
“I’ll do all the races they’ll let me do,” Wyatt said of the team and sponsors. “My dad too. He’s got a big part of it.”
Wyatt’s dad, Wally Dallenbach Jr., was a former NASCAR driver. Wyatt’s grandfather and Paul’s dad, Wally Dallenbach Sr., is a former Indy Car driver.
Despite all their family history of racing, Paul and Wyatt will have to catch Spencer Steele to win the Hill Climb.
The Denver man posted the fastest time in the class and on the course, 5:10.20.
“We’re a long ways off the record,” Steele said. “We have almost 40 seconds to catch him, so that probably won’t happen. It was probably set on a year with a really good road and Paul is fast. He’s a heck of a good driver. He laid one down that day. If you have enough guts, you can do that often, but it’s kind of scary!”
Steele has a lot of respect for the Dallenbachs.
“They’re always fast,” Steele said. “They are a great bunch of guys to race against.
“He brought the wrong car. He brought a bazooka to a snowball fight.”
Paul Dallenbach’s car is built for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, which is partially paved now and is expected to be completely paved for the race next summer.
“The road hasn’t been there,” Paul said. “Today, we’re normally in the 4:50s after the first day. I think we’re about 15 seconds off that right now.”