Off-road racer Kurt Caselli dies from injuries sustained in Baja 1000


It wasn’t a booby trap–he hit an animal.


Thank you for the update.

Whew. I mean, not that it makes his death any less tragic, but I was getting worried that people were out setting up stuff like:

It is just ridiculously difficult to find out what the heck any of this means; neither the originally linked article nor the better one provided by Halloween Jack says anything much, instead using blind referents like “the sport” (perhaps they assume people who’d read it have been marinating in this world for years?). The Wikipedia page is marginally helpful - in that it becomes clear he was riding a motorized wheeled vehicle. How many wheels, and how enclosed/protected he was, I have no idea. Apparently vehicles ranging from small motorcycles to large trucks take part. I’d guess he was on a Donorcycle, but who knows?

The originally linked article is from the same source as Halloween Jack’s – it was an update. I would expect the “update” to be “better” – KTM makes motorcycles and mountain bikes. Their site has some more detail.

KTM is an Austrian motorcycle maker of high end off road racing motorcycles and some road bikes as well. The Baja 1000 is an offroad race that spans 1000 miles of desert racing down the Mexican Baja peninsula. One of the more famous racers back in the day was Steve McQueen. Kurt was a great guy and accomplished racer who unfortunatelly died when he apparently hit an animal during the desert race. Warrenterra, does calling motorcycles donorcycles make you feel somehow superior or pseudo insightful? When a careless ass in a 20 ton tractor trailer kills you and your family in your car can we say. Guess that warren and his family were in one of those Coffin Cages or something…


Thank you.

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A motorcycle wouldn’t do any better in a collision with a 20 ton tractor trailer than a sedan. The occupants would most likely be gravely injured or dead in either case. But if I had to choose, I’d choose a car, since they tend to have things like airbags, anti-lock brakes, seat belts, a roof that resists crushing much better than a human skull, OnStar (or similar services) which will automatically call 911 if the system detects a bad accident (and isn’t disabled in the crash), and double laminated windows that protect the occupants from flying debris (coming from the outside). With any luck, I’d end up with whiplash and other terrible injuries. In a head-on collision, the motorcycle rider will almost certainly be dead.

I had a 70mph collision with a car pulling out in front of me, when I was riding a motorcycle. I was launched several meters away from the wreckage and sustained no more than a sprained ankle and a broken arm.

I’d hate to think what would have happened if I were in a car.

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Something this reminded me of — back the mid-1970s I remember reading a Sports Illustrated story about a guy in — probably the Baja 1000 ---- who got lost on the route, and eventually died of thirst in the desert. He was a pretty well-known racer at the time. Also riding a motorcycle. The weird bit was, he seemed to have actually hidden his motorcycle under brush. The speculation seemed to be, that, after a few days of being out there and realizing he was going to die, he seemed to have almost decided to hide his stuff out of embarrassment, rather than having stuff out in the open where he might be spotted from an aerial search. Like he didn’t want to be found.
Years later, in that Anthony Hopkins movie The Edge, there’s a point where the character says something about, “Most people lost in the wilderness die of embarrassment.”, that is, they get into a mind-lock where instead of trying new things to try to get rescued, they just go over and over how they got into the predicament in the first place, making them ineffective.
(I realize this isn’t related to the current scenario, other than a death on the Baja 1000 or similar race, but I wondered if anybody remembers the incident I’m referencing here. I’ve googled on it several times but couldn’t find anything, but of course, this all happened 20 years before the Internet really came into its own).

Or he just went a little nuts from dehydration and exposure, at which point all bets are off.

Yeah, but the car will kill the entire planet like 20x faster than the motorbike…

So there’s that.


I remember the movie you referenced, it was I think it was rather excellent, if memory serves.

Pretty hard to go wrong with Hopkins though

What are you on about? Exactly why do you think you’d have been worse off in a vehicle of approximately matching mass (see “momentum transfer” in you local Physics 1 textbook), belted in and most likely airbagged as well?

Id have been in an early 90s beater (as I was before and after that accident) and would have likely broken every bone in my body. The other driver would have likely been seriously injured too (although it was their fault), rather than getting out and walking away with no more than a dent in their wing.

That’s missing the point though, I was lucky to get off as lightly as I did (very lucky) on a motorbike too. My only point is that the ‘if only they were in a car’ line is horseshit - it’s nowhere near that black and white. The biggest danger riding a motorcycle is other motorists, not the lack of safety devices - the primary safety factor afforded by a car in my example would have been being more visible.

Weirdly I never hear people say that those that die in car accidents should have been in lorries - but I’m assuming it’s just as useful advice. Roads are potentially dangerous places for everyone.


Unfortunately in the U.S. that kind of opinion is common, an done of the reasons there are so many SUVs.

If everyone’s vehicles were lighter, we’d all be better off in crashes b/c they’d involve less momentum and kinetic energy.
In any given crash, the heavier vehicle tends to fare better.
Therefore, what is better for each individual is worse for society.


Just plain rough terrain, down there. It only looks flat from the air. I used to own a custom-built 4X that was one of a pair built for the other race. One is raced, the other used as a chase car. The crew got killed (by all accounts, alcohol-related). I bought the one that had become the chase car, as the owners couldn’t stand to see it, after what had happened. Nothing good about a guy dying - but all all off-roading carries risks (including for those who aren’t racing). Don’t think I’d care to do it on 2 wheels, though. At least with a truck, you can provision yourself for most emergencies you could survive…

You were very lucky that your broken bone was in your arm. My cousin had a similar accident and broke his back when he landed. He never walked again.

Weather in Baja this weekend was cloudy with a chance of rain, temps way below average in the desert even for November.
Dehydration and exposure are huge dangers during the Baja 500, with is held during the first weekend of June.