Champion motorcycle Kurt Caselli died Friday in Baja California near the end of the world's longest off-road race.
Caselli, a 30-year-old Palmdale native, was in the lead position with about 100 miles to go in the 833-mile Baja 1000 race in Mexico when he lost control and crashed into the sand. Race organizers say he may have swerved to avoid hitting an animal.
He died overnight at an Ensenada hospital, where he had been taken with head injuries, according to a statement released by his racing team, KTM Motorsports.
Pit Beirer, the head of KTM Motorsports, called Caselli's death "tragic news."
"Kurt was much more than a very talented rider, he was also an exceptional team player," Beirer said. "Our sport has lost more than a great rider. We have also lost an excellent ambassador for off-road racing.”