There are basically three kinds of people I meet when I go to a motorcycle press introduction:
Many are competent street riders, like me, who are there to write an article (or make a video) but have no hopes or aspirations of ever being a professional rider. Occasionally there's a ringer, a pro racer who comes in to write about a new high performance bike (which is why the fastest I've ever been passed was by former Moto2 rider Kenny Noyes, who was moonlighting as a guest writer for a Spanish magazine). Then there are the few who are full-time media pros but also have serious accomplishments in the racing world.
Rennie Scaysbrook of Cycle News is one of those. He's also a genuinely fun guy to be around and someone I don't even try to keep up with, on or off the motorcycle.
In a year in which the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be remembered mostly for tragedy, Scaysbrook provided the highlight by setting a new motorcycle record of 9:44.963 on his Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory.
Aprilia has released this video so you can ride along with him on the edge of oblivion as he sets the new record.
There's also a series of videos about preparing for the race.
Unlike a closed-course race, where thousands of fans cheer the victory, there are no crowds at the top of Pikes Peak. You make your own celebration, and that's what Scaysbrook did, as you'll see at the end of the onboard video.
Scaysbrook's record was a bright spot in a year otherwise marked by hard-to-believe tragedies. Carlin Dunne died when he crashed within sight of the finish line and was on pace to set a record that would have been perhaps 10 seconds faster than Scaysbrook's. Unrelated to that, a member of the Rochester Institute of Technology team we profiled died in a car crash in Ohio while coming home from the event after being sideswiped by a suspected drunk driver.
The risks and rewards of a public roads race like Pikes Peak or the Isle of Man TT or the Macau Grand Prix are not for most of us, but I can understand why a few pursue that literal high. Congratulations, Rennie and Aprilia.