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  1. KTM Factory Racing: The ultimate support truck and rally team logistics Behind every good team is, among many other things, an impressive race truck. Certainly, that’s the case at KTM Factory Racing. Two years in development and construction, the new six-wheel-drive monster is the brainchild of Michael Angerer. The KTM BLOG spoke to the Austrian mechanic to find out more. © Marcin Kin “It has been a really big project for me,” admits Angerer. “We bought a chassis from MAN, and the whole thing was built from the ground up. Although some other companies helped with the initial build, all the planning and the interior construction was done by me.” Michael’s regular job is to support the factory and customer teams with spare parts at events such as the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, and of course the Dakar Rally. The race truck build turned out to be quite the side-project. “This was the biggest challenge I have ever taken on, and as it was an addition to my normal work it took a long time to finish. I knew exactly what was needed from the truck though and after close to two years I got it finished. I’m very proud of it, but I need a holiday now!” KTM Factory Racing Rally Support Truck Specs: Base model: MAN TGS Engine: 12.4 liter 6-cylinder diesel Power: 500 horsepower Weight: 26 tons Generator: 26Kw Seats: 3 © Marcin Kin Behind the cab, the truck is split into sections, each with its own role. At the front is the workshop area where two bikes can be stored and worked upon. All the tools and machinery needed to maintain the bikes or strip down engines and suspension are stored here. The middle area is used for spare parts. In a race situation, mechanics working on the bikes request the parts they need, these are then distributed by the ‘spare parts guys’, such as Michael. At the 2018 Dakar, customer service was huge – 75 riders, half the entry list, were looked after by the team. Competitors have a contract with their local dealer who then works closely with the factory to carry and supply the parts necessary for each rider. The service provided by KTM is invaluable to the customer riders. By receiving their spare parts from the team, riders simply have to turn up with their own bike and gear. A suspension tuning service is also available – the customers simply bring their forks and shock absorbers to the truck to have them serviced, every day if they wish. Even if someone suffers some sort of technical issue, the team mechanics will try to help as best they can. Towards the rear of the vehicle, there is a space for a fridge and food storage. A small shower and wash basin are located here too for the use of the mechanics. At the very back there are racks for spare wheels. 25 front and 25 rear wheels are carried, these are all fully prepared and ready to go straight onto the bikes when they are required. © Marcin Kin Although changes to the regulations now mean the support vehicles rarely have to follow the riders’ route offroad, the KTM race truck is still extremely capable when the going gets rough. With six-wheel drive and 500 horsepower, only the very toughest terrain can challenge the 26-ton MAN vehicle. Even in the soft sand dunes the truck can make good progress, despite its weight. In the past, KTM has entered vehicles in the truck class of the Dakar but not any more due to the sheer work involved in taking care of them as well as the bikes. “One previous Dakar we had six trucks to look after,” remembers Michael. “We had two race trucks and four customer trucks. It was too much, I prefer just having to worry about the bikes these days.” “When the support vehicles followed the route, the rules were a lot different. Everyone used to stay in tents and these had to be erected at the end of each day. Now the riders stay in camper vans and the support vehicles generally only use proper paved roads to get from bivouac to bivouac. Back then, all vehicles had to incorporate a roll-cage, drivers wore helmets and the trucks were equipped with bucket-seats and five-point harnesses. I do miss those days sometimes – there was a greater feeling of adventure and things got quite competitive between some of the rival truck drivers!” © Marcin Kin When in transit two team-members ride in the truck, there is also a third seat if needed. The one bed onboard is used by the driver who also enjoys all the comforts you would expect including air-conditioning and a good heater for those cold nights in the desert. The life of the mechanics and spare parts distributors is often less glamourous. “Last year at the Dakar, an average day would see us get up at 3am in time to start work at 4. After the bikes leave, we would pack up the bivouac and hit the road, onto the next stop. If you are lucky you might get a few hours’ sleep on the way. We normally arrive between 2 and 4pm in the afternoon and set up everything again. The top riders generally arrive soon after but, on some stages, would make it to camp before the trucks.” “The fastest customer riders then trickle in through to about 9pm – we are generally finished with the factory bikes by then. But then we have to wait for the last few riders to get in – some might have had troubles out on the stage and they need even more assistance. Often riders are still getting in early in the morning. We try to help out as much as we can, and it can often mean only a couple of hours sleep in the toughest nights.” “The pressure involved with supplying the customer parts is huge. The riders pay a lot of money to ride an event like the Dakar and rely on the support we give them. Supplying half the motorcycle entry with parts is a massive task.” © Marcin Kin With the introduction of the latest version of the KTM 450 RALLY, the team had to increase its total number of parts held due to the all-new design of the machine used by the factory. At any rally event, shared between the factory and customer trucks, is a total of over 60,000 parts valued at around a quarter of a million euros. Just making an inventory of all the spares takes up to two weeks to complete. When the 2019 Dakar Rally kicked off in Peru on January 6th, focus was of course on the competitors leading the field through the 5,000km route. Without the individuals and infrastructure behind the scenes, those top riders would soon grind to a halt. KTM and Toby Price gained the 18th consecutive victory at the event, but only a huge team effort made it happen. © Marcin Kin Photos: Marcin Kin
  2. KTM Factory Racing: The ultimate support truck and rally team logistics Behind every good team is, among many other things, an impressive race truck. Certainly, that’s the case at KTM Factory Racing. Two years in development and construction, the new six-wheel-drive monster is the brainchild of Michael Angerer. The KTM BLOG spoke to the Austrian mechanic to find out more. © Marcin Kin “It has been a really big project for me,” admits Angerer. “We bought a chassis from MAN, and the whole thing was built from the ground up. Although some other companies helped with the initial build, all the planning and the interior construction was done by me.” Michael’s regular job is to support the factory and customer teams with spare parts at events such as the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, and of course the Dakar Rally. The race truck build turned out to be quite the side-project. “This was the biggest challenge I have ever taken on, and as it was an addition to my normal work it took a long time to finish. I knew exactly what was needed from the truck though and after close to two years I got it finished. I’m very proud of it, but I need a holiday now!” KTM Factory Racing Rally Support Truck Specs: Base model: MAN TGS Engine: 12.4 liter 6-cylinder diesel Power: 500 horsepower Weight: 26 tons Generator: 26Kw Seats: 3 © Marcin Kin Behind the cab, the truck is split into sections, each with its own role. At the front is the workshop area where two bikes can be stored and worked upon. All the tools and machinery needed to maintain the bikes or strip down engines and suspension are stored here. The middle area is used for spare parts. In a race situation, mechanics working on the bikes request the parts they need, these are then distributed by the ‘spare parts guys’, such as Michael. At the 2018 Dakar, customer service was huge – 75 riders, half the entry list, were looked after by the team. Competitors have a contract with their local dealer who then works closely with the factory to carry and supply the parts necessary for each rider. The service provided by KTM is invaluable to the customer riders. By receiving their spare parts from the team, riders simply have to turn up with their own bike and gear. A suspension tuning service is also available – the customers simply bring their forks and shock absorbers to the truck to have them serviced, every day if they wish. Even if someone suffers some sort of technical issue, the team mechanics will try to help as best they can. Towards the rear of the vehicle, there is a space for a fridge and food storage. A small shower and wash basin are located here too for the use of the mechanics. At the very back there are racks for spare wheels. 25 front and 25 rear wheels are carried, these are all fully prepared and ready to go straight onto the bikes when they are required. © Marcin Kin Although changes to the regulations now mean the support vehicles rarely have to follow the riders’ route offroad, the KTM race truck is still extremely capable when the going gets rough. With six-wheel drive and 500 horsepower, only the very toughest terrain can challenge the 26-ton MAN vehicle. Even in the soft sand dunes the truck can make good progress, despite its weight. In the past, KTM has entered vehicles in the truck class of the Dakar but not any more due to the sheer work involved in taking care of them as well as the bikes. “One previous Dakar we had six trucks to look after,” remembers Michael. “We had two race trucks and four customer trucks. It was too much, I prefer just having to worry about the bikes these days.” “When the support vehicles followed the route, the rules were a lot different. Everyone used to stay in tents and these had to be erected at the end of each day. Now the riders stay in camper vans and the support vehicles generally only use proper paved roads to get from bivouac to bivouac. Back then, all vehicles had to incorporate a roll-cage, drivers wore helmets and the trucks were equipped with bucket-seats and five-point harnesses. I do miss those days sometimes – there was a greater feeling of adventure and things got quite competitive between some of the rival truck drivers!” © Marcin Kin When in transit two team-members ride in the truck, there is also a third seat if needed. The one bed onboard is used by the driver who also enjoys all the comforts you would expect including air-conditioning and a good heater for those cold nights in the desert. The life of the mechanics and spare parts distributors is often less glamourous. “Last year at the Dakar, an average day would see us get up at 3am in time to start work at 4. After the bikes leave, we would pack up the bivouac and hit the road, onto the next stop. If you are lucky you might get a few hours’ sleep on the way. We normally arrive between 2 and 4pm in the afternoon and set up everything again. The top riders generally arrive soon after but, on some stages, would make it to camp before the trucks.” “The fastest customer riders then trickle in through to about 9pm – we are generally finished with the factory bikes by then. But then we have to wait for the last few riders to get in – some might have had troubles out on the stage and they need even more assistance. Often riders are still getting in early in the morning. We try to help out as much as we can, and it can often mean only a couple of hours sleep in the toughest nights.” “The pressure involved with supplying the customer parts is huge. The riders pay a lot of money to ride an event like the Dakar and rely on the support we give them. Supplying half the motorcycle entry with parts is a massive task.” © Marcin Kin With the introduction of the latest version of the KTM 450 RALLY, the team had to increase its total number of parts held due to the all-new design of the machine used by the factory. At any rally event, shared between the factory and customer trucks, is a total of over 60,000 parts valued at around a quarter of a million euros. Just making an inventory of all the spares takes up to two weeks to complete. When the 2019 Dakar Rally kicked off in Peru on January 6th, focus was of course on the competitors leading the field through the 5,000km route. Without the individuals and infrastructure behind the scenes, those top riders would soon grind to a halt. KTM and Toby Price gained the 18th consecutive victory at the event, but only a huge team effort made it happen. © Marcin Kin Photos: Marcin Kin
  3. ktm The new ‘home’ of KTM

    The new ‘home’ of KTM KTM’s ‘MOTOHALL’ is the result of four years planning and almost 30 million euros of investment. Here’s the lowdown on the company’s impressive new showpiece set to open early May in Mattighofen. There is an undeniable KTM presence in Mattighofen. The town is a short distance across the German-Austrian border, east of Munich, north of Salzburg. Signs, transport, and bikes pop up frequently in the small center and close to the main factory. A spares center and engine plant are also easily spotted before the main road to Munderfing shows off yet more new structures, the Racing HQ and KTM Components GmbH. The taste of orange will become slightly stronger by May when the firm open the doors of their ‘MOTOHALL’ to the public. Built a ten-minute walk from the principal assembly lines, the easy-to-find multi-purpose, multi-storey KTM ‘hotspot’ is more than a museum or a display zone: it is a modern and stylish beacon for the company’s roots, achievements, current activities and future. Kristina Kuttruf has been charged with overseeing the massive project – one of the most diverse and fascinating in KTM’s history – so we asked what it’s all about, what visitors they can expect and why it’ll be well-worth tapping ‘Mattighofen’ into the GPS app. © KTM Motohall GmbH Welcome to our MOTOHALL. There are five sections to the exhibition then a shop, an adjacent restaurant called ‘Garage’ and a small café bar inside the actual MOTOHALL. We also have the presentation hall and parking space for about 130 cars. We have three main floors that chart the KTM story. On the first floor we talk about the design, the clay modelling, the shapes, the engineering and evolution. We’ll speak about the engines and the engine families, frames, suspension, the subsidiaries and KTM worldwide. It is hard to offer people KTM factory tours because we don’t have the space for visitors to walk around so in the MOTOHALL instead we’ll have a map model to see how the factory has developed and grown over the years and since the 1950s. You can touch a ‘building’ and see how it is inside and how it is today. You walk to the third floor through a ‘ring’ layout that illustrates the KTM history with all the bikes. The MOTOHALL floors are inclined and it is quite a complex and interesting piece of architecture. After seeing the evolution of the bikes you can then pass other areas like customer racing that has models like the KTM X-BOW and the Moto3 bike and the actual current model range will be on display. Racing has pride of place and we have the third floor dedicated to our racing heroes. It was not easy but we chose 28 heroes from our champions and they are present with their ‘figure’ and original clothing and bikes. We have a 360-degree video installation where a film made exclusively for the MOTOHALL is shown every hour highlighting the racing and the racing spirit. Goosebumps guaranteed. That’s not all. In the basement we have meeting rooms as well as a presentation space where we can run events for up to 400 people. It has a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system so we envisage having launches, MD meetings and things like presentations of race teams. We also have a ‘living workshop’ where one of the technicians will be there the whole time and will be restoring old bikes and you can talk and interact with him. In the Innovation Lab, located next to the workshop, kids and teens can experiment with technology like a laser plotter and 3D printers. Students might find it interesting to work in this section as the facilities are on a high level. For sure it will be interesting for school kids making an educational visit. © KTM Motohall GmbH Staying in Mattighofen. We had a mission statement and it was to allow people to be part of KTM and our technique, visions and heroes. Also to let people know why we are in Mattighofen and what our roots are all about. It was important that the MOTOHALL was located here. Shop ‘til you drop. I’m very happy that we have about 300 m² for the shop space and to show the whole KTM PowerWear range. The current shop at the factory is really small so we are limited with what we can reveal. Riding gear is a bit different because you need time to explain technical wear and best left to the dealers. We can keep stock in the factory – which is just next door – but we also have space for stock in the MOTOHALL. The same staff in the current store will move in and I think they are happy to have a much larger and more modern facility. © KTM Motohall GmbH Reaching the people. One of the great things is that up until now we, as a company, have only really communicated with motorcycle riders and race fans and now we are able to open up to much more people: