If press releases are to be believed, everyone wants to ride a Ducati. Just last month the Arms of Carabinieri chose the Ducati Multistrada 1200 S and Multistrada 1200 Enduro as their official motorcycle, riding first in the cities of Rome and Milan. Officially, the Carabinieri are one of the four Italian Armed Forces, but with a history dating back to the 1800’s, they are also a form of law enforcement.
Fast forward to this week and Ducati announced the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) will include the race’s first-ever, specially-modified EMT motorcycles, Multistrada 950's to be precise to serve as the first line of support on the mountain during the 95th running of historic the “Race to the Clouds”. Admittedly Ducati North America is the official motorcycle sponsor of the PPIHC.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), one of the most extreme road races in the world, has 156 turns for 12.42 miles, up a treacherous mountain peak of 14,115 feet in elevation. First completed in 1916, it’s the second oldest automotive race in the United States.
Ducati is no stranger to the event, securing six victories on the mountain since the company’s debut in 2008 and holds the all-time course record (2012 / Ducati Multistrada 1200 S / 9:52.819).
With the latest addition, two specially-equipped Multistrada 950 EMT motorcycles will be piloted by Dr. Gary Klein, long-time race physician and Safety Team lead for the PPIHC, and Duxton Milam, a 20-year EMT and veteran flight medic with the National Guard. Both also have decades of experience on a motorcycle.
“In the program’s first year, we saw all of the racers who were mentored through the Race Smart program improve their results and race with confidence up Pikes Peak to the finish,” said Jason Chinnock, CEO of Ducati North America. “For 2017, we saw an opportunity to further enhance the safety of all participants by incorporating moto EMTs for rapid response in the case of a course incident. This is extremely important when the emergency support teams are covering a course of more than 12 miles up a mountain peak.”
Ducati partnered with the PPIHC in 2016 to create the Race Smart Program, utilizing the experience of former champions to ensure all registered motorcycle entrants, whether rookie or veteran, have the highest level of preparation and knowledge prior to race. The heart of the program is a team of seasoned rider coaches, titled the Pikes Peak Squadra Alpina (PPSA).
For 2017, the PPSA returns with rider coach and all-time PPIHC course record holder, Carlin Dunne, joined by Cycle World Road Test Editor, Don Canet. Both riders will be mounted on Ducati Multistrada 1200 motorcycles. Paul and Becca Livingston also return as the Race Smart Program team managers, with experience fielding teams at the PPIHC since 2006, including Team Spider Grips Ducati’s 2012 record-setting runs under 10 minutes.
In addition to the two EMT motorcycles and rider coaches, the PPSA has also been expanded to include four-wheeled team coaches. Fred Veitch, veteran PPIHC racer and member of the Board of Directors for the Hill Climb, as well as the Competition, Driver Selection and Appeals committees, will join the PPSA team. He is joined by Jeff MacPherson, who has 50 years of competition experience, including the PPIHC, CART Indycar series, USAC Indianapolis 500, European Formula 3000 Championship, Formula Atlantic in North America, and the Pacific in New Zealand and Australia Formula Super Vee.