Carlin Dunne is pictured above and in this moment I imagine him as happy as one can ever be. On a day that started cool and crisp as they often do at 9400 feet above sea level just a few minutes west of Colorado Springs. It wasn’t long before the sun warmed the scene and temperatures rose in the 70s (F) and beyond. Carlin is pictured here doing what he loved, what he had trained for with his father since he was a young boy. Something he had much success at in previous years not only at Pikes Peak but everywhere he competed he was a challenger. On this beautiful morning he is on the ride of his life feeling 100% focused and prepared for his climb to top in the 2019 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC). Known as the Race to the Clouds by regulars to the annual event now 97 years strong it’s a difficult and highly respected international competition.
The Climb is a 12.44 mile long accent from 9400 feet above sea level to 14110 feet above sea level with 156 turns in between. Carlin was the first to go to the top of Pikes Peak in under 10 minutes in 2012. Already a four times champion at the PPIHC in his final Race to the Clouds it is predicted he would’ve again beaten his previous record by a substantial amount to claim a 5th trophy at this prestigious event and set another record. That glorious ride was interrupted and cut short only 1300 feet from the finish line. Tragedy struck Carlin Dunne in the way of a crash and later he succumbed to injuries from the crash.
Carlin Dunne is an inspiration, he is someone I only know of through friends we had in common and the many many memories people have shared about their first hand experiences with him since his passing June 30, 2019. He was a racer that competed first with himself and he shared his experience with others wanting to race and even those who wanted to compete against him. Carlin embodied the comradery and helpful spirit of motorsports I fell in love with as a kid. The kind thoughtful type that would help others who needed a parts or advice on a race weekend. His final Race to the Clouds was diverted from the finish line to an eternal ride with angels. Loved by many family, friends, competitors and fans Carlin Dunne will be remembered as a formidable racer, good natured and fun loving man.
Numerous people not as close to Carlin as family and friends will remember him as we see him here at the start of his final Race to the Clouds, confident and with good pace. Too fast to get a solid lock on as he’s streaming through the trees lining the road on the lower section of the hill climb. A man doing what he loves, what he trained for and as happy as one can be.