families and kids, grandparents, non-bikers and business partners that want to do an event at the MOTOHALL. For the first time we are really ‘open’ and speaking with everyone. It is a challenge but it is great. What I really love is that we can offer something more. In the past we saw people who have ridden up from Italy and they are standing outside the factory taking photos and selfies; we cannot offer them a tour because the rate of bike production means we need all the space we have. Now, for the first time, we can open our doors and offer them something. We can show them the core of KTM and some of the philosophy as well as a chance to read and hear cool stories, see cool bikes, videos and things they won’t find anywhere else. We have a whole launch and communication concept and we have only just started with the Instagram account. We are going slowly with that because there are still a few months to go. Two months before opening we’ll push on with the publicity, offer more and more information on the KTM MOTOHALL website www.ktm-motohall.com and get in touch with KTM fans. Initial visitor numbers. It’s hard to say … we have tried to see what other similar concepts have managed but we have to remember that while we are a very strong and interesting brand on the one hand on the other we are not located in a big city like Munich or Stuttgart. I think if we can attract 60,000 visitors a year at the beginning then this would be fine. Overall it is a little of guesswork but we as team are prepared to offer a comfortable and interesting experience for all national and international visitors. © KTM Motohall GmbH The tickets. We’re talking about 10 euros for adults and 7 euros for concessions. Children up to the age of 14 are free. We have a group price and a family ticket. The MOTOHALL will be open every day of the week except Mondays. The few public holidays where the MOTOHALL will be closed can be found on the website. Let’s get interactive. The kids will have a ‘Rookie tour’ that involves a ‘Road Book’ taken from the main desk and there will be fourteen stations in the MOTOHALL where there will be an activity, sometimes with a touch screen and they will have to collect stamps in the book. We’ll also have a model of a 65cc bike with the sounds and vibration so they can feel what a bike is like for the first time. Then there are things like finding particular ‘heroes’ where the stamp is an autograph, and a section where they can build their own bike digitally and get a photo of themselves with types of riding gear and this image can go inside the road book. It is pretty interactive from the age where kids can read – so from six, or even younger, if parents help them. There is a lot to do. For older ages we have technical tables where you can go into real depth. At the suspension ‘table’ you can take a screwdriver and adjust suspension to see and feel the clicks and digitally a bike will then appear on the screen and show you how effective your idea or setting was. There will also be educational videos, such as showing the differences between 4-stroke and 2-stroke and engine concepts. You can interact with the screens. It is much more interactive than some other places I’ve visited where the displays are very static. KTM engaged the agency ATELIER BRÜCKNER from Stuttgart that has dealt with many huge projects, like BMW in Munich, and they made the ideas for the interior and we delivered the bikes and the knowledge. It will look good! The metallic sculpture of the exterior is supposed to give the effect of a dirtbike’s wheel spokes of going through the mud. Each individual metal plate has been slightly adjusted and changed to create this. Quite a job! © KTM Motohall GmbH Our biggest challenge was … that we started with an idea but we have not stuck with it. If we’ve seen or thought of something that would be an improvement then we’ve gone with it, even as we have drawn closer and closer to the opening. We had the architects around the table and have used a technical team; an example is the Innovation Lab – which will be in the basement – that came up around a year-and-a-half ago and gives youngsters the chance to explore all these new technologies like 3D modelling and virtual reality. Furthermore, they can experiment with things like soldering stations. We saw that it would be popular and it wasn’t in the original plan but we moved to make it happen. It’s typical KTM: if you see an improvement then we go for it and don’t stick with the old way. We also had to lean quite heavily on departments like R&D. They are busy designing and building new motorcycles but we needed details and approvals and used the test riders to give us sensory information and data for the interactive parts of the MOTOHALL. It was a lot…and I know they are now happy that we’re not bothering them anymore! We’ll make our own oranges. The café and restaurant was something we wanted to handle internally. After all, the restaurant is normally the last place to be visited so the impression has to be just as strong as the experience in the MOTOHALL and you don’t want guests having low quality food or drinks. Of course, KTM is not a catering company so we were looking for partners and in the end founded our own company with experts. The quality is something we can control directly. It is something new and something to learn. The MOTOHALL down the line. After the first year we’ll start with special exhibitions – we already have some ideas in mind – and we want to keep it interesting. I believe there is a lot inside the MOTOHALL and it might not be possible to ‘get it all’ in the first turn. You might need two or three visits to enjoy all the details. The MOTOHALL will have a ‘convention center’ role as well and we’ll invite companies to have their meetings and presentations as long as their ideas fit together with KTM. This will be a new kind of business case. © KTM Motohall GmbH What KTM think of A KTM MOTOHALL. It has been a long-term task and we have been working on it now for nearly four years. People were a bit distant from it in the beginning but as it progressed and took shape the interest really grew and the questions started coming and I saw many people getting so enthusiastic. I think every corner of the company is standing behind this and is proud that KTM is building this MOTOHALL. It is a positive project and I think we are lucky to be working on it. Photos: KTM Motohall GmbH
  4. The new ‘home’ of KTM

    The new ‘home’ of KTM KTM’s ‘MOTOHALL’ is the result of four years planning and almost 30 million euros of investment. Here’s the lowdown on the company’s impressive new showpiece set to open early May in Mattighofen. There is an undeniable KTM presence in Mattighofen. The town is a short distance across the German-Austrian border, east of Munich, north of Salzburg. Signs, transport, and bikes pop up frequently in the small center and close to the main factory. A spares center and engine plant are also easily spotted before the main road to Munderfing shows off yet more new structures, the Racing HQ and KTM Components GmbH. The taste of orange will become slightly stronger by May when the firm open the doors of their ‘MOTOHALL’ to the public. Built a ten-minute walk from the principal assembly lines, the easy-to-find multi-purpose, multi-storey KTM ‘hotspot’ is more than a museum or a display zone: it is a modern and stylish beacon for the company’s roots, achievements, current activities and future. Kristina Kuttruf has been charged with overseeing the massive project – one of the most diverse and fascinating in KTM’s history – so we asked what it’s all about, what visitors they can expect and why it’ll be well-worth tapping ‘Mattighofen’ into the GPS app. © KTM Motohall GmbH Welcome to our MOTOHALL. There are five sections to the exhibition then a shop, an adjacent restaurant called ‘Garage’ and a small café bar inside the actual MOTOHALL. We also have the presentation hall and parking space for about 130 cars. We have three main floors that chart the KTM story. On the first floor we talk about the design, the clay modelling, the shapes, the engineering and evolution. We’ll speak about the engines and the engine families, frames, suspension, the subsidiaries and KTM worldwide. It is hard to offer people KTM factory tours because we don’t have the space for visitors to walk around so in the MOTOHALL instead we’ll have a map model to see how the factory has developed and grown over the years and since the 1950s. You can touch a ‘building’ and see how it is inside and how it is today. You walk to the third floor through a ‘ring’ layout that illustrates the KTM history with all the bikes. The MOTOHALL floors are inclined and it is quite a complex and interesting piece of architecture. After seeing the evolution of the bikes you can then pass other areas like customer racing that has models like the KTM X-BOW and the Moto3 bike and the actual current model range will be on display. Racing has pride of place and we have the third floor dedicated to our racing heroes. It was not easy but we chose 28 heroes from our champions and they are present with their ‘figure’ and original clothing and bikes. We have a 360-degree video installation where a film made exclusively for the MOTOHALL is shown every hour highlighting the racing and the racing spirit. Goosebumps guaranteed. “It’s not a museum because it is not dedicated entirely to history instead it is the heart of KTM, the epicenter.” That’s not all. In the basement we have meeting rooms as well as a presentation space where we can run events for up to 400 people. It has a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system so we envisage having launches, MD meetings and things like presentations of race teams. We also have a ‘living workshop’ where one of the technicians will be there the whole time and will be restoring old bikes and you can talk and interact with him. In the Innovation Lab, located next to the workshop, kids and teens can experiment with technology like a laser plotter and 3D printers. Students might find it interesting to work in this section as the facilities are on a high level. For sure it will be interesting for school kids making an educational visit. © KTM Motohall GmbH Staying in Mattighofen. We had a mission statement and it was to allow people to be part of KTM and our technique, visions and heroes. Also to let people know why we are in Mattighofen and what our roots are all about. It was important that the MOTOHALL was located here. Shop ‘til you drop. I’m very happy that we have about 300 m² for the shop space and to show the whole KTM PowerWear range. The current shop at the factory is really small so we are limited with what we can reveal. Riding gear is a bit different because you need time to explain technical wear and best left to the dealers. We can keep stock in the factory – which is just next door – but we also have space for stock in the MOTOHALL. The same staff in the current store will move in and I think they are happy to have a much larger and more modern facility. © KTM Motohall GmbH Reaching the people. One of the great things is that up until now we, as a company, have only really communicated with motorcycle riders and race fans and now we are able to open up to much more people: families and kids, grandparents, non-bikers and business partners that want to do an event at the MOTOHALL. For the first time we are really ‘open’ and speaking with everyone. It is a challenge but it is great. What I really love is that we can offer something more. In the past we saw people who have ridden up from Italy and they are standing outside the factory taking photos and selfies; we cannot offer them a tour because the rate of bike production means we need all the space we have. Now, for the first time, we can open our doors and offer them something. We can show them the core of KTM and some of the philosophy as well as a chance to read and hear cool stories, see cool bikes, videos and things they won’t find anywhere else. We have a whole launch and communication concept and we have only just started with the Instagram account. We are going slowly with that because there are still a few months to go. Two months before opening we’ll push on with the publicity, offer more and more information on the KTM MOTOHALL website www.ktm-motohall.com and get in touch with KTM fans. Initial visitor numbers. It’s hard to say … we have tried to see what other similar concepts have managed but we have to remember that while we are a very strong and interesting brand on the one hand on the other we are not located in a big city like Munich or Stuttgart. I think if we can attract 60,000 visitors a year at the beginning then this would be fine. Overall it is a little of guesswork but we as team are prepared to offer a comfortable and interesting experience for all national and international visitors. © KTM Motohall GmbH The tickets. We’re talking about 10 euros for adults and 7 euros for concessions. Children up to the age of 14 are free. We have a group price and a family ticket. The MOTOHALL will be open every day of the week except Mondays. The few public holidays where the MOTOHALL will be closed can be found on the website. “The MOTOHALL has to be engaging for a motorcyclist, an engineer but also a mother of two kids who has never ridden a bike.” Let’s get interactive. The kids will have a ‘Rookie tour’ that involves a ‘Road Book’ taken from the main desk and there will be fourteen stations in the MOTOHALL where there will be an activity, sometimes with a touch screen and they will have to collect stamps in the book. We’ll also have a model of a 65cc bike with the sounds and vibration so they can feel what a bike is like for the first time. Then there are things like finding particular ‘heroes’ where the stamp is an autograph, and a section where they can build their own bike digitally and get a photo of themselves with types of riding gear and this image can go inside the road book. It is pretty interactive from the age where kids can read – so from six, or even younger, if parents help them. There is a lot to do. For older ages we have technical tables where you can go into real depth. At the suspension ‘table’ you can take a screwdriver and adjust suspension to see and feel the clicks and digitally a bike will then appear on the screen and show you how effective your idea or setting was. There will also be educational videos, such as showing the differences between 4-stroke and 2-stroke and engine concepts. You can interact with the screens. It is much more interactive than some other places I’ve visited where the displays are very static. KTM engaged the agency ATELIER BRÜCKNER from Stuttgart that has dealt with many huge projects, like BMW in Munich, and they made the ideas for the interior and we delivered the bikes and the knowledge. It will look good! The metallic sculpture of the exterior is supposed to give the effect of a dirtbike’s wheel spokes of going through the mud. Each individual metal plate has been slightly adjusted and changed to create this. Quite a job! © KTM Motohall GmbH Our biggest challenge was … that we started with an idea but we have not stuck with it. If we’ve seen or thought of something that would be an improvement then we’ve gone with it, even as we have drawn closer and closer to the opening. We had the architects around the table and have used a technical team; an example is the Innovation Lab – which will be in the basement – that came up around a year-and-a-half ago and gives youngsters the chance to explore all these new technologies like 3D modelling and virtual reality. Furthermore, they can experiment with things like soldering stations. We saw that it would be popular and it wasn’t in the original plan but we moved to make it happen. It’s typical KTM: if you see an improvement then we go for it and don’t stick with the old way. We also had to lean quite heavily on departments like R&D. They are busy designing and building new motorcycles but we needed details and approvals and used the test riders to give us sensory information and data for the interactive parts of the MOTOHALL. It was a lot…and I know they are now happy that we’re not bothering them anymore! We’ll make our own oranges. The café and restaurant was something we wanted to handle internally. After all, the restaurant is normally the last place to be visited so the impression has to be just as strong as the experience in the MOTOHALL and you don’t want guests having low quality food or drinks. Of course, KTM is not a catering company so we were looking for partners and in the end founded our own company with experts. The quality is something we can control directly. It is something new and something to learn. The MOTOHALL down the line. After the first year we’ll start with special exhibitions – we already have some ideas in mind – and we want to keep it interesting. I believe there is a lot inside the MOTOHALL and it might not be possible to ‘get it all’ in the first turn. You might need two or three visits to enjoy all the details. The MOTOHALL will have a ‘convention center’ role as well and we’ll invite companies to have their meetings and presentations as long as their ideas fit together with KTM. This will be a new kind of business case. © KTM Motohall GmbH What KTM think of A KTM MOTOHALL. It has been a long-term task and we have been working on it now for nearly four years. People were a bit distant from it in the beginning but as it progressed and took shape the interest really grew and the questions started coming and I saw many people getting so enthusiastic. I think every corner of the company is standing behind this and is proud that KTM is building this MOTOHALL. It is a positive project and I think we are lucky to be working on it. Photos: KTM Motohall GmbH
