Kurt Caselli, a motorcycle racer, was killed on Friday night during the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off-road bike race in Mexico. Early reports indicate that he was killed by a “booby trap” left by local residents, but a spokesperson with his team denied that.
He was 30 years old.
Caselli was close to the finish line of the 833-mile-long race when he crashed at around 5 p.m. Pacific time, reported Cycle News.
TMZ reported that he crashed and wasn’t killed by a booby trap. A spokesperson said that he lost control of his KTM motorcycle.
Locals apparently place traps on the track to disable racers’ bikes to prevent them from going on.
According to Cycle-News, he was flown to an Ensenada hospital with serious head injuries and died overnight. Another member of his racing team withdrew from the race after the incident.
Residents in the area apparently dig holes, build obstacles, or build ramps on the racetrack, according to Jalopnik. The booby traps aren’t necessarily set up to injure the rider or disable the bike but can be for “entertainment,” the website stated, adding that they’re usually poorly constructed.
It is unclear if anyone will be charged in his death.
Caselli, who is originally from California, was described by several publications as being one of the best off-road motorcycle riders in the world. He is a AMA National Hare & Hound Champion, a WORCS Champion, and has been a ISDE gold medalist several times.
“Hugely shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Kurt Caselli as the result of a crash while riding in the Baja 1000. A huge loss to his family, team and to our sport. Kurt was a wonderful competitor and an all round top guy. More when we have all the details from our team in the USA statement,” reads a statement from his team, KTM Racing, on Facebook.