Motorcycles just won’t live to celebrate their 30th consecutive presence in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
It’s a sad day for two-wheeled motorsport as motorcycles are not included in the PPIHC event next year, and it looks like they might even be gone for good. America’s Mountain Chairman Tom Osborne announced officially that there won’t be a motorcycle class for the Peak International Hill Climb next year.
"Motorcycles have been a part of the PPIHC for the past 29 years, and their history on America's Mountain dates back to the inaugural running in 1916. That said, the motorcycle program hasn't been an annual event. They have run 41 of the 97 years we've been racing on Pikes Peak. It's just time to take a hard look at every aspect of the race, including the motorcycle program, and determine whether or not the event may change," were his words.
The decision was made in close relation to the tragic death of one of the most beloved and successful riders to have taken a start in the Race to the Clouds, Carlin Dunne, in late June. Dunne was a multiple record holder at the Pikes Peak, and on his way to set a new motorcycle speed record through the 156-turn course when he highsided and plunged to his death less than a quarter of a mile before the finish line.
Dunne’s death is the seventh fatality at the PPIHC since 2012, when the road was paved in its entirety. The new surface also meant that speeds would go way higher, and so did the risks the racers would take during the race. On a sidenote, three of these deaths involved motorcycles: Bobby Goodin in 2014, Carl Sorensen in 2015 and Carlin Dunne in 2019.
Frankly, there is no telling whether motorcycles will roar up the Pikes Peak once again. We can only hope the organizers of the PPIHC will change their mind about this, albeit we might see some very ruthless safety-related restrictions enforced for a two-wheeler comeback.