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Old 11-20-2013, 10:16 AM   #196
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:35 PM   #197
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You got that right.

You captured the guy here. Add a great sense of humor, loyal friend, and a regular beer and fish taco guy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
I'm not sure how many people realize how big the outpouring has been.

Right now, there are eight individual threads just on this site, talking about this.

Lest anybody think that it's only the internet, I just drove through his neighborhood a few hours ago (a mile from my house). An otherwise quiet, suburban neighborhood is packed with cars and pickup trucks for a block in both directions.

I had my normal Saturday lunch, was flipping through Dirt Rider...and there was Kurt. Damn. I'm reposting below what I posted in Jo Momma so any family and friends who read the comments can see it.
************************************************

DAMN! This just absolutely sucks. Kurt is a local to me...which is to say, I know where his house is and used to see him around town a few times a year.

Two stories I'll share here since the JM thread will probably get the most traffic.

I think it was 2005 or 2006. I was sitting in the local Baja Fresh with either Dirt Bike or Dirt Rider magazine. I'm just eating my lunch and flipping through the magazine. Two tables away is a group of 20-something guys and one of them keeps looking over at me with this big grin. I can't figure out why this guy keeps looking at me, or maybe he's looking past me...whatever.

As I'm flipping through the magazine, I turn past a page with a huge photo of a guy from the ISDE coverage (pretty sure he was a privateer American that year). The face looks really familiar but, I can't quite place it.

Meanwhile, this guy at the other table keeps looking at me. I swear, I turned past the page and kept going. In a minute or two, my brain finally wires the two realities together and I flip back to that page and read the caption below it. I look up and there is this guy, still smiling--that characteristic Kurt smile. I finally ask, "Is that you?"

He gives an almost child-like nod with the smile. "Yeah!" Man, I was just blown away. I went on and on about what an amazing honor that must have been for him to go to the ISDE and to be part of one of the great motorcycling events. I don't follow much racing but, I knew that getting to compete in the ISDE is a huge deal. We talked for a few minutes, then they left--a genuinely nice guy.

Fast forward 8-9 months. I'm out killing an afternoon and going to some garage sales on my way home from lunch. I get to one and there's not much to see but, there's a giant, KTM box van on the opposite side of the street. The garage door is open and there's a guy working on a couple of KTMs in the garage. I can't resist walking over there and saying hi. Anybody that into KTM has to be somebody I'd get along with.

I walk into the garage and introduce myself (first name only). He introduces himself as Rich. We talk a few minutes. He just got through wrestling a mousse into a rear tire and was remounting the back wheel. "These are pretty nicely setup bikes. You obviously race."

"No, they're my son's bikes. I just work on them." Just as he's saying that, I notice Kurt's name on the back fender."

"AHHH! You're Kurt's dad. Damn, good to meet you."

Anybody who loved motorcycles was instant friends with that family. Kurt was out on a bicycle training ride but, returned a bit later. He remembered me from Baja Fresh.

ISDE coverage just coincidentally was going to be aired that afternoon. They invited me to come in the house and watch it with them. So I sat there the afternoon watching ISDE with Rich and Kurt Caselli.

Afterward, Kurt asked if I collected motorcycle posters. He dug around in the back of their truck and pulled out one of his KTM-issued posters. This time I had the sense to ask him to autograph it. He gave me a handful of euro-market stickers for my 620 Adventure (told him I was going for the Dakar look on it). We spent a bunch of time talking about Dakar, how badly he wanted to go, the loss of Fabrizio Meoni, etc, etc.

As I was leaving, Kurt was planning with one of his friends drive out to the desert to look for old abandoned couches. They were salvaging foam for their foam pit in the backyard. Of course, he needed it to land his CRF50 after practicing "sweet jumps."

Since then, I either saw him in traffic around town or ran into him at the gas station a few times. There was always that smile. His dad, Rich, passed away a few years ago. Now this. Condolences to Kurt's mom...too much loss, too close together for one person to deal with.

