Euphoria turned to sadness on Sunday’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb when experienced rider, Carlin Dunne, suffered fatal injuries as he chased a new motorcycle record at the Colorado event.
The 36-year-old was debuting Ducati’s Streetfighter V4 prototype and was in scintillating form at the controls of the ‘naked bike’. On sectors one, two and three of the 12.42-mile ribbon of twisting tarmac, he lit the timing screens up green.
However, on the fourth and final sector, a quarter-of-a-mile from the chequered flag, the Californian crashed and succumbed to his injuries. At the time, conditions were more or less perfect: the roads were dry and the weather fair.
In a statement issued by event organisers, they said Dunne “will remain in our hearts forever”, adding that he “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.”
Ducati helped launch Dunne’s career in motorbikes and he repaid their trust by mentoring rookie riders and showing them the ropes on the infamous mountain road. Some believe his enthusiasm and drive is one of the reasons why motorbikes remain so important at Pikes Peak.
Paying tribute to Dunne, Jason Chinnock, CEO of Ducati North America, 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.”