Mergi la conţinut

KTM Blog

Autentifica-te  
  • postări
    173
  • comentarii
    0
  • vizualizări
    7.145

Race hard, play hard, chill out hard – it’s rally style!

Autentifica-te  
Dementor

104 vizualizări

262384_sam.sunderland_rest_day_Red-Bull-

Race hard, play hard, chill out hard – it’s rally style!

Posted in Lifestyle, People

We caught up with KTM´s Dakar 1-2-3 finishers and asked them about their after-Dakar life. Is it paradise?

Feeling second-hand
“This Dakar has been a tough one, the body is definitely feeling very second hand,” says current Cross-Country Rallies World Champion and the most epic winner in Dakar history. Toby Price did the impossible: He endured the insane pain which drove him crazy, and occasionally having to rev the bike with his left hand. There were moments, especially in the stages 3 and 7, when he already felt beaten; the win was far away on the other side of pain. After ten bloody battles, he won the war with inhuman will, and consistency. “I am so glad I didn’t give up,” said Price after crossing the finish line.

On the rest day in Arequipa, the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Dakar winners of the bike category, who would later finish on 1-2-3 spots of the podium, were being interviewed by several media. There were a lot of laughs and banter, even though none of them believed they could win this year. Despite sitting in 2nd place of the general standings, Sam Sunderland had to open stage 6, and that meant a sure loss of time. Matthias Walkner was 7th overall, Toby Price 4th, and all three were carrying injuries. It indeed has been a very tough one, and that’s why we did a special debrief, asking them how they would unwind afterwards.

262384_sam.sunderland_rest_day_Red-Bull-

Matthias Walkner (AUT), Sam Sunderland (GBR) & Toby Price (AUS) Dakar 2019 © Marcin Kin

Toby Price
He broke a bone during his first slightly more daring motorcycle race, rolled his car in his first 4-wheel race, and, maybe it’s a good thing he is not flying planes. The latest price he paid was a broken scaphoid, a souvenir from the final test last December. The injury was far from healed when on January 1 he boarded a plane to Lima. Like a casino gambler who beat the dealer, he grabbed the jackpot.

We were sitting in a hotel in Lima after the Dakar celebrations, when he said: “Back home, I am going straight to the hospital first, that’s pretty much my second home.” His doctor would later tell him the bone was about to collapse, and another screw was needed. “There is a question mark hanging over the trip I have already organized. I should go to Vietnam with my family and friends, but unfortunately this is a motorbike tour we are talking about. In the land of old Chinese bikes I would ride a KTM 690 ENDURO R, and I am so excited about that. If everything goes well with my wrist, I will soon check off my bucket list the second biggest cave in the world, and a golden bridge held by big rocky hands. Though the best of all is that I am gonna have a KTM motorcycle, hoping to get some pretty amazing footage and some cool stuff for my vlogs. From there, I don’t know exactly, but for sure I will book a holiday also on my own, some nice place with white sand and crystal water, where I can drink from a coconut and let my body recover,” he explained his plans.

And how Toby Price zones out in his free time? “I just love being around friends, and family. I’ve got a KTM 690 DUKE for my adventures back home. It’s an amazing bike, I am pumped to have it and to explore on it. I love mountain biking and getting to know new faces. Some days I love being in the city, having everything at my fingertips, while there are other days I just want to get off the grid and just find a hidden spot to light a camp fire. At the end of the day, I am no different to anybody else. Motorcycles are my life, but they are not everything; I like doing fun things in life. I love being at the beach, to spend time with my friends and wakeboarders, Harley Clifford and Cory Teuniseen. Sounds like a privilege, but I am telling you I am very terrible at this damn thing. I can only control handlebars and steering wheels.”

262388_toby.price_rest_day_Red-Bull-KTM-

Toby Price (AUS) Dakar 2019 © Marcin Kin

Matthias Walkner
Hurting his ankle in the 5th stage didn’t slow down the 2018 Dakar winner. Shining on the toughest stages where riding and navigational skills were fundamental, Matthias Walkner finished the 41st Dakar edition as runner-up. Even though he didn’t win, he is convinced he rode his best Dakar so far. Now I deserve to party a bit, because I worked really hard for this Dakar. It’s not easy to start with number one, it sure adds extra pressure,” he admits. But since there are some medical issues on his to do list, party time will be short and sweet. “In my first two weeks back I’ve got some press stuff to attend to around Austria, and to cheer on my friend Marcel Hirscher.” At the end of January Matthias went to one of the most famous downhill ski races in Kitzbühel, before visiting the night race in Schladming. “This is what helps me relax, watch a good ski race and hanging out with friends.” At the time of writing, Matthias already successfully underwent knee surgery, and is waiting to have the pin taken out of his femur. “It’s going to be three or four months of recovery, and then, in the summer, I hopefully will be ready to race again, at least on two wheels,” the car enthusiast explained. The last Dakar came with a special prize, a brand new KTM X-BOW, and now it’s the time to take it onto the racetrack.

