KURT CASELLI’S FIRST STAGE WIN IS BOTH SYMBOLIC AND PIVOTAL IN AMERICA’S ULTIMATE QUEST
3 months ago If you asked champion motorcycle racer Kurt Caselli if he would win a stage in the 2013 DAKAR RALLY, he would’ve probably laughed and said no way. But when a last minute offer to replace KTM’s Mark Coma came with a golden key to the world of DAKAR, he jumped in cold and, only weeks later, he’s done what a few experts predicted he would do: win his first DAKAR stage.
CASELLI AT THE ARRIVAL OF SPECIAL STAGE 7
It’s good, I mean, today was easy. It was just roads, there was no off-track or anything – pretty easy to follow. Ruben and I had to stop a little bit for Cyril. I don’t know why, he had some problems with something. I waited for him but he told me to keep going, so we’ve come here and hopefully we can figure it out tonight for the marathon stage. Everything for me was fine. I’m learning the navigation better and I can understand it. This is my first Dakar so I’m just learning a lot. I didn’t have any idea what to expect when I first came here. It’s fun and I’m enjoying it. The race is great and the people are too. I’m having a good time.”
Some experts predicted Caselli would not make any major charge because DAKAR RALLY is a team sport; Caselli was said to be a “water carrier” hired to stay behind 4 time DAKAR champ Cyril Despres and help with any mechanical issues the “star” might have. But Caselli has had fast starts and no major time lapses and today, on adaptable terrain, he blew up and out-raced the entire field.
It was a really good day for America for at least two reasons: First, golden boy Kurt Caselli won Stage 7 of the DAKAR RALLY as it crossed over the Andes at 15,000’ and into Argentina. It’s an amazing feat for the rookie rally racer sometimes known as Captain America. Casselli has won almost anything in North America short of the X-GAMES and the BAJA 1000. It makes sense that the DAKAR is a next logical step for him to focus on, especially considering the unique allure and attraction of the DAKAR experience itself, the hypnotizing effects of traveling with a band of 2000 people 6000 miles in 2 weeks and the magnitude We predict Kurt Caselli will return from his adventure with a full DAKAR focus for 2014 and events like the X-Games and BAJA 1000 will fit perfectly into his schedule as mere training modules. Caselli has the goods and all of his compatriots at home now this yet that brings us to the second part because the DAKAR is still a story mostly untold to America
America had a great day is because we get our eyes opened to this great big thing that we’re otherwise unexposed to. America is and has mostly always been underrepresented in the DAKAR RALLY. Yet many in global motorsports community insist that the rally itself is the single largest and most important motorsports event on the planet. American racers and fans alike owe it to themselves to get familiar with the DAKAR RALLY, its complexities and differences.
With Caselli’s rookie stage win today, it shines a great light of the DAKAR RALLY back home to fans of Caselli and KTM: The DAKAR is bigger than most of us in North America know yet. That’s all going to change because of Caselli.