A Tribute to Carlin Dunne – King of the Mountain

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb > Competitor > A Tribute to Carlin Dunne – King of the Mountain


A Tribute to Carlin Dunne – King of the Mountain

June 30, 2020 | PPIHC | Competitor, Spectator

Perhaps the finest motorcycle racer ever to perform on Pikes Peak, Dunne became the first racer to break the motorcycle ten-minute mark in 2012 with his winning time of 9:52.819 aboard a Ducati Multistrada. The next year, he beat every motorcycle to become King of the Mountain on an electric motorcycle. He won four titles overall before a tragic crash near the summit of Pikes Peak last summer claimed his life and cut short one of the most amazing careers in the history of the race.

“To me adrenaline is both friend and foe, it can heighten your senses but it can also cause you to lose your cool. Racing up Pikes Peak requires a sound mind and the nerve to push the envelope at the grandest race course on earth.” 

Carlin Dunne, 2/25/2019

“Son, brother, teammate, friend. Fearless competitor and devoted mentor. Carlin played endless roles, always leading with the same unmistakable charisma, unwavering calm, and signature twinkle in his eye. Whether racing on blacktop or in Baja, he led with the same fiercely competitive spirit, loving heart, and unwavering dedication. Destined for a life on two wheels, Carlin developed a lifelong obsession with perfecting his craft. Instilled with dreams of becoming a racer, filmmaker, and stuntman, he remained humble and gracious as his career took a meteoric trajectory.

While his list of achievements on two wheels stretches for miles, arguably Carlin’s greatest accomplishment during his short time on earth was the positive impact that he had on the lives of everyone he came across. His passion for racing was truly connected to his passion and care for family and friends. Carlin lived every moment to the absolute max. He was kind, genuine, and so full of life. 

Renowned for taking fellow riders under his wing, mentorship came second nature to Carlin. Whether showing youngsters the ropes or simply embodying a life lived at full throttle, he had an unmistakable knack for bringing outsiders into the fold, exemplifying love, kindness, and camaraderie along the way.”

The Carlin Dunne Foundation

“Carlin loved the mountain. She challenged and enticed him, calling him back again and again. He gave her due respect. He was fully aware of her ability to take.”   

Romie Gallardo, Carlin’s mother


“Mate, I know you’re looking down on us, and I hope wherever you’re going, you have a great racetrack, and a movie that needs some stunt riders, and you’re having a good time.”

Rennie Scaysbrook, friend and competitor 



“Carlin came to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb with our team for the first time in 2008. We asked him along as Ducati motorcycles were quite new to us and he had experience with them. That year he didn’t race, but it was clear that he was eyeing the course in the quiet, careful way that was his hallmark. Over the next decade we grew to know and love Carlin, and to marvel at the skill he brought to competing at Pikes Peak.

We are proud to be his team, and to be a part of the records he set here.”

Paul and Becca Livingston, Spider Grips


“If you didn’t know him, he was a fierce competitor and a really kindhearted person.” 

Chris Fillmore, friend and competitor


“Carlin is somebody I always looked up to. He showed up and hauled (butt). He did unbelievable things. He was like Superman to me. That’s who he will always be to me.”

Codie Vahsholtz, Ducati Teammate 




“At 36 years old, Carlin had set off on his own road racing career, been a professional downhill mountain biker, tackled Baja, ridden motocross, trials and claimed several Pikes Peak International Hill Climb titles. He was seasoned, confusingly multifaceted, and had an impressive natural drive that was evidenced in his skill across all disciplines.

He appeared to be unwavering in focus; he displayed a meticulousness in his craft that is only seen in the greats. All of that was reflected in his riding. It was elegant, controlled, and mystifyingly smooth; surely a byproduct of his contemplative nature.”

Nic de Sena, UltimateMotorcycling.com

Carlin Dunne

Best of 2019 Awards


“The loss of Carlin Dunne to the motorcycling community was absolutely devastating. Dunne’s skill was only overshadowed by his humble character, which went a long way towards masking the fact he could haul ass on anything with two wheels, regardless if it had an engine or not. The undisputed King of the Mountain, Dunne made the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb look easy, so much so that he stepped away from competition for a few years to help guide new competitors to the mountain and show them the way. That’s why his death, at the hands of the very same mountain top, is so hard to bear. He was so close to tasting victory and setting an astonishing lap record. Instead, he left us far too soon. I’d be lying if I said I was friends with Carlin Dunne, but I raced Pikes Peak the same year he took the crown on the electric motorcycle and was awed by his speed. I again shared the racetrack with him this year, as he was testing Ducati’s new Streetfighter, and again was floored by his speed and his easy-going nature. He was simply someone you wanted to be around, regardless of how you felt about motorcycles.

To say I had a massive amount of respect for him would be an understatement. It seemed all but a certainty that he would win again this year. When it didn’t happen, the collective motorcycling community took a second to reflect on the worst aspect of our sport. It hurt, and it was gut-wrenching, but he would, undoubtedly, want us all to keep pushing. It speaks volumes about a person when people they’ve never met feel a deep loss when they pass. Carlin Dunne was that kind of person. He will forever be missed, but will never be forgotten, and Motorcycle.com would like to further cement his legacy by awarding him the 2019 Motorcycle.com Motorcyclist of the Year.”

Troy Siahaan, Motorcycle.com

PPIHC author

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