Update: MotoDoffo event raised $32,000 for the Kurt Caselli Foundation.
A beautiful summer Saturday in Temecula, California, was in full swing last June 11. There was a reprieve from the seasonal heat as a layer of cool cloud cover blanketed the endless lines of vines that make up Temecula’s wine country. Located two hours south of Los Angeles, the roads are normally lined with cars and the occasional tourist-filled winery tour limo on the weekends. This day however, there was a buzz in the air, as motorcycles whizzed by the car traffic. They were en route to a very special place, the Doffo Winery, for a very special event, the third annual Kurt Caselli Foundation Fundraiser.
Doffo Winery is home to motorcycle enthusiasts Marcelo and Damian Doffo, a father and son team, who are not only passionate vintners but also vintage motorcycle road racers, desert riders and collectors. The green hillside setting is magical. Among the rows of grapes in this sprawling winery you will find a few motorcycles scattered here and there. But it is inside and outside the barrel room that you will find the majority of their two-wheeled treasures. There are more than 150 classic motorcycles and related memorabilia, and they call their collection “MotoDoffo.”
The Kurt Caselli Foundation is an organization that is also passionate—about protecting the safety of off-road motorcycle riders and racers. The organization was formed by family, friends and sponsors of Kurt Caselli, a well-loved, highly accomplished professional off-road motorcycle racer from California who lost his life while racing the Mexican Baja 1000 in 2013. Sadly, I remember that day. I was fueling for McMillin Racing, a trophy truck team, and heard the radio calls. It was heartbreaking. I didn’t know Kurt Caselli, but I didn’t need to in order to understand the subsequent outpouring of emotions, love and respect by peers and strangers that followed his passing. It is what happens when legends leave us too soon, the vast void is immediately filled with positive energy. The off-road community came together and The Kurt Caselli Foundation was formed.
Now, almost three years later, the Kurt Caselli foundation continues to grow with community support, allowing it to expand its efforts advocating off-road motorcycle safety. For the third time, Doffo Winery and the Kurt Caselli Foundation have teamed up to advocate motorcycle safety and raise money for the foundation’s many programs. Kurt Caselli’s mother, Nancy Caselli, sister Carolyn Caselli, and fiancée Sarah White are the backbone of the organization. This competent team, together with the continued support of sponsors, manufacturers, media, racers and motorcycle enthusiasts has been able to establish programs researching new ways to improve off-road safety. From racecourse support, to youth racer education and concussive management programs, satellite tracking, assistance with new product development and scholarships for retired racers entering new careers, much can be learned and beneficial to other sports communities from their efforts.
Upon entering the event, you could feel the increasing energy as you rode up to the winery entrance lined with cars and bikes. Shuttles took guests to and from the parking lot, which was peppered with many brightly colored Sprinter vans, and in the middle of the lot a medical helicopter! The buzz in the air was like that before the start of an off-road race. The presence of large blue and orange banners dominated, as did the snorting red bull on the backs of the giggling girls handing out energy drinks. Then, with the familiar number 66 in the Interstate sign, Kurt Caselli’s race number and logo, it was as though he was there. It was the coming together of extraordinary forces, and the third annual Kurt Caselli Foundation Fundraiser was underway.
The Kurt Caselli Foundation kicked off the festivities by awarding its first independently selected candidate, Star Savage, a $2,500 scholarship. Quinn Cody, racer and KCF member, was proud to announce that the foundation’s study results regarding head acceleration and traumatic brain injury (TBI) was done and under peer review. A first ever for the motorcycling community, it will soon be published in a medical journal.
The event was charged with a contagious positive energy, bidding was competitive, and everything was selling quickly. The auctions and raffles included carbon-fiber special edition helmets from Bell and Troy Lee Designs, a Redline bicycle, FMF gear, Renthal and IMS riding accessories, vacation adventures and much more, even handcrafted items. There was, of course, Kurt Caselli memorabilia, which included a Red Bull helmet, jersey, artwork and a very, very large bottle of wine, each selling for more than $1,000. Roller derby girls and an entertaining emcee kept the auction action rolling. Motorcycle manufacturers and aftermarket accessory vendors had booths, a Red Bull trials stunt rider, Geoff Aaron, was exhibiting his skills, and there was a great live band, amazing Argentinean barbecue and a special limited-edition bottling of Caselli Cabernet that sold out.
Overall it was a classy fundraising event that raised more than $30,000. It was a lot of fun, with something for everyone. It was especially nice to see the uniting of people and families, who came from not only different motorcycling communities and disciplines, but also bicycling and four-wheel off-roading, all in support for the advancement of safety. A reminder that tragedy can bring communities together in many positive ways. Can’t wait till next year!