La Carrera Panamericana Ducati Day 7 Report

October 29, 2011
Matt Davidson
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Danger, adrenaline and competition are what fuel this moto enthusiast. Driven by a spirit for sportsmanship, our racing guru here at MotoUSA can be spotted at finish lines the world over as he delivers the latest battles from the two-wheeled realm.

Carlin Dunne (left) and Roland Brown (right) made history in Mexico be becoming the first motorcyclists to complete the 2011 La Carrera Panamericana.Finish

Ducati pilots Carlin Dunne and Roland Brown officially wrapped up the 2011 La Carrera Panamericana. Representing some of the first motorcycles in the historic car rally, the duo traversed the final 300km spread over six timed stages with no major incidents on the final day. The day included two service stops under warm and sunny conditions as competitors navigated twisty roads and some of the worst road conditions of the rally.
Despite immense pressure from the cars the two motorcyclists still managed to outpace them as many of the vehicles crossed the finish line with body damage. There was only one near accident for Carlin as he had the throttle pinned while sliding across a cattle guard, which nearly caused him to tuck the front end in one of the last speed stages. The contest concluded in Zacatecas where a march took place through town, eventually ending at the front gates of Quinta Rea – a hotel converted from a historic bull fighting arena. In the final ceremony Ducati received special recognition for its participation in the contest.

The Ducati riders are mounted on Multistrada 1200 street bikes. Motorcycle USA recently spent 10 days with a similar Ducati during our 2011 Adventure Touring Shootout. Learn more about the 2011 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring and see how it performs. It would be an excellent choice for a race like the La Carrera Panamericana.

Here’s the update from Ducati:

The morning of day 7 brought with it mixed emotions for all. On one hand, this unforgettable journey was coming to a close. On the other hand, we were about to take two Multistradas across the finish line of La Carrera Panamerica, making history as the first motorcycles to complete the race in its current form. That is of course, if we made it through the final six speed stages and nearly 300 km that stood between us and the finish line.
In the last day of the race, you can feel a difference in tone. Those that remain have made it through six of seven days of some of the most intense driving, or riding in our case, that one could ever experience. That said, they are competing and the difference in times of these final stages could be what stands between them and victory. It was quickly evident that most were going to hang it all out there in these final stages and by the end of the day, the repercussions of doing so would become evident. Many of the cars that made it across the finish line were not in the same condition in which they left the start line earlier in the day and some did not make it at all. Duct tape and zip ties replaced the gleaming paint that coated the body panels of these incredible cars when we left Huatulco just a week ago. None the less, the consistent message we heard all week was that finishing is the number one priority for all of these teams. For us, this couldn’t hold more true.

Carlin suffered a scary moment on the final day when he nearly lost control while crossing a cattle guard.
Carlin suffered a scary moment on the final day when he nearly lost control while crossing a cattle guard.

The roads that our pilots would face in day seven weren’t the most optimal they had encountered all week, mostly due to rough surfaces and road debris. The landscape was reminiscent of Pikes Peak in many of the stages with sharp turns, no runoff, and dramatic drop-offs. However, with the exception of a “moment” Carlin had when sliding across a cattle guard, the day was smooth and our pilots and their Multistradas prevailed.
In Zacatecas, the Ducati duo, accompanied by a third Multistrada piloted by race director Eduardo de León would lead the cars across the finish line at the footsteps of Catedral Basílica de Zacatecas, an architectural marvel located in the heart of the city. From there, a celebration ensued that would run long into the night. Lead by a mule and many jugs of Mezcal, all of the pilots and their teams would later gather to do the customary march through town which would end at the gates of the Quinta Real, an incredible hotel converted from a historic bull fighting arena. Many awards would be given and everyone from the time keepers to the Ducati team would be recognized for their contributions. It was truly a magical evening and the perfect end to a journey of a lifetime.
Thanks to La Carrera Panamericana for including us in this very special event. Thanks to the Ducati team for their efforts throughout the week. Thanks to both Carlin and Roland for taking on such an incredible challenge. But most of all, thanks to the people of Mexico for their warm welcome and generosity in continuing to allow this incredible event to run in their beautiful country. Whether or not motorcycles are ever fully integrated into La Carrera Panamericana, this was an experience of a lifetime that none of us will soon forget and a true testament to the capabilities of the Ducati Multistrada.