You're going to be missed, dude.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:13 PM   #198
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How we heard it

As some of my friends know I do the remote pit for one of the class 22 teams. So I was at Pit 14 last week for the race. As I remember / learn more I'll add to this. There's probably plenty of know more and better than I so feel invited to add you $.02 next to mine.
The most difficult pit I've ever been to and the most difficult offroading ever in Baja for me and my buddy who is down there all the time with his Mexican wife. This isn't about me and I only include the pit stuff for context. Like many others down there supporting teams and friends we had a very long drive out and then after the worst was confirmed we drove around Ensenada and returned to LA. So that was about eight or nine hours from Pit 14 (Rancho San Jose) back to the border where we saw Scotty's post about the death. It was hell thinking he was laying out there and there was nothing we could do. Everybody loved that guy. I reckon there are thousands who felt the same.
KTM came through our pit in the physical lead with Honda about a minute back. We came through Pit 14 in 4th after running out of gas somehow and Robby having a huge getoff and the bike being repaired after Steve (was in Helo with an ankle still with pins) rode it 100 miles to the next pit with parts. The vid of Robby's crash is on YouTube. Taylor came through, we fueled him, and he passed 3rd before he was out of our valley but that was about 105 minutes behind KTM.
Done with Taylor we headed out. Probably 5-6 hours from pavement. Sometime in the afternoon we heard the Weatherman say 2X was missing. Like everyone else we assumed the electronics had failed because the day had been filled with the Weatherman talking about failing transponders and the like. But then it started getting more ominous. Caselli was on the bike. No one had seen him. I think one could sense the worry start to build in the Weatherman's voice. That went on forever it seemed. And then the channel went code red. Worse, the channel was code red and no one was saying anything. It was just kinda silent. I think my buddy and I got physically sick with that.
Seems like not many details in this thread, and some details are still sketchy, plus KTM and SCORE have yet to really tell the whole story, but here is basically what happened because it is trickling out from people who would know.
There is a video of Kurt in his last pit and about 12 miles later is the crash at mile 792 I think. Udall didn't see the crash because Kurt and the bike were wadded up in those bushy trees in that area. As the search intensified the KTM helo had to leave to refuel, or was refueling when the crash happened. I don't think that has been released yet. The Honda helo was also looking for Kurt by now. KTM asked Baja Pits to send out a guy to look for Kurt. They sent Ken The Baja Turtle guy who is the XR650R guy who rides his XR from SD to Ensenada, camps, and then iron mans the 1000. Kurt was apparently still breathing then. Ken got Kurt out of the bush and propped him against a bush. Ken got the bike out and propped it up next to the course so the next rider(s) would stop. Not able to reach anyone Ken left for medical help. Kurt was still breathing then. Later a guy on our team Ricky Brabec arrived. Ricky had been looking for him as requested, saw the bike leaned near the course as Ricky blew through there (I think that is a fast sandy area so polly 5th gear close to pinned), so Ricky turned around and went looking for Kurt. Ivan Ramirez arrived right after from he opposite direction. Kurt wasn't breathing. Ivan and Ricky decided that Ricky should ride on to the next pit for help. This must have been a long time after the crash because our team (4X) was at least an hour and forty five minutes behind Kurt. This was obvious to us in the truck headed out that Kurt was laying out there somewhere. It was a real gut punch to us thinking of him laying out there alone dying. I say that because everyone else I know who was listening to the Weatherman had the same sickening feeling. Perhaps that is the most heartbreaking aspect of an incident full of heartbreaking elements. Ricky and Ivan called in the cavalry by hitting their radios and the emergency Spot and so forth.
Not sure what matters after that. Ken came back with a police car I think.
Ricky is pretty torn up about it all. A very similar thing happened to him a few years ago when he was only 17 in a D37 race.
At first KTM was reported to have said that they found animal traces on the bike. And the racer who came in after Ricky reported several coyotes in the road but that was two hours later. But now it seems everyone is saying that Kurt's GoPro shows a cow or horse. However, as HogWild pointed out, the video of Kurt leaving Pit 15 clearly shows he did not have a GoPro on. So I guess that is another fact debunked! Thanks HogWild.
The larger issue now seems to be how SCORE lost the greatest offroad racer in the western hemisphere when he was leading the most famous race in the western hemisphere. And then took an hour and forty five to find him.
There has been far too much vitriol. Some have called for bombing Mexico. Some have claimed Colton rode past to win.
I can tell you that these guys, all these top guys except for one or two guys, are pretty close friends. They help each other in races and at home, they goon ride together, they offer advice, they are really only competitors on the race course. So there is no way anything like that happened.
There are various memorials and memorial rides planned. Facebook is by far the best place to follow that. There is one this Saturday at Johnson Valley OHV. And another December 6 at Glen Helen.
He was a good guy. The sort who comes along only a few times in any generation. I realized that when the guys I know a bit who are talents that seem superhuman to me talked about Kurt in reverential terms.
There are already stickers and t-shirts and iPhone covers on eBay but perhaps we could all pay forward the sort of general goodness toward our fellow man the way Kurt did. Especially toward the least fortunate among us.
I'm not a religious guy but this is the best sentence I've read since he was said to be lost: "Say not in grief he is no more - but live in thankfulness that he was."
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bump screwed with this post 11-21-2013 at 09:03 PM
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:37 PM   #199
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Thanks for posting. It helps to at least know better what happened.
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:10 PM   #200
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Thanks Bump for that insight. Here's what the tracking shows...

