In a tragedy for the motorcycle world, Carlin Dunne of Santa Barbara Ducati died on Sunday on the final stretch of the famous Pikes Peak hill climb. He was within yards of the finish line when he hit a bump that had been troubling riders that day, according to The Gazette of Colorado Springs. Dunne lost control of his Ducati motorcycle and went off the highway into a boulder field. The 12-mile race against time has more than 156 turns, and Dunne had the fastest time in his division through the final turn, The Gazette reported. The 36-year-old had won the race four times before, including last year, and was the first to break the 10-minute barrier in 2012 with a time of 9:52.
Race organizer, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and Ducati North America issued a statement mourning Dunne’s death, calling him a “warm hearted mentor with a competitive spirit.” Jason Chinnock, CEO of Ducati North America, stated, “Carlin was part of our family and one of the most genuine and kind men we have ever known.”
Dunne had grown up above his family’s Ducati shop on State Street, and ran the shop with his father, Trevor Dunne, a professional racer from South Africa, for many years. The shop is now on Montecito Street. Independent sports columnist John Zant described Dunne’s near-legendary status at Pikes Peak in 2018. When Dunne raced an electric bike there in 2013, he told Zant about seeing the race for the first time five years before: “What makes it so magical is the environment. It’s so raw. It’s thick with trees at the start, and then you’re into completely exposed rock. This is one of the last races you’re out of a safety zone. If you kill yourself, that’s what you did.” Seven people have died in the competition, which is in its 97th year and races both cars and bikes.