Pikes Peak Hill Climb Confirms Death Of Motorcyclist Carl Sorensen

Official Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Media Guide (Click to see bigger image)

A motorcyclist was killed during a practice run on Pikes Peak Thursday morning.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb announced the death of rider Carl Sorensen in a statement a few hours after the accident. Sorensen, 39, is from Centennial, Colo.

At this time, the organization has not released any information about the accident, riders participating in Thursday's practice told our partners at The Gazette that Sorensen went off the road and over a cliff between Devil’s Playground and the summit. One rider told The Gazette that Sorensen was with the group when they began their ride up the race course on the Pikes Peak Highway, but never made it to the summit.

Practices run from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. The three-mile practice route remained closed after practice ended to allow emergency crews to respond to the scene, according to The Gazette. It's not known what time the accident happened.

After the crash, the chaos on the mountain continued as an intense lightning storm passed over Pikes Peak. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office confirms that six people and a vehicle were struck by lightning just after noon Thursday. Five people were uninjured, while at last report a sixth was still being evaluated by medical crews. At this time it's not been confirmed if these people were emergency crews.

11 News forecaster Austin Harley says at least 15 lightning strikes hit near the summit just after noon.

Officials involved in the race are expected to release more information later Thursday. We will update this story as new details become available.

This is not the first fatality in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Last year, 54-year-old Bobby Goodin lost control of his bike after crossing the finish line. There have been four other deaths reported since the race started in 1916.

Race day is Sunday.