COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Pikes Peak International Hill Climb officials are considering doing away with the motorcycle portion of the annual race in the wake of Carlin Dunne’s fatal crash last month.
Dunne was the 7th person to die on the Hill Climb course that dates back to 1916. His motorcycle high-sided just before the finish line, and Dunne was thrown from his bike down an embankment.
We spoke to workers at local motorcycle shops to see how they feel about the potential change, and they have mixed emotions. “I can understand both sides of the story on that,” said Rocky Mountain Cycle Plaza worker, Steve Clark. While Clark believes the Hill Climb is a staple event for the area, he said he understands safety comes first: “maybe there’s a few things they can implement that would make it safer. We’d like it to be safer, but we’d still like to do it.”
Other riders say severe injury and even death are things you sign onto when you get on the bike. Cody Fontenot is an engineer at 5th gear motors and an avid motorcyclist. He says he’s willing to take that risk every time he rides: “I broke my femur a few months ago, and I actually have a race this weekend that I’m looking forward to.” Fontenot said the Hill Climb motorcycle race should stay because the love of the sport outweighs the danger.
Meanwhile in Santa Barbara, people at the motorcycle shop Carlin Dunne owned with his father, say canceling the race would go against his wishes. “I don’t think Carlin would be very happy,” said customer Curt Russell.
An official statement from the Hill Climb organization states: “The PPIHC is still mourning the tragic loss of Carlin Dunne. In due time, the organization will review all of the divisions in the car and motorcycle program, as well as all aspects of the event, to determine what changes will be made in 2020.”
Hill Climb officials said any decisions about changes to the 2020 rule book would be made by the board of directors.