Motorsport can be fatal. As much we try to forget the reality of it, there are days when it comes staring at back at you. In a tragic turn of events, Ducati racer Carlin Dunne had a fatal crash at the 2019 Pikes Peak Hill Climb. The American racer was astride the new Ducati Streetfighter V4 prototype that had made its debut at the event earlier last week. The 36-year-old racer suffered a high speed crash just before the finish line. While an official statement is yet to be made, a Gazette reporter witnessed bike shrapnel going over the right edge of the road about 20 yards from the finish line. Allegedly, the last section of the climb was bumpy, and Dunne might have hit a small bump losing his bike's front in the process.
Pikes Peak Hill Climb organisers said in a statement, “Throughout the 97 years that this unique race has been conducted on America's Mountain, we have experienced the ultimate joy in victory, the disappointment of failure and now, the unexpected heartbreak of the loss of a competitor, whose love of the race brought him to Pikes Peak. We mourn the tragic death of Carlin and he will remain in our hearts forever 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 genuine love for sport”
Jason Chinnock, Ducati North America CEO said, “There are no words to describe our shock and sadness. Carlin was part of our family and one of the most genuine and kind men we have ever known. His spirit for this event and love of motorcycling will be remembered forever as his passing leaves a hole in our hearts."
Dunne was on to become the fastest man to complete the hill climb, a feat he had already broken multiple times in the past. In fact, the 36-year-old was the first motorcyclist in the history of the Pike Peak International Hill Climb to achieve a sub 10 minute time up to the mountain top, back in 2012 on a specially modified Ducati Multistrada 1200. As part of Pikes Peak, the racers cover a distance of 20 km, climbing from 9390 feet to 14,114 feet. This year, Dunne was on pole as well. Dunne is the seventh participant to lose his life in relation with the Hill Climb.
Carlin Dunne will always be remembered for being warm and humble as a person, as much for his achievements on the track and the Hill Climb.