R.I.P. Kurt Caselli

Red Bull KTM Factory Team rider Kurt Caselli fell victim to a fatal crash at the Baja 1000 race.

R.I.P. Kurt Caselli
© Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

American Kurt Caselli, one of the biggest talents in offroad motorbike racing, died while competing at the Baja 1000. Kurt was fighting for the lead at the 796-mile mark of the grueling endurance race in Mexico when he came off his bike. Following the accident Kurt was flown to hospital but nothing could be done to prevent him passing away from the head injuries he had sustained. He was 30 years old.

Kurt had built a reputation as a world-class competitor with successes in offroad events around the globe. National Hare & Hound wins, International Six Day Enduro gold medals and his AMA Sportsman of the Year award were all testament to the Californian’s talent.

Kurt was less than two months away from competing in his second Dakar Rally in South America. His prospects were promising. During his Dakar debut, Kurt had caused shockwaves by claiming two stage wins during the treacherous 15-day rally.

He came as a late arrival to the 2013 Dakar, taking the place of the injured Marc Coma in the Red Bull KTM Factory Team. Kurt’s warm personality quickly won over his new teammates. As a Dakar rookie, Kurt was keen to learn all he could about the race, an infectious attitude that shone through in the blog he wrote for redbull.com. “I’m here to learn," he wrote, "and the best way to do that is to take the initiative and put myself out at the front of the race."

Kurt’s comprehensive knowledge of the bikes he raced was always evident, something that he had picked up from his father. He unselfishly used these skills to lend a hand to eventual race winner Cyril Despres at the 2013 Dakar. The pair worked together to swap out an engine during a marathon stage, when the bikers were denied the help of their mechanics.

A recent win at the challenging Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina proved he was mastering the South American terrain and made him a strong contender at the 2014 Dakar Rally.