  5. A Pioneering Husky Man

    Born back in 1882, Swede Erik Hyginus Rud became famous for two things – an early interest for photography and as someone who bought his first real motorcycle at the age of 31 years. With his two-speed Husqvarna Moto-Rève, Hyginus rode around the western parts of Sweden on his Model 65 and immortalised everything from weddings to birthdays with his camera. There was a small cottage, or croft, in the vicinity of Fredsberg in the western part of Sweden. It’s here where Erik Hyginus Rud was born, back in the noble year of 1882, and it was here that he grew up under spartan circumstances. From his father, he soon learned the trade of shoemaker, but just as an avocation to the daily work that had to be accomplished near home at the cottage. However, with only one cow and a small, stony piece of land it was not enough to make ends meet in the average week. Poverty was unfortunately an influential part of this young man’s everyday life, which did not suit Erik Hyginus at all. It was duly noted that he was a gifted youngster with many talents, such as being an avid reader. Consequently, poor circumstances did not stop Erik H-R from having an appetite for life, or big dreams. Anything that was connected to technical matters for the future was swallowed up by this enthusiastic eccentric. He was addicted to developments that made life easier and that had a technical background. At the age of twenty, Erik was seen handling his initial high-wheel ‘velocipede’ and five years later he had installed an engine, making this an innovative vehicle. With the two-wheeler, Erik had his first experience of riding a bicycle equipped with a ‘powerful’ engine. In 1913, Erik turned 31 years old and by now, he had worked enough and would spend his hard-earned money by purchasing his first motorcycle. Erik had had his eyes on a two-speed Husqvarna machine with a power-source from the Swiss company Moto-Rève. This Model 65 came from the Huskvarna factory in mid-Sweden and was manufactured between 1913 and 1915. All in all, some 250-300 units – with pedals - were produced during this period. Erik’s motorcycle had a 340cc V-twin engine with a performance capable of doing 50-60 km/h. It was a proud moment when Erik Hyginus picked up his first love at the dealer’s workshop. At the time, there were no filling stations around, so gasoline by the barrel had to be provided by canal boats to the Hyginus home. Once, he was out of fuel and had to fill his tank with petroleum from a pharmacy. By solving his problem, this flexible man was able to ride home to complete his day’s work. With no front brake and only a meagre rear block, it was not easy to stop the machine from a speed of 50 km/h. “You had to be careful,” he said with a smile at the age 80. “The road conditions in those days were not like nowadays in the 60s. You had to ride carefully and consider all the hazards, many of them not existing any longer.” Erik Hyginus remembers an incident when he was out riding around his home turf, “I arrived at a steep hill ahead of the Halna church and had to push a little in order to make the ascent. Consequently, I gave the engine a push by handling the throttle lever. Arriving at the top, I discovered a man shovelling sand from a steep ditch. When he saw me, he simply walked out on the road, obstructing my way. ‘You have to pass me with care,’ the man shouted. ‘Otherwise I will twist your neck into oblivion and bury you in my gravel pit here.’ So, I did pass him with care.” Before the turn of the new century, Erik had laid his eyes on some ‘photographic apparatus’ in a monthly magazine. So, he decided to make his own photographic device and adapted a worn cigar box for its new purpose. By using a piece of tin plate, Erik was able to make this invention work adequately. He was successful by developing his cigar box with further research and also produced an electric shutter for which he received a patent. By 1900, Erik was able to buy his first ‘real’ camera by mail order from the capital of Stockholm. His technical knowledge and his imagination had no limits. In the early 20s, Erik made a positive attempt at building his own radio receiver. This happened even before the Swedes started broadcasting news by radio. Consequently, from the beginning, Erik could only listen to Morse signals before the national radio began sending transmissions. Erik also installed telephones within the local community, so his neighbours were able to talk to each other. This of course was very much appreciated as the authorities had not yet begun with their telecom company. But it was his interest in photography that was going to occupy most of Erik’s time. On his two-speed Husqvarna, he rode to celebrations and confirmation parties and earned extra money as an allowance. Mister Hyginus made his proud motorcycle trips with his camera equipment attached to the vast rear luggage carrier, which can be seen on the photo. Erik also devoted time to document people in their environments during the early stages of the 20th century. He rode his Husqvarna until 1926 before he switched to driving a car. By doing so, he was also able to work by night and could extend his hours for efficiency. Erik Hyginus Rud died in 1972 at the age of 91 years. He lived, if you please, in the shadow of the devil – being a truly happy man, who made a difference in life, simultaneously being a Husqvarna motorcyclist and a colourful photographer!
  6. Jordi Viladoms’ Road Book School Speed in cross-country rallies is useless without good navigation to back it up. The skill required in both marking and reading a road book separates the great from the good, especially at races like the Dakar Rally. KTM Rally Team Manager Jordi Viladoms takes us through the all-important, and often misunderstood, roll of paper. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) 2018 © Sebas Romero With the 2019 Dakar being held exclusively in Peru, with the majority contested in the expansive sand dunes of the Peruvian desert, navigation will be key throughout the 10-day competition. Looking back to the 2018 event, the four days spent in Peru proved to be some of the toughest of the rally, both in terms of navigation through the featureless landscape and the sheer physical and mental strain endured by the athletes. Jordi Viladoms is no stranger to the Dakar Rally having ridden the event 10 times himself. The KTM Rally Team Manager takes us through the road book used by the Dakar riders and how it can make the difference between securing a top stage result or getting lost and losing valuable time in the desert. “The road book itself is quite simple – it tells you how far you have travelled and takes you from reference to reference by helping you to plan the route that lies in front of you. Printed on a roll of paper, it is made up of three columns – the first shows you the distance from the start of the stage, the second is the terrain, obstacles and dangers at that specific distance and the third contains additional information, other points of interest and reinforces the danger markers.” KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com “At the end of each day of racing, riders are given the road book for the next day. You have probably seen the photos of them with lots of colored markers, going through the road book adding notes and coloring them in. Each rider has his or her own method for marking their own road book, but the objective is always the same – make the road book easier to read at speed by highlighting any dangers as well as the important information needed to follow the correct route – your heading, waypoints, etc.” “Although it looks like fun, this process of marking your own road book and understanding the following day’s route is extremely important. Most of the terrain you encounter in the rallies is unpredictable and you have never seen it before. Because of this, you will find the top riders mark their road book and then go through it several times. Often, they try to visualize the stage so that when they come to ride it the following day, they have a good idea of what to expect.” Toby Price (AUS) Merzouga Rally 2018 © Marcin Kin “On the bike, the road book is mounted on a couple of rollers and you scroll through using thumb-buttons mounted on the handlebars. Part of the skill of cross-country rallying is the ability to glance down for a split-second and understand your road book immediately. You don’t have time to study the information or symbols as you are covering the ground so fast. To master this and become completely familiar with the symbols and instructions can take quite some time.” “At the very top level of competition, riders are prepared for turns and obstacles that still lie miles ahead. It’s this skill that separates the very elite of rallying and enables them to maintain a fast pace throughout the timed specials.” Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY Desafio Inca 2018 © Marcin Kin “Of course, the KTM Factory Racing Team practices very hard on both their riding and navigation but one thing that is difficult to practice for is the fatigue and loss of concentration when racing. Something as simple as pressure to get a good result can affect your concentration, but in a rally like the Dakar, days upon days riding 100s of kilometers in the heat of the desert can seriously affect your ability to focus. This is where mistakes can be made and as such, rally riders need to be both physically and mentally strong to overcome the challenge.” “Although the road books are generally very accurate, sometimes the information can be slightly off, or dangers can be missing – so riders still have to expect the unexpected. Terrain can also change from when the road books were created. For example, dunes can shift, holes can form and rivers can flood. A good rally rider is always ready to react to these things and again, being able to adapt can make the difference between claiming a top result or losing several minutes in any stage.” Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com For the 2019 Dakar Rally, the six-rider KTM Factory Racing Team will all need to mark and understand their road books for each one of the 10 stages of the event. Faced with timed specials covering 2,880 kilometers of sand, dunes and desert, the riders could be facing one of the most challenging Dakars to date. With the team aiming to claim KTM’s 18th consecutive victory at the event, the winner will unquestionably have mastered the art of the cross-country rally road book. Photos: Sebas Romero | PhotosDakar.com | Marcin Kin
  7. Jordi Viladoms’ Road Book School

    Jordi Viladoms’ Road Book School Speed in cross-country rallies is useless without good navigation to back it up. The skill required in both marking and reading a road book separates the great from the good, especially at races like the Dakar Rally. KTM Rally Team Manager Jordi Viladoms takes us through the all-important, and often misunderstood, roll of paper. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) 2018 © Sebas Romero With the 2019 Dakar being held exclusively in Peru, with the majority contested in the expansive sand dunes of the Peruvian desert, navigation will be key throughout the 10-day competition. Looking back to the 2018 event, the four days spent in Peru proved to be some of the toughest of the rally, both in terms of navigation through the featureless landscape and the sheer physical and mental strain endured by the athletes. Jordi Viladoms is no stranger to the Dakar Rally having ridden the event 10 times himself. The KTM Rally Team Manager takes us through the road book used by the Dakar riders and how it can make the difference between securing a top stage result or getting lost and losing valuable time in the desert. “The road book itself is quite simple – it tells you how far you have travelled and takes you from reference to reference by helping you to plan the route that lies in front of you. Printed on a roll of paper, it is made up of three columns – the first shows you the distance from the start of the stage, the second is the terrain, obstacles and dangers at that specific distance and the third contains additional information, other points of interest and reinforces the danger markers.” KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com “At the end of each day of racing, riders are given the road book for the next day. You have probably seen the photos of them with lots of colored markers, going through the road book adding notes and coloring them in. Each rider has his or her own method for marking their own road book, but the objective is always the same – make the road book easier to read at speed by highlighting any dangers as well as the important information needed to follow the correct route – your heading, waypoints, etc.” “Although it looks like fun, this process of marking your own road book and understanding the following day’s route is extremely important. Most of the terrain you encounter in the rallies is unpredictable and you have never seen it before. Because of this, you will find the top riders mark their road book and then go through it several times. Often, they try to visualize the stage so that when they come to ride it the following day, they have a good idea of what to expect.” Toby Price (AUS) Merzouga Rally 2018 © Marcin Kin “On the bike, the road book is mounted on a couple of rollers and you scroll through using thumb-buttons mounted on the handlebars. Part of the skill of cross-country rallying is the ability to glance down for a split-second and understand your road book immediately. You don’t have time to study the information or symbols as you are covering the ground so fast. To master this and become completely familiar with the symbols and instructions can take quite some time.” “At the very top level of competition, riders are prepared for turns and obstacles that still lie miles ahead. It’s this skill that separates the very elite of rallying and enables them to maintain a fast pace throughout the timed specials.” Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY Desafio Inca 2018 © Marcin Kin “Of course, the KTM Factory Racing Team practices very hard on both their riding and navigation but one thing that is difficult to practice for is the fatigue and loss of concentration when racing. Something as simple as pressure to get a good result can affect your concentration, but in a rally like the Dakar, days upon days riding 100s of kilometers in the heat of the desert can seriously affect your ability to focus. This is where mistakes can be made and as such, rally riders need to be both physically and mentally strong to overcome the challenge.” “Although the road books are generally very accurate, sometimes the information can be slightly off, or dangers can be missing – so riders still have to expect the unexpected. Terrain can also change from when the road books were created. For example, dunes can shift, holes can form and rivers can flood. A good rally rider is always ready to react to these things and again, being able to adapt can make the difference between claiming a top result or losing several minutes in any stage.” Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com For the 2019 Dakar Rally, the six-rider KTM Factory Racing Team will all need to mark and understand their road books for each one of the 10 stages of the event. Faced with timed specials covering 2,880 kilometers of sand, dunes and desert, the riders could be facing one of the most challenging Dakars to date. With the team aiming to claim KTM’s 18th consecutive victory at the event, the winner will unquestionably have mastered the art of the cross-country rally road book. Photos: Sebas Romero | PhotosDakar.com | Marcin Kin
