Kurt Caselli was the hardest working man in WORCS in 2007 which earned him the championship. Now, with a huge target on his back, Caselli takes a few days to run us through his program.
Welcome to MotoUSA.com’s newest editorial feature! The World Off Road Championship Series is gaining popularity as one of the best off-road title series in the United States by way of intense competition, independent organization and promotion and a unique format that blends motocross with off-road. This merging of styles has allowed plenty of retired moto guys to get back into the game and find a second career as an off-road racer like Ryan Hughes, Bobby Bonds and most recently Damon Huffman.
We’ve competed several times at WORCS events and have been eagerly waiting for our next chance. During the interim, we hooked up with our buddy Wiley Watson and his crew at Production 262 in order to stay in touch with the series. Wiley happens to be pals with just about everyone in the WORCS pits so we tapped him to tag along with the top riders and give us a window into their lives and training/racing programs. For our premier article we couch-dived at the Palmdale, CA residence of reigning series champ, Kurt Caselli. Enjoy, and keep your eyes peeled for further editions of our freshest off-road content, Men at WORCS!
Do you ever wonder what your favorite pro does during the week? What they do for fun and what their outlook on life is? Well this week I was lucky enough to spend some time with defending WORCS and ISDE E3 class champion, Kurt Caselli.
Captain America, as he’s known, currently resides in Palmdale, CA. Being born and raised in the booming desert town, Caselli knows his way around the trail systems and tracks his hometown has to offer. His new pad is nestled in the foothills of his favorite riding area, a place where he has been riding all of his life.
Caselli’s natural talent and hard-earned skill on any terrain is what makes him especially dangerous to his competitors.
When I arrived at Kurt’s new house, I was welcomed with great enthusiasm. Kurt’s definitely got his priorities straight as he tries to keep his racing outside the household and his personal life behind closed doors. His girlfriend, Sarah, enjoys the fact that Kurt is a neat freak! Everything from his shop to his house is immaculate and clean, something very uncommon for a 24-year-old. Whatever you do, don’t put your drinking glass on the oak wood furniture; things could get out of hand.
I was excited to see what Kurt had in store for us as we departed on our first ride. I’ve always wondered how a desert boy could be so strong at technical riding. Firing up our KTMs, we left the Captain’s house and motored down the two-lane road through a residential neighborhood. Passing through and ducking under a few fences put us in some nice open natural terrain. When I asked Kurt if any of the riding is legal, he said, “Hell no! It’s pointless, all the government does is complain about the riding and then a month later someone buys all the land up and mows it all down to build houses.” It’s true, the government seemingly has it out for motorcycle enthusiasts, especially in California.
Kurt first showed us his GNCC track that was cut out through a bunch of Manzanita bushes. Man are they sharp! The course was about 1.5 miles long, yet it felt like a 15-minute lap because every corner was super tight and one-lined. As soon as you popped out of a rut you were off in the bushes slicing up skin. I followed Kurt for about two or three corners before he disappeared as if I was standing still. I’d like to think it’s because he knows the track like the back of his hand, but then there’s the fact that he sets a blistering, yet calculated pace. Once we were done with trimming Manzanita, Kurt took us to what he calls “some fun jumps.” Along the way we picked up his longtime riding friend Daryl Ecklund, who also currently competes in the WORCS series under the Support KTM tent. They did some awesome jumps back-to-back as our cameras were snapping the entire time.
Caselli’s versatile training is largely responsible for his ability to go fast in almost any situation.
The next day we went to his training grounds, or so called practice area. Avenue K consisted of a track that has about 168 turns, and if that doesn’t get your corner speed down, there is a circle track that will definitely whip your turning skills into shape. Did I forget to mention the one rut, one line track that makes rut-riding look like a walk in the park? Ten corners: five rights, five lefts, one rut. It’s a lot harder than you think, and when you’re dragging your handlebars in the dirt like Caselli does the entire time, it’s even more of a challenge. I was really impressed with his ability to ride any kind of terrain. It shows in his racing as he’s comfortable in any environment and demonstrates why he’s the current champion and will likely be one for many years to come, if things continue as planned for the rising KTM star. You don’t just get good overnight; it takes years of practice and determination to be at the top of the game.
When my week was up, it really gave me a better perspective on what it’s like to be a professional athlete, and even more so it gave me insight into what it takes to be a professional off-road motorcycle racer. Kurt is phenomenally talented on a dirt bike, but really he’s just a normal guy having fun and doing what he thinks is best for him. That alone is something that a lot of people in the sport are often missing these days. In order to be successful at what you do, you first have to enjoy yourself and have a good time. Captain America is at the top of his game, and is enjoying every second of it.
Let us know what you think about this article in the MotoUSA Forum.