Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is an iconic race, one that starts at 9,390 feet above sea level and ends at the 14,115 foot summit of a mountain known as anyone in America. But over the last century, the breed has also proved fatal, as our 2016 cover story of the Pikes Peak race describes in detail Carl Sorensen's death during the 2015 exercise on a Ducati motorcycle.
Now the tragedy has hit again. Carlin Dunne, Climb's defending champion and another member of the Ducati team, who won the race four times since 2011, were killed on Sunday, June 30, during the 97th edition of the competition.
Dunne is at least the seventh person to lose his life in what is known among aficionados as "Race to the Clouds."
The biography on Dunnes website describes him with this:
Born to motorcycles, Dunne's father, a South African road racer and former Isle of Man competitor, made sure there was a little bike waiting for Carlin when he became born. Living over her family's 1,000 m² motorcycle workshop at the age of seven, it is not surprising that his toys grew up consisting of old engine parts.
For Dunne, a life dedicated to two- and four-wheel motor sports was almost inevitable. Being a professional motorcycle trainer himself understood Dunne's father the hardships that came with the profession and thus never forced the same life on his son. As a result, Carlin killed in all the different disciplines during his youth. Competing out of desire and not out of necessity allowed Dunne to develop a lifelong occupation to complete his craft.
With a storied career that has more turns than Pikes Peak, Dunne has seen both shine and despair, spent time on the top podium and sometimes a hospital bed. The culmination of who has struck a radically different set of skills. One who requires a no B.S. approach to getting the job as safe and efficient as possible.
Security was also a theme for Dunnes last major interview, with CNN's Don Riddell, who was executed some days before his death. Here is the clip:
"We all know that motorcycle racing can be dangerous," Dunne said at the time. "But you take the necessary precautions. Many people look at what may not be familiar with it, and think it might be inappropriate to give up, just a bunch of guys twisting and bursting into oblivion."
But Dunne quickly added "We take it very, very seriously Everything from the lead of every bolt on the motorcycle We have tire engineers here and make sure our tires are perfect and the temperatures are correct every single time. And so for us, for me personally, i meditate, i practice, i run the course in my head and i'm definitely trying to leave a bit on the table for that x-factor when you get around the corner and there is a huge marble in the middle of the race. "
The information on what happened on Sunday remains unclear. Although race officials have confirmed that Dunne crashed near the finish line of this race, no video of the current event has occurred.
Meanwhile, a joint statement on Dunne's death was issued by the organizers of the race and Ducati North America:
The collective hearts of the Colorado Springs community and the board of The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, together with Ducati North America, shares grief and pain by Carlin Dunnes family, friends and fans of his incredible death.
During the 97 years that this unique race has been carried out on America's Mountain, we have experienced the ultimate joy of victory, the disappointment of disappointment and now the lost unexpected heartbeat of a competitor whose love for the race brought him to Pikes Peak. We mourn Carl's tragic death, and he will remain in our hearts forever as part of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb family. Carlin is remembered as a warm-hearted mentor with a competitive spirit. He was a gentle and thought-provoking man who touched everyone who met him. We will always remember his infectious smile and true love of sport.
There are no words to describe our shock and sadness. Carlin was part of our family and one of the most genuine and friendly men we have ever known. His spirit for this event and love for motorcycle will be remembered forever as his passers-by leave a hole in our hearts, "says Jason Chinnock, CEO of Ducati North America.
With our deepest condolences
Ducati North America