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  1. Can and Deniz Öncü: The winning twins Posted in People, Racing Having the same last name on the screen of their respective KTM RC 250 Rs is the only giveaway of this duo being twins. Brothers Can and Deniz look nothing alike, making it obvious they are not identical twins – they’re fraternal twins. Deniz is short in stature, barely makes the scales tip to forty kilos, and if you didn’t know any better you’d say he’s quite a bit younger than his brother Can. But since they’re twins, they couldn’t be too far apart age wise; they both celebrated their fifteenth birthday at the end of July. Can is easy to pick out of a crowd, or to distinguish from his brother, obviously. Can is quite a bit taller than Deniz and unlike his ‘little brother’ Can has a lot of bushy hair to stuff into his crash helmet. Deniz & Can Öncü (TUR) Assen (NED) 2018 © Guus van Goethem Apart from their physical differences, they share one unmistakable resemblance; they have a feisty right wrist. Can and Deniz are taking the GP paddock by storm, showing impressive talent and even more potential by shaking up the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup – the Grand Prix’ talent class. Both Turks are currently racing their second season in the class, taking their fellow rookies hostage with their unmistakable potential for future greatness. Recently Can underlined his prowess by taking the Rookies championship title prematurely at the Misano GP round. And Deniz isn’t out for the count yet, either, with a chance to finish second in the championship during the final round at Aragon (September 21-23). This season Can looks to be the man to beat of the two, but make no mistake; Deniz took the Asia Talent Cup – an Asian counterpart of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup – title last year, so he’s no slouch. Can Öncü (TUR) Assen (NED) 2018 © Guus van Goethem On the prowl Despite their obvious talent, the Turkish brothers have remained off the radar of most motorcycle racing fans, but you can be sure that’s all about to change. The duo is set to move into the Moto3 World Championship rather sooner than later. FIM even changed its regulations to allow Can to move into Moto3 next year. The 2018 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup champ would otherwise not be eligible to enter the GP championship, as he’ll only be fifteen when next season kicks off in March. The FIM added an exemption to allow the Rookies Cup champion to be allowed a starting license at fifteen years old, as they have also allowed the Moto3 Junior World Championship winner to progress a year ahead of his peers. The twins from Alanya have a long road ahead of them, but they’re both on the prowl to reel in a successful career in motorsports, and so far things are going really well for the duo. MotoGPTM is still quite far away for the youngsters, but in working towards that goal the two Turks will always have the experience of Kenan Sofuoglu to build on. As their mentor, Sofuoglu – a five-time World Supersport 600 champion – is working tirelessly to help the Öncü brothers to achieve success. Not just personal success, either. Sofuoglu is the poster boy of Turkish motorcycle racing culture and, as such, has been going above and beyond to outline Turkey as a racing nation. To figure out where the Öncü twins fit into this masterplan, we sat down with Can and Deniz to get to know them. Always good to pick the brain of young and talented riders like them, who have their minds firmly set on making it into MotoGPTM in a couple of seasons time. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions How did you end up in motorsports? Can: “We used to go to our father’s office every now and then, and we would pass a place along the way that had two minibikes out in front. We would dream of riding those two bikes together. When we were four years old, we got our first bikes. It was unbelievable! Our father had bought them for us. In the beginning we only rode the bikes for fun, finishing the day off with a barbecue. At some point a friend of ours suggested we should enter a race. Deniz couldn’t partake because he was injured at the time, but I could. I won the race first time out, lapping the number two twice.” Deniz: “Not a word of a lie. He really did win it by a huge margin.” Did your father race at some point? Deniz: “No, he never did. Let’s put it this way; he was the fastest superbike rider in the streets … but actual racing – no, he did not.” Do a lot of kids ride in Turkey? Deniz: “They do. Not like in Spain, though. The problem is they don’t train enough to really master racing. We do. We get up at six in the morning every single day to work out. The other kids simply don’t. They get up at around eight or nine, then get breakfast and head to school. Then when they get back from school, they play videogames. If they are into sports, they’ll mostly do that during the weekends. When that’s your approach, you’re never going to make the improvements you need.” What road did you follow before you came to the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup? Can: “We started out doing motocross after which we switched to supermoto. Four years ago, we made the switch to road racing in the Turkish NSF100 Cup and R3 Cup. From there we made it into the Asia Talent Cup and since last year we’ve been racing in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup as well.” What made you switch to road racing over staying in motocross or supermoto? Can: “Two reasons, actually. The first being speed. The higher the speed, the bigger the rush. And safety was a factor, too. If you crash in motocross, you’re always bound to break something. In road racing that isn’t as big of a concern. We wear a lot of protection and going off usually means you literally slide off, usually quite innocently. Highsiders, however; that’s a different story.” So you don’t do motocross anymore because of the risk of getting injured? Deniz: “Yes, it’s just too dangerous. We race almost every two to three weeks, and if you were to break something on a motocross bike, you’re out for a while. That would cost you so many points for the championship and sitting at home doesn’t gain you any more experience. We do on occasion ride supermoto in the winter. Purely to work on drifting the bike and improving our balance on the bike. In the summer we focus on working out in the gym, running, and cycling.” Can & Deniz Öncü (TUR) KTM RC 250 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Does Turkey offer you enough circuits to train at? Can: “Unfortunately it doesn’t and that’s a big problem. Istanbul Park is the only track in Turkey that could host a GP and we aren’t even allowed to race there because it’s constantly rented out to car drivers. Kenan Sofuoglu does have a small track we train at sometimes.” Speaking of Kenan; isn’t he the man that persuaded you to switch to road racing? Can: “That’s right. About four years ago he pushed us into road racing. Mostly because of safety concerns, but it turned out to be a good choice to make the switch.” Deniz: “Kenan still coaches us. We can call him whenever we have a problem, any problem. He is a good friend of ours and he always sends us his best wishes before a race. And – as a five-time world champion – we can learn so much from him. He really is a hero of ours, like he is to many Turks.” There’s also a young Turk in the World Superbike paddock, Toprak Razgatlioğlu. Are there any others we should keep an eye out for? Can: “Not at this time. No-one is training hard enough to make it big in Turkey. Of course I hope more guys can make it to the world championship level, but for the time being that just isn’t the case.” It seems working hard is the key to success for you, right? It must be quite hard to keep that up for young guys like yourselves. Can: “Luckily we have our father to support us. He’s constantly pushing us to be as good as we can be. Even when we don’t want to, hahaha. He makes us work to be at one hundred percent all of the time.” Can you still rival each other on track even though you’re twins? Deniz: “Of course we can. He might be my brother, but I’ll always try to beat him. That goes both ways. And on track we also help each other when we can. If my lap times are lacking, Can gives me pointers, and I will help him whenever he needs it.” Can: “I really want to win, but if that is not within reach and Deniz beats me, I can still be happy in the end. It also motivates me to be better next time out, so I can beat him.” Deniz: “And when he does, I’ll be ready to beat Can the next time. It’s a great motivation for both of us, allowing us to grow and work our way up to a higher level.” You both have completely different physiques; what sort of effect does that have on the bike? Deniz: “Everyone always thinks I’m at an advantage because of my weight and length, but it’s the exact opposite, actually. My brother weighs about sixty kilos, the bike weighs eighty kilos. Because of that, he doesn’t have to add weight to the bike in order to make the rider plus bike minimum weight. I have to stick on twenty kilos of ballast somewhere because I only weigh forty kilos. That is never an advantage, because where are you going to put all that weight? Plus, if you’re a bit heavier, it allows you to work the bike more. Extra weight usually adds a bit of extra muscle too.” Deniz Öncü (TUR) KTM RC 250 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions It’s pretty obvious you guys like motorsports, but what else do you enjoy? Can: “We really like BMX riding. Not too competitively though, because we don’t want to crash. It’s mostly for training and a bit of fun. We don’t enter in races either. We also swim a lot, because it’s both training as well as a way to relax. Personally, I’m not too much into running, but my brother thinks it’s the greatest thing in the world. I think he likes it best because he can really ‘kill’ me at running, but then I’m faster on a bicycle. That’s why I like it.” It seems you really do everything together. Can: “We do. We even share a bedroom. We’re together 24 hours a day.” Will that change in five years when you might both have girlfriends? Deniz: “Don’t know, but for now we’re not thinking about girlfriends. It’s just bikes. That’s what our entire world is about.” You’re both riding the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and the Moto3 Junior World Championship this season. In both classes you’re riding KTM; is there a big difference between the bikes? Can: “The Red Bull KTM Ajo bike is completely different from the Rookies bike. That KTM allows you to change and adjust pretty much everything. That makes the bike way easier to ride than the KTM we run in the Rookies Cup. But then you can also get the adjustments wrong, because there’s just so much you can change. Luckily, we have a very good team behind us that always has plenty of data at hand to sort things out. We learn to set up the bike better each time out, which will be a big advantage when we progress in our careers.” Wouldn’t that be the ultimate dream end goal; the two of you as the riders for the KTM factory racing team in MotoGPTM? Deniz: “That would absolutely be great, but we don’t get to hung up on dreams like that. We set small and achievable goals; that way we can be proud of our achievements much quicker. When you set a goal you probably won’t be able to achieve, it can only go badly. So for now our entire focus is on the next step; and that’s Moto3.” Can: “But yes, it would be a dream to form a single MotoGPTM team as twins. That is something we would both really like.” Deniz & Can Öncü (TUR) Assen (NED) 2018 © Guus van Goethem Photos: Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions | Guus van Goethem
  2. Can and Deniz Öncü: The winning twins

