Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Motorcycle Speed Record Holder Carlin Dunne Will Be Racing A Solar-Powered Lightning Electric Superbike

Thursday, Jun. 6 2013

Colorado Springs, June 6———Carlin Dunne, the fastest motorcycle racer in the history of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, has officially entered this year’s 91st running of the storied race.

Dunne (Santa Barbara, CA) rode a Ducati Multistrada to victory last year with a clocking of 9:52.819 in winning the Pikes Peak 1205 division, the fastest time ever recorded by a motorcycle competitor in the history of the race, which began in 1916. He was one of two racers who broke the ten-minute mark on bikes, with Greg Tracy, a six-time champion, clocking 9:58.262 for second place behind Dunne.

Tracy and Dunne won’t hook up against each other this time, however, since Tracy has opted to compete for the first time in an automobile, driving a Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution II in the Electric Auto division.

Dunne, not one to sit around long himself, is making big news this year himself. He’s signed with a new sponsor and will compete in the Motorcycle Exhibition Powersports division, racing a solar-powered bike.

Dunne, the current all time record holder and two time consecutive champion of the legendary race, has chosen the Lightning electric superbike as his weapon of choice to go for his attempt at a third consecutive victory and a shot at breaking his own record time.

Photo by Jamey Price

Photo by Jamey Price

“I have a chance to be a part of something even bigger, to prove something to the rest of the world by riding this amazing electric bike.  And I have to say, I’ve been testing it for a month, and it’s insane.  It’s power and acceleration is like nothing I’ve ever ridden.  When you light that fuse, hang on” said Dunne.

Born in Santa Barbra California to a family of motorcycle racers, Dunne first started riding motorcycles at age 2 and has yet to stop.  But it was realized he was a prodigy on two wheels when he started racing BMX at 7 years old, won his first race, and by age 12 had racked up over 100 wins at expert level.  At 10 years old he started motocross where he won his third ever race. At 13 he started road racing, winning his first championship at age 16.

He was well on his way to becoming a household name when he suffered a severe 120 mile per hour crash at Daytona, leaving him with a severely compound fractured femur.  During his year long recovery, a dear friend and fellow racer was killed in a similar racing accident, which lead Carlin to reevaluate his future. He chose to retire from pro racing and the elderly age of 18.

Then, another friend and fellow racer, introduced him to the most grueling motorsport race of all, the 24 hour Baja 1000.  Carlin couldn’t resist.  And with his blue collar work ethic, was back in shape, studied, practiced and back in competition placing an impressive 4th.

Carlin was then introduced to competition mountain biking where again followed the pattern, turned pro and went to the top of the sport, literally conquering mountains.

Now, a long way from those childhood tracks, and with the stakes much higher, the charismatic 6’4″, 30 year old Dunne has had all of those lessons, disciplines and hard work come to a razor sharp point – the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. And again he did what he always does – showed up his first year as a rookie, and won. Then backed it up his second year with another consecutive win, this time setting the current all time course record.

Lightning is no stranger to the winner’s podium.  In fact Lightning is the dominant electric racing team, having never lost a race it entered in 2012, including wins at Laguna Seca, and Le Mans, France.

Lightning also holds the land speed record at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats, for fastest production motorcycle in the world at 215mph with a fast run of 218mph.

But Lightning’s performance isn’t the only astounding thing about their race bike.  The Lightning superbike is powered exclusively by solar energy through the combined technology developed by SMA, Trina Solar and EnerDel Lithium batteries.   That in turn will be used to fuel the motorcycle’s onboard battery pack, which Lightning calls the most powerful and safest currently available.  This makes the Lightning superbike the first racing vehicle in a major motorsports event to leave a zero carbon footprint.

The hair raising Pikes Peak Hill Climb is the second-oldest motorsport race in America next to the Indy 500, and it is without a doubt the most dangerous. The track runs up the side of Colorado’s most famous 14,000 foot mountain, with frightening cliffs on either side of the track.  The local joke amongst racers is “if you make a mistake and go over the side, you’ll die of starvation before you hit the ground.”

“I still can’t believe our good fortune in teaming up with a guy like Carlin.  Not only is he the top talent, but he’s a great guy.  I’d root for him even if he were riding for someone else.  But this is much bigger story than Carlin, or Lightning.  This is a historic moment for the world.  It’s the tipping point in global transportation as we know it.  The very best guy in the world at this race who won and set records on gas bikes, has chosen us, an electric motorcycle company, to try and beat his own records.   Combustion engines are long from dead, but they were just passed by in performance” said Art Haynie, director of marketing for Lightning.

Richard Hatfield, Founder and CEO said, “This technology will drive the future of racing.  Gas engines have been around for over 100 years and pushed to their limits – and they’re at a late stage of development.  But we’re just starting with this.  It’s like we’re in the early 1900’s all over again when it comes to the development of electric racing – and we’re already breaking new ground. We always knew what we had in the performance of our electric bikes, but it takes time for the world to comprehend and accept a huge change like this.  It took 50 years for people to accept a car was better transportation than a horse.  Now here is the top rider in the world at this race, at the top of his game, putting his seal of approval on us by leaving combustion and going electric.”


About Lightning Motorcycles

Lightning Motorcycles was founded by Richard Hatfield and a group of Silicon Valley engineers dedicated to the belief that world class performance is compatible with clean tech transportation, in San Carlos, Calif. in 1999. By 2009, the company had created the Fastest Super Bike in the world and set the land speed record in 2010 at 215.960 mph, with a best recorded speed of 218.637. The team broke its own record in 2011 with a top speed of 218.637.  Since then, Lightning Motorcycles has established its dominance competing and winning in multiple internationally recognized superbike races.  The company’s mission is to develop the most innovative competition race bike and use that technology to produce and distribute affordable two wheel electric vehicles to commuter markets worldwide.

PPIHC Tickets Available Now

Fans of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb can purchase tickets now for the June 30, 2013 race and assure themselves a spot on the Peak for what promises to be the best in the event’s long and storied history.

General admission seats are priced at $40.00 each, and the popular Family Four-Pack is priced at $135.00 when purchased in advance. Tickets may be purchased on the PPIHC official website:

Camping permits, sold on a first-come, first-served basis, are available at $100.00 each.

(Note, PPIHC policy for the Family Four-Pack mandates that all four people must be in one vehicle on race day and each occupant in a vehicle with a camping permit must also have a race ticket.)

Race tickets are required for anyone 10 years of age and older.


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