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 Lightning 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.