    Can and Deniz Öncü: The winning twins Posted in People, Racing Having the same last name on the screen of their respective KTM RC 250 Rs is the only giveaway of this duo being twins. Brothers Can and Deniz look nothing alike, making it obvious they are not identical twins – they’re fraternal twins. Deniz is short in stature, barely makes the scales tip to forty kilos, and if you didn’t know any better you’d say he’s quite a bit younger than his brother Can. But since they’re twins, they couldn’t be too far apart age wise; they both celebrated their fifteenth birthday at the end of July. Can is easy to pick out of a crowd, or to distinguish from his brother, obviously. Can is quite a bit taller than Deniz and unlike his ‘little brother’ Can has a lot of bushy hair to stuff into his crash helmet. Deniz & Can Öncü (TUR) Assen (NED) 2018 © Guus van Goethem Apart from their physical differences, they share one unmistakable resemblance; they have a feisty right wrist. Can and Deniz are taking the GP paddock by storm, showing impressive talent and even more potential by shaking up the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup – the Grand Prix’ talent class. Both Turks are currently racing their second season in the class, taking their fellow rookies hostage with their unmistakable potential for future greatness. Recently Can underlined his prowess by taking the Rookies championship title prematurely at the Misano GP round. And Deniz isn’t out for the count yet, either, with a chance to finish second in the championship during the final round at Aragon (September 21-23). This season Can looks to be the man to beat of the two, but make no mistake; Deniz took the Asia Talent Cup – an Asian counterpart of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup – title last year, so he’s no slouch. Can Öncü (TUR) Assen (NED) 2018 © Guus van Goethem On the prowl Despite their obvious talent, the Turkish brothers have remained off the radar of most motorcycle racing fans, but you can be sure that’s all about to change. The duo is set to move into the Moto3 World Championship rather sooner than later. FIM even changed its regulations to allow Can to move into Moto3 next year. The 2018 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup champ would otherwise not be eligible to enter the GP championship, as he’ll only be fifteen when next season kicks off in March. The FIM added an exemption to allow the Rookies Cup champion to be allowed a starting license at fifteen years old, as they have also allowed the Moto3 Junior World Championship winner to progress a year ahead of his peers. The twins from Alanya have a long road ahead of them, but they’re both on the prowl to reel in a successful career in motorsports, and so far things are going really well for the duo. MotoGPTM is still quite far away for the youngsters, but in working towards that goal the two Turks will always have the experience of Kenan Sofuoglu to build on. As their mentor, Sofuoglu – a five-time World Supersport 600 champion – is working tirelessly to help the Öncü brothers to achieve success. Not just personal success, either. Sofuoglu is the poster boy of Turkish motorcycle racing culture and, as such, has been going above and beyond to outline Turkey as a racing nation. To figure out where the Öncü twins fit into this masterplan, we sat down with Can and Deniz to get to know them. Always good to pick the brain of young and talented riders like them, who have their minds firmly set on making it into MotoGPTM in a couple of seasons time. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions How did you end up in motorsports? Can: “We used to go to our father’s office every now and then, and we would pass a place along the way that had two minibikes out in front. We would dream of riding those two bikes together. When we were four years old, we got our first bikes. It was unbelievable! Our father had bought them for us. In the beginning we only rode the bikes for fun, finishing the day off with a barbecue. At some point a friend of ours suggested we should enter a race. Deniz couldn’t partake because he was injured at the time, but I could. I won the race first time out, lapping the number two twice.” Deniz: “Not a word of a lie. He really did win it by a huge margin.” Did your father race at some point? Deniz: “No, he never did. Let’s put it this way; he was the fastest superbike rider in the streets … but actual racing – no, he did not.” Do a lot of kids ride in Turkey? Deniz: “They do. Not like in Spain, though. The problem is they don’t train enough to really master racing. We do. We get up at six in the morning every single day to work out. The other kids simply don’t. They get up at around eight or nine, then get breakfast and head to school. Then when they get back from school, they play videogames. If they are into sports, they’ll mostly do that during the weekends. When that’s your approach, you’re never going to make the improvements you need.” What road did you follow before you came to the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup? Can: “We started out doing motocross after which we switched to supermoto. Four years ago, we made the switch to road racing in the Turkish NSF100 Cup and R3 Cup. From there we made it into the Asia Talent Cup and since last year we’ve been racing in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup as well.” What made you switch to road racing over staying in motocross or supermoto? Can: “Two reasons, actually. The first being speed. The higher the speed, the bigger the rush. And safety was a factor, too. If you crash in motocross, you’re always bound to break something. In road racing that isn’t as big of a concern. We wear a lot of protection and going off usually means you literally slide off, usually quite innocently. Highsiders, however; that’s a different story.” So you don’t do motocross anymore because of the risk of getting injured? Deniz: “Yes, it’s just too dangerous. We race almost every two to three weeks, and if you were to break something on a motocross bike, you’re out for a while. That would cost you so many points for the championship and sitting at home doesn’t gain you any more experience. We do on occasion ride supermoto in the winter. Purely to work on drifting the bike and improving our balance on the bike. In the summer we focus on working out in the gym, running, and cycling.” Can & Deniz Öncü (TUR) KTM RC 250 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Does Turkey offer you enough circuits to train at? Can: “Unfortunately it doesn’t and that’s a big problem. Istanbul Park is the only track in Turkey that could host a GP and we aren’t even allowed to race there because it’s constantly rented out to car drivers. Kenan Sofuoglu does have a small track we train at sometimes.” Speaking of Kenan; isn’t he the man that persuaded you to switch to road racing? Can: “That’s right. About four years ago he pushed us into road racing. Mostly because of safety concerns, but it turned out to be a good choice to make the switch.” Deniz: “Kenan still coaches us. We can call him whenever we have a problem, any problem. He is a good friend of ours and he always sends us his best wishes before a race. And – as a five-time world champion – we can learn so much from him. He really is a hero of ours, like he is to many Turks.” There’s also a young Turk in the World Superbike paddock, Toprak Razgatlioğlu. Are there any others we should keep an eye out for? Can: “Not at this time. No-one is training hard enough to make it big in Turkey. Of course I hope more guys can make it to the world championship level, but for the time being that just isn’t the case.” It seems working hard is the key to success for you, right? It must be quite hard to keep that up for young guys like yourselves. Can: “Luckily we have our father to support us. He’s constantly pushing us to be as good as we can be. Even when we don’t want to, hahaha. He makes us work to be at one hundred percent all of the time.” Can you still rival each other on track even though you’re twins? Deniz: “Of course we can. He might be my brother, but I’ll always try to beat him. That goes both ways. And on track we also help each other when we can. If my lap times are lacking, Can gives me pointers, and I will help him whenever he needs it.” Can: “I really want to win, but if that is not within reach and Deniz beats me, I can still be happy in the end. It also motivates me to be better next time out, so I can beat him.” Deniz: “And when he does, I’ll be ready to beat Can the next time. It’s a great motivation for both of us, allowing us to grow and work our way up to a higher level.” You both have completely different physiques; what sort of effect does that have on the bike? Deniz: “Everyone always thinks I’m at an advantage because of my weight and length, but it’s the exact opposite, actually. My brother weighs about sixty kilos, the bike weighs eighty kilos. Because of that, he doesn’t have to add weight to the bike in order to make the rider plus bike minimum weight. I have to stick on twenty kilos of ballast somewhere because I only weigh forty kilos. That is never an advantage, because where are you going to put all that weight? Plus, if you’re a bit heavier, it allows you to work the bike more. Extra weight usually adds a bit of extra muscle too.” Deniz Öncü (TUR) KTM RC 250 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions It’s pretty obvious you guys like motorsports, but what else do you enjoy? Can: “We really like BMX riding. Not too competitively though, because we don’t want to crash. It’s mostly for training and a bit of fun. We don’t enter in races either. We also swim a lot, because it’s both training as well as a way to relax. Personally, I’m not too much into running, but my brother thinks it’s the greatest thing in the world. I think he likes it best because he can really ‘kill’ me at running, but then I’m faster on a bicycle. That’s why I like it.” It seems you really do everything together. Can: “We do. We even share a bedroom. We’re together 24 hours a day.” Will that change in five years when you might both have girlfriends? Deniz: “Don’t know, but for now we’re not thinking about girlfriends. It’s just bikes. That’s what our entire world is about.” You’re both riding the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and the Moto3 Junior World Championship this season. In both classes you’re riding KTM; is there a big difference between the bikes? Can: “The Red Bull KTM Ajo bike is completely different from the Rookies bike. That KTM allows you to change and adjust pretty much everything. That makes the bike way easier to ride than the KTM we run in the Rookies Cup. But then you can also get the adjustments wrong, because there’s just so much you can change. Luckily, we have a very good team behind us that always has plenty of data at hand to sort things out. We learn to set up the bike better each time out, which will be a big advantage when we progress in our careers.” Wouldn’t that be the ultimate dream end goal; the two of you as the riders for the KTM factory racing team in MotoGPTM? Deniz: “That would absolutely be great, but we don’t get to hung up on dreams like that. We set small and achievable goals; that way we can be proud of our achievements much quicker. When you set a goal you probably won’t be able to achieve, it can only go badly. So for now our entire focus is on the next step; and that’s Moto3.” Can: “But yes, it would be a dream to form a single MotoGPTM team as twins. That is something we would both really like.” Deniz & Can Öncü (TUR) Assen (NED) 2018 © Guus van Goethem Photos: Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions | Guus van Goethem
  3. Interview of the Month: The words of a master – Herlings talks mammoth 2018 One week after his 24th birthday Jeffrey Herlings blew out the candle on an utterly dominant MXGP season so we collected a few exclusive words with the world’s fastest dirtbike racer. 2018 is just four numbers among a thick ledger of other digits for Red Bull KTM’s newest World Champion (and just his second season in the premier class of the FIM Motocross World Championship) Jeffrey Herlings. His first title with the KTM 450 SX-F was secured in Assen last weekend and crowned a season of emphatic achievement; only the training accident that led to collarbone surgery and his absence from round eleven in Italy in June remains the sole blot on a peachy copybook. Talking about the commitment to defeat the world’s best – including nine times No.1 and teammate Tony Cairoli (runner-up in 2018) – and the effort into construction of a record-breaking campaign Herlings gave us the low-down. Jeffrey Herlings (NED) Assen (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer Argentina and the last lap victory by passing Tony: it seemed to set the tone for the season. Did you feel like it was a big statement at the time? “I came into Argentina with high expectations but I also did not know what to expect. On Saturday I was really nervous. I think I was fastest in Timed Practice but then in the Qualification Heat Tony passed me on the third-fourth lap and I wanted to fight back but went down. I was seventh or eighth and I wasn’t riding well. I had two bad starts on Sunday and things were not really going my way but in that second moto I started picking off riders like Desalle and Van Horebeek and then with seven-eight minutes to go it was only Tony in front of me but with a serious gap. To close that gap to the reigning world champion at the first round was something special. To then take the lead on the last lap was a way of making a statement. I was saying: “I’m here for the big picture”.” Was that the perfect start? How much did it help your confidence? “It gave me a boost. Every year you come out of the winter period and you never really know what will happen. Some riders do the Italian championship and some riders look to other races but [the first Grand Prix] is the first time where everything really comes together, and with all the top guys. I think everybody wants to make some sort of statement at the first round. I came home from Argentina and thought ‘Ok, good …’ but also thought ‘nineteen rounds to go, must stay fit, must stay healthy’. Obviously, my confidence grew during the season with more and more wins. It was pretty amazing what we have achieved this year and to win so many motos and overall GPs, despite missing a round, I don’t think many people have done that.” You’ve only dropped something like 17 points all season, which is incredible … “Yes, I had a couple of second places and a third but to race 36 motos and win 31 of them is pretty cool.” Jeffrey Herlings (NED) & Tony Cairoli (ITA) KTM 450 SX-F Neuquen (ARG) 2018 © Ray Archer What was the secret to beating a nine times world champion and a force of consistency like Tony Cairoli? “At the beginning of 2017 I did not take the MXGP class that seriously or behave in the way I should because I was not ‘all-in’ and was still going out with friends and doing things that I should normally be doing at my age! I realized quickly that to win in MXGP you have to go for it 110% and be totally committed to the sport from the moment you wake up until the minute you go to bed for ten months of the year. That’s’ what I did this time. The key to winning was making sure that ‘nothing was left on the table’. I watched out for anything and everything: my food, the training, the travelling, resting, testing. Everything had to click together as well as the people around me. It was