The Mt. Washington “Climb to the Clouds” Hillclimb in Pinkham Notch, N.H., is not only the country’s oldest motorsports event, it is one of the most dangerous. The 7.6-mile serpentine tarmac and gravel road is lined with trees and dramatic dropoffs as it winds its way to the 6,288-foot summit of one of America’s tallest peaks.
But for stunt driver Mike Ryan, this difficult course was no match for his custom-built Freightliner Cascadia. Ryan, the first competitor ever to race a heavy-duty truck in this event, reached a top speed of 94 mph and completed the course in an impressive 8:02 minutes, establishing a new record.
“The Climb to the Clouds race was a new challenge for me and the crew, and the Cascadia handled the twists and turns beautifully,” Ryan says. “The Cascadia’s steering system, control and responsiveness is amazing.”
Ryan’s truck includes an enhanced aerodynamic package and a lighter-weight composite body, and was designed specifically to tackle hill climb races. All Freightliner Cascadia trucks feature aerodynamics, lightweight components, easy-to-maneuver specs such as a 50-degree wheel cut and added visibility.
“I work closely with Freightliner’s engineers to continually improve my truck, and am proud to represent the company during my competitions,” Ryan says. “There’s nothing like hearing the roar of the crowd cheering you on, and because of Freightliner Trucks and the Cascadia, it’s always a fun, exciting experience.”
Ryan, who participates in competitions all over the world, transports his race truck using a custom Freightliner Business Class M2 106 installed with a heavyweight Jerr-Dan 10 ton BIC carrier tow body.
“Mike Ryan is a fierce competitor, and we are honored that he trusts the Freightliner Business Class M2 106 and Jerr-Dan carrier to get to the races, and the Cascadia to win,” says T.J. Reed, director of product marketing for Freightliner Trucks.
In addition to the Climb to the Clouds, Ryan holds six Class 8 records in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and two at the Queenstown Gold Rush Hill Climb in New Zealand.