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  1. There is a lot more thought and design that goes into a pair of motocross goggles than you think. Scott Sports shares some of their secrets… PC @MitterbauerHGoggles have been stretched awkwardly across helmets, smashed remorselessly by roost, thrown away by motocross racers during motos but also lovingly prepared, washed and placed on shelves with old helmets for posterity. They are often an under-appreciated piece of riding kit but utterly essential for anyone who has followed a friend or competitor on a stony trail or tried to plow across a muddy track in the rain. PC @RayArcherThere is a wealth of products on the market and several specialized brands in the optics business; goggles can cost 50 euros and last a few rides or can be than three times as expensive with some serious engineering behind them. Scott Sports are one of the proponents of goggle technology for bikes and the snow and have been introducing new concepts and innovations like face-fitting frames, lens-locking and a wide field of vision for three decades. The American-Swiss company also has a strong link with KTM. For four years Scott has held a special place in the KTM PowerWear catalog, and they have provided wares for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team in both Enduro and Motocross, meaning the crucial race-tested and dependable eyewear for the likes of Josep Garcia, Nathan Watson, Jorge Prado, Tom Vialle and Rene Hofer. There is also another quirky connection: Mattighofen, Austria, is not only the fount of the finest offroad bikes but also Scott’s main European hub for goggle production. In the same town, only a few kilometers away from the KTM assembly lines, is the GBM Kunststofftechnik & Formenbau factory with a workforce of around 100 people; half of which is dedicated to Scott with almost half a century of molding experience. GBM churns out nearly 1,000,000 goggles a year at full tilt. PC @SchedlR.Watching how a goggle like Scott’s Prospect – and the new Fury model – goes from a complex CAD diagram to a boxed item ready for shipping is a revealing process. It might look like a lump of brightly colored composite, plastic and fabric but a seemingly basic piece of kit can actually take up to three years from conceptualization to design and manufacturing, and then small refinements of the product to ensure things like the widest possible fit in the largest spread of helmets. The Prospect has to protect and be highly functional in terms of preventing things like sweat, dust and sand dropping into the goggle. It also has to provide optimum vision and lenses that don’t fog, don’t distort and even react to ambient light. It has to stay firmly fixed on the face and around the helmet. It has to allow ventilation and airflow. It has to be versatile and effective when it comes to the application of tear-offs and roll-offs. Lastly – or perhaps most importantly for some riders – they have to look pretty cool and fit together with bike graphics or other kit. The heart of all this service begins with the steel mold. It can take five-six people up to three months to craft this large lump of metal that casts the frame of the Prospect. The steel can be ground to 1000th of a millimeter and a very precise outline. The most complicated molds can cost in the region of a quarter of a million euros: not much room for failure! The steel casing has to withstand 400 bars of pressure and eventually is used to make thousands and thousands of goggle frames a month. When Scott eventually come up with a successor to the Prospect – as they did with their previous Tyrant and Hustle goggles – then the mold goes into storage and is kept in an ‘archive’. Scott could easily make a 30-year old goggle again if they wanted to. PC @RayArcherIn production the mold will contain colored resin that is melted at 220 degrees and then the frames are popped out while at a quarter of the temperature. The colors of the Prospect frames come from a resin decided between Scott & GBM and there is a wide palette of choice. The material can also be manipulated so the nearly indestructible frames can be flexible and then very tough in other areas. For example, construction around the nose bridge. For the most fanciful color schemes Scott/GBM have used a technique called Water Transfer Decoration. Fine films of paint and design are suspended on top of a water tank and a set of blank goggle frames are then dipped into the solution. They are dried, washed (to remove excess film), dried, varnished and dried again. The slight imprecision of WTD means every pair of goggles created like this is almost unique. PC @SchedlRThe dry frame passes to the foam stage where Scott’s special triple layer technology is glued by hand. The goggle moves along the line for the lenses, which are also clipped into place by GBM’s workers. Very light TruView lenses are cut from massive sheets of Lexan (polycarbonate) and are then treated with anti-scratch and anti-fog formulas. There are 10 different colors alone for the Prospect. Once cut and punched in the giant press and piled ready for use the lenses are heated and bent into frames and where the advantageous lock system – thanks to four pins – comes into play. The lenses pass a strict (and dramatic) ballistic test in the factory. At one stage Scott were shooting a 3mm steel ball at 112 meters per second from a few meters distance at sample goggles. The pellet would dent but not break the lens. This resilience is almost three times what is required for CE regulation for motocross and more than half of what is necessary for street visors on helmets. Scott’s parameters for safety are therefore far advanced of the minimum level. Their demand for pristine optical performance comes from a second examination at GBM where a laser tests for clarity. It measures UV (all of the Prospect lenses are 100% UV protective) and if there is any distortion or disorientation as a final quality control. PC @TaglioniSThe last room before boxing contains the large machines with reels and reels spitting out kilometers of wildly colored straps and the advanced but secretive fastening system that allow Scott to be proud of this particular aspect of the Prospect’s specs. Advanced-level goggles have not become any cheaper in the last ten years but the likes of the Prospect and competitors such as Oakley’s Front Line and 100%’s Armega mean that riders are getting well-thought and carefully crafted products that could make the difference in a race, rally or ride-out. Click here to see the latest KTM PowerWear Scott goggles.
  2. THE ADVANCED TECH BEHIND YOUR VISION ON THE DIRT

    There is a lot more thought and design that goes into a pair of motocross goggles than you think. Scott Sports shares some of their secrets… PC @MitterbauerHGoggles have been stretched awkwardly across helmets, smashed remorselessly by roost, thrown away by motocross racers during motos but also lovingly prepared, washed and placed on shelves with old helmets for posterity. They are often an under-appreciated piece of riding kit but utterly essential for anyone who has followed a friend or competitor on a stony trail or tried to plow across a muddy track in the rain. PC @RayArcherThere is a wealth of products on the market and several specialized brands in the optics business; goggles can cost 50 euros and last a few rides or can be than three times as expensive with some serious engineering behind them. Scott Sports are one of the proponents of goggle technology for bikes and the snow and have been introducing new concepts and innovations like face-fitting frames, lens-locking and a wide field of vision for three decades. The American-Swiss company also has a strong link with KTM. For four years Scott has held a special place in the KTM PowerWear catalog, and they have provided wares for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team in both Enduro and Motocross, meaning the crucial race-tested and dependable eyewear for the likes of Josep Garcia, Nathan Watson, Jorge Prado, Tom Vialle and Rene Hofer. There is also another quirky connection: Mattighofen, Austria, is not only the fount of the finest offroad bikes but also Scott’s main European hub for goggle production. In the same town, only a few kilometers away from the KTM assembly lines, is the GBM Kunststofftechnik & Formenbau factory with a workforce of around 100 people; half of which is dedicated to Scott with almost half a century of molding experience. GBM churns out nearly 1,000,000 goggles a year at full tilt. PC @SchedlR.Watching how a goggle like Scott’s Prospect – and the new Fury model – goes from a complex CAD diagram to a boxed item ready for shipping is a revealing process. It might look like a lump of brightly colored composite, plastic and fabric but a seemingly basic piece of kit can actually take up to three years from conceptualization to design and manufacturing, and then small refinements of the product to ensure things like the widest possible fit in the largest spread of helmets. The Prospect has to protect and be highly functional in terms of preventing things like sweat, dust and sand dropping into the goggle. It also has to provide optimum vision and lenses that don’t fog, don’t distort and even react to ambient light. It has to stay firmly fixed on the face and around the helmet. It has to allow ventilation and airflow. It has to be versatile and effective when it comes to the application of tear-offs and roll-offs. Lastly – or perhaps most importantly for some riders – they have to look pretty cool and fit together with bike graphics or other kit. The heart of all this service begins with the steel mold. It can take five-six people up to three months to craft this large lump of metal that casts the frame of the Prospect. The steel can be ground to 1000th of a millimeter and a very precise outline. The most complicated molds can cost in the region of a quarter of a million euros: not much room for failure! The steel casing has to withstand 400 bars of pressure and eventually is used to make thousands and thousands of goggle frames a month. When Scott eventually come up with a successor to the Prospect – as they did with their previous Tyrant and Hustle goggles – then the mold goes into storage and is kept in an ‘archive’. Scott could easily make a 30-year old goggle again if they wanted to. PC @RayArcherIn production the mold will contain colored resin that is melted at 220 degrees and then the frames are popped out while at a quarter of the temperature. The colors of the Prospect frames come from a resin decided between Scott & GBM and there is a wide palette of choice. The material can also be manipulated so the nearly indestructible frames can be flexible and then very tough in other areas. For example, construction around the nose bridge. For the most fanciful color schemes Scott/GBM have used a technique called Water Transfer Decoration. Fine films of paint and design are suspended on top of a water tank and a set of blank goggle frames are then dipped into the solution. They are dried, washed (to remove excess film), dried, varnished and dried again. The slight imprecision of WTD means every pair of goggles created like this is almost unique. PC @SchedlRThe dry frame passes to the foam stage where Scott’s special triple layer technology is glued by hand. The goggle moves along the line for the lenses, which are also clipped into place by GBM’s workers. Very light TruView lenses are cut from massive sheets of Lexan (polycarbonate) and are then treated with anti-scratch and anti-fog formulas. There are 10 different colors alone for the Prospect. Once cut and punched in the giant press and piled ready for use the lenses are heated and bent into frames and where the advantageous lock system – thanks to four pins – comes into play. The lenses pass a strict (and dramatic) ballistic test in the factory. At one stage Scott were shooting a 3mm steel ball at 112 meters per second from a few meters distance at sample goggles. The pellet would dent but not break the lens. This resilience is almost three times what is required for CE regulation for motocross and more than half of what is necessary for street visors on helmets. Scott’s parameters for safety are therefore far advanced of the minimum level. Their demand for pristine optical performance comes from a second examination at GBM where a laser tests for clarity. It measures UV (all of the Prospect lenses are 100% UV protective) and if there is any distortion or disorientation as a final quality control. PC @TaglioniSThe last room before boxing contains the large machines with reels and reels spitting out kilometers of wildly colored straps and the advanced but secretive fastening system that allow Scott to be proud of this particular aspect of the Prospect’s specs. Advanced-level goggles have not become any cheaper in the last ten years but the likes of the Prospect and competitors such as Oakley’s Front Line and 100%’s Armega mean that riders are getting well-thought and carefully crafted products that could make the difference in a race, rally or ride-out. Click here to see the latest KTM PowerWear Scott goggles.
  3. Posted in Bikes Are Naked bikes still the rage? Looking at KTM’s Street portfolio then you’d think so with at least two new models coming to showrooms this year in the forms of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R and the KTM 890 DUKE R. We asked some key figures in orange – as well as ex-racers like Jeremy McWilliams and Chris Fillmore – if the genre remains vibrant and in-demand as the new decade begins… We call them ‘Naked’ but, really, they are definitive motorcycles: the way bikes used to be and have always been since the 1980s boom towards sports machines and the notion of the superbike. The fact that virtually every major manufacturer has a significant interpretation of ‘Naked’ is indicative of the choice and versatility that riders want on crowded and patrolled roads. For KTM the ‘Naked’ motorcycle is still utterly relevant. On the KTM website there are options for Travel, Sports Tourer, Naked, Supermoto and Supersport but in 2019 the DUKE range accounted for 100,000 of global sales (almost 40% of the total) with the accessibility, young appeal and build quality of the KTM 125 DUKE hoisting the bike as the best-seller in the range. 2020 represents the fourth year that the manufacturer will be present on the MotoGP grid and with four works bikes they already equal Yamaha and Honda and surpass Suzuki and Aprilia in terms of presence. With an emphasis on performance the factory push their 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R to the fore. The crazy depth of torque and a brand-new chassis from the overhauled roadster gives new impetus to the ‘BEAST’ tag: a bike without the clothes but very much in disguise as a rip-roaring sports machine if desired. PC @KTM“It is definitely our top-of-the-range Street performance product,” confirms Head of Product Management Adriaan Sinke. KTM are forging ahead with their belief in Naked bikes. In a dizzying eighteen-month spell of development-and-launch the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R now has the KTM 790 DUKE and KTM 890 DUKE R for company. The Euro5 emission-ready KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is at the top of the tree and boasts the kind of output, refined handling (a vastly stiffer and superior chassis/frame concept) and electronics (MTC, MSR, varying ABS, 6D lean angle sensor) to match most 2020 incarnations on the market. Therein lies a paradox: how do KTM continue to fabricate a simplistic motorcycle that provides the sensations, comfort and thrills that customers demand while also hiking the level of sophistication? “It’s really tough actually,” Sinke admits. “The market demands more technology. For even the biggest Naked bike stalwart you cannot ride them without electronic fuel injection or throttle management… Traction control is becoming more and more of a standard feature and is slowly becoming a must have for daily riding. It is possible but not in an everyday situation. One of the keys with this bike was trying to give the rider the feeling of control more than on the previous model. We have always had quite good traction control, but we wanted the rider to have more depth of feeling, how the power was coming in, that the bike was sliding and it was helping them to drive forward. We wanted them to have that sense of ‘I’m the master of what my motorcycle is doing’. You don’t want a good rider to switch off the traction control, you want a good rider to enjoy the possibilities he can explore by using traction control. PC @KTMTo explore the extremities and advantages of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, KTM let journalists and testers have free reign around the technical Portimao racetrack in southern Portugal for the official presentation. Circulating the WorldSBK venue opens up the valves. It allows the 180hp and 140Nm potential of the LC8 engine to boom, and the new handling shine throughout the weave of dips and turns. Riders also toggle through the full range of the nine-level Traction Control setting and revitalised Track Mode; innovations that former MotoGP rider Jeremy McWilliams helped refine. The Irishman has been a key figure in the evolution of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R since the first ‘BEAST’ in 2013. His track work has allowed KTM R&D to examine the limits of the motorcycle and create a stable-and-secure yet thrilling offering for the road. “I think we like Naked bikes because we have a bit more control of them,” he opines. “We’re on top of them, we have more leverage and a wide bar position. You have more torque on this motorcycle than I think anything else out there on the market today. Torque is our friend: when you have that much on tap it makes the riding experience that much more fun. It doesn’t really matter what gear you exit the corner on this bike. We never use second gear here at Portimao. We don’t need it because third has so much push to get it off the corner at any speed. You can become a bit of a hooligan on this and you can also ride it as sedately as you want. There is a lot of variety thanks to the electronic settings. A lot of options.” PC @KTMMcWilliams is clocking laps with another ex-Grand Prix star, Alex Hoffmann and also American Chris Fillmore, who used to compete in AMA Superbike with the RC8. “When it comes to Naked bikes then it depends on your goals with motorcycling,” Fillmore says. “If your goal is not to be a full-on racer then they are ten times more comfortable than a sportsbike on the street. They still work unbelievably well on the track and I was getting within 2-3 seconds of my RC8 lap-times on the old generation of the SUPER DUKE and this version is even better thanks to that stiffer frame. It is like a comfortable superbike: you still have all the technology and the performance, but everything is geared more towards being comfortable on the street…although, honestly, you don’t lose that much for the track.” PC @KTMThe idea of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R on a circuit seems a little alien, especially considering the latest fad brands have towards the production of high-performing and highly expensive track models in the last half a decade. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R does not disappoint however and can be tweaked to get as ragged or as assuring as any rider wants. “If you are a good rider then you can be very fast on a SUPER DUKE R,” promises Sinke. “The chassis, torque and brakes: it’s a really good package. We hope we are able to convince a few track riders to pick it up and I’m sure we will. You will ride the SUPER DUKE R on the streets but if you want to go to the track then you won’t need two bikes.” The new KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R’s engine numbers are eye-widening for a v-twin. For ‘scratching’ or a competitive environment then it’s a clear asset. But are those figures still appealing for customers in 2020? Fillmore believes so. “I think riders are still hung up on horsepower because it is an ego-thing,” he smiles. “My father owns a bike and he had to buy the fastest, biggest, latest, greatest and, for me, I think if people took a step back and even looked at the midweight category – I think the KTM 790 DUKE is one of the best bikes for everybody – then their experience would be just as good as any sports bike. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is great because it has all the torque and all the power but it is all very manageable with the electronics. I think people are too hung-up on a number. On the street there is always a speed limit. This is one of the best streetbikes because of the torque. At 3000rpm you are immediately in the meat of the power on this bike. You don’t get to use much power on the street and the torque gives you that excitement instantly. In comparison – inline fours – you have to be screaming and already going 100 to get into the power and where they pull at the top end. This is a bottom-end fun.” “I think in our hearts there are still a lot of ‘youngsters’ out there who have grown up, made their money and can buy these types of bikes,” concurs Sinke. “The fun factor of controlling something with so much power is still there, and it will take quite a while before that attraction dies down. In fifteen years we might have electric superbikes but I think that fascination with power and speed will always be present. Being a bit of a bad boy and being a bit naughty almost defines a bike like this: something powerful but playful at the same time.” In that sense KTM almost seem duty-bound to fashion something as radical and extreme as the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. “Yeah, probably,” Sinke confesses. “The bike is ‘in-your-face’ and that is our brand in every possible way. It is amazing to ride this bike and be shot out of the corners. Do I need this bike? Of course I don’t. A KTM 790 DUKE has plenty of power to tackle any mountain road…but to have that power and torque under your right hand is really a lot of fun.” A Naked bike doesn’t hide much, and in the case of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R then even less with that edgy and purposeful styling but the truth is that there is a vast world of experience within, and with the slightest touch of that right handlebar grip. That mystery and sense of discovery is what keeps KTM striving towards the ‘ultimate’ Naked bike. They have hit the mark with the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R: a creation with MotoGP nuance drip-feed into its DNA and an influence that trickles down into the rest of the DUKE line. “Naked bikes are almost the epitome of what a motorcycle is about,” concludes Sinke. “We sell immense volumes of the small DUKEs so there is definitely a big market for it. It doesn’t have a big fairing or a bunch of stuff that you don’t need on a bike. It’s an important market for us and it is definitely continuing.”
