5th Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day

Mark Kariya | December 5, 2017

5th Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day – The 5th Annual Kurt Caselli Memorial Ride Day at Glen Helen Raceway saw a legion of the legendary off-road racer’s fans, friends and family celebrate his life with a day (and night) of auctions, awards, campfires, music, movies, raffles, swag and—yes—lots of riding.

5th Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day

5th Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day
As always, the tribute lap saw hundreds go for a slow, processional lap around Glen Helen’s motocross track as a way to honor the late Kurt Caselli. Photos: Mark Kariya

As always, it drew a large number of well-known off-road racers, including Taylor Robert, Gary Sutherlin, Johnny Campbell, Ricky Brabec and most of Honda rally team, with both Rockstar Energy Husqvarna and FMF KTM well represented, joined this year by a few pro motocrossers like Ryan Villopoto and Nick Wey.

One of Caselli’s teammates on both the FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team as well as several U.S. ISDE teams, Russell Bobbitt has been able to attend most of the KCF Ride Days. He said, “I just really like to come out and connect with a lot of people I don’t normally get to see and be here just to support it. I have a great time coming and it just feels good knowing that everyone’s here in remembrance of Kurt and makes us think about why we do this: to be happy and enjoy dirt bikes and that there’s more to life [than just racing].”

Beta’s Max Gerston, the newly crowned Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scramble Regional Champion and a first-time attendee, drove out from Arizona with hare and hound racer Joe Wasson and summed up the day perfectly: “It’s kind of hard because on one side, you want to be smiley the whole time and on the other side, the whole reason we’re here is because of Kurt [and what happened to him]. When you think about it that way, it kind of makes you take a step back and appreciate everything you’ve got and all that at the same time.

“It means a lot to me; I’m really glad I could be here and just be a part of it. The team race was super-fun, and I think the smiles on everybody’s faces is a perfect reflection of the imprint that Kurt left on this community.” CN

5th Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day

As always, a number of companies donated product for the raffles and auctions, meaning a lot of people walked off with some great prizes.

5th Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day

Carolyn Caselli of the KCF awarded Brendan Crow the $2500 spring semester scholarship to help him complete his degree in cyber security while he also tries to fit a few races into his busy senior year at California State University, San Bernardino. KCF President Sarah White (far left) and Nancy Caselli (far right) look on.

5th Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day

The team race paired a pro with a “regular Joe,” who drew the name of his pro partner at random. Each rider did a lap, wearing boxers over their riding gear. After completing the lap, each rider had to stop in the rider change area and exchange those boxers with their partner before starting his lap. Most participants chose to doff the underwear from a standing position, but a few elected to stop, drop and remove.

5th Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day

Ryan Villopoto paid his $5 to see how quickly he go around the enduro test loop and did pretty well considering he’d never done this type of “race” before. Each rider got three tries and Villopoto’s quickest individual lap was two minutes and 24 seconds, which ended up being the third-fastest time behind Taylor Robert’s 2:17 and J.T. Baker’s 2:23.

5th Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day

5th Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day
On behalf of the Kurt Caselli Foundation (KCF), Nancy Caselli presented Sheri Kibbe of Riders Helping Riders (RHR) with a $10,000 donation to further RHR’s work in financially assisting racers hurt in AMA District 37 events. The KCF’s Don Emler, Jr. (far left), Quinn Cody (second from right) and Antti Kallonen (far right) look on.

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Mark Kariya | Contributor Kariya spends way too much time in the desert, but we’re glad he does as he’s the man who gets us our coverage of all things sandy.

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