Veteran stunt driver Mike Ryan and his hand-built Freightliner have collected 12 Pikes Peak championships to date.
In June of 2013, we reported that Mike Ryan had teamed up with a couple of firefighters from FireForce Racing, and that they had just successfully completed the NORRA Mexican 1000 in a 46-year-old Ford F-100. Having rightly confirmed that old dudes and trucks do indeed rule, this time around Ryan is demonstrating that without question - size matters. At the 2013 SEMA show in Las Vegas, a colossal crowd favorite was Ryan's semi-truck, a road racing and drifting truck built specifically to compete in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
"This will be our 16th year racing semis' in that event," said Ryan. "We have seven class records and many wins in our years there (12 PPHC Championships to be exact). Our drifting video ‘Size Matters' (Semi Truck Drift Gymkhana Feature), that we shot three years ago currently has about 1.8 million hits, and we are finishing the final edit of ‘Size Matters 2' that we will launch in mid to late March."
Ryan's mountain munching Freightliner is a hand-built 2,400-2,800 HP Detroit Diesel Powered Series 60 with a modified ZF 5-speed sequential shifted automatic transmission. Ryan details, "Banks Power added an 8.2 liter super-charger, a Banks ‘Straight-Shot' water-methanol 2-stage direct injection, and fully integrated Banks controllers and associated electronics that mate with the DD ECU. We run custom compounded Michelin Tires, Fluidyne coolers, Castrol Lubricants, Howe Steering, Accuride Alloy wheels, Jet-Hot coated everything and K&N oil filters and engine and diff breathers."
Ryan is a veteran Hollywood stunt driver and stunt coordinator who's job has been crashing trucks or cars in scores of films since 1977, including the Captain America 2 (which will be released in the next month or so), Men in Black 3, Fast & Furious 5, 6 and 7, The Italian Job, Swordfish, After the Sunset, Herbie Unloaded, Independence Day, Fire Down Below, Black Dog, Terminator 2, and even further back to before Thelma & Louise.
"In addition, I started Picture Vehicles Unlimited in 1982 to broker vehicles to the TV commercial industry," Ryan adds. "There are very few vehicles ever built that we haven't been involved with in one way or another over the last 32 years. We modify, fabricate, build from the ground, prep them for stunt work or just supply them to film, TV, commercials, print and accident re-constructionists."
In his downtime to unwind Ryan has raced motorcycles in the desert and vintage dirt track, he also raced off-shore boats in the 1980's and in cars. Ryan continues "It's been jalopies, street-stock, figure-8's, demo derby's, mini-stocks, some autocross and amateur road racing, the Baja 1000 in a Pro-Truck and the NORRA Mexican 1000 in our (abovementioned) 1968 F-100 Class 8 truck, which we are prepping for this May's event. The one constant is that I've always used K&N Filters. They never fail and it would be ridiculous for us not to use them."