We bring you unfortunate news from the Baja California Peninsula, as we have gotten word that American Kurt Caselli has died while competing in the 2013 Baja 1000 off-road race.
Leading the race on his factory-supported KTM, early reports indicated that Caselli crashed after hitting a booby trap (an all too common feature of the Baja 1000) around the 796-mile mark, and later succumbed to injuries to his head.
However, a post to Instagram by FMF’s Donny Emler Jr. says that is not the case, and that Kurt’s crash was merely a racing incident, and did not occur near any spectators. Press statements from both KTM and the Baja 1000 organizers can be read here, and suggest that Caselli’s motorcycle came in contact with an animal, which likely caused his crash.
Though he was part of KTM’s second-place finishing team in last year’s Baja 1000, the thirty-year-old Caselli was a new edition to the KTM Factory Rally team, a position he earned after impressing the Austrian manufacturer during his stint at this year’s Dakar Rally as Marc Coma’s replacement.
Announced as a permanent member of KTM’s rally efforts, after Cyril Despres moved to Yamaha Racing, Caselli’s already impressive enduro career was set to gain even more momentum in rally racing.
Caselli was a multiple-time winner of the AMA National Hare and Hound Champion, a WORCS Champion, as well as s ISDE gold medalist before moving into rally racing. In the 2013 Dakar Rally he stunned the field with two impressive stage wins in his rookie debut, and just last month he finished 7th in the season-opener at the Morroco Rally.
Well-regarded for his riding ability and also for his warm personality, his absence will be felt deeply in the racing community. Asphalt & Rubber‘s deepest condolences go to his friends and family.
Source: Cycle News; Photo: © 2013 Maragni M / KTM Images — All Rights Reserved