Baja - A Tribute to Carlin Dunne

Directed by Dana Brown

Words by the director of photography, Kevin Ward

I originally met Carlin Dunne at the Zaca Station motocross track in Los Olivos, CA sometime in the late 90s. We became fast friends, even though I was 20 years his senior. He took the time to tow the "old guy" over a couple tricky step-ups I was having a hard time with, and my frustrating day became a fantastic day. There were many more fantastic days of riding and racing to follow, far south of the border in Baja, up in the Piute Mtn. range in California, the hills above Santa Barbara, and even off the coast of California for a one-off event, the Catalina Grand Prix. I pointed my camera at Carlin in a lot of those same locales, most memorably filming for Ducati at the Pikes Peak Hill climb in Colorado. Several years ago my friend Dana Brown, an incredibly talented filmmaker, approached Carlin and I with an idea for a branded entertainment piece for YETI that we would film down in Baja, one of my favorite stomping grounds. I feel the 8 minute piece above captures Carlin at his best, doing what he loved most, riding and hanging out with his closest buddies. One of the best descriptions of Carlin comes from his friend Sean Eberz.

"His understanding for the mechanics on his bike were very similar to him understanding the mechanics of life. Watching him grow up, he only got better at everything and really blew us all away with who he became as a person.”

Born into motorcycling, Dunne’s father, a South African road racer and former Isle of Man competitor, made sure there was a small bike waiting for Carlin when he was born. Living above his family’s 1,000 sq. ft. motorcycle repair shop until the age of seven, it’s no surprise that his toys growing up consisted of old engine parts.

For Dunne, a life dedicated to two and four wheeled motorsports was almost inevitable. Being a professional motorcycle racer himself, Dunne's father understood the hardships that came along with the profession and thus never forced the same life upon his son. As a result, Carlin dabbled in all different discipline's during his youth. Competing out of desire and not out of necessity allowed for Dunne to develop a lifelong obsession for perfecting his craft.

A few of Carlin’s accomplishments include 2 Baja wins, 3 Pikes Peak wins, 6 feature films, 3 world records, and much much more. Racing motorcycle is a dangerous endeavor, and Carlin was aware of this. His death was a devastating loss for the motorcycle industry and the hundreds of lives he affected throughout his career, but at least we can find some comfort knowing that he passed doing what he loved most.