This first image shows the 2x pit and rider swap location (where Kurt got on), the 1x crash location, and the 2x crash location, with times.



This second image is a closer view of the 2x crash location (where the arrow points), with the 3-way fork 400ft before the crash point. The tracker remained at this location from the crash time of 2:59:45 until 9:16pm (over 6 hours), when it eventually moved to the highway and back to Ensenada.

There were early reports that the 2x SPOT tracker was moving from that location during the race. The details of the tracking data show that if it moved, it wasn't more than a few feet. I have a screen shot showing this "movement", but won't show it here because it will just cause confusion. GPS location error is common, especially if the antenna is not pointing in the right direction, or when under tree cover (both of which may have been true in this case). It's quite common to see many GPS points scattered all around a location where the GPS is actually sitting still. I would not be surprised if this perceived but false "movement" contributed to location confusion among some observers looking at the tracking. Contributing further to the confusion is some of the "distance traveled" information presented with the tracking data, which does not match the tracking points. I'll be talking to TrackLeaders about all this later.



In the image above, the Honda 1x bike took the same "shorter" line as 2x, passing the exact 2x crash point at a speed of 65mph. This was 27 minutes 9 seconds after the 2x crash time. The Kawasaki 4x bike arrived at the location at approximately 4:57pm (almost 2 hours after the crash), then left a very short time later.
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:16 PM   #201
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God damn, reading the story sucks. I can't even fathom being there.

Thank you all for sharing your stories and memories.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:35 PM   #202
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I'm still out of my head on all of this. I've typed and erased once a day it seems. Hopefully one day I'll get my finger on it. I suspect it has something to do with Kurt embodying the great qualities that exist in so many of my motorcycling friends and acquaintances, and because of that it feels very close to home.
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:01 PM   #203
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Thank you Hog for getting us more details and a little more closure to help us all understand what happened and help heal. It is appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HogWild View Post
Thanks Bump for that insight. Here's what the tracking shows...

This first image shows the 2x pit and rider swap location (where Kurt got on), the 1x crash location, and the 2x crash location, with times.



This second image is a closer view of the 2x crash location (where the arrow points), with the 3-way fork 400ft before the crash point. The tracker remained at this location from the crash time of 2:59:45 until 9:16pm (over 6 hours), when it eventually moved to the highway and back to Ensenada.

There were early reports that the 2x SPOT tracker was moving from that location during the race. The details of the tracking data show that if it moved, it wasn't more than a few feet. I have a screen shot showing this "movement", but won't show it here because it will just cause confusion. GPS location error is common, especially if the antenna is not pointing in the right direction, or when under tree cover (both of which may have been true in this case). It's quite common to see many GPS points scattered all around a location where the GPS is actually sitting still. I would not be surprised if this perceived but false "movement" contributed to location confusion among some observers looking at the tracking. Contributing further to the confusion is some of the "distance traveled" information presented with the tracking data, which does not match the tracking points. I'll be talking to TrackLeaders about all this later.



In the image above, the Honda 1x bike took the same "shorter" line as 2x, passing the exact 2x crash point at a speed of 65mph. This was 27 minutes 9 seconds after the 2x crash time. The Kawasaki 4x bike arrived at the location at approximately 4:57pm (almost 2 hours after the crash), then left a very short time later.
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:09 PM   #204
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Originally Posted by Michelangelo View Post
Thank you Hog for getting us more details and a little more closure to help us all understand what happened and help heal. It is appreciated.
+1. Thank you Bump and HogWild for filling us in.

I'm really glad he got to do Dakar.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:17 AM   #205
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Thanks.