necessary to beat a great champion like Tony. We raced 18 times together and I beat him 17 times: I think it is not pure luck any more.” You said you lived like a “monk” to make the results happen – great quote – but that must carry quite a cost … “If that’s what it takes to win then I have to do it. It was something I milled since the beginning of last winter. Maybe if I was somewhere in between the commitment of 2018 and 2017 then I could still win but I wanted to make sure I gave the maximum and make sure it was enough to win. I’d rather do that for a short number of years and try to collect titles and win races and GPs instead of going easy for fifteen years and maybe not winning much at all. I prefer to go all-out and shorter.” It has been a season of dreams, real domination. How can you beat it or muster motivation to go again or try to repeat it? “As a kid I always wanted to win a premier class world championship. MX2 is a world title … but it is nothing compared to this and what I had to do for it. I felt that in MX2 – especially the last years – people would think “Herlings is here, which means he is either going to win or probably go to the hospital’. This time it was against the hard guys, the heavy-hitters, like Tony, [Tim] Gajser, [Romain] Febvre and those that have been taking titles. I really wanted to beat Tony at his best and I don’t think he was at his best this year but he was close. I’ve seen races from him a few years back and also close-up now and personally I don’t think he has been riding as well as he is now and to beat him straight-up? Pretty cool. I have been studying and watching him for a number of years and I’ve always thought ‘I want to beat that guy …’ and to do it for the championship is something really nice.” Jeffrey Herlings (NED) KTM 450 SX-F Sevlievo (BUL) 2018 © Ray Archer One negative is that you’ve made it look easy, almost like an MX2 campaign. You’ve said repeatedly that the level is so high but it must be tricky to make people believe that … “Yeah, it is difficult. People might see it like MX2, but if I look back now then MX2 was a bit like for ‘children’ whereas this [MXGP] is like for the big boys. Winning an MX2 championship is still not easy – believe me – there were still some amazing riders there. The level of MX2 might not be the same as it was in the past now, but everybody looks at it in a different way and from their own perspective. I think the MXGP class is one of the ‘heaviest’ it has ever been; there are multiple world champions in the class and a lot of GP winners. Even now there are some top riders who are struggling to find a ride for 2019. It is a very tough class so that’s why you have to go all-out and put all of your heart into it. Some people might see that and some might not but I’m sure that most in the sport and the industry will.” What about the emotion of a day like Assen? “When I woke up in the morning I felt ‘today’s the day’ and I had all the flashbacks of getting up and doing the routine: getting on the road bike, going into the gym … all the ten months of hard work and dedication went down to this day when it was most likely going to happen. My mum and I had tears in our eyes this morning. It was definitely emotional and going into the last lap I knew I was world championship because I’d lapped up to 7th-8th and everything went through my head of what we’d done this year and in the past. I was a big fan of Tony back in 2004 and then he won in Lierop I thought ‘one day I want to be like those guys’ and here we are fourteen years later fighting the biggest racers in the world and I have won the biggest championship I could possibly win.” Jeffrey Herlings (NED) KTM 450 SX-F Assen (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer You’ve credited the team and said the KTM 450 SX-F has been almost perfect. Is there much to improve with the bike because you have an unbeatable package at the moment? “Well, we have some new things [to come] and the competition is always working to get closer. I think they are really pushing to take the crown away from KTM. This year the team will again have MXGP and MX2 championship and the group also took the Supercross title as well as the 250 West. I think the other manufacturers are looking and trying to stand up to beat us. We have to improve. If we stop development then we won’t be number one any more. We have things to test: something on the engine and also with the chassis to keeping working and to try to be better. Up until now the package has been really good … but if you look at the bikes ten years ago then they were great but compared to now they are pretty crappy! Our 2018 bike is awesome now but again in ten years it will be something that’s not good enough. Development never stops.” How will you treat yourself in the coming weeks and do you have any other ambitions? “The plan after the Motocross of Nations is to not ride for about six weeks: I asked for some time off! Obviously, there are still some [promo] things I need to do but that’s my job and I love to do them as part of the marketing but I asked not to ride the bike for a few weeks and finally be able to hang out with some friends and have a holiday. Even small things like when friends go out for fast food and I have to have a salad: scrap that! I want to enjoy a little bit of being a normal 24-year-old kid. We have to make a lot of sacrifices [as a rider] and that’s what I do to try and win. KTM are really supportive of that; they see how hard I have worked and understand wanting a few weeks away from it. I think it is also necessary: I have to recharge the battery if I want to win next year and do it all over again. I don’t really have any burning challenge away from the bike. I just want that normality that I have to avoid during the year! Halfway through November we’ll start the preparation for next year.” Jeffrey Herlings (NED) & Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer Photos: Ray Archer
  4. Interview of the Month: The words of a master – Herlings talks mammoth 2018 One week after his 24th birthday Jeffrey Herlings blew out the candle on an utterly dominant MXGP season so we collected a few exclusive words with the world’s fastest dirtbike racer. 2018 is just four numbers among a thick ledger of other digits for Red Bull KTM’s newest World Champion (and just his second season in the premier class of the FIM Motocross World Championship) Jeffrey Herlings. His first title with the KTM 450 SX-F was secured in Assen last weekend and crowned a season of emphatic achievement; only the training accident that led to collarbone surgery and his absence from round eleven in Italy in June remains the sole blot on a peachy copybook. Talking about the commitment to defeat the world’s best – including nine times No.1 and teammate Tony Cairoli (runner-up in 2018) – and the effort into construction of a record-breaking campaign Herlings gave us the low-down. Jeffrey Herlings (NED) Assen (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer Argentina and the last lap victory by passing Tony: it seemed to set the tone for the season. Did you feel like it was a big statement at the time? “I came into Argentina with high expectations but I also did not know what to expect. On Saturday I was really nervous. I think I was fastest in Timed Practice but then in the Qualification Heat Tony passed me on the third-fourth lap and I wanted to fight back but went down. I was seventh or eighth and I wasn’t riding well. I had two bad starts on Sunday and things were not really going my way but in that second moto I started picking off riders like Desalle and Van Horebeek and then with seven-eight minutes to go it was only Tony in front of me but with a serious gap. To close that gap to the reigning world champion at the first round was something special. To then take the lead on the last lap was a way of making a statement. I was saying: “I’m here for the big picture”.” Was that the perfect start? How much did it help your confidence? “It gave me a boost. Every year you come out of the winter period and you never really know what will happen. Some riders do the Italian championship and some riders look to other races but [the first Grand Prix] is the first time where everything really comes together, and with all the top guys. I think everybody wants to make some sort of statement at the first round. I came home from Argentina and thought ‘Ok, good …’ but also thought ‘nineteen rounds to go, must stay fit, must stay healthy’. Obviously, my confidence grew during the season with more and more wins. It was pretty amazing what we have achieved this year and to win so many motos and overall GPs, despite missing a round, I don’t think many people have done that.” You’ve only dropped something like 17 points all season, which is incredible … “Yes, I had a couple of second places and a third but to race 36 motos and win 31 of them is pretty cool.” Jeffrey Herlings (NED) & Tony Cairoli (ITA) KTM 450 SX-F Neuquen (ARG) 2018 © Ray Archer What was the secret to beating a nine times world champion and a force of consistency like Tony Cairoli? “At the beginning of 2017 I did not take the MXGP class that seriously or behave in the way I should because I was not ‘all-in’ and was still going out with friends and doing things that I should normally be doing at my age! I realized quickly that to win in MXGP you have to go for it 110% and be totally committed to the sport from the moment you wake up until the minute you go to bed for ten months of the year. That’s’ what I did this time. The key to winning was making sure that ‘nothing was left on the table’. I watched out for anything and everything: my food, the training, the travelling, resting, testing. Everything had to click together as well as the people around me. It was necessary to beat a great champion like Tony. We raced 18 times together and I beat him 17 times: I think it is not pure luck any more.” You said you lived like a “monk” to make the results happen – great quote – but that must carry quite a cost … “If that’s what it takes to win then I have to do it. It was something I milled since the beginning of last winter. Maybe if I was somewhere in between the commitment of 2018 and 2017 then I could still win but I wanted to make sure I gave the maximum and make sure it was enough to win. I’d rather do that for a short number of years and try to collect titles and win races and GPs instead of going easy for fifteen years and maybe not winning much at all. I prefer to go all-out and shorter.” It has been a season of dreams, real domination. How can you beat it or muster motivation to go again or try to repeat it? “As a kid I always wanted to win a premier class world championship. MX2 is a world title … but it is nothing compared to this and what I had to do for it. I felt that in MX2 – especially the last years – people would think “Herlings is here, which means he is either going to win or probably go to the hospital’. This time it was against the hard guys, the heavy-hitters, like Tony, [Tim] Gajser, [Romain] Febvre and those that have been taking titles. I really wanted to beat Tony at his best and I don’t think he was at his best this year but he was close. I’ve seen races from him a few years back and also close-up now and personally I don’t think he has been riding as well as he is now and to beat him straight-up? Pretty cool. I have been studying and watching him for a number of years and I’ve always thought ‘I want to beat that guy …’ and to do it for the championship is something really nice.” Jeffrey Herlings (NED) KTM 450 SX-F Sevlievo (BUL) 2018 © Ray Archer One negative is that you’ve made it look easy, almost like an MX2 campaign. You’ve said repeatedly that the level is so high but it must be tricky to make people believe that … “Yeah, it is difficult. People might see it like MX2, but if I look back now then MX2 was a bit like for ‘children’ whereas this [MXGP] is like for the big boys. Winning an MX2 championship is still not easy – believe me – there were still some amazing riders there. The level of MX2 might not be the same as it was in the past now, but everybody looks at it in a different way and from their own perspective. I think the MXGP class is one of the ‘heaviest’ it has ever been; there are multiple world champions in the class and a lot of GP winners. Even now there are some top riders who are struggling to find a ride for 2019. It is a very tough class so that’s why you have to go all-out and put all of your heart into it. Some people might see that and some might not but I’m sure that most in the sport and the industry will.” What about the emotion of a day like Assen? “When I woke up in the morning I felt ‘today’s the day’ and I had all the flashbacks of getting up and doing the routine: getting on the road bike, going into the gym … all the ten months of hard work and dedication went down to this day when it was most likely going to happen. My mum and I had tears in our eyes this morning. It was definitely emotional and going into the last lap I knew I was world championship because I’d lapped up to 7th-8th and everything went through my head of what we’d done this year and in the past. I was a big fan of Tony back in 2004 and then he won in Lierop I thought ‘one day I want to be like those guys’ and here we are fourteen years later fighting the biggest racers in the world and I have won the biggest championship I could possibly win.” Jeffrey Herlings (NED) KTM 450 SX-F Assen (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer You’ve credited the team and said the KTM 450 SX-F has been almost perfect. Is there much to improve with the bike because you have an unbeatable package at the moment? “Well, we have some new things [to come] and the competition is always working to get closer. I think they are really pushing to take the crown away from KTM. This year the team will again have MXGP and MX2 championship and the group also took the Supercross title as well as the 250 West. I think the other manufacturers are looking and trying to stand up to beat us. We have to improve. If we stop development then we won’t be number one any more. We have things to test: something on the engine and also with the chassis to keeping working and to try to be better. Up until now the package has been really good … but if you look at the bikes ten years ago then they were great but compared to now they are pretty crappy! Our 2018 bike is awesome now but again in ten years it will be something that’s not good enough. Development never stops.” How will you treat yourself in the coming weeks and do you have any other ambitions? “The plan after the Motocross of Nations is to not ride for about six weeks: I asked for some time off! Obviously, there are still some [promo] things I need to do but that’s my job and I love to do them as part of the marketing but I asked not to ride the bike for a few weeks and finally be able to hang out with some friends and have a holiday. Even small things like when friends go out for fast food and I have to have a salad: scrap that! I want to enjoy a little bit of being a normal 24-year-old kid. We have to make a lot of sacrifices [as a rider] and that’s what I do to try and win. KTM are really supportive of that; they see how hard I have worked and understand wanting a few weeks away from it. I think it is also necessary: I have to recharge the battery if I want to win next year and do it all over again. I don’t really have any burning challenge away from the bike. I just want that normality that I have to avoid during the year! Halfway through November we’ll start the preparation for next year.” Jeffrey Herlings (NED) & Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer Photos: Ray Archer
