Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Short course legend Kyle LeDuc dies at 42

Kyle LeDuc, a legend who excelled in virtually every off-road series he tried, died Saturday at the age of 42 after a year of battling cancer.

He was diagnosed with stage IV head and neck cancer in late 2022, which forced him to skip the Extreme E season finale in Uruguay. LeDuc went public about his battle in June as it prevented him from racing for the 2023 Championship Off-Road Pro 4 title.

Although unable to race in 2023, his presence continued to be felt as early as the COR season opener at Antigo Lions Roaring Raceway, which featured a new course designed by LeDuc. Many competitors also placed “99 Strong” decals in solidarity with his cancer fight, while Short Course Kart driver Race Visser donated his prize money for sweeping the Crandon Bush Run weekend to raise funds for his treatment. LeDuc returned to the track when the series went back to Crandon in September, where his chrome-liveried truck took part in the driver’s parade.

In his final season of racing, LeDuc finished runner-up for the 2022 COR Pro 4 title with three wins. He also ran his second season in the nascent Extreme E series for Chip Ganassi Racing with Sara Price, and the duo scored their first win at that year’s Island X Prix.

“Crazy to think it was only a year ago we were racing as teammates and got our first win being the American team,” wrote Price. “[Kyle] was the fastest man I have ever known behind the wheel of an off-road machine! He was known to go for it and push boundaries people never thought of as an athlete and all racing aside loved his family more than anything! You were way too young to go and I hope you make Heaven a faster place!”

Besides the XE win, LeDuc is one of the most accomplished drivers in short course racing with 103 career victories across multiple series including Championship Off-Road Racing, TORC, Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series, and Championship Off-Road. He won the LOORRS Pro 4 crown six times in 2012, 2014 through 2017, and 2019, followed by the category’s inaugural COR championship in 2020. LeDuc also claimed the prestigious Crandon World Cup in 2009 and 2014.

He raced in the Stadium Super Trucks in 2013 and from 2015 to 2016, notching a podium in his last start at the 2016 Sand Sports Super Show. While much of his achievements came in short course and similar disciplines, he also dabbled in desert racing such as the Baja 1000, where he and Mark Post were the fastest qualifiers before finishing fifth in a Trophy Truck in 2016.

He is survived by his wife Amber and children Addie and Reed. His family is an off-road racing dynasty, with father Curt being a 2015 Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee while brother Todd has raced in LOORRS and Monster Jam. Addie and Reed also have burgeoning careers, the latter finishing third in the 2022 COR Short Course Kart standings before taking 2023 off alongside his father.

“LeDuc remains a legend in the off-road world and one of the winningest drivers in short course history, including the 2020 Championship Off-Road PRO4 title,” reads a statement from COR. “He was a passionate champion and intense competitor whose infectious energy will be missed on and off the track.”

Kyle LeDuc: 29 July 1981 – 11 November 2023