262012_matthias.walkner_Red-Bull-KTM-Fac

Matthias Walkner (AUT) Dakar 2019 © Marcin Kin

Sam Sunderland
This year’s Dakar was a bit of a rollercoaster for the 2017 Dakar winner Sam Sunderland. Only on the last stage he was granted the removal of the one-hour penalty issued for missing the start of stage 8 and was promoted to third place. “This Dakar was really, really tough on every level: physically, mentally, and emotionally. I had so many ups and downs, that I feel completely drained. Drained, but happy, we could say, because obviously this is a big achievement for KTM. On day 8 it still didn’t look like it would happen, we fought till the last meter. The top ten riders were really strong, and it wasn’t clear which one would dominate. It was more about who would make the least mistakes. Saying that, I feel really tired and just want to relax. I want to go home, and finally see my dog.  He’s with some friends now, but I know, he misses me likewise. Everybody loves Oli,” he smiles and adds: “Wouldn’t hurt to spend some time with my girlfriend too, to go for some nice food and just be together.” Otherwise Sam confesses he has a bit of a bad habit. “I play too much PlayStation, with teenagers over the world. I know it’s not very healthy, but it’s my way of relaxing. Of course, nothing compares to walking Oli in the beautiful Andorran mountains. I am happy to have moved here to live, the nature here is truly amazing. Besides that, Andorra it’s close to Spain, if you want some extra sunshine,” says a citizen of the world, while he prepares his ticket to Paris.

262042_sam.sunderland_Red-Bull-KTM-Facto

Sam Sunderland (GBR) Dakar 2019 © Marcin Kin

Photos: Marcin Kin


Autentifica-te  


0 comentarii


Recommended Comments

Nu există comentarii.

Creează un cont sau autentifică-te pentru a comenta

Trebuie să fii membru pentru a putea lăsa comentarii

Creează un cont

Înregistrează-te în comunitate. Este uşor!

Înregistrare

Autentifică-te

Ești deja membru? Autentifică-te aici.

