Mechanic

Pikes Peak Hill Climb Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Robert J. “Bob” Gillis
Written by Publishing team

Colorado Springs, Co. – The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will welcome a very special class of individuals when they are enshrined in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Museum Hall of Fame in June.

Meet the 2022 Inductees:

David Bachoroski

David Bachoroski is retired from General Motors Corporation where he tested cars on Pikes Peak for 33 years. Until 1999, he was the Manager of the General Motors Pikes Peak Vehicle Test Headquarters in Manitou Springs, Colorado and in that role completed over five thousand round trips to the summit of Pikes Peak.

He served as former president of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Historical Association, an office he held from 2007 through 2018. Twelve times he was the Pikes Peak Hill Climb pace car driver/mechanic. Ten times he was listed as car owner and builder with driver Jerry King. His mechanical aptitude and expertise led to his role as car builder and pace car set up and prep for such notables as Rick Mears, Johnny Parsons, Sr., Al Unser, Jr., Louis Unser, and actress turned racecar driver, Elke Sommer. Throughout his career on Pikes Peak he shared his course knowledge and assisted top race teams such as Bobby Unser, Sr., Robbie Unser, and Bobby Unser, Jr., as well as local legends, Frank and Kaye Peterson, and Nick and Frank Sanborn .

The Dallenbach Family

From East Brunswick, New Jersey to Basalt, Colorado with stops at Indianapolis, Daytona and every major racing venue in between, the Dallenbach family has promoted race safety, championed new motorsports events, educated and entertained television audiences, and volunteered to serve the sport they love, all while competing, winning and setting records. The Dallenbach family has been a fixture on Pikes Peak for decades. With Wally Sr., and his wife, Peppy, leading by example, their sons and a grandson have embraced the challenge of the Race to the Clouds.

Perhaps the most well-known of the Dallenbach clan on Pikes Peak is Paul. He is a three-time King of the Mountain, including his first title in 1993 when he set a course record. He has captured 11 division wins in his 27-year racing career. In 2013 Paul also secured the Production Sport Utility Vehicle record in a Range Rover Sport in an officially sanctioned run on the mountain. A fan favorite on Pikes Peak in his familiar #98 open wheeler, Paul is also known for a successful 30-year career in stunt driving including the film Ford v Ferrari.

Wally Dallenbach, Jr., competed for three years on Pikes Peak, capturing the Open Wheel win in 2006. Dallenbach Jr. shared, “I’m very proud of my Pikes Peak win. It was always a race I wanted to compete in. I consider Pikes Peak one of the crown jewels in racing, and it’s definitely one of my favorite driving experiences.” His son, Wyatt, a third generation Dallenbach entered the race in 2012 in the Open Wheel division, finishing third in his class.

Wally Dallenbach Jr. has had not only a successful and enduring racing career, but has also shared his expertise as a race commentator on several top network and cable channels for both NASCAR and IndyCar series.

The success of the Dallenbach brothers on Pikes Peak would not have been possible without guidance and support from their father, Wally Sr. From the mid-1960s through 1979, Dallenbach Sr. raced in 180 Indy Car races winning five times in the series. In the early 1980s, Wally moved to the Championship Auto Race Team (CART) where he spent more than 20 years dedicated to improving race safety.

His involvement with Pikes Peak came in the early 1990s when he served on Pikes Peak as a race steward and advisor. He was instrumental in reviving the 1991 motorcycle program on Pikes Peak after an eight-year hiatus. His passion for motorcycle riding led him to create the Colorado 500, a charity motorcycle ride through many small mountain towns in Colorado. He is celebrated in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame, and the American Motorcycle Association Hall of Fame.

Robert J. “Bob” Gillis
Robert J. “Bob” Gillis

Robert J. “Bob” Gillis

Bob Gillis has been involved in some aspect of motorsports since his arrival in Colorado Springs in the late 1960s.

In 1979, as a sponsor for stock car driver, Larry Carnes, a future Pikes Peak ambassador was born. With a passion for expanding auto racing across Colorado, Gillis was instrumental in broadening the CHCA racing series, including resurrecting the Land’s End Hill Climb near Grand Junction, Colorado which had not been contested for nearly 40 years. Communities such as Buena Vista and Salida saw great economic benefit from these weekend races, and competitors gained valuable experience as they honed their racing skills in preparation for the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb.

Gillis has served as a board member for more than 20 years. This year marks his 45th year in service to the Race to the Clouds. He embraced every challenge that came his way from securing major race sponsorship to guiding the event through years of financial instability. Always willing to work with drivers to get his BF Goodrich Tires on their race cars, he has become well-known as one of the most knowledgeable automotive professionals in the Colorado Springs community.

