At the 4th Annual Kurt Caselli Foundation Fundraiser

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Conventional wisdom says that mixing wine with motorcycles is a bad idea, but in the case of last week’s 4th annual Kurt Caselli Foundation fundraiser at Doffo Winery in Temecula, California, it was a perfect pairing.

Kurt Caselli was an accomplished off-road racer with multiple AMA District 37 championships, Hare and Hound titles, and was the overall class champion in the International Six Day Enduro in 2007 and 2011.

Additionally, he was a competitor in the Dakar Rally and the Baja 1000. The Baja 1000 was where he met his untimely death in 2013, and after his death, the Kurt Caselli Foundation was formed.

The foundation was established to promote safety for off-road riders and racers, and strives to support these riders before, during, and after a racing career.

Foundation President and Kurt’s fiancée, Sarah White explained how the mission of the organization came about.

“We all got together to discuss what was important to us. Carolyn (Kurt’s sister and Secretary of the foundation) is a schoolteacher and she’s always been passionate about the scholarship portion of the foundation. Nancy (Kurt’s mom) went to school to be a kindergarten teacher, so she’s also extremely passionate about supporting the future generation.”

“While I was more about the present, because when Kurt passed away, I wanted to find things that could help prevent that specific situation from happening again.”

One of the new efforts of the foundation is CPR and trauma training. Sarah White discussed how “usually what happens when a rider crashes, is a different rider is the first person to come up on them, and there’s the question of what to do.”

“Do you take the helmet off? How do you treat the downed rider? It’s a very hectic and scary situation. So we’re doing a class where we’re teaching all the riders basic training to handle any issues that come up on the course before help arrives.”

In addition to scholarships and safety training, the foundation is also involved in establishing concussion protocols for off-road racing. Nancy Caselli discussed how, “we hired a company who came to a 24-hour race and they had monitors and measured head movement and the forces that happen to a rider.”

Carolyn Caselli added, “It’s really neat, because the team of doctors we’re working with started in youth football, and they’re as interested as we are to see what we can discover.”

“We’re still in the process and it takes a long time to get a peer review study published, so we don’t have the results yet, but we’re excited to be the first foundation to focus exclusively on concussions in off-road riding.”

“We want to make that information available to the public and helmet manufacturers, and we’re excited about that.”

Since 2013, the foundation has raised thousands of dollars to promote off-road safety, with the premiere fundraising event occurring annually at Doffo Winery. To give you an idea of the scale of this project, 2016’s fundraiser pulled in over $35,000 to support the cause.

The weather for this year’s fundraiser was hot and sunny. A huge dome of hot air was hovering over central California, driving temperatures into the upper 90s and the triple digits. Thankfully, the warm temperatures did not dissuade a large crowd from coming out to support this worthy cause.

Not only does the Doffo family have a beautiful facility at which to host this great event, but they are also dyed in the wool motorcycle enthusiasts as well. Father Marcelo and son Damian are both racers, and their enthusiasm for all things moto is obvious.

The Moto Doffo collection of motorcycles resides on the 15 acre winery, and includes over 150 streetbikes, off-road bikes, and scooters of all varieties, as well as all sorts of moto memorabilia.

The collection includes a beautiful assortment of small-bore Ducatis from the 1950s and 60s, including a rare 1959 175 Formula 3 and a 1957 Sport 175 with a tank that has curves that make you want to stare at it for hours. Such a beautiful motorcycle collection served as the perfect backdrop for this event.

Besides a plethora of motorcycles to ogle, there were plenty of activities to keep families busy. The Doffos hosted Strider bike races for the kids, and even though it was hot, the participants really seemed to have a great time.

There’s something special about watching the expression on a child’s face after catching air for the first time.

Additionally, there was lots of great food, and of course, great wine to enjoy. There’s just something right about a big glass of Sangria on a scorching hot day. Besides the food and drink, multiple vendors, who are friends of the foundation, had their wares on display for the crowd to enjoy.

As the day progressed, you could feel the excitement building as the time for the raffle and auction drew close. Putting a group of hundreds of competitive racers and enthusiasts under one roof to bid for coveted moto gear, led to a spirited, yet fun event.

The raffle contained lots of goodies including apparel, tools, and accessories from many manufacturers. Attendees purchased large amounts of tickets in order to get a chance to win some of these great prizes. But beyond the raffle, the big excitement came during the auction.

A very high tech mountain bike fetched over $5,000, while a magnum of Doffo Wine with a special Kurt Caselli design brought in over $2,000.

Additionally, some of Kurt’s winnings from his career, including an ISDE trophy and medal from his 2011 win in Finland, as well as a number plate and 3rd place team medal from the same race, were up for auction.

The excitement continued with the final giveaway; a two-stroke 50cc KTM dirtbike with special Caselli graphics and a trick FMF pipe. A very happy family left Doffo Winery with a very cool little motorcycle.

Based on the great turnout, the amazing setting, and most importantly, the camaraderie, I can tell you that without a doubt, this is a great event. Kurt’s former sponsors, KTM and FMF are still highly supportive of this effort, as are many fellow racers and racing families.

The setting at Doffo Vineyards, with the excellent motorcycle collection, is just the cherry on top. Next year will be the 5th annual event, and if you’re in the local area, you should take the time to support such a worthy cause.

Andrew Kohn

Space industry professional full time. Motorcycle writer and photographer part time. Motorcycle rider all the time. Ducati and Honda owner. A&R’s own Captain Slow.