Autentificare

  • Conținut Similar

    • De Dementor
      Mr. Adventure – Part 2
      Joe Pichler has ridden over 350,000 kms outside of Europe and has toured on every single KTM with an ADVENTURE sticker on. We grabbed a quick chat with the 58-year old Austrian to see what keeps his adventure going.
      Joe Pichler (AUT) 2019 © KTM
      The right KTM ADVENTURE
      Joe has ridden big miles on every single KTM to wear an ADVENTURE badge, beginning with the original KTM 640 ADVENTURE. Progression and development make every new version the enemy of the previous version, according to Joe. But after 19,000 km of varied roads and terrains on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R, Joe has got to know the machine very well.
      “What I like the most is the weight,” the Austrian says. “It really is low. I think when it is fully fueled it weighs the same as a 1090 or 1190 ADVENTURE when they are empty! And of course, it holds it fuel low down in the bike, which makes it feel even lighter. And that’s a huge advantage when it comes to hard riding conditions. Every kilogram is important.”
      The character of the engine – not just the power but a thirst rate of 4-5 liters every 100 kms – aligned with the versatility of the electronics with the different ride modes is also a big plus factor for Joe when it comes to the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R.
      “For example, when riding in sand, you take the traction control down or off. You can change the engine character; when things are getting really difficult on a rocky road with a passenger, it is a really good idea to go to Offroad mode and be smoother and easier to handle. Then when out in the open area, it is much more fun to switch to Street mode. These are nice things that makes you more comfortable on the bike.”
      The wrong time
      It would be unfair to call Joe lazy, but he places a lot of trust in his machines and leaves the maintaining to the essentials. Well, not even that. He overshot the recommended first service for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R by a good few thousand kilometers and doesn’t even lube the chain.
      “Usually I don’t see a lot of KTM dealers in these remote places! One time I only changed the oil after 23,000 kms! But in Morocco, the KTM mechanics changed the oil and chain at 19,000 kms. Also they added some fresh tires.”
      The right stuff
      “Ever since my second trip, I’ve never carried spare tires. With a puncture you can fix it and I’ve never had a tire so destroyed that I could not carry on. Tires are also very heavy, and you can get them nearly every place in the world. Especially If you use narrow rims (Joe uses the narrow KTM PowerParts wheels on his KTM 790 ADVENTURE R), you can always get something. Failing that, you can get tires sent to somewhere – carrying tires is useless.”
      As well as tubes, Joe carries spare clutch and brake levers and a fuel pump, due to the varying quality of fuel on his travels. A second clutch cable is also fastened in position ready should the first one snap, another reason he prefers cable over a hydraulic system. He always carries a spare couple of chain links but has never had to repair a chain.
      “You never get stuck with a broken chain as you can fix it,” Joe quips. “But with a broken shaft drive it will definitely stop the adventure. And I’ve seen some broken shaft drives at the side of the road. Honestly, I don’t carry chain lube so usually do nothing for it in 20,000 kms. I don’t oil it – on this trip the sand would have destroyed it. For a short trip is better to maintain with oil, but you can imagine how much lube I would need!”
      Joe loves the huge variety included with a standard KTM tool box and only adds a few extra items to that kit, as well as tire levers and a small compressor to make a tube swap easier.
      “I carry everything I need to do some small maintenance with. If you have a real problem like needing to open the engine or something crazy like that, you wouldn’t do it by yourself in the middle of nowhere! But an important thing is to take spares of all the torx screws on the bike – even the really big ones. If you’re somewhere in Africa, they don’t really use these. So, I make sure I have spares and the sockets to fit all of these.”
      Joe Pichler (AUT) 2019 © KTM
      The right kit
      When it comes to riding kit, Joe prefers the versatility of the KTM RALLY JACKET & PANTS and the freedom feeling and lightweight of the KTM AVIATOR 2.2 offroad helmet. His choice of footwear also wouldn’t look out of place on the MXGP start gate with the KTM TECH 10 BOOTS.
      “I’ve met a lot of adventure riders and many are equipped with normal boots and not offroad ones,” Joe questions. “They always give the reason that they are not riding fast, but good boots really protect you. And we know you can crash when not riding fast.”
      Aside from his riding kit, Joe tries to travel as light as possible due to the extra effort required with more weight on the bike and the effect on the suspension. His latest Africa trip included a luggage list of:
      Five pairs of underwear
      2 pairs of socks
      One pair of trousers
      One pair of shorts
      Two T-shirts
      One sweater
      Toothbrush
      Shampoo
      Camera
      Laptop
      Drone
      Tent
      Sleeping bag with mattress
      Usually there’s a stove, but there wasn’t the need on this trip. Joe explains: “In West Africa people are always cooking! And anywhere there are people, the people need to eat. So, you can always get food.”
      This logic makes sense to us!
      The right technology
      There are some big mile adventurers that say you need a bike with as little technology on as possible, even without water cooling. As Joe explained how much he enjoys the different ride modes and electronics on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE, we asked him if he fears being so reliant on these rider aids or worries about too much tech.
      “They don’t scare me!” Joe jokes. “I’ve had three bikes with air cooling and being in the sand is not a lot of fun when they are getting so hot! Water cooling is no problem. When I was young, I once said I would never ever buy a bike without an electric starter because if I was so old that I can’t kickstart it anymore, I won’t ride anymore! Then in the late eighties and early nineties the adventure bikes began to get electric starters and now of course you can’t buy one without it now.”
      “But out on the road, if people have problems they are usually mechanical ones. If you have no traction control, Quickshifter or ABS because of a failure, you can still ride. That’s the important thing.”
      Could you be like Joe? He followed his hobby and passion. Quit his job as an engineer and has been a full-time adventurer for many years. But don’t think he and his wife Renate aren’t hard workers – when not riding they are organizing tours across Germany, Austria and Switzerland where Joe entertains the audience with his original brand of talks.
      Joe Pichler (AUT) 2019 © Joe Pichler
      Joe is funny, charming and humble. A modern story teller and an inspiration. Follow his ADVENTURE and adventures at www.josef-pichler.at.
      You missed the first part of Joe´s adventure? Click here to read “Mr. Adventure – Part 1”.
      Photos: KTM | Joe Pichler
    • De Dementor
      VIDEO: THE ERZBERG EXPERIENCE ON THE KTM 790 ADVENTURE
      In search of the adventure of a lifetime, Americans Stephen Clark and Kory Cowan pick up two KTM 790 ADVENTURE bikes from Mattighofen and set off to experience a weekend full of riding action at the notorious Erzbergrodeo.
      © Stephen Clark/Upshift
      Following months of meticulous planning, Kory Cowan, an amateur enduro rider from Salt Lake City, together with Upshift contributor Stephen Clark landed in Austria a week before the Erzbergrodeo.
      Knowing there is hardly any better way to experience a new country than aboard a true adventure motorcycle, they collected two KTM 790 ADVENTURE machines from KTM’s HQ and set off to live the full Austrian experience.
      The plan was simple … spending a full morning at the KTM Motohall, Kory and Stephen would ride their KTM 790 ADVENTURE machines through the heart of Austria to Eisenerz, where they would stay for the best part of the coming week. With Kory also riding a rental KTM 300 EXC TPI in several of the Erzbergrodeo events, the duo was set for an unforgettable experience in the thick of the global hard enduro action.
      From riding through some of Austria’s most popular mountain passes on their twin-cylinder machines to Kory trying to qualify for the Red Bull Hare Scramble aboard his KTM 300 EXC TPI, the two Americans documented their whole week on Austrian soil in the two films below …
      [embedded content]
      [embedded content]
      The full article documenting Kory’s and Stephen’s adventure was published in issue 35 of Upshift.
      © Stephen Clark/Upshift
      Photos/Videos: Upshift