In 2015, Gillis was inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of his leadership and support of this iconic motorsports event.

Grier Manning

Grier Manning devoted more than 50 years of his life to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. From the 1950s through the early 2000s, Manning was a fixture on the mountain where he was known for his unfailing expertise, thoughtful insight and humble demeanor.

From 1963 to 1970 and in 1977, Grier competed in the open-wheel division of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. In 1967 and 1968, he switched from Chevrolet power to Offenhauser, driving for JC Agajanian. Manning finished in the top 10 six times on Pikes Peak, with his best time of 13:20.49 clocked in 1968 in the Offy-powered open wheeler.

Beyond his skill as a driver, Manning was widely recognized as one of the premier mechanics in Colorado. A great friend and crew member to Ted Foltz, Manning served as crew chief from 1973 to 1988. Manning’s innate mechanical aptitude helped Foltz claim several wins, including a second Pikes Peak King of the Mountain title in 1980.

Manning became a respected technical inspector for the race for three decades. He also helped restore the historic Pikes Peak Vince Conze-built Offy, which now resides in the Penrose Heritage Museum in Colorado Springs.

In 2011 Manning was inducted into both the Big Car Racing Association (BCRA) and Colorado Motorsports Halls of Fame. He passed away in 2017.

Joyce ThompsonFord
Joyce ThompsonFord

Joyce ThompsonFord

More than 60 years have passed since Joyce Thompson entered the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. She was the first woman to do so. With a background in sports car racing, Thompson was thrilled with the opportunity to test her Austin-Healey against the men at Pikes Peak.

Her racing career began in the late 1950s and lasted for six years. She raced at Continental Divide Raceway and throughout the South and Midwest regions in her Alfa Romeo and a Lancia di Garda. One race at the Daytona International Speedway was memorable especially as her laps included both the banked oval and the road course.

Living and working in Denver, Thompson traveled to Colorado Springs every morning for practice, made her runs, and returned to her job in Denver. She recalled Bobby and Al Unser helping with car set-up, adjusting carburetion, and choosing the right tires. Despite being the first woman, and a rookie on Pikes Peak, she remembers no special media attention and she certainly didn’t receive any special treatment, stating, “I was just another racer.”

Her one and only run in 1960 was a challenge. From sunny and warm at the Start Line through rain, a hailstorm and finally snow at the summit, Thompson was determined to finish what she started. She recalled, “It was magnificent. It was very slick and I was just so glad to get to the top.”

Thompson passed away in 2021.

Gary Trachy and Greg Tracy

Passionate about motorsports, the Trachy/Tracy brothers, Gary and Greg, celebrated success on Pikes Peak together for years.

In Gary’s 12-consecutive appearances racing in every motorcycle class offered, he always finished in the top three. Remarkably, he captured two overall wins notching motorcycle course records, five division records and eight division wins.

Greg competed for 19 years on Pikes Peak from the mid-1990s to 2012 racing motorcycles in six classes. In 2013, he transitioned to cars where he competed in 4 divisions. With 14 podium finishes, including seven wins, Greg is the only competitor on Pikes Peak to break nine minutes – on a motorcycle in 2012, and in a race car in 2014.

Wes Vandervoort

A quiet, unassuming man, Wes Vandervoort let his driving speak for himself. In his 12-year racing career on Pikes Peak, he finished in top 10 every year but once, and stood on the podium nine times. In 1967 his overall win made him King of the Mountain when he outraced 26 competitors, including Bobby Unser and Mario Andretti. In 1975, he finished less than a second behind Orville Nance who won the division.

Vandervoort frequently opened his Wesvan Garage in Colorado Springs to fellow competitors, sharing shop space, tools, advice and friendship. Vandervoort was respected as an engine builder and as a mentor.

Wes Vandervoort was a local hero and represents the epitome of what made the Pikes Peak Hill Climb great. He passed away in 1993.

John Wells

The genius behind the famous Wells Coyote, John Wells, bred on Pikes Peak for 25 years. During that span, he stood on the podium 13 times. In his final year of competition on America’s Mountain, Wells captured a win in the Open Wheel division’s sprint class.

Wells first entered a Wells Coyote in 1976, and the rest is history. Racers took notice and he became the go-to builder for a fast car on Pikes Peak. The Wells Coyote open wheelers dominated on Pikes Peak from the 1980s through the early 2000s with wins by Bill Brister, Al Unser, Jr., Bobby Regester, Stan Kossen and Gary Lee Kanawyer.

About the author

Publishing team