Mike Ryan Pikes Peak Crash

Racer Mike Ryan in his wrecked Freightliner hill climb specialAutoblog director of photography Drew Phillips is reporting that Unlimited Exhibition Class driver Mike Ryan has suffered a significant crash during the end of today's practice session for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Driving his impressive No. 777 Freightliner racing truck, Phillips indicates that Ryan suffered apparent understeer on a left-hand turn in the lower section of the hill climb used for qualifying. Driver and truck apparently continued down an embankment of some 50 to 75 feet. The picture above shows the scene after emergency workers arrived.

Rescue workers on hand indicated that the driver was "okay," at the time, and a call to a representative of Mike Ryan Motorsports confirmed that the driver "is fine." Apparently Ryan called in to inform staff that he was unharmed, and he was able to avoid even a trip to the hospital.

It is still unclear how extensive the damage to the vehicle is, however. We're still working to get shots of the crashed vehicle, but Phillips indicates that it may not be repairable in time for the race. Stay tuned as we know more.

Readers that have tuned into our Pikes Peak coverage in years past will no doubt remember Ryan's Freightliner rides, as well as his name. Last year, Autoblog scribe Michael Harley even rode along with Ryan in his Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak Special.

UPDATE: Drew Phillips has provided these first photos of the wrecked Freighliner, and as feared, it looks like it will be unable to make this year's race. The same may not be said of its hearty driver, Mike Ryan, however, who seems to be keeping a good sense of humor despite the crash (that's him pictured in the cab). Our man Phillips hears he might still contest The Peak with a Triumph bike run.