Red Bull KTM Factory Team rider Kurt Caselli fell victim to a fatal crash at the Baja 1000 race.
America’s Kurt Caselli, one of the biggest talents in offroad motorbike racing, has died at the age of 30 while competing at the Baja 1000. Kurt was fighting for the lead at the 796-mile mark of the marathon 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.
Jordi Viladoms, who rode the 2013 Dakar Rally alongside Kurt, reacted to the news on Twitter, saying simply – “R.I.P Kurt Caselli. We will miss you.”
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 tackling his second visit to the Dakar Rally. During his Dakar debut earlier this year, Kurt had caused shockwaves at the race by claiming two stage wins during the 15-day rally.
Kurt 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 soon won over his new teammates who appreciated his positive approach to racing. As a Dakar debutant Kurt’s enthusiasm to learn all he could about the race was infectious and it shone through in the blog he wrote for redbull.com
In the blog Kurt detailed his desire not to follow behind, preferring to forge his own path, stating, “I’m here to learn 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 are denied the help of their mechanics.
A recent win at the challenging Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina proved he was mastering the terrain in South America and made him a likely contender for glory at the 2014 Dakar Rally.
Kurt will be deeply missed by his family, friends and all others who shared his passion for offroad racing.