A Southern California racing star and world champion was killed in a crash during the SCORE Baja 1000 in Baja, Mexico on Friday. NBC 7'S Vanessa Herrera reports.
A Southern California racing star and world champion was killed in a crash during the SCORE Baja 1000 in Baja, Mexico on Friday.
The SCORE Baja 1000 is a racing tradition for many San Diegans who head to Mexico every year for the race, but it came to a tragic end Friday evening when Kurt Caselli, 30, died en route to an area hospital after the motorcycle he was driving in the race crashed.
According to a statement released by race officials, the incident occurred at about 4:30 p.m. when Caselli reportedly lost control of his KTM motorcycle in a high speed, sandy section near the end of the 883.1 mile desert course.
Officials have said that Caselli's fatal crash may have occurred when he hit an animal.
“Our desert racing family has lost a very special person in Kurt,” commented SCORE President Roger Norman in the 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.”
Caselli resided in Palmdale, California.
Since Caselli’s death, speculation has grown over whether someone threw a booby-trap in front of the him, causing him to crash.
However, some aren’t convinced the incident is anything more than a tragic accident.
“Kurt Caselli just lost control of the bike. There was no sign of any kind of malice or man-made event during the race.
Breauxman added that though booby-traps have been suspected in the past, what happened this weekend was different.
“We don't know, we'll never know exactly the circumstances behind the accident itself...,” Breauxman said.
Chilly White, a friend of Caselli said the impact of his death will be felt throughout racing.
“Kurt was a very well rounded racer, not only in the desert like here in Baja and in Southern California, but he also raced all around the world…he was the best American ever to participate in that particular discipline.”
As Caselli's family and friends begin to mourn a life taken too soon, for White it seemed like there was nothing anyone could do.
“It was really just a racing accident,” White said, “It was one of those things that happen and there was probably nothing that could have been done to avoid it.”
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