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Kurt Caselli Dies

Baja 1000 2013

maddix park mx

KTM have confirmed with great sadness the passing of American KTM factory rider Kurt Caselli, as the result of injuries sustained in a crash while competing in the SCORE/Baja 1000 this weekend. 

Kurt, part of the Factory FMF/Bonanza Plumbing/KTM team competing in this desert race, was in a leading position when he suffered a crash that resulted in severe head trauma. He died of his injuries in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. 

The team, who have now recovered Kurt's bike discovered traces on the machine that indicate he had collided with some small animal, which apparently caused the crash. 

Kurt, 30, was an accomplished American offroad and desert rider but he had also made a successful transition to international rallies for the KTM Factory Team. He was admired and respected in racing circles for his skill, natural talent and exemplary sportsmanship far beyond the borders of his home country. While Kurt was one of the most popular figures on the KTM team, he was also an unmatched role model for young riders and fans. 

Passionate about his sport, he had multiple consecutive championships in WORCS and National Hare and Hound racing and had been the lead rider for the USA International Six Days Enduro team for the past ten years. 

In January 2013, Kurt was drafted into the official KTM Rally team to ride in the Dakar Rally, replacing his friend and factory teammate Marc Coma, who was injured. Kurt’s debut ride in the 2013 Dakar Rally was impressive. He was subsequently given a permanent spot on the KTM Rally team and was preparing to contest the Dakar 2014 and the FIM World Cross Country Rallies Championship in the coming season.

Kurt Caselli

“Today we lost a KTM hero in the worst possible circumstances. We are shocked and saddened by this tragic news and our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to Kurt’s family." Pit Beirer, Head of KTM Motorsports said. "Kurt was much more than a very talented rider; he was also an exceptional team player. 

"He represented and lived by the values and a passion for racing that lies at the very core of KTM. Our sport has lost more than a great rider; we have also lost an excellent ambassador for offroad racing.” 

"We at KTM can't put into context the loss everyone in the motorcycling community is experiencing. Jon-Erik Burleson, President of KTM North America stated. "Beyond his racing successes and talent as a rider, Kurt was above all else a core member of our greater off-road family that simply can't be replaced. 

"Kurt inspired the KTM family to keep pushing the limits of racing. He was the driving force behind our renewed efforts in Baja, Hare & Hound and the International Six Days Enduro. His work ethic, attitude and graciousness will never be matched.”

RIP Kurt Caselli

“The loss of Kurt is immense to the sport, our team and to our family." Antti Kallonen, Factory FMF/KTM Team Manager said. "Kurt has been on KTM his entire professional career. 

"Even in the early years he brought something special to the off-road environment by bringing a leadership role like no other. He had the uncanny ability to bring a team together for efforts big and small. 

"Professional motorcycle racing is always considered an individual sport, but Kurt made it a team sport. Whenever there was an opportunity to lead, help, inspire, advise or coach Kurt went into it like he went into a race—completely prepared, completely confident and knowing he could win. Kurt was the most galvanizing force I’ve ever seen. 

"Those who knew him were lucky. Those of us who got to work with him were blessed," Kallonen added. 

RIP Kurt Caselli


Our American media partner Dan Lamb of MotoX addicts has reported the tragic news from the Baja 1000. It is being reported that off-road racing legend Kurt Caselli crashed after hitting a booby trap and later died from severe head trauma after being medevaced to the nearest hospital. Kurt was just 30 years old.

At this point, details are scarce, but numerous credible sources from the event are all reporting the same thing. While any death in the dirt bike world hits us all hard, the death of Kurt Caselli will be felt worldwide. Kurt was nothing short of a legend on two wheels and a friend to anyone that he came in contact with. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of Kurt’s friends and family tonight. RIP Kurt Caselli. You will be remembered and sorely missed.


According to Mexican newspaper el Vigia, American KTM factory off-road racer Kurt Caselli died during the 46th running of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off-road motorcycle race. He was 30 years old. 

Hailing from Palmdale, California Caselli was competing on the 2x KTM dirt bike teamed with Kendall Norman, Mike Brown and Ivan Ramirez. Caselli was nearing the finish of the 833-mile contest when he crashed at approximately 4:55 pm PST. 

The KTM factory squad was leading the Baja 1000 race, when Caselli went down. The live feed indicated the incident occurred at the 796-mile marker, with a helicopter being sent to the scene. A SCORE Racing bulletin announcing the death states that Caselli "died of serious trauma incurred when he apparently lost control of his KTM motorcycle in a sandy, high-speed section." 

“Our desert racing family has lost a very special person in Kurt,” said SCORE President Roger Norman in the press statement. “Kurt was a superb racer and this is a tragedy that affects us all. We extend our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers to the Caselli family. Their loss is immeasurable and we grieve with them.”

Unconfirmed reports on Twitter have indicated that the accident was due to a booby trap set-up by locals in an effort to disable competitors. 

A decorated champion, Caselli was a pillar in the motorcycle racing world having won the WORCS championship three times in ’07, ’10 and ’11 and most recently claimed the 2013 AMA Hare & Hound Championship. Caselli also competed for Team USA at the ISDE, including a silver medal in 2013. 

In recent years, Caselli had turned his attentions to the Baja desert races and international rally races. The Californian competed with the Factory KTM squad with plans to contest the 2014 Dakar Rally. 

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