Motocross champion Kurt Caselli dead after Baja 1000 crash


For Caselli, racing was a way of life. The 30-year-old was an accomplished off-road and desert rider.

Caselli was racing in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 for the KTM Factory Team, when he crashed and died from his injuries. KTM says there was evidence on his bike that he collided with a small animal, which apparently caused the collision.

Daryl Ecklund was Caselli's close friend.

"He's the best guy I ever knew," said Ecklund. "He's my big brother."

Ecklund says Caselli wanted to win the race in memory of his father, who died in 2008.

"His dad was a big Baja fan, and he really wanted to win this for his dad," said Ecklund. "This year it looked like he was going to win. They were neck and neck with first place. They had 100 miles to go."

The head of KTM Motorsports issued this statement:

"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 off-road racing."

Ecklund says Caselli was a role model for younger riders and was respected for his skills and his work ethic.

"He worked so unbelievably hard, day in and day out, and we trained together. He pushed me every day to be the best that I could," said Ecklund.

Caselli had also competed in the X Games since 2011. He leaves behind his family in Palmdale and a fiancee.

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