  8. Intensive course: offroading with your adventure bike A round-the-world trip on two wheels comes just once in a lifetime. Your adventure bike is standing ready and prepared in the shed, all that’s missing is the riding skills you need for your trip. Motorcycling on the roads is no problem, but traveling on tracks and dirt roads brings with it some real challenges. An intensive course could well be the answer! Many motorcyclists dream of doing a long-distance trip on their trusty two-wheeler. Eventually you get to the point where you need to make that trip that’s been going round your head all these years actually happen. So … you clear your diary for two months and take the sabbatical you’ve been planning for so long. The motorcycle trip you’ve mapped out will still be great if you stick to the beaten path but will become really brilliant if you get offroad here and there. A challenging gravel track will get you to places you won’t read about in a travel guide. But, for many motorcyclists the question is how do I handle the bike offroad? Eddie de Vries, editor-in-chief of Dutch motorcycling magazine, MOTO73, does ten thousand kilometers a year on his bike but mainly on asphalt roads. He understands the right riding and observation techniques, but when you’re offroading, there’s also a strong element of being bold and going for it. “We have articles on offroading in our magazine, but we have specialists we call on for those pieces. As a result, I rarely find myself going offroad. It’s a shame really as it’s a great feeling just striking out on a route that leads into the unknown.” Eddie de Vries KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions And that would suit the 33-year old journalist, who you could say has got the traveling bug, down to the ground. Eddie can already cross a few countries off his bucket list thanks to the launch of so many new bikes. But, outside of his work too, he enjoys taking off to unexplored regions and this has already brought him to countries like Vietnam, Colombia and Nepal. All by bike, of course. He’s currently planning his next trip for work, to Morocco. Clearly, the rugged landscape of the country is an invitation to get offroad. So, time to get some advice from the experts on a course run by former Dakar competitor Eric Verhoef. With ten Dakar Rally competitions to his name, you can be sure he’ll be able to teach the editor of MOTO73 a thing or two about offroad motorcycling. The course is open to all and, if you’ve got an adventure bike, he’d be delighted to take you offroad and show you what it’s all about. In any event, these tips will give you a good grounding to help you on your way. Eric Verhoef KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Tip 1: prepare well for your adventure Eric Verhoef: “There’s so much more enjoyment you can get out of your adventure bike. In fact, once you’ve learnt to ride offroad, a whole new world opens up in front of you. It’s important that you approach this new challenge in small steps. Before you start, it’s a good idea to look over your equipment carefully. Clearly, a good helmet is a necessity, but even there you’ve got a range of choices. Always make sure you have a wide field of view and your eyes are well protected. The options include an adventure helmet with visor or a motocross helmet with goggles. Take a careful look at the visor tinting. If you’re going to a hot country where the sun shines a lot, it’s definitely good to have dark tinted ‘glass’. That way you see more contrast during the day – it can make quite a difference. Another alternative is to wear sunglasses under your helmet: then you can have your visor open if you want to and get a bit of fresh air circulating while still keeping your eyes protected. Tough boots and extra protection for your body are very important. Body armor should not be thought of as an unnecessary luxury, because if you do take a fall you want to be sure you minimize injury to yourself as much as possible. I would say knee protectors are a must. Even though you only have to bend out your knee to a minimum on a heavyweight adventure bike, you need to give your knees that extra protection at all times. After all, your knees are very important joints, especially if you want to go offroading. In terms of clothing, there is a wide choice and so all sorts of variations are possible. As long as you’ve got the basics right, that’s all that matters. One thing to remember is that you need to be able to move easily on your bike. It is definitely worth giving consideration to thermal underwear. It’s designed specifically to keep you warm and is very thin. That way you don’t have to wear a thick jumper that may restrict your freedom of movement. My final tip in terms of equipment is to get a camel bag. It might sound like a luxury, but it’s far from it. Make sure you drink a lot: cycling offroad takes much more out of you and uses more energy than riding on asphalt.” Eddie de Vries KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Tip 2: check your motorcycle thoroughly “Even more important than your personal equipment is, of course, your bike. You need to check that everything is working properly and check all wearing parts. This applies in particular if you’re going to be away for an extended period. If you are in any doubt as to whether any parts are still up to the job, replace them. One key item if you’re going to be riding offroad is tires. Some decent nobbly tires are a must if you’re riding on rough terrain. You might lose a bit in comfort and grip when you’re riding on asphalt, but that’s a small price to pay for the advantages you get once you’re offroad. I would recommend considering the Continental TKC80, the Michelin Anakee Wild or the D606 from Dunlop. So, get good advice on tires from your local dealer. Grip is everything if you’re heading out onto rough terrain with your adventure bike. Another must is hand guards, if they’re not already fitted as standard. The same applies to crash bars. There’s always a chance you’ll take a tumble, and they will help you avoid damage to expensive bodywork. Not only do hand guards protect your fingers from pebbles that are thrown up, they will also increase the chances your handlebars will stay intact after a fall. These are parts that could just make the difference between continuing on your journey or having to stay put with a severely damage bike. What I almost forgot to say is that you should get a shield for the crankcase to prevent a stone strike having fatal consequences for your engine block. As well as tire grip, you need to be sure you can stand securely on your bike. Check whether the rubbers on your footrests will come off. You are usually able to do this on an adventure bike. You need to be sure your boots won’t slip. Another good tip is to check if the handlebars are in the right position. Normally they will be adjusted to an average length, but if you’re slightly below or above average h, it’s worth checking this. You need to be able to ride comfortably in a standing position. If the handlebars are too low, you could consider handlebar risers.” KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Tip 3: assume the right posture “The important thing when you’re riding offroad is being able to feel what your machine is doing. To achieve this, you usually need to get into a standing position. You should not extend your limbs fully as they act as human suspension components. The knees and elbows need to be able to absorb unevenness in the surface you’re on. They won’t be able to do this if they are ‘locked’ straight. Because you’re standing, you also have more pressure on the foot pegs and that’s the main thing for balance too. The position of your feet on the pegs is also important. The ball of your foot should be doing the work. I still see far too many people riding with clown’s feet. It’s dangerous too, because the risk of getting pulled off your bike is that much greater. In terms of your hands, just keep gentle, relaxed contact with the handlebars. In fact, you only need them to apply the gas, to change gear and to brake. Imagine you’re playing the piano. Don’t hold on for dear life or it’s not going to work. At higher speeds you generally steady your bike with your knees, but when you’re going at creeping speed you need to keep your knees slightly away from the machine. That way you can let the bike move nicely between your legs to keep your balance. To get a proper feel of the effect of standing on the bike, do a bit of a test. By letting your machine break out, you’ll feel the difference instantly. If you sit on the seat, your whole body will make the same movement as the bike. Then take up a standing position: when the rear wheel breaks out it will feel much more controlled. Once you’ve experienced this, it won’t feel so worrying next time it happens and that in turn is good for your self-confidence. And, if there’s one thing that’s important for offroad motorcycling, it’s having confidence in your own abilities.” Eddie de Vries KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Tip 4: steering on unimproved roads “It’s just like skiing. Just because you’ve bought a pair of skis, it doesn’t necessarily mean the next thing you need to do is book a winter sports holiday. Start by learning to ride on rough terrain nearer to home. It’s definitely helpful to go on a course, then you pick everything up that much quicker. Whatever way you approach it, riding offroad needs a different technique to road biking. It’s a good idea to learn the basics first on gravel tracks. Gravel still gives you a reasonably hard surface, but you still need to use all the offroad techniques to stay in control. When you’re riding an adventure bike on gravel, create pressure on the front wheel by standing. Keep your speed low and build up your confidence. Initially, avoid using the front brake altogether and learn to drop your speed using the back brake. It’s not that easy to recover when you lose your front wheel on gravel. Of course, modern bikes have special ABS settings for offroad use that provide extra control. On reasonably hard surfaces you ultimately steer with your body and you think yourself round bends. Look well ahead and make sure you have enough time to anticipate unexpected situations. You need to see your adventure bike as being more like a steamboat, while a true offroader feels more like a speedboat. Its hefty weight means you need to build in a bigger margin. Riding in soft sand demands a completely different technique again, because in this situation you need to make sure you keep the weight off the front as much as possible. You also need to make sure the bike keeps pulling, albeit you don’t want to be giving it full throttle all the time. When the bike is pulling, the front forks will not plunge in. If this does happen, then the front wheel has a tendency to act like a castor. In loose sand try to keep a straight course as much as possible. Keep your weight towards the back and make turns using the rear wheel, once again controlling it using the gas. Weight and application of the throttle are very important for riding on sand. If you’ve never tried it or only have limited experience, I’d definitely recommend doing an offroad course. You need to know what it feels like when it’s working right to be able to ride on sand. If we’re talking about sand, dune riding has to be the ultimate. Be warned, it’s pretty hard-going cruising through dunes on a heavy adventure bike. Having a play in the dunes is great, but I wouldn’t recommend spending a whole day riding in that sort of terrain. But, if you think dune riding is really your thing, then it’s best to get a lightweight offroad machine.” Eddie de Vries KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Tip 5: it can go wrong “We touched on hand guards and crash bars earlier. These will help to avoid damage if you take a fall. Another point to be aware of in terms of safety is riding with others. If you’re planning to go offroad, make sure there is at least one other rider with you, and always keep each other in sight. If something does go wrong, at least there’s someone there to help. You don’t want to be waiting hours for the next vehicle to go by because you’re in a sparsely populated region. If your bike is lying on the ground, then you need to have the strength to right it again. Given the right technique, this should be within everyone’s capabilities. A good approach is to push your bottom into the saddle from the side with knees bent. Pull one handlebar toward your body and hold it with one hand. Put your other hand down as low as possible on the other side of your body and grasp the bike. It’s then a question of taking small steps backward until the bike returns to an upright position. Don’t forget, by the way, to put the bike in gear so that it can’t roll away while you’re busy righting it.” Eddie de Vries & Eric Verhoef KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions There’s one other thing to remember when you’re offroading with an adventure bike: practice makes perfect. Have a go, maybe take a course and get as many kilometers under your belt as possible. You never know, you might be standing at your employer’s door in a few weeks’ time with the all-important news that you’re off on your travels in a couple of months. If that’s you, then we’d like to wish you a fantastic trip! Eddie de Vries KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Photos: Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
  9. Intensive course: offroading with your adventure bike

    Intensive course: offroading with your adventure bike A round-the-world trip on two wheels comes just once in a lifetime. Your adventure bike is standing ready and prepared in the shed, all that’s missing is the riding skills you need for your trip. Motorcycling on the roads is no problem, but traveling on tracks and dirt roads brings with it some real challenges. An intensive course could well be the answer! Many motorcyclists dream of doing a long-distance trip on their trusty two-wheeler. Eventually you get to the point where you need to make that trip that’s been going round your head all these years actually happen. So … you clear your diary for two months and take the sabbatical you’ve been planning for so long. The motorcycle trip you’ve mapped out will still be great if you stick to the beaten path but will become really brilliant if you get offroad here and there. A challenging gravel track will get you to places you won’t read about in a travel guide. But, for many motorcyclists the question is how do I handle the bike offroad? Eddie de Vries, editor-in-chief of Dutch motorcycling magazine, MOTO73, does ten thousand kilometers a year on his bike but mainly on asphalt roads. He understands the right riding and observation techniques, but when you’re offroading, there’s also a strong element of being bold and going for it. “We have articles on offroading in our magazine, but we have specialists we call on for those pieces. As a result, I rarely find myself going offroad. It’s a shame really as it’s a great feeling just striking out on a route that leads into the unknown.” Eddie de Vries KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions And that would suit the 33-year old journalist, who you could say has got the traveling bug, down to the ground. Eddie can already cross a few countries off his bucket list thanks to the launch of so many new bikes. But, outside of his work too, he enjoys taking off to unexplored regions and this has already brought him to countries like Vietnam, Colombia and Nepal. All by bike, of course. He’s currently planning his next trip for work, to Morocco. Clearly, the rugged landscape of the country is an invitation to get offroad. So, time to get some advice from the experts on a course run by former Dakar competitor Eric Verhoef. With ten Dakar Rally competitions to his name, you can be sure he’ll be able to teach the editor of MOTO73 a thing or two about offroad motorcycling. The course is open to all and, if you’ve got an adventure bike, he’d be delighted to take you offroad and show you what it’s all about. In any event, these tips will give you a good grounding to help you on your way. Eric Verhoef KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Tip 1: prepare well for your adventure Eric Verhoef: “There’s so much more enjoyment you can get out of your adventure bike. In fact, once you’ve learnt to ride offroad, a whole new world opens up in front of you. It’s important that you approach this new challenge in small steps. Before you start, it’s a good idea to look over your equipment carefully. Clearly, a good helmet is a necessity, but even there you’ve got a range of choices. Always make sure you have a wide field of view and your eyes are well protected. The options include an adventure helmet with visor or a motocross helmet with goggles. Take a careful look at the visor tinting. If you’re going to a hot country where the sun shines a lot, it’s definitely good to have dark tinted ‘glass’. That way you see more contrast during the day – it can make quite a difference. Another alternative is to wear sunglasses under your helmet: then you can have your visor open if you want to and get a bit of fresh air circulating while still keeping your eyes protected. Tough boots and extra protection for your body are very important. Body armor should not be thought of as an unnecessary luxury, because if you do take a fall you want to be sure you minimize injury to yourself as much as possible. I would say knee protectors are a must. Even though you only have to bend out your knee to a minimum on a heavyweight adventure bike, you need to give your knees that extra protection at all times. After all, your knees are very important joints, especially if you want to go offroading. In terms of clothing, there is a wide choice and so all sorts of variations are possible. As long as you’ve got the basics right, that’s all that matters. One thing to remember is that you need to be able to move easily on your bike. It is definitely worth giving consideration to thermal underwear. It’s designed specifically to keep you warm and is very thin. That way you don’t have to wear a thick jumper that may restrict your freedom of movement. My final tip in terms of equipment is to get a camel bag. It might sound like a luxury, but it’s far from it. Make sure you drink a lot: cycling offroad takes much more out of you and uses more energy than riding on asphalt.” Eddie de Vries KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Tip 2: check your motorcycle thoroughly “Even more important than your personal equipment is, of course, your bike. You need to check that everything is working properly and check all wearing parts. This applies in particular if you’re going to be away for an extended period. If you are in any doubt as to whether any parts are still up to the job, replace them. One key item if you’re going to be riding offroad is tires. Some decent nobbly tires are a must if you’re riding on rough terrain. You might lose a bit in comfort and grip when you’re riding on asphalt, but that’s a small price to pay for the advantages you get once you’re offroad. I would recommend considering the Continental TKC80, the Michelin Anakee Wild or the D606 from Dunlop. So, get good advice on tires from your local dealer. Grip is everything if you’re heading out onto rough terrain with your adventure bike. Another must is hand guards, if they’re not already fitted as standard. The same applies to crash