Freestyle motocross ace and Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series racer Jeff “Ox” Kargola passed away Saturday after suffering head and other injuries in a motorcycle accident near San Felipe in Baja California, Mexico. He was 27.
A member of the "Metal Mulisha" freestyle squad, he followed his fellow Mulishamen, notably Brian Deegan, into short course off road racing. He joined the Super Lite class late last season and made it onto the podium in his second race. He got his first win in Round 2 at Firebird International Raceway last month.
Kargola was participating in the “Rip to the Tip” motocross event founded by Kargola's Mulisha teammate and fellow short course racer Cameron Steele. Steele, along with Kargola's other good friends, Ryan Hagy, Chad Peebles, Ryan Cropley, Rich Niggeman. Mark Moss and Trigger Gumm, were near his side, according to a statement posted on Metal Mulisha's website.
“Words can't express the emotions I am feeling,” said Cameron Steele in the statement. “I love Jeff like a son and he was riding with all of his best friends he grew up with in San Clemente.”
Kargola, who, like Steele, still made his home in the California seaside town of San Clemente, won a silver medal in the Best Trick competition at the 2005 Winter X Games. He earned his nickname because of his size – more than six feet tall and over 200lbs. – but often used that size to his advantage to pull off tricks other riders couldn't.
The Metal Mulisha family is mourning the loss of its second member in only two years. Jeremy Lusk passed away in 2009 after an accident in freestyle competition in Costa Rica.