(Photo courtesy of Ducati)

Carlin Dunne knew the mountain like the back of his hand, all 156 turns and 12.42 miles between him and the finish line. Dubbed “The Race to the Clouds,” Dunne had won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb four times, including his unforgettable run in 2012 when he was the first motorcyclist to finish under the magical 10-minute mark. This weekend he was looking to make it victory number five aboard a new bike, a prototype of Ducati’s Streetfighter V4, and appeared well on his way to doing so when he earned the superpole position after laying down the fastest qualifying run. In Sunday’s race, Dunne was poised to recapture the record he once held, blitzing up the first three sectors with blazing speed. Then, with only a short stretch left before the finish line, tragedy struck, Dunne crashed and ultimately died from his injuries. The mountain, in all its glory, is also unforgiving.

Though the cause of the crash is still under investigation, The Gazette posted video of a bumpy stretch near the summit and in the footage you can see cars hitting it and hopping off their line. Some speculate Dunne hit this stretch at high speed causing him to lose control. Pinpointing the cause won't change the irreversible results as the motorcycle community mourns the loss of this gracious champion. Godspeed, Carlin.

Ducati North America posted the following on its Instagram account.

Carlin Dunne, Ducati Team Spider Grips rider falls just a few meters before the finish line, after having dominated the first three sessions of the race and ready to set the new record.
This is the official announcement from the race organizers and Ducati North America:

Colorado Springs, Colorado - 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.

“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 condolences,
The Board of Directors of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and
Ducati North America