A crowd of over 2000 riders, fans and friends crowded into Glen Helen Raceway on Friday to pay tribute to Kurt Caselli. The gathering was organized by KTM and Glen Helen after the November 15 tragedy that took the life of Caselli during the SCORE Baja 1000. The attendees included almost all of KTM's national off-road team, including Mike Lafferty, Charlie Mullins, Russell Bobbitt and many others who travelled across the country for the event. The crowd also included off-road icons such as Dick Burleson and Malcolm Smith, and some motocross names like Zach Osborne.
The line to get into the park was over a mile long at one point, so Glen Helen officials elected to throw open the gates and forgo the admittance fee. The money was to go into the Caselli Foundation for the family and other causes, so most of those who were admitted for free eventually found their way back to the gate to make a donation. Additionally, there was a silent auction that had goods from various parts of the motorcycle industry.
Kurt Caselli was 30 year old at the time of his accident and was probably America's best-known off-road rider, particularly overseas. He was leading the Baja Mill in the final stage of the race when he crashed, suffered fatal injuries. There were no witnesses to the crash, but other competitors and one of Kurt's teammates arrived on the scene afterward and reported evidence of an animal strike. He left behind his mother Nancy, his sister Caroline and his fiancé Sarah. Kurt's father Rich was taken by cancer several years ago.
All of us in the off-road community felt Kurt was family, and were touched by the outpouring of warmth shown at Glen Helen.