Tragedy struck the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb as Carlin Dunne has died from injuries sustained from a crash. The Ducati rider from California and Pikes Peak’s “Motorcycle King of the Mountain,” famous for winning the race four times and being the first to break the ten-minute barrier on two wheels in 2012, was poised to win the competition and set a new motorcycle record. As he neared the summit, Dunne suffered a fatal crash, and he and his Streetfighter V4 Prototype were sent down the side of the mountain. His is the seventh death associated with the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb.
The Ducati rider secured the pole position in qualifying, aboard the pre-production Streetfighter V4 prototype. The Pikes Peak International Hillclimb has motorcycles take their turns from slowest to fastest, so Carlin Dunne was the last rider to run before the four-wheeled classes. He had already been breaking motorcycle records through all sections of the route.
Witnesses have said that Dunne’s crash occurred less than a quarter mile to the finish line. The Colorado Springs Gazette’s on-site reporter saw “bike shrapnel going over the right edge of the road about 20 yards from the finish line.” The local news source also explained that riders were having trouble with a small hump on the road close to the summit. Journalists from The Drive confirmed that the road surface near the summit was “extremely bumpy and even poorly maintained in certain spots. Acura racing drivers acting as back-seat tour guides during our ascent claimed that several open-wheel race cars were actually bottoming out on entry to the final corner.” Some people believe that Dunne may have hit a bump at high speed, causing him to lose control of the motorcycle’s front end and throwing him and the bike off the road.
Organizers of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and Ducati issued the following joint statement:
“The collective hearts of the Colorado Springs community and the Board of Directors of The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, along with Ducati North America, share the grief and pain of Carlin Dunne’s family, friends and fans over his untimely death.”
“Throughout the 97 years that this unique race has been conducted on America's Mountain, we have experienced the ultimate joy in victory, the disappointment of failure and now, the unexpected heartbreak of the loss of a competitor, whose love of the race brought him to Pikes Peak. We mourn the tragic death of Carlin and he will remain in our hearts forever as part of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb family. Carlin will be remembered as a warm hearted mentor with a competitive spirit. He was a gentle and thoughtful man who touched everyone who met him. We will always remember his contagious smile and genuine love for sport.”
“There are no words to describe our shock and sadness. Carlin was part of our family and one of the most genuine and kind men we have ever known. His spirit for this event and love of motorcycling will be remembered forever as his passing leaves a hole in our hearts,” said Jason Chinnock, CEO of Ducati North America.