Pike’s Peak was certainly an interesting venue for Ducati to step into, and much of the brand’s success “on the hill” can be placed on the shoulders of Carlin Dunne, a racer and Ducati Santa Barbara’s general manager. Ducati’s Pike’s Peak protagonist became part of Ducati Santa Barbara in 2005.
“Back then, it was hard to tell if we were racing to own the shop or owning a shop to go racing,” Dunne says. “We’d been circuit racing, doing AMA, but we really didn’t see that much return on our racing efforts. In ’07 or ’08, when Ducati decided to try the Pike’s Peak, Paul Livingstone contacted us. They’d heard about us through the grapevine. Going there as support the first year, I completely fell in love with it.”
Fast forward to 2011 and 2012: Dunne’s racing experience, combined with a competitive bike, catapulted Ducati Santa Barbara to the national spotlight.
“In 2011, we took our Multistrada base model demo bike. Without frills, we got it race-prepped and it worked really well during practice. We ended up winning and setting a new course record, beating Ducati’s own backed effort,” Dunne says. “It was very much a David-versus-Goliath thing.
“In 2012, Ducati asked me to be part of factory effort. We set the course record again. I was able to bring our input and setup experience on the development side to make sure we had a competitive bike. I think a lot of that came from our little effort in Santa Barbara,” Dunne adds.
Ducati Santa Barbara became the home of the record-setting race team, as well as the inspiration for a new OEM trim level of the motorcycle they raced: the Multistrada 1200 S Pike’s Peak.
Dunne has no doubts that his efforts racing up a mountain in Colorado has paid dividends to his business in California. “It has given us a return in more ways that we can imagine,” he says. “We’ve had people tell us directly: ‘I’m buying this bike from you because of what you’ve done.’ On the whole, it established even more our trust with our customer base. They know that we go so much further [than just selling bikes and parts]. Our accessory sales have benefitted, as I think people are less likely to price-shop us.
“It was just what we wanted to do. We’ve struggled, had some bad races and crashes, but we’ve had some great successes,” Dunne continues. “It’s made us part of the bigger riding community, one that we’ve actually helped grow in the area.” (Continued)