PINKHAM NOPTCH, NH — The narrow and twisting Mt. Washington Auto Road, located in Pinkham Notch, NH, is the country’s oldest man made attraction, and on June 22-26 it will be host to the “Climb to the Clouds” Mt. Washington Automobile Hillclimb. As part of the Auto Road’s 150th Anniversary celebration, approximately 75 entrants were hand picked to take part in a five day festival of motorsports, reviving an event that first took place in 1904, making it one of the oldest motorsports events in America, older than the Pikes Peak Hillclimb and the Indianapolis 500. The Rocky Road Racing team of Matt and Don Kennedy are one of those entrants selected and will race their Subaru Impreza rally car to the summit of the highest peak in the northeast.
Driver Matt Kennedy, of Hinsdale, NH, is no stranger to hillclimbing. He grew up in the shadow of the historic Duryea Hillclimb in Reading, PA, and has worked or competed there many times, but the “Climb to the Clouds” is an event like no other. “The Mt. Washington Auto Road is much longer than most other hillclimbs, and the road features a combination of pavement and dirt” states Matt. The biggest differences, however, come courtesy of Mother Nature. “Half the road is above the tree-line, which leaves a driver with almost nothing to help them determine which way the road goes.” Being the home of the worlds worst weather, including the highest surface wind speed ever observed, means that dense fog or even snow are not uncommon on the top of the mountain, even in late June. “You can literally find yourself driving blind!” This is where Matt’s father, and team owner, Don Kennedy of Reading, PA comes in.
According to Don, “usually the driver is the only person competing in the car at a hillclimb, but Mt. Washington has added a rally class that allows us to also have a navigator in the car.” Teams are given the opportunity to drive the road before the event and make notes that the navigator reads to the driver as they are racing up the mountain. “Matt and I have competed together a lot, so this is certainly nothing new for us,” Don added. In fact, Matt and Don have over 50 years of combined in motorsports experience.
When Matt was in elementary school he started helping his father check the route for rallies his father was organizing, which quickly led to Matt navigating in some TSD rallies for him. Don, Matt, and another of Don’s sons Keith, are also long time competitors in the Rally America and NASA RallySport rally series, where they take turns driving and navigating. For the Climb to the Clouds the team will be using the same Steve Moyer Subaru, KAM Specialties Inc. sponsored Subaru Impreza that they compete with at rallies and other events all over the country.
For more information about Rocky Road Racing, including Twitter and YouTube links, visit the team’s web site: www.RockyRoadRacing.com. For more information on the Mt. Washington “Climb to the Clouds” Hillclimb visit their web site: www.ClimbToTheClouds.com.