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Conquering La Carrera Panamericana 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011
The 2011 La Carrera Panamericana
Ducatis presence at the 2011 La Carrera Panamericana represents a major step toward motorcycles being included in the historic car rally.
Motorcycle USA stayed in contact with Ducati throughout the 2011 La Carrera Panamericana event and followed their journey through the Mexican countryside. The Mexican Road Race is a seven-day vintage automobile race that heads north from Hualtulco to Zacatecas. The race is held in rally format with each day’s route broken into transfer sections and timed speed sections. The pair of Ducati Multistrada 1200 tagged along as a trial run to see if a two-wheeled class was appropriate for future events. Be sure to check out their exploits in the following articles:
La Carrera Panamericana Ducati Day 1 Report
La Carrera Panamericana Ducati Day 2 Report
La Carrera Panamericana Ducati Day 3 Report
La Carrera Panamericana Ducati Day 4 Report
La Carrera Panamericana Ducati Day 5 Report
La Carrera Panamericana Ducati Day 6 Report
La Carrera Panamericana Ducati Day 7 Report

Mounted on Ducati Multistradas, filled with anticipation of the undiscovered territory that lies ahead, Carlin Dunne and Roland Brown focused on one thing; finishing La Carrera Panamericana on two wheels. For the 2011 adventure, race organizer, Eduardo de León, reached out to Ducati to participate in the race while providing feedback and consultation to support the idea of incorporating a motorcycle class for 2012 and beyond. “Ducati was a natural choice for this challenge considering their pedigree and diverse racing achievements from around the world, plus they have the perfect motorcycle to conquer the course,” said Mr. de León.

Beginning in the heart of Huatulco, a coastal town in southern Mexico, our two pilots sat perched in front of a crowd of spectators under the iconic La Carrera Panamericana arch, setting the stage for what would become an amazing conquest; two Ducati Multistradas dominating the roads of Mexico, leading the pack of some of the world’s fastest historic race cars.

2011 La Carrera Panamericana Day 1
At the first drop of the flag, the essence of their adventure was revealed. “My previous experience of Mexico was just limited to the Baja 1000, which is much different from mainland Mexico”, said Carlin Dunne when asked about his level of expectation prior to arriving at La Carrera. Dunne continued, “No amount of planning could prepare you for such an adventure”. “La Carrera, being such a unique, multi-faceted race…the Multistrada…it was our saving grace.”

The race, organized into several sections of road temporarily closed to the public (“speed” stages), revealed the most breathtaking scenery that Mexico has to offer. On any given stretch of road the team encountered fast, twisty roads, backdrops of live volcanoes, beautiful colonial mountaintop peaks and ocean-filled vistas. However, along with the beautiful scenery also came some of the harshest environments that these pilots had ever experienced. Treacherous sharp turns, fallen debris, sheer cliff drop-offs, forest lined roads filled with harsh shadows and rocky, cactus laden roads consisting of more deteriorated sand and gravel than pavement. Along with the occasional livestock encounter, extreme elevation and temperature changes, or groups of over-enthusiastic fans, navigating La Carrera demanded complete focus and attention from these determined pilots.

This pace continued for 7 days, with over 1600 miles of uncertain terrain to cover. From Huatulco, north to Zacatecas, with 6 overnight stops, in some of the most breathtaking cities in Mexico, La Carrera is not only an adventure, but a series of challenges not easily overcome. However, with the determination to make history by taking a motorcycle across the finish line of La Carrera Panamerica, pilots Dunne and Brown prevailed. When asked about his
2011 La Carrera Panamericana Day 1
2011 La Carrera Panamericana Day 1
performance in the Mexican road race, pilot Roland Brown responded, “I didn’t know what to expect. But, it’s been fantastic from start to finish. A great variety of roads, all sorts of cities…the people have been fantastic”. Brown continues, “The Multistrada is a fantastic bike, there is no way around it. It was the perfect bike for the job and it got me where I wanted to be.”

In Zacatecas, the Ducati duo, accompanied by a third Multistrada piloted by race director Eduardo de León, led 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 ran long into the night. Lead by a mule and many jugs of Mezcal, all of the pilots and their teams participated in a grand parade through town, ending at the gates of the Quinta Real. At that point, Mr. Eduardo de León recognized Ducati for their contribution and participation in the race; “The involvement of Ducati in La Carrera Panamericana has been great. We have a lot of friends at Ducati and now we’ve had the pleasure to work with them.” said de León. When asked about his own ride on the Multistrada, de León responded, “I believe that the Ducati Multistrada is the perfect bike for an adventure of this kind. Riding the bike through different towns, sometimes on paved road, sometimes not, that’s some kind of dream.”

Ducati thanks Mr. Eduardo de León, along with the entire organization of La Carrera Panamericana for being included in such a special event. Ducati was invited to participate, provide feedback and, ultimately, to complete La Carrera on two wheels. Thanks to their amazing effort, the Ducati team conquered La Carrera Panamericana. As for the future of motorcycles in La Carrera, Mr. de León’s parting words were, “This (La Carrera) has become the most important road race in the world. I believe we can do something exciting and well organized for the future. And, with the proper logistics and planning, I believe it will be a big hit.” We’ll see what the future holds.

For a recap of daily updates of Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 adventures along the La Carrera Panamericana please visit www.ducaticommunity.com and www.ducatiusa.com. Also, stay tuned for a video feature of the Multistrada’s Mexican conquest. 
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Mike996   November 6, 2011 05:30 AM
"However, with the determination to make history by taking a motorcycle across the finish line of La Carrera Panamerica, pilots Dunne and Brown prevailed." This article is very misleading and inaccurate. Motorcycles have participated in the LaCarrera for several years and their inclusion was do to local and other private riders. Motorcycles have crossed the finish line at the race every year since they were first allowed to participate. Until now, all the motorcycles that have participated were privately owned and included bikes from early 70's Norton Commandoes to current touring and multisport machines. This article does a real disservice to motorcyclists who actually DID pioneer bikes being included in the LaCarrera and it is disturbing to see that no attention was paid them at all in this article. It seems it was published with the sole purpose of helping to sell Ducati's, with no discussion or research about the folks who actually got bikes included in the race for the first time several years ago. Ducati certainly deserves mention as the first "factory participants" but totally ignoring the real pioneers is an example of rewriting history that is not worthy of any serious publication. Contact motoclassico@yahoogroups.com to get information on the REAL history of motorcycles in the LaCarrera.