bars. There’s always a chance you’ll take a tumble, and they will help you avoid damage to expensive bodywork. Not only do hand guards protect your fingers from pebbles that are thrown up, they will also increase the chances your handlebars will stay intact after a fall. These are parts that could just make the difference between continuing on your journey or having to stay put with a severely damage bike. What I almost forgot to say is that you should get a shield for the crankcase to prevent a stone strike having fatal consequences for your engine block. As well as tire grip, you need to be sure you can stand securely on your bike. Check whether the rubbers on your footrests will come off. You are usually able to do this on an adventure bike. You need to be sure your boots won’t slip. Another good tip is to check if the handlebars are in the right position. Normally they will be adjusted to an average length, but if you’re slightly below or above average h, it’s worth checking this. You need to be able to ride comfortably in a standing position. If the handlebars are too low, you could consider handlebar risers.” KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Tip 3: assume the right posture “The important thing when you’re riding offroad is being able to feel what your machine is doing. To achieve this, you usually need to get into a standing position. You should not extend your limbs fully as they act as human suspension components. The knees and elbows need to be able to absorb unevenness in the surface you’re on. They won’t be able to do this if they are ‘locked’ straight. Because you’re standing, you also have more pressure on the foot pegs and that’s the main thing for balance too. The position of your feet on the pegs is also important. The ball of your foot should be doing the work. I still see far too many people riding with clown’s feet. It’s dangerous too, because the risk of getting pulled off your bike is that much greater. In terms of your hands, just keep gentle, relaxed contact with the handlebars. In fact, you only need them to apply the gas, to change gear and to brake. Imagine you’re playing the piano. Don’t hold on for dear life or it’s not going to work. At higher speeds you generally steady your bike with your knees, but when you’re going at creeping speed you need to keep your knees slightly away from the machine. That way you can let the bike move nicely between your legs to keep your balance. To get a proper feel of the effect of standing on the bike, do a bit of a test. By letting your machine break out, you’ll feel the difference instantly. If you sit on the seat, your whole body will make the same movement as the bike. Then take up a standing position: when the rear wheel breaks out it will feel much more controlled. Once you’ve experienced this, it won’t feel so worrying next time it happens and that in turn is good for your self-confidence. And, if there’s one thing that’s important for offroad motorcycling, it’s having confidence in your own abilities.” Eddie de Vries KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Tip 4: steering on unimproved roads “It’s just like skiing. Just because you’ve bought a pair of skis, it doesn’t necessarily mean the next thing you need to do is book a winter sports holiday. Start by learning to ride on rough terrain nearer to home. It’s definitely helpful to go on a course, then you pick everything up that much quicker. Whatever way you approach it, riding offroad needs a different technique to road biking. It’s a good idea to learn the basics first on gravel tracks. Gravel still gives you a reasonably hard surface, but you still need to use all the offroad techniques to stay in control. When you’re riding an adventure bike on gravel, create pressure on the front wheel by standing. Keep your speed low and build up your confidence. Initially, avoid using the front brake altogether and learn to drop your speed using the back brake. It’s not that easy to recover when you lose your front wheel on gravel. Of course, modern bikes have special ABS settings for offroad use that provide extra control. On reasonably hard surfaces you ultimately steer with your body and you think yourself round bends. Look well ahead and make sure you have enough time to anticipate unexpected situations. You need to see your adventure bike as being more like a steamboat, while a true offroader feels more like a speedboat. Its hefty weight means you need to build in a bigger margin. Riding in soft sand demands a completely different technique again, because in this situation you need to make sure you keep the weight off the front as much as possible. You also need to make sure the bike keeps pulling, albeit you don’t want to be giving it full throttle all the time. When the bike is pulling, the front forks will not plunge in. If this does happen, then the front wheel has a tendency to act like a castor. In loose sand try to keep a straight course as much as possible. Keep your weight towards the back and make turns using the rear wheel, once again controlling it using the gas. Weight and application of the throttle are very important for riding on sand. If you’ve never tried it or only have limited experience, I’d definitely recommend doing an offroad course. You need to know what it feels like when it’s working right to be able to ride on sand. If we’re talking about sand, dune riding has to be the ultimate. Be warned, it’s pretty hard-going cruising through dunes on a heavy adventure bike. Having a play in the dunes is great, but I wouldn’t recommend spending a whole day riding in that sort of terrain. But, if you think dune riding is really your thing, then it’s best to get a lightweight offroad machine.” Eddie de Vries KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Tip 5: it can go wrong “We touched on hand guards and crash bars earlier. These will help to avoid damage if you take a fall. Another point to be aware of in terms of safety is riding with others. If you’re planning to go offroad, make sure there is at least one other rider with you, and always keep each other in sight. If something does go wrong, at least there’s someone there to help. You don’t want to be waiting hours for the next vehicle to go by because you’re in a sparsely populated region. If your bike is lying on the ground, then you need to have the strength to right it again. Given the right technique, this should be within everyone’s capabilities. A good approach is to push your bottom into the saddle from the side with knees bent. Pull one handlebar toward your body and hold it with one hand. Put your other hand down as low as possible on the other side of your body and grasp the bike. It’s then a question of taking small steps backward until the bike returns to an upright position. Don’t forget, by the way, to put the bike in gear so that it can’t roll away while you’re busy righting it.” Eddie de Vries & Eric Verhoef KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions There’s one other thing to remember when you’re offroading with an adventure bike: practice makes perfect. Have a go, maybe take a course and get as many kilometers under your belt as possible. You never know, you might be standing at your employer’s door in a few weeks’ time with the all-important news that you’re off on your travels in a couple of months. If that’s you, then we’d like to wish you a fantastic trip! Eddie de Vries KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Photos: Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
  10. ktm Dakar Rally Fast Facts

    Dakar Rally Fast Facts With the start of the 2019 Dakar Rally growing closer and closer, we take a look at 10 things you probably didn’t know about the world’s toughest cross-country rally. From the fuel used by the bikes on the long, arduous days to what the riders do when it comes to bathroom breaks when out in the desert … KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Sebas Romero 1. Origin of the rally 2019 marks the 41st edition of the Dakar Rally and the 11th successive year the event will be held in South America. Of course, the race got its name from its original final destination – Dakar, the capital and largest city of Senegal, West Africa. The race was first held in 1977 and was the brainchild of Frenchman Thierry Sabine who, after getting lost in the Ténéré desert while competing in the Abidjan to Nice rally realized that navigating the wide-open dunes would pose quite a challenge for a rally. 182 vehicles took part in the inaugural Paris-Dakar Rally, just 74 made it to the finish – 40 years on, 335 vehicles made the start of the 2018 event with just over half completing the 14-stage event. Antoine Meo (FRA) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com 2. Mousses and tires All of the KTM Factory Racing bikes run Michelin tires and mousses during the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship and at the Dakar itself. For the 2019 race, which will cover a lot of soft sand, the team will run the desert mousse and tire combination that has proved so successful in competition. The mousse itself is a foam insert that takes the place of an inner-tube, inside the tire. It’s puncture-proof and can withstand a lot of abuse from even the roughest, rocky stages. KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Sebas Romero 3. Fuel and regulations Unlike other motorsport events where a control fuel is used, petrol at the Dakar is not regulated by the organizers. The team will always try to use the highest quality fuel available to them and will aim for a minimum of 98 octane for maximum performance. During the race riders will stop at refueling points, which are placed so that there is never more than 250 km between stops. Suggested petrol stations are listed on the road book too, should competitors need further fueling. Receiving petrol from fans or locals is not allowed however, although if a rider is forced to do this it normally means he’s having a seriously bad day and protests are rarely made in this case. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Sebas Romero 4. Riders’ tools and maintenance Part of KTM’s pre-Dakar rider training program involves working on the bikes. Riders are shown how to fix the problems they may face while out in the desert. Although they can’t carry a huge array of parts and tools, generally riders carry sets of brake pads, spare clutch and brake levers, a fuel injector and the tools required to replace these items, and to carry out basic maintenance on the bike and fuel tanks. Two of the biggest issues faced in cross-country rallying is damage caused by a crash or when the bike is flooded, when crossing a river for example. Damage can easily happen to the navigation tower in an accident and when a rider loses their instruments, they have no option but to either wait for another team member to guide them home or to follow the tracks in the sand ahead of them from other riders. If the bike is flooded, riders have to first remove water from the exhaust system and then from the engine itself by removing the spark plug and turning the engine over on the starter. If water gets into the gearbox or fuel system the rider’s problems become much, much worse. Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com 5. Getting some sleep The Dakar Rally is tough. Even at a slightly shorter length of 10 stages the 2019 event, held exclusively in the Peruvian desert, will pose a huge challenge to all riders. The physicality of riding through the open desert will be matched by the mental strain of navigating the route – the four days in Peru easily proved to be the toughest of the 2018 race. After spending hours in the saddle, riders have little chance to rest due to the time required to go through the following day’s road book and rider briefing, from the organizers. On average, even the factory team riders only get six hours of sleep per night before each grueling day. Riders in the Malle-Moto class who have to work on their own machines each night before they can even think about getting some rest, often survive on only three-hours sleep before setting off again once more. It takes incredible mental strength just to make it to the start line each day, let alone complete the rally. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com 6. Food and nutrition Skill and speed on a bike alone are not enough to get you through the Dakar Rally. The KTM Factory Racing riders work closely throughout the year with nutritionists and trainers to maintain the level of fitness and health required to compete at the very top level of offroad motorcycle sport. The team will aim to be at the absolute peak of their condition when the rally kicks off in early January. Of course, the nature of the sport means that this is not always possible – injuries sustained during the season can pose problems when racing for days on end in the desert. Illness and sickness can also arise when riders are physically tired or exposed to unfamiliar conditions. Making up an important part of the KTM squad are a chef and a doctor, both of which stay with the team for the duration of the rally. The chef provides the balanced diet required to sustain the riders over such a long and arduous event, the doctor is on hand to maintain their physical condition. Even a small injury sustained in a crash early on can have a huge effect come the end of the rally. Bruises, sprains and general muscle fatigue can be countered with the correct medication and physiotherapy. In the same way that the bikes undergo maintenance at the end of each regular stage, the riders too need a certain amount of tuning. Luciano Benvides (ARG) KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Sebas Romero 7. Altitude Although not so much of a factor in 2019, riding at altitude can cause huge issues for both the rider and their bike. Luckily, with a h of around 2,500 meters above sea level, the highest stage in the forthcoming event will not challenge the competitors anywhere like the 2018 event. It is estimated that the stages held at close to 5,000 meters reduced the power of the KTM 450 RALLY bikes by up to 30%. The effect on the riders themselves was perhaps even worse. Already tired from the days leading up to the mountain stages, riders found the route through Bolivia exhausting. The lack of oxygen at such an altitude robs the muscles of strength and makes it extremely difficult to concentrate – two things that are most definitely required when averaging 90 km/h through fast, rocky terrain. Again, overall fitness is very important for the riders with many spending the winter break training at altitude in preparation for the rally. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com 8. Bathroom breaks It’s a fact of life and affects everyone, but when faced with hours on a rally bike while trying to maintain the highest average speed through a featureless desert, using a nice clean, well-appointed bathroom is not always possible. The choice of how to handle this issue ultimately comes down to the rider and each one will approach it differently. Often the biggest worry when expending a lot of energy on the specials is more a case of dehydration. Temperatures on the Argentinian stages last year topped 40 degrees around the town of Fiambalá, if a rider has an accident and loses the water from their hydration system it can pose a real problem if they are still a long way from the next checkpoint. Illness is another factor and can easily force a retirement from the event. Unfortunately, if faced with a case of vomiting or diarrhea while contesting an event, the rider has no choice but to go on route. As unpleasant as this sounds, it can still mean the difference between securing a good result at the climax of the event or suffering a DNF. A good shower however, is definitely necessary at the end of each day! Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com 9. KTM’s support rider For 2019, Mario Patrao will ride for the first time as a fully-fledged factory rider within the KTM team. It’s not his first Dakar or the first time riding as support rider, but it is the first time the experienced 42-year-old will be officially classed as riding within the team. An accomplished rally competitor, Mario is the most decorated Portuguese offroad rider with over 25 national titles to his name. His highest Dakar finish was 13th in 2016 where he also won the marathon class. Due to take part in the 2018 event, a bad case of appendicitis caused Patrao to miss the race after having to undergo surgery just days before the start. Although aiming for a top-10 finish at Dakar 2019, his role as support rider within the KTM Factory Racing Team means he may be called upon to assist a rider ahead of him should they run into trouble. If a rider fighting for the win should suffer a technical issue or have a crash that damages their machine, Mario can stop and assist them to get them back on track as swiftly and efficiently as possible. His help could be the difference between a rider winning the event or being forced to retire. Mario Patrao (POR) KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Sebas Romero 10. 17 consecutive wins Nowhere else in top-level motorsport is there a domination such as KTM’s over the bike class at the Dakar Rally. Matthias Walkner’s win at the 2018 event was the 17th consecutive victory for the brand and the team are just as keen to make it 18 in a row when the rally comes to a close in Lima, Peru on January 17th. Imagine your local football team winning the league for 17 years solid or a single manufacturer dominating Formula One for so long. Starting from the late Fabrizio Meoni’s win on his KTM LC4 660 R back in 2001, the Austrian brand has won every single Dakar Rally since. Even when the event switched to South America in 2009, KTM kept on winning – 10 of the victories went to the legendary pairing of Cyril Despres and Marc Coma who between them won every single rally from 2005 to 2015. Through changes to the continent, different countries and even a reduction in the bike capacity, KTM has remained on top. This is purely down to the team working as one to produce an unstoppable force in what is truly the world’s toughest motorcycle event. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Sebas Romero Photos: Sebas Romero | PhotosDakar.com
