By Michaela Ludwig
For the Rimbey Review
Rocky Mountain Race Week in the US is not for the faint of heart, or for questionable vehicles.
With a round trip topping the odometre at 1,400 miles, Rocky Mountain Race Week started in Great Bend, Kan., and then drivers travelled to Kearney, Neb., Morrison, Colo., Pueblo, Colo., and then back to Great Bend. The point of the competition is for drivers to drag race their car at each track, and then drive the car to the next racetrack without any additional help or support along the way. The competition ran June 18 to June 24 this year, and Bluffton-area resident Derek Hansen took part.
“It’s a trip of a lifetime,” said Hansen, who was joined on this adventure by his wife, Cali Stuart, and their two kids, Charlie, 8, and Samara, 4.
This was Hansen’s first time competing in Rocky Mountain Race Week, but he’s been trying since 2020 to get in. In 2020 and 2021, he wasn’t able to cross the border into the US due to COVID, but this year everything came together.
“It was two days of driving through the Rockies to get from Kearney to Bandimere,” Hansen said, adding that it was 2,700 kilometres just to get from home to Kansas to begin with.
“The scenery was absolutely amazing going through some of these areas.”
Although it was a grueling competition for Hansen’s 1970 Duster, he was able to achieve the goal he had set for himself – finishing the race.
“Our whole goal was to try and finish,” he explained. “There’s a lot of cars that don’t finish, and we were one of the successful ones that did.” Hansen went on to explain that one of the passes in Colorado was over 10,000 feet in altitude, so it’s a true test of your car just to be able to make it through.
“We had very little issues along the way,” Hansen said.
“The car ran great the whole time. We knew we wouldn’t win anything, we just wanted to finish. This was our first year, next year we can try and be competitive.”
When asked about competing in Rocky Mountain Race Week again, Hansen didn’t hesitate.
“We are definitely going back next year. It’s a trip of a lifetime, and there’s no way we’re giving that up.”
Hansen also races in the Miles Of Mayhem local competition, which is a similar drag-and-drive set up. He’s hoping the 1965 Valiant he’s building will be ready for its debut at Miles Of Mayhem and then he can test its grit at next year’s Rocky Mountain Race Week.