  5. Caden Braswell: A bright spark for the future Posted in People, Racing Caden Braswell is the 2018 FIM 85cc Junior Motocross World Champion. A 14-year-old with a bright future, Braswell hails from Shalimar in Florida, USA and is an emerging talent that has progressed through the ranks since he began racing at the age of six. Following in the footsteps of his father, who also raced, Braswell started riding at five years old and began racing a year later. He went on to the compete in the Mini Os, and then at the famed Loretta Lynn´s – the proving ground for many young American motocross racers, and Braswell qualified at his first attempt. Caden Braswell (USA) KTM 85 SX © Marc Jones Photography Fast forward to 2018 and Braswell was selected to compete for Team USA at the FIM Junior Motocross World Championship, which was held in Horsham, Australia. Braswell scored third and first aboard his KTM 85 SX and with it the youngster took the overall honors to be crowned the FIM 85cc Junior Motocross World Champion. Belgian racer Liam Everts won the opening moto in convincing style aboard his KTM 85 SX, while unfortunately crashing out of moto two, and the overall podium was made up of KTM racers with Dutch rider Kay de Wolf in second position and fellow countryman Kay Karssemakers in third. KTM riders Marek Vitezslav and Logan Best won a moto each in the FIM 65cc Junior Motocross World Cup, making it a weekend where KTM racers shone around the hardpack Horsham track. “It was awesome,” said Braswell when talking about the experience of racing in Australia. “I had a blast and I really got to know the other teammates and their families. It was unlike anything I’ve ever done. Such a cool experience. The team spirit was high and it felt great to represent Team USA,” continued the junior. “In the first moto I grabbed the holeshot and I was out front, but then my knee brace locked up so I fell back until I was able to fix the issue. I charged back up to third, which was okay.” “For the second moto I got a horrible start. Mike (who went with Braswell to the event) said I was about 25th or so around the first turn. I’m not sure, but I felt like I was last (laughs).” “I knew I had to go, so I put my head down and just started pushing. When I saw the chequered flag, I wasn’t sure if I had won. I pulled off the track and everyone came running over yelling that I won! It was incredible. Nothing could beat that feeling.” Caden Braswell (USA) © Marc Jones Photography Braswell was in Australia without his parents, but was supported by Mike Burkeen who was there at the event with the young gun. The Junior World Championships are held over one weekend in a similar format to a MXGP World Championship round, and the outcome is determined by two motos. It’s an intense, but useful experience for young riders to compete against the very best in the world in their category, and while also performing as a part of a team representing their country. Team USA finished in fourth position. Talking about his bike, Braswell said: “READY TO RACE is what I think of my KTM. KTM provided me with a bike in Australia that we ran stock. I put my suspension on the bike and raced it. It was super-fast – I pulled a start and won a world title right out of the box. So yea, READY TO RACE is a great way to describe my KTM.” Caden Braswell (#6, USA) & Team USA KTM 85 SX © Marc Jones Photography Braswell has big dreams for the future, hoping to replicate his home hero Ryan Dungey, who he says was always fast, smooth, consistent and smart. In Braswell’s words he’d love to “make his mark on the sport and break records”. A lover of hills, breaking bumps and ruts, like those found at his favorite track – Millcreek in the USA – Braswell has certainly made the first major step on his ladder of success. “I’d like to thank my parents for always supporting me. Sean Michael Gerrits, as he really helped us this year. Mike Burkeen for taking me to Australia since my parents couldn’t be there. Ricky and Mike from the AMA for giving me the opportunity. KTM for providing me a great bike to race while in Australia. OB for the awesome graphics. TLD for keeping me looking good. Alpinestars for killer boots and Oakley for great goggles. FMF for helping make my KTM even faster. Dunlop tires for keeping my bike hooked up with great tires. Factory Connection Suspension for making sure my bike handled flawlessly. Mika Metals for sprockets and bars and great support Nihilo Concepts, Lynks Racing and Team USA. I’d also like to thank the other riders and their parents for the support while we were there. It really was a team effort. One for all and all for one Team USA,” concluded Braswell. Caden Braswell (USA) KTM 85 SX © Marc Jones Photography Photos: Marc Jones Photography
  6. Caden Braswell: A bright spark for the future

    Caden Braswell: A bright spark for the future Posted in People, Racing Caden Braswell is the 2018 FIM 85cc Junior Motocross World Champion. A 14-year-old with a bright future, Braswell hails from Shalimar in Florida, USA and is an emerging talent that has progressed through the ranks since he began racing at the age of six. Following in the footsteps of his father, who also raced, Braswell started riding at five years old and began racing a year later. He went on to the compete in the Mini Os, and then at the famed Loretta Lynn´s – the proving ground for many young American motocross racers, and Braswell qualified at his first attempt. Caden Braswell (USA) KTM 85 SX © Marc Jones Photography Fast forward to 2018 and Braswell was selected to compete for Team USA at the FIM Junior Motocross World Championship, which was held in Horsham, Australia. Braswell scored third and first aboard his KTM 85 SX and with it the youngster took the overall honors to be crowned the FIM 85cc Junior Motocross World Champion. Belgian racer Liam Everts won the opening moto in convincing style aboard his KTM 85 SX, while unfortunately crashing out of moto two, and the overall podium was made up of KTM racers with Dutch rider Kay de Wolf in second position and fellow countryman Kay Karssemakers in third. KTM riders Marek Vitezslav and Logan Best won a moto each in the FIM 65cc Junior Motocross World Cup, making it a weekend where KTM racers shone around the hardpack Horsham track. “It was awesome,” said Braswell when talking about the experience of racing in Australia. “I had a blast and I really got to know the other teammates and their families. It was unlike anything I’ve ever done. Such a cool experience. The team spirit was high and it felt great to represent Team USA,” continued the junior. “In the first moto I grabbed the holeshot and I was out front, but then my knee brace locked up so I fell back until I was able to fix the issue. I charged back up to third, which was okay.” “For the second moto I got a horrible start. Mike (who went with Braswell to the event) said I was about 25th or so around the first turn. I’m not sure, but I felt like I was last (laughs).” “I knew I had to go, so I put my head down and just started pushing. When I saw the chequered flag, I wasn’t sure if I had won. I pulled off the track and everyone came running over yelling that I won! It was incredible. Nothing could beat that feeling.” Caden Braswell (USA) © Marc Jones Photography Braswell was in Australia without his parents, but was supported by Mike Burkeen who was there at the event with the young gun. The Junior World Championships are held over one weekend in a similar format to a MXGP World Championship round, and the outcome is determined by two motos. It’s an intense, but useful experience for young riders to compete against the very best in the world in their category, and while also performing as a part of a team representing their country. Team USA finished in fourth position. Talking about his bike, Braswell said: “READY TO RACE is what I think of my KTM. KTM provided me with a bike in Australia that we ran stock. I put my suspension on the bike and raced it. It was super-fast – I pulled a start and won a world title right out of the box. So yea, READY TO RACE is a great way to describe my KTM.” Caden Braswell (#6, USA) & Team USA KTM 85 SX © Marc Jones Photography Braswell has big dreams for the future, hoping to replicate his home hero Ryan Dungey, who he says was always fast, smooth, consistent and smart. In Braswell’s words he’d love to “make his mark on the sport and break records”. A lover of hills, breaking bumps and ruts, like those found at his favorite track – Millcreek in the USA – Braswell has certainly made the first major step on his ladder of success. “I’d like to thank my parents for always supporting me. Sean Michael Gerrits, as he really helped us this year. Mike Burkeen for taking me to Australia since my parents couldn’t be there. Ricky and Mike from the AMA for giving me the opportunity. KTM for providing me a great bike to race while in Australia. OB for the awesome graphics. TLD for keeping me looking good. Alpinestars for killer boots and Oakley for great goggles. FMF for helping make my KTM even faster. Dunlop tires for keeping my bike hooked up with great tires. Factory Connection Suspension for making sure my bike handled flawlessly. Mika Metals for sprockets and bars and great support Nihilo Concepts, Lynks Racing and Team USA. I’d also like to thank the other riders and their parents for the support while we were there. It really was a team effort. One for all and all for one Team USA,” concluded Braswell. Caden Braswell (USA) KTM 85 SX © Marc Jones Photography Photos: Marc Jones Photography
  7. Jeffrey Herlings: The numbers of a motocross master Posted in People, Racing The MXGP World Champion-in-waiting and birthday boy has been a statistical force of nature in 2018. On the edge of a momentous weekend ahead for Jeffrey Herlings we delve into the digits … Jeffrey Herlings (NED) KTM 450 SX-F Kegums (LAT) 2018 © Ray Archer Today (Wednesday) Red Bull KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings celebrates his 24th birthday, and is only a matter of hours away from his home Grand Prix this weekend and a double celebration with fulfilment of his lifetime dream of winning an FIM Motocross World Championship in the premier class of MXGP. 2018 has been nothing short of sensational for the Dutchman who has not stopped racking up statistics. There is always a bigger story behind the numbers (we’ll get to that) but Jeffrey’s track record is perhaps the most comprehensive in any FIM motorcycle racing series this year. How? Just see … Jeffrey Herlings (#84, NED) KTM 450 SX-F St. Jean d´ Angely (FRA) 2018 © Ray Archer Since the end of February 2018 MXGP has reached 18 rounds and 36 motos to-date. In that time and through heat, humidity, freezing cold, rain, hard-pack, sand, mud and all types of conditions #84 has: Won 15 rounds – equaling a record total of victories for one season Walked the podium 17 times (he missed the Grand Prix of Ottobiano with injury) Has finished no lower than 2nd (twice) Has finished no lower than 3rd in a moto, just once (first race of the Grand Prix of Russia) Has claimed 29 chequered flags from a possible 34, 23 more than the next rider Has led 397 of the total of 643 laps this year, 200 laps more than the next closest rider Only two other MXGP riders have won a moto or Grand Prix in 2018 He is currently in his longest winning streak in just his second season in the MXGP class with 7 consecutive successes. They have come in Indonesia (x2), Czech Republic, Belgium, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Turkey. He has also won in Argentina, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Latvia, Germany, Britain and France this year Herlings has led the championship at all but one Grand Prix in 2018 If he confirms the title by finishing 15th or higher (and if Tony Cairoli wins) in the first moto of the upcoming Dutch Grand Prix then he will have four career titles: the same amount as Harry Everts, Torsten Hallman and Heikki Mikkola He will be only the third rider to have both MX2 and MXGP FIM World Championship medals If Herlings wins the final two rounds of the season he’ll take his career win tally to 84 (he is already the third most successful motocrosser ever. Stefan Everts holds the record at 101 wins) Round 19 of 20 will take place in the sand of Assen for the fourth Grand Prix of the Netherlands to be staged by the famous Dutch Circuit. Herlings won the event in 2017. Jeffrey Herlings (NED) KTM 450 SX-F Pangkal Pinang (INA) 2018 © Ray Archer 15 wins, 17 podiums, 29 motos, 95-point lead: It almost makes the job look easy but Herlings is always quick to stress the amount of work, compromise and sacrifice that has gone into the scorecard. He also regularly credits the Red Bull KTM Team and perhaps their most crucial work was in refining the works KTM 450 SX-F so that by round five in Portugal Herlings was in frequent contention for Grand Prix holeshots. Aside from the scrutiny of battling and facing-off against teammate, reigning champ and nine times title winner Tony Cairoli, Herlings also had other hard moments. Prior to round eleven he sustained a multiple fracture to his right collarbone while training and missed the Grand Prix of Ottobiano. Less than three weeks after surgery he returned at the Grand Prix of Asia and hasn’t been toppled from the top of the podium since. Ottobiano and the dramatic loss of 50 points from the lead he’d been steadily building in the series was a stark reminder of the horrendous narrow margins between glory and disaster in MXGP and helped Herlings refocus. The rest has been written in the annals of the sport. Jeffrey Herlings (NED) & Wayne Banks (AUS) KTM 450 SX-F St. Jean d´Angely (FRA) 2018 © Ray Archer Photos: Ray Archer
