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  1. Wheelie Academy with Rok Bagoroš: Lift it up Everyone who’s ever watched a motorcycle stunt show, will have felt that urge; I want to do that! But as easy as it looks, the sort of stunts and tricks guys like Rok Bagoroš bring to the table are incredibly difficult to master. You’ll find that out soon enough once you book a lesson at the Slovenian stunt rider’s Wheelie Academy. For years I tried to piece together an acceptable wheelie for the motorcycle magazine I worked for as a road tester, but unfortunately, the end result would never involve any sort of excitingly high lifted front wheel – or at least not to a point I felt in control. Lifting it up at a call kept getting me down. Especially when looking at the photographic outcome afterwards, it was hardly anything to write home about, though it felt like an incredibly high-flying frontend; it really wasn’t ever. Mere decimeters from the deck every single time. Knowing exactly what makes it such a hassle to achieve only fuels the frustration; I’m simply too afraid to flip the bike. Weirder still is the fact I’m sure I’ve never even come close to the infamous point of no return. I’ve considered buying something cheap I could practice wheelying on, but never followed through. As I kept trying, I was more and more giving up on that illusive, controlled wheelie. Until I heard of Rok Bagoroš’ Wheelie Academy. As of last year, the Slovenian freestyle motorcycle stunt rider shares his knowledge of how to ‘lift it up’ – without crashing bike after bike, obviously. © Jowin Boerboom Mounts of dirty dishes Of course, I knew Rok Bagoroš as the YouTube stunt sensation he’d become over the years, throwing around bikes on videos. The sight of him near effortlessly swinging a bike around on one wheel – front or rear; it’s all the same to him – is bizarre to say the least. But as with any masterfully skilled person, the time and effort put in pays off tenfold – even though it takes both time and effort a plenty. Bagoroš grew up in Radenci, a tiny Slovenian town with barely 2,000 inhabitants, on the border with Austria. Humble beginnings didn’t stop Bagoroš from chasing his dreams. Selling newspapers and going through mounts of dirty dishes at a local restaurant, a 17-year-old Bagoroš made enough money to buy himself a scooter. Not to take him to work or to school, no; so, he could go out and stunt! “I loved Andreas Gustafsson’s stunt videos. He stunted scooters and I wanted to do that, too.” Rok turned out to be quite talented and after putting in the hours, he learned to up his game as he got better at more advanced tricks. “Back then I had gotten into Chris Pfeiffer’s stunting. Pfeiffer was the first stunter who got a contract with a manufacturer.” That outlined Rok’s mission; becoming a professional freestyle stunt rider. He worked as hard as he could, with his tricks catching on with fans. In 2011, the Slovenian caught a major break when KTM asked him to ride the orange machines professionally. “It really was a dream come true. Though I had always hoped I could one day stunt for a living, I did not expect things would go this fast.” © Jowin Boerboom Doing laps Eight years on, Rok Bagoroš and his team are taking on the next challenge. Of course, Rok and his buddies will still be doing the stunt shows we know and love them for, making awesome videos as they go, but as a sort of side gig they’ve started their very own Wheelie Academy. In a small group Rok teaches motorcyclists how to make a controllable wheelie. “No more than eight riders at a time,” he makes very clear. “I’m not interested in doing large groups; I want to focus on making sure students get the quality time to learn. That’s just not an option if you get too large of a group.” During the four-hour course, students start with a very simple looking exercise; doing laps. Rok has thrown me the keys of a brand-new KTM 390 DUKE, explaining me what I’m about to do, as we roll up to a marked-out course. “We’re going to make really tight circles, so you can adjust to using the rear brake.” It’s been a while since I did my road test, so I’m curious to see how I’ll do in a handling course like this. © Jowin Boerboom Just three laps in, Rok stops me. “Don’t worry, you’re doing fine. But I can see you’re grabbing the clutch using all four fingers. That’s not how we’re going to be doing things today. We want to have the handlebars firmly in hand, and to do that, you’ll need nothing but your index finger and middle finger to operate the clutch lever. We’ve adjusted the cable to get the clutch engagement point just right to be able to work with those two fingers alone.” As I carry on making set out laps, I find myself having to switch directions occasionally, not to get sick. Soon enough I’m able to stay within the circle, only to be stopped again by my Slovenian teacher. “Not bad at all,” Rok tells me with a smile. “But now we’re going to try and tighten the circle up even further. Keep focusing on that rear brake.” Back to the circle we go, clockwise first then counter-clockwise. Occasionally I need to put a foot down real quick, but Rok seems to let those moments slip. It’s time to stop again. This time we’re parking the KTM 390 DUKE for now. “See, using the rear brake you can turn the bike much tighter than you first imagined, right? That’s easily overlooked, but very important part of controlling a wheelie.” © Jowin Boerboom Baby get higher After a short breather, Rok goes into the anatomy of a wheelie. “Firstly, what we’ll be learning today is to perform the wheelie in a controlled fashion. Basically, anyone can lift the front wheel off the throttle alone, but that is not what we’re here to do. It’s all about balance and knowing what you’re doing.” No wonder the Wheelie Academy uses a small fleet of KTM 390 DUKEs. “You don’t need a lot of power to wheelie, as you’ll find out. A light bike like the 390 is just perfect to get you going, with the torquey single-cylinder engine to help you lift that wheel off the ground.” © Jowin Boerboom In order to give the whole group the attention they need, Rok has enlisted Radislav Mihajlov – a fellow stunt rider from Serbia – as a second instructor. He’ll be getting me up to speed for the first wheelie session. “Biggest advantage to how we teach our students to wheelie, is that it’s impossible to flip the bike. Once you go over balance point, the rubber mats basically catch you. When you do hit the rubber mats – and you will – don’t touch the clutch; stick to using the rear brake. You’ll come right back down.” © Jowin Boerboom To set me off, Radislav allows me to get used to riding on the five-wheeled contraption. The KTM I’ll be wheelying today has been rigged with the weirdest pair of training wheels I’ve ever seen, keeping the bike upright. The cart hanging from those wheels carries the rubber mats that catch you, plus the additional rear wheel. Like riding a motorcycle with a sidecar, I try to get accustomed to the weird five-wheeler, going up and down the wheelie strip. © Jowin Boerboom Not long after, it’s time to put the theory into action. Without a second thought, I let the clutch go with just a hint of throttle and before I know I’m lifting the front off the ground. Only to drop it right back down again. Four desperate attempts later, Radislav stops me again. I’m afraid I’m about to get a slap on the wrist here. “You’re not doing too bad, actually, but you should try to get more elevation; lift the front wheel higher. Try it, don’t worry!” His encouraging word should’ve calmed my nerves, but they haven’t. A sort of mental barrier keeps me from really taking flight, ending the first session with a wheelie that can only be described as moderately high. Most students are in a similar situation at this point, with a few of them going up and over, hitting the rubber mats that are there to catch you. Don’t think any of us can say they’re very much in control of anything at this point, but at least we’ve come to experience what it’s like to get a bike vertical. © Jowin Boerboom As I head into my second session of learning how to wheelie controllably, my focus is on elevation. Luckily, it’s not just Radislav that’s noticed my progression; I can feel it, too. Rok chips in every now and again with an additional pointer or two. “If you just drop the clutch, you won’t need much throttle at all; your body weight should help lift the front as it moves back. Most students tend to do this; they’re trying to physically pull the front up, unknowingly transferring weight over the front in the process.” © Jowin Boerboom No problem at all As I conclude my second session, I’m starting to feel confident. Rok Bagoroš seems satisfied with my progress, even more so than I am. “You’re starting to get a hang of it; not bad at all. Right now, you seem to have the separate actions under control. Time to string those actions together.” I can tell you, practicing wheelies for long periods of time is pretty tiring, so I’m glad to get a little break, using my fellow Wheelie Academy students for entertainment as I catch my breath. Got to hand it to those KTM 390 DUKEs; they’re getting a beating, but they don’t seem to miss a single beat. Just a bit of fuel every now and again, and they can do this all day long. “Certainly, in the beginning, students really drop the front quite hard, giving the front suspension a hard time. So far, the 390 DUKE has been taking it on the chin like a champ,” Tomaž Bratusa, Rok Bagoroš’ mechanic tells me. “Students tend to think we’re constantly replacing clutch plates and front suspension parts, but that’s really not the case. We keep up with regular maintenance and that’s pretty much it. Of course, we check all the bikes before packing up at the end of the day. That way we can be sure all the KTM 390 DUKEs are good to go for the following group.” Session three is when I really start to get a hang of it; a sense of control is slowly but surely creeping in, though it’s still no easy task pulling a textbook wheelie out of the hat. It’s a mix of not shifting my weight back right on one go and being too eager on the throttle on the next. Still, as I get off the bike to hand it over to another student, it’s near impossible to keep the smile off my face. Rok gives me a thumbs up as I sit down on one of the comfy seats in the KTM awning. More than anything, I’ve come to the conclusion you don’t just go out and learn to wheelie. The Academy is a tough nut to crack. There’s so many bits and pieces you need to put together – that takes some serious focus. Sooner than expected, though, I’m back on the 390. The day is starting to draw to a close, I’m going all out; I want to put on that fully controlled wheelie Rok’s been trying to teach me all day. It seems the harder I try, the harder it gets. Focus on technique has made room for frustration, set on by me just wanting it too much. So, by session five I’ve really lost all focus and concentration – my fellow students are also feeling the strain. It just all seems so easy; you pay the man, you get on the wheelie machine, and there you go, you can wheelie. But it’s simply not that simple – one of the main things Rok Bagoroš’ Wheelie Academy has taught me above all. It still takes practice, you still learn to wheelie by doing it. Four hours of trying to lift it up later, the Slovenian freestyle stunt rider sends us off back home, but not before he sits us down for a few final words. “Consider learning to wheelie like learning to swim,” he says. “You don’t learn to swim in just one morning or just one afternoon. If it’s a good wheelie you want to make, you’re going to have to put in the hours of training. You’ve done a good job getting a hang of the basics, now you need a closed-off area to go and build on those basics – you need to practice. Do remember, though, today’s course hasn’t just saved you a lot of money in repairing a bike you will have crashed a few times before finding control, but you’ve saved yourself a few broken bones as well. How we teach, you can safely go up to and over balance point, without writing off a motorcycle. I believe, from what I’ve seen today, all of you could master a perfect wheelie at some stage. For now, it just requires you to invest the time and the energy to perfect it.” © Jowin Boerboom Do you feel like having a crack at Rok Bagoroš’ Wheelie Academy? Well, you can! The next courses are on June 25-27 in Murska Sobota in Slovenia. Check out Rok´s website for all you need to know. Oh, and definitely have a look on Rok’s YouTube channel. It’s full of … let’s just call it inspiration! Photos: Jowin Boerboom
  2. Wheelie Academy with Rok Bagoroš: Lift it up

