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Carlin Dunne Has Passed Away Following an Accident at Pikes Peak

Carlin Dunne in a file photo from Ducati. Dunne is standing next to the bike he won on at Pikes Peak last year.

With great sadness, we report that 36 year old Carlin Dunne of the Ducati Team Spider Grips has died following an accident with the Pikes Peak race finish line in sight. We have no details at this point. Dunne, a four-time winner, was reportedly on a record-setting pace for a motorcycle just prior to the accident. 

We want to express our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. Here is the announcement from Ducati:

Colorado Springs, Colorado (US), 30 June 2019 – The collective hearts of the Colorado Springs community and the Board of Directors of The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, along with Ducati North America, share the grief and pain of Carlin Dunne’s family, friends and fans over his untimely death.

“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”. The Board of Directors of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

“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,” said Jason Chinnock, CEO Ducati North America.

With our deepest condolence.


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30 Comments

  1. SeTh says:

    There is a video for the bike at https://youtu.be/VVlbVgyMlHc . At the end it says “THE GLOVES COME OFF AT PIKES PEAK”. Unfortunately, the rider was wearing them at the time. That is how a cult is made into a legend. Everyone wanted a car like James Dean had after he crashed it, except an uncrashed model.

  2. SeTh says:

    With today’s technology, the entire race course should have video coverage to record the race. This would confirm the cause of accidents. If not that, I’m surprised there is no helicopter footage or even GoPro’s used.

  3. Brinskee says:

    Wow, this is sad beyond words. I’ve been overseas and not able to follow along in real time and this was just an absolute shock as I had (and many others) such high expectations for Carlin in this race. What a tragedy. I wonder what Ducati plan to do with this new Streetfighter now? Any change of launch plans? Too soon to be wondering?

    RIP CD

  4. Ralph W. says:

    Events like Pikes Peak, the IoM TT, and the Dakar Rally are the most exciting sporting events in the world to me, and the people who race in them are my greatest sporting heroes. So a tragedy like this leaves me feeling stunned and struggling to find appropriate words. His loss at such a young age is gut wrenching, but I find some solace in knowing the memories we have of him will always be great because of his amazing courage and skill. My condolences to his family and friends.

  5. bipedal says:

    Very sad. RIP

  6. Steve M says:

    In my dealings with Carlin he was always thoughtful, calm, and very approachable. Gutted.

  7. Tank says:

    Racing belongs on race tracks that don’t have boulders to cushion your fall. What a waste.

    • TimC says:

      Not ours to say. Sadly, I don’t expect this to continue the way the IoM TT still does.

      • motowarrior says:

        On average, the IoM loses more than one rider per year. Since the IoM has its own governing body, no one outside can tell them to stop racing. It would crush their economy to give it up. Such a hard call. I loved our trip to the IoM, but one racer was sadly lost while we were there. Good racing is almost alway dangerous, as is riding our bikes on the street.

        Heartfelt condolences to Carlin’s family and friends.

    • Don says:

      Based on that comment by Tank the Isle of Mann should be stopped as well. It’s racing and accidents happen…. I’m not heartless and my condolences go out to his family but let’s remember that Carlin knew this.

      • Grover says:

        As one old racer said to me, “One day you’re on top of the world, the next day you might be under it. You sure you wanna race?”
        Racing is dangerous and those involved know the risks or they wouldn’t do it. Did racing stop when Senna died? Racing on bikes at Pikes will continue and no shortage of racers to compete.

    • Nils says:

      Michael Dunlop raced this year after his brother William was killed last year, his father before that and his uncle before that. Many of us choose to ride on the street. Today people let their babies use tablets with WIFI. Everywhere you turn people are looking at their phones and someone else’s life who has nothing to do with theirs. We watch The Kardashians, ha! Carlin would say get your bike and take a ride because after all the motor racing deaths across motor racing, he rode. That’s his message. RIP Carlin. Fresh air. Open road. A motorcycle.

    • Mike Simmons says:

      The loss of a brother motorcyclist is sad indeed, but consider that he was doing what he loved, he knew the risks and assumed them to do what he loved. He lived his life to the fullest possible measure. Who are we to suggest banning/legislating against what other people love to do? Thankfully, we still have the freedom to choose danger if we so desire. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, “those who choose safety over freedom deserve neither” Everytime we hop on our bikes, we assume the risk because we love what we do.