  8. Jeffrey Herlings: The numbers of a motocross master

    Jeffrey Herlings: The numbers of a motocross master Posted in People, Racing The MXGP World Champion-in-waiting and birthday boy has been a statistical force of nature in 2018. On the edge of a momentous weekend ahead for Jeffrey Herlings we delve into the digits … Jeffrey Herlings (NED) KTM 450 SX-F Kegums (LAT) 2018 © Ray Archer Today (Wednesday) Red Bull KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings celebrates his 24th birthday, and is only a matter of hours away from his home Grand Prix this weekend and a double celebration with fulfilment of his lifetime dream of winning an FIM Motocross World Championship in the premier class of MXGP. 2018 has been nothing short of sensational for the Dutchman who has not stopped racking up statistics. There is always a bigger story behind the numbers (we’ll get to that) but Jeffrey’s track record is perhaps the most comprehensive in any FIM motorcycle racing series this year. How? Just see … Jeffrey Herlings (#84, NED) KTM 450 SX-F St. Jean d´ Angely (FRA) 2018 © Ray Archer Since the end of February 2018 MXGP has reached 18 rounds and 36 motos to-date. In that time and through heat, humidity, freezing cold, rain, hard-pack, sand, mud and all types of conditions #84 has: Won 15 rounds – equaling a record total of victories for one season Walked the podium 17 times (he missed the Grand Prix of Ottobiano with injury) Finished no lower than 2nd (twice) Finished no lower than 3rd in a moto, just once (first race of the Grand Prix of Russia) Claimed 29 chequered flags from a possible 34, 23 more than the next rider Led 397 of the total of 643 laps this year, 200 laps more than the next closest rider Only two other MXGP riders have won a moto or Grand Prix in 2018 He is currently in his longest winning streak in just his second season in the MXGP class with 7 consecutive successes. They have come in Indonesia (x2), Czech Republic, Belgium, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Turkey. He has also won in Argentina, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Latvia, Germany, Britain and France this year Herlings has led the championship at all but one Grand Prix in 2018 If he confirms the title by finishing 15th or higher (and if Tony Cairoli wins) in the first moto of the upcoming Dutch Grand Prix then he will have four career titles: the same amount as Harry Everts, Torsten Hallman and Heikki Mikkola He will be only the third rider to have both MX2 and MXGP FIM World Championship medals If Herlings wins the final two rounds of the season he’ll take his career win tally to 84 (he is already the third most successful motocrosser ever. Stefan Everts holds the record at 101 wins) Round 19 of 20 will take place in the sand of Assen for the fourth Grand Prix of the Netherlands and is to be staged by the famous Dutch Circuit. Herlings won the event in 2017. Jeffrey Herlings (NED) KTM 450 SX-F Pangkal Pinang (INA) 2018 © Ray Archer 15 wins, 17 podiums, 29 motos, 95-point lead: It almost makes the job look easy but Herlings is always quick to stress the amount of work, compromise and sacrifice that has gone into the scorecard. He also regularly credits the Red Bull KTM Team and perhaps their most crucial work was in refining the works KTM 450 SX-F so that by round five in Portugal Herlings was in frequent contention for Grand Prix holeshots. Aside from the scrutiny of battling and facing-off against teammate, reigning champ and nine times title winner Tony Cairoli, Herlings also had other hard moments. Prior to round eleven he sustained a multiple fracture to his right collarbone while training and missed the Grand Prix of Ottobiano. Less than three weeks after surgery he returned at the Grand Prix of Asia and hasn’t been toppled from the top of the podium since. Ottobiano and the dramatic loss of 50 points from the lead he’d been steadily building in the series was a stark reminder of the horrendous narrow margins between glory and disaster in MXGP and helped Herlings refocus. The rest has been written in the annals of the sport. Jeffrey Herlings (NED) & Wayne Banks (AUS) KTM 450 SX-F St. Jean d´Angely (FRA) 2018 © Ray Archer Photos: Ray Archer
  9. KTM ADVENTURE RALLY: Relive the adventure KTM ADVENTURE RALLYs allow riders from all over the world to discover the true meaning of adventure. 6 rally, 6 countries: Australia, Italy, South Africa, USA, Canada and New Zealand. Each rally awaits the riders with diverse tests of character and skills. You have doubts whether this is the right adventure for you? We offer some insight. © C. Wood Three of the six rallys are already completed and leave the participants with unforgettable experiences, memories and new friends. Carrying on from the highly successful KTM ADVENTURE RALLYs in other countries, the European KTM ADVENTURE RALLY was held for the second time in 2018. At the end of June 150 hardcore KTM ADVENTURE riders descended on the island of Sardinia to enjoy the best adventure riding the northern Sardinian regions had to offer. Here is what the participants of this year´s European KTM ADVENTURE RALLY experienced during three days of riding on and offroad. [embedded content] Three KTM ADVENTURE RALLYs are still to come in 2018 before we launch the next adventure: the Ultimate Race. Photo: C. Wood Video: Luca Piffaretti/Filmer Force Productions
  10. KTM ADVENTURE RALLY: Relive the adventure

    KTM ADVENTURE RALLY: Relive the adventure KTM ADVENTURE RALLYs allow riders from all over the world to discover the true meaning of adventure. 6 rally, 6 countries: Australia, Italy, South Africa, USA, Canada and New Zealand. Each rally awaits the riders with diverse tests of character and skills. You have doubts whether this is the right adventure for you? We offer some insight. © C. Wood Three of the six rallys are already completed and leave the participants with unforgettable experiences, memories and new friends. Carrying on from the highly successful KTM ADVENTURE RALLYs in other countries, the European KTM ADVENTURE RALLY was held for the second time in 2018. At the end of June 150 hardcore KTM ADVENTURE riders descended on the island of Sardinia to enjoy the best adventure riding the northern Sardinian regions had to offer. Here is what the participants of this year´s European KTM ADVENTURE RALLY experienced during three days of riding on and offroad. [embedded content] Three KTM ADVENTURE RALLYs are still to come in 2018 before we launch the next adventure: the Ultimate Race. Photo: C. Wood Video: Luca Piffaretti/Filmer Force Productions
  11. Team Junior Luciano Benavides: Why I wanted to race Dakar KTM Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides is 23 years old. Joining the rally squad, the Argentinian had no previous experience in the notoriously difficult rally races, but he had the speed, the will and the right kind of personality for the job. Heading towards his second Dakar, which will take place next January, the KTM-ace is optimistic on what he can achieve. Luciano Benavides (ARG) KTM 450 RALLY 2018 © Rally Zone Having started racing at just five years old, Benavides competed up to top level in enduro nationally and raced the ISDE in 2015 and 2016 – winning a medal in Spain 2016, whilst showing his potential. The Argentinian went on to race the ‘Full Gas Enduro’ series in the USA, and finished as the top rookie rider of the year, as well as second overall in his class. A solid foundation to what was to happen next, some might say. “In 2017 I started to try and move to the rallies, and the opportunity came with the KTM factory. Alex (Doringer) called me and said he had a chance to give me a factory ride. I said yes of course, it’s a big opportunity. I am still so happy, it’s such a unique opportunity and I’m the junior in the team. Last year I started in August with the rally in Argentina, I didn’t know how to navigate or nothing, and I crashed on the first day. I broke my collarbone,” said Benavides. “After that I went to Morocco in October, my second race, and I finished I think in around 16 or 17 overall and second as a junior, which gave me the qualifying for the Dakar. It was good. I trained a lot for the Dakar and that was my third race. In stage 10, which was my home stage as I live in Salta, I was riding in 15th overall in the standings and on that stage I was going really well, I was around fifth or sixth on the day. Then, I had a big crash and broke five vertebrae in my back. It was really painful in the middle of my back and I was really frustrated. It was a steep learning curve.” Luciano Benavides (ARG) KTM 450 RALLY 2018 © Future7Media Now recovered and having spent time over in Europe with the KTM Factory Racing Team testing, Benavides is ready to race Chile, Argentina and Morocco prior to heading to his second Dakar in January. Benavides’s brother Kevin began racing rally in 2015 having seen the huge interest in the South American region thanks to Dakar. Luciano willingly supported his brother at his first Dakar in 2016 and he decided then, having followed the race, that he wanted to be a rally racer. “I followed the Dakar in 2016 with my brother, and I said I wanted to race it. I was looking at the KTM team from the other side, taking pictures of Toby, Sam – they were all my idols, and now I’m riding with them and they are my teammates. You can say it’s a nice opportunity, and I really like the rallies. It’s fun, it’s about taking a decision, trusting yourself, I like the fast piste, it’s cool. I’m riding with the best riders in the world in the best team. This was always my dream, to be a factory rider and do what I love. I’m living the dream.” “My dad rides in enduro as an amateur – in Salta the enduro was not really famous,” explained Benavides, when asked how he got into riding. “Then my brother started, and when I was younger I was always trying to be like him, trying to copy him, and we are so competitive. I want to beat him in everything and he is the same. It is really cool, because it pushed me to grow up as a rider and as a person I think. It’s a family passion. My sister also rides for a hobby, she has a KTM 250 SX-F.” Luciano Benavides (ARG), Matthias Walkner (AUT) & Toby Price (AUS) 2018 © Rally Zone There’s a huge difference between Luciano’s home place and Europe, and the economy in Argentina makes it quite difficult for aspiring riders. The base cost of a motorcycle is high, and it’s extra challenging for amateur riders to progress in the sport. While the youngster explains there are some nice places to ride in Salta, it’s more enduro than motocross due to the mountains close to the city. Luciano is based still in Argentina, and will continue to train there, whilst travelling to Europe for group tests, which are predominantly done with the team in Spain close to Jordi Viladoms’ home. The weather is good in Salta, and it’s possible to do a lot of roadbook training nearby, or even in Chile. Luciano explains it wasn’t easy stepping into the team, and he felt a level of expectation, but after a hard learning curve the KTM rider is ready to mature as a rider and learn his craft. “Now I feel I have more confidence with the guys in the team. In the beginning for the first time it was really strange for me. They were like my idols and now we ride together. They are super good guys, they teach me a lot and now I’m trying to learn from them. We have the last three winners of the Dakar, Antoine is a five-time world enduro champion, and there is so much talent.” “I feel pressure. It’s always pressure, and in the racing. Last year I felt that pressure a lot because I say ‘okay’ I’m in the best team; I was trying to show them how fast I could be, and that was my first mistake I think. This is why I think I crashed in the Ruta 40 in Argentina. In the Dakar it was a different story, because I felt pressure in front of the people of my city, as I was the home hero. The team told me to be careful, and not to push in Salta, and I didn’t listen, so I crashed because of this. I learned some hard lessons.” “In the Dakar anything can happen, and a lot will happen; you can get lost, you can crash, you can get bike problems, and I learned a lot, so now I feel I have more experience. The navigation is something really difficult, you have to stay focused on this and your riding. It’s really hard to keep the concentration and focus for five hours or more. In rally it’s long stages, long days, you don’t sleep well in the Dakar, and it’s a lot of hours. Enduro is more aggressive, more explosive.” Luciano Benavides (ARG) KTM 450 RALLY 2018 © PhotosDakar.com Luciano’s goal now is to finish the next races and learn – he needs more experience having only really done two rally races so far. He would like to be a top 10 Dakar rider aboard his KTM 450 RALLY factory machine, and a good result in the junior class in the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, as he has two years left competing there. “My life is 90% dirt bikes. I wake up thinking about bikes, and go to sleep also thinking about bikes. I love spending time with my friends, hang out with them, but mostly it’s about bikes and racing. I really love it.” “I’m also studying to be an accountant. I did two years, and there’s two years left now. When I signed with the factory team all my focus changed towards the rally, because this is what I love and it’s a unique opportunity. We will see when I can continue with the studies, because it’s important as well for the future.” Luciano Benavides (ARG) 2018 © PhotosDakar.com Photos: Rally Zone | Future7Media | PhotosDakar.com