    Wheelie Academy with Rok Bagoroš: Lift it up Everyone who’s ever watched a motorcycle stunt show, will have felt that urge; I want to do that! But as easy as it looks, the sort of stunts and tricks guys like Rok Bagoroš bring to the table are incredibly difficult to master. You’ll find that out soon enough once you book a lesson at the Slovenian stunt rider’s Wheelie Academy. For years I tried to piece together an acceptable wheelie for the motorcycle magazine I worked for as a road tester, but unfortunately, the end result would never involve any sort of excitingly high lifted front wheel – or at least not to a point I felt in control. Lifting it up at a call kept getting me down. Especially when looking at the photographic outcome afterwards, it was hardly anything to write home about, though it felt like an incredibly high-flying frontend; it really wasn’t ever. Mere decimeters from the deck every single time. Knowing exactly what makes it such a hassle to achieve only fuels the frustration; I’m simply too afraid to flip the bike. Weirder still is the fact I’m sure I’ve never even come close to the infamous point of no return. I’ve considered buying something cheap I could practice wheelying on, but never followed through. As I kept trying, I was more and more giving up on that illusive, controlled wheelie. Until I heard of Rok Bagoroš’ Wheelie Academy. As of last year, the Slovenian freestyle motorcycle stunt rider shares his knowledge of how to ‘lift it up’ – without crashing bike after bike, obviously. © Jowin Boerboom Mounts of dirty dishes Of course, I knew Rok Bagoroš as the YouTube stunt sensation he’d become over the years, throwing around bikes on videos. The sight of him near effortlessly swinging a bike around on one wheel – front or rear; it’s all the same to him – is bizarre to say the least. But as with any masterfully skilled person, the time and effort put in pays off tenfold – even though it takes both time and effort a plenty. Bagoroš grew up in Radenci, a tiny Slovenian town with barely 2,000 inhabitants, on the border with Austria. Humble beginnings didn’t stop Bagoroš from chasing his dreams. Selling newspapers and going through mounts of dirty dishes at a local restaurant, a 17-year-old Bagoroš made enough money to buy himself a scooter. Not to take him to work or to school, no; so, he could go out and stunt! “I loved Andreas Gustafsson’s stunt videos. He stunted scooters and I wanted to do that, too.” Rok turned out to be quite talented and after putting in the hours, he learned to up his game as he got better at more advanced tricks. “Back then I had gotten into Chris Pfeiffer’s stunting. Pfeiffer was the first stunter who got a contract with a manufacturer.” That outlined Rok’s mission; becoming a professional freestyle stunt rider. He worked as hard as he could, with his tricks catching on with fans. In 2011, the Slovenian caught a major break when KTM asked him to ride the orange machines professionally. “It really was a dream come true. Though I had always hoped I could one day stunt for a living, I did not expect things would go this fast.” © Jowin Boerboom Doing laps Eight years on, Rok Bagoroš and his team are taking on the next challenge. Of course, Rok and his buddies will still be doing the stunt shows we know and love them for, making awesome videos as they go, but as a sort of side gig they’ve started their very own Wheelie Academy. In a small group Rok teaches motorcyclists how to make a controllable wheelie. “No more than eight riders at a time,” he makes very clear. “I’m not interested in doing large groups; I want to focus on making sure students get the quality time to learn. That’s just not an option if you get too large of a group.” During the four-hour course, students start with a very simple looking exercise; doing laps. Rok has thrown me the keys of a brand-new KTM 390 DUKE, explaining me what I’m about to do, as we roll up to a marked-out course. “We’re going to make really tight circles, so you can adjust to using the rear brake.” It’s been a while since I did my road test, so I’m curious to see how I’ll do in a handling course like this. © Jowin Boerboom Just three laps in, Rok stops me. “Don’t worry, you’re doing fine. But I can see you’re grabbing the clutch using all four fingers. That’s not how we’re going to be doing things today. We want to have the handlebars firmly in hand, and to do that, you’ll need nothing but your index finger and middle finger to operate the clutch lever. We’ve adjusted the cable to get the clutch engagement point just right to be able to work with those two fingers alone.” As I carry on making set out laps, I find myself having to switch directions occasionally, not to get sick. Soon enough I’m able to stay within the circle, only to be stopped again by my Slovenian teacher. “Not bad at all,” Rok tells me with a smile. “But now we’re going to try and tighten the circle up even further. Keep focusing on that rear brake.” Back to the circle we go, clockwise first then counter-clockwise. Occasionally I need to put a foot down real quick, but Rok seems to let those moments slip. It’s time to stop again. This time we’re parking the KTM 390 DUKE for now. “See, using the rear brake you can turn the bike much tighter than you first imagined, right? That’s easily overlooked, but very important part of controlling a wheelie.” © Jowin Boerboom Baby get higher After a short breather, Rok goes into the anatomy of a wheelie. “Firstly, what we’ll be learning today is to perform the wheelie in a controlled fashion. Basically, anyone can lift the front wheel off the throttle alone, but that is not what we’re here to do. It’s all about balance and knowing what you’re doing.” No wonder the Wheelie Academy uses a small fleet of KTM 390 DUKEs. “You don’t need a lot of power to wheelie, as you’ll find out. A light bike like the 390 is just perfect to get you going, with the torquey single-cylinder engine to help you lift that wheel off the ground.” © Jowin Boerboom In order to give the whole group the attention they need, Rok has enlisted Radislav Mihajlov – a fellow stunt rider from Serbia – as a second instructor. He’ll be getting me up to speed for the first wheelie session. “Biggest advantage to how we teach our students to wheelie, is that it’s impossible to flip the bike. Once you go over balance point, the rubber mats basically catch you. When you do hit the rubber mats – and you will – don’t touch the clutch; stick to using the rear brake. You’ll come right back down.” © Jowin Boerboom To set me off, Radislav allows me to get used to riding on the five-wheeled contraption. The KTM I’ll be wheelying today has been rigged with the weirdest pair of training wheels I’ve ever seen, keeping the bike upright. The cart hanging from those wheels carries the rubber mats that catch you, plus the additional rear wheel. Like riding a motorcycle with a sidecar, I try to get accustomed to the weird five-wheeler, going up and down the wheelie strip. © Jowin Boerboom Not long after, it’s time to put the theory into action. Without a second thought, I let the clutch go with just a hint of throttle and before I know I’m lifting the front off the ground. Only to drop it right back down again. Four desperate attempts later, Radislav stops me again. I’m afraid I’m about to get a slap on the wrist here. “You’re not doing too bad, actually, but you should try to get more elevation; lift the front wheel higher. Try it, don’t worry!” His encouraging word should’ve calmed my nerves, but they haven’t. A sort of mental barrier keeps me from really taking flight, ending the first session with a wheelie that can only be described as moderately high. Most students are in a similar situation at this point, with a few of them going up and over, hitting the rubber mats that are there to catch you. Don’t think any of us can say they’re very much in control of anything at this point, but at least we’ve come to experience what it’s like to get a bike vertical. © Jowin Boerboom As I head into my second session of learning how to wheelie controllably, my focus is on elevation. Luckily, it’s not just Radislav that’s noticed my progression; I can feel it, too. Rok chips in every now and again with an additional pointer or two. “If you just drop the clutch, you won’t need much throttle at all; your body weight should help lift the front as it moves back. Most students tend to do this; they’re trying to physically pull the front up, unknowingly transferring weight over the front in the process.” © Jowin Boerboom No problem at all As I conclude my second session, I’m starting to feel confident. Rok Bagoroš seems satisfied with my progress, even more so than I am. “You’re starting to get a hang of it; not bad at all. Right now, you seem to have the separate actions under control. Time to string those actions together.” I can tell you, practicing wheelies for long periods of time is pretty tiring, so I’m glad to get a little break, using my fellow Wheelie Academy students for entertainment as I catch my breath. Got to hand it to those KTM 390 DUKEs; they’re getting a beating, but they don’t seem to miss a single beat. Just a bit of fuel every now and again, and they can do this all day long. “Certainly, in the beginning, students really drop the front quite hard, giving the front suspension a hard time. So far, the 390 DUKE has been taking it on the chin like a champ,” Tomaž Bratusa, Rok Bagoroš’ mechanic tells me. “Students tend to think we’re constantly replacing clutch plates and front suspension parts, but that’s really not the case. We keep up with regular maintenance and that’s pretty much it. Of course, we check all the bikes before packing up at the end of the day. That way we can be sure all the KTM 390 DUKEs are good to go for the following group.” Session three is when I really start to get a hang of it; a sense of control is slowly but surely creeping in, though it’s still no easy task pulling a textbook wheelie out of the hat. It’s a mix of not shifting my weight back right on one go and being too eager on the throttle on the next. Still, as I get off the bike to hand it over to another student, it’s near impossible to keep the smile off my face. Rok gives me a thumbs up as I sit down on one of the comfy seats in the KTM awning. More than anything, I’ve come to the conclusion you don’t just go out and learn to wheelie. The Academy is a tough nut to crack. There’s so many bits and pieces you need to put together – that takes some serious focus. Sooner than expected, though, I’m back on the 390. The day is starting to draw to a close, I’m going all out; I want to put on that fully controlled wheelie Rok’s been trying to teach me all day. It seems the harder I try, the harder it gets. Focus on technique has made room for frustration, set on by me just wanting it too much. So, by session five I’ve really lost all focus and concentration – my fellow students are also feeling the strain. It just all seems so easy; you pay the man, you get on the wheelie machine, and there you go, you can wheelie. But it’s simply not that simple – one of the main things Rok Bagoroš’ Wheelie Academy has taught me above all. It still takes practice, you still learn to wheelie by doing it. Four hours of trying to lift it up later, the Slovenian freestyle stunt rider sends us off back home, but not before he sits us down for a few final words. “Consider learning to wheelie like learning to swim,” he says. “You don’t learn to swim in just one morning or just one afternoon. If it’s a good wheelie you want to make, you’re going to have to put in the hours of training. You’ve done a good job getting a hang of the basics, now you need a closed-off area to go and build on those basics – you need to practice. Do remember, though, today’s course hasn’t just saved you a lot of money in repairing a bike you will have crashed a few times before finding control, but you’ve saved yourself a few broken bones as well. How we teach, you can safely go up to and over balance point, without writing off a motorcycle. I believe, from what I’ve seen today, all of you could master a perfect wheelie at some stage. For now, it just requires you to invest the time and the energy to perfect it.” © Jowin Boerboom Do you feel like having a crack at Rok Bagoroš’ Wheelie Academy? Well, you can! The next courses are on June 25-27 in Murska Sobota in Slovenia. Check out Rok´s website for all you need to know. Oh, and definitely have a look on Rok’s YouTube channel. It’s full of … let’s just call it inspiration! Photos: Jowin Boerboom