  4. THE NATURIST: KEEPING NAKED WITH THE KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R

    Posted in Bikes Are Naked bikes still the rage? Looking at KTM’s Street portfolio then you’d think so with at least two new models coming to showrooms this year in the forms of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R and the KTM 890 DUKE R. We asked some key figures in orange – as well as ex-racers like Jeremy McWilliams and Chris Fillmore – if the genre remains vibrant and in-demand as the new decade begins… We call them ‘Naked’ but, really, they are definitive motorcycles: the way bikes used to be and have always been since the 1980s boom towards sports machines and the notion of the superbike. The fact that virtually every major manufacturer has a significant interpretation of ‘Naked’ is indicative of the choice and versatility that riders want on crowded and patrolled roads. For KTM the ‘Naked’ motorcycle is still utterly relevant. On the KTM website there are options for Travel, Sports Tourer, Naked, Supermoto and Supersport but in 2019 the DUKE range accounted for 100,000 of global sales (almost 40% of the total) with the accessibility, young appeal and build quality of the KTM 125 DUKE hoisting the bike as the best-seller in the range. 2020 represents the fourth year that the manufacturer will be present on the MotoGP grid and with four works bikes they already equal Yamaha and Honda and surpass Suzuki and Aprilia in terms of presence. With an emphasis on performance the factory push their 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R to the fore. The crazy depth of torque and a brand-new chassis from the overhauled roadster gives new impetus to the ‘BEAST’ tag: a bike without the clothes but very much in disguise as a rip-roaring sports machine if desired. PC @SebasRomero“It is definitely our top-of-the-range Street performance product,” confirms Head of Product Management Adriaan Sinke. KTM are forging ahead with their belief in Naked bikes. In a dizzying eighteen-month spell of development-and-launch the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R now has the KTM 790 DUKE and KTM 890 DUKE R for company. The Euro5 emission-ready KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is at the top of the tree and boasts the kind of output, refined handling (a vastly stiffer and superior chassis/frame concept) and electronics (MTC, MSR, varying ABS, 6D lean angle sensor) to match most 2020 incarnations on the market. Therein lies a paradox: how do KTM continue to fabricate a simplistic motorcycle that provides the sensations, comfort and thrills that customers demand while also hiking the level of sophistication? “It’s really tough actually,” Sinke admits. “The market demands more technology. For even the biggest Naked bike stalwart you cannot ride them without electronic fuel injection or throttle management… Traction control is becoming more and more of a standard feature and is slowly becoming a must have for daily riding. It is possible but not in an everyday situation. One of the keys with this bike was trying to give the rider the feeling of control more than on the previous model. We have always had quite good traction control, but we wanted the rider to have more depth of feeling, how the power was coming in, that the bike was sliding and it was helping them to drive forward. We wanted them to have that sense of ‘I’m the master of what my motorcycle is doing’. You don’t want a good rider to switch off the traction control, you want a good rider to enjoy the possibilities he can explore by using traction control. PC @SebasRomeroTo explore the extremities and advantages of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, KTM let journalists and testers have free reign around the technical Portimao racetrack in southern Portugal for the official presentation. Circulating the WorldSBK venue opens up the valves. It allows the 180hp and 140Nm potential of the LC8 engine to boom, and the new handling shine throughout the weave of dips and turns. Riders also toggle through the full range of the nine-level Traction Control setting and revitalised Track Mode; innovations that former MotoGP rider Jeremy McWilliams helped refine. The Irishman has been a key figure in the evolution of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R since the first ‘BEAST’ in 2013. His track work has allowed KTM R&D to examine the limits of the motorcycle and create a stable-and-secure yet thrilling offering for the road. “I think we like Naked bikes because we have a bit more control of them,” he opines. “We’re on top of them, we have more leverage and a wide bar position. You have more torque on this motorcycle than I think anything else out there on the market today. Torque is our friend: when you have that much on tap it makes the riding experience that much more fun. It doesn’t really matter what gear you exit the corner on this bike. We never use second gear here at Portimao. We don’t need it because third has so much push to get it off the corner at any speed. You can become a bit of a hooligan on this and you can also ride it as sedately as you want. There is a lot of variety thanks to the electronic settings. A lot of options.” PC @MarcoCampelliMcWilliams is clocking laps with another ex-Grand Prix star, Alex Hoffmann and also American Chris Fillmore, who used to compete in AMA Superbike with the RC8. “When it comes to Naked bikes then it depends on your goals with motorcycling,” Fillmore says. “If your goal is not to be a full-on racer then they are ten times more comfortable than a sportsbike on the street. They still work unbelievably well on the track and I was getting within 2-3 seconds of my RC8 lap-times on the old generation of the SUPER DUKE and this version is even better thanks to that stiffer frame. It is like a comfortable superbike: you still have all the technology and the performance, but everything is geared more towards being comfortable on the street…although, honestly, you don’t lose that much for the track.” PC @MarcoCampelliThe idea of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R on a circuit seems a little alien, especially considering the latest fad brands have towards the production of high-performing and highly expensive track models in the last half a decade. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R does not disappoint however and can be tweaked to get as ragged or as assuring as any rider wants. “If you are a good rider then you can be very fast on a SUPER DUKE R,” promises Sinke. “The chassis, torque and brakes: it’s a really good package. We hope we are able to convince a few track riders to pick it up and I’m sure we will. You will ride the SUPER DUKE R on the streets but if you want to go to the track then you won’t need two bikes.” The new KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R’s engine numbers are eye-widening for a v-twin. For ‘scratching’ or a competitive environment then it’s a clear asset. But are those figures still appealing for customers in 2020? Fillmore believes so. “I think riders are still hung up on horsepower because it is an ego-thing,” he smiles. “My father owns a bike and he had to buy the fastest, biggest, latest, greatest and, for me, I think if people took a step back and even looked at the midweight category – I think the KTM 790 DUKE is one of the best bikes for everybody – then their experience would be just as good as any sports bike. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is great because it has all the torque and all the power but it is all very manageable with the electronics. I think people are too hung-up on a number. On the street there is always a speed limit. This is one of the best streetbikes because of the torque. At 3000rpm you are immediately in the meat of the power on this bike. You don’t get to use much power on the street and the torque gives you that excitement instantly. In comparison – inline fours – you have to be screaming and already going 100 to get into the power and where they pull at the top end. This is a bottom-end fun.” “I think in our hearts there are still a lot of ‘youngsters’ out there who have grown up, made their money and can buy these types of bikes,” concurs Sinke. “The fun factor of controlling something with so much power is still there, and it will take quite a while before that attraction dies down. In fifteen years we might have electric superbikes but I think that fascination with power and speed will always be present. Being a bit of a bad boy and being a bit naughty almost defines a bike like this: something powerful but playful at the same time.” In that sense KTM almost seem duty-bound to fashion something as radical and extreme as the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. “Yeah, probably,” Sinke confesses. “The bike is ‘in-your-face’ and that is our brand in every possible way. It is amazing to ride this bike and be shot out of the corners. Do I need this bike? Of course I don’t. A KTM 790 DUKE has plenty of power to tackle any mountain road…but to have that power and torque under your right hand is really a lot of fun.” A Naked bike doesn’t hide much, and in the case of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R then even less with that edgy and purposeful styling but the truth is that there is a vast world of experience within, and with the slightest touch of that right handlebar grip. That mystery and sense of discovery is what keeps KTM striving towards the ‘ultimate’ Naked bike. They have hit the mark with the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R: a creation with MotoGP nuance drip-feed into its DNA and an influence that trickles down into the rest of the DUKE line. “Naked bikes are almost the epitome of what a motorcycle is about,” concludes Sinke. “We sell immense volumes of the small DUKEs so there is definitely a big market for it. It doesn’t have a big fairing or a bunch of stuff that you don’t need on a bike. It’s an important market for us and it is definitely continuing.”
  5. Posted in Interactive The recent lockdown has meant some quiet but busy days for the staff at the KTM Motohall. Work inside the stunning complex has not stopped so here are some key reasons to plan a visit and details of a fantastic competition for those that make it to Mattighofen before the end of June. PC @KTM1. New racebikes, new bikes, new builds Riders and customers tempted by a 2020 KTM can finally get back into authorized KTM dealers but for those wanting a look – and even a ‘grip’ – of the fanciful KTM 890 DUKE R and models such as the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S then a raft of bikes in the KTM Motohall has been updated. Some of the 2020 portfolio has been placed into the ‘sit-on’ holders; so while riders can only fantasize rather than experience the agility and ‘scratching’ potential of the KTM 890 DUKE R, visitors can still throw a leg over the motorcycle and let their imagination do the rest. PC @KTMThe top floor of the KTM Motohall contains the ‘Heroes’ section and where original machines and kit of 28 figures in KTM’s long racing history are on display. One new entrant graces the gentle sloping floor surrounded by a vivid wall-to-wall video-audio show: 2019 AMA 450 SX Supercross Champion, Cooper Webb, makes his debut ‘appearance’. Moved to the Racing Bike Section is Sam Sunderland’s FIM Cross Country World Championship conquering KTM 450 RALLY, parked a short distance from Jorge Prado’s double-FIM MX2 Motocross title grabbing KTM 250 SX-F and Manuel Lettenbichler’s KTM 300 EXC TPI WESS-winning saddle. PC @KTMProactivity with the layout and functionality of the KTM Motohall means an altered reception area (particularly for groups) and a bigger shop space. In fact, walking through the amplified zone with the full racks of KTM PowerWear it will be impossible to ignore the new KTM Retro Collection with vintage designs and throwbacks to the company’s history splashed on items from magnets, postcards to t-shirts: a very cool spin on the usual product and racing-related fare. Threading through the store leads to the subterranean live workshop and a tasty addition: Brad Binder’s factory Moto2™ RC12. Chris Fillmore’s KTM 790 DUKE – that claimed honors in the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – is also present. PC @KTM2. Family fun with the ‘new normal’ Society is dealing with the 2020 parameters involving social distancing but with an attractive and airy setting inside the KTM Motohall the interaction and enjoyment has not been diluted. KTM have assumed steps to ensure maximum safety and hygiene and – as always – the priority is for the entire family to take something away from their trip. Motorcyclists, history and racing fans and ‘tech-heads’ have a mine of detail to wade through along the corridors but the kids can, push, pull, listen, guess and buzz around the building thanks to KTM pedal-less cycles. They can also bang the stamps in their KTM Rookie Booklet (a souvenir pamphlet that junior KTM Motohallers can have fun tracing the stops, learn some fun facts and then take home). PC @KTM3. Food for thought…and the stomach! KTM have rearranged and squeezed more attractions into the KTM Motohall to make the journey around the modern architecture even more of a feast for the eyes. Fans of the brand will notice the renovation of Offroad and Street models from 2019 to 2020, making sure the latest technology is fully up-to-date, and the explanations behind the fabrication, prototypes, manufacturing standards and brand-new innovations tell the stories behind the bikes. PC @RudolfEbnerOnce outside, the very short walk to the Garage restaurant reveals further novelties. The KTM-themed restaurant has renewed (and continues to refresh) their standard and daily lunch menus and now have brunch on Sundays and ‘after-work’ specials. PC @RudolfEbner4. Win Big and Go Orange! There is a special incentive to discover or rediscover the KTM Motohall before the end of June. Every valid entry ticket will slide into a box for a mega prize draw! The first ticket pulled out at random will win a KTM SX-E 5. This ideal first step into both motorcycling and e-mobility for kids between the ages of 3-10 (the bike is designed in order to grow with the child) is worth almost 5000 euros. The second ticket will earn a KTM ORANGE E-EXPERIENCE voucher applicable for three people. This entails a two-hour session at the KTM E-Cross Centre in Munderfing (for over-18s), lunch at the Garage restaurant and re-entry to the KTM Motohall. Third prize is a KTM Motohall Retro Package. PC @KTMIn fact, KTM are excited to have the KTM Motohall active again so will be giving each ticket-holder a 2020 KTM Fan Package that includes a t-shirt, cap, keyring lanyard, and drawstring gym-bag completely free while stocks last. Watch the calendar and get to the KTM Motohall before July to stand a chance! The KTM Motohall is open from: – 9 am – 6 pm – Wednesday – Sunday More information on tickets and activities have a look at the KTM Motohall website: www.ktm-motohall.com
  6. Posted in Interactive The recent lockdown has meant some quiet but busy days for the staff at the KTM Motohall. Work inside the stunning complex has not stopped so here are some key reasons to plan a visit and details of a fantastic competition for those that make it to Mattighofen before the end of June. PC @KTM1. New racebikes, new bikes, new builds Riders and customers tempted by a 2020 KTM can finally get back into authorized KTM dealers but for those wanting a look – and even a ‘grip’ – of the fanciful KTM 890 DUKE R and models such as the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S then a raft of bikes in the KTM Motohall has been updated. Some of the 2020 portfolio has been placed into the ‘sit-on’ holders; so while riders can only fantasize rather than experience the agility and ‘scratching’ potential of the KTM 890 DUKE R, visitors can still throw a leg over the motorcycle and let their imagination do the rest. PC @KTMThe top floor of the KTM Motohall contains the ‘Heroes’ section and where original machines and kit of 28 figures in KTM’s long racing history are on display. One new entrant graces the gentle sloping floor surrounded by a vivid wall-to-wall video-audio show: 2019 AMA 450 SX Supercross Champion, Cooper Webb, makes his debut ‘appearance’. Moved to the Racing Bike Section is Sam Sunderland’s FIM Cross Country World Championship conquering KTM 450 RALLY, parked a short distance from Jorge Prado’s double-FIM MX2 Motocross title grabbing KTM 250 SX-F and Manuel Lettenbichler’s KTM 300 EXC TPI WESS-winning saddle. PC @KTMProactivity with the layout and functionality of the KTM Motohall means an altered reception area (particularly for groups) and a bigger shop space. In fact, walking through the amplified zone with the full racks of KTM PowerWear it will be impossible to ignore the new KTM Retro Collection with vintage designs and throwbacks to the company’s history splashed on items from magnets, postcards to t-shirts: a very cool spin on the usual product and racing-related fare. Threading through the store leads to the subterranean live workshop and a tasty addition: Brad Binder’s factory Moto2™ RC12. Chris Fillmore’s KTM 790 DUKE – that claimed honors in the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – is also present. PC @KTM2. Family fun with the ‘new normal’ Society is dealing with the 2020 parameters involving social distancing but with an attractive and airy setting inside the KTM Motohall the interaction and enjoyment has not been diluted. KTM have assumed steps to ensure maximum safety and hygiene and – as always – the priority is for the entire family to take something away from their trip. Motorcyclists, history and racing fans and ‘tech-heads’ have a mine of detail to wade through along the corridors but the kids can, push, pull, listen, guess and buzz around the building thanks to KTM pedal-less cycles. They can also bang the stamps in their KTM Rookie Booklet (a souvenir pamphlet that junior KTM Motohallers can have fun tracing the stops, learn some fun facts and then take home). PC @KTM3. Food for thought…and the stomach! KTM have rearranged and squeezed more attractions into the KTM Motohall to make the journey around the modern architecture even more of a feast for the eyes. Fans of the brand will notice the renovation of Offroad and Street models from 2019 to 2020, making sure the latest technology is fully up-to-date, and the explanations behind the fabrication, prototypes, manufacturing standards and brand-new innovations tell the stories behind the bikes. PC @RudolfEbnerOnce outside, the very short walk to the Garage restaurant reveals further novelties. The KTM-themed restaurant has renewed (and continues to refresh) their standard and daily lunch menus and now have brunch on Sundays and ‘after-work’ specials. PC @RudolfEbner4. Win Big and Go Orange! There is a special incentive to discover or rediscover the KTM Motohall before the end of June. Every valid entry ticket will slide into a box for a mega prize draw! The first ticket pulled out at random will win a KTM SX-E 5. This ideal first step into both motorcycling and e-mobility for kids between the ages of 3-10 (the bike is designed in order to grow with the child) is worth almost 5000 euros. The second ticket will earn a KTM ORANGE E-EXPERIENCE voucher applicable for three people. This entails a two-hour session at the KTM E-Cross Centre in Munderfing (for over-18s), lunch at the Garage restaurant and re-entry to the KTM Motohall. Third prize is a KTM Motohall Retro Package. PC @KTMIn fact, KTM are excited to have the KTM Motohall active again so will be giving each ticket-holder a 2020 KTM Fan Package that includes a t-shirt, cap, keyring lanyard, and drawstring gym-bag completely free while stocks last. Watch the calendar and get to the KTM Motohall before July to stand a chance! The KTM Motohall is open from: – 9 am – 6 pm – Wednesday – Sunday More information on tickets and activities have a look at the KTM Motohall website: www.ktm-motohall.com
  7. JONNY WALKER – MY 10 YEARS OF RED BULL ERZBERGRODEO Posted in People, Racing From unassuming privateer to one of the world’s best enduro riders, Jonny Walker has experienced a lot during the last decade. Nowhere have those experiences been more rewarding, and in some cases agonising, than at the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo. Jonny Walker – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. PC @Future7Media If extreme enduro riders are like gladiators, then Erzbergrodeo is their colosseum. An event with a fabled history, it’s the world’s toughest single day enduro – a race where only the strongest racers truly do survive. A three-time winner of the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker has endured the highs and lows of the event, which takes place at an open-pit iron mine in Eisenerz, Austria. 2020 marks 10 years since the Brit first set foot on hard enduro’s hallowed ground back in 2011. But with the event at the Iron Giant (as it is affectionately known) taking a breather until 2021, Walker, like everyone, will have to wait another 12 months before entering the arena again and fighting for a fourth win. Looking back on the highs and lows of the last 10 years, Jonny recalls some of his best Red Bull Erzbergrodeo moments and considers why one day soon a 4-stroke could win this iconic race. A young Jonny Walker finished on the podium at his Red Bull Erzbergrodeo debut. PC @Future7Media 2011 – Privateer Podium “I drove out to Austria in 2011 to race it for the first time. I didn’t really know a whole lot about the race or what I was going to do. Arriving at the village and seeing the Iron Giant was cool, but it didn’t give me goose bumps like it does now. Now it’s a different story because all the memories come flooding back – all the highs and lows. It’s such an important race in enduro and the physical size of the Iron Giant adds to that. I finished third that year and on the way home stopped at the KTM headquarters to sign a factory contract. It’s crazy to think how my life’s changed since. It’s harder for a privateer to rock up and podium because the depth of talent is so deep now.” Walker approaches the finish after a ‘perfect race’. PC @Future7Media 2012 – Debut Win “I didn’t have any pressure entering the race in 2012, despite being the top KTM rider. Back then I was still working as a window fitter, even though I was a pro rider, because it was all I knew, and it gave me a routine. I still had this other life outside of racing. I didn’t treat it like a job because at home I was still fitting windows during the week. I raced and had fun. The race itself is a blur, but I remember crossing the finish line and Karl Katoch handing me the chequered flag – a massive wave of emotion came over me. It was amazing to win.” 2013 – Armageddon “It was like Armageddon for 2013. Conditions were biblical. I qualified on the front row and Graham Jarvis was on the second row. I knew he was my toughest competition, so I was fired up to make as much time as I could before he started. But I drowned my bike off the start. I’m still amazed that we started in that water, but that’s the sort of stuff that makes Erzbergrodeo famous. I was stuck at the side frantically draining water out of my bike when Graham came past. I finally got going and pushed as hard as I could, but conditions were horrendous and recovering that amount of positions was tough. I passed about 100 riders for fourth, but I was gutted about it at the time.” The ‘Iron Giant’ is a truly incredible place and the colosseum of hard enduro. PC @Future7Media 2014 – The Perfect Race “I still dream about 2014. I remember finishing and realising that I never fell off the bike, not once. Everything went so perfectly and that almost never happens at the Iron Giant. I got the holeshot and didn’t see another rider for the rest of the race. I won by about 30 minutes, which is unheard of now.” 2015 – Teamwork To Survive “I think 2015 was good for the sport because people who don’t normally follow hard enduro tuned in. It definitely lifted things to another level. But for a racer it was a strange situation to be in. We race to win, but on that day nobody could win without helping each other. It was weird to suddenly change your mindset from racing to pitching in together like that. The track was so steep, no one could get to the top of that climb. I just remember speaking with the guys and going with the situation. People will talk about that Downtown section for years to come, it’s nice to be associated with that piece of Erzbergrodeo history.” Walker attacks one of the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo climbs in 2019. PC @Future7Media 2016 – Forced Spectator “2016 was the year I watched it from the side lines. I broke my leg leading the SuperEnduro World Championship and unfortunately had to sit the race out. It’s a totally different experience being there as a spectator. As a racer, Erzbergrodeo is a pressure cooker. It builds weeks before you go and race day is stomach-churning. That was the only year I’ve been able to eat breakfast without wanting to vomit before the race!” Carl’s dinner – a tough crossing of huge boulders it’s a battle only the toughest riders can win, PC @Future7Media 2018 – The One That Got Away “It still kills me now to think about 2018 because I just made one silly little mistake on a relatively easy section and lost the race. I was right on Graham (Jarvis) at Green Hell and we pushed our way past Billy Bolt and Mani Lettenbichler into first and second. Exiting the section I was on his tail, but let my front wheel wash out on a root riding down the bank and it got wedged on a tree. Due to the steepness of the bank I struggled to get it out. With only Dynamite and Lazy Noon left I couldn’t get him back. I finished 40 seconds behind, so it’s definitely the one that slipped away.” Walker in 2019 racing the KTM 300 EXC TPI. PC @Future7Media Why the KTM 300 EXC TPI is the best tool for the job “The KTM 300 EXC TPI has proven itself so many times at the race. It’s become the best bike for the job for riders of all abilities. For an amateur rider there’s very little you need to do to it. The package is light, responsive and near-bulletproof reliable. Now, with the TPI fuel injection, KTM have refined that further. It attacks hill climbs like nothing else. Also, altitude isn’t a factor – from the bottom of the quarry to the top of the mountain and back down again there’s no change in power delivery. It just works.” The new 2021 KTM 300 EXC TPI ERZBERGRODEO. PC @KTM Why a 4-stroke can win Erzbergrodeo “I believe that the KTM 350 EXC-F could win Red Bull Erzbergrodeo one day. It’s actually something I’ve been thinking about for a while. At this moment the KTM 300 EXC TPI 2-stroke has the edge because it’s a great all-round package, but with some focused testing the 350F could do it. In the UK I race the KTM 350 EXC-F for multi-lap extreme races because the power delivery is consistent and strong. At Erzbergrodeo the 350F would hold its own off the start and right up to Carls Dinner. I think that is the pinch-point of the race – getting the bike through there without issues would be key. After Carls Dinner things are equal again with the two-stroke. Maybe one day…” A lot of race experience went into the development of the new 2021 KTM 300 EXC TPI ERZBERGRODEO. PC @KTM As we’ve heard in this blog, the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble is one of the toughest races on the planet. In tribute to this iconic event KTM has announced a special model, the 2021 KTM 300 EXC TPI ERZBERGRODEO, which is a truly special machine. Produced in limited numbers, this exciting new model is the ultimate package for conquering the toughest terrain. With racing development at the KTM 300 EXC TPI ERZBERGRODEO’S foundation and influence from talented riders such as Walker, this bike not only looks outstanding with its special colorway, but it has a long list of special parts to reinforce its READY TO RACE bloodline. Best go and check it out, hey? Please click here to see more!
