Caselli crash 'caused by collision with animal'

By Simon Patterson -

Off road

 18 November 2013 10:36

KTM have released an official statement quashing rumours that Kurt Caselli's fatal crash this weekend while competing in the Baja 1000 was caused by a spectator-made-booby trap.

Instead, according to the Austrian firm’s statement, “the team, who have now recovered Caselli's bike, discovered traces on the machine that indicate he had collided with some animal, which apparently caused the crash.”

With the famous race running through desert scrubland, many large animals and birds live on or near the track, including coyotes and bighorn sheep.

Meanwhile, messages of condolence have been pouring in from across the racing world for the multiple ISDE medal winner and Dakar stage winner.

Caselli’s team boss at the Factory FMF/KTM squad, Antti Kallonen, said:  “The loss of Kurt is immense to the sport, our team and to our family. 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.”

Pit Beirer, the Head of KTM Motorsports added: “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. 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.”