  3. About the queen of Dakar and the Erzbergrodeo: “I’ll be back to finish it!” It was the end of May and the Iron Giant wasn’t in the mood. On a freezing, stormy day, 1800 riders gathered at his feet to try their luck. Among them, 34 fun and fearless women in muddy boots were waiting for the Iron Road Prologue to start. The toughest girl in motorsport was feeling like a rookie again. As a Dakarian, she knows only too well the thrill of the unknown, yet nothing compares to the Erzbergrodeo. To Laia Sanz, the gnarliest, one day hard enduro race in the world was not only a new race but also a new discipline to get to grips with. She was way out of her comfort zone, for the first time in her life, saddling a 2-stroke bike, tackling a brand-new adventure. Laia Sanz (ESP) Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Mission Erzbergrodeo We are sitting under the Iron Giant, chatting about the madness she was about to endure. “I don’t know what I was thinking! I should have competed here last year, it was sunny, and the track was shorter. This is quite a challenge for a hard enduro rookie,” she said, and I thought: “This is what you always do, lady. You love challenges. You never shy away from anything. You are not afraid to stare fear in the face. You even know how to lose. That’s why you always win.” And this is more or less how Laia Sanz’s first Erzbergrodeo affair went. Her goal was to become the first woman in the event’s 25-year history to finish the infamous Red Bull Hare Scramble. Her time ran out at the moment she passed the CP 20, or in other words: She didn’t finish the race, but she placed herself among the 30 best competitors. Speaking of the race with 500 contenders, but only 16 finishers, no extra comment is needed. Anyway, the best thing Laia took out of it is the knowledge that the hard enduro is too much fun to put away into a box of memories. 18-times world champion in trials and enduro, as well as the most successful female in the cross-country world is already planning a comeback to the Erzbergrodeo. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media 30 days before the storm It was only a month before the toughest single hard enduro race in the world, when she finally felt good enough to start with hard enduro training. First, she called her good friends from trials Alfredo Gomez and Pol Tarres, 4th and 9th place in the Red Bull Hare Scramble 2019 respectively, and said to them: “Guys, I need some help. I have enrolled for the Erzbergrodeo.” The two were happy to assist her in pursuing the newest challenge, threw her into deep water and she needed to pick it up fast. For the first time she also ride a 2-stroke KTM 300 EXC TPI, specially prepared for the event. “I wanted to train with the best, this is the only way you can push your limits. Though those first days training were a nightmare. The guys were taking on impossible uphills, it completely freaked me out. But I had no choice, it was take it or forget Erzberg. At first, I was rolling down the hills, but in the end I pulled it off. And it just felt amazing! Luckily the team also made an amazing bike. The tires have fantastic grip, the suspension is perfect and it’s simply incredible to see what the bike can do. Each day of preparation I learned something new. My confidence was growing, but I was also becoming aware of the fact I couldn’t be physically ready in time,” she confessed right before the Iron Road Prologue. “I wish I could have started to prepare straight after the Dakar. Unfortunately, I picked up an injury in the last stage and it was more serious than it originally seemed. I knew from the beginning of my preparation that I could run out of steam before the finish line,” she added. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Partners in crime Jaume Betriu, her boyfriend as well as one of the most skilled enduro and motocross riders, was with her most of the time. “I consider myself very lucky. Jaume knows me better than anybody. On the one hand, he is super supportive, but on the other he always pushes me over my limit. It’s hard and funny at the same time when you are emotionally involved. I can easily imagine telling him where to go when he patronizes me, completely exhausted in Carl’s Dinner; this is the most dreadful section of the race where help is allowed. While stressful, the whole process of training together was a fantastic journey. Well, after this, he will either ask me to marry him, or he will leave me for good, there’s no middle ground,” she joked. Laia Sanz (ESP) Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Wining and dining with Karl Everybody knows how the story went by now. Laia Sanz achieved an impressive time in the first run of the Iron Road Prologue and rode even better the next day. Still, the 13.5 km long track was completely ruined after a stampede of 1800 riders. Thanks to a wild card the organizer gave to the best two female riders of the prologue, on a Sunday race she attacked from the first line. She started well and avoided a big traffic jam at the foot of the Three Kings section. Passing the first checkpoints riding between 16th and 18th place. At this point, her goal of becoming the first woman to finish the race was still within reach. After that the unpredictable factor kicked in and her race changed. She made a mistake just before Carl’s Dinner, slipping down on a snowy slope. She used up her energy trying to climb back with a slightly damaged bike. When Laia reached the scariest part of the race, the so-called Carl’s Dinner, she was completely exhausted. “To understand the level of difficulty of Carl’s Dinner you have to experience it. The problem is the length, it’s a psychological war you are fighting within,” she explained. Every year the genius boss of the Erzbergrodeo, Karl Katoch, is more a fan of slow food. Luckily, among the iron rocks there was also Alberto Cano, Laia’s mechanic, to join Jaume in helping her. “Normally Alberto is just watching me. If I don’t have any issues with the bike, he can’t do much during the race. This time he played his part really well, I’ve never seen him so busy,” she laughs. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Hard enduro is so much fun When asked if she wants to come back, or even try some other hard enduro races, Laia replies: “If you had asked me this on Sunday after the race, I would have said no way. Today it’s a yes, for sure. What’s more, I think I will quite miss all of this. The Erzbergrodeo is somehow magical, the atmosphere is quite unique. And most importantly, hard enduro is fun. I had already had so much fun preparing for it. In the first days I hated it, that’s true, but then I got hooked. So yes, I will be back, with more experience and better prepared. The only problem is that every year the race gets longer and more difficult. Karl is a very nice guy, but a little crazy.” The bottom line: Laia and Jaume are still together and she still has the same goal to become the first female rider in history to finish the impossible Erzbergrodeo and Karl will never change. The challenge continues … Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Photos: Future7Media
  4. About the queen of Dakar and the Erzbergrodeo: “I’ll be back to finish it!” It was the end of May and the Iron Giant wasn’t in the mood. On a freezing, stormy day, 1800 riders gathered at his feet to try their luck. Among them, 34 fun and fearless women in muddy boots were waiting for the Iron Road Prologue to start. The toughest girl in motorsport was feeling like a rookie again. As a Dakarian, she knows only too well the thrill of the unknown, yet nothing compares to the Erzbergrodeo. To Laia Sanz, the gnarliest, one day hard enduro race in the world was not only a new race but also a new discipline to get to grips with. She was way out of her comfort zone, for the first time in her life, saddling a 2-stroke bike, tackling a brand-new adventure. Laia Sanz (ESP) Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Mission Erzbergrodeo We are sitting under the Iron Giant, chatting about the madness she was about to endure. “I don’t know what I was thinking! I should have competed here last year, it was sunny, and the track was shorter. This is quite a challenge for a hard enduro rookie,” she said, and I thought: “This is what you always do, lady. You love challenges. You never shy away from anything. You are not afraid to stare fear in the face. You even know how to lose. That’s why you always win.” And this is more or less how Laia Sanz’s first Erzbergrodeo affair went. Her goal was to become the first woman in the event’s 25-year history to finish the infamous Red Bull Hare Scramble. Her time ran out at the moment she passed the CP 20, or in other words: She didn’t finish the race, but she placed herself among the 30 best competitors. Speaking of the race with 500 contenders, but only 16 finishers, no extra comment is needed. Anyway, the best thing Laia took out of it is the knowledge that the hard enduro is too much fun to put away into a box of memories. 18-times world champion in trials and enduro, as well as the most successful female in the cross-country world is already planning a comeback to the Erzbergrodeo. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media 30 days before the storm It was only a month before the toughest single hard enduro race in the world, when she finally felt good enough to start with hard enduro training. First, she called her good friends from trials Alfredo Gomez and Pol Tarres, 4th and 9th place in the Red Bull Hare Scramble 2019 respectively, and said to them: “Guys, I need some help. I have enrolled for the Erzbergrodeo.” The two were happy to assist her in pursuing the newest challenge, threw her into deep water and she needed to pick it up fast. For the first time she also ride a 2-stroke KTM 300 EXC TPI, specially prepared for the event. “I wanted to train with the best, this is the only way you can push your limits. Though those first days training were a nightmare. The guys were taking on impossible uphills, it completely freaked me out. But I had no choice, it was take it or forget Erzberg. At first, I was rolling down the hills, but in the end I pulled it off. And it just felt amazing! Luckily the team also made an amazing bike. The tires have fantastic grip, the suspension is perfect and it’s simply incredible to see what the bike can do. Each day of preparation I learned something new. My confidence was growing, but I was also becoming aware of the fact I couldn’t be physically ready in time,” she confessed right before the Iron Road Prologue. “I wish I could have started to prepare straight after the Dakar. Unfortunately, I picked up an injury in the last stage and it was more serious than it originally seemed. I knew from the beginning of my preparation that I could run out of steam before the finish line,” she added. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Partners in crime Jaume Betriu, her boyfriend as well as one of the most skilled enduro and motocross riders, was with her most of the time. “I consider myself very lucky. Jaume knows me better than anybody. On the one hand, he is super supportive, but on the other he always pushes me over my limit. It’s hard and funny at the same time when you are emotionally involved. I can easily imagine telling him where to go when he patronizes me, completely exhausted in Carl’s Dinner; this is the most dreadful section of the race where help is allowed. While stressful, the whole process of training together was a fantastic journey. Well, after this, he will either ask me to marry him, or he will leave me for good, there’s no middle ground,” she joked. Laia Sanz (ESP) Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Wining and dining with Karl Everybody knows how the story went by now. Laia Sanz achieved an impressive time in the first run of the Iron Road Prologue and rode even better the next day. Still, the 13.5 km long track was completely ruined after a stampede of 1800 riders. Thanks to a wild card the organizer gave to the best two female riders of the prologue, on a Sunday race she attacked from the first line. She started well and avoided a big traffic jam at the foot of the Three Kings section. Passing the first checkpoints riding between 16th and 18th place. At this point, her goal of becoming the first woman to finish the race was still within reach. After that the unpredictable factor kicked in and her race changed. She made a mistake just before Carl’s Dinner, slipping down on a snowy slope. She used up her energy trying to climb back with a slightly damaged bike. When Laia reached the scariest part of the race, the so-called Carl’s Dinner, she was completely exhausted. “To understand the level of difficulty of Carl’s Dinner you have to experience it. The problem is the length, it’s a psychological war you are fighting within,” she explained. Every year the genius boss of the Erzbergrodeo, Karl Katoch, is more a fan of slow food. Luckily, among the iron rocks there was also Alberto Cano, Laia’s mechanic, to join Jaume in helping her. “Normally Alberto is just watching me. If I don’t have any issues with the bike, he can’t do much during the race. This time he played his part really well, I’ve never seen him so busy,” she laughs. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Hard enduro is so much fun When asked if she wants to come back, or even try some other hard enduro races, Laia replies: “If you had asked me this on Sunday after the race, I would have said no way. Today it’s a yes, for sure. What’s more, I think I will quite miss all of this. The Erzbergrodeo is somehow magical, the atmosphere is quite unique. And most importantly, hard enduro is fun. I had already had so much fun preparing for it. In the first days I hated it, that’s true, but then I got hooked. So yes, I will be back, with more experience and better prepared. The only problem is that every year the race gets longer and more difficult. Karl is a very nice guy, but a little crazy.” The bottom line: Laia and Jaume are still together and she still has the same goal to become the first female rider in history to finish the impossible Erzbergrodeo and Karl will never change. The challenge continues … Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Photos: Future7Media