  11. Dakar Rally Fast Facts

    Dakar Rally Fast Facts With the start of the 2019 Dakar Rally growing closer and closer, we take a look at 10 things you probably didn’t know about the world’s toughest cross-country rally. From the fuel used by the bikes on the long, arduous days to what the riders do when it comes to bathroom breaks when out in the desert … KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Sebas Romero 1. Origin of the rally 2019 marks the 41st edition of the Dakar Rally and the 11th successive year the event will be held in South America. Of course, the race got its name from its original final destination – Dakar, the capital and largest city of Senegal, West Africa. The race was first held in 1977 and was the brainchild of Frenchman Thierry Sabine who, after getting lost in the Ténéré desert while competing in the Abidjan to Nice rally realized that navigating the wide-open dunes would pose quite a challenge for a rally. 182 vehicles took part in the inaugural Paris-Dakar Rally, just 74 made it to the finish – 40 years on, 335 vehicles made the start of the 2018 event with just over half completing the 14-stage event. Antoine Meo (FRA) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com 2. Mousses and tires All of the KTM Factory Racing bikes run Michelin tires and mousses during the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship and at the Dakar itself. For the 2019 race, which will cover a lot of soft sand, the team will run the desert mousse and tire combination that has proved so successful in competition. The mousse itself is a foam insert that takes the place of an inner-tube, inside the tire. It’s puncture-proof and can withstand a lot of abuse from even the roughest, rocky stages. KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Sebas Romero 3. Fuel and regulations Unlike other motorsport events where a control fuel is used, petrol at the Dakar is not regulated by the organizers. The team will always try to use the highest quality fuel available to them and will aim for a minimum of 98 octane for maximum performance. During the race riders will stop at refueling points, which are placed so that there is never more than 250 km between stops. Suggested petrol stations are listed on the road book too, should competitors need further fueling. Receiving petrol from fans or locals is not allowed however, although if a rider is forced to do this it normally means he’s having a seriously bad day and protests are rarely made in this case. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Sebas Romero 4. Riders’ tools and maintenance Part of KTM’s pre-Dakar rider training program involves working on the bikes. Riders are shown how to fix the problems they may face while out in the desert. Although they can’t carry a huge array of parts and tools, generally riders carry sets of brake pads, spare clutch and brake levers, a fuel injector and the tools required to replace these items, and to carry out basic maintenance on the bike and fuel tanks. Two of the biggest issues faced in cross-country rallying is damage caused by a crash or when the bike is flooded, when crossing a river for example. Damage can easily happen to the navigation tower in an accident and when a rider loses their instruments, they have no option but to either wait for another team member to guide them home or to follow the tracks in the sand ahead of them from other riders. If the bike is flooded, riders have to first remove water from the exhaust system and then from the engine itself by removing the spark plug and turning the engine over on the starter. If water gets into the gearbox or fuel system the rider’s problems become much, much worse. Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com 5. Getting some sleep The Dakar Rally is tough. Even at a slightly shorter length of 10 stages the 2019 event, held exclusively in the Peruvian desert, will pose a huge challenge to all riders. The physicality of riding through the open desert will be matched by the mental strain of navigating the route – the four days in Peru easily proved to be the toughest of the 2018 race. After spending hours in the saddle, riders have little chance to rest due to the time required to go through the following day’s road book and rider briefing, from the organizers. On average, even the factory team riders only get six hours of sleep per night before each grueling day. Riders in the Malle-Moto class who have to work on their own machines each night before they can even think about getting some rest, often survive on only three-hours sleep before setting off again once more. It takes incredible mental strength just to make it to the start line each day, let alone complete the rally. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com 6. Food and nutrition Skill and speed on a bike alone are not enough to get you through the Dakar Rally. The KTM Factory Racing riders work closely throughout the year with nutritionists and trainers to maintain the level of fitness and health required to compete at the very top level of offroad motorcycle sport. The team will aim to be at the absolute peak of their condition when the rally kicks off in early January. Of course, the nature of the sport means that this is not always possible – injuries sustained during the season can pose problems when racing for days on end in the desert. Illness and sickness can also arise when riders are physically tired or exposed to unfamiliar conditions. Making up an important part of the KTM squad are a chef and a doctor, both of which stay with the team for the duration of the rally. The chef provides the balanced diet required to sustain the riders over such a long and arduous event, the doctor is on hand to maintain their physical condition. Even a small injury sustained in a crash early on can have a huge effect come the end of the rally. Bruises, sprains and general muscle fatigue can be countered with the correct medication and physiotherapy. In the same way that the bikes undergo maintenance at the end of each regular stage, the riders too need a certain amount of tuning. Luciano Benvides (ARG) KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Sebas Romero 7. Altitude Although not so much of a factor in 2019, riding at altitude can cause huge issues for both the rider and their bike. Luckily, with a h of around 2,500 meters above sea level, the highest stage in the forthcoming event will not challenge the competitors anywhere like the 2018 event. It is estimated that the stages held at close to 5,000 meters reduced the power of the KTM 450 RALLY bikes by up to 30%. The effect on the riders themselves was perhaps even worse. Already tired from the days leading up to the mountain stages, riders found the route through Bolivia exhausting. The lack of oxygen at such an altitude robs the muscles of strength and makes it extremely difficult to concentrate – two things that are most definitely required when averaging 90 km/h through fast, rocky terrain. Again, overall fitness is very important for the riders with many spending the winter break training at altitude in preparation for the rally. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com 8. Bathroom breaks It’s a fact of life and affects everyone, but when faced with hours on a rally bike while trying to maintain the highest average speed through a featureless desert, using a nice clean, well-appointed bathroom is not always possible. The choice of how to handle this issue ultimately comes down to the rider and each one will approach it differently. Often the biggest worry when expending a lot of energy on the specials is more a case of dehydration. Temperatures on the Argentinian stages last year topped 40 degrees around the town of Fiambalá, if a rider has an accident and loses the water from their hydration system it can pose a real problem if they are still a long way from the next checkpoint. Illness is another factor and can easily force a retirement from the event. Unfortunately, if faced with a case of vomiting or diarrhea while contesting an event, the rider has no choice but to go on route. As unpleasant as this sounds, it can still mean the difference between securing a good result at the climax of the event or suffering a DNF. A good shower however, is definitely necessary at the end of each day! Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com 9. KTM’s support rider For 2019, Mario Patrao will ride for the first time as a fully-fledged factory rider within the KTM team. It’s not his first Dakar or the first time riding as support rider, but it is the first time the experienced 42-year-old will be officially classed as riding within the team. An accomplished rally competitor, Mario is the most decorated Portuguese offroad rider with over 25 national titles to his name. His highest Dakar finish was 13th in 2016 where he also won the marathon class. Due to take part in the 2018 event, a bad case of appendicitis caused Patrao to miss the race after having to undergo surgery just days before the start. Although aiming for a top-10 finish at Dakar 2019, his role as support rider within the KTM Factory Racing Team means he may be called upon to assist a rider ahead of him should they run into trouble. If a rider fighting for the win should suffer a technical issue or have a crash that damages their machine, Mario can stop and assist them to get them back on track as swiftly and efficiently as possible. His help could be the difference between a rider winning the event or being forced to retire. Mario Patrao (POR) KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Sebas Romero 10. 17 consecutive wins Nowhere else in top-level motorsport is there a domination such as KTM’s over the bike class at the Dakar Rally. Matthias Walkner’s win at the 2018 event was the 17th consecutive victory for the brand and the team are just as keen to make it 18 in a row when the rally comes to a close in Lima, Peru on January 17th. Imagine your local football team winning the league for 17 years solid or a single manufacturer dominating Formula One for so long. Starting from the late Fabrizio Meoni’s win on his KTM LC4 660 R back in 2001, the Austrian brand has won every single Dakar Rally since. Even when the event switched to South America in 2009, KTM kept on winning – 10 of the victories went to the legendary pairing of Cyril Despres and Marc Coma who between them won every single rally from 2005 to 2015. Through changes to the continent, different countries and even a reduction in the bike capacity, KTM has remained on top. This is purely down to the team working as one to produce an unstoppable force in what is truly the world’s toughest motorcycle event. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Sebas Romero Photos: Sebas Romero | PhotosDakar.com
  12. DADDY’S DREAM

    As a young kid, my father Tore was not really into school or education. Instead, he dreamt of famous riders and had early passionate thoughts of becoming a motorcycle man. He was a fan of Husqvarna and his active racing period lasted half a decade. My father began competing by the end of the 20s, continuing through the early 30s – in Husqvarna's initial big-time era in racing. Daddy was born in Norrköping in the hot summer of 1911. After three years he was adopted and moved south with his new parents. Tore Olausson grew up in Malmö, situated in the Scania province. Like any other kids on the block, Tore took an early interest in motorcycles and occasionally he saw them passing by in the streets of his home town. There were not so many bikes at the time and when my father was seven years old, Husqvarna only sold 27 units for the year, in 1918. But the two-wheelers attracted interest - not only from young kids on the block, but from grown-ups who also stared as the adventurous machines hit the road. Taking out an old album of clippings – its cover a brownish, semi-thick wrapping-paper, spiral-bound – Dad was already listed in the dailies at the age of 18 from articles published in 1929. When the results of this season were counted, he was the eighth best rider in our country. Gunnar Kalén, the winning big star from Malmö, would later be Husqvarna's leading rider during the early parts of the 30s. Kalén had 19 victories while his opponent Olausson could proudly count six wins, two second places and three third positions after his very successful year. On August 22nd in 1930, Tore Olausson was one of 80 starters in the famous Bedinge hillclimb race in southern Sweden. He rode his 500cc AJS in the solo class, where he finished second behind the winner. His time for the one-kilometre track was 21.8 seconds – some five seconds slower than the overall winner in the 750cc class for racing machines. 15,000 spectators were thrilled to see so many records being beaten on this summer day. In the early stages of motorcycle racing, there were few people who enjoyed factory support with specially manufactured or tuned engines. Instead, people were racing with ordinary street machines. After some years of racing Tore's mother Bothilda had endured enough heart attacks through her son's motorcycle maniac ideas. “I dearly wanted him to stop racing before something bad happened,” she once told me. “Some of the friends of my sons were killed in motorcycle accidents.” So, what to do? As an alternative to medium-sized bikes, Bothilda figured Tore would stop racing if he received a heavy, big-bore Harley-Davidson. “That should keep him on ordinary roads,” she reasoned. She was of course right, but only for the time being. My father was a stubborn man and he soon started to practice broad-sliding with his latest mount. It wasn't long before he took up racing with his American machine - mother Bothilda was devastated. Daddy's dream of achieving a competitive racing machine finally came through when he got hold of a 350cc lightweight Husqvarna racer from the factory back in 1933. As opposed to so called ‘catalogue machines’ the racers were more professionally built and had a greater capacity for setting good lap times at racing events. My Dad bought a 350DT – a development of the previous so called ‘Special Racer’ and also ‘The Poor Man’s Racer’, built between 1931 and 1933. It was a big moment for him – having reached a near-professional level in motorcycle racing. Practicing in these days meant riding a bike as much as possible. Nobody had ever thought of their physical condition in connection with performance. But my daddy was fit and had good stamina for bike racing. In an old inherited photo album, I found a fantastic picture of Tore with his two buddies. His riding gear is incredible, but adequate for its purpose. Helmets did exist at the time, but were not mandatory for riding. There are photos of my dad with a cap, or sometimes with a club hat, but there are also pictures where he really does wear real protection. A shirt and a sweater are at hand while his bike trousers were wide at his legs - just like horse-riding pants. The leather boots stick out as well as being long and reach just below his knees. What a sight! One of Tore's major successes came in the hill-climb at the Lyckas track, situated near the slopes in the vicinity of the city Helsingborg. After heavy rainfalls there were two factors to consider on race day; the spectators were absent with only a crowd of 1,500 persons present and the hill-climb track was tricky as it was wet and slippery to conquer. However, despite this fact there were thankfully no major crashes during the event. The track facing the hill was only 575 meters long, so one could expect riding times close to half-a-minute under existing conditions. Race day started on time at two o'clock in the afternoon with up-and-coming riders making their debut. After their performance the ‘catalogue riders’, ten in total, made their contribution with finishing times around 38 seconds. Last but not least, the category 6 class for racing machines followed. Six riders were scheduled to race, but only four of them made it to the start. And it was here that Tore Olausson set the record with his Husqvarna lightweight bike. He scored first place with a set time of 32.9 seconds. The margin to the second man was 3.2 seconds which meant that Tore was 10 percent faster than anybody else. Hats and handkerchiefs flew in the air from a cheering crowd. He had the fastest set of wheels on this memorable day! “It was a great moment,” my father used to share with me when looking through his scrapbook. “I was really happy and proud when I received the trophy from the hands of countess Piper,” he said with a smile and an owlish blink. Except in my world, daddy never became a legendary racer. Instead, Tore was a humble man who went after his dreams and experienced racing life such as it was nearly a century ago. Being fond of his competition machines, be it at any size or cylinder capacity, he cherished his lightweight Husqvarna racer as his favourite machine. Look at the shot in his newly-ironed suit. Dad was a true scrambler, racing to the marrow in his bones. And it was his big-time love affair in a stone age...
