Carlin Dunne knew the dangers of a motorcycle race on the American mountain. That's why he spent more than six months preparing for the 97th Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
But on Sunday morning, just a few meters from his fifth victory at 14,115 feet away, things went tragically wrong for the 36-year-old. One-year resident of Santa Barbara, California.
Dunne suffered a bump on the final stretch and lost control of his Ducati motorcycle. The bike sped off the highway at high speed and Dunne landed between a pile of boulders.
Officials confirmed Sunday night that Dunne had died, making his seventh death the historic race.
"There are no words to describe our shock and grief," said Jason Chinnock, CEO of Ducati North America. "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. "
Dunne's story on Pikes Peak was that of a champion. He won his division of the Hill Climb in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2018. In 2012, he was the first motorcycle racer to make the impossible – to complete the massive layout of steep gradients and hairpin bends in less than 10 minutes a victory time of 9:52.
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"The experience is second to none," Dunne told CNN in the days leading up to this year's race. Dunne would relive that experience. His time through the last corner of the track was the fastest in his class.
Throughout the morning, however, drivers had difficulty overcoming a hump on the sidewalk near the summit – anything but surprising given the year-round conditions of this survey.
"I would call it a whoops section," said teammate Codie Vahsholtz. "It's pretty smooth until you get to where Carlin went downstairs."
Reporters saw bicycle parts crossing the right-hand side of the road, and an ambulance was sent quickly to their destination.
Dunne seemed to be conscious immediately After the crash, the first reports from the drivers were positive. According to Vahsholtz, representatives of the team had told him that Dunne was moving.
"I have spoken a prayer and asked for his safety," said Vahsholtz.
Hours later, officials confirmed the tragic news.
"It's hard because we know we risk our lives, especially on this track here," said Lucy Glöckner, the only female participant in Hill Climb.
That fact was not lost on Dunne In 2016, Ducati sent him to the Hill Climb as part of a safety team to communicate the track conditions with the race preparers.
"We all know that motorcycle racing can be dangerous, but you take the necessary precautions," he told CNN People look at it, who are not familiar with it, and they think it's a ruthless task, just a bunch of people who spin and strangle and fall into oblivion, but we take it very, very seriously. " On a jagged track that differs from most in the world, Dunne understood this as a priority, preaching the importance of practicing, and setting the course in his K He has made sure that every "X-factor" that can occur during the race is taken into account.
"He worked harder than most people would work for anything," Vahsholtz said he was only inches away. "