Romie Gallardo is Carlin Dunne's mother, the unfortunate rider who lost his life in a tragic accident at Pikes Peak while breaking a race record on his Ducati Streetfighter V4. In the days following the incident, a fundraiser was organized to help Romie and Carlin's entire family during this difficult time, and many donated the exact sum of $932, which was the equivalent of the 9 minutes and 32 seconds that would probably have been Dunne's incredible time trial if he had crossed the finish line.
Romie wrote her thoughts and remembered Carlin in an open letter published on her Facebook profile. Although struck by immense pain, the rider's mother wanted to point out that her "baby boy" would never have wanted motorbikes not to compete in races in the future because of his accident. The following is the full text, full of emotion and meaning.
"It’s been two weeks now since my son left us. In my heart I knew the instant that Carlin's time did not register in the 4th and final section of the race that I’d lost my baby boy (Yes, at 36 he was still my baby boy). Dear Lord, take care of my boy. He is truly in your hands now.
From the moment of his crash, the entire Pikes Peak International Hill Climb officials handled the situation with my full support. They exhibited the utmost privacy, respect, and dignity, and continue their steadfast support today. Media was instantly shut down and an outpouring of love and support was extended from the moment that I arrived in Colorado Springs. Megan Leatham, Executive Director of The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb; Tom Osborne, Chairman of the Board of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb; Paul and Becca Livingston, Owners of Spridergrips; Jason Chinnock, CEO Ducati of North America; and Ducati Motor, in Bologna, Italy; all took care of me, protected me, and more importantly protected my son. I will forever be grateful.
Carlin was beloved by all who knew him. He was everyone’s friend. Whether playing the role of little brother, big brother, son, or best friend. From a young age, I shared him with the world because I knew he was bigger than me, bigger than our mother-son bond. He fiercely pursued his passions with my full blessing and complete support. He held the security and confidence of knowing, “Mom will take care of the homestead.” He was never reckless in action or deed. I trusted him implicitly. Many years ago, he evolved beyond me. The funny thing is, Carlin never thought of himself as a “big deal.” I did, but I was “just the mom.” He still did his own laundry, picked up Sonny’s dog poop. He always said, “please” and “thank you.”
Carlin loved the mountain. She challenged and enticed him, calling him back again and again. He gave her due respect. He was fully aware of her ability to “take.” With that being said, I know for a fact that he would not want the motorcycle program to end. He would want us to learn from this tragedy. He would encourage the official accident reconstruction authorities do what they are trained to do, and for the race officials to implement additional safety precautions required.
Three days after Carlin’s crash a reporter asked me, “How do you feel about the race now?” To which I replied, “The same way I felt on June 29th, the day before he crashed.” All his life I’ve known that losing him was a possibility. We went into this with eyes wide open. We were aware of the flip side of this sport. I was committed to him and his dreams. He was doing what he loved. So, who are we to take away other racers’ dreams of racing Pikes Peak International Hill Climb?
In closing, I would like to give a massive worldwide THANK YOU to all of Carlin’s extended family and friends near and far! Our family is humbled beyond words. All of your love, support, stories, videos, and pictures without a doubt have helped me – and continue to help me. I am truly touched by your love and the ways in which you honor my son. Carlin would have been in awe at all the attention. He would have loved everyone coming together in harmony. He truly lives on in each and every one of us.
Rest easy, baby boy. We’ve got this. We’ve got Sonny. As you told your little sister many years ago, “Just keep pedaling.” That’s what we are going to do – just keep pedaling. I’ll see you when I get there".