      • Tank says:

        Don’t you choose safety over freedom every time you put on a helmet?

        • todd says:

          If you’ve ever ridden over 50 mph without a helmet on, you’ll know just how uncomfortable that is. The wind noise is deafening and you can’t see through the water that is welling up in your eyes. Then it rains or you get hit in the face with a bee. A helmet gives you freedom from all that discomfort and freedom from worrying about how your family will have to figure out a way to pay for the house when you’re dead.

          • mickey says:

            A helmet doesn’t guarantee that you will survive an accident ( Dunne was wearing about the best full coverage helmet you can get plus the best protective gear for his body available) but wearing a helmet does up your chances of surviving most low speed accidents a little bit. The rest of the stuff I agree with. Wind noise, rain, bugs, dust take a lot of fun out of riding when not wearing a helmet.

        • Jeremy says:

          I don’t really see how that is relevant. One would have to presume that not wearing a helmet some how equates to freedom? I certainly don’t see it that way. I don’t understand this analogy.

          • Tank says:

            Riding a motorcycle gives me a sense of freedom that I don’t get from anything else in life. Wearing a helmet just takes away that sense of freedom (to me). I remember when a little rain, dust and flying bugs was just part of riding a bike. Riding a bike today is a lot more dangerous than it was when I started riding, so put on your helmets and don’t forget the Purell.

  8. Motoman says:

    Agree 100%

  9. Mikey says:

    This is very sad. I was watching his videos just yesterday trying to get info on this years race.
    I was interested especially because Michael Dunlop was to be racing it only to find out he was injured in a crash two weeks ago.

  10. Nomadak says:

    Godspeed Carlin.

  11. HotRod917 says:

    WTF..soo sad and heart broken to hear this, may is soul rest in eternal peace with God.

  12. gpokluda says:

    So sad. RIP Carlin.

  13. mickey says:

    Wow, sad. Condolences to his family and close friends.

  14. TimC says:

    I JUST saw this – more details from the local news. SIGH.

    RIP.

    https://gazette.com/sports/he-s-going-to-be-ok-racers-speak-about-carlin/article_40d7f46e-9b67-11e9-a1f2-af7d4c77a78c.html

    (Edit: the URL text itself appears to have been pre-article-update.)

    • TimC says:

      Now, while this is absolutely not The Important Part Here, PP had already disallowed supersports. Now we have a class of bike that (see other reports) is now faster. Which isn’t a surprise given that a wider-bar/upright style bike is more-suited for this road to begin with, so couple that with a sportbike motor/chassis/brakes and there you go. Are we on the verge of seeing PP go to singles-only or something, if not doing away with bike classes altogether?

      I also wonder – if this bump was known to be causing issues, why was it not marked? I know you wouldn’t normally do that on a race course, but this is not a normal race course, with non-normal consequences, as we tragically see here, for when things go wrong.

      • Dave says:

        I was amazed to read that there have been only 7 deaths associated with this race since 1921. Sometimes freak bad luck just takes someone. While they have been finding ways to ride more powerful bikes since the SS ban, I’m not sure it would change much to limit power. Chris Fillmore went only 14 seconds slower on a KTM 450 single in qualifying. I don’t know the answer, or if there is one.

        I’m sad for Carlin and his family and friends. I hope they can find peace.

        • Anonymous says:

          Unfortunately, three riders have died in the last five years, and it coincides with them paving the road all the way to the top. As soon as the last stretch of asphalt was laid, the race changed from a dirt track event to a superbike race and the margin of error is a sliver of what it once was (which wasn’t great to begin with).

          This is going to be par for the course if they continue to run motorcycles on the Peak.

          • Superlight says:

            I’m a big race fan and a former motorcycle road racer, but I just can’t get behind running race bikes on public roads, be it the Isle of Man, Macau or Pikes Peak. There is just too little margin of error. What the sport doesn’t need is more unnecessary deaths.

          • Jeremy says:

            I personally thought it was much more fun as a dirt track race.

            I have a feeling they will once again ban motorcycles after this, or at least ban the multi-cylinder bikes. But if they don’t I agree that rider fatalities will be a fairly regular theme.

            So many of those guys are just programmed to win it regardless of the risk.