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Carlin Dunne highsided at Pikes Peak Hill Climb before deadly motorcycle crash, investigators say

Posted at 5:19 PM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 19:19:47-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Carlin Dunne, the four-time winner of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, died after highsiding into the last turn before the finish line, according to officials looking into the cause of the deadly crash.

Highsiding happens when the rear wheel of the bike loses traction, skids, and then suddenly regains traction, flipping the rider head first off the motorcycle or over the handlebars.

The findings were released Tuesday by the Pikes Peak Hill Climb’s Race Director and Race Safety Team, who also found no signs of mechanical failure in the bike following Sunday’s crash.

“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,” said Pikes Peak International Hill Climb executive director Megan Leatham. “Carlin was loved by everyone who was lucky enough to know him. We not only lost one of the greatest ever to compete on Pikes Peak, but more importantly an irreplaceable friend to this organization.”

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a 12.42-mile race to the summit of Pikes Peak. Dunne, 36, had won the iconic race four times and was defending his title when he was killed Sunday morning at the 97th edition of the race.

Before Sunday's race, Dunne talked to CNN about the dangers he and others face in the 4,720-foot climb.

"It can be dangerous if you don't take it seriously," said Dunne. "There's so many variables in a racecourse like this, everything from animals to the weather. It's almost like it's a living, breathing organism, this mountain, and you have to take it seriously."

Dunne gained legendary status at the Pikes Peak race after winning in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2018. He set the course record back in 2012, but that was eventually broken in 2017 by Chris Fillmore.