  8. JONNY WALKER – MY 10 YEARS OF RED BULL ERZBERGRODEO

    JONNY WALKER – MY 10 YEARS OF RED BULL ERZBERGRODEO Posted in People, Racing From unassuming privateer to one of the world’s best enduro riders, Jonny Walker has experienced a lot during the last decade. Nowhere have those experiences been more rewarding, and in some cases agonising, than at the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo. Jonny Walker – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. PC @Future7Media If extreme enduro riders are like gladiators, then Erzbergrodeo is their colosseum. An event with a fabled history, it’s the world’s toughest single day enduro – a race where only the strongest racers truly do survive. A three-time winner of the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker has endured the highs and lows of the event, which takes place at an open-pit iron mine in Eisenerz, Austria. 2020 marks 10 years since the Brit first set foot on hard enduro’s hallowed ground back in 2011. But with the event at the Iron Giant (as it is affectionately known) taking a breather until 2021, Walker, like everyone, will have to wait another 12 months before entering the arena again and fighting for a fourth win. Looking back on the highs and lows of the last 10 years, Jonny recalls some of his best Red Bull Erzbergrodeo moments and considers why one day soon a 4-stroke could win this iconic race. A young Jonny Walker finished on the podium at his Red Bull Erzbergrodeo debut. PC @Future7Media 2011 – Privateer Podium “I drove out to Austria in 2011 to race it for the first time. I didn’t really know a whole lot about the race or what I was going to do. Arriving at the village and seeing the Iron Giant was cool, but it didn’t give me goose bumps like it does now. Now it’s a different story because all the memories come flooding back – all the highs and lows. It’s such an important race in enduro and the physical size of the Iron Giant adds to that. I finished third that year and on the way home stopped at the KTM headquarters to sign a factory contract. It’s crazy to think how my life’s changed since. It’s harder for a privateer to rock up and podium because the depth of talent is so deep now.” Walker approaches the finish after a ‘perfect race’. PC @Future7Media 2012 – Debut Win “I didn’t have any pressure entering the race in 2012, despite being the top KTM rider. Back then I was still working as a window fitter, even though I was a pro rider, because it was all I knew, and it gave me a routine. I still had this other life outside of racing. I didn’t treat it like a job because at home I was still fitting windows during the week. I raced and had fun. The race itself is a blur, but I remember crossing the finish line and Karl Katoch handing me the chequered flag – a massive wave of emotion came over me. It was amazing to win.” 2013 – Armageddon “It was like Armageddon for 2013. Conditions were biblical. I qualified on the front row and Graham Jarvis was on the second row. I knew he was my toughest competition, so I was fired up to make as much time as I could before he started. But I drowned my bike off the start. I’m still amazed that we started in that water, but that’s the sort of stuff that makes Erzbergrodeo famous. I was stuck at the side frantically draining water out of my bike when Graham came past. I finally got going and pushed as hard as I could, but conditions were horrendous and recovering that amount of positions was tough. I passed about 100 riders for fourth, but I was gutted about it at the time.” The ‘Iron Giant’ is a truly incredible place and the colosseum of hard enduro. PC @Future7Media 2014 – The Perfect Race “I still dream about 2014. I remember finishing and realising that I never fell off the bike, not once. Everything went so perfectly and that almost never happens at the Iron Giant. I got the holeshot and didn’t see another rider for the rest of the race. I won by about 30 minutes, which is unheard of now.” 2015 – Teamwork To Survive “I think 2015 was good for the sport because people who don’t normally follow hard enduro tuned in. It definitely lifted things to another level. But for a racer it was a strange situation to be in. We race to win, but on that day nobody could win without helping each other. It was weird to suddenly change your mindset from racing to pitching in together like that. The track was so steep, no one could get to the top of that climb. I just remember speaking with the guys and going with the situation. People will talk about that Downtown section for years to come, it’s nice to be associated with that piece of Erzbergrodeo history.” Walker attacks one of the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo climbs in 2019. PC @Future7Media 2016 – Forced Spectator “2016 was the year I watched it from the side lines. I broke my leg leading the SuperEnduro World Championship and unfortunately had to sit the race out. It’s a totally different experience being there as a spectator. As a racer, Erzbergrodeo is a pressure cooker. It builds weeks before you go and race day is stomach-churning. That was the only year I’ve been able to eat breakfast without wanting to vomit before the race!” Carl’s dinner – a tough crossing of huge boulders it’s a battle only the toughest riders can win, PC @Future7Media 2018 – The One That Got Away “It still kills me now to think about 2018 because I just made one silly little mistake on a relatively easy section and lost the race. I was right on Graham (Jarvis) at Green Hell and we pushed our way past Billy Bolt and Mani Lettenbichler into first and second. Exiting the section I was on his tail, but let my front wheel wash out on a root riding down the bank and it got wedged on a tree. Due to the steepness of the bank I struggled to get it out. With only Dynamite and Lazy Noon left I couldn’t get him back. I finished 40 seconds behind, so it’s definitely the one that slipped away.” Walker in 2019 racing the KTM 300 EXC TPI. PC @Future7Media Why the KTM 300 EXC TPI is the best tool for the job “The KTM 300 EXC TPI has proven itself so many times at the race. It’s become the best bike for the job for riders of all abilities. For an amateur rider there’s very little you need to do to it. The package is light, responsive and near-bulletproof reliable. Now, with the TPI fuel injection, KTM have refined that further. It attacks hill climbs like nothing else. Also, altitude isn’t a factor – from the bottom of the quarry to the top of the mountain and back down again there’s no change in power delivery. It just works.” The new 2021 KTM 300 EXC TPI ERZBERGRODEO. PC @KTM Why a 4-stroke can win Erzbergrodeo “I believe that the KTM 350 EXC-F could win Red Bull Erzbergrodeo one day. It’s actually something I’ve been thinking about for a while. At this moment the KTM 300 EXC TPI 2-stroke has the edge because it’s a great all-round package, but with some focused testing the 350F could do it. In the UK I race the KTM 350 EXC-F for multi-lap extreme races because the power delivery is consistent and strong. At Erzbergrodeo the 350F would hold its own off the start and right up to Carls Dinner. I think that is the pinch-point of the race – getting the bike through there without issues would be key. After Carls Dinner things are equal again with the two-stroke. Maybe one day…” A lot of race experience went into the development of the new 2021 KTM 300 EXC TPI ERZBERGRODEO. PC @KTM As we’ve heard in this blog, the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble is one of the toughest races on the planet. In tribute to this iconic event KTM has announced a special model, the 2021 KTM 300 EXC TPI ERZBERGRODEO, which is a truly special machine. Produced in limited numbers, this exciting new model is the ultimate package for conquering the toughest terrain. With racing development at the KTM 300 EXC TPI ERZBERGRODEO’S foundation and influence from talented riders such as Walker, this bike not only looks outstanding with its special colorway, but it has a long list of special parts to reinforce its READY TO RACE bloodline. Best go and check it out, hey? Please click here to see more!
  9. JOSEP GARCIA – UP FOR A CHALLENGE Posted in Racing Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia is not one to shy away from a challenge. With wide-ranging childhood dreams, he’s grown from mini-moto racer and Red Bull Rookie rider to an Enduro World Champion and two-time Red Bull Erzbergrodeo finisher. Josep Garcia – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. PC @Future7Media Along the way he’s also claimed three victories in the WESS Enduro World Championship, while becoming the first rider in 33 years to beat the French on their home soil to win the Trefle Lozerien classic enduro. With aspirations of leading Spain to ISDE victory, as well as extreme enduro goals still to be achieved, Garcia isn’t done yet with adding to his list of achievements… Garcia went road racing with the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup in 2011 before becoming an Enduro racer. PC @Gold&Goose Josep, from Red Bull Rookies to an Enduro World Champion and two-time Erzbergrodeo finisher, are you surprised by the things you’ve accomplished on two wheels? Josep Garcia: “As a child I was quite broad in my dreams. I always wanted to be a world champion, but wanted to finish something crazy like Erzbergrodeo, too. The Red Bull Rookies was an opportunity too good to refuse. I have a lot of good memories from that 2011 season. On paper it’s a strange path, probably unique, but all of it has helped shape me into the rider I’ve become.” How did Red Bull Rookies happen for you and why did you decide to move to enduro? “Going from road back to off-road is a strange journey, but it’s just the way things worked out. I was about 14 years old when I got the chance to go road racing, so I took it. I had tried mini-moto racing as a child and wanted a change from motocross, so followed that path. I had some good results but looking back now it mostly taught me about being a professional athlete. At the end of 2011 there was an opportunity to move to enduro and I took it. It was a natural fit and so far it’s worked out pretty good!” Garcia has tackled some of the most challenging hard enduro events. Here he’s riding the KTM 300 EXC TPI at the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo. PC @Future7Media You began enduro on a 125cc 2-stroke. How important is a smaller capacity 2-stroke to develop a rider’s skill set? “For me a 125 or 150 2-stroke is the foundation for everything else in enduro. It’s the best bike to learn on and a bike everyone should spend at least one-year riding. It teaches you so much because it is the most difficult bike to get right. You have to learn how to make it work in all conditions. Now I see lots of riders jump to the bigger bikes too soon, but I think that’s a mistake. What you learn riding a the smaller 2-stroke stays with you for life.” What’s been the hardest thing for you to learn in extreme enduro? Has your physical size and h been an issue? “For sure the hardest thing I’ve had to learn was the technical riding. Almost all of the top extreme enduro guys have a world-class background in the sport or have ridden trials all their life. I didn’t. And I’m also short, too, so that hasn’t helped! But I’m getting better and better each year. Bike set-up has been important and I have to thank guys like Alfredo Gomez for helping me with that – it means a lot.” Garcia tackles the Le Trefle Lozerien mud on his way to becoming the first non-French racer to win the event. PC @Future7Media As the first non-French rider to win Trefle Lozerien, how special was that victory in 2019? “Winning Trefle Lozerien was one of my most favorite moments of my career. It took two years to achieve that. I learned a lot in 2018 and used that to fight for victory in 2019. It’s such a specialist race, you wouldn’t believe. There’s a lot to get right. The tests are very unique to France with lots of grass. You only ride each test once too, so there’s lots to remember and because you never quite know where you are going, you ride by feel. Last year was made difficult by the mud, so to prove myself in those conditions and become the first non-French winner was magical.” Garcia celebrates finishing the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo in 2019. PC @Future7Media How has learning the technical side of extreme enduro helped you improve your riding and speed for classic enduro and special tests? “When I see extreme tests now they look easy. In the past I was always nervous about them, but from racing extreme enduro I’ve done stuff I never imagined I could. I’m more confident in the technical sections as a result. But one thing I’ve learned with extreme riding is traction. You are constantly fighting for it on climbs and rock gardens. I’ve got a better feel for that and push the limits more.” Hawkstone Park 2019 – Garcia wheelies his way through a forest section. PC @Future7Media Is a willingness to adapt to the challenges you face a reason for your success? “You’ve got to embrace challenges in enduro. It’s something I’ve always believed in. Enduro is not just one thing, it’s everything. To be a true enduro rider you’ve got to do it all. Riding different disciplines helps you grow as a rider. I used to train mostly motocross but now my training is broader. I spend 50% of my time doing motocross and special tests and then the other 50% riding extreme stuff and trials.” Learning new race formats and tackling hard enduro terrain has been a challenge Garcia has enjoyed. PC @Future7Media Why have you moved from the KTM 250 EXC-F to the KTM 350 EXC-F for the classic enduro events? “After four years on the KTM 250 EXC-F I felt this year was the right time to try the KTM 350 EXC-F. I achieved a lot with the 250F, so wanting to prove myself on a bigger bike offered a lot of motivation. Although it is early days, initial testing and the opening round of the Spanish Enduro Championship delivered good results. I feel like I can still be me on the bike, but it’s also pushing me to improve areas of my riding. When the ground is perfect I can be that aggressive rider I love being, but when it’s technical or wet I need to be smoother to ride fast. With more races to come, I’m excited to see where I’ll be at by the end of the year.” On the gas at the WESS Enduro World Championship event in Solsona, Spain 2019. PC @Future7Media What more do you want to achieve in enduro and racing? “Right now, my motivation is to see what I can achieve on the KTM 350 EXC-F and to improve myself on the KTM 300 EXC TPI in extreme enduro. I want to reach the top of the podium again and to win special races like Trefle Lozerien or Hawkstone Park. I also want to win the ISDE outright. I’ve won my category and finished inside the top three overall – most recently Portugal 2019 – but never finished on the top step of the podium. I’d love to do that.” Garcia enjoys the celebrations after winning the BR2 Enduro Solsona in 2019. PC @Future7Media Finally, does winning the ISDE with Spain top that list, too? “Yes, definitely and I think we’re coming into a good place to do that. As a nation we’ve got strong riders and the set-up of the Spanish team is ready to rival what Australia or USA have. For me the ISDE is a special race. It is the most important race for classic enduro and it’s the only time of the year when you race the best classic enduro riders in the world at the same time. Incredibly Spain has yet to win it, but I believe more and more we have a good chance to make history soon.” With Covid-19 putting racing events on hold globally, it’s not yet clear when Garcia will be back in action in the WESS Enduro World Championship or national series. We look forward to seeing him trying to reach his goals over the next few years!
  10. JOSEP GARCIA – UP FOR A CHALLENGE

    JOSEP GARCIA – UP FOR A CHALLENGE Posted in Racing Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia is not one to shy away from a challenge. With wide-ranging childhood dreams, he’s grown from mini-moto racer and Red Bull Rookie rider to an Enduro World Champion and two-time Red Bull Erzbergrodeo finisher. Josep Garcia – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. PC @Future7Media Along the way he’s also claimed three victories in the WESS Enduro World Championship, while becoming the first rider in 33 years to beat the French on their home soil to win the Trefle Lozerien classic enduro. With aspirations of leading Spain to ISDE victory, as well as extreme enduro goals still to be achieved, Garcia isn’t done yet with adding to his list of achievements… Garcia went road racing with the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup in 2011 before becoming an Enduro racer. PC @Gold&Goose Josep, from Red Bull Rookies to an Enduro World Champion and two-time Erzbergrodeo finisher, are you surprised by the things you’ve accomplished on two wheels? Josep Garcia: “As a child I was quite broad in my dreams. I always wanted to be a world champion, but wanted to finish something crazy like Erzbergrodeo, too. The Red Bull Rookies was an opportunity too good to refuse. I have a lot of good memories from that 2011 season. On paper it’s a strange path, probably unique, but all of it has helped shape me into the rider I’ve become.” How did Red Bull Rookies happen for you and why did you decide to move to enduro? “Going from road back to off-road is a strange journey, but it’s just the way things worked out. I was about 14 years old when I got the chance to go road racing, so I took it. I had tried mini-moto racing as a child and wanted a change from motocross, so followed that path. I had some good results but looking back now it mostly taught me about being a professional athlete. At the end of 2011 there was an opportunity to move to enduro and I took it. It was a natural fit and so far it’s worked out pretty good!” Garcia has tackled some of the most challenging hard enduro events. Here he’s riding the KTM 300 EXC TPI at the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo. PC @Future7Media You began enduro on a 125cc 2-stroke. How important is a smaller capacity 2-stroke to develop a rider’s skill set? “For me a 125 or 150 2-stroke is the foundation for everything else in enduro. It’s the best bike to learn on and a bike everyone should spend at least one-year riding. It teaches you so much because it is the most difficult bike to get right. You have to learn how to make it work in all conditions. Now I see lots of riders jump to the bigger bikes too soon, but I think that’s a mistake. What you learn riding a the smaller 2-stroke stays with you for life.” What’s been the hardest thing for you to learn in extreme enduro? Has your physical size and h been an issue? “For sure the hardest thing I’ve had to learn was the technical riding. Almost all of the top extreme enduro guys have a world-class background in the sport or have ridden trials all their life. I didn’t. And I’m also short, too, so that hasn’t helped! But I’m getting better and better each year. Bike set-up has been important and I have to thank guys like Alfredo Gomez for helping me with that – it means a lot.” Garcia tackles the Le Trefle Lozerien mud on his way to becoming the first non-French racer to win the event. PC @Future7Media As the first non-French rider to win Trefle Lozerien, how special was that victory in 2019? “Winning Trefle Lozerien was one of my most favorite moments of my career. It took two years to achieve that. I learned a lot in 2018 and used that to fight for victory in 2019. It’s such a specialist race, you wouldn’t believe. There’s a lot to get right. The tests are very unique to France with lots of grass. You only ride each test once too, so there’s lots to remember and because you never quite know where you are going, you ride by feel. Last year was made difficult by the mud, so to prove myself in those conditions and become the first non-French winner was magical.” Garcia celebrates finishing the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo in 2019. PC @Future7Media How has learning the technical side of extreme enduro helped you improve your riding and speed for classic enduro and special tests? “When I see extreme tests now they look easy. In the past I was always nervous about them, but from racing extreme enduro I’ve done stuff I never imagined I could. I’m more confident in the technical sections as a result. But one thing I’ve learned with extreme riding is traction. You are constantly fighting for it on climbs and rock gardens. I’ve got a better feel for that and push the limits more.” Hawkstone Park 2019 – Garcia wheelies his way through a forest section. PC @Future7Media Is a willingness to adapt to the challenges you face a reason for your success? “You’ve got to embrace challenges in enduro. It’s something I’ve always believed in. Enduro is not just one thing, it’s everything. To be a true enduro rider you’ve got to do it all. Riding different disciplines helps you grow as a rider. I used to train mostly motocross but now my training is broader. I spend 50% of my time doing motocross and special tests and then the other 50% riding extreme stuff and trials.” Learning new race formats and tackling hard enduro terrain has been a challenge Garcia has enjoyed. PC @Future7Media Why have you moved from the KTM 250 EXC-F to the KTM 350 EXC-F for the classic enduro events? “After four years on the KTM 250 EXC-F I felt this year was the right time to try the KTM 350 EXC-F. I achieved a lot with the 250F, so wanting to prove myself on a bigger bike offered a lot of motivation. Although it is early days, initial testing and the opening round of the Spanish Enduro Championship delivered good results. I feel like I can still be me on the bike, but it’s also pushing me to improve areas of my riding. When the ground is perfect I can be that aggressive rider I love being, but when it’s technical or wet I need to be smoother to ride fast. With more races to come, I’m excited to see where I’ll be at by the end of the year.” On the gas at the WESS Enduro World Championship event in Solsona, Spain 2019. PC @Future7Media What more do you want to achieve in enduro and racing? “Right now, my motivation is to see what I can achieve on the KTM 350 EXC-F and to improve myself on the KTM 300 EXC TPI in extreme enduro. I want to reach the top of the podium again and to win special races like Trefle Lozerien or Hawkstone Park. I also want to win the ISDE outright. I’ve won my category and finished inside the top three overall – most recently Portugal 2019 – but never finished on the top step of the podium. I’d love to do that.” Garcia enjoys the celebrations after winning the BR2 Enduro Solsona in 2019. PC @Future7Media Finally, does winning the ISDE with Spain top that list, too? “Yes, definitely and I think we’re coming into a good place to do that. As a nation we’ve got strong riders and the set-up of the Spanish team is ready to rival what Australia or USA have. For me the ISDE is a special race. It is the most important race for classic enduro and it’s the only time of the year when you race the best classic enduro riders in the world at the same time. Incredibly Spain has yet to win it, but I believe more and more we have a good chance to make history soon.” With Covid-19 putting racing events on hold globally, it’s not yet clear when Garcia will be back in action in the WESS Enduro World Championship or national series. We look forward to seeing him trying to reach his goals over the next few years!