    • De Dementor
      The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R put to the ULTIMATE RACE test
      ULTIMATE RACE podium finisher Jordan Huibregtse reviews the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R he raced this year in the desert of Morocco.
      KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019, #412 Jordan Huibregtse © Marcin Kin/KTM
      An experienced adventure motorcyclist, Jordan Huibregtse has put in thousands of hours riding his own 2005 KTM 950 ADVENTURE in the gravel roads of Midwestern North America. Topping the ULTIMATE RACE qualifiers during the 2018 US ADVENTURE RALLY in Park City, Utah, Jordan secured a spot to live the riding experience of a lifetime in Morocco.
      “KTM was brave in giving 12 unknown riders brand new KTM 790 ADVENTURE Rs to race in a major rally event,” told Jordan. “That speaks volumes to their confidence in this bike and their determination to set it apart from the other bikes on the market. Contrary to what a few places have reported, the ULTIMATE RACE bikes were largely stock. The suspension was stock, as was the engine, mapping, air intake, and nearly everything else that I’ve been asked about.”
      Kicking off with a short prologue, the 2019 KTM ULTIMATE RACE saw competitors cover five stages and more than 1000 kilometers of racing in Morocco. The race included a marathon Stage 3 with an overnight in a bivouac and no outside mechanical support. In total, almost 1100 kilometers of hard offroad riding and navigating pushed each one of the 12 selected participants to their physical and mental limits.
      KTM 790 ADVENTURE R© Marcin Kin/KTM
      Shortly after his return from Africa, Jordan shared a full review of his KTM 790 ADVENTURE R machine on the ADVRider.com forum. With his permission, we’ve selected Jordan’s top seven highlights on the machine that led him to securing an impressive third overall at the inaugural KTM ULTIMATE RACE.
      Modifications
      “Bike modifications were limited to what was needed for competition. Michelin Desert Race tires with mousses were mounted to narrower KTM PowerParts wheel sets and taller KTM PowerParts seats were. All bikes also had the aftermarket Akrapovič muffler. The street grips were removed in favor of foam rally grips, and the stock steering damper was replaced with an aftermarket piece as required by race organizers. Longer KTM rally footpegs were installed as well, and of course the bikes had a powered roadbook holder mounted to the bars and a rally computer mounted above the OEM display. The sidestand switch, ABS, and traction control were disabled for competition, though we got a chance to test the rider aids before racing. Point being, the bikes weren’t custom race bikes made to look like KTM 790 ADVENTURE Rs in the interest of marketing. They were largely stock.”
      Engine
      “The new twin-cylinder engine impressed me. Compared to the engine on my KTM 950 ADVENTURE, the one on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R is a lot less noisy and revs out way better at the top. The 790 engine feels like a rally bike engine in the sense that it is low inertia and likes a bit more revs. It feels very happy being ridden hard and pulls strong and smooth up to the limiter. It’s almost electric in its power delivery, a feeling reinforced by the nearly silent exhaust. At low revs, fuel injection feels ‘sharp’ in the sense that it is on the lean side. As with many new bikes, this one is ride by wire. Switching from the Rally throttle mode to Street makes it feel a bit more natural. Riding higher in the rev range and using more power, the engine feels fantastic.”
      KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019, #412 Jordan Huibregtse © Marcin Kin/KTM
      Weight
      “On a cheap bathroom scale, the bike weighed 224lbs [101kg] on the front tire and 237 [107kg] on the rear with a full tank of fuel. Compare that with my 950, which has had quite a bit of light-weighting done to it: 241lbs [109kg] front and 248lbs [112kg] rear with a bit of fuel in it. The 790 also carries its weight much lower than the 950 and doesn’t have that slightly top-heavy feel. It’s initially almost disconcerting because it feels light/low, but still has all the inertia that goes along with the weight. As with most bikes, it feels lighter as speeds go up, the weight only making itself known in really big hits or when traction is lost.”
      Transmission & Clutch
      “Transmission ratios felt slightly tighter than the LC8 models, but didn’t seem to matter because the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R is happier at higher rpm on the road. Gear spacing is great; none of that silly short 5th to 6th jump found in some competitors. Shifting action is precise and positive as you would expect. I missed one or two shifts right when I started riding, but that was just due to my MX boots and an unfamiliar bike. The clutch took all the abuse I gave it in stride. Clutch pull is light and predictable, but the engagement zone is narrow. Personally, I would add a longer clutch pull arm, which would lengthen engagement and further reduce effort. I don’t really see any need to retrofit a hydraulic clutch at this point. While some people were more abusive, I never had issues with the clutch in the sand in Merzouga. It bit hard and consistently, and the adjustment never moved.
      KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019, #412 Jordan Huibregtse © Marcin Kin/KTM
      Ride modes
