Live Like Carlin: A Tribute to Carlin Dunne, 1982-2019

Jul 8, 2019
by Sarah Moore  



Carlin Dunne first emerged on the scene as the runner-up in Race Face’s 2004 Ultimate Freeride Challenge contest. He used that momentum to land a spot on the legendary Kona Clump freeride team alongside Robbie Bourdon, John Cowan, and Paul Basagoitia. In Dunne's New World Disorder 6 segment, he crashed twice on a massive drop in Utah, before getting redemption a month later and stomping the line.

After his NWD days, Dunne transitioned to motorcycle racing and quickly found success. He was the first man under 10 minutes on the world-renowned Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and would win the event four times. He was defending his title on June 30, 2019 when he crashed less than a quarter-mile from the finish line and died from the resulting injuries.

He was an inspiration to so many of us, and we're grateful for so many stories emerge about him.





Carlin Dunne Location Green River Utah USA New World Disorder 2005 John Gibson photo.
New World Disorder 2005 / John Gibson photo.
Green River Utah USA 2005 New World Disorder John Gibson photo.
New World Disorder 2005 / John Gibson photo.

Eulogy

THE LEGENDARY CARLIN DUNNE

Son, brother, teammate, friend. Fearless competitor and devoted mentor. Carlin played endless roles, always leading with the same unmistakable charisma, unwavering calm, and signature twinkle in his eye. Whether racing on blacktop or in Baja, he led with the same fiercely competitive spirit, loving heart, and unwavering dedication. Destined for a life on two wheels, Carlin developed a lifelong obsession with perfecting his craft. Instilled with dreams of becoming a racer, filmmaker, and stuntman, he remained humble and gracious as his career took a meteoric trajectory.

While his list of achievements on two wheels stretches for miles, arguably Carlin’s greatest accomplishment during his short time on earth was the positive impact that he had on the lives of everyone he came across. His passion for racing was truly connected to his passion and care for family and friends. Carlin lived every moment to the absolute max. He was kind, genuine, and so full of life.

In the months leading to Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Carlin was the happiest and most content he’d ever been. Friends and family witnessed the inner peace he’d realized, achieving his dreams and finally ascending to the pinnacle that he’d worked his entire life to reach. He was firing on all cylinders and running like a factory race machine. Exceeding everyone’s expectations at Pike’s Peak on June 30th, Carlin passed checkpoints 1, 2, and 3 at record pace, crashing just 15 meters from the finish. And while his bike was left with wheels spinning, his spirit continued on, always with us in his most prime form. We know that Carlin left us with the biggest grin, smiling at the legacy he left behind. Pikes Peak has been coined, “a race to the clouds.” Carlin did just that. May his love and light always shine upon us, radiating with the same warmth as it did here on earth.

Countless friends, extended family and the greater community all lost a hero. Carlin is survived by his mother Romie Gallardo, father, Trevor Dunne, sister, Daniela Dunne, and his beloved dog, Sonny. In the coming weeks there will be a large celebration of life for all to attend, to come together and remember the legendary man, Carlin Dunne.

05.16.1983 - 06.30.2019





Kona Clump Ilhabela Brazil 2006 filming for NWD 7. from left to right Robbie Bourdon John Cowan Paul Basagoitia Dave Watson and Carlin Dunne. John Gibson photo.
Kona Clump Ilhabela, Brazil 2006 filming for NWD 7. From left to right: Robbie Bourdon, John Cowan, Paul Basagoitia, Dave Watson and Carlin Dunne. John Gibson photo.
Shooting for New World Disorder 7 in Ilhabela Brazil 2006 John Gibson photo.
Shooting for New World Disorder 7 in Ilhabela, Brazil 2006 John Gibson photo.


bigquotesWhen I first met Carlin he was new to the mountain bike scene but was absolutely killing it hucking himself off huge drops and gaps with style...and if he didn’t stick things he went back and stuck them later.

I was always impressed by his confident yet friendly and humble manner with which he dealt with everyone. He was a badass and also a gentleman. He rode and shredded all kinds of bikes and motorcycles and shared his stoke with everybody. Much respect for this man and he will be missed. RIP Carlin.
Brett Tippie


New World Disorder VI Utah U.S.A. John Gibson photo www.gibsonpictures.com
New World Disorder VI. Utah. John Gibson photo.