  12. Team Junior Luciano Benavides: Why I wanted to race Dakar

    Team Junior Luciano Benavides: Why I wanted to race Dakar KTM Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides is 23 years old. Joining the rally squad, the Argentinian had no previous experience in the notoriously difficult rally races, but he had the speed, the will and the right kind of personality for the job. Heading towards his second Dakar, which will take place next January, the KTM-ace is optimistic on what he can achieve. Luciano Benavides (ARG) KTM 450 RALLY 2018 © Rally Zone Having started racing at just five years old, Benavides competed up to top level in enduro nationally and raced the ISDE in 2015 and 2016 – winning a medal in Spain 2016, whilst showing his potential. The Argentinian went on to race the ‘Full Gas Enduro’ series in the USA, and finished as the top rookie rider of the year, as well as second overall in his class. A solid foundation to what was to happen next, some might say. “In 2017 I started to try and move to the rallies, and the opportunity came with the KTM factory. Alex (Doringer) called me and said he had a chance to give me a factory ride. I said yes of course, it’s a big opportunity. I am still so happy, it’s such a unique opportunity and I’m the junior in the team. Last year I started in August with the rally in Argentina, I didn’t know how to navigate or nothing, and I crashed on the first day. I broke my collarbone,” said Benavides. “After that I went to Morocco in October, my second race, and I finished I think in around 16 or 17 overall and second as a junior, which gave me the qualifying for the Dakar. It was good. I trained a lot for the Dakar and that was my third race. In stage 10, which was my home stage as I live in Salta, I was riding in 15th overall in the standings and on that stage I was going really well, I was around fifth or sixth on the day. Then, I had a big crash and broke five vertebrae in my back. It was really painful in the middle of my back and I was really frustrated. It was a steep learning curve.” Luciano Benavides (ARG) KTM 450 RALLY 2018 © Future7Media Now recovered and having spent time over in Europe with the KTM Factory Racing Team testing, Benavides is ready to race Chile, Argentina and Morocco prior to heading to his second Dakar in January. Benavides’s brother Kevin began racing rally in 2015 having seen the huge interest in the South American region thanks to Dakar. Luciano willingly supported his brother at his first Dakar in 2016 and he decided then, having followed the race, that he wanted to be a rally racer. “I followed the Dakar in 2016 with my brother, and I said I wanted to race it. I was looking at the KTM team from the other side, taking pictures of Toby, Sam – they were all my idols, and now I’m riding with them and they are my teammates. You can say it’s a nice opportunity, and I really like the rallies. It’s fun, it’s about taking a decision, trusting yourself, I like the fast piste, it’s cool. I’m riding with the best riders in the world in the best team. This was always my dream, to be a factory rider and do what I love. I’m living the dream.” “My dad rides in enduro as an amateur – in Salta the enduro was not really famous,” explained Benavides, when asked how he got into riding. “Then my brother started, and when I was younger I was always trying to be like him, trying to copy him, and we are so competitive. I want to beat him in everything and he is the same. It is really cool, because it pushed me to grow up as a rider and as a person I think. It’s a family passion. My sister also rides for a hobby, she has a KTM 250 SX-F.” Luciano Benavides (ARG), Matthias Walkner (AUT) & Toby Price (AUS) 2018 © Rally Zone There’s a huge difference between Luciano’s home place and Europe, and the economy in Argentina makes it quite difficult for aspiring riders. The base cost of a motorcycle is high, and it’s extra challenging for amateur riders to progress in the sport. While the youngster explains there are some nice places to ride in Salta, it’s more enduro than motocross due to the mountains close to the city. Luciano is based still in Argentina, and will continue to train there, whilst travelling to Europe for group tests, which are predominantly done with the team in Spain close to Jordi Viladoms’ home. The weather is good in Salta, and it’s possible to do a lot of roadbook training nearby, or even in Chile. Luciano explains it wasn’t easy stepping into the team, and he felt a level of expectation, but after a hard learning curve the KTM rider is ready to mature as a rider and learn his craft. “Now I feel I have more confidence with the guys in the team. In the beginning for the first time it was really strange for me. They were like my idols and now we ride together. They are super good guys, they teach me a lot and now I’m trying to learn from them. We have the last three winners of the Dakar, Antoine is a five-time world enduro champion, and there is so much talent.” “I feel pressure. It’s always pressure, and in the racing. Last year I felt that pressure a lot because I say ‘okay’ I’m in the best team; I was trying to show them how fast I could be, and that was my first mistake I think. This is why I think I crashed in the Ruta 40 in Argentina. In the Dakar it was a different story, because I felt pressure in front of the people of my city, as I was the home hero. The team told me to be careful, and not to push in Salta, and I didn’t listen, so I crashed because of this. I learned some hard lessons.” “In the Dakar anything can happen, and a lot will happen; you can get lost, you can crash, you can get bike problems, and I learned a lot, so now I feel I have more experience. The navigation is something really difficult, you have to stay focused on this and your riding. It’s really hard to keep the concentration and focus for five hours or more. In rally it’s long stages, long days, you don’t sleep well in the Dakar, and it’s a lot of hours. Enduro is more aggressive, more explosive.” Luciano Benavides (ARG) KTM 450 RALLY 2018 © PhotosDakar.com Luciano’s goal now is to finish the next races and learn – he needs more experience having only really done two rally races so far. He would like to be a top 10 Dakar rider aboard his KTM 450 RALLY factory machine, and a good result in the junior class in the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, as he has two years left competing there. “My life is 90% dirt bikes. I wake up thinking about bikes, and go to sleep also thinking about bikes. I love spending time with my friends, hang out with them, but mostly it’s about bikes and racing. I really love it.” “I’m also studying to be an accountant. I did two years, and there’s two years left now. When I signed with the factory team all my focus changed towards the rally, because this is what I love and it’s a unique opportunity. We will see when I can continue with the studies, because it’s important as well for the future.” Luciano Benavides (ARG) 2018 © PhotosDakar.com Photos: Rally Zone | Future7Media | PhotosDakar.com
  13. From wheels to waves: MXGP stars on the water! Red Bull KTM’s Glenn Coldenhoff talks about his buzz for jet-skiing and how the fun watery escape actually has some similarities to his MXGP ‘day job’. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer It’s fitting that the 27-year-old Dutchman (and many other riders actually) is a fan of the ‘water bike’ because it was an American motocrosser, Clayton Jacobson, that first came up with the design for the ‘jet-ski’ in the 1960s and his eventual agreement with Kawasaki popularized the water craft and led to the emergence of a whole scene. Jet-ski has its roots in dirt bike racing and while the ripples and waves of a lake in Belgium is quite a step from the hard-pack of an MXGP circuit, Coldenhoff feels there are elements in parallel to what he does on his KTM 450 SX-F, especially when it comes to sand funnily enough. “Yeah because it’s all about balance,” he says. “I use a stand-up ski; which is much more enjoyable than a sit-down. To make fast corners is not easy because the rear end wants to come up and it feels like you want to make a short turn, which you don’t want to do! It’s hard on the body so it’s good training. If I have a day off then I still want to jet-ski because you get a workout. It’s hard on the back but the legs also. You are making small movements all the time.” “I think jet-skiing helps for riding,” he adds. “If you have a GP somewhere like the sand at Lommel then you are moving a lot on the bike all the time as well. If there are a lot of jet-skis on the lake then it can get rough with the waves. It is a little similar to the sand: the ski is moving and you are almost in a similar position with the body. Cornering is way different on the water of course; you have a handlebar but you almost have to lean off the ski to get a nice turn. You are more like a passenger of a sidecar. I’m practicing quite a lot.” Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer Coldenhoff is negotiating his third year as a Red Bull KTM rider and is hunting his first podium finish in 2018 in a season that has seen his two teammates set a new level of performance in the premier class. It has been an incredibly demanding MXGP championship where Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli have set the pace from the opening round in Argentina. Coldenhoff has had his most consistent term on the KTM 450 SX-F to date and is closing towards the top six of the standings. His fascination with the water is a recent trend and began with a fancy towards a certain Red Bull garment. “It started with a friend of mine who had a jet-ski. I think it was two years ago and I really enjoyed it, especially in the summer days when it is hot,” he recalls. “Since coming back to Red Bull we have an athlete App and I was ordering caps and clothes and always trying for a wetsuit, but it never came. I was talking with my friend and he said “the day that it arrives we’ll go and buy a jet-ski.” That finally happened last summer and about four weeks later we had the jet-ski but the weather was starting to turn. I would say we’ve done a lot more hours on it this year already.” “Jet-skiing is still a little bit ‘racing’ and we have a track on the water we can follow,” ‘The Hoff’ adds. “It’s still quite difficult for me and I’m crashing a lot but I can play a little bit with the jumps and dives.” Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer Coldenhoff has to deal with the horsepower of the factory KTM 450 SX-F and the speed of MXGP across the rough terrain and surfaces of twenty tracks in the series is almost scary when seen up close: there is little doubt it is one of the most demanding and risky motorsports. And also one of the most spectacular. How does he find the power and thrill of jet-skiing in comparison? “It’s not that strong in terms of power,” he opines. “If you go full throttle, straight and without a helmet then it feels fast. With the helmet then you don’t have the water in your face and it’s a different sensation. When I’m playing I don’t use the helmet all the time but when I want to make some fast laps then I’ll wear it with some goggles. I feel safer that way.” In a sport riddled with injury (an MXGP racer can count himself extremely lucky if he survives the season without a visit to the doctor) Coldenhoff smiles when we mention the hardness of the water in contrast to the dirt. “Not hard at all! The worse thing is if you crash and part of you hits the ski but most of the time when you lose control then you go one way and the ski goes the other! Even if you bounce on the water the wetsuit helps in terms that it doesn’t hurt. It’s a lot of fun.” Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer Photos: Ray Archer
