Riders head out for the Kurt Caselli Parade Lap at Glen Helen. Photography by Kit Palmer
Thousands of family, friends and fans of Kurt Caselli nearly filled Glen Helen Raceway to capacity for the Kurt Caselli Memorial Ride Day, Friday, December 6.
According to track officials, an estimated 2000-plus people attended the event to honor the off-road star and legend. “Actually we stopped counting after about 2000,” one official said. The line of cars and trucks extended all the way to the nearby freeway, and anyone who has ever been to Glen Helen Raceway knows how far that is – it’s a long ways!
Many stars and celebrities of the motorcycle industry came out to Glen Helen to pay tribute and honor the FMF/KTM Team rider who lost his life while competing in the Baja 1000 nearly three weeks ago. Many of them included some of the stars of the off-road racing world, including Caselli’s fellow KTM teammates Ivan Ramirez, Mike Brown, Charlie Mullins, Kailub Russell and Mike Lafferty. Also on hand were former Trials champ Cody Webb, eight-time National Enduro Champion Dick Burleson, Taylor Robert, Kyle Redmond, Ty Davis, Destry Abbott, Danny LaPorte and the legendary Malcolm Smith. The list actually goes on and on. A few motocross stars were on hand, as well, including Blake Baggett, Zach Osborne, Justin Hill and Cole Seely, to name a few. Los Angele police chief Charlie Beck showed up and suited up, as well.
Those who brought their bikes got a chance to take the Kurt Caselli Parade Lap and most of them did. The jaw-dropping number of riders pretty much filled the entire length of the track, three to four bikes wide all the way around. It was a sight to behold. The motocross track was open for riding most of the day, and trail loops were set up, as well, including a designated “easy” loop and the “Kurt Caselli Trail,” recommended for advanced riders only.
There was a silent auction with proceeds going to the Caselli family. Some of the items up for bid included a James Stewart helmet and a golf bag donated by golf star Ricky Fowler.
A mid-day ceremony and prayer took place on the track’s start straightaway, where Kurt’s fiancé, Sarah, spoke to the massive crowd. Caselli’s mother and sister were also present.
“I have never in my life shed tears on a motorcycle until today,” said Jon-Erik Burleson, president of KTM North America. “That was the most amazing lap around any track I’ve ever experienced. It was such a huge group of people; it was an amazing day. I’m really proud of Kurt, it just shows you what an amazing person he was. My only thing is, I wish he was here.”