The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a legendary race that starts at 9,390 feet above sea level and ends on the 14,115-foot summit of a mountain as famous as any other in America. But over the past century, the race has also proved deadly, as our cover story of the 2016 Pikes Peak race details, describing the death of Carl Sorensen during a training run on a Ducati motorcycle in 2015.
Now the tragedy has struck again. Climb's defending champion Carlin Dunne and another Ducati team member who has 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 die in the event known to connoisseurs as Race to the Clouds.
The biography on Dunne's website describes him as follows:
Dunnes was born a born motorcyclist Father, a South African street racer and former Isle-of-Man competitor, made sure that a small bike was waiting for Carlin when he was born. Since he lived up to the age of seven over the 300 square meter motorcycle workshop of his family, it was not surprising that his toy consisted of old engine parts.
For Dunne, life on two- and four-wheeled motorcycles was almost inevitable. As a professional motorcycle racer, Dunne's father understood the difficulties associated with the profession and never forced his son to live the same life. As a result, Carlin tried in his youth in all the different disciplines. Competing for pleasure and not out of necessity, Dunne developed a lifelong obsession to perfect his craft.
With a career that has more twists and turns than Pikes Peak, Dunne experienced both brilliance and despair, spending much of his time on the top podium and occasionally a hospital bed. Its climax has sharpened a radically diverse ability. One that is a no B.S. Approach to get the job done as safely and efficiently as possible.
Safety was also a subject of Dunne's recent major interview with Don Riddell of CNN, which was conducted just days before his death. Here is the clip:
"We all know that motorcycle racing can be dangerous," Dunne said back then. "But you make the necessary arrangements, and many people look at it, who may not be familiar with it, and think it's a ruthless task, just a group of people who spin and strangle and fall into oblivion."
But Dunne quickly added, "We take it very, very seriously, everything from wiring all the screws to the bike, we have tire technicians who make sure our tires are perfect and the temperatures are correct every time me, for me personally, I meditate, I practice, I run the track in my head and I definitely try to leave just a little on the table for that X-Factor when you come around a corner and in the middle of the race a huge one Marmot is Natural. "
The details of what happened on Sunday are still unclear. Although the race director has confirmed that Dunne crashed near the finish line of this race, so far no video of the actual incident has surfaced.
In the meantime, the organizers of the race and Ducati have issued a joint statement on the death of Dunne North America:
The collective hearts of the Colorado Springs Community and the board of directors of The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb share with Ducati North America the grief and pain of Carlin Dunne's family, friends and fans his premature death.
During the 97 years of this unique race held on America's Mountain, we have experienced the ultimate joy of victory, the disappointment of failure and now the unexpected pain of loss a competitor whose love of race brought him to Pikes Peak. We mourn the tragic death of Carlin and he will forever be in our hearts 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 his genuine love of sports.
There are no words to describe our shock and our grief. Carlin was part of our family and one of the most sincere and friendly men we have ever known. His spirit for this event and his love of motorcycling will be remembered forever as his death leaves a hole in our hearts, "said Jason Chinnock, CEO of Ducati North America.
With our deepest Condolences,
The Board of Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Ducati North America