  13. Nicola Dutto: “Always looking ahead” Never will he stop trying new things. A horrific crash left Nicola Dutto bound to a wheelchair, but even with that setback in mind, he’s still out to achieve his goals. His next challenge will be kicking off on January 7, 2019. That’s the day he’ll start the Dakar Rally. © Francesca Gasperi Certain dates are etched in the mind. A beautiful memory like your wedding day, the birth of a child, or perhaps even the first time you swung a leg over a new motorcycle; your mind archives the day for you, so you can come back to that specific memory on its annual anniversary. Dark days unfortunately follow the same routine. One man that knows all about it, is Nicola Dutto (48). March 20, 2010 is one of those dates; one that will stick by him until the day he dies. On that day fate took a turn for the worse, when he experienced that which all racers fear. It was during that year’s Italian Baja in Pordenone that left Dutto paralyzed from the waist down. “The last thing I remember is kicking the bike up a gear from fourth into fifth. What happened right after, I don’t know. The next thing I remember is opening my eyes, wanting to get back on the bike. But I couldn’t get up.” Spectators quickly gathered round the fallen Italian, in an attempt to help him up. “I told them right away not to touch me, because they were moving in to take my helmet off. I needed medical assistance above all, quick too.” Some of Dutto’s spinal vertebrae could not handle the impact of the crash and cracked as a result. There was no way around it at this stage; the Italian Baja specialist knew pretty quickly he was paralyzed. “But that wasn’t even my main concern at the time, because the doctor that had rushed to the scene pointed out I was still critically hurt, since my heart wasn’t functioning properly and the blow had also reduced my lung capacity to around twenty percent of normal.” Fourteen weeks of nothing Nine hours of surgery later, Nicola Dutto spends an additional five days in the ICU. Two weeks later, he’s moved to a rehabilitation clinic near his home town of Beinette. “All the broken bones had to heal, which meant I had fourteen weeks of doing absolutely nothing to look forward to. The staff would lift me off the bed with a sheet, so they could put me in an electric wheelchair.” Because he was basically bedridden at this point, with rehab waiting for him once the broken bones had healed, he had quite a bit of time to ponder the whole situation. “Thinking about it all at the time, it’s really difficult to try and see the light,” he admits in all honesty. “I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t shed a tear. Once I started to figure out what the consequences meant, I cried a lot. It’s like someone pushed a button. The one moment you’re out there racing and the next you’re confined to a bed, without functioning legs.” Dark clouds had been gathering over Nicola’s head, but he was fortunate to have Elena Foi by his side. The couple had met at a party at Scorpion Bay, six months before Nicola’s life-changing accident. “We’d only known each other for a little while at that point, and the first thing Nicola told me when he woke up after surgery was “You don’t have to stay with me.” Naturally I wanted nothing else but to be there for him, even though I didn’t know what was going to happen at all.” Elena lives in Brescia, almost three hours from Turin, where Nicola was treated in the rehab clinic; traveling back and forth as often as she could. “We lived three hundred kilometers apart, so that was problematic, especially since I had a job and two daughters to raise. I lost my job in the end, unfortunately, but my parents couldn’t have been more supportive. It was a tough period, but Nicola’s recovery was going well and after nine months he could return home. After that my daughters and I moved in with Nicola.” © Francesca Gasperi The sole Italian Before his accident, Nicola Dutto earned a living racing professionally. It wasn’t until Dutto was nineteen he started racing, but that did not stop him from building quite a career in a relatively short period of time. After moderate success riding enduros, the Italian shifted his focus to Baja races. Cross-country races with arrowed out routes seemed to be his forte. “A friend of mine pointed out this particular new sort of racing. In Spain the sport had taken flight and I just fell in love with the game. Eventually I moved to Spain and lived there for six years, just to put all my time into the Baja.” Dutto regularly competed with Dakar hotshots like Marc Coma, Isidre Esteve Pujol, and Nani Roma. Back in the day he was something special, being the sole Italian in a field full of Spaniards. In Italy they held only some fast enduro races, but nothing like a ‘real’ Baja. Dutto managed to make a name for himself in the sport, eventually taking the European Baja title in both 2008 and 2009. Dutto’s beloved sport first came to be on the Mexican Baja California peninsula, and in 2010 he had intended to race the legendary Baja 1000 race there too. Unfortunately, that never happened that year, but – believe it or not – despite his injuries and his time rehabilitating, Dutto’s name was back on the entry list the year after, as a buggy racer this time. “My crash had ruined my chances of racing a motorcycle in Baja, but my rehabilitation gave me time to reconsider my options. In the end I decided on racing the Baja 1000 in the buggy class, together with Elena.” The Italian couple’s adventure ended with them stuck in the Mexican desert, after a transmission belt got fried. “The problem was aggravated because we just couldn’t replace the belt on site. The belt was behind my seat, so it was impossible to get to. We waited for assistance in that riverbed all night. I had made up my mind right then and there; this never again. Four wheels mean trouble. So, I needed to get myself back on two wheels.” © Francesca Gasperi Spanish connection Three-time AMA motocross national champ Doug Henry inspired Dutto to follow in his footsteps. After the Italian saw the roll cage Henry had used on his bike, he started to work on building his own version. “Motorcycle racing is the pivot point of my life, although getting back on a motorcycle after my crash had seemed impossible until then. I had thought about trying my hand as a race organizer, because it was still the world I wanted to be a part of. Riding bikes again myself? No, that had never crossed my mind in the beginning.” After seeing Doug Henry all that changed, and the Italian was back on a bike soon after. Thinking about that day immediately puts a smile on Dutto’s face. “I felt like such an idiot getting back on a bike again. I was terrified too. We had mounted sort of like training wheels to the bike and at first I went completely pale at the thought of actually riding it. What had I gotten myself into. But a few hundred meters in, I found my balance again. I was certain then I was going to ride again.” After those first tentative steps back on a bike, Dutto enrolled in a Baja race. Just four months down the road, Dutto scored a 24th place in the Baja Aragon. “I had really intended for it to be a fun ride with friends. Just cruising through the mountains, but I couldn’t deny I wanted to get back in the sport. I needed to get in touch with some of my Spanish friends.” With motorcycle racing back on the cards, the Dakar Rally soon came up for Dutto, too. “Before my accident Bajas had been my main focus, but since it, I’ve been seeing new opportunities everywhere I look. Like the Dakar. It was never a dream for me like it is for most, but to me racing the Dakar is like taking part in the Olympics. Three years ago, while watching the race on TV, I thought to myself why not do the Dakar?” © Francesca Gasperi How adversaries became ghost riders Despite his handicap, Nicola Dutto is no different than other potential contestants, in that he has to qualify to be allowed to take part in the world’s toughest race. He did so last year when he finished the OliLibya Rally. Every competitor needs a team to even have a shot at finishing a race, but for the Italian having capable people around him is beyond crucial. During rally raids the KTM rider is accompanied by so-called ghost riders. These ghost riders go by the name of Pablo Toral, Victor Rivera, and Julian Villarrubia. “We will start the Dakar Rally as a four-person team. One rider will ride in front, because I can’t just stop to have a look around, to see where I’m supposed to be going. He guides me onto the right trails up a dune for instance. He’s also the one to ‘catch’ me when I have to stop for fuel or when I reach the finish line. The other two riders follow in my wake. In case something goes wrong, they’ll be there to pick me up. As I’m tied to the motorcycle it’s important having the two of them, because it’s not just the bike they’re picking up, but the roll cage and myself with it. For me it is even more important than it is for ‘normal’ riders to have a team I can rely on; it has to feel like a family. I am fortunate to have three incredible ghost riders – guys I’ve known for a very long time. They used to be my adversaries in the Spanish Bajas!” © Francesca Gasperi Since Dutto is paralyzed from the waist down, he needs more than just his three ghost riders with him; the bike needed quite a bit of work as well. His KTM 450 EXC-F has undergone a transformation to allow the Italian to be comfortable on the bike. Dutto uses an electronically controlled shifter as well as an automatic Rekluse clutch. The rear brake master cylinder has been moved to the handlebars, too. His legs are secured and guarded by a framework. Other important parts on Dutto’s unique KTM are the Vicair seat and back support with a three-point harness attached. “Comparing my current Dakar bike to the bike I first built to get back on two wheels, you could say a lot has changed. On the old bike the roll cage was pretty big and bulky, where on my new bike it’s brought back to a very minimalist design. It allowed us to shed quite a bit of weight from the bike, which helps controlling the motorcycle. It’s also worth noting the engine of the KTM enduro is a lot better, too. Engine characteristics and the fact it has a six-speed gearbox is perfect for me.” Obviously, Nicola had to adapt his riding to the new situation. In his own words, it now feels like normal riding without using his legs. “It’s pretty difficult explaining how I have to ride a bike now. It is a very involved manner of riding, and it has taken a lot of time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Working on getting the suspension to work for me was interesting, because I’m unable to stand up to take the blows anymore.” © Francesca Gasperi The best example The paraplegia has led Nicola Dutto through a deep and dark place, but his eyes were always on the light shimmering on the horizon. He couldn´t be happier he decided to approach his rehabilitation as only a professional athlete would. “I put in the hours of training, with the clinic staff telling me I was mad. Instead of going for just an hour of required physical therapy, I pushed on. If I could, I would try two or even three hours. That sped up progress drastically. I still felt like a professional athlete, even without functioning legs. Preparing for the Dakar Rally I’m back in that zone again.” His entry in the Dakar Rally is the best example of Dutto’s will to enjoy life – especially since he can combine life with motorsports again. “I consider myself a happy man, not just because I’m still alive, but also because there’s still so many projects left to do for me. In 2013 my good friend Kurt Caselli lost his life. That was hard to swallow, but at the same time it made me more determined in making the most out of life. Look, the accident left me with two options. I could’ve looked back, thinking about the time when I could still walk, but that wouldn’t have gotten me anywhere. I decided to take the second option, because when I’m on a bike or when I’m skiing – another passion of mine – I’m always looking ahead. And that is how I’m living life with my paraplegia, too.” © Francesca Gasperi Want to follow Nicola Dutto during the upcoming Dakar Rally? Check out his social media pages: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoladutto/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicola.dutto.official/ Photos: Francesca Gasperi
  14. Nicola Dutto: “Always looking ahead”

    Nicola Dutto: “Always looking ahead” Never will he stop trying new things. A horrific crash left Nicola Dutto bound to a wheelchair, but even with that setback in mind, he’s still out to achieve his goals. His next challenge will be kicking off on January 7, 2019. That’s the day he’ll start the Dakar Rally. © Francesca Gasperi Certain dates are etched in the mind. A beautiful memory like your wedding day, the birth of a child, or perhaps even the first time you swung a leg over a new motorcycle; your mind archives the day for you, so you can come back to that specific memory on its annual anniversary. Dark days unfortunately follow the same routine. One man that knows all about it, is Nicola Dutto (48). March 20, 2010 is one of those dates; one that will stick by him until the day he dies. On that day fate took a turn for the worse, when he experienced that which all racers fear. It was during that year’s Italian Baja in Pordenone that left Dutto paralyzed from the waist down. “The last thing I remember is kicking the bike up a gear from fourth into fifth. What happened right after, I don’t know. The next thing I remember is opening my eyes, wanting to get back on the bike. But I couldn’t get up.” Spectators quickly gathered round the fallen Italian, in an attempt to help him up. “I told them right away not to touch me, because they were moving in to take my helmet off. I needed medical assistance above all, quick too.” Some of Dutto’s spinal vertebrae could not handle the impact of the crash and cracked as a result. There was no way around it at this stage; the Italian Baja specialist knew pretty quickly he was paralyzed. “But that wasn’t even my main concern at the time, because the doctor that had rushed to the scene pointed out I was still critically hurt, since my heart wasn’t functioning properly and the blow had also reduced my lung capacity to around twenty percent of normal.” Fourteen weeks of nothing Nine hours of surgery later, Nicola Dutto spends an additional five days in the ICU. Two weeks later, he’s moved to a rehabilitation clinic near his home town of Beinette. “All the broken bones had to heal, which meant I had fourteen weeks of doing absolutely nothing to look forward to. The staff would lift me off the bed with a sheet, so they could put me in an electric wheelchair.” Because he was basically bedridden at this point, with rehab waiting for him once the broken bones had healed, he had quite a bit of time to ponder the whole situation. “Thinking about it all at the time, it’s really difficult to try and see the light,” he admits in all honesty. “I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t shed a tear. Once I started to figure out what the consequences meant, I cried a lot. It’s like someone pushed a button. The one moment you’re out there racing and the next you’re confined to a bed, without functioning legs.” Dark clouds had been gathering over Nicola’s head, but he was fortunate to have Elena Foi by his side. The couple had met at a party at Scorpion Bay, six months before Nicola’s life-changing accident. “We’d only known each other for a little while at that point, and the first thing Nicola told me when he woke up after surgery was “You don’t have to stay with me.” Naturally I wanted nothing else but to be there for him, even though I didn’t know what was going to happen at all.” Elena lives in Brescia, almost three hours from Turin, where Nicola was treated in the rehab clinic; traveling back and forth as often as she could. “We lived three hundred kilometers apart, so that was problematic, especially since I had a job and two daughters to raise. I lost my job in the end, unfortunately, but my parents couldn’t have been more supportive. It was a tough period, but Nicola’s recovery was going well and after nine months he could return home. After that my daughters and I moved in with Nicola.” © Francesca Gasperi The sole Italian Before his accident, Nicola Dutto earned a living racing professionally. It wasn’t until Dutto was nineteen he started racing, but that did not stop him from building quite a career in a relatively short period of time. After moderate success riding enduros, the Italian shifted his focus to Baja races. Cross-country races with arrowed out routes seemed to be his forte. “A friend of mine pointed out this particular new sort of racing. In Spain the sport had taken flight and I just fell in love with the game. Eventually I moved to Spain and lived there for six years, just to put all my time into the Baja.” Dutto regularly competed with Dakar hotshots like Marc Coma, Isidre Esteve Pujol, and Nani Roma. Back in the day he was something special, being the sole Italian in a field full of Spaniards. In Italy they held only some fast enduro races, but nothing like a ‘real’ Baja. Dutto managed to make a name for himself in the sport, eventually taking the European Baja title in both 2008 and 2009. Dutto’s beloved sport first came to be on the Mexican Baja California peninsula, and