But what’s seriously disappointing news for Coma gives US racer Kurt Caselli the opportunity of a lifetime as the multi talented off-road star will now get to race Coma’s bike in the Dakar. The event will be Caselli’s first ever Dakar.
Marc Coma commented… “We worked really hard with the doctors and the physiotherapists right up until the last minute but we have to be realistic. One of the muscles in my shoulder is still giving me problems and there is a lack of movement. This is the logical consequence and we must be honest and clear about the situation.”
KTM’s rally team manager Alex Doringer had this to say…. “Marc is one of our key riders and together with his teammate Cyril Despres has given KTM the last seven Dakar titles. While we are disappointed that he is unable to ride, the health and welfare of our factory riders is the most important consideration. If he is not 100 percent fit, it is better for him to sit out the 2013 rally.”
In view of the high profile that the Dakar Rally has for KTM, that the company had always taken the precaution of having a reserve rider registered with the Dakar organizers, ASO. KTM have now been given the green light for the accredited reserve rider – Kurt Caselli – to step in and ride Coma’s KTM 450 Rally bike.
“We always took the precaution to have a reserve rider properly registered in case of such circumstances and it will be KTM USA’s Kurt Caselli who will step in to ride Coma’s bike. We want him to ride the Dakar without any pressure, embrace the adventure and learn from the experience,” Doringer said.
Caselli is at the forefront of the US off-road scene and is the current AMA National Hare and Hound Champion. He is a multiple national title winner in premium US off-road events, has been a stalwart in the US International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) and was a member of the KTM team that recently finished second in the 2012 edition of the legendary Baja 1000. Caselli’s start number is yet to be confirmed.
Kurt Caselli: “It has always been a goal in my career to compete in the Dakar. There would be no way possible for me to achieve this without the ongoing support of KTM. To be able to race the greatest off road race in the world aboard the best bike in the world is truly a blessing. This is not only a milestone in my career but also in my life.”