After Carlin Dunne was killed in a crash at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, many observers suspected it would mean the end of motorcycles participating in the Race to the Clouds. Now, it seems they might be right.
Pikes Peak organizers have announced there will be no motorcycles running at the PPIHC in 2020. Officially, the reason is to “gather data and analytics to review more thoroughly the impact on the overall event in the absence of this program.” In other words, they want to cut motorcycles out of the event for a year, and see the effect of that move.
That doesn’t rule out the return of motorcycles in the future, but if they make lots of money in 2020, it’d be non-surprising if the people at the top decided motorcycle racing just isn’t worth the hassle.
Motorcycle racing has already seen restrictions for years, especially since the Pikes Peak course was paved to the top. The gravel sections combined with the challenges of tuning for the changing air density tended to keep speeds lower in years past, but the ability to run a superbike all the way to the top of the hill on pavement caused organizers to crack down. For years now, the rule at Pikes Peak has been “no clip-ons.” That’s why you see motorcycles like the Ducati Multistrada at Pikes Peak, but not a BMW S1000RR.
Still, lap records were falling just about every year. Dunne, who won the event four times before, was on his way to setting a new record this year before he died. Rennie Scaysbrook, this year’s top finisher, set a new record on an Aprilia Tuono. The faster times coincided with increasing complaints about the event’s safety, particularly from motorcyclists, so it’s no wonder organizers are taking a step back to evaluate two-wheeled participation.
Motorcycles have been at the PPIHC since the beginning, but have not run every year, so it’s possible we may even see a short-term ban that may be overturned. Stay tuned!