Views: 18,317    Faves: 112    Comments: 6


bigquotesCarlin was truly one of the nicest and humble people I have ever met in my career. I spent a lot of time this week shedding tears and reflecting on what an inspirational human he was. When he first came on the scene through the Race Face Ultimate Freeride Challenge you could tell he had an incredible love for anything two wheels. He rode dirt bikes and then came onto the freeride scene by going out and crushing some of the biggest jumps ever done on a mountain bike. Hitting the Moreno Valley Gap as his casting call to the mountain bike industry speaks to the level of his talent and it did not take long for the industry to notice him.

Along the way I watched him struggle to find his way in the mtb scene. With the rise of slopestyle came the dog eat dog nature of the sponsorship game and the expectation to be something he was not. He just wanted to ride and not have all the pressures of the scene. When it got to be too much he just said "f*ck it, I am just going to ride for fun and not risk being broken all the time for a couple free bikes and a below minimum wage salary." I was so proud of him for doing that.

I was so happy a few years later when I had the privilege of working with Red Bull, Dana Brown and his family on the On Any Sunday "The Next Chapter” film. I was able to bring Carlin into the film with the world's best riders and help tell his story of being one the most talented riders the motorcycle industry had never heard of. This started the next incredible run for him as a racer and his accomplishments in the last 5 years have been unbelievable.

He was just so calm and collected all of the time, no matter how much air was under his wheels or how fast the speedometer was reading. It all seems so surreal that the man that absolutely owned Pikes Peak left this world with the finish line of another record in sight.

This is such a tragic loss.

He will forever be a part of the NWD brotherhood and forever loved by so many."

Rip in Peace Bro.

D
Derek Westerlund, Freeride Entertainment

Carlin Dunne La Cumbre Bolivia 5000m Photo by Lucas Kane
Carlin Dunne. La Cumbre, Bolivia (5000m). Photo by Lucas Kane
Shooting with the Kona Clump in Whistler. John Gibson photo.
Shooting with the Kona Clump in Whistler. John Gibson photo.

Carlin Dunne chasing Dave Watson with the helmet cam shooting for NWD 7 in Brazil 2006 John Gibson photo.
Carlin Dunne chasing Dave Watson with the helmet cam/shooting for NWD 7 in Brazil/2006 John Gibson photo.

Carlin Dunne shooting for New World Disorder in Alaska 2004. John Gibson photo.
Carlin Dunne shooting for New World Disorder in Alaska/2004. John Gibson photo.
Carlin Dunne shooting for New World Disorder in Alaska 2004. John Gibson photo.
Carlin Dunne shooting for New World Disorder in Alaska/2004. John Gibson photo.

New World Disorder VI 2005 Utah U.S.A. John Gibson photo www.gibsonpictures.com
New World Disorder VI/2005. Utah. John Gibson photo.

Carlin Dunne 30-foot gap jump La Cumbre Bolivia 16500ft 5000m Photo by Lucas Kane
Carlin Dunne. 30-foot gap jump. La Cumbre, Bolivia (16500ft/5000m) Photo by Lucas Kane
Carlin Dunne - 30 foot gap La Cumbre Bolivia 5000 meters Photo by Lucas Kane
Carlin Dunne - 30 foot gap. La Cumbre, Bolivia (5000 meters) Photo by Lucas Kane

Photo by Lucas Kane
Photo by Lucas Kane

The future meets the past. Carlin Dunne Robbie Bourdon and Cedric Gracia La Paz Bolivia Photo by Lucas Kane
The future meets the past. Carlin Dunne, Robbie Bourdon and Cedric Gracia. La Paz, Bolivia Photo by Lucas Kane
Robbie Bourdon Gary Alistair Carlin Dunne and Dave Watson. Somewhere in Bolivia Photo by Lucas Kane
Robbie Bourdon, Gary, Alistair, Carlin Dunne and Dave Watson. Somewhere in Bolivia Photo by Lucas Kane


Carlin Dunne Only rider to drop the biggest feature. Saalbach Slopestyle 2005 - Austria Photo by Lucas Kane
Carlin Dunne. Only rider to drop the biggest feature. Saalbach Slopestyle 2005 - Austria Photo by Lucas Kane
Carlin Dunne - Bolivia Illimani in the background. Photo by Lucas Kane
Carlin Dunne - Bolivia. Illimani in the background. Photo by Lucas Kane

Carlin Dunne is filmed by helicopter NWD VI in Hinterglemm Austria. Photo by Lucas Kane
Carlin Dunne is filmed by helicopter (NWD VI) in Hinterglemm, Austria. Photo by Lucas Kane


bigquotesCarlin Dunne was a real life superhero. He could truly do most anything – and not just do it but do it at an incredible level. When Carlin and I met in 2001, he had just begun riding mountain bikes but was already on the cusp of turning pro. This was after having raced motorcycles professionally in various disciplines, and at such iconic locales as the deserts of Baja to the oval banking at Daytona. All of this before he turned 20. After a few seasons as a pro freerider, Carlin returned to his roots on the moto, achieving further success there, to include setting the course record for the Pikes Peak hill climb, a race he would go on to win four times – nearly five.

