2013 AMA National Hare & Hound Series
For Factory FMF/KTM’s Kurt Caselli, the opening round of the 2013 AMA National Hare & Hound Series was bittersweet.
The Californian, who finished 31st at the 2013 Dakar after winning two stages, did not earn any points at Lucerne Valley Hare & Hound. But he managed to help a fellow racer, and a personal friend, who had crashed on the trail.
The day started better than it ended for Caselli, who took the holeshot after the riders launched off the start line and down the bomb. In the opening miles he battled with top riders for the lead position. As they reached the 10 mile marker, the riders encountered the most challenging hill of the day. Unfortunately, Caselli hit a large boulder in this section that smashed his rear brake system. He had to ride the remainder of the downhill and the next 30 miles without rear brakes until he got to the pits.
His mechanic was ready for him when he got there and did a quick change of the brake system. Caselli returned to the race outside the top twenty but was quickly making up time. Partway into the second loop, while Caselli was sitting in an estimated 16th place, he spotted a fallen rider on the trail. The rider had broken his leg and had not been seen by any of the previous riders. Caselli made a decision to stop and care for the rider. He helped the rider get on the back of his bike and rode him to the medics.
Kurt Caselli says: “I felt like it was the right thing to do. I definitely wanted to finish the race and earn as many points as I could toward the championship but I did not want to leave a fellow rider on the trail without help. Luckily, this is the first race of the series and I have some time to come back and hopefully make up the ground I lost today.”
Antti Kallonen (Factory FMF/KTM Team Manager) says: “It was a tough race today. We are proud of Caselli for helping his friend. We know many of us would have done the same thing. What is important is that Caselli was riding well and we know he will be strong for the remainder of the season. We are looking forward to the next round.”
Caselli’s teammate, Ivan Ramirez, also suffered an unfortunate circumstance after a sinus infection escalated and caused him to get Bell’s palsy. Ramirez did show up at the race, but decided not to race prior to the start of the event after he had difficulty with his vision. Ramirez is currently in the process of healing from his illness and is hoping for a full recovery before the second round of the series.
Next Race: Ridgecrest, CA – February 9-10, 2013