The famous 31km sign leading up to Mike's Sky Ranch Photo: topgear
The famous 31km sign leading up to Mike’s Sky Ranch
Photo: topgear

No that’s not a typo, we aren’t talking about the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Challenge held in Colorado. Oh no, this is Mike’s Peak that’s held in Baja California. The same area where the Baja 500 and 1000 run through. It gets the name Mike’s Peak from the Mike’s Sky Ranch which is located about 80 miles south of Ensenada. It was the dream of it’s founder, Mike Leon, who was an avid offroad racer and enthusiast and what a great dream it was.

Photo: adventurerider
Photo: adventurerider

The ranch is basically a 27 room resort in the middle of nowhere that happens to be perfectly placed along the race route of the Baja 500 and 1000. Since it first opened its doors in 1967, it has become a standard stopping point for race teams when they’re out pre-running the course. What better way to end a long day of hard riding or driving in the desert heat and dust than to pull into Mike’s where they have hot showers, a pool, cold beer, and even a cash bar to end with a nice nightcap before waking up and doing it all over again. Since Mike was so heavily involved in the racing world, inside the main lodge you’ll see more off-road memorabilia than you’ve probably ever seen before.

The pool at Mikes Sky Ranch Photo southbayriders
The pool at Mikes Sky Ranch
Photo southbayriders

Well, Robby Gordon has made arrangements with the people at Mike’s to hold the very first Mike’s Peak Hillclimb Challenge where not only the Stadium Super Trucks (SST) ran the course, but there was a class for almost every type of off-road vehicle imaginable. Seriously, for just $600 you could enter almost anything, with classes ranging from the million dollars 800-900hp king of the off-road trophy trucks all the way to a rental car class and everything in between. You didn’t think I’d just skip over that rental car class did you? They actually had a class where you could bring a vehicle, most likely an SUV of some sort we hope, and make a run up the hill. Hopefully, you were smart and picked the premier full coverage insurance.

Gordon's Dakar Car with 800hp Photo: topgear
Gordon’s Dakar Car with 800hp
Photo: topgear

The course is 31km, or 19.2 miles, and snakes it’s way up nearly 4,000 verticle feet along the way. It’s very similar to what the Pikes Peak Hillclimb used to be in the sense that the entire course at Mike’s is dirt road only. Mike’s technically has more turns and to our understanding it’s not the perfectly smooth gravel roads like Pikes Peak was prior to the whole thing getting asphalt back in 2012.

Ultra4 all bottomed out  Photo: topgear
Ultra4 all bottomed out
Photo: topgear
Ultra4 buggy coming across the finish. Photo: topgear
Ultra4 buggy coming across the finish.
Photo: topgear

Unfortunately, the event didn’t turn out to be as big as Gordon had initially hoped for a couple of reasons. First, Gordon himself had a terrible tragedy happen in his personal life where his father and stepmother were found dead in their home after an alleged murder-suicide just three weeks prior to the event date. Now one can fathom what that must do to a person psyche, but Robby knew that his father, Bob Gordon, who was also highly respected in the off-road community, would want the show to go on.

Robby with his father Bob Gordon in 2011 Photo: espn
Robby with his father Bob Gordon in 2011
Photo: espn

It also didn’t help that they event was scheduled just a few weeks before the Baja 1000 so most of the high dollar teams didn’t want to risk damaging their equipment. But that didn’t stop Robby from going out with his SST and putting on a fantastic show, only now he was dedicating it to the late passing of hs father. You could tell the race meant a lot to him because he drove that bright orange Speed Energy truck like he stole it (typical RG fashion) and actually ended up taking the overall win with a time of 16 minutes and 51 seconds using the same 600hp SST that he and every other driver uses in the SST series. If you remember, all the trucks used in the SST series are actually owned by Gordon and are rented out to the other teams and drivers so each one is exactly the same.

Photo: topgear
Photo: topgear

After the dust settled and word got out to some of the other big name drivers that Robby had gone out and won using the “mini” trophy truck and set the time if 16:51, it might’ve sparked some interest in next year’s event. One driver, in particular, Bryce Menzies, who recently jumped a town in his Pro2 truck, posted a video online claiming that he ran the same section last year in his trophy truck for a promotional video and was clocked at 14:20.

Sheldon Creed getting some solid air across the creek bed finish line Photo: topgear
Sheldon Creed getting some solid air across the creek bed finish line
Photo: topgear

Now is it possible that Menzies’ 800-900hp million dollar Trophy Truck will be able to do the 19.2-mile course faster than Gordon’s 600hp SST worth $250k according to previous reports? It’s very possible, almost likely even. But two full minutes seems to be a stretch to me and Gordon apparently feels the same way. He actually called Menzies out and said: “I’ll have to see it to believe it, I guess you’ll have to come out next year and prove it.”

One of the Trophy Trucks in attendance Photo: togear
One of the Trophy Trucks in attendance
Photo: togear
Trophy Truck across the finish line Photo: topgear
Trophy Truck across the finish line
Photo: topgear

Overall the event was a success and is expected to have a much better turnout next year. We for one think it’s a brilliant idea for this type of racing, and especially the type of destination spot like the Mike’s Sky Ranch. It’s like an offroad paradise! One thing’s for sure, Mike”s Peak has just been added to my bucket list right next to the actual Pikes Peak, but the dirt roads are even more appealing. Below I’ve incuded the full 42 minute broadcast of the event from CBS Sports and Stadium Super Trucks, and below that is the video Menzies released with his record time.


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