  5. #Inthisyear1969: New models and motorsport success The opening of the KTM Motohall was a hugely important day for Europe’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer. The “Friends Opening” was attended by 400 guests, including Roger DeCoster, KTM Motorsport Director for North America, whose protégé Cooper Webb had won the fourth AMA Supercross Championship for KTM just days before at the Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas. Another American, without whom KTM might not have become what it is today, also traveled to Mattighofen for the event. John Penton, now 93 years old, set things in motion in the late 1960s when he placed a major order with KTM for the production of light enduros with 100cc and 125cc. Hobby Automatic © KTM In the mid-1960s, interest in the motorcycle slowly began to pick up once the great crisis at the end of the 1950s was over. Unlike many motorcycle manufacturers in German-speaking countries, KTM survived because it didn’t make the mistake of trying to compensate for the decline in sales by producing a car. And also due to the fact that the motorcycle also gained a sporty image when Japanese manufacturers entered the European market. Instead of being seen as a conventional way of getting to work, the focus had turned to the thrill of the 2-wheel ride. The KTM program did also contain a “proper” motorcycle with 100cc and a Sachs four-speed engine, sold as the “Hansa” in the USA, but the 50cc vehicles were initially the center of attention in the model range. Due to driver license regulations, these were suitable for both for everyday use and for young motorcycle enthusiasts. The “Hobby Automatic” was launched in 1969 as the new entry-level model – “the new formula for the perfect ride” according to the KTM brochure at the time. “No need for technical knowledge”. And it delivered on its promises. The 2-hp Sachs engine with centrifugal clutch and 1-speed transmission made for a carefree ride. KTM Comet 504 S © KTM When it came to weather protection, the various Comet models with fan or airflow-cooled Puch engines couldn’t keep up with the Ponny II moped, which now had a Puch four-speed engine in the “Super 4” version, but the Comets were also reliable everyday vehicles. KTM presented a super-hot motorcycle with the Comet 504 Super – narrow fenders and a chrome-plated 10-liter specially shaped fuel tank made for an unmistakable line. While the German competitor models still had an undamped fork or an antiquated-looking front swingarm, KTM fitted an oil-damped fork in the Comet 504 S. Coupled with the two slender silencers and the special airflow-cooled KTM cylinder instead of fan cooling, the Comet 504 S was the undisputed star among KTM’s motorcycles. KTM Penton 125 © KTM However, the highlight of KTM’s 1969 program was the KTM Penton 125, which brought in the bulk of the 25% increase in sales compared to the previous year. Two years before, John Penton, an American motorcycle dealer from Ohio, contacted KTM because he was looking for a manufacturer for lightweight offroad and motocross bikes that lived up to his expectations. The first prototypes were ready by the end of 1967 and one year later, the small offroad bikes passed the acid test in the USA and at the “Sei Giorni”, the International Six Days Enduro in San Pellegrino, Italy. As soon as the Penton riders, including Penton’s sons Jack, Jeff, and Tom, identified weaknesses on tough offroad races in the American New England states, solutions were sought in Penton’s workshop, which were immediately incorporated into the series in Mattighofen. Of course, this did not escape the notice of engine manufacturer Fichtel & Sachs in Schweinfurt and it came as no surprise at the International Six Days Enduro in 1969, when ultra-modern, aluminum cylinders were used on the Penton bikes, while the bikes from German Sachs subsidiary Hercules still had to make do with the old cast iron cylinders. Five gold medals, six silver and two bronze medals for the American and European riders that started out on KTM Penton is more than a respectable result for the tough International Six Days Enduro in the Allgäu Alps around Garmisch-Partenkirchen. While John Penton’s (initiator of KM Penton) team triumphed no less than 38 times in the 100cc and 125cc class, Arnaldo Farioli won the Italian 125cc offroad championship and Jouka Laaksonen became the Finnish offroad champion. John & Jack Penton KTM Motohall 2019 © Penton If you would like to take a closer look at this piece of motorsport history up close, we recommend a visit to our KTM Motohall in Mattighofen, where you can marvel at a 1969 Penton, along with many other victorious bikes. The KTM Motohall is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Photos: KTM | Penton
  6. #Inthisyear1969: New models and motorsport success

    #Inthisyear1969: New models and motorsport success The opening of the KTM Motohall was a hugely important day for Europe’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer. The “Friends Opening” was attended by 400 guests, including Roger DeCoster, KTM Motorsport Director for North America, whose protégé Cooper Webb had won the fourth AMA Supercross Championship for KTM just days before at the Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas. Another American, without whom KTM might not have become what it is today, also traveled to Mattighofen for the event. John Penton, now 93 years old, set things in motion in the late 1960s when he placed a major order with KTM for the production of light enduros with 100cc and 125cc. Hobby Automatic © KTM In the mid-1960s, interest in the motorcycle slowly began to pick up once the great crisis at the end of the 1950s was over. Unlike many motorcycle manufacturers in German-speaking countries, KTM survived because it didn’t make the mistake of trying to compensate for the decline in sales by producing a car. And also due to the fact that the motorcycle also gained a sporty image when Japanese manufacturers entered the European market. Instead of being seen as a conventional way of getting to work, the focus had turned to the thrill of the 2-wheel ride. The KTM program did also contain a “proper” motorcycle with 100cc and a Sachs four-speed engine, sold as the “Hansa” in the USA, but the 50cc vehicles were initially the center of attention in the model range. Due to driver license regulations, these were suitable for both for everyday use and for young motorcycle enthusiasts. The “Hobby Automatic” was launched in 1969 as the new entry-level model – “the new formula for the perfect ride” according to the KTM brochure at the time. “No need for technical knowledge”. And it delivered on its promises. The 2-hp Sachs engine with centrifugal clutch and 1-speed transmission made for a carefree ride. KTM Comet 504 S © KTM When it came to weather protection, the various Comet models with fan or airflow-cooled Puch engines couldn’t keep up with the Ponny II moped, which now had a Puch four-speed engine in the “Super 4” version, but the Comets were also reliable everyday vehicles. KTM presented a super-hot motorcycle with the Comet 504 Super – narrow fenders and a chrome-plated 10-liter specially shaped fuel tank made for an unmistakable line. While the German competitor models still had an undamped fork or an antiquated-looking front swingarm, KTM fitted an oil-damped fork in the Comet 504 S. Coupled with the two slender silencers and the special airflow-cooled KTM cylinder instead of fan cooling, the Comet 504 S was the undisputed star among KTM’s motorcycles. KTM Penton 125 © KTM However, the highlight of KTM’s 1969 program was the KTM Penton 125, which brought in the bulk of the 25% increase in sales compared to the previous year. Two years before, John Penton, an American motorcycle dealer from Ohio, contacted KTM because he was looking for a manufacturer for lightweight offroad and motocross bikes that lived up to his expectations. The first prototypes were ready by the end of 1967 and one year later, the small offroad bikes passed the acid test in the USA and at the “Sei Giorni”, the International Six Days Enduro in San Pellegrino, Italy. As soon as the Penton riders, including Penton’s sons Jack, Jeff, and Tom, identified weaknesses on tough offroad races in the American New England states, solutions were sought in Penton’s workshop, which were immediately incorporated into the series in Mattighofen. Of course, this did not escape the notice of engine manufacturer Fichtel & Sachs in Schweinfurt and it came as no surprise at the International Six Days Enduro in 1969, when ultra-modern, aluminum cylinders were used on the Penton bikes, while the bikes from German Sachs subsidiary Hercules still had to make do with the old cast iron cylinders. Five gold medals, six silver and two bronze medals for the American and European riders that started out on KTM Penton is more than a respectable result for the tough International Six Days Enduro in the Allgäu Alps around Garmisch-Partenkirchen. While John Penton’s (initiator of KM Penton) team triumphed no less than 38 times in the 100cc and 125cc class, Arnaldo Farioli won the Italian 125cc offroad championship and Jouka Laaksonen became the Finnish offroad champion. John & Jack Penton KTM Motohall 2019 © Penton If you would like to take a closer look at this piece of motorsport history up close, we recommend a visit to our KTM Motohall in Mattighofen, where you can marvel at a 1969 Penton, along with many other victorious bikes. The KTM Motohall is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Photos: KTM | Penton
