Veteran American racer Carlin Dunne has died in a crash only metres from the finish of the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, riding the Ducati V4 Streetfighter prototype.
There have only been six deaths in the event’s history, but organisers seriously considered dropping motorcycles after the two crashes in 2014-15.
Instead, they restricted the field to bikes with single handlebars which excludes super bikes with clip-ons and tightened the vetting process for riders who have to show they can compete safely.
No such problem with Carlin.
The 36-year-old, was the title defender, a four-time winner, the top qualifier, was the first to ever break 10 minutes on the track in 2012 and was on target for a record time.
In this 2018 video he talks about the challenging course.
Our condolences to Carlin’s family, friends and fans.
The victory in the heavy motorcycle class went to Australian Rennie Scaysbrook who set a record time of 9:44.963 riding a 2018 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100. He smashed the record by five seconds.
This Tweet is believed to be the last known footage of Carlin as he raced up the mountain.
Many people have been waiting to see Carlin Dunne, and here he is at Pikes Peak.
He’s rollin’ in a 2019 Ducati Streetfighter V4 Prototype as a member of the Exhibition Powersport. pic.twitter.com/vuTTqlovW7
— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) June 30, 2019
UPDATE: An investigation of the bike, telemetry and video shows there was no mechanical failure and that Carlin high-sided in the last corner.
The hillclimb officials issued this 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.
Ducati North America CEO Jason Chinnock issued this statement:
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.
Pikes Peak International Hillclimb started a GoFundMe page on 4 July 2019 to raise money to pay for Carlin’s funeral next month in Santa Barbara. Within hours it had raised about $US20,000.
The 20km Pikes Peak course has 156 turns, starts at 2860m above sea level and climbs to an altitude of 4300m which is halfway to the summit of Everest.
Ducati recently released this video of Carlin training on the Streetfighter V4 prototype.
Ducati has confirmed it will produce a naked production version of the Panigale V4 from March 2020.
The Italian manufacturer said the Pikes Peak event was identified as an important part in the development process of the new model.
The company has won the Colorado hillclimb three times in 2011 and 2011 with the Multistrada 1200 and last year with the Multistrada 1260.
Carlin rode to victory on each of those occasions and the company celebrated with Pikes Peak versions of those models.
Ducati says the Streetfighter V4 “derives directly from the sporty Panigale V4 stripped of its fairings, and fitted with high and wide handlebars”.
The Ducati V4 Streetfghter prototype carlin raced was expected to have even more power than the Panigale V4’s 213 horsepower (158kW).
“The high performance of the 1100cm³ Desmosedici Stradale is kept in hand by aerodynamic profiles specifically designed for this model,” Ducati says.
However, the street production version may be a little tamer, although probably still more than the Aprilia Tuono’s 173hp (129kW).
“The prototype will race with a ‘pixelated’ livery, designed by the Centro Stile Ducati; unlike the normal practice with prototypes, the livery does not hide the lines, but exalts them by deliberately revealing how the bike will finally look, “Ducati said.
There is not a lot of difference from the Panigale V4.
Gone is the windscreen and full fairing, although there is still a fair amount of aero bodywork for a naked bike. The rear of the bike looks very similar.
The biggest difference is in the short nose cone with very discrete “eyes” as LED headlights.
Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali said the Streetfighter V4 will be “one of the stars of the Ducati World Premiere 2020”.
“Streetfighter V4 is the Panigale for road riding; so there was no better stage than the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb for what will be the highest performance Streetfighter ever put into production,” he says.
The bike will be presented to the public at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan in November and will be available in Ducati dealerships from mid-March 2020.