  11. READY TO #ADVENTUREMORE: 6 WAYS TO FURTHER ENHANCE YOUR KTM 390 ADVENTURE Posted in Bikes, Garments & Accessories The KTM 390 ADVENTURE is an exciting intro to light off-roading but there are six items in the KTM PowerParts catalog that will allow every rider to personalize their own machine ahead of their upcoming summer explorations. Read on and dare to resist temptation! PC @SebasRomero Commuting, kicking up dust for the first time or simply enjoying the rally-derived ergonomics and handling on the road: the KTM 390 ADVENTURE is a nifty and multi-purpose addition to KTM’s ADVENTURE portfolio. However, versatility may be further enhanced and personalized according to each rider’s personal requirements. PC @SebasRomero With these six small ‘extras’ from the specifically-engineered KTM PowerParts collection, the KTM 390 ADVENTURE takes on another dimension. So, what’s on the shopping list? 1. Take me down The KTM 390 ADVENTURE seat sits at 855 mm above the ground for ideal suspension travel and ground clearance. Its h is all part of the off-road profiling-and-design to create the comfiest ride across any terrain or in any condition, but there is a way to drop the altitude for smaller motorcyclists. KTM and WP Suspension have forged a LOWERING KIT. The combination of three springs for the front and rear WP APEX suspension and a new side stand means a fairly easy piece of maintenance will lower the KTM 390 ADVENTURE seat by 25 mm making that saddle hop a little less taxing. PC @KTM 2. Fire me along The KTM 390 ADVENTURE’s performance figures of 32 kW and 37 Nm ensure the motorcycle’s single cylinder packs a torquey punch. For those wanting even more payback from the Ride-by-Wire throttle, then the AKRAPOVIČ “SLIP-ON LINE” silencer is an easy upgrade to install. The titanium (outer sleeve) and stainless steel (internals) produce a discernible weight difference compared to the stock version. Performance and durability come through the high-quality and world-renowned workmanship by the Slovenian brand. As an added bonus, the trademark Akrapovic styling (and throaty new growl of your KTM 390 ADVENTURE) makes the Slip-on Line even more appealing. PC @KTM 3. Help me pack Making the most of the Travel possibilities of the KTM 390 ADVENTURE means assessing the best way to transport any ‘stay-away’ essentials. Aside from the very capable TANK BAG and REAR BAG options, the SIDE BAG CARRIER (a steel tube ‘chassis’ that bolts onto the motorcycle with four screws) is the ideal solution in order to be able to fix the hard-shell SIDE BAG SET. These panniers are quick to clip in place as well as being light and scratch-resistant. They do not impede the position of the pillion and have integrated anti-theft devices for peace of mind. #gallery-3 {margin:auto;}#gallery-3 .gallery-item{float:left;margin-top:10px;text-align:center;w:45%;}#gallery-3 .gallery-caption{margin-left:0;} PC @KTM PC @KTM PC @SebasRomero 4. Protect me While the KTM 390 ADVENTURE is more than happy to cruise along the city or mountain side roads, the allure of the trail is keenly felt with this maneuverable motorcycle. Whether it’s a slow tumble or the unwanted presence of large rock, the CRASH BAR and SKID PLATE protector are utterly worthwhile to keep the single cylinder powerplant running and looking on-point. The CRASH BAR is fitted with the minimum of fuss to ‘cage’ the externals of the engine and carries a durable coating, so it endures as well as it shields. The SKID PLATE is made of light-grade aluminum and is a capable first buffer against any intruders that might challenge the KTM 390 ADVENTURES’s lower side. #gallery-4 {margin:auto;}#gallery-4 .gallery-item{float:left;margin-top:10px;text-align:center;w:45%;}#gallery-4 .gallery-caption{margin-left:0;} PC @KTM PC @KTM 5. Carry me faster For many the experience of a QUICKSHIFTER+ is something that rapidly comes compulsory on a KTM motorcycle; once the effortless clutchless glide through a gearbox has been tasted then few go back. KTM fabricates a sturdy and reliable QUICKSHIFTER+ device for a variety of models and the KTM 390 ADVENTURE gets the same treatment. PC @SebasRomero 6. Carry me better The KTM PowerParts SEAT is a further token towards a desirable ride and is made to optimise offroading. The saddle marginally elevates the ride h another 18 mm but permits closer contact with the machine and a wider knee angle as well as more freedom to react to the path ahead. PC @KTM For more information, please visit: ktm.com/powerparts PC @SebasRomero
  12. READY TO #ADVENTUREMORE: 6 WAYS TO FURTHER ENHANCE YOUR KTM 390 ADVENTURE Posted in Bikes, Garments & Accessories The KTM 390 ADVENTURE is an exciting intro to light off-roading but there are six items in the KTM PowerParts catalog that will allow every rider to personalize their own machine ahead of their upcoming summer explorations. Read on and dare to resist temptation! PC @SebasRomero Commuting, kicking up dust for the first time or simply enjoying the rally-derived ergonomics and handling on the road: the KTM 390 ADVENTURE is a nifty and multi-purpose addition to KTM’s ADVENTURE portfolio. However, versatility may be further enhanced and personalized according to each rider’s personal requirements. PC @SebasRomero With these six small ‘extras’ from the specifically-engineered KTM PowerParts collection, the KTM 390 ADVENTURE takes on another dimension. So, what’s on the shopping list? 1. Take me down The KTM 390 ADVENTURE seat sits at 855 mm above the ground for ideal suspension travel and ground clearance. Its h is all part of the off-road profiling-and-design to create the comfiest ride across any terrain or in any condition, but there is a way to drop the altitude for smaller motorcyclists. KTM and WP Suspension have forged a LOWERING KIT. The combination of three springs for the front and rear WP APEX suspension and a new side stand means a fairly easy piece of maintenance will lower the KTM 390 ADVENTURE seat by 25 mm making that saddle hop a little less taxing. PC @KTM 2. Fire me along The KTM 390 ADVENTURE’s performance figures of 32 kW and 37 Nm ensure the motorcycle’s single cylinder packs a torquey punch. For those wanting even more payback from the Ride-by-Wire throttle, then the AKRAPOVIČ “SLIP-ON LINE” silencer is an easy upgrade to install. The titanium (outer sleeve) and stainless steel (internals) produce a discernible weight difference compared to the stock version. Performance and durability come through the high-quality and world-renowned workmanship by the Slovenian brand. As an added bonus, the trademark Akrapovic styling (and throaty new growl of your KTM 390 ADVENTURE) makes the Slip-on Line even more appealing. PC @KTM 3. Help me pack Making the most of the Travel possibilities of the KTM 390 ADVENTURE means assessing the best way to transport any ‘stay-away’ essentials. Aside from the very capable TANK BAG and REAR BAG options, the SIDE BAG CARRIER (a steel tube ‘chassis’ that bolts onto the motorcycle with four screws) is the ideal solution in order to be able to fix the hard-shell SIDE BAG SET. These panniers are quick to clip in place as well as being light and scratch-resistant. They do not impede the position of the pillion and have integrated anti-theft devices for peace of mind. PC @KTM PC @KTM PC @SebasRomero 4. Protect me While the KTM 390 ADVENTURE is more than happy to cruise along the city or mountain side roads, the allure of the trail is keenly felt with this maneuverable motorcycle. Whether it’s a slow tumble or the unwanted presence of large rock, the CRASH BAR and SKID PLATE protector are utterly worthwhile to keep the single cylinder powerplant running and looking on-point. The CRASH BAR is fitted with the minimum of fuss to ‘cage’ the externals of the engine and carries a durable coating, so it endures as well as it shields. The SKID PLATE is made of light-grade aluminum and is a capable first buffer against any intruders that might challenge the KTM 390 ADVENTURES’s lower side. PC @KTM PC @KTM 5. Carry me faster For many the experience of a QUICKSHIFTER+ is something that rapidly comes compulsory on a KTM motorcycle; once the effortless clutchless glide through a gearbox has been tasted then few go back. KTM fabricates a sturdy and reliable QUICKSHIFTER+ device for a variety of models and the KTM 390 ADVENTURE gets the same treatment. PC @SebasRomero 6. Carry me better The KTM PowerParts SEAT is a further token towards a desirable ride and is made to optimise offroading. The saddle marginally elevates the ride h another 18 mm but permits closer contact with the machine and a wider knee angle as well as more freedom to react to the path ahead. PC @KTM For more information, please visit: ktm.com/powerparts PC @SebasRomero
  13. ktm NATHAN WATSON: MR. DO-IT-ALL

    NATHAN WATSON: MR. DO-IT-ALL Posted in People, Racing In a world of specialists, a racer like Nathan Watson has become the exception to the norm. From motocross to enduro, hard enduro and back to beach racing, he’s achieved success every step of the way. He’s taken on the best in the world and more often than not he’s beaten them. Nathan Watson – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. PC @PascalHaudiquert Last year was arguably the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing star’s most fruitful, and busiest, season to date. Kicking things off by becoming the first British rider to win the infamous Enduropale du Touquet beach race, then in complete contrast he went on to finish iconic hard enduro events like the Red Bull Romaniacs. Claiming a victory and multiple podiums in the WESS Enduro World Championship, he incredibly capped things off by helping Great Britain to third overall in the Motocross of Nations. In essence, 2019 perfectly encapsulated Nathan as a rider – always ready to ‘give it a go’ and unafraid to face challenges head on. Charting an incredible career to date the 25-year-old recalls some of his milestone racing firsts… Watson is familiar with racing at speed, here he is on his way to winning at the Hawkstone Park Cross-Country WESS Enduro World Championship round in 2019. PC @Future7Media First Taste Of Enduro – 2011 British Sprint Enduro Championship “Although I didn’t switch professionally to enduro until 2016, my first experience of it came back in 2011, at the British Sprint Enduro Championship in Wales. By chance we had a free weekend and the weather was good, so Dad took me and my brother to race it. I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t really understand the format of racing against the clock, but I seemed to adapt quickly. I actually managed to win the first day riding a borrowed KTM 350 EXC-F against Jamie and Danny McCanney, but never pursued it further because back then motocross was my only focus.” In 2011 Watson raced his first enduro event in the UK; he went on to switch his focus to the discipline in 2016. PC @Future7Media First Year Of Enduro – 2016 Enduro 2 World Championship “The first special test of an enduro is so important. Get it wrong and you can lose so much – often it’s the difference between a good and bad day. When I started enduro in 2016, that was the toughest thing for me to get my head around. In motocross you’ve time to figure out how to go fast. There are practice sessions, qualification and then racing, whereas in enduro within minutes of starting you’ve got to switch it on. Walking is everything in enduro and you need to visualize the lines you want to take.” First EnduroGP Win – 2017 EnduroGP World Championship “I won some Enduro 2 class races in 2016, but taking my first EnduroGP victory in 2017 on the KTM 350 EXC-F was quite special. It happened in Greece and up to that point things were a bit mixed. I had a small injury earlier in the year and it took time to fix. Everything just sort of flowed in Greece. It was a great confidence boost to prove myself like that. The following weekend in Portugal I kept that form and won by 90 seconds on the opening day. Looking back, it’s unfortunate that the start to my season wasn’t as good as how it ended, I feel I could have been a much stronger title contender that year.” Watson’s first race on a 2-stroke was at the Extreme XL Lagares in 2018 – in his words it was a ‘real baptism of fire’. PC @Future7Media First 2-Stroke Race – 2018 Extreme XL Lagares “My first race on a 2-stroke, a KTM 300 EXC, was also my first Hard Enduro. Extreme Lagares was the opening round of the 2018 WESS Enduro World Championship and it was a real baptism of fire. I was wet behind the ears going into that, as they say. I knew it would be tough, but never imagined how tough. Those riverbeds were so slippery, if you made a mistake you literally slipped about 10 meters back. It gave me huge respect for the top guys – how they can make the impossible look easy is impressive.” In the winter Watson races the French Beach Race series – here he is on his way to making history at the famous Enduropale du Touquet race. PC @PascalHaudiquert First Red Bull Romaniacs – 2018 WESS Enduro World Championship “My first taste of the Red Bull Romaniacs is a day I will never forget. I’d just raced Extreme Lagares and the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, but this was on another level. The weather was horrendous, and it was my first-time using GPS navigation. I got lost so many times. My bike ended up in a tree and I had to ask Bronze class riders to help me get it out. I think we were on the mountain for about 10 hours, it was crazy and still only the first day of four. People have asked why I didn’t quit, but part of me just likes a challenge. I like to push my limits beyond what I think I can do and not give up. Enduro can be a mental challenge and those days always make you stronger further down the road.” Battling the Iron Giant at the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo – Watson has raced some of the toughest events on the planet in the WESS Enduro World Championship. PC @Future7Media First WESS Win – 2018 Red Bull Knock Out “After a year learning hard enduro it was nice to end my season with a debut WESS win at Red Bull Knock Out. I wanted to go there and give my best. I knew I could be strong in the sand because I’ve always thrived in those conditions, but with guys like Glenn Coldenhoff racing I didn’t expect to win. Thankfully we had my KTM 450 SX-F set up perfectly and it was a dream to ride. I put everything I had into that race and won – it was an amazing weekend.” Watson became the first British rider to win the Enduropale du Touquet in 2019. PC @PascalHaudiquert First Enduropale le Touquet win – 2019 “Enduropale le Touquet is the pinnacle of beach racing and is the biggest race in France. It’s steeped in so much history and as a child I dreamed of winning it. To do it in 2019 was magical, really. The track itself is actually quite basic compared to other beach races – it’s mainly straights and chicanes. But add in 1,000 other riders and it gets hard. It’s also the one everybody wants to win, so more risks are taken – especially at the start. I don’t enjoy the pace in the early laps because it’s so fast, but I think my time spent in enduro at places like Romaniacs has helped me to dig deep and find something extra in the final stages. Everything came together perfectly in 2019 and we won. It’s been the biggest achievement of my life so far.” Competing for Great Britain at the prestigious Motocross of Nations in Assen, The Netherlands 2019 – Watson helped the team to a podium finish and showed he can still mix it up with the MXGP regulars. PC @RayArcher First Motocross of Nations – 2019 Assen, Netherlands “Getting selected for the Motocross of Nations in 2019 with Great Britain was a dream come true. When I moved to enduro I thought that opportunity would never happen and until then it was something that bothered me. Being picked for the team was a last-minute thing. I was racing WESS. I actually won Hawkstone Park Cross-Country the weekend before Assen and was back racing classic enduro the weekend after it. But when an opportunity like that arises you make it work. KTM put an amazing bike together for me with the KTM 450 SX-F and we raced on the biggest stage of motocross. Capping it off with a podium result was unbelievable.” Watson won a second consecutive French Beach Race title in 2020, but his season is currently on pause until the Covid-19 restrictions are reduced. PC @PascalHaudiquert What’s next.. “After winning the French Beach Race title earlier in the year it’s been strange to put racing on hold due to coronavirus, but that break has given me an opportunity to close the chapter on a successful 2019. I’m hungry to take another step forward in the WESS Enduro World Championship and to win some more races, let’s hope we’re back out there competing soon.”
  14. NATHAN WATSON: MR. DO-IT-ALL

    NATHAN WATSON: MR. DO-IT-ALL Posted in People, Racing In a world of specialists, a racer like Nathan Watson has become the exception to the norm. From motocross to enduro, hard enduro and back to beach racing, he’s achieved success every step of the way. He’s taken on the best in the world and more often than not he’s beaten them. Nathan Watson – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. PC @PascalHaudiquert Last year was arguably the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing star’s most fruitful, and busiest, season to date. Kicking things off by becoming the first British rider to win the infamous Enduropale du Touquet beach race, then in complete contrast he went on to finish iconic hard enduro events like the Red Bull Romaniacs. Claiming a victory and multiple podiums in the WESS Enduro World Championship, he incredibly capped things off by helping Great Britain to third overall in the Motocross of Nations. In essence, 2019 perfectly encapsulated Nathan as a rider – always ready to ‘give it a go’ and unafraid to face challenges head on. Charting an incredible career to date the 25-year-old recalls some of his milestone racing firsts… Watson is familiar with racing at speed, here he is on his way to winning at the Hawkstone Park Cross-Country WESS Enduro World Championship round in 2019. PC @Future7Media First Taste Of Enduro – 2011 British Sprint Enduro Championship “Although I didn’t switch professionally to enduro until 2016, my first experience of it came back in 2011, at the British Sprint Enduro Championship in Wales. By chance we had a free weekend and the weather was good, so Dad took me and my brother to race it. I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t really understand the format of racing against the clock, but I seemed to adapt quickly. I actually managed to win the first day riding a borrowed KTM 350 EXC-F against Jamie and Danny McCanney, but never pursued it further because back then motocross was my only focus.” In 2011 Watson raced his first enduro event in the UK; he went on to switch his focus to the discipline in 2016. PC @Future7Media First Year Of Enduro – 2016 Enduro 2 World Championship “The first special test of an enduro is so important. Get it wrong and you can lose so much – often it’s the difference between a good and bad day. When I started enduro in 2016, that was the toughest thing for me to get my head around. In motocross you’ve time to figure out how to go fast. There are practice sessions, qualification and then racing, whereas in enduro within minutes of starting you’ve got to switch it on. Walking is everything in enduro and you need to visualize the lines you want to take.” First EnduroGP Win – 2017 EnduroGP World Championship “I won some Enduro 2 class races in 2016, but taking my first EnduroGP victory in 2017 on the KTM 350 EXC-F was quite special. It happened in Greece and up to that point things were a bit mixed. I had a small injury earlier in the year and it took time to fix. Everything just sort of flowed in Greece. It was a great confidence boost to prove myself like that. The following weekend in Portugal I kept that form and won by 90 seconds on the opening day. Looking back, it’s unfortunate that the start to my season wasn’t as good as how it ended, I feel I could have been a much stronger title contender that year.” Watson’s first race on a 2-stroke was at the Extreme XL Lagares in 2018 – in his words it was a ‘real baptism of fire’. PC @Future7Media First 2-Stroke Race – 2018 Extreme XL Lagares “My first race on a 2-stroke, a KTM 300 EXC, was also my first Hard Enduro. Extreme Lagares was the opening round of the 2018 WESS Enduro World Championship and it was a real baptism of fire. I was wet behind the ears going into that, as they say. I knew it would be tough, but never imagined how tough. Those riverbeds were so slippery, if you made a mistake you literally slipped about 10 meters back. It gave me huge respect for the top guys – how they can make the impossible look easy is impressive.” In the winter Watson races the French Beach Race series – here he is on his way to making history at the famous Enduropale du Touquet race. PC @PascalHaudiquert First Red Bull Romaniacs – 2018 WESS Enduro World Championship “My first taste of the Red Bull Romaniacs is a day I will never forget. I’d just raced Extreme Lagares and the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, but this was on another level. The weather was horrendous, and it was my first-time using GPS navigation. I got lost so many times. My bike ended up in a tree and I had to ask Bronze class riders to help me get it out. I think we were on the mountain for about 10 hours, it was crazy and still only the first day of four. People have asked why I didn’t quit, but part of me just likes a challenge. I like to push my limits beyond what I think I can do and not give up. Enduro can be a mental challenge and those days always make you stronger further down the road.” Battling the Iron Giant at the Red Bull Erzbergrodeo – Watson has raced some of the toughest events on the planet in the WESS Enduro World Championship. PC @Future7Media First WESS Win – 2018 Red Bull Knock Out “After a year learning hard enduro it was nice to end my season with a debut WESS win at Red Bull Knock Out. I wanted to go there and give my best. I knew I could be strong in the sand because I’ve always thrived in those conditions, but with guys like Glenn Coldenhoff racing I didn’t expect to win. Thankfully we had my KTM 450 SX-F set up perfectly and it was a dream to ride. I put everything I had into that race and won – it was an amazing weekend.” Watson became the first British rider to win the Enduropale du Touquet in 2019. PC @PascalHaudiquert First Enduropale le Touquet win – 2019 “Enduropale le Touquet is the pinnacle of beach racing and is the biggest race in France. It’s steeped in so much history and as a child I dreamed of winning it. To do it in 2019 was magical, really. The track itself is actually quite basic compared to other beach races – it’s mainly straights and chicanes. But add in 1,000 other riders and it gets hard. It’s also the one everybody wants to win, so more risks are taken – especially at the start. I don’t enjoy the pace in the early laps because it’s so fast, but I think my time spent in enduro at places like Romaniacs has helped me to dig deep and find something extra in the final stages. Everything came together perfectly in 2019 and we won. It’s been the biggest achievement of my life so far.” Competing for Great Britain at the prestigious Motocross of Nations in Assen, The Netherlands 2019 – Watson helped the team to a podium finish and showed he can still mix it up with the MXGP regulars. PC @RayArcher First Motocross of Nations – 2019 Assen, Netherlands “Getting selected for the Motocross of Nations in 2019 with Great Britain was a dream come true. When I moved to enduro I thought that opportunity would never happen and until then it was something that bothered me. Being picked for the team was a last-minute thing. I was racing WESS. I actually won Hawkstone Park Cross-Country the weekend before Assen and was back racing classic enduro the weekend after it. But when an opportunity like that arises you make it work. KTM put an amazing bike together for me with the KTM 450 SX-F and we raced on the biggest stage of motocross. Capping it off with a podium result was unbelievable.” Watson won a second consecutive French Beach Race title in 2020, but his season is currently on pause until the Covid-19 restrictions are reduced. PC @PascalHaudiquert What’s next.. “After winning the French Beach Race title earlier in the year it’s been strange to put racing on hold due to coronavirus, but that break has given me an opportunity to close the chapter on a successful 2019. I’m hungry to take another step forward in the WESS Enduro World Championship and to win some more races, let’s hope we’re back out there competing soon.”
