Metal Mulisha racer Jeff 'Ox' Kargola dies in Mexico motocross event
Freestyle Motocross racer Jeff 'Ox' Kargola, of San Clemente, died Friday from injuries sustained during a punishing, 1,300-mile adventure ride through Mexico's Baja Peninsula, according to event sponsors. Kargola was 27.
Kargola crashed during the second day of the Desert Assassins' 2011 Rip to the Tip desert motocross event -- an eight-day contest between 30 dirt-bike racers who cross mountains, beaches and desert between the border city of Mexicali and Cabo San Lucas.
"Jeff was attended to by medical personnel on site and was transported via helicopter to the San Felipe hospital where he passed away due to his injuries," read an event statement. "He passed early [Friday] afternoon with his best friends Cameron Steele, Ryan Hagy, Chad Peebles, Ryan Cropley, Rich Niggemann, Mark Moss and Trigger Gumm."
According to a report by ESPN, Kargola suffered a head injury and internal bleeding in the accident.
Kargola was a member of the Metal Mulisha FMX team and started riding at the age of 12. He became a professional racer at age 16 and competed in Moto X events at the X Games every year from 2001 to 2010 and won a silver medal in the best trick competition at Winter X in 2005, ESPN reported.
“Words can’t express the emotions I am feeling," Steele said. "I love Jeff like a son and he was riding with all of his best friends he grew up with in San Clemente."
The Metal Mulisha team experienced the death of another member just more than two years ago. Rider Jeremy Lusk, of San Diego, died from injuries he suffered during an FMX event in Costa Rica.
-- Monte Morin