  7. TPI engine development for enduro – improving the breed Since the arrival of KTM’s TPI models for 2018, the evolution and development of these fuel injected 2-strokes has been ongoing and a “steep learning curve”. The MY2020 model launch in Bassella, Spain gave chance to check how KTM R&D and the factory racing teams have pushed to improve the new breed … KTM EXC MY2020 © Sebas Romero By now we are familiar with the ground-breaking move KTM made in the enduro world for model year 2018 with the introduction of the KTM 250 and 300 EXC TPI models. The transfer port injection engine was a step change in the history of motorcycles, an revolution of the 2-stroke. That first generation of TPI proved more economically, made life easier with no need to pre-mix fuel and removed the age-old problems of needing to understand and change carburetor jetting to meet weather conditions and altitude. It was a new breed. KTM 300 EXC TPI MY2020 © Marco Campelli Though an instant success, the R&D team didn’t rest on their laurels. Before the first year of production was complete, they were taking feedback from owners, plus factory racing teams and already improving the TPI. KTM’s Head of Engine Offroad and Motocross, Michael Viertlmayr, says it has been a steady process of improving the engines ever since and a learning curve that has seen improvements to the hardware and perhaps most importantly, the electronic software controlling the TPI engines. The racing department played a big part in the evolution of the TPIs since day one. Factory racers like Jonny Walker and Taddy Blazusiak took on the TPIs for the 2018 season with both hands and the bikes immediately proved themselves in the World Enduro Super Series. Jonny Walker (GBR) KTM 350 EXC-F MY2020 © Marco Campelli All the time the development of the TPI engine was marching forward and the racing teams played their role helping develop software and mapping to improve that consistency and rider feel for power and rear wheel grip. Racers always want more bottom power, to be smoother and more controllability so when the racing department meets those demands the knock-on effect also benefits the regular rider and the production machines. Most obviously we have seen this as new and different engine maps have become available to existing first generation TPI customers to get installed at their KTM dealer. “I have been working on the development of the TPI bikes nearly almost from day one,” explains Blazusiak. “We had a long process until the TPIs were ready to hit the market with even some bikes that weren’t good to ride, but it’s the same process that happened with four strokes.” “But it’s a process like everything and in a couple of years we’ll look back asking ourselves ‘how did the carbureted bikes last that long?’” says Taddy. Taddy Blazusiak (POL) KTM 350 EXC-F MY2020 © Marco Campelli Ringing loud and clear at the MY2020 model launch in May 2019, was the message that the latest fuel injected KTM engines were more ‘on point’. “The tolerances should be minimum and that’s what we have been working on for the new bikes,” says Joachim Sauer. “The TPI technology itself hasn’t changed much, it has improved in performance. It has been an optimization of the bike, now the power valve in the new cylinder is working together perfectly with the new exhaust system, the adding of a new ambient pressure sensor and a new throttle body that gives a more precise power delivery.” Viertlmayr adds the software is now of equal importance as the hardware in R&D terms and he is quick to point out the mind-boggling number of working hours each one of the 100 software updates the TPI has swallowed up. The aim, always, is to improve the all-important rider feeling with the bike and this has been a key element for the MY2020 models. Along with a new cylinder head with an increased compression ratio on the 250cc engine, new exhaust port windows for improved precision, new exhaust systems, air filter boxes and ECU mapping we have a “rounding up” of the model as Sauer puts it. The result is a new generation of TPI models (three now including the all-new KTM 150 EXC TPI) which are somewhere between the first TPI and a carburetor model in feeling. “We have tried to maintain the positive side from both worlds,” says Viertlmayr, “the controllability and the rich feeling from the carburetor version but the benefits from fuel injection; the clear running, not filling the engine with fuel when going downhill and the immediate and clean response – which lots of people liked from the beginning with the TPI, and I think we have accomplished that with the MY2020 models.” Where to next in the evolution of the TPI? “We have a lot of ideas and plans to make it even better in the future,” continues Viertlmayr. “We stay pretty hard focused on the development of the 2-stroke TPIs. We are highly focused on lowering the emissions on the bikes and we are also working in close collaboration with the racing department to have an even better rideability.” It is hard to think of a bolder step in terms of offroad motorcycle development in recent times than the transfer port injection, 2-stroke engines. In a world that is increasingly all enveloped by software and technology, the KTM EXC TPIs stand at the front of the queue pushing to take offroad motorcycles forward for the next generation. KTM EXC TPI MY2020 © Sebas Romero Photos: Sebas Romero | Marco Campelli
  8. TPI engine development for enduro – improving the breed

    TPI engine development for enduro – improving the breed Since the arrival of KTM’s TPI models for 2018, the evolution and development of these fuel injected 2-strokes has been ongoing and a “steep learning curve”. The MY2020 model launch in Bassella, Spain gave chance to check how KTM R&D and the factory racing teams have pushed to improve the new breed … KTM EXC MY2020 © Sebas Romero By now we are familiar with the ground-breaking move KTM made in the enduro world for model year 2018 with the introduction of the KTM 250 and 300 EXC TPI models. The transfer port injection engine was a step change in the history of motorcycles, an revolution of the 2-stroke. That first generation of TPI proved more economically, made life easier with no need to pre-mix fuel and removed the age-old problems of needing to understand and change carburetor jetting to meet weather conditions and altitude. It was a new breed. KTM 300 EXC TPI MY2020 © Marco Campelli Though an instant success, the R&D team didn’t rest on their laurels. Before the first year of production was complete, they were taking feedback from owners, plus factory racing teams and already improving the TPI. KTM’s Head of Engine Offroad and Motocross, Michael Viertlmayr, says it has been a steady process of improving the engines ever since and a learning curve that has seen improvements to the hardware and perhaps most importantly, the electronic software controlling the TPI engines. The racing department played a big part in the evolution of the TPIs since day one. Factory racers like Jonny Walker and Taddy Blazusiak took on the TPIs for the 2018 season with both hands and the bikes immediately proved themselves in the World Enduro Super Series. Jonny Walker (GBR) KTM 350 EXC-F MY2020 © Marco Campelli All the time the development of the TPI engine was marching forward and the racing teams played their role helping develop software and mapping to improve that consistency and rider feel for power and rear wheel grip. Racers always want more bottom power, to be smoother and more controllability so when the racing department meets those demands the knock-on effect also benefits the regular rider and the production machines. Most obviously we have seen this as new and different engine maps have become available to existing first generation TPI customers to get installed at their KTM dealer. “I have been working on the development of the TPI bikes nearly almost from day one,” explains Blazusiak. “We had a long process until the TPIs were ready to hit the market with even some bikes that weren’t good to ride, but it’s the same process that happened with four strokes.” “But it’s a process like everything and in a couple of years we’ll look back asking ourselves ‘how did the carbureted bikes last that long?’” says Taddy. Taddy Blazusiak (POL) KTM 350 EXC-F MY2020 © Marco Campelli Ringing loud and clear at the MY2020 model launch in May 2019, was the message that the latest fuel injected KTM engines were more ‘on point’. “The tolerances should be minimum and that’s what we have been working on for the new bikes,” says Joachim Sauer. “The TPI technology itself hasn’t changed much, it has improved in performance. It has been an optimization of the bike, now the power valve in the new cylinder is working together perfectly with the new exhaust system, the adding of a new ambient pressure sensor and a new throttle body that gives a more precise power delivery.” Viertlmayr adds the software is now of equal importance as the hardware in R&D terms and he is quick to point out the mind-boggling number of working hours each one of the 100 software updates the TPI has swallowed up. The aim, always, is to improve the all-important rider feeling with the bike and this has been a key element for the MY2020 models. Along with a new cylinder head with an increased compression ratio on the 250cc engine, new exhaust port windows for improved precision, new exhaust systems, air filter boxes and ECU mapping we have a “rounding up” of the model as Sauer puts it. The result is a new generation of TPI models (three now including the all-new KTM 150 EXC TPI) which are somewhere between the first TPI and a carburetor model in feeling. “We have tried to maintain the positive side from both worlds,” says Viertlmayr, “the controllability and the rich feeling from the carburetor version but the benefits from fuel injection; the clear running, not filling the engine with fuel when going downhill and the immediate and clean response – which lots of people liked from the beginning with the TPI, and I think we have accomplished that with the MY2020 models.” Where to next in the evolution of the TPI? “We have a lot of ideas and plans to make it even better in the future,” continues Viertlmayr. “We stay pretty hard focused on the development of the 2-stroke TPIs. We are highly focused on lowering the emissions on the bikes and we are also working in close collaboration with the racing department to have an even better rideability.” It is hard to think of a bolder step in terms of offroad motorcycle development in recent times than the transfer port injection, 2-stroke engines. In a world that is increasingly all enveloped by software and technology, the KTM EXC TPIs stand at the front of the queue pushing to take offroad motorcycles forward for the next generation. KTM EXC TPI MY2020 © Sebas Romero Photos: Sebas Romero | Marco Campelli
  9. Ready to RAAM: Supporting one of the greatest ultracyclists of all time Setting off to achieve a record-breaking sixth victory at the 4,800km-long Race Across America, Austrian cyclist Christoph Strasser has been trusting a KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S as an official support motorcycle. © groox.com For 36 years the notorious RAAM has been challenging ultracyclists from across the world to push their physical and mental limits. Starting under one of the longest piers in California, the race spans 4,800 kilometers, climbs 53,000 meters, crosses 12 states and finishes on the east coast of the vast American continent. On June 11, Christoph Strasser will take to the start of the 2019 Race Across America [RAAM]. A five-time RAAM winner, the Austrian ultracyclist will attempt a record sixth victory at his solo ride from California to Maryland. Christoph will also try to be the first rider ever to win the globally known race for a third consecutive time. © groox.com With Christoph’s team using a KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S while filming for his upcoming documentary, we caught up with the man riding this exciting big travel motorcycle throughout the filming process. An experienced motorcycle trainer, Viktor Sator completed several hundreds of kilometers aboard the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S while filming for Christoph’s upcoming documentary film. “It was a great experience riding the bike in various conditions,” confirmed Viktor. “With the different mappings and its advanced electronics making it really enjoyable to ride even at low speeds, the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S is a real allrounder bike and the ideal motorcycle to shoot a film following a cyclist.” “Christoph is a great athlete and a role model”, continued Viktor. “It was an honor to be part of the filming crew for his documentary. I love to create new experiences and this one sure helped me learn more things. While riding, I had to make sure my camera guy in the back would feel as safe as possible. I always had to keep an eye on him while making sure we both follow Christoph from a safe distance.” © groox.com “The KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S provides both rider and passenger with great levels of comfort. Whether you are riding solo across continents, or completing the everyday commute to the office, it makes every ride fun, safe and comfortable. Especially in bad weather or tricky road conditions, it’s hard for any motorcycle to match the efficiency of the big KTM machine.” The documentary will be first broadcasted on Austrian television channel ORF2 on August 15, 2019. © groox.com Photos: groox.com