  15. AND SUDDENLY THERE WERE NO RACES ANYMORE… Posted in Racing What has the COVID-19 virus outbreak meant for elite-level MXGP racers? Three Red Bull KTM Factory Racing stars share their worries, experiences and plans. Few motorcycle disciplines require a higher level of fitness and saddle time than motocross. It is not only the volume of races (20 MXGPs, several pre-season Internationals which are used as ‘tests’, and national fixtures that often mean a 30 weekend calendar) but the incessant training and practice mileage for athletes to stay in peak physical shape, tackle various terrain from hard-pack to deep sand and the preservation of ‘feeling’ so they can react in milliseconds to ever changing track conditions. Leading the way in MXGP -The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team enjoyed a positive start to the 2020 season. PC @Ray Archer This year the FIM Motocross World Championship screeched to a halt after just two rounds. The third Grand Prix in Argentina was postponed and then MXGP joined the rest of international sport in an immediate freeze. Regulations and ‘lockdown’ restrictions had a seismic effect on the day-to-day existence of everybody, even motocrossers. For some the #stayhome requirement limited their exercise options as gyms and access to bicycle/running routes were shut. For almost all riders the practice bike had to be parked, either due to the closure of practice tracks or the importance of avoiding injury (and thus requiring medical resources). Typically, a Grand Prix rider will take a two-week break at the end of a normal season. It will be followed by a winter of base-training, riding and tests before the next pre-season begins with the first chilly events in Europe. Other than this phase a racer will only leave the dirtbike to one side when dealing with injury. Coping with a five-month hiatus (from the Grand Prix of the Netherlands in early March until ‘round three’ in Russia in early August) is practically unheard of for individuals that have dedicated their lives to a sport from puberty. ‘Disorientation’ is perhaps one way to describe the situation. Especially as the calendar continually changes – Russia was supposed to take place in July – and they need to know when to push up to a peak of preparation for what is likely to be a short and condensed championship this autumn and winter. Cairoli is a nine-time FIM Motocross World Champion with years of experience. PC @Ray Archer “We cannot do much or plan much because we are not in control of the schedule,” says nine-times world champion Tony Cairoli; the second-most experienced rider in the premier class. “That’s pretty strange as a rider, but we’re talking about a problem that is much bigger than our sport. We’ll just have to wait for local authorities…but the difficulty comes through not being able to plan the training: you don’t want to be ready too early or too late and that can get a bit stressful. I have some experience now! So, I take the situation how it is and judge when will be the best time to be ready again.” The five-man Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team – an outfit that has owned both categories in the same year seven times since 2010 – ranges from the legendary statistics of a rider like Cairoli and the force of Jeffrey Herlings (almost equal for GP wins) to the record-breaking achievements of Jorge Prado and 18 year old rookies like Tom Vialle and Rene Hofer. Each have their own story. Cairoli (shoulder and knee) and Prado (a broken leg femur sustained in December) have been grateful for the pause to further rehab and work on their physical setbacks. Herlings and Vialle hold the MXGP and MX2 red plates respectively as championship leaders so their progress has been frustratingly halted, while Hofer has seen his Grand Prix debut season education disrupted. The thick mystery in planning for competition has not stopped each racer from doing their best to keep prepared. “In one way it is good because I could improve my knee a lot,” says Cairoli. “The shoulder is a bit complicated and is a very long injury that will take time. It’s slowly recovering and I think I will be more prepared than what I was at the first round.” Jorge Prado is looking forward to getting back to the races, although it’s not clear if bumper crowds will be allowed. PC @Ray Archer “We should be racing more or less every weekend right now, so this is a weird time; especially not even being able to ride,” says Prado, a double MX2 World Champion despite only three years in Grand Prix. “The leg is far from 100% but we are getting closer. The femur is not really the problem, I had a big impact to my knee in the crash so I’m trying to improve that because I always felt a bit uncomfortable with it, and it was painful sometimes. Then also some power-training to get more muscle which I lost in the recovery phase. I couldn’t have a proper winter training, so I’m pretty much doing this right now.” “In the first two rounds there was a ‘Jorge’ that was very far from 100%…so I want to get there and be in the mix with the guys,” he adds. Prado has been living in his old family home of Belgium compared to his base in Rome that served well for 2018 and 2019 and the run-up to 2020. “I’m spending time with my family, which is not something I really had time for in the last two-three years. We are always together. In Italy I would be doing the same as I am here…but I look forward to getting there soon and back on our team home track.” Being at the right peak physically for the series is important – Vialle works closely with Joel Smets to ensure that he’s in the right condition. PC @Ray Archer Vialle has also been in Belgium. The 18-year-old is in his second Grand Prix term and by holding the red plate is underlining his credentials as a title contender. “I was really motivated after Valkenswaard but then Argentina was postponed, and the calendar kept changing: it meant our next race was a long time away and that was really strange because we’d prepared the whole winter for a particular plan,” the Frenchman admits. “We decided to take two weeks holiday and then started training again for a month – like the winter, with a lot of bicycle and mountain bike – up until the point where we can now think about riding with the bike. It’s still hard to know.” Vialle has the expertise and wisdom of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Motorcross Sports Director Joel Smets as a guiding force, but even the five-time champion was somewhat ‘thrown’ by the circumstances. “This is just my second season in GPs but I’ve never had anything like this, I think it was also very hard for Joel in planning the week and the work,” Vialle describes. “It was new for him as well! Anyway, we worked together a lot in the past two months and time has gone quickly and we were not too bored, even though it was hard without the bike and the competition.” Vialle leads MX2 after two rounds, but the pause has been disruptive to the Frenchman’s progress. PC @Ray Archer The riders themselves do not talk of their fear of COVID-19. As young, fiercely fit athletes they are in a very low-risk group – even the asthmatic Cairoli – but there is acute awareness of the highly contagious nature of the virus that has drastically affected global societies. “It is a tough, worldwide situation and you need to be very careful,” asserts Prado. “Even if we could still go outside from the first moment here in Belgium – something that the rest of my family could not do in Spain – we have been very careful and cautious. I think some people still don’t appreciate how serious this is…but it is also quite easy to follow the guidelines.” “Of course, there is a lot of worry,” comments Vialle. “I have been lucky in that all my family have been OK. We have really respected the rules. That was very important. I think I was also lucky to be in Belgium because the lockdown in France would have been very complicated for training. Here I could run and cycle and get outside.” “Things are starting to re-open slowly here in Italy and we’ll start to see the result of this and whether this problem can be solved or which way it will go,” remarks Cairoli. “I’d like to be back on the bike as much as possible though.” Most riders are back training on the bike, although the racing schedule remains tentative. PC @JP Acevedo. Training is not only about professionalism. The riders’ words hint towards the addiction of two-wheels; an essential characteristic that helps on the tricky path to the top. “Of course, it is not easy to stay away from the bike and racing for so long…we can’t wait to be back on track and fight for podiums and wins: that’s always the goal,” says the ever-green Cairoli, now 34 and part of Grand Prix since 2003. “There were a lot of questions in my head: would I be able to ride at that level again straightaway? To stop after two GPs for two months is a long time,” reflects Vialle. “I was a bit afraid but once I rode again I felt really good, and like I hadn’t stopped after Valkenswaard. I was really happy that day. I know if the next GP was in one-or-two weeks time, I would be able to race at my level and that meant a lot to me.” Like many the riders have otherwise filled their time (Vialle: “I’ve done some videos and Instagram with KTM, MXGP and Red Bull. I think a lot of riders have been doing the same. It’s been fun. I did one live broadcast with Marvin Musquin that I enjoyed.”). If anything, the forced time away from their profession, obsession and passion has helped to ‘re-stoke the fire’. “When you restart you just want to ride every day,” Vialle smiles. For some riders such as Prado the break has allowed them more recovery or preparation time for when the season re-starts. PC @JP Acevedo “I just want to get back racing because it’s what I love to do and what the team needs to do,” says Prado. “For sure I think it will be a boost to get back racing,” says Cairoli. “There are a lot of people interested in the sport – whether that’s GPs or amateur level – and I think there will be a lot of enthusiasm to get riding again. You miss the adrenaline and the racing. You can still sweat and train individually, but the motorcycle is something else.” Vialle holds the MX2 red plate after round two of the championship in March in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands. PC @Ray Archer
  16. AND SUDDENLY THERE WERE NO RACES ANYMORE…

    AND SUDDENLY THERE WERE NO RACES ANYMORE… Posted in Racing What has the COVID-19 virus outbreak meant for elite-level MXGP racers? Three Red Bull KTM Factory Racing stars share their worries, experiences and plans. Few motorcycle disciplines require a higher level of fitness and saddle time than motocross. It is not only the volume of races (20 MXGPs, several pre-season Internationals which are used as ‘tests’, and national fixtures that often mean a 30 weekend calendar) but the incessant training and practice mileage for athletes to stay in peak physical shape, tackle various terrain from hard-pack to deep sand and the preservation of ‘feeling’ so they can react in milliseconds to ever changing track conditions. Leading the way in MXGP -The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team enjoyed a positive start to the 2020 season. PC @Ray Archer This year the FIM Motocross World Championship screeched to a halt after just two rounds. The third Grand Prix in Argentina was postponed and then MXGP joined the rest of international sport in an immediate freeze. Regulations and ‘lockdown’ restrictions had a seismic effect on the day-to-day existence of everybody, even motocrossers. For some the #stayhome requirement limited their exercise options as gyms and access to bicycle/running routes were shut. For almost all riders the practice bike had to be parked, either due to the closure of practice tracks or the importance of avoiding injury (and thus requiring medical resources). Typically, a Grand Prix rider will take a two-week break at the end of a normal season. It will be followed by a winter of base-training, riding and tests before the next pre-season begins with the first chilly events in Europe. Other than this phase a racer will only leave the dirtbike to one side when dealing with injury. Coping with a five-month hiatus (from the Grand Prix of the Netherlands in early March until ‘round three’ in Russia in early August) is practically unheard of for individuals that have dedicated their lives to a sport from puberty. ‘Disorientation’ is perhaps one way to describe the situation. Especially as the calendar continually changes – Russia was supposed to take place in July – and they need to know when to push up to a peak of preparation for what is likely to be a short and condensed championship this autumn and winter. Cairoli is a nine-time FIM Motocross World Champion with years of experience. PC @Ray Archer “We cannot do much or plan much because we are not in control of the schedule,” says nine-times world champion Tony Cairoli; the second-most experienced rider in the premier class. “That’s pretty strange as a rider, but we’re talking about a problem that is much bigger than our sport. We’ll just have to wait for local authorities…but the difficulty comes through not being able to plan the training: you don’t want to be ready too early or too late and that can get a bit stressful. I have some experience now! So, I take the situation how it is and judge when will be the best time to be ready again.” The five-man Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team – an outfit that has owned both categories in the same year seven times since 2010 – ranges from the legendary statistics of a rider like Cairoli and the force of Jeffrey Herlings (almost equal for GP wins) to the record-breaking achievements of Jorge Prado and 18 year old rookies like Tom Vialle and Rene Hofer. Each have their own story. Cairoli (shoulder and knee) and Prado (a broken leg femur sustained in December) have been grateful for the pause to further rehab and work on their physical setbacks. Herlings and Vialle hold the MXGP and MX2 red plates respectively as championship leaders so their progress has been frustratingly halted, while Hofer has seen his Grand Prix debut season education disrupted. The thick mystery in planning for competition has not stopped each racer from doing their best to keep prepared. “In one way it is good because I could improve my knee a lot,” says Cairoli. “The shoulder is a bit complicated and is a very long injury that will take time. It’s slowly recovering and I think I will be more prepared than what I was at the first round.” Jorge Prado is looking forward to getting back to the races, although it’s not clear if bumper crowds will be allowed. PC @Ray Archer “We should be racing more or less every weekend right now, so this is a weird time; especially not even being able to ride,” says Prado, a double MX2 World Champion despite only three years in Grand Prix. “The leg is far from 100% but we are getting closer. The femur is not really the problem, I had a big impact to my knee in the crash so I’m trying to improve that because I always felt a bit uncomfortable with it, and it was painful sometimes. Then also some power-training to get more muscle which I lost in the recovery phase. I couldn’t have a proper winter training, so I’m pretty much doing this right now.” “In the first two rounds there was a ‘Jorge’ that was very far from 100%…so I want to get there and be in the mix with the guys,” he adds. Prado has been living in his old family home of Belgium compared to his base in Rome that served well for 2018 and 2019 and the run-up to 2020. “I’m spending time with my family, which is not something I really had time for in the last two-three years. We are always together. In Italy I would be doing the same as I am here…but I look forward to getting there soon and back on our team home track.” Being at the right peak physically for the series is important – Vialle works closely with Joel Smets to ensure that he’s in the right condition. PC @Ray Archer Vialle has also been in Belgium. The 18-year-old is in his second Grand Prix term and by holding the red plate is underlining his credentials as a title contender. “I was really motivated after Valkenswaard but then Argentina was postponed, and the calendar kept changing: it meant our next race was a long time away and that was really strange because we’d prepared the whole winter for a particular plan,” the Frenchman admits. “We decided to take two weeks holiday and then started training again for a month – like the winter, with a lot of bicycle and mountain bike – up until the point where we can now think about riding with the bike. It’s still hard to know.” Vialle has the expertise and wisdom of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Motorcross Sports Director Joel Smets as a guiding force, but even the five-time champion was somewhat ‘thrown’ by the circumstances. “This is just my second season in GPs but I’ve never had anything like this, I think it was also very hard for Joel in planning the week and the work,” Vialle describes. “It was new for him as well! Anyway, we worked together a lot in the past two months and time has gone quickly and we were not too bored, even though it was hard without the bike and the competition.” Vialle leads MX2 after two rounds, but the pause has been disruptive to the Frenchman’s progress. PC @Ray Archer The riders themselves do not talk of their fear of COVID-19. As young, fiercely fit athletes they are in a very low-risk group – even the asthmatic Cairoli – but there is acute awareness of the highly contagious nature of the virus that has drastically affected global societies. “It is a tough, worldwide situation and you need to be very careful,” asserts Prado. “Even if we could still go outside from the first moment here in Belgium – something that the rest of my family could not do in Spain – we have been very careful and cautious. I think some people still don’t appreciate how serious this is…but it is also quite easy to follow the guidelines.” “Of course, there is a lot of worry,” comments Vialle. “I have been lucky in that all my family have been OK. We have really respected the rules. That was very important. I think I was also lucky to be in Belgium because the lockdown in France would have been very complicated for training. Here I could run and cycle and get outside.” “Things are starting to re-open slowly here in Italy and we’ll start to see the result of this and whether this problem can be solved or which way it will go,” remarks Cairoli. “I’d like to be back on the bike as much as possible though.” Most riders are back training on the bike, although the racing schedule remains tentative. PC @JP Acevedo. Training is not only about professionalism. The riders’ words hint towards the addiction of two-wheels; an essential characteristic that helps on the tricky path to the top. “Of course, it is not easy to stay away from the bike and racing for so long…we can’t wait to be back on track and fight for podiums and wins: that’s always the goal,” says the ever-green Cairoli, now 34 and part of Grand Prix since 2003. “There were a lot of questions in my head: would I be able to ride at that level again straightaway? To stop after two GPs for two months is a long time,” reflects Vialle. “I was a bit afraid but once I rode again I felt really good, and like I hadn’t stopped after Valkenswaard. I was really happy that day. I know if the next GP was in one-or-two weeks time, I would be able to race at my level and that meant a lot to me.” Like many the riders have otherwise filled their time (Vialle: “I’ve done some videos and Instagram with KTM, MXGP and Red Bull. I think a lot of riders have been doing the same. It’s been fun. I did one live broadcast with Marvin Musquin that I enjoyed.”). If anything, the forced time away from their profession, obsession and passion has helped to ‘re-stoke the fire’. “When you restart you just want to ride every day,” Vialle smiles. For some riders such as Prado the break has allowed them more recovery or preparation time for when the season re-starts. PC @JP Acevedo “I just want to get back racing because it’s what I love to do and what the team needs to do,” says Prado. “For sure I think it will be a boost to get back racing,” says Cairoli. “There are a lot of people interested in the sport – whether that’s GPs or amateur level – and I think there will be a lot of enthusiasm to get riding again. You miss the adrenaline and the racing. You can still sweat and train individually, but the motorcycle is something else.” Vialle holds the MX2 red plate after round two of the championship in March in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands. PC @Ray Archer
