Kawasaki Racing Team Family Member Passes Away After Hard Fought Battle With Cancer

Irvine, Calif. (February 6, 2006) ¿ Karla Asch, 15, daughter of Kawasaki Racing Team member, Rick Asch, passed away early Sunday after a long battle against cancer.

Rick Asch left the pit area at Angel Stadium early Saturday when he got the call that his daughter’s condition worsened. The team was busy readying for Saturday’s practice sessions in preparation for the Anaheim III round of the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series.

Earlier in the Supercross season, Karla’s health had improved enough following treatment at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles for her to attend the opening round in Anaheim, Calif., on January 7. She was in the Kawasaki pit area with a brilliant smile and was excited to be there to show support for her favorite riders, James Stewart and Michael Byrne. She was also thrilled to be near her father who serves as the Engine Development Technician for Kawasaki Racing Team.

However, the atmosphere this Saturday in the Kawasaki pit area was somber, as Rick explained prior to leaving that Karla was not doing well. Unfortunately, her condition never improved and she passed away early Sunday morning. Karla had been battling an aggressive form of cancer known as Brain Stem Glioma, for more than a year. She also loved the sport of Supercross and Motocross and she was extremely proud that her father served on one of the top teams in the sport.

“I could tell by the look on Rick’s face when he got the phone call that things were serious,” said Kawasaki Racing Team Manager, Mike Fisher. “Karla was an inspiration to all of us and my heart sank when I heard the news. Although she is no longer with us, her spirit will endure and will always be an important part of our family.”

“My heart goes out to Rick and his family,” said Stewart. “Karla was about the same age as Malcolm, I can’t imagine how tough this must be. The Asch family gave Karla all of the love and support any family could and then some. It’s a tragedy and I want to express my deepest sympathy and respect to Rick and his family. I plan on honoring Karla this weekend by running “For Karla” on my pants in her honor, and to honor the family.”

“It’s really unfortunate,” said Byrne. “Karla was a brilliant light in Rick’s life and all our lives. Her strong will and determination gave all of us hope and she will be missed terribly. She will always be in my heart and in my prayers.”

As a memorial to Karla, Kawasaki Racing Team members will be wearing a button on their team uniforms beginning at the next round of the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego this Saturday.