  10. Ready to RAAM: Supporting one of the greatest ultracyclists of all time Setting off to achieve a record-breaking sixth victory at the 4,800km-long Race Across America, Austrian cyclist Christoph Strasser has been trusting a KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S as an official support motorcycle. © groox.com For 36 years the notorious RAAM has been challenging ultracyclists from across the world to push their physical and mental limits. Starting under one of the longest piers in California, the race spans 4,800 kilometers, climbs 53,000 meters, crosses 12 states and finishes on the east coast of the vast American continent. On June 11, Christoph Strasser will take to the start of the 2019 Race Across America [RAAM]. A five-time RAAM winner, the Austrian ultracyclist will attempt a record sixth victory at his solo ride from California to Maryland. Christoph will also try to be the first rider ever to win the globally known race for a third consecutive time. © groox.com With Christoph’s team using a KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S while filming for his upcoming documentary, we caught up with the man riding this exciting big travel motorcycle throughout the filming process. An experienced motorcycle trainer, Viktor Sator completed several hundreds of kilometers aboard the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S while filming for Christoph’s upcoming documentary film. “It was a great experience riding the bike in various conditions,” confirmed Viktor. “With the different mappings and its advanced electronics making it really enjoyable to ride even at low speeds, the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S is a real allrounder bike and the ideal motorcycle to shoot a film following a cyclist.” “Christoph is a great athlete and a role model”, continued Viktor. “It was an honor to be part of the filming crew for his documentary. I love to create new experiences and this one sure helped me learn more things. While riding, I had to make sure my camera guy in the back would feel as safe as possible. I always had to keep an eye on him while making sure we both follow Christoph from a safe distance.” © groox.com “The KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S provides both rider and passenger with great levels of comfort. Whether you are riding solo across continents, or completing the everyday commute to the office, it makes every ride fun, safe and comfortable. Especially in bad weather or tricky road conditions, it’s hard for any motorcycle to match the efficiency of the big KTM machine.” The documentary will be first broadcasted on Austrian television channel ORF2 on August 15, 2019. © groox.com Photos: groox.com
  11. Supercross to Motocross: Ways that Marvin Musquin shape-shifts his KTM 450 SX-F The 2019 AMA Pro National Motocross series is firmly underway in the USA and Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin provides some insight on the technical switch from ‘indoors’ to ‘outdoors’ with his KTM 450 SX-F. Marvin Musquin (FRA) KTM 450 SX-F Hangtown (USA) 2019 © Simon Cudby Marvin Musquin, one of the elite athletes in the hectic calendar of Supercross and Motocross dirtbike competition in the USA, is sitting atop his KTM 450 SX-F conducting a TV interview. It is media day at one of the final dates of the rapid-fire 17-rounds-in-18-weeks AMA Supercross campaign. Musquin looks very much at home on the technology he has helped develop and race at the forefront of the highest level of SX/MX for ten years now in Red Bull KTM colors. At the end of the Supercross season the Frenchman and the rest of the paddock were already thinking of the upcoming Motocross championship that will fill the summer months for twelve further weekends of intense position-swapping. “It is always a search,” the 29-year-old says (TV duties completed) of the period of adjustment and setup needed to change from the Supercross incarnation of the KTM 450 SX-F to Motocross. “I mean, we always have a base from the previous year and that’s where we start. The plan is to have one day a week riding Motocross towards the end of the Supercross calendar so we are set for Outdoors.” “We obviously race and ride a lot with the ‘Supercross’ bike which means firmer suspension,” he adds. “That’s the main thing. We are really used to those settings … so when we jump to the Outdoors bike it takes a while to familiarize, especially with the speed of riding a Motocross track.” Marvin Musquin (FRA) KTM 450 SX-F Hangtown (USA) 2019 © Simon Cudby For AMA-centered athletes much of the calendar year revolves around Supercross. The championship itself runs from January to May and, once Motocross is then finished, testing for the following year commences by the end of the summer. The Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas in Mid-October is almost the equivalent of a ‘pre-season race’ and the whole training, testing and riding prep period builds up to Anaheim 1 and the launch of another term. Despite the priority for the spectacular stadium-based series, many of the top riders have felt the physics of a Motocross bike since their formative years. “It is like an old pair of shoes?” Marvin grins. “Ha! You could say that! When you jump on it and you check the sag with the guys and the thing moves and you’re not even riding then you know you’re not on a Supercross bike anymore!” Asked for the main area of variation when it comes to his KTM 450 SX-F then Musquin’s reply is immediate. “The suspension is quite a bit softer. It is a complete change. I don’t believe there is much different about the internals but we always have a few things to try. We can also play with the offset of the bike – with the front end – we can make the bike a bit longer if we want to.” While Grand Prix benefits from prototype rules the AMA uses firmer regulations locking the race bikes to their production bases. “Compared to MXGP and the world championship we cannot really change the frame,” #25 explains. “We can only play with length and offset, stuff like that.” “The Motocross and Supercross bikes are not two different animals,” he adds. “They still feel like the same bike but the suspension moves a lot easier in Motocross because it is softer and freer to absorb the bumps. In Supercross we jump so much and you want the suspension to absorb those pockets you land in, and when you hit the whoops. For the power when you are wide open with the bike in Supercross then it feels very similar to what you’ll have in Motocross.” KTM 450 SX-F Hangtown (USA) 2019 © Simon Cudby Supercross will normally involve a 30-40 second lap time. In Motocross this is more than doubled. Doubles, triples, rhythm lanes and whoops are exchanged for ruts, bumps and waves, higher speed and more ground time. Finding appropriate tracks to mimic what riders will encounter in the AMA Nationals is also an issue for dialing in those crucial last few clicks. “In Motocross you always look for comfort with the suspension, but you don’t want to go too soft so that at speed you are bottoming the rear through braking bumps; that can be very dangerous, and it can bite you pretty hard,” Musquin reveals. “We try to practice on decent and rough tracks, but I feel [it’s only] when you arrive to the race that you appreciate how rough it can get. In Europe you know you can go to a place like Lommel [Belgium and one of the toughest sand tracks in the world] on a Wednesday and you’ll find a rough track! Down in California we try to go to a place like Glen Helen – which at the end of the day is bumpy – but it is not as soft and rutty and rough as tracks in the Nationals. In Florida we have tracks that are way more sandy and deeper and we try to ‘build’ some bumps with the dozers to get nearer those race conditions.” Marvin Musquin (FRA) KTM 450 SX-F Pala (USA) 2019 © Simon Cudby So, Musquin has orientated the handling of the KTM 450 SX-F for Motocross … but that’s not all. “You don’t want a Supercross engine on outdoors tracks!” he stresses. “It is pretty aggressive, and you want longer gearing for Motocross, so then you are changing maps, cams and gearing: there is a big difference there.” “You don’t want to be going through the gearbox when you are coming out of the turn,” he adds. “I like my bike to run longer in second or third. It makes a big difference and affects the feel and the shock. You get to a certain speed sometimes where you have to close the gas a little bit so the suspension is not moving too much or getting kicked.” Marvin Musquin (FRA) KTM 450 SX-F Pala (USA) 2019 © Simon Cudby Of KTM’s current roster Musquin is the rider with most knowledge of SX-F machinery, having climbed on the 250 midway through 2009 on the way to his first MX2 world title (Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings joined Red Bull KTM’s MXGP team for the 2010 season). It gives him a unique perspective on the factory bikes and the optimum configuration for Grand Prix, Supercross and the demands of the Nationals. “Ten years: they have changed!” he says. “Especially the suspension with WP. I rode the 250 in 2009 with the PDS shock … but at Lommel that bike was unbelievable! I won both motos on my 250 and people could not believe it. I had such a good feeling on sand tracks with the PDS. It would be fun to go to Lommel and compare the bikes now and see what exactly I liked about it. I’m so used to the 2018-2019 models.” Musquin is a race winner both indoors and out. A title contender in both championships as well. A rider known for his amiability as much for his versatility and technical prowess. If he’s made to choose between Supercross and Motocross for a last ever race he breaks into a big smile. “Argh! Very tough question. For feeling of the bike then I’d say Motocross but the feeling in general of just riding would be Supercross because I love the jumps and stuff … but it’s tough! You have the ruts in Motocross and if you have a sick track with great dirt then … arghh! I would pick a giant Supercross track with good dirt and ruts and jumps!” Marvin Musquin (FRA) KTM 450 SX-F Pala (USA) 2019 © Simon Cudby Photos: Simon Cudby
  12. Supercross to Motocross: Ways that Marvin Musquin shape-shifts his KTM 450 SX-F The 2019 AMA Pro National Motocross series is firmly underway in the USA and Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin provides some insight on the technical switch from ‘indoors’ to ‘outdoors’ with his KTM 450 SX-F. Marvin Musquin (FRA) KTM 450 SX-F Hangtown (USA) 2019 © Simon Cudby Marvin Musquin, one of the elite athletes in the hectic calendar of Supercross and Motocross dirtbike competition in the USA, is sitting atop his KTM 450 SX-F conducting a TV interview. It is media day at one of the final dates of the rapid-fire 17-rounds-in-18-weeks AMA Supercross campaign. Musquin looks very much at home on the technology he has helped develop and race at the forefront of the highest level of SX/MX for ten years now in Red Bull KTM colors. At the end of the Supercross season the Frenchman and the rest of the paddock were already thinking of the upcoming Motocross championship that will fill the summer months for twelve further weekends of intense position-swapping. “It is always a search,” the 29-year-old says (TV duties completed) of the period of adjustment and setup needed to change from the Supercross incarnation of the KTM 450 SX-F to Motocross. “I mean, we always have a base from the previous year and that’s where we start. The plan is to have one day a week riding Motocross towards the end of the Supercross calendar so we are set for Outdoors.” “We obviously race and ride a lot with the ‘Supercross’ bike which means firmer suspension,” he adds. “That’s the main thing. We are really used to those settings … so when we jump to the Outdoors bike it takes a while to familiarize, especially with the speed of riding a Motocross track.” Marvin Musquin (FRA) KTM 450 SX-F Hangtown (USA) 2019 © Simon Cudby For AMA-centered athletes much of the calendar year revolves around Supercross. The championship itself runs from January to May and, once Motocross is then finished, testing for the following year commences by the end of the summer. The Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas in Mid-October is almost the equivalent of a ‘pre-season race’ and the whole training, testing and riding prep period builds up to Anaheim 1 and the launch of another term. Despite the priority for the spectacular stadium-based series, many of the top riders have felt the physics of a Motocross bike since their formative years. “It is like an old pair of shoes?” Marvin grins. “Ha! You could say that! When you jump on it and you check the sag with the guys and the thing moves and you’re not even riding then you know you’re not on a Supercross bike anymore!” Asked for the main area of variation when it comes to his KTM 450 SX-F then Musquin’s reply is immediate. “The suspension is quite a bit softer. It is a complete change. I don’t believe there is much different about the internals but we always have a few things to try. We can also play with the offset of the bike – with the front end – we can make the bike a bit longer if we want to.” While Grand Prix benefits from prototype rules the AMA uses firmer regulations locking the race bikes to their production bases. “Compared to MXGP and the world championship we cannot really change the frame,” #25 explains. “We can only play with length and offset, stuff like that.” “The Motocross and Supercross bikes are not two different animals,” he adds. “They still feel like the same bike but the suspension moves a lot easier in Motocross because it is softer and freer to absorb the bumps. In Supercross we jump so much and you want the suspension to absorb those pockets you land in, and when you hit the whoops. For the power when you are wide open with the