  17. MOTOGP™️ IN LOCKDOWN! THE ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS Posted in Racing What about the bikes, the re-organization, a skeleton crew for closed-doors GPs, the lack of testing, the future? KTM’s MotoGP™️ Technical Co-ordinator Sebastian Risse tackles some of the big current question marks over the sport. While the clock ticks down towards news of 2020 MotoGP™️ the Red Bull KTM race teams have been left in limbo due to the absence of a calendar and a routine that normally steers much of their lives and energy. The RC16s were in freight boxes and untouchable for over two months; the machines were last used at the Qatar test at the end of February. To gain more insight into how the crew handles the break, negotiates homologation, what it thinks about behind-closed-doors Grands Prix (as well as deal with the technical ‘freeze’ that will affect areas of development up until 2022) we called Sebastian to tackle some issues… The KTM RC16 was last in action at the Losail International Circuit (Qatar) for a test in February. PC: Polarity Photo On the bikes being boxed and only recently shipped to Spain from Qatar… When this material is in transit for a long time there is humidity that can damage some parts. For sure you take as many take precautions as possible but those still only work for two-three weeks – the normal time the bikes are in the crates – so it has been a very long time and we need to fix this. We need to take the parts out of the boxes, clean them and check for humidity and oxidization. It’s not about the durability of the parts but engine oxidation. Normally we have some special material – a silicone base that soaks up the humidity in the box – and when this is full then you start to have trouble. In a normal environment the parts would last forever but the precautions for a different environment only has a certain lifespan. After the Qatar test the season has been on hold due to Covid-19 – the team has been without the bikes, but Risse explains this is not a problem. PC: Polarity Photo On being without the bikes after the last test… From this point of view there was not such a big drama. We did not have any big technical problems at the test that needed to be analysed at home. If there had been then we would have shipped this material separately when the problem occurred, so the components would have been in another transport. We have been mainly working on the data that we had on laptops and for this we also have synchronization with the factory, so the data is already shared on the computers where it needs to be. The trouble comes when you want to react to any findings because it means working on hardware on the bikes or something in the workshop. Like many companies KTM has been quite limited with what it can do in terms of manpower, work-time and access to the workshop. After Qatar was cancelled we had work ‘on the table’ and side-projects that we were able to address: Those side projects became ‘main’ projects for many on the race team. KTM is waiting eagerly to find out when the team will be back on the MotoGP™️ grid (currently plans are being made for races in July) and to ensure everything is READY TO RACE. PC: Philip Platzer On the time frame to be (very) READY TO RACE… The first job is sorting the material. If we can get the bikes cleaned and ready then the trucks are already packed – as we had already anticipated that the next races would be European based – and this could all be organized short-term, especially if people can travel. Our truck drivers are spread around Europe, so if they cannot get here then you need another way to move the trucks to a track and that could affect organization and delays. But otherwise I think we can react quickly. A closed-door Grand Prix would mean crowds like this in Catalunya, Spain 2019 will have to watch from home, but racing can get underway. PC: Philip Platzer On the prospect of reduced staff for a behind-closed-doors Grand Prix… Many things are possible! Any change in the structure and our normal racing day means all the procedures that have been run with the group and the people around it have to change also, and that’s a challenge but also one that we will take and we’ll manage. Everybody else will have to deal with it, so it becomes like a competition: Whoever will approach it in the best way and gets the job done in the best way under the set conditions will be winning…or going forward at least. Racing, and being efficient, is often about focussing on the most important points at hand. There is always more to do – if you have the time – and this is the same thing but on a different level. There is a technical development freeze on the main aspects of the bike spec until 2021 to help contain costs due to the coronavirus. PC: Polarity Photo On the process of homologation for 2020… It is normally all documented but we also show the parts to the MotoGP™️ technical crew that we wish to homologate so they see them physically as well. The need for reference documents means that the procedure was already digital, so that was easy and not much different to usual. What was different is that, as a concession team, there are some things we don’t usually have to homologate but now we did because we agreed to ‘fix’ them [for 2021 also]. On the engine side we didn’t do digitally, instead we sent a sample engine so they can compare it to any engine submitted. Brad Binder is looking forward to getting back to the action aboard his KTM RC16. PC: Polarity Photo On the technical ‘freeze’ for 2021-2022 and the pressure involved… As an engineer you always want to go forward, try many things and try to improve but at the same time make the most of the given resources. It’s not clear at the moment what resources there will be. There is a commitment to racing of course and everybody will do their best to be competitive but we’ll have to wait and see the details to understand the circumstances. To a degree there is always pressure. For example, let’s look at the engine. Of course, we are constantly developing and the engine we wanted to use this season is different to last year’s. Over the winter we tried our best and we did a good job in finding the right spec. We didn’t face any technical problems that gave us a headache – but – it hasn’t been raced yet! So, if this engine, which is for this year and also the start of 2021, has a technical problem then you are in trouble. But – at the moment – what can we do? We know what we know about this package and if it had a known weak point then we would have addressed it. Unfortunately, there is no way around homologation, so you have to make the best of something. We have done race simulations during the tests and we have been in critical conditions, like the heat in Malaysia, and we’ve been at demanding tracks. We can also reproduce this on the dyno: we do endurance runs before we even get to the track. It means in theory – combined with the tests – you have done everything to make sure it works…reality can occasionally be different though! You can get a surprise sometimes! You cannot simulate that. Based on what we know it is fine and we are confident because we also didn’t have many big dramas in the last couple of years. You just have to hope that something you never thought or imagine doesn’t hit you! Brad Binder gives feedback during pre-season testing. PC: Polarity Photo On being able to look for loopholes in the rules or using extra time to find small innovations… It is always a matter of resources. For example, if you explore the ‘grey zone’ around the rules then you have to do all the work and somehow keep it the ‘right’ side of legal. Then fight other competitors in the technical meetings and discussions as well as the officials. You need to have the resources behind you to do it and then maybe you have to throw it away. As we are new to MotoGP™️ we have many areas in which we can invest resources and be sure that we are investing wisely – so ideas that are comfortably inside the rules and don’t have to be thrown away. It makes more sense to focus on those instead of something that is ‘50-50’ or it’s allowed for some races but then banned. If we are working on something that nobody else has then our strategy is to speak with the MotoGP™️ technical officials sooner rather than later and get their advice so that we don’t get any last minute ‘no’s’. Pol Espargaró and the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team are well-prepared for the season when it begins after successful tests earlier this year. PC: Polarity Photo
  18. MOTOGP™️ IN LOCKDOWN! THE ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS

    MOTOGP™️ IN LOCKDOWN! THE ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS Posted in Racing What about the bikes, the re-organization, a skeleton crew for closed-doors GPs, the lack of testing, the future? KTM’s MotoGP™️ Technical Co-ordinator Sebastian Risse tackles some of the big current question marks over the sport. While the clock ticks down towards news of 2020 MotoGP™️ the Red Bull KTM race teams have been left in limbo due to the absence of a calendar and a routine that normally steers much of their lives and energy. The RC16s were in freight boxes and untouchable for over two months; the machines were last used at the Qatar test at the end of February. To gain more insight into how the crew handles the break, negotiates homologation, what it thinks about behind-closed-doors Grands Prix (as well as deal with the technical ‘freeze’ that will affect areas of development up until 2022) we called Sebastian to tackle some issues… The KTM RC16 was last in action at the Losail International Circuit (Qatar) for a test in February. PC: Polarity Photo On the bikes being boxed and only recently shipped to Spain from Qatar… When this material is in transit for a long time there is humidity that can damage some parts. For sure you take as many take precautions as possible but those still only work for two-three weeks – the normal time the bikes are in the crates – so it has been a very long time and we need to fix this. We need to take the parts out of the boxes, clean them and check for humidity and oxidization. It’s not about the durability of the parts but engine oxidation. Normally we have some special material – a silicone base that soaks up the humidity in the box – and when this is full then you start to have trouble. In a normal environment the parts would last forever but the precautions for a different environment only has a certain lifespan. After the Qatar test the season has been on hold due to Covid-19 – the team has been without the bikes, but Risse explains this is not a problem. PC: Polarity Photo On being without the bikes after the last test… From this point of view there was not such a big drama. We did not have any big technical problems at the test that needed to be analysed at home. If there had been then we would have shipped this material separately when the problem occurred, so the components would have been in another transport. We have been mainly working on the data that we had on laptops and for this we also have synchronization with the factory, so the data is already shared on the computers where it needs to be. The trouble comes when you want to react to any findings because it means working on hardware on the bikes or something in the workshop. Like many companies KTM has been quite limited with what it can do in terms of manpower, work-time and access to the workshop. After Qatar was cancelled we had work ‘on the table’ and side-projects that we were able to address: Those side projects became ‘main’ projects for many on the race team. KTM is waiting eagerly to find out when the team will be back on the MotoGP™️ grid (currently plans are being made for races in July) and to ensure everything is READY TO RACE. PC: Philip Platzer On the time frame to be (very) READY TO RACE… The first job is sorting the material. If we can get the bikes cleaned and ready then the trucks are already packed – as we had already anticipated that the next races would be European based – and this could all be organized short-term, especially if people can travel. Our truck drivers are spread around Europe, so if they cannot get here then you need another way to move the trucks to a track and that could affect organization and delays. But otherwise I think we can react quickly. A closed-door Grand Prix would mean crowds like this in Catalunya, Spain 2019 will have to watch from home, but racing can get underway. PC: Philip Platzer On the prospect of reduced staff for a behind-closed-doors Grand Prix… Many things are possible! Any change in the structure and our normal racing day means all the procedures that have been run with the group and the people around it have to change also, and that’s a challenge but also one that we will take and we’ll manage. Everybody else will have to deal with it, so it becomes like a competition: Whoever will approach it in the best way and gets the job done in the best way under the set conditions will be winning…or going forward at least. Racing, and being efficient, is often about focussing on the most important points at hand. There is always more to do – if you have the time – and this is the same thing but on a different level. There is a technical development freeze on the main aspects of the bike spec until 2021 to help contain costs due to the coronavirus. PC: Polarity Photo On the process of homologation for 2020… It is normally all documented but we also show the parts to the MotoGP™️ technical crew that we wish to homologate so they see them physically as well. The need for reference documents means that the procedure was already digital, so that was easy and not much different to usual. What was different is that, as a concession team, there are some things we don’t usually have to homologate but now we did because we agreed to ‘fix’ them [for 2021 also]. On the engine side we didn’t do digitally, instead we sent a sample engine so they can compare it to any engine submitted. Brad Binder is looking forward to getting back to the action aboard his KTM RC16. PC: Polarity Photo On the technical ‘freeze’ for 2021-2022 and the pressure involved… As an engineer you always want to go forward, try many things and try to improve but at the same time make the most of the given resources. It’s not clear at the moment what resources there will be. There is a commitment to racing of course and everybody will do their best to be competitive but we’ll have to wait and see the details to understand the circumstances. To a degree there is always pressure. For example, let’s look at the engine. Of course, we are constantly developing and the engine we wanted to use this season is different to last year’s. Over the winter we tried our best and we did a good job in finding the right spec. We didn’t face any technical problems that gave us a headache – but – it hasn’t been raced yet! So, if this engine, which is for this year and also the start of 2021, has a technical problem then you are in trouble. But – at the moment – what can we do? We know what we know about this package and if it had a known weak point then we would have addressed it. Unfortunately, there is no way around homologation, so you have to make the best of something. We have done race simulations during the tests and we have been in critical conditions, like the heat in Malaysia, and we’ve been at demanding tracks. We can also reproduce this on the dyno: we do endurance runs before we even get to the track. It means in theory – combined with the tests – you have done everything to make sure it works…reality can occasionally be different though! You can get a surprise sometimes! You cannot simulate that. Based on what we know it is fine and we are confident because we also didn’t have many big dramas in the last couple of years. You just have to hope that something you never thought or imagine doesn’t hit you! Brad Binder gives feedback during pre-season testing. PC: Polarity Photo On being able to look for loopholes in the rules or using extra time to find small innovations… It is always a matter of resources. For example, if you explore the ‘grey zone’ around the rules then you have to do all the work and somehow keep it the ‘right’ side of legal. Then fight other competitors in the technical meetings and discussions as well as the officials. You need to have the resources behind you to do it and then maybe you have to throw it away. As we are new to MotoGP™️ we have many areas in which we can invest resources and be sure that we are investing wisely – so ideas that are comfortably inside the rules and don’t have to be thrown away. It makes more sense to focus on those instead of something that is ‘50-50’ or it’s allowed for some races but then banned. If we are working on something that nobody else has then our strategy is to speak with the MotoGP™️ technical officials sooner rather than later and get their advice so that we don’t get any last minute ‘no’s’. Pol Espargaró and the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team are well-prepared for the season when it begins after successful tests earlier this year. PC: Polarity Photo
  19. KAILUB RUSSELL: TIME FOR CHANGE BUT NOT BEFORE ONE MORE GNCC TITLE Posted in People, Racing GNCC Racing legend Kailub Russell is determined to earn an eighth straight title in 2020 but is equally set on moving forward with plans for the future, when this season is over. What is next for the woods racing champion, what’s the secret to winning and which of his many winning KTMs is his favorite? Announcing that 2020 will be his last season of GNCC Racing doesn’t mean seven-time champion Kailub Russell is in any mood to back off the gas just yet. Covid-19 may have brought a temporary pause to proceedings but the FMF KTM Factory Racing Team rider is determined to go out on top with an eighth GNCC title. Kailub Russell – FMF KTM Factory Racing and seven-time GNCC champion. PC @SimonCudby Kailub should need little introduction, but for the record he began his 2020 season sitting on 60 career wins in North America’s prestigious Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Racing series. Russell has seven straight championship titles so far and sits second only to GNCC legend Ed Lojak (nine titles). This is alongside his International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) World Trophy victories, plus National Enduro and Sprint Enduro championships. The goals remain the same – to win the 2020 GNCC Racing title – but Covid-19 delivered a twist in the plot when it brought a halt to racing in the USA, just as it did across the world. Unlike many countries, in the US it has been possible to keep riding so riders like Russell have at least been able to train and keep busy, “I bought a new piece of land and it’s been keeping me pretty busy trying to get that place dialed in,” said Russell from his North Carolina home. Russell racing his KTM 350 XC-F earlier in 2020. PC @KTM Unlike most riders, who tend to keep quiet about plans for moving on and prefer to call time after the finish line of their last race, Russell took the unusual step of announcing his plans before this season had even begun. “I wanted to announce my retirement before the season so that all the other guys I’m racing against have the chance to up their game and try to put an end to it,” explains the celebrated KTM rider on his pre-season announcement that 2020 would be his last in GNCC Racing. So far in 2020 “those guys” he’s racing against have tried but failed to topple the champ who took three GNCC wins on the bounce plus a Sprint Enduro victory before the lockdown took hold. It begs the question, why call time now on his GNCC career at all? “Racing has been good and I’m at this level but there’s only one way to go now. That’s dwindle backwards and I’m not ready to go backwards, I race to win,” explains Kailub. “It’s not that I can’t win for another couple of years, but I’ve had a good career and there are some other things that I want to give my attention to before I’m actually done racing. Stepping away from GNCC and taking my focus away from that is gonna allow me to move forward with my plans for the future.” Russell celebrates victory as part of the all-KTM mounted United States World Trophy Team at the 2019 ISDE. PC @KTM CALLING TIME ON GNCC CAREER, BUT WHAT NEXT? Many rumors have circulated as to exactly what Kailub will do next, fueled in part by fellow KTM rider Ryan Sipes who has branched out across different bike sports in his later career years. But Kailub says Off-Road and Enduro are very much part of the plan with the pinnacle of enduro sport – the International Six Days Enduro – set to be held in Italy 2021 firmly on his wall planner. “The definite plan is the Six Days and the Full Gas Sprint Enduro series, that’s for sure. But past that I really can’t say yet. We’re still working some stuff out but it’s going to be pretty big news and pretty exciting. It’ll probably be in December when we’ll announce that. We’re still in talks with KTM about how it’s going to work out so wait and see.” Whilst plans are being made for beyond 2020, Russell firmly has his sights on an eighth straight GNCC title. PC @SimonCudby 2015 A VINTAGE YEAR During a career which has seen racing, championships, riders and the off-road sport in general go through a huge period of change, which season stands out as Russell’s greatest? “Definitely 2015. I was just really focused and doing a ton of racing, so I didn’t have any time to do anything else. It was train a couple of days, ride a couple of days, go to the race, repeat…there was only a little bit of time there where I wasn’t doing anything. It meant I could stay sharp and stay on top of my game.” That relentlessness of racing, those long seasons and the spells of back-to-back events that cement Kailub’s place in racing history, are also the reason why there comes a tipping point where the enthusiasm of youth gets muscled out of the way by age, family life and other priorities. “It can be tough on your body and now if I’m going to have a five or six week stretch where I don’t have a weekend off I’m burnt and get to the point where I’m just going through the motions. Back then [2015] I don’t remember being that way at all. I was fresh and excited every weekend. It’s crazy that is only five years in life, but it changes the dynamics.” Russell is unbeaten so far in 2020. PC @KTM One thing which is clear and consistent is the steely determination to win, even in the face of defeat. “When those guys get close to beating me it drives me harder. If you beat me it lights a fire in me that makes me try harder for the next one.” It has been a feature of Kailub’s career that he has always bounced back from a defeat with added fire in the belly: “If you beat me one weekend, I get stronger, I use the pressure,” he says. One of the truisms of sport, particularly motorsport, is that one race does not make a champion. Every race counts and off-road sport has the added reality of being across different terrain. You might be a good sand rider but can you ride the hard-pack or the rocks? It’s as true of GNCC as it is of the WESS Enduro World Championship or Grand Prix Motocross. “It’s one of those things that blows my mind,” says Kailub on the ability to be fast everywhere. “There are a lot of guys that can win but only in certain places. I don’t know why that is or why that comes about but it’s a real thing. I always thought that if you could be good in one place you should be good all places and it shouldn’t be a roller coaster.” “My dad always instilled a lot of discipline in me and he used to make me read a Vince Lombardi quote. It was a long quote but the biggest thing I took out of it was you don’t do things right every once in a while, you do things right all the time. “I think if you work like that it takes all the guesswork out. If you know you’re doing it right all the time you’ve got no option than to be good everywhere.” With his incredible talent, Russell just loves racing bikes. PC @SimonCudby HOW GOOD IS MY KTM? Across a decade racing for KTM, Kailub has moved through different generations of KTM XC models with the four stroke XC-Fs being the bikes of choice in the US. Is there one bike which he looks at as the best? “I’ve got all my championship bikes with me at home and I think they got better every year – to the point where the current bike, the KTM 350 XC-F, is almost too good for riding in the woods to be honest with you! The current 350 motor is almost like a 450 from four or five years ago.” Narrowing it down to one bike, Kailub says the model year jump from 2015 to 2016, the model year when Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Roger De Coster and Ryan Dungey were on board developing what turned out to be a game-changer, was a step-progression in terms of chassis development. Whilst talk is about what his future holds, repeating his 2019 success for another title remains the focus. PC @K Hill “I can remember in 2015 I was on my 250 XC-F and KTM came out with the 2016 KTM 250 SX-F. I had a buddy who bought one and I rode it in stock form and went faster on that than I was on my own race bike!” “I bugged Antti (Kallonen, FMF KTM Factory Racing Team Manager) about getting one for the National Enduro series because the bike turned better, was nimbler and handled better. I was doing well in GNCC but struggling a bit in the Enduros on the 350 so I switched to the new KTM 250 SX-F, started racing it in Sprint and National Enduros and started killing it.” “At the time it was such a big difference from the bike I was on, the switch in the frame, the geometry, it was a jump.” “I think that was the year when Roger and Dungey and those guys were onboard with development and they made a big improvement. But if I was to ride that bike now, I’d probably say the same about this current model!”