in 2010 he had intended to race the legendary Baja 1000 race there too. Unfortunately, that never happened that year, but – believe it or not – despite his injuries and his time rehabilitating, Dutto’s name was back on the entry list the year after, as a buggy racer this time. “My crash had ruined my chances of racing a motorcycle in Baja, but my rehabilitation gave me time to reconsider my options. In the end I decided on racing the Baja 1000 in the buggy class, together with Elena.” The Italian couple’s adventure ended with them stuck in the Mexican desert, after a transmission belt got fried. “The problem was aggravated because we just couldn’t replace the belt on site. The belt was behind my seat, so it was impossible to get to. We waited for assistance in that riverbed all night. I had made up my mind right then and there; this never again. Four wheels mean trouble. So, I needed to get myself back on two wheels.” © Francesca Gasperi Spanish connection Three-time AMA motocross national champ Doug Henry inspired Dutto to follow in his footsteps. After the Italian saw the roll cage Henry had used on his bike, he started to work on building his own version. “Motorcycle racing is the pivot point of my life, although getting back on a motorcycle after my crash had seemed impossible until then. I had thought about trying my hand as a race organizer, because it was still the world I wanted to be a part of. Riding bikes again myself? No, that had never crossed my mind in the beginning.” After seeing Doug Henry all that changed, and the Italian was back on a bike soon after. Thinking about that day immediately puts a smile on Dutto’s face. “I felt like such an idiot getting back on a bike again. I was terrified too. We had mounted sort of like training wheels to the bike and at first I went completely pale at the thought of actually riding it. What had I gotten myself into. But a few hundred meters in, I found my balance again. I was certain then I was going to ride again.” After those first tentative steps back on a bike, Dutto enrolled in a Baja race. Just four months down the road, Dutto scored a 24th place in the Baja Aragon. “I had really intended for it to be a fun ride with friends. Just cruising through the mountains, but I couldn’t deny I wanted to get back in the sport. I needed to get in touch with some of my Spanish friends.” With motorcycle racing back on the cards, the Dakar Rally soon came up for Dutto, too. “Before my accident Bajas had been my main focus, but since it, I’ve been seeing new opportunities everywhere I look. Like the Dakar. It was never a dream for me like it is for most, but to me racing the Dakar is like taking part in the Olympics. Three years ago, while watching the race on TV, I thought to myself why not do the Dakar?” © Francesca Gasperi How adversaries became ghost riders Despite his handicap, Nicola Dutto is no different than other potential contestants, in that he has to qualify to be allowed to take part in the world’s toughest race. He did so last year when he finished the OliLibya Rally. Every competitor needs a team to even have a shot at finishing a race, but for the Italian having capable people around him is beyond crucial. During rally raids the KTM rider is accompanied by so-called ghost riders. These ghost riders go by the name of Pablo Toral, Victor Rivera, and Julian Villarrubia. “We will start the Dakar Rally as a four-person team. One rider will ride in front, because I can’t just stop to have a look around, to see where I’m supposed to be going. He guides me onto the right trails up a dune for instance. He’s also the one to ‘catch’ me when I have to stop for fuel or when I reach the finish line. The other two riders follow in my wake. In case something goes wrong, they’ll be there to pick me up. As I’m tied to the motorcycle it’s important having the two of them, because it’s not just the bike they’re picking up, but the roll cage and myself with it. For me it is even more important than it is for ‘normal’ riders to have a team I can rely on; it has to feel like a family. I am fortunate to have three incredible ghost riders – guys I’ve known for a very long time. They used to be my adversaries in the Spanish Bajas!” © Francesca Gasperi Since Dutto is paralyzed from the waist down, he needs more than just his three ghost riders with him; the bike needed quite a bit of work as well. His KTM 450 EXC-F has undergone a transformation to allow the Italian to be comfortable on the bike. Dutto uses an electronically controlled shifter as well as an automatic Rekluse clutch. The rear brake master cylinder has been moved to the handlebars, too. His legs are secured and guarded by a framework. Other important parts on Dutto’s unique KTM are the Vicair seat and back support with a three-point harness attached. “Comparing my current Dakar bike to the bike I first built to get back on two wheels, you could say a lot has changed. On the old bike the roll cage was pretty big and bulky, where on my new bike it’s brought back to a very minimalist design. It allowed us to shed quite a bit of weight from the bike, which helps controlling the motorcycle. It’s also worth noting the engine of the KTM enduro is a lot better, too. Engine characteristics and the fact it has a six-speed gearbox is perfect for me.” Obviously, Nicola had to adapt his riding to the new situation. In his own words, it now feels like normal riding without using his legs. “It’s pretty difficult explaining how I have to ride a bike now. It is a very involved manner of riding, and it has taken a lot of time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Working on getting the suspension to work for me was interesting, because I’m unable to stand up to take the blows anymore.” © Francesca Gasperi The best example The paraplegia has led Nicola Dutto through a deep and dark place, but his eyes were always on the light shimmering on the horizon. He couldn´t be happier he decided to approach his rehabilitation as only a professional athlete would. “I put in the hours of training, with the clinic staff telling me I was mad. Instead of going for just an hour of required physical therapy, I pushed on. If I could, I would try two or even three hours. That sped up progress drastically. I still felt like a professional athlete, even without functioning legs. Preparing for the Dakar Rally I’m back in that zone again.” His entry in the Dakar Rally is the best example of Dutto’s will to enjoy life – especially since he can combine life with motorsports again. “I consider myself a happy man, not just because I’m still alive, but also because there’s still so many projects left to do for me. In 2013 my good friend Kurt Caselli lost his life. That was hard to swallow, but at the same time it made me more determined in making the most out of life. Look, the accident left me with two options. I could’ve looked back, thinking about the time when I could still walk, but that wouldn’t have gotten me anywhere. I decided to take the second option, because when I’m on a bike or when I’m skiing – another passion of mine – I’m always looking ahead. And that is how I’m living life with my paraplegia, too.” © Francesca Gasperi Want to follow Nicola Dutto during the upcoming Dakar Rally? Check out his social media pages: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoladutto/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicola.dutto.official/ Photos: Francesca Gasperi
  15. Interview of the Month: Toby Price – Bouncing back from injury and his journey to the 2018 Rally World Championship 2016 Dakar Rally winner Toby Price is no stranger to hardship. Before his rally career had even begun the Australian suffered three broken vertebrae during a Hare and Hounds crash in America. Then, when defending his Dakar title in 2017, another fall resulted in a badly broken leg that resulted in his immediate retirement from the event. But through a positive mental, dogged determination and a never give up attitude, Price fought back to claim a hard-fought Dakar podium finish in early 2018. Price then went on to win the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship making him a firm favorite for Dakar 2019. However, once again the KTM ace is experiencing the rollercoaster ride of the sport, as he faces a race back to fitness to make it to the start of the Dakar in January, after sustaining a wrist injury this week. Toby Price (AUS) 2018 © Sebas Romero Toby’s Dakar journey started back in 2015. Riding for KTM as a support rider to the notably more experienced duo of Marc Coma and Jordi Viladoms, the Australian finished on the podium to surprise not only many of the Dakar regulars but also himself. “I was shocked to be honest, I certainly didn’t expect to finish on the podium. Going into the event, I knew it was going to be tough – my goal was to finish top 20, but I was definitely hoping to go a little better and maybe even crack the top 10. As the rally went on, my results improved, even taking a win on the penultimate stage. I just kept my head down and kept charging. Finishing third was amazing and I was hooked from then on.” Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar Rally 2015 © Marcin Kin One year later, Price was standing on the top step of the Dakar podium. In what was only his sixth ever rally, the multiple Australian Offroad Champion won five of the 13 stages and his winning margin at the end of the 9,237 km race was close to 40 minutes. “It’s hard to put into words how tough the Dakar is, if you haven’t experienced it for yourself it’s not easy to understand. Just finishing the event is a triumph – winning it feels truly amazing.” Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar Rally 2016 © Marcin Kin Not surprisingly, following his Dakar success his focus was 100% on cross-country rallying. Claiming third place in his first full season in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, Price went into Dakar 2017 full of confidence. A strong start was followed by a win on stage two as it started to look like Price could claim a second consecutive victory at the event. A navigational error cost him a lot of time on stage three and the Aussie went in to the fourth stage looking to claw back valuable minutes. Disastrously, a crash when pushing hard just a few kilometers from the stage finish resulted in a broken femur and the end to his Dakar Rally for that year. To say 2017 was ‘a challenge’ for Price is a huge understatement. Needing time to recover properly and rebuild his strength and fitness, a planned return to competition at the OiLibya Rally of Morocco ended up with Price needing to go under the surgeon’s knife with Dakar 2018 just around the corner. A serious question mark hung over Price’s participation in the following January’s 2018 Dakar. “I was worried. I had to have my injury cleaned up and because of the extra surgery it meant I had very little time to prepare for what is one of the toughest races in the world. I’d been off the bike for close to nine months and to come back from that and be on the pace was going to be a huge ask. The team were great though, they did an incredible job on the bike and in supporting me and I went into that first stage in Peru feeling as good as I possibly could have considering the year I’d had.” Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar Rally 2017 © Marcin Kin After a solid start to the rally, Price went from strength to strength, finding pace when other riders were beginning to tire. With two consecutive stage wins and a second place on the 14th and final stage, the 2016 Dakar winner successfully completed the rally in an impressive third place. “I was so happy to get to the finish line in Argentina – that was always my main goal right from the start. To finish the Dakar Rally is an achievement in itself, to come away at the end of the race with a podium was unbelievable, especially after such a difficult year. The whole team came together and worked so hard, our results simply wouldn’t be possible without all the great people around us.” Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar Rally 2018 © PhotosDakar.com The start of the 2018 world championship season wasn’t so successful for Price. At the first race in Abu Dhabi things started off well with a win on stage one, with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders claiming the top three positions on the day. Going into stage two, and despite another strong start, a sizeable crash caused damage to a fuel line on his KTM 450 RALLY, which ultimately cost close to 30 minutes. Price crossed the line in 11th position. The Australian was able to fight his way back to seventh overall, but with his main championship rival Pablo Quintanilla taking the win, it would be a huge challenge to make up enough points over the remaining rounds to claim the overall championship title. “Seventh at the end of the rally was not where I had planned to finish. Having said that, after the crash I had I was glad to complete the rally in one piece. I didn’t give up and pushed right to the end, although it was always going to be tough to try and make up for so much lost time.” Toby Price (AUS) Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2018 © Marcin Kin With the major teams deciding not to contest round two in Doha, it wasn’t until the Atacama Rally in Chile and round three that Price could regroup and fight once more for the title. Riding consistently and never finishing outside of the top five, the 31-year-old claimed the runner-up position on the podium and went a little way to putting his world championship campaign back on track. “I set out at the beginning of the Atacama to ride consistently and get back up to speed with the bike and navigation after the break over the summer. To take second after such a tricky race was really encouraging and helped to build my confidence for the last two rounds.” Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 RALLY Atacama Rally 2018 © Rally Zone Another strong ride in Argentina at the Desafio Ruta 40 took Price to another second place, a mere six seconds from the win after 17 hours of riding. Most importantly however, Quintanilla was again one place behind giving Price an extra few points in the championship battle with just one round left to race – the Rally du Maroc. The rankings were close heading into the final round with Price trailing the leading Quintanilla by just eight points. Any one of the top six riders in the standings had a chance to take the championship title however, and it would all be played out in the sand of Morocco. Despite the pressure of the championship chase there was only one option for Price and that was to come out swinging, and that is exactly what he did. A win on the opening prologue stage threw down the gauntlet to his competitors. He backed it up with a win on stage one. Despite opening the route on stage two, Price led most the timed special and was only narrowly beaten on time by teammate Matthias Walkner. Holding the overall rally lead heading into stage three – the first of the rally’s marathon stage – Toby rode a safe 280 kilometers, conserving himself and his machine, to arrive sixth at the bivouac. With just the final two stages left to complete, Price gave it his all – posting the fastest time on the long stage four, finishing one place ahead of Quintanilla to secure his overall lead at the event with just the one day remaining. The fifth and final stage of the rally, and indeed the 2018 world championship, could not have gone much better. A close fight with Honda’s Kevin Benavides took Price to second place, just 12 seconds behind. The result was enough for the KTM rider to claim overall victory at the rally and in turn, the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies crown. “It was such an amazing season – I still can’t believe it. It was seriously tough and after a slow start in Abu Dhabi I never dreamed I would be champion at the end of it all. Despite injuries and setbacks during my career, I have never given up, I have always looked ahead and tried to take some kind of positivity from it all. I was really nervous going into that last day in Morocco, despite my lead you can never take anything for granted in rallying. This is my first ever world championship and after such a positive Dakar at the beginning of the year, 2018 has been incredible. It’s all credit to my team and everyone at Red Bull KTM, without them behind me I wouldn’t be in the position to do the things I do. To stand on top of the world is the best feeling ever.” Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 RALLY Rally du Maroc 2018 © Rally Zone Toby now looks to Peru and the 2019 Dakar Rally. The Australian has another injury-battle to overcome, having fractured his right scaphoid in training for the event, which is a definite reminder of the elation and challenges involved in racing offroad. Toby is a determined man though, and he fully expects to be racing in the new year – with his comback history, who knows what he might be able to achieve in the 10-day event. What is clear is that his goal will remain the same as every year; a good safe ride and a strong finish. We wish you a fast recovery Toby and look forward to seeing you at the Dakar! Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 RALLY 2018 © Sebas Romero Photos: Sebas Romero | Marcin Kin | PhotosDakar.com | Rally Zone
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