      “Ride modes are what we’ve come to expect from KTM. I tried rain mode and it worked well. Throttle response is mushy, ABS and traction control are aggressive. Rally mode also activates the multi-level traction control. I left it down at 1 most of the time, where it only made itself known if I lost all my momentum in the sand and was trying to climb a big dune. The highest traction control levels become more intrusive and cut power, which isn’t great for attitude adjustments. Rally mode also uses the most aggressive throttle map, which is great offroad. It was too aggressive for me on the street if I was just cruising around trying to be smooth … which is probably why there is a street mode. Rally is the mode I used the most, and is the mode I would use if I had a KTM 790 ADVENTURE R.”
      Chassis
      “The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R has a steel frame with the engine suspended beneath as a stressed member. The trellis subframe is steel, which should resolve a lot of the problems people have had with toting luggage. It seems to be a solid design, with integrated bosses for mounting luggage racks. The bike has a small steel subframe supporting the front of the skidplate, with the bottom supported by the oil pan and some small steel brackets. Overall, the set up held up well for an OEM design, but I would be looking to the aftermarket for a solution if you plan to be double blipping over logs and bouncing through rock gardens.”
      Fuel tank
      “The fuel tank is the most striking difference from other adventure bikes. You get used to it, and it does a reasonably good job of protecting your feet and legs from brush, wind, and rain. I did drop the bike a few times and had numerous get-offs of varying severity in the sand and hardpack in the desert. The tank was unfazed by the hits and showed no damage beyond some cosmetic scuffs. I think the sacrificial plastic covers for the fuel petcocks do a good job to protect the tank even in more severe crashes on tarmac.”
      [embedded content]
      Discover more: www.ktm-adventure-rally.com
      Photos: Marcin Kin/KTM
    • De Dementor
      Interview of the Month: The Rookie – What’s it like in MotoGP™? Miguel Oliveira talks first tastes
      The irony of course is that the 24-year-old is far from a ‘rookie’. Miguel Oliveira is the first athlete to have progressed through Red Bull KTM’s newly established Grand Prix ladder: having represented the factory in Moto3TM (6 wins) and Moto2TM (6 victories and 21 podiums). The fresh link with the Tech3 MotoGPTM squad for 2019 opened up the perfect ‘learning’ opportunity for Portugal’s sole racer in the category, and he impressed with his hard work, intelligence, application and speed in the first rounds that his tenure with KTM was impressive enough and quickly confirmed again for 2020.
      Short and stocky and with an easy sense of humor, Miguel has integrated strongly into MotoGPTM with the newest motorcycle on the grid. At the time of writing he has even scored more points than his 2018 Moto2TM nemesis Pecco Bagnaia and has come close to the top ten on at least two occasions from the half-season so far.
      We find him in a chatty mood and still discovering the thrill and difficulty of the elite competition in motorcycle racing.
      Miguel Oliveira (POR) 2019 © Sebas Romero
      Miguel, you must have had an idea of what you needed to do for MotoGPTM but did you change anything for 2019 – physically, mentally, your program – to tackle the challenge?
      “The physical training changed a bit because we knew we were going to deal with more force on the body. We did more work on the upper body with the goal of having a bit more strength. When you make that increase in the muscles you kinda then have to work the rest as well to improve the overall condition and shape! So, nutrition also changes a bit when you are training in a different way. Apart from that it was like making another ‘step’ like I did when I moved from Moto3TM to Moto2TM. Just a bit more. It was a pretty normal winter.”
      You’ve spent two years tussling at the front of Moto2TM. Did you also need to adjust your mentality to the races in MotoGPTM and perhaps a new position?
      “Yeah … but it is something you do along the way. It was not a case of saying ‘OK, now it’s over [as a winner] I need to switch mentality.’ It is more about the people who are around you that make you realize ‘OK, it’s the first year with the bike, it will not be amazing and you won’t be on the podium.’ It is about facing your future long-term and once you ‘get’ this then it becomes easier to go into each race.”
      Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM RC16 Sachsenring (GER) 2019 © T. Boerner
      Did you have a lot of internal questions about MotoGPTM? Maybe in the same way as when you first came into Grand Prix? Things like: How will it be? How will it feel? How will I do?
      “Yeah, you question yourself about a lot of things. Especially when you know you’ll be gripping a bike that is extremely powerful, and there is not much time to do that! The first test is a good example: I went from winning the race at Valencia to going back on the same track a day later with a bike where I had absolutely no knowledge or control! I was thinking ‘how am I going to dominate this beast?!’ It’s strange because you really feel like you have no control and that is not the normal situation! It is easy to get lost pretty quick. You need to take it slowly. But the team helped me a lot with this transition. They were very calm, and I was trying my best to keep calm and not look at the lap times. I was trying to absorb the information and work hard.”
      What kind of guy are you when it comes to preparation off the track. Are you someone that thinks and analyses a lot?