  14. From wheels to waves: MXGP stars on the water!

    From wheels to waves: MXGP stars on the water! Red Bull KTM’s Glenn Coldenhoff talks about his buzz for jet-skiing and how the fun watery escape actually has some similarities to his MXGP ‘day job’. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer It’s fitting that the 27-year-old Dutchman (and many other riders actually) is a fan of the ‘water bike’ because it was an American motocrosser, Clayton Jacobson, that first came up with the design for the ‘jet-ski’ in the 1960s and his eventual agreement with Kawasaki popularized the water craft and led to the emergence of a whole scene. Jet-ski has its roots in dirt bike racing and while the ripples and waves of a lake in Belgium is quite a step from the hard-pack of an MXGP circuit, Coldenhoff feels there are elements in parallel to what he does on his KTM 450 SX-F, especially when it comes to sand funnily enough. “Yeah because it’s all about balance,” he says. “I use a stand-up ski; which is much more enjoyable than a sit-down. To make fast corners is not easy because the rear end wants to come up and it feels like you want to make a short turn, which you don’t want to do! It’s hard on the body so it’s good training. If I have a day off then I still want to jet-ski because you get a workout. It’s hard on the back but the legs also. You are making small movements all the time.” “I think jet-skiing helps for riding,” he adds. “If you have a GP somewhere like the sand at Lommel then you are moving a lot on the bike all the time as well. If there are a lot of jet-skis on the lake then it can get rough with the waves. It is a little similar to the sand: the ski is moving and you are almost in a similar position with the body. Cornering is way different on the water of course; you have a handlebar but you almost have to lean off the ski to get a nice turn. You are more like a passenger of a sidecar. I’m practicing quite a lot.” Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer Coldenhoff is negotiating his third year as a Red Bull KTM rider and is hunting his first podium finish in 2018 in a season that has seen his two teammates set a new level of performance in the premier class. It has been an incredibly demanding MXGP championship where Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli have set the pace from the opening round in Argentina. Coldenhoff has had his most consistent term on the KTM 450 SX-F to date and is closing towards the top six of the standings. His fascination with the water is a recent trend and began with a fancy towards a certain Red Bull garment. “It started with a friend of mine who had a jet-ski. I think it was two years ago and I really enjoyed it, especially in the summer days when it is hot,” he recalls. “Since coming back to Red Bull we have an athlete App and I was ordering caps and clothes and always trying for a wetsuit, but it never came. I was talking with my friend and he said “the day that it arrives we’ll go and buy a jet-ski.” That finally happened last summer and about four weeks later we had the jet-ski but the weather was starting to turn. I would say we’ve done a lot more hours on it this year already.” “Jet-skiing is still a little bit ‘racing’ and we have a track on the water we can follow,” ‘The Hoff’ adds. “It’s still quite difficult for me and I’m crashing a lot but I can play a little bit with the jumps and dives.” Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer Coldenhoff has to deal with the horsepower of the factory KTM 450 SX-F and the speed of MXGP across the rough terrain and surfaces of twenty tracks in the series is almost scary when seen up close: there is little doubt it is one of the most demanding and risky motorsports. And also one of the most spectacular. How does he find the power and thrill of jet-skiing in comparison? “It’s not that strong in terms of power,” he opines. “If you go full throttle, straight and without a helmet then it feels fast. With the helmet then you don’t have the water in your face and it’s a different sensation. When I’m playing I don’t use the helmet all the time but when I want to make some fast laps then I’ll wear it with some goggles. I feel safer that way.” In a sport riddled with injury (an MXGP racer can count himself extremely lucky if he survives the season without a visit to the doctor) Coldenhoff smiles when we mention the hardness of the water in contrast to the dirt. “Not hard at all! The worse thing is if you crash and part of you hits the ski but most of the time when you lose control then you go one way and the ski goes the other! Even if you bounce on the water the wetsuit helps in terms that it doesn’t hurt. It’s a lot of fun.” Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) 2018 © Ray Archer Photos: Ray Archer
  15. Interview of the Month: Stefan Huber – Testing, Testing – 1, 2! Stefan Huber talks rally testing, rider characters and improvement by destruction! Stefan Huber, the KTM Factory Racing Rally Team Leader, is a rally expert and master of development for a machine that has to survive and win one of the toughest motorcycle challenges on the planet. With environmental extremes from the incredible heat in the desert, to the freezing temperatures and high altitude in the mountains, plus dunes, technical riding, hardpack, sand and sometimes mud, Dakar racers need a bike that can do it all whilst remaining reliable over thousands of kilometers during the 14-stage race. Stefan Huber © Future7Media KTM has won the last 17 Dakar Rallies. The team is characterized by a strong work ethic, motivation, knowledge and experience, as well as a line-up of talented riders; for sure, these are major factors in KTM’s long-standing success at a race in which anything really can happen. But central to the success is the star of the show, the KTM 450 RALLY factory machine. Serious innovation, special technical features and the only bike to be developed specifically for rally, this is the ultimate machine when it comes to rally competition. The bike is a setup compromise of many things for all terrain, for full or empty loads of fuel, for hot and cold conditions. Testing is a key part of KTM’s rally program, whether at a world championship race or at one of the team’s test facilities, the focus is always in some way towards the next Dakar. “It’s always a compromise,” said Huber when talking about bike setup. “In the morning of the race you can start in the dunes, and then in the afternoon you’re on the hardpack ground at Dakar, so you have to have a balance. The riders have some adjustment they can do while they are riding with some clickers on the suspension, but their setup is basically a compromise,” said Huber. KTM 450 RALLY © Marcin Kin This year saw the latest generation of KTM machine race Dakar and succeed. With a new era of riders emerging since the Marc Coma and Cyril Despres days, bike development has gone in a new direction. And with three Dakar winners in the team, the challenge is to find the revolutionary sweet spot when it comes to a factory race bike that suits every rider’s style and preferences. “With the latest generation of riders in the team our focus for the factory bike was to develop a bike around these riders to suit their riding styles. We looked for improved handling, lower weight and a bike that also meets the demands of the conditions and intensity we now find at Dakar. The enduro style with lots of speed, and dunes followed by high altitude stages is where we made a big focus,” continued Huber. Sam Sunderland KTM 450 RALLY © Marcin Kin When it comes to testing and development with KTM R&D input, Huber and his team in the KTM motorsport division utilize masses of knowledge to create the bikes that will take on the toughest of challenges. Design agency Kiska works with both KTM R&D and KTM motorsports on the overall ergonomics of the bike, and the WP motorsport department is a key factor in development of the frames. The work never stops, as they say; after the race is before the race. “There are always things the riders are searching for so we work on the frame, new swingarm ideas, different stiffness in the chassis and so on. Maybe one rider wants comfort, maybe some want improved turning, and we also work on the electronics like the traction control for example. We use a lot of calculation software and listen to the requests of the riders to keep moving in the right direction, whilst also winning races.” “We do a lot of the development in motorsport, Kiska works with us on the development of the bodywork and the engine base is from motocross, although we modify it further to suit the demands of rally and the setup of the bike. The WP motorsport department works closely with us to develop the frames. We use calculation software to consider the stiffness of the frame and eventually we produce a base for testing to see the direction we want to go. The riders are always searching a lot for comfort especially for the long stages.” KTM 450 RALLY © PhotosDakar.com With lots of different characters in the team, including the incredible Laia Sanz who steered her KTM steed to complete her eighth finish from eight Dakars with a 12th place overall in January, we asked Stefan who is the most useful when it comes to testing. “In the team there are some really different characters. Some have a better feeling for testing and we can get more information from them. Some are more different in the approach, but we have learned over the years you get one guy to give the feedback if he is stronger in this area, and another one to confirm – sometimes you have to push a little for the information and take an average feedback from all of the riders.” Laia Sanz KTM 450 RALLY © Marcin Kin Former rally star Jordi Viladoms is the Rally Team Manager and also the Spanish ace still takes part in some long-distance testing for the KTM rally team such as putting many kilometers on an oval to develop the front mask and aerodynamics. Part of the test process in addition to the test benches where engines can be run to failure to see where improvements can be made, is to ride the bikes literally until they break or far beyond their planned usage to look for any weakness or areas that can be improved. “Last year we did an endurance test on the test bench for the engine. With the transmissions we must do the testing physically, because on the test bench we can only run in one gear. We do hard testing on the engine and last time we made 1000’s of kms in a dry lake, where it was 50 degrees or more. The factory riders do this. It’s tough on the riders, I know it’s not really enjoyable for them spending so much time riding just to put hours and hours on the bike, but it is necessary for us to know the outcome for the best possible development for Dakar.” With every year it’s a huge pressure and a challenge to maintain KTM’s incredible win-record at Dakar, but the work is continuous and the motivation is high. In the months between each Dakar race hours and hours of testing and development ensures that KTM remains at the forefront of rally technology, while also striving for wins in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World championship. We look forward to Dakar 2019! Photos: Future7Media | Marcin Kin | PhotosDakar.com
