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Watch a 600bhp Subaru WRX STI storm up a mountain

Travis Pastrana blitzes Higgins’s run up Mount Washington by TWENTY-FOUR SECONDS

The Mount Washington hill climb is one of the oldest motorsport events in America. It’s been run since 1904. Never, though, has it been run as quick as Travis Pastrana just did.

The plucky American driver – who knows his way around a circuit or three – plumbed himself into a custom 600bhp Subaru WRX STI and scorched through the course in just 5m 44.72s.

Which doesn’t mean anything until you realise that his teammate David Higgins – again, another driver who knows his way around a circuit or three – held the previous hill-climb record of 6m 09.09s, set in 2014.

So, for those who can’t be bothered with a quick bit of calculation, Pastrana’s run was a whopping 24 seconds quicker. Not a few tenths, but TWENTY-FOUR actual seconds of time. That’s… insane.

“I hope this record can stand for a little while,” a beaming Pastrana later explained. “On our first run I leaned on the tyres too much on the bottom half, which made the top half very loose and scary but really fun, I was sideways a lot but I’m sure I lost some time. On the second run I conserved the tires and drove cleaner, I really didn’t expect to drop the record further. This road is such a challenge, it’s probably the toughest road to drive flat-out in the world.”

Consider too that, unlike the rejigged Pikes Peak, Mount Washington’s hill climb covers both gravel and tarmac, reaching a summit of 6,288ft. It’s 7.6 miles long, which is a fair whack of time to be spent desperately trying not to crash.

Higgins, unfortunately, crashed out of this year’s race early (he slid wide five miles into his ascent and went off course). Higgins was unharmed, though reports suggest both he and Pastrana were only seconds apart during practice. What a run that could have been…

“It was going really well up until it went really bad,” said Higgins. “It’s one of those events that you put so much work into one small run, so the disappointment is massive. If you are going fast enough to win the event you are going fast enough to crash. But there is no better person to lose my record to than Travis. I’m really happy for him and the job the team has done.” Aww.

Check out the full on-board action in the video above. And yes, the exterior shots do sound like a particularly disgruntled bee.

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