Obituary: Multiple Pikes Peak International Hill Climb champion Carlin Dunne is no more
As much as we love motorsport and motorcycle racing particularly, we all know the perils it involves. Almost every weekend we find ourselves rejoicing victories of our heroes, but unfortunately given the risks and dangers motorcycle racing involves, there are times when the sport takes away some of the men and women we love and respect so much for their abilities. This morning was one such moment, when we woke up to the news of Carlin Dunne, four times Pikes Peak International Hill climb champion, passing away. The 36-year-old was on his way to create a new record, astride the yet to be launched 2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 Prototype but suffered fatal injuries following a high-speed crash, almost at the end of the climb.
36-year-old Carlin Dunne, a native of South Africa and settled in California, USA and was known as the 'King of the Mountain' having won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb four times apart from being the first motorcyclist in the hill climb's history to post a sub-10 minute time
Dunne was in fact the first motorcyclist in the history of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, to achieve a sub-10 minute time up the mountain astride a specially modified Ducati Multistrada 1200, back in 2012. Since then, Dunne had more or less made winning at the "Race to the Clouds" a habit. The PPIHC has racers cover a distance of 20km climbing from 9,390 feet to 14,115 feet. Unsurprisingly, Dunne was on pole this year too, riding the Streetfighter V4 Prototype. At the Pikes International Peak Hill Climb, the race usually has the slowest motorcycles start first, going up to the fastest and given that he was on pole Carlin Dunne started out last, just before the cars began.
Carlin Dunne was all set to create a new record at the 2019 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb astride the yet to be launched 2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 prototype
As he started, Dunne set a blistering pace, obliterating times set by previous competitors in the first three sectors of the climb. Unfortunately, in the final sector, the front wheel of his Streetfighter V4 Prototype hit a bump, reportedly at the final corner, which resulted in him losing the front end. Reports online indicate that the final section was bumpy and many racers had trouble in the particular section. Of course, unlike race tracks, the Pikes Peak has no run off and reports say that some witnesses saw debris from his crashed motorcycle go down the hill. Cars at the event start minutes after the motorcycle racers finish their climb, but a wait of over two hours had everyone worried about Dunne's well-being, particularly since thousands had thronged the hill to simply catch a glimpse of him flying past as he climbed up to set a new record.
Ducati had released images and video footage of Dunne astride the Streetfighter V4 Prototype at the Pikes Peak recently, a stripped down version of its Panigale V4 superbike. Dunne was to compete on the motorcycle before it gets launched as a 2020 model globally. The motorcycle's design and visuals of Dunne riding the motorcycle had created quite a buzz online, adding to the excitement surrounding this year's Hill Climb. Dunne owned and ran a Ducati dealership in Santa Barbera, California in the USA with his father, and was popular for his riding skills as much as he was known to be a friendly human being. His humble nature in fact masked his abilities on a motorcycle big time and many remember him as 'stuff that legends are made of'. He shot to fame with his Pikes Peak records, but his abilities aboard motorcycles on or off tarmac could have seen him win global championships.
Images and videos of Carlin Dunne astride the Ducati Streetfighter V4 prototype had created a huge buzz globally and looking at his pace on the motorcycle, he was all set to create a new record at the Pikes Peak and also retain his title in the process
The fact that he has passed away doing what he loved most is some consolation, but that does not take away the fact that the world has lost one of its finest motorcycle racers. His final outing at the Race to the Clouds has had the clouds take the 'King of the Mountain' away from us and Team OVERDRIVE offers its deepest condolences.