Motorcycles Could be Banned from Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC)

Photo credit Cycle World
  • There are now talks of banning motorcycles from racing at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC).

  • The move follows Carlin Dunne’s demise while riding the Ducati Streetfighter V4 Prototype.

  • The course had claimed seven lives since its introduction in 1916.

The name “Pikes Peak” abbreviated from the full Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) was probably as familiar as Olympus Mons (the highest peak on Mars) to many up to a fortnight ago. Unfortunately, it took the death of a very talented and well-liked rider to wake everyone up to the name.

King of the Mountain Carlin Dunne was picked for the duty of riding the Ducati Streetfighter V4 Prototype, having won there four times prior, all on Ducatis.

Then, as the world waited anxiously for the news of his win and new course record, nothing came about. Hours passed until news finally broke that Dunne had crashed and died.

There have been seven deaths including Dunne’s in the 156-corner climb to the finish line at 4302 metres up, since its introduction in 1916. Four of them were riders, two were car drivers and one race official. While each death or injury is not a joke, the PPIHC actually has a better record than the Isle of Man TT. Much of this is attributable to the lower speeds at the hill climb, compared to the wide-open blasts at the island.

Still, there are now some quarters calling for bikes to be banned from running up the mountain and leave the event to cars. One of them was PPIHC race director herself. The Colorado Gazette had obtained an email of hers addressed to the city and US Forest Service Officials. Part of her message read: “He (Dunne) high sided… but it just happened to be on Pikes Peak with no room for error. Also between us… I think the end of the motorcycle program on Pikes Peak…”

What actually happened?

Everyone is still in the dark about what actually happened to Dunne. The race organizers had enforced a media blackout immediately following his crash. Lately, we heard that his bike was confirmed to have no mechanical failure. It was good to protect his family and friends but being silent will only spur talks of conspiracy and cover up.

What about the Ducati Streetfighter V4 project?

Serving as therace for naked sportbikes on public roads, Ducati had gone almost all-out in promoting the Streetfighter V4 prototype. The hype over the bike was palpable, given the number of Ducati fans requesting for one and that the manufacturer has no bike to compete in the supernaked category against the KTM 1290 Super Duke R and Aprilia Tuono V4 1100.

But the manufacturer has gone “black” (as in quiet) since. They will probably still pursue the project to its fruition, but they are surely faced with the dilemma of launching it with a bang or a subdued affair. And being subtle is not Ducati. Perhaps they could launch it as a Carlin Dunne or King of the Mountain tribute – but definitely not as a Pikes Peak special model.

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