This past spring, Carlin and his dad sold their long-time family business – Ducati of Santa Barbara – in part so Carlin could increase his focus on stunt work and racing. We chatted a few weeks ago and I’d rarely heard him in such high spirits. Things were going in such a great direction for him, with high-profile stunt jobs lined up and months of intense preparations for another go at Pikes Peak. So much of what he worked for his whole life was finally coming to fruition.

Last weekend, after completing no less than 156 turns, Carlin was navigating the final turn of the Pikes Peak hill climb, just a few dozen meters from the finish line – and well on pace to reclaim the course record and take home his fifth victory – when he lost control of the bike going over a large hump in the asphalt. When you live life as fully as Carlin did, you take your share of spills. Everyone who knew him was accustomed to this fact of life. What we weren’t used to was him not getting back up. I still can’t process how he wasn’t able to hop back up and dust himself off, as he always had.

Carlin reached for the sky in everything he did, so it’s only fitting that he would leave this earth holding a handful of throttle and pointing his motorbike toward the top of a 14,000-foot high mountaintop, nothing but blue sky on the horizon, eyes locked firmly on the heavens.

I miss you, buddy. Thank you for everything you gave me. I will carry it – and you – with me until my own day comes. Until then, I will honor your legacy by living my live the way you lived yours – giving everything I have to that which I love, and holding the throttle wide-open.

Godspeed, old friend.
Sean Estes


Sean Estes photo
Sean Estes photo
Sean Estes photo
Sean Estes photo

Sean Estes photo
Sean Estes photo
Sean Estes photo
Sean Estes photo


Photo ralphie
Filming for On Any Sunday "The Next Chapter”. Photo by Bryan Ralph.

Photo ralphie
With Dana Brown. Photo by Bryan Ralph.

Photo ralphie
Photo ralphie
Photos by Bryan Ralph


bigquotesI met Carlin a few years ago at Pikes Peak, we immediately connected because we had so much in common. I talked to Carlin two days before the Pikes Peak race, he was feeling good, his qualifying times were much faster than the rest of the field. Before he hung up the phone he told me he missed me and that he was looking forward to his time off after Pikes Peak to go camp, ride and celebrate my birthday this Sunday. I giggled and blushed while he said that because that is Carlin for you. A loving and caring homie.

Carlin was kind and the most down to earth guy you will ever meet. But what stands out most to me is that he never complained and he was tough as nails. We often called him Superman.

One time I met up with him at the motocross track, he had a funny tip-over crash and hurt his foot. He’s like; Hey Anneke, I'm going to go to the hospital, I think I broke my foot (his foot was crazy swollen). I wanted to drive him but he said he was going to be okay. This was all on Christmas Eve day. I met up with him at the hospital to only find out he had multiple fractures and a few dislocated toes! He never complained once the whole freaking time. We shared stories while at the hospital, talked about the scars on our bodies and laughed because it was Christmas Eve. After that, we had take out pizza. It was a Christmas Eve that I will never forget.

Sometimes he would ride so long and hard on his dirt bike that his hands would get covered in blisters… "Nothing Duct Tape can’t fix," he would say. He would wrap his hands in Duct Tape and keep on riding without complaining once. I loved all the adventures we went on, he was always up for something and so talented and good at all of it - riding mountain bikes, moto, road cycling and one time he called me up and asked me if I wanted to go go-karting since he had a badass shifter kart and the keys to his local track. Before I knew it we were doing hot laps and I was trying to get close to his lap times… Of course, I was nowhere close but both of us always had that same need for speed. This past winter we raced Day in the Dirt together and we got 3rd in the Extreme Pro class. Such a good weekend of camping and doing what we love.

I was glued to the phone last Sunday following the Pikes Peak results… but your time wouldn’t show up. It all seems so unreal and I am having a really hard time dealing with your loss. You are a legend Carlin and you inspire so many people including me.

I love you so much and I will miss you, our adventures and time together dearly. I'm going to keep reaching for the stars and live life to the fullest, that is what you would’ve done too. 

#LiveLikeCarlin
Anneke Beerten

Anneke Beerten photo.
Anneke Beerten photo.
Anneke Beerten photo.
Anneke Beerten photo.

Anneke Beerten photo.
Anneke Beerten photo.

