Kurt Caselli Ride Day Going Strong In Sixth Year

More fun than ever at new location

The Sixth Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day may have changed locations this year, but it still offered lots of good times and riding, all with an eye toward furthering the cause of the Kurt Caselli Foundation.Mark Kariya

As one might expect, the Kurt Caselli Ride Day continues to evolve and is now truly a celebration with the expectation of a good time rather than being solely a solemn remembrance.

The underlying theme remains honoring the legacy of the late and legendary off-road racer. To that end, there was plenty of fund-raising via the silent auctions, raffles, and merchandise sales at the Sixth Annual Kurt Caselli Ride Day, held for the first time at Fox Raceway in Pala, California. (A scheduling conflict at Glen Helen prompted the move to the locally popular motocross park with three tracks open as well as a short-but-sweet off-road loop cut in specifically for the event by the Kurt Caselli Foundation [KCF].)

Although the totals raised this weekend weren’t available before deadline, the monies raised certainly added significantly to the funds that have been gathered in the short history of the foundation: more than $1,000,000 in donations and more than $600,000 spent on safety initiatives. That’s been able to further the foundation’s mission statement of protecting and supporting the lives of off-road riders, and not just in the desert where Caselli enjoyed great success. Some of the money purchased a Kawasaki Mule equipped with emergency medical equipment for use at GNCCs. It’s also brought former KTM factory rider and SCORE Baja champion David Kamo on board as Race Course Safety Advisor, purchased an ultrasound machine for use by the Asterisk Mobile Medical Unit at Supercross and Pro Motocross, and provided ambulance services at select events throughout the year.

All of this helps draw people to events like the Ride Day, and even with the late change of location (and even later redoing of what turned out to be a really fun off-road loop), everyone who attended seemed to have a great time and look forward to next year’s event.

Setup starts early for events like this with several of the big rigs getting onsite the day before and finalizing things before the sun came up on Saturday.Mark Kariya
KCF board member Quinn Cody jumped right in to create drainage around the main area, necessitated by a storm that rolled through on Thursday night.Mark Kariya
Donnie Emler (who’s also on the foundation board of directors) unloads some of the merchandise to be sold. Good thing he’s got a full-size truck!Mark Kariya
Vendor row is taking shape with 39 minutes to go before the gates open to the general public.Mark Kariya
Twenty minutes after the gates opened, the merchandise booth had a line of people eager to buy some of the latest KCF offerings.Mark Kariya
Fox Raceway proved to be a picturesque as well as popular venue, especially after the storm a couple of days before.Mark Kariya
Easy-to-follow signage marked the start of the off-road loop.Mark Kariya
Although less than 3 miles long, the off-road loop was fun and in nearly perfect shape, this being the only significant puddle of water on it.Mark Kariya
The guy on the new KX450 is none other than Jeremy McGrath getting underway after stopping for a quick chat. After seeing how sloppy the motocross tracks were before lunch, he spent most of his time on the off-road loop and had a blast.Mark Kariya
There were even kid-targeted activities. As is plain to see, this little guy is having a great time and will probably make life miserable for his dad until he gets one of these new bikes.Mark Kariya
David Kamo (left) and Taylor Robert size up the Ethika boxers that riders in the KCF Team Challenge had to exchange with their partners each lap.Mark Kariya
By midday, the vendor row area was teeming with people.Mark Kariya
Each rider starting the KCF Team Challenge had to remove a boot with the aim of running up this jump, grabbing his boot, putting it on, and running down to his bike on the start line about 35 yards away. Moments after this shot, however, Kamo mixed things up by throwing all boots into a big, unorganized pile.Mark Kariya
From left: An unidentified rider, Taylor Robert, and Rory Sullivan (who drove down from Washington) wait for the start signal.Mark Kariya
After finding and putting your boot on, you had to run down the jump to your bike, start it, and go. There was a huge disparity in success rates.Mark Kariya
Dakar-bound Skyler Howes used the event to get some time on his rally bike, as did Dakar teammate Garrett Poucher. It was an impressive sight.Mark Kariya
Since he and a few of his FMF KTM teammates were in the area for a team photo shoot earlier in the week, Josh Toth made a rare West Coast appearance.Mark Kariya
The KCF crew gather before the memorial/tribute lap.Mark Kariya
Although Fox Raceway doesn’t feature the big hills of Glen Helen, it was still impressive to witness all those bikes on the memorial lap.Mark Kariya
For the spring 2019 semester, the KCF awarded four $2,500 scholarships and three of those recipients were able to attend: (from left) Jamil Shaaban, Brodie Larsen, and Kelly Yancey.Mark Kariya
Tyler Smith (left) and Timmy Weigand earned the right to have their names on the perpetual trophy after winning the Team Challenge. (It might have been Husqvarna Off-road Racing Team Manager Weigand’s first personal victory since the last of his three Baja 1000 triumphs in 2013 as a JCR Honda rider.)Mark Kariya
There were a lot of crossed fingers and high hopes by all during the raffle drawings.Mark Kariya