  20. KAILUB RUSSELL: TIME FOR CHANGE BUT NOT BEFORE ONE MORE GNCC TITLE Posted in People, Racing GNCC Racing legend Kailub Russell is determined to earn an eighth straight title in 2020 but is equally set on moving forward with plans for the future, when this season is over. What is next for the woods racing champion, what’s the secret to winning and which of his many winning KTMs is his favorite? Announcing that 2020 will be his last season of GNCC Racing doesn’t mean seven-time champion Kailub Russell is in any mood to back off the gas just yet. Covid-19 may have brought a temporary pause to proceedings but the FMF KTM Factory Racing Team rider is determined to go out on top with an eighth GNCC title. Kailub Russell – FMF KTM Factory Racing and seven-time GNCC champion. PC @SimonCudby Kailub should need little introduction, but for the record he began his 2020 season sitting on 60 career wins in North America’s prestigious Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Racing series. Russell has seven straight championship titles so far and sits second only to GNCC legend Ed Lojak (nine titles). This is alongside his International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) World Trophy victories, plus National Enduro and Sprint Enduro championships. The goals remain the same – to win the 2020 GNCC Racing title – but Covid-19 delivered a twist in the plot when it brought a halt to racing in the USA, just as it did across the world. Unlike many countries, in the US it has been possible to keep riding so riders like Russell have at least been able to train and keep busy, “I bought a new piece of land and it’s been keeping me pretty busy trying to get that place dialed in,” said Russell from his North Carolina home. Russell racing his KTM 350 XC-F earlier in 2020. PC @KTM Unlike most riders, who tend to keep quiet about plans for moving on and prefer to call time after the finish line of their last race, Russell took the unusual step of announcing his plans before this season had even begun. “I wanted to announce my retirement before the season so that all the other guys I’m racing against have the chance to up their game and try to put an end to it,” explains the celebrated KTM rider on his pre-season announcement that 2020 would be his last in GNCC Racing. So far in 2020 “those guys” he’s racing against have tried but failed to topple the champ who took three GNCC wins on the bounce plus a Sprint Enduro victory before the lockdown took hold. It begs the question, why call time now on his GNCC career at all? “Racing has been good and I’m at this level but there’s only one way to go now. That’s dwindle backwards and I’m not ready to go backwards, I race to win,” explains Kailub. “It’s not that I can’t win for another couple of years, but I’ve had a good career and there are some other things that I want to give my attention to before I’m actually done racing. Stepping away from GNCC and taking my focus away from that is gonna allow me to move forward with my plans for the future.” Russell celebrates victory as part of the all-KTM mounted United States World Trophy Team at the 2019 ISDE. PC @KTM CALLING TIME ON GNCC CAREER, BUT WHAT NEXT? Many rumors have circulated as to exactly what Kailub will do next, fueled in part by fellow KTM rider Ryan Sipes who has branched out across different bike sports in his later career years. But Kailub says Off-Road and Enduro are very much part of the plan with the pinnacle of enduro sport – the International Six Days Enduro – set to be held in Italy 2021 firmly on his wall planner. “The definite plan is the Six Days and the Full Gas Sprint Enduro series, that’s for sure. But past that I really can’t say yet. We’re still working some stuff out but it’s going to be pretty big news and pretty exciting. It’ll probably be in December when we’ll announce that. We’re still in talks with KTM about how it’s going to work out so wait and see.” Whilst plans are being made for beyond 2020, Russell firmly has his sights on an eighth straight GNCC title. PC @SimonCudby 2015 A VINTAGE YEAR During a career which has seen racing, championships, riders and the off-road sport in general go through a huge period of change, which season stands out as Russell’s greatest? “Definitely 2015. I was just really focused and doing a ton of racing, so I didn’t have any time to do anything else. It was train a couple of days, ride a couple of days, go to the race, repeat…there was only a little bit of time there where I wasn’t doing anything. It meant I could stay sharp and stay on top of my game.” That relentlessness of racing, those long seasons and the spells of back-to-back events that cement Kailub’s place in racing history, are also the reason why there comes a tipping point where the enthusiasm of youth gets muscled out of the way by age, family life and other priorities. “It can be tough on your body and now if I’m going to have a five or six week stretch where I don’t have a weekend off I’m burnt and get to the point where I’m just going through the motions. Back then [2015] I don’t remember being that way at all. I was fresh and excited every weekend. It’s crazy that is only five years in life, but it changes the dynamics.” Russell is unbeaten so far in 2020. PC @KTM One thing which is clear and consistent is the steely determination to win, even in the face of defeat. “When those guys get close to beating me it drives me harder. If you beat me it lights a fire in me that makes me try harder for the next one.” It has been a feature of Kailub’s career that he has always bounced back from a defeat with added fire in the belly: “If you beat me one weekend, I get stronger, I use the pressure,” he says. One of the truisms of sport, particularly motorsport, is that one race does not make a champion. Every race counts and off-road sport has the added reality of being across different terrain. You might be a good sand rider but can you ride the hard-pack or the rocks? It’s as true of GNCC as it is of the WESS Enduro World Championship or Grand Prix Motocross. “It’s one of those things that blows my mind,” says Kailub on the ability to be fast everywhere. “There are a lot of guys that can win but only in certain places. I don’t know why that is or why that comes about but it’s a real thing. I always thought that if you could be good in one place you should be good all places and it shouldn’t be a roller coaster.” “My dad always instilled a lot of discipline in me and he used to make me read a Vince Lombardi quote. It was a long quote but the biggest thing I took out of it was you don’t do things right every once in a while, you do things right all the time. “I think if you work like that it takes all the guesswork out. If you know you’re doing it right all the time you’ve got no option than to be good everywhere.” With his incredible talent, Russell just loves racing bikes. PC @SimonCudby HOW GOOD IS MY KTM? Across a decade racing for KTM, Kailub has moved through different generations of KTM XC models with the four stroke XC-Fs being the bikes of choice in the US. Is there one bike which he looks at as the best? “I’ve got all my championship bikes with me at home and I think they got better every year – to the point where the current bike, the KTM 350 XC-F, is almost too good for riding in the woods to be honest with you! The current 350 motor is almost like a 450 from four or five years ago.” Narrowing it down to one bike, Kailub says the model year jump from 2015 to 2016, the model year when Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Roger De Coster and Ryan Dungey were on board developing what turned out to be a game-changer, was a step-progression in terms of chassis development. Whilst talk is about what his future holds, repeating his 2019 success for another title remains the focus. PC @K Hill “I can remember in 2015 I was on my 250 XC-F and KTM came out with the 2016 KTM 250 SX-F. I had a buddy who bought one and I rode it in stock form and went faster on that than I was on my own race bike!” “I bugged Antti (Kallonen, FMF KTM Factory Racing Team Manager) about getting one for the National Enduro series because the bike turned better, was nimbler and handled better. I was doing well in GNCC but struggling a bit in the Enduros on the 350 so I switched to the new KTM 250 SX-F, started racing it in Sprint and National Enduros and started killing it.” “At the time it was such a big difference from the bike I was on, the switch in the frame, the geometry, it was a jump.” “I think that was the year when Roger and Dungey and those guys were onboard with development and they made a big improvement. But if I was to ride that bike now, I’d probably say the same about this current model!”
  21. 4 BIG ‘W’S OF THE NEW KTM 890 DUKE R Posted in Bikes There is a degree of intrigue about the 2020 KTM 890 DUKE R: a fresh, rasping entrant to the manufacturer’s virulent Naked bike portfolio. So, we enlisted the help of Street Product Manager Adriaan Sinke to explain some of the ‘reasons for being’. After an enticing unveil at the 2019 EICMA show last November, the fanfare surrounding the official presentation of the 2020 KTM 890 DUKE R was then mostly digital. Europe’s spring ‘shutdown’ meant the first ‘taste’ of the motorcycle was filtered online and through YouTube in late March: it was an odd situation for a bike that promises such a visceral riding experience. PC @Campelli M./Milagro The KTM 890 DUKE R has been designed with priorities of ‘sensation’ and ‘exhilaration’ at the forefront. But how did it originate in the minds of KTM R&D staff? And how did they strive to create something that was different to the thrill already provided by the other Naked bikes in the line-up (specifically the KTM 790 DUKE and KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R)? In search of answers we fashioned four of the five ‘W’s and asked Adriaan to help us flesh out the details… Who? With the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, KTM quenched the thirst for torque and crafted a bike as strong for the road as it is on the track. With the KTM 790 DUKE the firm aimed for agility, light weight and power. Models such as the KTM 390 and KTM 125 DUKEs again blend optimal handling with fierce motors and enhanced practicality for different groups of motorcyclists. What’s the KTM 890 DUKE R’s identity then? What’s its role? “We are always looking at the performance-end of the scale,” Sinke states. “A KTM 790 DUKE is a great bike, and one of sportiest in the midrange, but like in racing, there is always room for improvement. There is obviously quite a gap between a KTM 790 DUKE and a KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, so part of the decision [to make the KTM 890 DUKE R] was the wish to fill that gap. But much more important was the wish to deliver the highest performing bike in the midrange segment. Be it handling, suspension, engine or electronics, the KTM 890 DUKE R tops them all.” PC @KTM The KTM 790 DUKE’s characteristics were defined enough for the bike to be labelled ‘THE SCALPEL’. The KTM 890 DUKE R’s appearance represents an attempt to make another slice at the motorcycling market. In a style true to KTM’s alternative values and philosophy, the KTM 890 DUKE R charges in, exhaust ablaze. “The midrange segment is very big, especially in Europe and spans a very wide range of models,” explains Sinke. “KTM always wants to offer the sharpest tool in the segment and is not necessarily aimed at the middle of the segment where the volume is, we create our own niche.” “Potential competitors would be a Triumph Street Triple RS, an MV Agusta Brutale, maybe a Kawasaki Z900 or a Yamaha MT-10: we trump all those bikes on individual points and all of them with our overall package of handling, torque, power and electronics.” What? So, the KTM 890 DUKE R is not a ‘suped-up 790’. How have KTM gone about reinventing the best parts and fabricating something new? Well, the parallel twin platform is vaguely similar, but increased bore and stroke, higher compression and a higher maximum RPM mean a hike to 121 HP and 99 Nm: 15 more horsepower. A new cylinder head, new camshaft and new balancer shafts all help to deal with the boosted revs and rotating mass. PC @KTM The chassis has been engineered to be sportier, more aggressive and lighter with altered ergonomics to suit the KTM 890 DUKE R’s role as a bike that will attack the twistiest of roads and the most inviting circuit layouts. The ride is smoothened by adjustable linear spring WP APEX front forks with split function damping, compression and rebound settings, and to counter all of that extra potency the new KTM relies on the latest Brembo Stylema monoblock calipers with 320mm floating front disks. These and more differences to the KTM 790 DUKE only increase the distinction of the KTM 890 DUKE R. When? The special orange frame of the KTM 890 DUKE R will be bouncing off shiny showroom floors by the time this story hits the KTM Blog. But will the 2020 emergence of the motorcycle cause any ripples in the overall DUKE family catalogue? The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R reached a third-generation model in 2020 with the best iteration of ‘THE BEAST’ yet and the KTM 790 DUKE already ruffled middleweight feathers since it appeared almost two years ago. KTM may claim that they have taken ‘all the things we love about the KTM 790 DUKE and turned it up to 11’ but the KTM 890 DUKE R comes at a time when it can find its own path. For those riders optimistic of mining the full list of KTM’s PowerParts to make their KTM 790 DUKE reach the same ballpark of performance then disappointment lies in store. “The KTM 890 DUKE R is much more than just a tune-up,” underlines Sinke. “The engine character with the different valve train and crankshaft is so different from the KTM 790 DUKE engine that the entire feeling of the motorcycle has changed. The differences to the chassis setup and brakes complete the feeling of being on a different bike altogether.” “The upgrades we made on the suspension and brakes would not be easy to match,” he admits. “A power increase of more than 15 horsepower is very hard to reach and very expensive, especially when the bike has to remain street legal. And even if a talented tuner could reach our values putting it all together with the very advanced level of electronics – Cornering ABS, Cornering MTC and so on – in a functional package that make a bike that works on the street as well as it does on the track is not realistic.” PC @KTM The KTM 890 DUKE R may not strike fear into a speed camera like a KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R but this bike adds a whole new dimension of demand and necessity to KTM’s Naked bike line-up. Thus, leading onto… Why? Ultimately, why should KTM owners (or prospective owners) consider switching from a KTM 790 DUKE to the KTM 890 DUKE R? Or have their eyes pulled away from the peerless KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R to rest on the new younger brother? By making such an impact with their two models at the top of the Naked bike sector KTM are placing the KTM 890 DUKE R in a competitive and ‘crowded’ space within its own family. “Good question, it really depends on what you are looking for in an upgrade,” outlines Sinke. “Do you want absolute power and BEAST levels of torque? Get a KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. Do you want agility, precision, power to weight, compactness, and a lot of horsepower, torque and stopping power? Then now is the time to get an KTM 890 DUKE R.” Not quite a BEAST but sharper and more lethal than a SCALPEL: looks like the KTM 890 DUKE R is a weapon regardless.
  22. 4 BIG ‘W’S OF THE NEW KTM 890 DUKE R

    4 BIG ‘W’S OF THE NEW KTM 890 DUKE R Posted in Bikes There is a degree of intrigue about the 2020 KTM 890 DUKE R: a fresh, rasping entrant to the manufacturer’s virulent Naked bike portfolio. So, we enlisted the help of Street Product Manager Adriaan Sinke to explain some of the ‘reasons for being’. After an enticing unveil at the 2019 EICMA show last November, the fanfare surrounding the official presentation of the 2020 KTM 890 DUKE R was then mostly digital. Europe’s spring ‘shutdown’ meant the first ‘taste’ of the motorcycle was filtered online and through YouTube in late March: it was an odd situation for a bike that promises such a visceral riding experience. PC @Campelli M./Milagro The KTM 890 DUKE R has been designed with priorities of ‘sensation’ and ‘exhilaration’ at the forefront. But how did it originate in the minds of KTM R&D staff? And how did they strive to create something that was different to the thrill already provided by the other Naked bikes in the line-up (specifically the KTM 790 DUKE and KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R)? In search of answers we fashioned four of the five ‘W’s and asked Adriaan to help us flesh out the details… Who? With the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, KTM quenched the thirst for torque and crafted a bike as strong for the road as it is on the track. With the KTM 790 DUKE the firm aimed for agility, light weight and power. Models such as the KTM 390 and KTM 125 DUKEs again blend optimal handling with fierce motors and enhanced practicality for different groups of motorcyclists. What’s the KTM 890 DUKE R’s identity then? What’s its role? “We are always looking at the performance-end of the scale,” Sinke states. “A KTM 790 DUKE is a great bike, and one of sportiest in the midrange, but like in racing, there is always room for improvement. There is obviously quite a gap between a KTM 790 DUKE and a KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, so part of the decision [to make the KTM 890 DUKE R] was the wish to fill that gap. But much more important was the wish to deliver the highest performing bike in the midrange segment. Be it handling, suspension, engine or electronics, the KTM 890 DUKE R tops them all.” PC @KTM The KTM 790 DUKE’s characteristics were defined enough for the bike to be labelled ‘THE SCALPEL’. The KTM 890 DUKE R’s appearance represents an attempt to make another slice at the motorcycling market. In a style true to KTM’s alternative values and philosophy, the KTM 890 DUKE R charges in, exhaust ablaze. “The midrange segment is very big, especially in Europe and spans a very wide range of models,” explains Sinke. “KTM always wants to offer the sharpest tool in the segment and is not necessarily aimed at the middle of the segment where the volume is, we create our own niche.” “Potential competitors would be a Triumph Street Triple RS, an MV Agusta Brutale, maybe a Kawasaki Z900 or a Yamaha MT-10: we trump all those bikes on individual points and all of them with our overall package of handling, torque, power and electronics.” What? So, the KTM 890 DUKE R is not a ‘suped-up 790’. How have KTM gone about reinventing the best parts and fabricating something new? Well, the parallel twin platform is vaguely similar, but increased bore and stroke, higher compression and a higher maximum RPM mean a hike to 121 HP and 99 Nm: 15 more horsepower. A new cylinder head, new camshaft and new balancer shafts all help to deal with the boosted revs and rotating mass. PC @KTM The chassis has been engineered to be sportier, more aggressive and lighter with altered ergonomics to suit the KTM 890 DUKE R’s role as a bike that will attack the twistiest of roads and the most inviting circuit layouts. The ride is smoothened by adjustable linear spring WP APEX front forks with split function damping, compression and rebound settings, and to counter all of that extra potency the new KTM relies on the latest Brembo Stylema monoblock calipers with 320mm floating front disks. These and more differences to the KTM 790 DUKE only increase the distinction of the KTM 890 DUKE R. When? The special orange frame of the KTM 890 DUKE R will be bouncing off shiny showroom floors by the time this story hits the KTM Blog. But will the 2020 emergence of the motorcycle cause any ripples in the overall DUKE family catalogue? The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R reached a third-generation model in 2020 with the best iteration of ‘THE BEAST’ yet and the KTM 790 DUKE already ruffled middleweight feathers since it appeared almost two years ago. KTM may claim that they have taken ‘all the things we love about the KTM 790 DUKE and turned it up to 11’ but the KTM 890 DUKE R comes at a time when it can find its own path. For those riders optimistic of mining the full list of KTM’s PowerParts to make their KTM 790 DUKE reach the same ballpark of performance then disappointment lies in store. “The KTM 890 DUKE R is much more than just a tune-up,” underlines Sinke. “The engine character with the different valve train and crankshaft is so different from the KTM 790 DUKE engine that the entire feeling of the motorcycle has changed. The differences to the chassis setup and brakes complete the feeling of being on a different bike altogether.” “The upgrades we made on the suspension and brakes would not be easy to match,” he admits. “A power increase of more than 15 horsepower is very hard to reach and very expensive, especially when the bike has to remain street legal. And even if a talented tuner could reach our values putting it all together with the very advanced level of electronics – Cornering ABS, Cornering MTC and so on – in a functional package that make a bike that works on the street as well as it does on the track is not realistic.” PC @KTM The KTM 890 DUKE R may not strike fear into a speed camera like a KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R but this bike adds a whole new dimension of demand and necessity to KTM’s Naked bike line-up. Thus, leading onto… Why? Ultimately, why should KTM owners (or prospective owners) consider switching from a KTM 790 DUKE to the KTM 890 DUKE R? Or have their eyes pulled away from the peerless KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R to rest on the new younger brother? By making such an impact with their two models at the top of the Naked bike sector KTM are placing the KTM 890 DUKE R in a competitive and ‘crowded’ space within its own family. “Good question, it really depends on what you are looking for in an upgrade,” outlines Sinke. “Do you want absolute power and BEAST levels of torque? Get a KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. Do you want agility, precision, power to weight, compactness, and a lot of horsepower, torque and stopping power? Then now is the time to get an KTM 890 DUKE R.” Not quite a BEAST but sharper and more lethal than a SCALPEL: looks like the KTM 890 DUKE R is a weapon regardless.