Anneke Beerten photo.
Anneke Beerten photo.
Anneke Beerten photo.
Anneke Beerten photo.



38 Comments

  • 58 0
 Legends never die.. rest easy
  • 5 0
 Amen.
  • 36 0
 What a tragic loss. But at least he lived large.

I am a huge NWD guy. I actually saw Derek Westerlund premiere one of them at a Moab Fat Tire Festival way back when. I am also a huge Kona guy, having owned well over a dozen over the past 25+ years. All the Klump riders, including Carlin, are nothing short of legendary.

But as legendary as they are, I had no idea how truly incredible Carlin was. I am glad I have found out about his greatness, but sad it took these circumstances for me to do so.

What’s clear from all the stories pouring in is that while his riding was truly epic, it was nothing compared to how great a person he was. All this is very sad. I am trying to draw some inspiration from it all.
  • 28 0
 Wow - nice words, Anneke. Sorry about the loss of the homie.
  • 13 0
 Oh my god - as both a lifelong mtb'er and motorcycle rider my dumb brain never made the connection between Carlin the racer and Carlin the mountain biker from the NWD days. It took me seeing this article to see that we lost TWO legends with his passing, it just happens to be the same man. Gutted. RIP man, huge part of my early mtb days.
  • 9 0
 I grew up in Santa Barbara and fell in love with riding on the local trails. I remember witnessing an absolute shredder once in a while. Now that I see Sean Estes' photo I realized that shredder was Carlin. I wasn't going to forget the face of someone that good at riding two wheels. Didn't know Carlin lived in SB and that I was in the presence of royalty as I learned to ride. Im blown away
  • 9 0
 Yesterday in Santa Barbara there was a pretty amazing memorial "ride to the clouds" yesterday in his honor. Hundreds of mtbers, roadies, moto and ducati guys all went on Gibraltar and congregated at La Cumbre Peak. It was a special moment honoring a true legend. A bunch of us sent it down Cold Springs with some of his good buddies doing some hucks and having a blast in his memory.
  • 1 0
 @Toryt7: Living somewhere else now but damn wish I could have been there!
  • 6 0
 So sad. He did properly live whilst he was here though. Thoughts are with all the family and friends. XXX
  • 6 0
 Rip in peace Carlin 3
  • 6 0
 #LiveLikeCarlin
  • 1 0
 A thousand years ago he sat down next to me on the shuttle bus at Snowshoe. No one else on the bus knew who he was. We spoke quietly on the way back up. I took off after him on the DH run down the long side of the mountain, but he quickly disappeared, almost ghost-like. I never saw him again. He was the first MTB celebrity I met. I have been fortunate to meet a lot of big names since then, but he was the first, and I remember that day like it was last week. Quiet, funny, confident, free.
  • 4 0
 A short but exceptional life on two wheels, ridin' the edge the whole way!
  • 4 0
 Ride the tiger forever!!!
  • 5 1
 Living the life he loved, the only way to go, RIP
  • 1 0
 Working on Pikes Peak this summer— he was no more than 40 yards away from the finish. Unfortunately, the road wasn’t in perfect condition. People have been planting flowers at the spot; very emotional but touching.
  • 2 0
 It's always the good ones that get taken too soon. Loved following his journey. RIP my dude.
  • 2 0
 Thank you for the pleasure you gave me watching you riding ,life sometimes..........RIP
  • 2 0
 Totally choking up over the loss of an inspirational video icon. Go easy bro.
  • 2 0
 ******Ride in Peace Carlin*****
  • 2 0
 Rip Carlin... myth of my early freeride years...
  • 1 0
 there’s a fundraiser set up to help his family... www.gofundme.com/f/carlin-dunne-932
  • 1 0
 Not only a bad ass on two wheels but it sounds like the world lost a beautiful person .RIP Carlin....nice tribute PB.
  • 1 0
 So sad Frown I grew up watching NWD! Rest In Peace Carlin!
  • 1 0
 Absolute legendary Shredder. When passion meets talent you get Carlin. RIP
  • 1 0
 Very talented person. RIP Carlin
  • 1 0
 I remember the huge Saalbach drop photo back in the days... Ride In Peace.
  • 1 0
 Anneke's tribute... wow that is hard to read Frown
  • 1 0
 So sad. Lots of love to all 3. And rest in peace, Carlin.
  • 1 0
 Forever Carlin “Holy Diver” Dunne
  • 1 0
 Terribly sad. A life well lived.
  • 1 0
 'till Valhalla !
  • 1 0
 Nice job pinkbike
  • 1 0
 RIP bud.

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