bike in Supercross then it feels very similar to what you’ll have in Motocross.” KTM 450 SX-F Hangtown (USA) 2019 © Simon Cudby Supercross will normally involve a 30-40 second lap time. In Motocross this is more than doubled. Doubles, triples, rhythm lanes and whoops are exchanged for ruts, bumps and waves, higher speed and more ground time. Finding appropriate tracks to mimic what riders will encounter in the AMA Nationals is also an issue for dialing in those crucial last few clicks. “In Motocross you always look for comfort with the suspension, but you don’t want to go too soft so that at speed you are bottoming the rear through braking bumps; that can be very dangerous, and it can bite you pretty hard,” Musquin reveals. “We try to practice on decent and rough tracks, but I feel [it’s only] when you arrive to the race that you appreciate how rough it can get. In Europe you know you can go to a place like Lommel [Belgium and one of the toughest sand tracks in the world] on a Wednesday and you’ll find a rough track! Down in California we try to go to a place like Glen Helen – which at the end of the day is bumpy – but it is not as soft and rutty and rough as tracks in the Nationals. In Florida we have tracks that are way more sandy and deeper and we try to ‘build’ some bumps with the dozers to get nearer those race conditions.” Marvin Musquin (FRA) KTM 450 SX-F Pala (USA) 2019 © Simon Cudby So, Musquin has orientated the handling of the KTM 450 SX-F for Motocross … but that’s not all. “You don’t want a Supercross engine on outdoors tracks!” he stresses. “It is pretty aggressive, and you want longer gearing for Motocross, so then you are changing maps, cams and gearing: there is a big difference there.” “You don’t want to be going through the gearbox when you are coming out of the turn,” he adds. “I like my bike to run longer in second or third. It makes a big difference and affects the feel and the shock. You get to a certain speed sometimes where you have to close the gas a little bit so the suspension is not moving too much or getting kicked.” Marvin Musquin (FRA) KTM 450 SX-F Pala (USA) 2019 © Simon Cudby Of KTM’s current roster Musquin is the rider with most knowledge of SX-F machinery, having climbed on the 250 midway through 2009 on the way to his first MX2 world title (Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings joined Red Bull KTM’s MXGP team for the 2010 season). It gives him a unique perspective on the factory bikes and the optimum configuration for Grand Prix, Supercross and the demands of the Nationals. “Ten years: they have changed!” he says. “Especially the suspension with WP. I rode the 250 in 2009 with the PDS shock … but at Lommel that bike was unbelievable! I won both motos on my 250 and people could not believe it. I had such a good feeling on sand tracks with the PDS. It would be fun to go to Lommel and compare the bikes now and see what exactly I liked about it. I’m so used to the 2018-2019 models.” Musquin is a race winner both indoors and out. A title contender in both championships as well. A rider known for his amiability as much for his versatility and technical prowess. If he’s made to choose between Supercross and Motocross for a last ever race he breaks into a big smile. “Argh! Very tough question. For feeling of the bike then I’d say Motocross but the feeling in general of just riding would be Supercross because I love the jumps and stuff … but it’s tough! You have the ruts in Motocross and if you have a sick track with great dirt then … arghh! I would pick a giant Supercross track with good dirt and ruts and jumps!” Marvin Musquin (FRA) KTM 450 SX-F Pala (USA) 2019 © Simon Cudby Photos: Simon Cudby
  13. Sweet Lamb KTM Adventure Bike Experience If you had to dream up the perfect environment for riding your new KTM 790 ADVENTURE R you’d end up describing the venue for KTM UK’s new Experience Partner, the Sweet Lamb KTM Adventure Bike Experience. Yes, the media launch for KTM’s latest bike was in the Moroccan desert, but sand is a very specialized surface. For most, the dirt is the ultimate destination – and that’s not in short supply at Sweet Lamb. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R © TooFast Media Located in the heart of Wales, just off one of the principality’s most spectacular roads, the journey to the venue is thrilling in itself. You’d be tempted to ride for another 20 miles to the coastal resort of Aberystwyth, but a bigger challenge awaits those with an adventurous streak and a willingness to develop some serious offroad skills. As soon as you turn right off the main road and onto the property an incredible area awaits. If you’ve signed up to a course you can kiss goodbye to the tarmac for the next two days. Sweet Lamb covers 6,600 acres of land that, when it comes to farming, only sheep can take advantage of – but thankfully the woolly livestock don’t have the place to themselves. The landowners are petrol heads at heart and have opened the farm to those willing to take on the terrain. It’s the home of the showcase stage of the British round of the World Rally Championship, famed for its jumps and water splashes. This means that the tracks, trails and turf easily lend themselves to those on two wheels looking for a challenge. © TooFast Media For the last few years, a small adventure school was operating on the site run by Mark Molineux, a former enduro and rally racer. Moly, as he’s known to everyone, wanted to release the potential of the site with an adventure bike manufacturer – and there was only one he was interested in. “I’ve been approached by a lot of manufacturers to use the land and the facilities at Sweet Lamb, but I was only really interested in attracting KTM as the ADVENTURE range is the best in the business. I didn’t want to settle for anyone else.” KTM UK were first brought to the site when they were looking for a venue to host their first Adventure Festival in 2018. Once they saw what Sweet Lamb had to offer it was clear that their search was very quickly over. “We came to look and ride the site when it was covered in snow, but even under a white blanket it was clear that our search for an amazing venue was over,” says KTM UK’s Marketing Manager, Simon Roots. The festival was held later in the year, where 75 KTM fanatics – and special guest Chris Birch – explored every inch of the land available over the course of three sun-filled and fun-packed days. From the amazing feedback from the event it was clear that there was a huge demand for much more Orange activity on the land. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R © TooFast Media After the dust had settled (literally, as the festival was held in a rare heatwave in mid-Wales), Sweet Lamb came up with a proposal to become KTM UK’s first Adventure Experience Partner. With KTM UK’s Experience Partners running motocross, enduro and FREERIDE E projects, the last piece in the puzzle was an Adventure Experience to not just join the competition – but to surpass it. Knowing that the game changing KTM 790 ADVENTURE R was soon to be released, KTM UK worked with Sweet Lamb to develop a two-day, multi-level Adventure Experience that would enable both novice and experienced riders to tackle terrain suitable to their talent – all set against the greens and greys of the spectacular landscape. Moly has a massive ally in his corner – the landowner, Jonathan Bennett. Between them, they dream up new routes to carve through the landscape. Whatever free time they had last year was spent cutting through the mountainside to create a new three-mile long route – the aptly named ‘New Road’. They’ve also developed an incredible skills area that certainly puts the fun in functional. More fundamentally, the safety side of riding on the vast site has been honed to ensure that everyone is kept safe at Sweet Lamb. After a winter spent honing the syllabus, building a new headquarters and taking possession of ten new KTM 790 ADVENTURE Rs and a pair of KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE Rs the Sweet Lamb KTM Adventure Bike Experience was ready to open its doors – first to dealers and press, and then to its first customers. KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE R © TooFast Media A common theme is developing with everyone that comes to Sweet Lamb. Once people have parked, the spin round on their heels to take in the views and you can see their mouths go ‘wow’ before they do another 360-degree gaze at the landscape. The KTM dealers pioneered this reaction and were in rapture about both the bike and the venue. They returned to their shops to spread the word to their customers about what the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R is capable of and how impressive the venue is. The press, too, were enthralled with what the venue could offer, the standard of teaching and the insane ability of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R. A wide spectrum of ability came to the press day where novices quickly gained confidence thanks to the balance and refined manners of KTM’s latest ADVENTURE machine. Those with more experience under their belts could exploit the power, WP suspension and electronics of the bike to push their riding forward. All, however, could see that the venue is the best in the UK thanks to the range and scope of the riding available. The most telling praise, however, came from the first group of paying customers. Of the ten that came, four rebooked on the spot having developed skills and experience they had never dreamed of. Others have since rebooked too, meaning that Sweet Lamb’s initial customers will have moved from the bronze to the silver level. Orange level is next, then an Orange Pro event will be the pinnacle of the school’s teachings. This is where KTM’s READY TO RACE attitude comes in, with Sweet Lamb bringing in top riders for schools with racers and ambassadors for the ultimate in fast-track learning. © TooFast Media Because the ultimate in offroad machinery is supplied, the Sweet Lamb Experience appeals to a wide group of potential customers. Firstly, there are those that have bought a new KTM 790 ADVENTURE R or a KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE R who want coaching and experience of what their machine is capable of. It’s also an opportunity for those curious about the bikes to demo them in an extreme location. Then there are those looking for a new experience in a stunning setting or to engender confidence in a variety of different conditions. If you’re looking to participate in the KTM Ultimate Race on a KTM 790 ADVENTURE R then the training offered here could get you on the flight out to Morocco! It’s a two day course, but you can also easily spend a week exploring the area on public trails and tarmac roads, putting into practice the knowledge imparted to you at Sweet Lamb. The Sweet Lamb KTM Adventure Bike Experience has hit the ground running, and with word of mouth, media reviews and dealers all evangelizing about the event it’s sure to make a huge impact in the UK. For more information on the event then head to ktm.adventurerallybike.co.uk. © TooFast Media Photos: TooFast Media
  14. Sweet Lamb KTM Adventure Bike Experience