      “Every rider has his own way and it doesn’t mean that it is the right one, the best one or the correct one. I like to be analytical about my job but also keeping it fun and cool at the same time. I am not super-specific in watching images or footage. I also try to go with my feelings: This is important otherwise you will become a robot. If something is not working then you’ll perform worse in the short-term.”
      Miguel Oliveira (POR) Sachsenring (GER) 2019 © T. Boerner
      So where does confidence comes from? Feelings? A result? The lap time?
      “Sometimes I’ve had different kinds of feelings in my career and different kinds of results. Most of the time the best feelings do not match the results! If you feel good about something and the result isn’t really what you wanted then you have to take care to carry that feeling into the next race. For me ‘feeling’ is more important than the result even if it is easier to go the opposite way because if the results are coming then it means you can relax.”
      It’s a journey of discovery then …
      “If you look at our sport then riding a bike fast is mostly based on instinct and feeling. When you go very close to the limit it is about how good you feel within that limit and whether you can go faster or not. There are limitations of course and complex things about the bike but in general that’s the basis of MotoGPTM: Riding as comfortable as you can on the very limit. For that you need trust in what you are doing and how you feel! That’s the very thin line that we are living on each time we go on the track.”
      Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM RC16 Assen (NED) 2019 © T. Boerner
      You mentioned getting lost with the MotoGPTM bike: Is it also easy to be confused with how you feel? A sensation of a rapid lap time could be a second off what you really want …
      “Yes, at the end of the day everything is a balance. You cannot be over-critical of your job but you also cannot be super-relaxed and just go with the flow and hope that whatever comes out is good. You need to have a good mix of these two things: That’s what I try to do.”
      Having a balance must be a bit more difficult now what with all the success in Moto2TM and then jumping into MotoGPTM … especially when it comes to attention in Portugal …
      “Ha! In the last four years it went up like this [points hand almost vertical]. But this is a good thing. To be recognized for your job and for representing something. I’m lucky, in a way, to be the only Portuguese in the paddock. It is like when the Portuguese football team plays: There is only one player they are looking at.”
      Miguel Oliveira (POR) Austin (USA) 2019 © Gold and Goose
      You are like the Cristiano Ronaldo of MotoGPTM then?
      “[Smiles] I would say it is kinda like this. There are obviously other players in the team at Ronaldo’s level but they will need another one to replace him soon! I’m lucky enough to have this position.”
      For people outside of Portugal then can you describe what it is like for you there? Are you on the evening news?
      “Yeah. News-wise I’m probably second behind Cristiano. Overall probably third behind [Jose] Mourinho as well! I’m right there though! It is a good consequence of where I am and how things have gone. There is more recognition, but you just have to adapt your life a little bit. I’m not the guy who will make a bad face to someone who approaches me in the street because I have also been that person. I was also once a small kid asking Valentino [Rossi] for his autograph on every piece of paper I had. I know the feeling, and I know if he would have rejected me then it would have created a negative impact. So, I don’t want to do that. The fans watch you and the five seconds they might be with you is the real impression they get of you as a person.”
      Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM RC16 Barcelona (ESP) 2019 © Philip Platzer
      That must be quite tiring though …
      “It is. But it is something bigger than me. I can be me when I’m home. It’s the job and either you accept it or you do something else in life.”
      What other sportsmen were important to you growing up?
      “I tried to copy Valentino as much as I could. I even had an earring like him! That’s the truth! It’s nice to have a role model, someone that you can watch and follow. You can be your own version of a guy you look up to. That’s quite interesting.”
      Miguel Oliveira (POR) Sachsenring (GER) 2019 © T. Boerner
      It must be satisfying having an influence on people. It means the job is not just about the trophies, the thrill, the contract and a nice car …
      “I see people here becoming fascinated by the consequences of being a good rider but you can live ‘good’ for only a few years. I think if you understand that then you’ll have a more important purpose and things can come your way in the long-term. That’s how I look at it. To be a good influence for kids or those who write me messages saying they look up to me – even if it is something like twenty people – then I am happy. If you can have a positive impact in someone’s life then this has no price. It is bigger than any contract or fancy car.”
      How do you think people see you as a rider? You’ve had success but it always seems that you have worked really hard for it, pushed really hard …
      “That’s the story of my life and also my country’s. It seems like we have always fought double hard for anything: the Portuguese way! I have worked hard to get my results and to places and teams with a lot of challenges ahead and I’ve always succeeded. This experience has made me a stronger person and a stronger rider. When I am on a winning bike then I am going to win: It’s quite clear!”
      Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM RC16 Le Mans (FRA) 2019 © Marcin Kin
      Photos: Sebas Romero | T. Boerner | Gold and Goose | Philip Platzer | Marcin Kin
    • De Dementor
      Chasing the white tiger: Jordi Viladoms talks us through the brand-new adventure of the KTM rally team
      Posted in People, Racing After the amazing 1st-2nd-3rd podium in Lima and the 1st-2nd podium in Abu Dhabi, the KTM rally team is again READY TO RACE – this time by taking the road less travelled, diving into the unknown. “I am intrigued by the unknown,” says the team manager Jordi Viladoms, “which is good, but we still might be troubled by some questions.”
      Why have the members of the factory rally team spent so much time lately at the Russian, Mongolian and Chinese embassies around the world? Why have the assistance team set off for a 2-week road and ferry trip from Mattighofen over Finland to Irkutsk already on June 20 (and why will the road back last one more week)? Why has Jordi Viladoms been thoroughly studying the terrain of Siberia, Mongolia and East China lately, and some basic vocabulary of the respective countries? Why has the team decided to share a cook with another team for this adventure and stored some extra tuna cans in the truck? Why can’t we predict the race’s outcome with more precision this time around? The answer can be summed up in three words: Silk Way Rally, where for the first time in its history motorcycles are joining the party.
      Jordi Viladoms (ESP) 2019 © Sebas Romero
      Greetings from Siberia
      The last time the rally team tackled a very different adventure was back in 2009, when the Dakar Rally moved to South America. This year, however, many novelties are on the world rally-raid menu: for the team as for the team manager. “Still, the most difficult part of racing is always the most attractive one,” says the KTM rally team manager. For a former rally-raid racer and a Dakarian a new rally adventure is the best thing he could have hoped and wished for. If the latest versions of the Dakar Rally lacked a bit of this aspect, the Saudi Arabian edition and the upcoming Silk Way Rally surely won’t. The orange team has just passed the technical and administrative verifications in Irkutsk, Siberia. Racing in the footsteps of Marco Polo starts tomorrow.
      A little bit of history
      At the beginning there was silk. The Silk Way Rally derives from the Silk Road, which derives from silk, a major reason for the connection of trade routes into a transcontinental network. Even if Marco Polo didn’t label any road a “silk” one, the Silk Road is often associated with him. When asked about Marco Polo, the 39-year-old Catalan replies: “I know he was smart, and had great ability to adapt. He made himself known, even famous doing this route. We are no different from him, except that we travel a little faster.” The temptation to cross the wild countries of immense taiga forests, never-ending steppes and the magic Gobi, has always been there. Much before the first Silk Way Rally in 2009, which connected Kazan in Russia to Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, there was another, much longer race. The Peking to Paris motor race was firstly an automobile race, originally held in 1907, between Peking and Paris. The winner, the Italian prince Scipione Borghese, needed two months to complete the incredible 15,000 kilometers. He started at the French embassy in Peking, now Beijing, on June 10 and arrived in Paris on August 10. It was a full “malle-moto” competition, with camels carrying the fuel, not to mention that the prince also made a little touristic detour to see Petersburg. Heinz Kinigadner, who won the 1995 edition of the Paris-Moskow-Peking rally, of course made no detours of any kind.
      White Tiger Trophy
      Back to the Silk Way Rally … In the next three years the event was held exclusively in Russia. After a three year break the 2016 edition consisted of the Moscow-Astana-Beijing route. The 2017 edition started in Moscow and finished in Xi’an in China. Last year the Silk Way Rally split in two parts, the Russian and the Chinese; the international crews battled on the route between Astrakhan and Moscow. This year the competition crosses three vast countries and is also introducing the motorcycle category. And while the Italian prince won a magnum of champagne for a win, the winner of the Silk Way Rally will get a White Tiger Trophy. The masterpiece was designed by Denis Simachev, a famous Russian fashion designer. In Chinese mythology the white tiger symbolizes courage and strong spirit, which will be needed to take the trophy home.
      Silk Way Rally
      Into the unknown
      5,000 kilometers (well, 5,007.96 to be precise), 2,593.15 km of timed sections, 10 stages, 3 countries – these are the main figures of the 2019 Silk Way Rally edition. On paper it looks much like the Dakar some years ago, but Jordi Viladoms, the team manager whose first official assignment was the Dakar 2019, says the comparison with the “toughest race on the planet” is not necessary. “Of course, the urge to compare the two races is huge, though I am quite sure the Silk Way Rally is a race with its complete own identity, different character and different challenges to face. But firstly, and more importantly, for us this is a leap into the unknown. The main challenge will therefore be to adapt as fast as possible to all the enigmas we will encounter: to the terrain, weather, type of bivouac, people, different organization, and even food. We heard the food there is really … interesting. I guess we will just have to be flexible and to learn very quickly.”