  23. MAKING A MOTOGP CONTENDER

    MAKING A MOTOGP CONTENDER Posted in Bikes, Racing KTM have sliced the better part of two seconds away to the front of the MotoGP field since their premier class debut at the beginning of 2017. Technical Co-ordinator Sebastian Risse explains a little about how they made that happen in double-time. Sebastian Risse – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MotoGP Technical Co-ordinator. PC @SebasRomero Red Bull KTM Factory Racing finished 16th and 17th at the 2017 Grand Prix of Qatar – their first event as full-time members of the MotoGP grid – well over 30 seconds away from winner Maverick Viñales. Two years later at the same circuit and Pol Espargaró had moved forward to 12th, 12 seconds adrift and with a best lap-time almost a second faster than the 2017 effort. At the 2020 pre-season test both Espargaró and Brad Binder circulated the Losail International Circuit around the half-second mark from the top of the timing screens. Under the Losail lights in Qatar the team was around half a second from the top of the timesheets at the 2020 pre-season test. PC @PolarityPhoto KTM’s presence and progression has provided a fascinating narrative in Grand Prix. As the ‘new boys’ their engineering, learning and attempts to play catch-up with other manufacturers with decades of experience has provided a looking glass into the demands of racing, and of living within the fractions of a second that constitute success. Splinters of a lap-time can cost vast amounts of cash and thousands of man-hours as well as specialized skill and theorizing. Forging a competitive MotoGP race bike is like cooking a complicated ‘soup’ and can sometimes be hard to replicate the ideal ‘taste’ across circuits around the continents. Sebastian Risse has been the principal link to the track in shaping the RC16 since the formative stages in 2016 and from the moment the team made their wild-card debut at Valencia, Spain that same year. The German is one of more than 30 people in Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and his influence extends over the whole project that encompasses the staff of Red Bull KTM Tech3 and the 15 employees charged with the test team. Back in Mattighofen more technical experts and a slice of the 600-strong R&D department are also closely implicated. Sebastian Risse and team members during KTM’s MotoGP debut as a wildcard in Valencia, Spain 2016. PC @SebasRomero KTM have moved fast with the RC16. They have revised engine concepts and have evolved their steel frame ideology. They have the capacity to move quickly. One of the best anecdotes involves the test team using a brand-new engine at Le Mans in 2017 for a Michelin tire test. Espargaró then loaded the improved powerplant onto a private plane to travel to Jerez for another shakedown. It was then used at the Le Mans round of the series a few days later. “You always like to see development going forwards quickly and perhaps even faster but on the other hand you have to be careful that it stays manageable,” explains Risse. “When you develop many changes in parallel at the same time then they all have to be compatible with each other and that increases the complexity a lot. Bringing a new bike for a new season means a lot of decisions and a lot of test items that have to fit together. We are on the border of it being manageable. It means you cannot do more and more because it just won’t work.” Initially KTM had to get their bearings with the RC16 and assess its merits and their ideas against the rest of the grid. “This project is still so young that you make discoveries all the time and in many areas,” he claims. “Of course, electronics is quite a complex one and where the complexity is happening on the track, whereas with others the complexity is happening at home in developing a new chassis, part or engine. You come to the track, try it, analyze. It’s either better or worse and then you make a decision. The complexity moves around! Whereas with electronics the attention is on every detail and every aspect of what the rider is talking about: you have to keep dipping back into it to find differences between sessions or even runs within a session. The bike also evolves with aerodynamics and we did a lot on the chassis from a stiffness point of view. We started as ‘new’ and as we followed this steel frame concept it was a place where benchmarking did not help us as much in order to find our own way and in other areas. It means you have to do extra steps and extra iterations. It was a big field to work on.” Sebastian Risse in the pitbox. PC @Philip Platzer Risse and his team were constantly making judgements and trying to weave through the labyrinth of improvement. “In the end every resource and budget is limited, and to make the bike faster and better you have to spend it in the best way: it evens-out development,” he says. “If you have an area where you don’t have to spend a lot of resources to see bigger benefits then you do that first … but then you come to a point where it doesn’t happen anymore. So, you have to spread it more evenly. I would say we had a very solid engine base in the beginning, and we spent most of our resources on the chassis stiffness and electronics. Now, during the last two years we made a lot of iterations on the engine side; not in terms of the basic layout but things you don’t necessarily see on the outside. It cost a lot of resources and changes certain characteristics of the bike in a way you cannot do with other things.” Naturally technical choices carry pressure. If KTM wrongfoot and lose even a few tenths of a second per lap then they are suddenly nearer the back of the grid. Risse is part of the group that makes the call but says he is not the instigator. “When the theory, the data and the rider are commonly pointing in the same direction then super: we are 100% confident. If that’s not the case, then it means there is something to learn. For me the first priority is the rider. He has to be confident with the solution. Ideally you follow the rider and learn in other areas until you have a series that explains ‘why’ [you must change the bike] then you confirm with the data to be in a place you want to be. It’s a process where many things can be at different points.” The information from the rider is a priority – Pol Epargaró, Qatar test 2020. PC @PolarityPhoto MotoGP is at the forefront of motorcycle technology and prototype components as well as hardware and software. This is key not only in getting the last milliseconds off the rider’s lap time, but the information gathered at this level is communicated throughout the R&D department in Austria. A lot of the lessons and know-how filters down into KTM’s Street range. Being on the grid is a marketing exercise with enormous reach but there are positive repercussions to the race team’s work in the planning meetings in Austria. “For sure,” Risse concurs. “We are working with the KTM STREET guys and production management in R&D for areas like aerodynamics, chassis stiffness and electronics. Not only in terms of single development items but also approaches and analysis: understanding certain effects which can then transfer into another solution of a part or idea that maybe doesn’t look the same [on the two bikes]. There are things that can be gained…but, often, it isn’t that straight forward.” What about an example? “Chassis stiffness,” he answers. “On one hand how do you go about obtaining the stiffness and on the other why do want that stiffness? What problems happen because of a change? Then there are the production processes, especially with production bikes and the translation to MotoGP. It can join forces in some areas.” Brad Binder gets to grips with the KTM RC16 at the Qatar test in February. PC @PolarityPhoto Risse then talks about one manufacturing technique that has already had a positive impact for the offroad production models and should spread. “Innovative technologies like [3D] printing is an interesting field where you see more and more parts on the motorcycle coming out of a printer; I think that is something that will come into production bikes more frequently. It’s the future, and I think we are a little bit ahead in this way. The need for prototype parts makes it very attractive for racing.” So far 2020 has stuttered for MotoGP, as with most sport on a global level, and paused the momentum both teams had made during competitive pre-season tests. When, and if, KTM can continue racing then their onslaught on the premier class will still rush ahead. The MotoGP schedule has been on hold due to Covid-19 since the Qatar test and we look forward to seeing the KTM RC16 back on track when racing resumes. PC @PolarityPhoto
  24. THE GREATEST EVER: IS KTM’S 2020 MXGP LINE-UP THE BENCHMARK? Posted in Racing Cairoli, Herlings, Prado: Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s MXGP riders for the 2020 season with a combined total of 15 FIM World Championships in the two categories. Has there been a more decorated, potent and lethal collection of athletes in Grand Prix history? With 15 FIM World titles between them the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MXGP line-up is a force to be reckoned with. PC @RayArcher An over-simplification would be to say Cairoli represents the past, Herlings the present and Prado the future and all three have coincided to make ‘the perfect storm’ for 2020. That the trio have ‘collided’ this season to steer the KTM 450 SX-F is fact, but Cairoli claimed his last crown as recently as 2017, Herlings is only 25 but already a ten year veteran of Grand Prix while Prado has already eliminated himself from MX2 for a term thanks to back-to-back titles in 2018-2019 (thus being pushed out of the category according to the rules). Herlings leads the 2020 MXGP championship after the two rounds before Covid-19 halted the action. PC @RayArcher Cairoli (34, the second oldest athlete in MXGP and based in Rome), Herlings and Prado (19 and Rome/Belgium set) all have different style and approaches. Cairoli was the definition of flamboyance on a 250, who matured into one of the best all-rounders the sport has ever seen with an unparalleled rate of consistency that casted 89 victories (12 away from the record total) and 162 podiums (5 away from another record). Herlings is an animal of attacking riding, strength and an insatiable desire to win. A record-smasher in MX2 he assembled one of the most memorable campaigns on record in 2018 with 17 wins from 19 appearances (the other two results were 2nd place) and has a career tally of 86. Prado is arguably the best starter in the modern era with a 50% ratio of holeshots in two years and a smooth and graceful technique that ensures his universal competitiveness and low rate of mistakes and crashes. He is already Spain’s greatest motocrosser thanks to his 31 triumphs and is the premier class rookie for 2020. With back-to-back MX2 World Championship titles Prado is looking to make his mark in MXGP. PC @JuanPabloAcevedo Fittingly each rider has either been developed by KTM or has assisted the factory team’s bloom into an outfit that has owned both MXGP (previously ‘MX1’) and MX2 seven times in the last decade. It has helped the ‘orange’ squad to be the powerhouse of the paddock. “We worked on that image and we’ve had it now for a while with MX2 and MXGP titles over the years, sometimes even in the same season and that’s something unique,” offers Team Manager and Technical Coordinator Dirk Gruebel; the German has been part of the crew’s management since the end of the ‘00s. “You get used to it, but it should never be taken for granted. Winning both titles in the same year and by the same team is a huge achievement.” Cairoli – in his eleventh season with Red Bull KTM – was signed in 2010 and helped establish the KTM 350 SX-F concept that eventually helped the KTM 450 SX-F evolve to become the standard for the category. He aced championships with both bikes. Herlings was groomed by the factory as a teenage prodigy who made his GP debut as a fifteen-year old and won his first race after just three rounds. Prado’s story is similar to the Dutchman’s but he was in KTM development channels from puberty and through 65, 85 and 125cc levels to the world stage. He scored a podium on his first full GP appearance and won in his maiden term having just turned 16 years of age. Cairoli and Herlings battle at the sharp end of the field at the opening MXGP round of 2020. PC @RayArcher Their results and numbers establish immediate credibility. “I don’t think we’ve seen something like that, with the amount of titles under the same tent. It’s very rare,” offers Gruebel. When it comes to ranking the trio as ‘the greatest’ there is a degree of subjectivity away from the statistics, and comparison of eras and the different demands, techniques, length of the seasons and standards of equipment means the exercise can be fruitless. For many, even inside KTM, there is only one possible rival. “KTM is a bit like the new Honda of the 80s,” opines KTM Motocross Manager Joel Smets, a double champion himself for the manufacturer. “The full HRC line-up: when I was a kid I remember thinking ‘how is that possible?’ It really was a dream team.” In 1985 and 1986 the red triplet of Dave Thorpe, Andre Malherbe and Eric Geboers finished 1-2-3 in the 500cc World Championship in that order. The team would shape-shift with the likes of Jeff Leisk and Jean-Michel Bayle coming into the frame. “They didn’t have that many titles when the original three came together and I think Eric still had to win in the 250s or 500s – he believed he was going to blow everyone away, but he fell on his face a few times. Malherbe was a double world champ and Thorpe won in 85-86,” Smets describes. Cairoli’s first GP was in 2002 and the Sicilian has won nine World Championships since. PC @RayArcher “From the point of view of image and competitiveness, for me, our guys are on the same level. Of course, Tony, Jorge and Jeffrey are top of the bill now, but Malherbe’s nickname was ‘Mr Hollywood’! That was the period shortly after they raced in leather pants and I remember him coming out for a mud race in completely white gear, holeshotting and finishing all white! Eric Geboers was a real star. Thorpe was more the working-class hero and respected as a sportsman but I think Geboers and Malherbe can easily stand next to Tony and Jeffrey. I lived that era as a spectator and perhaps I am not best placed to objectively judge it because now I’m looking at things from an inside point of view. I struggle to remember any other line-up like the one we have now at Red Bull KTM. Yamaha had Donny Schmit and Alex Puzar and later Stefan Everts and Marnicq Bervoets but they still don’t come close to these guys.” On the awning floor and other members of Red Bull KTM believe that the riders themselves probably don’t have enough distance or perspective to see their general place in the sport’s landscape. “For sure it is up-there as one of the all-time greatest teams,” says Herlings’ mechanic Wayne Banks. “Do they really appreciate it? I think they are too focused on the job and they are all winners. Second place doesn’t mean much. I reckon they’ll [appreciate] it later but now they are caught in the moment.” Herlings on home soil – the Dutchman battles the Valkenswaard sand. PC @RayArcher 2018 saw Herlings and Cairoli tussle for the MXGP crown and classify 1-2 for the year with only one other rider capturing just one of the twenty rounds. 2014, 2017 and 2018 saw inter-team tussles for the prize in MX2, of which Prado was a protagonist of the last. The prolificacy both against rivals and within the team led to a degree of excellence and ultimately the 2020 line-up. “If you wanted to plan it then I don’t think you could,” smiles Gruebel. “As a company it is also a really big effort to have three guys that are all so good that they could each win the title. Why should we make that huge investment for ‘three horses’? It just happened, but you never know what can happen next in racing. Tony is still going, Jeffrey is in his prime and you could say it is quite early for Jorge.” Prado’s first Grand Prix on the KTM 450 SX-F was positive following his winter injury. PC @RayArcher Arguably the chief architect was Pit Beirer, a seven-times Grand Prix winner and KTM rider and now Motorsports Director, who signed all three to the factory’s bountiful hall of fame. “I think this is the greatest MXGP line-up we’ve had at KTM and, like Dirk said, it is not something you can really plan,” the German said. “You can have a long-term strategy but then all three riders manage to change that! I almost feel sorry to say it, but Tony is still so good for a rider who is into his 30s: we probably expected him to have stopped by now but he’s like a good bottle of red wine. In the middle you have Jeffrey who we thought would have a very strong spell in the class but it was not easy to plan with him because of the injuries that occurred. Then on the other side you have Jorge coming and I don’t think anybody expected him to go like a rocket through all the categories to show up as a two-time world champion in MXGP for 2020. So, the team wasn’t planned but it is a time to enjoy them out there. Let’s all stay healthy and let’s hope we can start the season very soon.” While all three riders have only appeared on track together twice so far in 2020, away from KTM and there is recognition for the strength of the gathering. “I think there is a case for Suzuki’s era from Joel Robert to Gaston Rahier to Eric Geboers to Michele Rinaldi and then Honda brought nine titles through their three main riders from 1980-90 but if you are looking at a single team, a single line-up then Red Bull KTM has the credentials,” says former Grand Prix winner and now full-time TV commentator and presenter Paul Malin. “Not only are all three supreme athletes but, numerically, of their 15 championship 12 have been won in KTM colors and the scary thing is that they could well be adding more in the next few years.” Cairoli still has his eyes on the main prize as part of an incredible Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MXGP line-up. PC @RayArcher “In the 80’s the 500 class was similar to MXGP today; all the best riders and main factories were involved,” offers legendary French journalist Pascal Haudiquert, a man who started covering Grand Prix in the mid-1970s and with more than 500 races under his belt as part of the media corps. “In this period the factory teams lined up with two riders maximum, Honda had three of the best in the world. But since this period no factory had such a strong team as KTM do now, for sure.” How will the years enrich and preserve KTM’s unique collision of talent? Fortunately for the younger generation of MXGP fans they can savor the sight now and the memories later on. Until the next flagbearers arrive.
  25. THE GREATEST EVER: IS KTM’S 2020 MXGP LINE-UP THE BENCHMARK? Posted in Racing Cairoli, Herlings, Prado: Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s MXGP riders for the 2020 season with a combined total of 15 FIM World Championships in the two categories. Has there been a more decorated, potent and lethal collection of athletes in Grand Prix history? With 15 FIM World titles between them the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MXGP line-up is a force to be reckoned with. PC @RayArcher An over-simplification would be to say Cairoli represents the past, Herlings the present and Prado the future and all three have coincided to make ‘the perfect storm’ for 2020. That the trio have ‘collided’ this season to steer the KTM 450 SX-F is fact, but Cairoli claimed his last crown as recently as 2017, Herlings is only 25 but already a ten year veteran of Grand Prix while Prado has already eliminated himself from MX2 for a term thanks to back-to-back titles in 2018-2019 (thus being pushed out of the category according to the rules). Herlings leads the 2020 MXGP championship after the two rounds before Covid-19 halted the action. PC @RayArcher Cairoli (34, the second oldest athlete in MXGP and based in Rome), Herlings and Prado (19 and Rome/Belgium set) all have different style and approaches. Cairoli was the definition of flamboyance on a 250, who matured into one of the best all-rounders the sport has ever seen with an unparalleled rate of consistency that casted 89 victories (12 away from the record total) and 162 podiums (5 away from another record). Herlings is an animal of attacking riding, strength and an insatiable desire to win. A record-smasher in MX2 he assembled one of the most memorable campaigns on record in 2018 with 17 wins from 19 appearances (the other two results were 2nd place) and has a career tally of 86. Prado is arguably the best starter in the modern era with a 50% ratio of holeshots in two years and a smooth and graceful technique that ensures his universal competitiveness and low rate of mistakes and crashes. He is already Spain’s greatest motocrosser thanks to his 31 triumphs and is the premier class rookie for 2020. With back-to-back MX2 World Championship titles Prado is looking to make his mark in MXGP. PC @JuanPabloAcevedo Fittingly each rider has either been developed by KTM or has assisted the factory team’s bloom into an outfit that has owned both MXGP (previously ‘MX1’) and MX2 seven times in the last decade. It has helped the ‘orange’ squad to be the powerhouse of the paddock. “We worked on that image and we’ve had it now for a while with MX2 and MXGP titles over the years, sometimes even in the same season and that’s something unique,” offers Team Manager and Technical Coordinator Dirk Gruebel; the German has been part of the crew’s management since the end of the ‘00s. “You get used to it, but it should never be taken for granted. Winning both titles in the same year and by the same team is a huge achievement.” Cairoli – in his eleventh season with Red Bull KTM – was signed in 2010 and helped establish the KTM 350 SX-F concept that eventually helped the KTM 450 SX-F evolve to become the standard for the category. He aced championships with both bikes. Herlings was groomed by the factory as a teenage prodigy who made his GP debut as a fifteen-year old and won his first race after just three rounds. Prado’s story is similar to the Dutchman’s but he was in KTM development channels from puberty and through 65, 85 and 125cc levels to the world stage. He scored a podium on his first full GP appearance and won in his maiden term having just turned 16 years of age. Cairoli and Herlings battle at the sharp end of the field at the opening MXGP round of 2020. PC @RayArcher Their results and numbers establish immediate credibility. “I don’t think we’ve seen something like that, with the amount of titles under the same tent. It’s very rare,” offers Gruebel. When it comes to ranking the trio as ‘the greatest’ there is a degree of subjectivity away from the statistics, and comparison of eras and the different demands, techniques, length of the seasons and standards of equipment means the exercise can be fruitless. For many, even inside KTM, there is only one possible rival. “KTM is a bit like the new Honda of the 80s,” opines KTM Motocross Manager Joel Smets, a double champion himself for the manufacturer. “The full HRC line-up: when I was a kid I remember thinking ‘how is that possible?’ It really was a dream team.” In 1985 and 1986 the red triplet of Dave Thorpe, Andre Malherbe and Eric Geboers finished 1-2-3 in the 500cc World Championship in that order. The team would shape-shift with the likes of Jeff Leisk and Jean-Michel Bayle coming into the frame. “They didn’t have that many titles when the original three came together and I think Eric still had to win in the 250s or 500s – he believed he was going to blow everyone away, but he fell on his face a few times. Malherbe was a double world champ and Thorpe won in 85-86,” Smets describes. Cairoli’s first GP was in 2002 and the Sicilian has won nine World Championships since. PC @RayArcher “From the point of view of image and competitiveness, for me, our guys are on the same level. Of course, Tony, Jorge and Jeffrey are top of the bill now, but Malherbe’s nickname was ‘Mr Hollywood’! That was the period shortly after they raced in leather pants and I remember him coming out for a mud race in completely white gear, holeshotting and finishing all white! Eric Geboers was a real star. Thorpe was more the working-class hero and respected as a sportsman but I think Geboers and Malherbe can easily stand next to Tony and Jeffrey. I lived that era as a spectator and perhaps I am not best placed to objectively judge it because now I’m looking at things from an inside point of view. I struggle to remember any other line-up like the one we have now at Red Bull KTM. Yamaha had Donny Schmit and Alex Puzar and later Stefan Everts and Marnicq Bervoets but they still don’t come close to these guys.” On the awning floor and other members of Red Bull KTM believe that the riders themselves probably don’t have enough distance or perspective to see their general place in the sport’s landscape. “For sure it is up-there as one of the all-time greatest teams,” says Herlings’ mechanic Wayne Banks. “Do they really appreciate it? I think they are too focused on the job and they are all winners. Second place doesn’t mean much. I reckon they’ll [appreciate] it later but now they are caught in the moment.” Herlings on home soil – the Dutchman battles the Valkenswaard sand. PC @RayArcher 2018 saw Herlings and Cairoli tussle for the MXGP crown and classify 1-2 for the year with only one other rider capturing just one of the twenty rounds. 2014, 2017 and 2018 saw inter-team tussles for the prize in MX2, of which Prado was a protagonist of the last. The prolificacy both against rivals and within the team led to a degree of excellence and ultimately the 2020 line-up. “If you wanted to plan it then I don’t think you could,” smiles Gruebel. “As a company it is also a really big effort to have three guys that are all so good that they could each win the title. Why should we make that huge investment for ‘three horses’? It just happened, but you never know what can happen next in racing. Tony is still going, Jeffrey is in his prime and you could say it is quite early for Jorge.” Prado’s first Grand Prix on the KTM 450 SX-F was positive following his winter injury. PC @RayArcher Arguably the chief architect was Pit Beirer, a seven-times Grand Prix winner and KTM rider and now Motorsports Director, who signed all three to the factory’s bountiful hall of fame. “I think this is the greatest MXGP line-up we’ve had at KTM and, like Dirk said, it is not something you can really plan,” the German said. “You can have a long-term strategy but then all three riders manage to change that! I almost feel sorry to say it, but Tony is still so good for a rider who is into his 30s: we probably expected him to have stopped by now but he’s like a good bottle of red wine. In the middle you have Jeffrey who we thought would have a very strong spell in the class but it was not easy to plan with him because of the injuries that occurred. Then on the other side you have Jorge coming and I don’t think anybody expected him to go like a rocket through all the categories to show up as a two-time world champion in MXGP for 2020. So, the team wasn’t planned but it is a time to enjoy them out there. Let’s all stay healthy and let’s hope we can start the season very soon.” While all three riders have only appeared on track together twice so far in 2020, away from KTM and there is recognition for the strength of the gathering. “I think there is a case for Suzuki’s era from Joel Robert to Gaston Rahier to Eric Geboers to Michele Rinaldi and then Honda brought nine titles through their three main riders from 1980-90 but if you are looking at a single team, a single line-up then Red Bull KTM has the credentials,” says former Grand Prix winner and now full-time TV commentator and presenter Paul Malin. “Not only are all three supreme athletes but, numerically, of their 15 championship 12 have been won in KTM colors and the scary thing is that they could well be adding more in the next few years.” Cairoli still has his eyes on the main prize as part of an incredible Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MXGP line-up. PC @RayArcher “In the 80’s the 500 class was similar to MXGP today; all the best riders and main factories were involved,” offers legendary French journalist Pascal Haudiquert, a man who started covering Grand Prix in the mid-1970s and with more than 500 races under his belt as part of the media corps. “In this period the factory teams lined up with two riders maximum, Honda had three of the best in the world. But since this period no factory had such a strong team as KTM do now, for sure.” How will the years enrich and preserve KTM’s unique collision of talent? Fortunately for the younger generation of MXGP fans they can savor the sight now and the memories later on. Until the next flagbearers arrive.
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