    Sweet Lamb KTM Adventure Bike Experience If you had to dream up the perfect environment for riding your new KTM 790 ADVENTURE R you’d end up describing the venue for KTM UK’s new Experience Partner, the Sweet Lamb KTM Adventure Bike Experience. Yes, the media launch for KTM’s latest bike was in the Moroccan desert, but sand is a very specialized surface. For most, the dirt is the ultimate destination – and that’s not in short supply at Sweet Lamb. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R © TooFast Media Located in the heart of Wales, just off one of the principality’s most spectacular roads, the journey to the venue is thrilling in itself. You’d be tempted to ride for another 20 miles to the coastal resort of Aberystwyth, but a bigger challenge awaits those with an adventurous streak and a willingness to develop some serious offroad skills. As soon as you turn right off the main road and onto the property an incredible area awaits. If you’ve signed up to a course you can kiss goodbye to the tarmac for the next two days. Sweet Lamb covers 6,600 acres of land that, when it comes to farming, only sheep can take advantage of – but thankfully the woolly livestock don’t have the place to themselves. The landowners are petrol heads at heart and have opened the farm to those willing to take on the terrain. It’s the home of the showcase stage of the British round of the World Rally Championship, famed for its jumps and water splashes. This means that the tracks, trails and turf easily lend themselves to those on two wheels looking for a challenge. © TooFast Media For the last few years, a small adventure school was operating on the site run by Mark Molineux, a former enduro and rally racer. Moly, as he’s known to everyone, wanted to release the potential of the site with an adventure bike manufacturer – and there was only one he was interested in. “I’ve been approached by a lot of manufacturers to use the land and the facilities at Sweet Lamb, but I was only really interested in attracting KTM as the ADVENTURE range is the best in the business. I didn’t want to settle for anyone else.” KTM UK were first brought to the site when they were looking for a venue to host their first Adventure Festival in 2018. Once they saw what Sweet Lamb had to offer it was clear that their search was very quickly over. “We came to look and ride the site when it was covered in snow, but even under a white blanket it was clear that our search for an amazing venue was over,” says KTM UK’s Marketing Manager, Simon Roots. The festival was held later in the year, where 75 KTM fanatics – and special guest Chris Birch – explored every inch of the land available over the course of three sun-filled and fun-packed days. From the amazing feedback from the event it was clear that there was a huge demand for much more Orange activity on the land. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R © TooFast Media After the dust had settled (literally, as the festival was held in a rare heatwave in mid-Wales), Sweet Lamb came up with a proposal to become KTM UK’s first Adventure Experience Partner. With KTM UK’s Experience Partners running motocross, enduro and FREERIDE E projects, the last piece in the puzzle was an Adventure Experience to not just join the competition – but to surpass it. Knowing that the game changing KTM 790 ADVENTURE R was soon to be released, KTM UK worked with Sweet Lamb to develop a two-day, multi-level Adventure Experience that would enable both novice and experienced riders to tackle terrain suitable to their talent – all set against the greens and greys of the spectacular landscape. Moly has a massive ally in his corner – the landowner, Jonathan Bennett. Between them, they dream up new routes to carve through the landscape. Whatever free time they had last year was spent cutting through the mountainside to create a new three-mile long route – the aptly named ‘New Road’. They’ve also developed an incredible skills area that certainly puts the fun in functional. More fundamentally, the safety side of riding on the vast site has been honed to ensure that everyone is kept safe at Sweet Lamb. After a winter spent honing the syllabus, building a new headquarters and taking possession of ten new KTM 790 ADVENTURE Rs and a pair of KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE Rs the Sweet Lamb KTM Adventure Bike Experience was ready to open its doors – first to dealers and press, and then to its first customers. KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE R © TooFast Media A common theme is developing with everyone that comes to Sweet Lamb. Once people have parked, the spin round on their heels to take in the views and you can see their mouths go ‘wow’ before they do another 360-degree gaze at the landscape. The KTM dealers pioneered this reaction and were in rapture about both the bike and the venue. They returned to their shops to spread the word to their customers about what the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R is capable of and how impressive the venue is. The press, too, were enthralled with what the venue could offer, the standard of teaching and the insane ability of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R. A wide spectrum of ability came to the press day where novices quickly gained confidence thanks to the balance and refined manners of KTM’s latest ADVENTURE machine. Those with more experience under their belts could exploit the power, WP suspension and electronics of the bike to push their riding forward. All, however, could see that the venue is the best in the UK thanks to the range and scope of the riding available. The most telling praise, however, came from the first group of paying customers. Of the ten that came, four rebooked on the spot having developed skills and experience they had never dreamed of. Others have since rebooked too, meaning that Sweet Lamb’s initial customers will have moved from the bronze to the silver level. Orange level is next, then an Orange Pro event will be the pinnacle of the school’s teachings. This is where KTM’s READY TO RACE attitude comes in, with Sweet Lamb bringing in top riders for schools with racers and ambassadors for the ultimate in fast-track learning. © TooFast Media Because the ultimate in offroad machinery is supplied, the Sweet Lamb Experience appeals to a wide group of potential customers. Firstly, there are those that have bought a new KTM 790 ADVENTURE R or a KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE R who want coaching and experience of what their machine is capable of. It’s also an opportunity for those curious about the bikes to demo them in an extreme location. Then there are those looking for a new experience in a stunning setting or to engender confidence in a variety of different conditions. If you’re looking to participate in the KTM Ultimate Race on a KTM 790 ADVENTURE R then the training offered here could get you on the flight out to Morocco! It’s a two day course, but you can also easily spend a week exploring the area on public trails and tarmac roads, putting into practice the knowledge imparted to you at Sweet Lamb. The Sweet Lamb KTM Adventure Bike Experience has hit the ground running, and with word of mouth, media reviews and dealers all evangelizing about the event it’s sure to make a huge impact in the UK. For more information on the event then head to ktm.adventurerallybike.co.uk. © TooFast Media Photos: TooFast Media
  15. The Ultimate Winner: Scott Myers Interview After five days ripping up the Moroccan desert against 11 other KTM 790 ADVENTURE R-mounted racers, Scott Myers talks us through the seven crucial moments that led to him becoming the inaugural KTM ULTIMATE RACE champion. From never having ridden a ‘big’ Adventure bike offroad to winning a five-stage long race in the sands of Africa, Scott Myers’ story is one to be heard. A seasoned motocross, supercross and Baja (21 of them, in fact!) competitor, the 50-year-old American accepted a random invitation to join the KTM ULTIMATE RACE qualifiers by KTM ambassador Quinn Cody and the rest is history. Scott Myers (USA) KTM 790 ADVENTURE R KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019 © Marcin Kin With Scott providing an in-depth interview to Upshift online magazine, with their permission we’ve extracted the seven major steps in the American’s unique journey to KTM ULTIMATE RACE supremacy. 1) A racing background “My father raced professionally back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. I got into riding when I was three-years old and started racing when I was five or six. I had a career in racing motocross and supercross, but I was no Ricky Carmichael. I got to ride in the best days; the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s. I was lucky to race in the days when you could make a pretty decent living out of it. I had a great career and then I got into racing Baja. I’ve been racing Baja for over 20 years now and I have multiple championships racing down there. That’s how I really got to know Quinn Cody.” Scott Myers (USA) KTM 790 ADVENTURE R KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019 © Marcin Kin 2) An adventure bike newbie “Quinn is the reason I got the idea of going to the KTM ULTIMATE RACE qualifiers in Park City. I had never been on an adventure bike in my life before. I have a KTM 950 SUPER ENDURO, but did not take that motorcycle on the dirt until recently. Quinn asked me to join the qualifiers at the KTM ADVENTURE RALLY and I just showed up. I had not ridden that motorcycle in the dirt until I pulled up to the line for the special test in Park City. I showed up with an eight-gallon tank and full saddlebags. People were laughing at me like you could have left your bags back at the hotel at least. So, I raced the special with full bags and I won it. That was my jump into adventure bike riding really.” Scott Myers (USA) & Quinn Cody (USA) KTM 790 ADVENTURE R KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019 © Marcin Kin 3) It’s all getting real … “Before heading to Morocco, I tried my best to eat a bit better and lose a few pounds. I just got on my motorcycle a lot and rode with my son every weekend. With my family, a full-time job and everything in between, that’s all I had time for. What made me a little bit worried at first was the GPS navigation. The idea of rally racing is you’re following this roadbook, you come to a certain turn, and you need to look over and make sure that your ODO matches the road book. So, you know that you’re on course, and boom, off you go again.” Scott Myers (USA) KTM 790 ADVENTURE R KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019 © Marcin Kin 4) Pre-race woes “I’d never navigated in my life, so I had no idea what I was doing. In Morocco there were a few competitors that had never seen a road book and others who were more experienced. I found it to be not as difficult as I thought. I love the idea of navigation anyway. Racing offroad is not so much that type of navigation but it does require to know your bearings. I’ve always felt that was pretty naturally for me. I found that the navigation itself in this race was hard. It took me a couple of days to get used to it, but I got better and better at it. It was great having Quinn to help and Marc Coma was there every day. The greatest rally navigator on earth, sitting there at a table with me, helping me figure stuff out.” Scott Myers (USA) & Marc Coma (ESP) KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019 © Marcin Kin 5) In the heart of the Moroccan desert “I thought Morocco was amazing. I’ve never seen so many sand dunes in my entire life. Rocky roads, the technical stuff, the high-speed stuff all suits my style perfectly. But, I’d never even ridden a big bike in the dunes before. I also loved the camaraderie between competitors. There was no competitive nature whatsoever at the end of each day. I would say my buddy Kevin, the farmer from New Zealand, he was probably the most competitive guy there. But it was great. There’s no way it could’ve been a better group. Smiles every day.” Competitors & KTM 790 ADVENTURE R KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019 © Marcin Kin 6) The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R machine “The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R was amazing. It handled so good for an Adventure bike. I was totally blown away. But at the same time, yeah, I struggled. The sand over there is so soft at points that your bike would instantly be buried. There was no gassing out of it, there was no momentum that you could get. You were going to be there for a few minutes to get it out. KTM has found a niche with a modern-day Adventure bike, with all the bells and whistles, the ABS, the traction control, just the modernization of an Adventure bike, but really dirt-friendly. Great dirt suspension, obviously lighter than one of the bigger bikes, has a good feel to it and a high fender like a dirt bike. For that guy that’s wanting to get into this, the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R is the only and best bike to buy.” Scott Myers (USA) KTM 790 ADVENTURE R KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019 © Marcin Kin 7) Almost throwing it all away “During the race, I’d find myself holding my breath sometimes, racing in this amazing country. But I also had to deal with mental and physical stress and I almost screwed up the entire thing. I had a perfect week of no problems and entered the last stage with a 33-minute lead, but ended up crashing four or five kilometers before the finish. I came up over this dune and I didn’t make it up. As I was coming up over again I hit a piece of camel grass and went over the bars. It took me a few minutes but finally got the bike back up. From there I cruised it all the way to the finish and that was it. The feeling of everything that was going through my mind was like nothing you can even imagine. Quinn was there yelling at me for almost throwing it all away. But I’ve made it. I’m just so thankful to KTM for everything. I’ll be going to some KTM ULTIMATE RACE qualifiers and I’m so excited to kind of be a part of it.” [embedded content] The full interview was published in issue 33 of Upshift. Photos: Marcin Kin Video: KTM
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