I see the usual crowd on here taking their usual contrary position but there was something special about the way people interacted with Kurt. Here in SoCal, especially for the Desert People, there's just no overestimating the positive feelings people had for Kurt. If your kid walked up for a sticker he just grabbed them and put them on his race bike! Everyone has stories about how he just treated them like they'd been neighbors for decades even when they'd just met. And I think the nature of the stories and rumors and all lend one's mind to fill in the blanks in a way perhaps worse than the facts present. It happened to me and I was somewhat close to the people there so I reckon I can feel for anyone who wants to know the facts. And I think many had some bad gut feelings about all the recent SCORE bike rules changes.

He was one of those very special people who come along only a few times in any generation. He wasn't perfect but he did the best he could. And his best was a thing of beauty to watch. He wasn't the most outgoing guy but he knew what he represented to others so he forced himself to be there for strangers. And he wasn't quite the self promoter that some others in desert racing are.

I have a great imagination but I cannot and do not want to imagine the pain his mother and fiance and sister are going through. Particularly his fiance. The dreams they must have talked about now that his career was maturing. The promises they must have made to each other.

Too many eerie similarities to what happened to Danny Hamel. They were both that guy who everyone wanted to see themselves in. Like Hercules I suppose.


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Originally Posted by Velociraptor View Post
Thanks for posting. It helps to at least know better what happened.
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Old 11-21-2013, 01:11 PM   #206
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VERY VERY SAD NEWS. I just found this out today by going to the Dakar website as I am hoping to be in Argentina in Jan. Where the heck was I that I didnt hear the news? Buried in work, which at a time like this seems so trival and meaningless. Life is for living, not slaving for the man. Kurt was truly an ambassador for us here in the USA. Still have his Dakar interview after the event on the DVR. Its sad to see such promise gone and taken from us too soon. He was doing what he truly loved which is the only consolation. Our prayers are with his family and friends. Godspeed.
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Old 11-21-2013, 04:48 PM   #207
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I posted a link to your post on FB

HogWild,

I posted a link to your individual post on FB and Ricky commented he thinks they arrived around 5PM or so.

Your post is outstanding BTW.

Thanks,


Quote:
Originally Posted by HogWild View Post
Thanks Bump for that insight. Here's what the tracking shows...

This first image shows the 2x pit and rider swap location (where Kurt got on), the 1x crash location, and the 2x crash location, with times.



This second image is a closer view of the 2x crash location (where the arrow points), with the 3-way fork 400ft before the crash point. The tracker remained at this location from the crash time of 2:59:45 until 9:16pm (over 6 hours), when it eventually moved to the highway and back to Ensenada.

There were early reports that the 2x SPOT tracker was moving from that location during the race. The details of the tracking data show that if it moved, it wasn't more than a few feet. I have a screen shot showing this "movement", but won't show it here because it will just cause confusion. GPS location error is common, especially if the antenna is not pointing in the right direction, or when under tree cover (both of which may have been true in this case). It's quite common to see many GPS points scattered all around a location where the GPS is actually sitting still. I would not be surprised if this perceived but false "movement" contributed to location confusion among some observers looking at the tracking. Contributing further to the confusion is some of the "distance traveled" information presented with the tracking data, which does not match the tracking points. I'll be talking to TrackLeaders about all this later.



In the image above, the Honda 1x bike took the same "shorter" line as 2x, passing the exact 2x crash point at a speed of 65mph. This was 27 minutes 9 seconds after the 2x crash time. The Kawasaki 4x bike arrived at the location at approximately 4:57pm (almost 2 hours after the crash), then left a very short time later.
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Old 11-21-2013, 04:54 PM   #208
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Since I first posted about this...

I've added a few more facts as I have remembered them.

BTW, we ran out of gas because we used a well known pit provider for that pit and they moved without telling us and out of our range. Just about a mile from the pit the bike sputtered. Fortunately, big Dave Pearson was the one and he pushed the bike through sand until he found some locals who shared some gas.
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:19 PM   #209
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Was Kurt alert at all or just breathing when they found him in the bushes?
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:40 PM   #210
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Cry So Sad

So sorry to hear about Kurt. One of my heroes. KTM says it look like he hit a small animal. At those speeds it doesn't take much and lots thing to hit when you land. My heart goes out to Ivan it sounds like he was there with him when he died. He died doing what he loved...may we all be so lucky. See you on the other side brother.
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