      Three riders on the mission
      The Dakar 2019 left its toll, so two warriors will miss out on the newest Eastern front: Toby Price and Matthias Walkner still haven’t fully recovered from surgeries. “We go to the Silk Way Rally with Sam Sunderland, Luciano Benavides and Laia Sanz,” explains Jordi Viladoms. “Matthias and Toby are still not ready to compete at this point and they will only join the team for the Atacama Rally in September. For Laia this is the first rally she is taking part this year, after her brave performance at the Erzbergrodeo. Sam and Luciano are both in shape and hungry to race. After only one championship race, they are first and second in the world rankings. The three of them are big fighters, capable of taking on a long race.”
      Way out of the comfort zone
      “There is another interesting aspect concerning the most difficult race of the championship,” he continues. “Because of the length, the scoring in this race is different. Instead of the usual 25, the winner will get 37.5 points. This is a race and a half we talking about, so it will be massively important to finish it in a good position. The cross-country rallies championship has a new concept this year: there are only four races, but much more variety. I think the decision to include the Silk Way Rally into the World Championship is a smart one; it will make the discipline stronger and bring it back to its roots. One of the fundamentals of the rally raid is to leave your comfort zone and this rally will certainly take us way out. For instance, our assistance team had to travel 14 days to come to Irkutsk and will spend three days more to return home from China. Getting visas was no walk in the park, for some team members a trip to the Chinese embassy was the real first stage of the Silk Way Rally.”
      Sam Sunderland (GBR) & Luciano Benavides (ARG) KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Rally Zone
      How to prepare for the unknown
      “I studied the history of the race, trying to understand what happened in the previous years, and looked closer at the route. Theoretically, I am aware of the challenges that await us, but we will see for ourselves when we get out there. Besides this there is another interesting point: We will visit countries with cultures we have absolutely no clue about. I’ve been also trying to learn some basic vocabulary, but there is no guarantee people will understand me. This new rally is a total new adventure, so in this sense it does remind me of the African Dakars and those endless deserts we knew nothing about. If there was one race I would still be tempted to do, this is the one.”
      Exploring the route
      The first stage (leg distance: 255.53 km, special stage: 50.87 km) will cross the Siberian taiga forest, leading the racers from Irkutsk to their first rally bivouac on the shores of Lake Baikal. In the second stage (leg distance: 413 km, special stage: 212.02 km) the rally caravan will reach Ulan-Ude close to the Mongolian border. In the third stage (leg distance: 691 km, special stage: 243 km) the rally will head to Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, trying to avoid many dangerous ravines down the road. The fourth (loop) stage (leg distance: 476.96 km, special stage: 470.19 km) is all about the speed in the steppes. In the fifth stage (leg distance: 364.59 km, special stage: 337 km) the racers will touch the Gobi desert, reaching an altitude of 1,600 meters on the way to Mandalgovi. The sixth stage (leg distance: 411.75 km, special stage: 408.17km) will lead to Dalanzadgad, still characterized by high speed on the wide steppe roads. The seventh stage represents a Silk Way Rally style rest day – the challenge of the day will be the Chinese border crossing, before reaching the city of Bayinbaolige after a 550.66 km long liaison. The eighth stage Bayinbaolige – Alashan (leg distance: 785.11 km, special stage: 326.6 km) will be the longest one and the first one featuring real dunes. The dunes will also spice up the ninth stage (leg distance: 501.2 km, special stage: 290.30 km) from Alashan to Jiayuguan. The rally will finish the next day in Dunhuang. The last stage (leg distance: 556.66 km, special stage: 255 km) will again lead the racers on fast gravel roads to finish the adventure full throttle on July 16.
      It’s gonna be fast and tricky
      “A lot of hard pack means the rally pace will be extremely fast overall,” comments the team manager, and continues: “Many stony kilometers will also be quite tasking on the bikes, particularly on the wheels. The starting position will have less of an affect because of predominately gravel tracks, but there are other challenges to take into account. For example, a lot of wild animals in the forest are another threat to the riders. On many days we expect to suffer the heat, while on the other days we predict thunderstorms. I will as always try to anticipate as much as possible and make the best possible plan for every next day. This is what a sport manager does. My business card says team manager, but I am also a rider’s coach as I have been for the last four years. All in all, I will always be an ex-rider, living and breathing the rallies as one of them. Part of my mind therefore takes care of the smallest detail that can happen to the rider, while the other part needs to see the biggest picture possible. So, here we are, in Siberia, the team as solid and motivated as ever, ready to go all-in, acting like a family, breathing for the same goal, dreaming the same dream.”
      Luciano Benavides (ARG), Sam Sunderland (GBR) & Jordi Viladoms (ESP) 2019 © Rally Zone
      Photos: Sebas Romero | Rally Zone
×