  16. Interview of the Month: Stefan Huber – Testing, Testing – 1, 2! Stefan Huber talks rally testing, rider characters and improvement by destruction! Stefan Huber, the KTM Factory Racing Rally Team Leader, is a rally expert and master of development for a machine that has to survive and win one of the toughest motorcycle challenges on the planet. With environmental extremes from the incredible heat in the desert, to the freezing temperatures and high altitude in the mountains, plus dunes, technical riding, hardpack, sand and sometimes mud, Dakar racers need a bike that can do it all whilst remaining reliable over thousands of kilometers during the 14-stage race. Stefan Huber © Future7Media KTM has won the last 17 Dakar Rallies. The team is characterized by a strong work ethic, motivation, knowledge and experience, as well as a line-up of talented riders; for sure, these are major factors in KTM’s long-standing success at a race in which anything really can happen. But central to the success is the star of the show, the KTM 450 RALLY factory machine. Serious innovation, special technical features and the only bike to be developed specifically for rally, this is the ultimate machine when it comes to rally competition. The bike is a setup compromise of many things for all terrain, for full or empty loads of fuel, for hot and cold conditions. Testing is a key part of KTM’s rally program, whether at a world championship race or at one of the team’s test facilities, the focus is always in some way towards the next Dakar. “It’s always a compromise,” said Huber when talking about bike setup. “In the morning of the race you can start in the dunes, and then in the afternoon you’re on the hardpack ground at Dakar, so you have to have a balance. The riders have some adjustment they can do while they are riding with some clickers on the suspension, but their setup is basically a compromise,” said Huber. KTM 450 RALLY © Marcin Kin This year saw the latest generation of KTM machine race Dakar and succeed. With a new era of riders emerging since the Marc Coma and Cyril Despres days, bike development has gone in a new direction. And with three Dakar winners in the team, the challenge is to find the revolutionary sweet spot when it comes to a factory race bike that suits every rider’s style and preferences. “With the latest generation of riders in the team our focus for the factory bike was to develop a bike around these riders to suit their riding styles. We looked for improved handling, lower weight and a bike that also meets the demands of the conditions and intensity we now find at Dakar. The enduro style with lots of speed, and dunes followed by high altitude stages is where we made a big focus,” continued Huber. Sam Sunderland KTM 450 RALLY © Marcin Kin When it comes to testing and development with KTM R&D input, Huber and his team in the KTM motorsport division utilize masses of knowledge to create the bikes that will take on the toughest of challenges. Design agency Kiska works with both KTM R&D and KTM motorsports on the overall ergonomics of the bike, and the WP motorsport department is a key factor in development of the frames. The work never stops, as they say; after the race is before the race. “There are always things the riders are searching for so we work on the frame, new swingarm ideas, different stiffness in the chassis and so on. Maybe one rider wants comfort, maybe some want improved turning, and we also work on the electronics like the traction control for example. We use a lot of calculation software and listen to the requests of the riders to keep moving in the right direction, whilst also winning races.” “We do a lot of the development in motorsport, Kiska works with us on the development of the bodywork and the engine base is from motocross, although we modify it further to suit the demands of rally and the setup of the bike. The WP motorsport department works closely with us to develop the frames. We use calculation software to consider the stiffness of the frame and eventually we produce a base for testing to see the direction we want to go. The riders are always searching a lot for comfort especially for the long stages.” KTM 450 RALLY © PhotosDakar.com With lots of different characters in the team, including the incredible Laia Sanz who steered her KTM steed to complete her eighth finish from eight Dakars with a 12th place overall in January, we asked Stefan who is the most useful when it comes to testing. “In the team there are some really different characters. Some have a better feeling for testing and we can get more information from them. Some are more different in the approach, but we have learned over the years you get one guy to give the feedback if he is stronger in this area, and another one to confirm – sometimes you have to push a little for the information and take an average feedback from all of the riders.” Laia Sanz KTM 450 RALLY © Marcin Kin Former rally star Jordi Viladoms is the Rally Team Manager and also the Spanish ace still takes part in some long-distance testing for the KTM rally team such as putting many kilometers on an oval to develop the front mask and aerodynamics. Part of the test process in addition to the test benches where engines can be run to failure to see where improvements can be made, is to ride the bikes literally until they break or far beyond their planned usage to look for any weakness or areas that can be improved. “Last year we did an endurance test on the test bench for the engine. With the transmissions we must do the testing physically, because on the test bench we can only run in one gear. We do hard testing on the engine and last time we made 1000’s of kms in a dry lake, where it was 50 degrees or more. The factory riders do this. It’s tough on the riders, I know it’s not really enjoyable for them spending so much time riding just to put hours and hours on the bike, but it is necessary for us to know the outcome for the best possible development for Dakar.” With every year it’s a huge pressure and a challenge to maintain KTM’s incredible win-record at Dakar, but the work is continuous and the motivation is high. In the months between each Dakar race hours and hours of testing and development ensures that KTM remains at the forefront of rally technology, while also striving for wins in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World championship. We look forward to Dakar 2019! Photos: Future7Media | Marcin Kin | PhotosDakar.com
  17. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing: Dakar prep is a season-long process The incredibly tough Dakar Rally is definitely the highlight and most prestigious race in the calendar for the Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing Team. However, the work never ceases; not only does the team race selected rounds of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, testing and development continues right the way through the year. The meticulous planning for Dakar that’s required for race success is season-long, and the team has fixed training sessions with its riders to test new parts and bring them together from their home locations around the world. These sessions, often coordinated utilizing the road book expertise of team manager and former racer Jordi Viladoms, enhances the team spirit and provides an opportunity for on-location feedback with KTM and WP away from the races. Predominantly this is done in Spain, and the 17-time winning Dakar team recently allowed the cameras behind the scenes whilst testing to see Matthias Walkner, Toby Price, Sam Sunderland and KTM Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz in action. Thanks to the Red Bull Content Pool we’re able to share some of the best pictures with you. Matthias Walkner (AUT) © Anjuna Hartmann/Red Bull Content Pool Photos: Anjuna Hartmann/Red Bull Content Pool
  18. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing: Dakar prep is a season-long process The incredibly tough Dakar Rally is definitely the highlight and most prestigious race in the calendar for the Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing Team. However, the work never ceases; not only does the team race selected rounds of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, testing and development continues right the way through the year. The meticulous planning for Dakar that’s required for race success is season-long, and the team has fixed training sessions with its riders to test new parts and bring them together from their home locations around the world. These sessions, often coordinated utilizing the road book expertise of team manager and former racer Jordi Viladoms, enhances the team spirit and provides an opportunity for on-location feedback with KTM and WP away from the races. Predominantly this is done in Spain, and the 17-time winning Dakar team recently allowed the cameras behind the scenes whilst testing to see Matthias Walkner, Toby Price, Sam Sunderland and KTM Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz in action. Thanks to the Red Bull Content Pool we’re able to share some of the best pictures with you. Matthias Walkner (AUT) © Anjuna Hartmann/Red Bull Content Pool Photos: Anjuna Hartmann/Red Bull Content Pool
  19. Collecting Moments #8: 238 days and I’m back in the saddle! A lot of people have a passion, or an area of their life, that feels all-encompassing and really defines who they are. When this thing – whatever it is – gets taken away from them suddenly and unexpectedly, it can really turn their world upside down and make them view life from a different perspective. In my case, it was the world of motorsport, where I’d made so many awesome memories. Over the last few months I’ve really experienced the drawbacks of the sport. But it’s this that makes my return that much sweeter. © Jakob Ritter “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” – a phrase I’ve heard a lot. It’s certainly true, though! I’d gotten way too used to packing up my stuff on a Friday afternoon and heading off to enduro training or for a race. Everything changed after my knee injury though – completely overnight – and I can still vividly remember that first weekend after the accident: there are only a few times in my life when I’ve ever felt so empty. The last few months haven’t been easy for me, but, sadly, injuries are as much a part of our sport as success. And it might sound strange, but each goes hand in hand with the other, bringing you to this whole other level as a sportsperson and human. I’ve now experienced both sides and learnt as much from my failures as I have from my success. Never before have I been so desperate to get back on my KTM 300 EXC. The feeling I got when I climbed back on it 238 days after my injury, pressed the E-starter, felt the engine and just rode – that was every bit as good as riding across the finish line at the Red Bull Romaniacs! © Jakob Ritter My physio gave me the green light for my first ride at my last session and it was a moment I’d been waiting on for what felt like an eternity. For the first time in eight months, I got to experience that familiar “I’m packing my stuff for the weekend” feeling. This time I really had to make sure I’d packed everything though: helmet, gloves, glasses, protectors … and my KTM, of course! And it wasn’t just any weekend when I went on my first enduro ride out: it was the weekend of the Erzbergrodeo! Watching the Red Bull Hare Scramble live on TV really gave me the motivation I needed. Watching my enduro racing heroes riding and battling it out gave me this rush of anticipation and energy. It was weird putting my helmet on – a mixture of joy and nerves. I mean, yeah, I’d ridden a bit on trial and motocross bikes since the injury, just to keep the feeling alive, but enduro is this whole other thing for me – it’s really the pinnacle of offroad two-wheel racing. That’s where I really feel at home and I think that’s what made me a little nervous. Could I still do it? What if I’d forgotten everything and it was like starting back at square one? How was my knee going to feel? – I’m sure I’m not the first sportsperson to battle with those kinds of thoughts when riding for the first time following an injury, but it was all new to me. © Jakob Ritter As soon as I pressed the E-starter, though, that old familiar feeling came flooding back. The comforting sound of my KTM instantly made me feel secure. My hands stopped shaking as I put it in gear and set off towards the forest. The world around me faded away and I was able to really enjoy those first magical moments – it was just me and my bike. Reunited at last! – That’s all I could think. I felt free, light, and at peace! After 238 days full of highs and lows, I finally felt like my puzzle was complete and all the pieces were in place. Obviously, you can’t just pick up where you left off after that kind of a break, though. I was more cautious, a little slower, and even kind of clumsy. But none of that mattered to me in that moment because I was just happy and grateful to be riding enduro again. © Jakob Ritter I have dialed things down a notch to prepare for new adventures. I’m maybe not quite READY TO RACE yet, but I’m back where I’m happiest and that’s given me a crazy amount of energy. Get to know more about Larissa on the KTM BLOG – Collecting Moments #7: Training after a knee injury – or check out her website! Photos: Jakob Ritter
  20. Collecting Moments #8: 238 days and I’m back in the saddle! A lot of people have a passion, or an area of their life, that feels all-encompassing and really defines who they are. When this thing – whatever it is – gets taken away from them suddenly and unexpectedly, it can really turn their world upside down and make them view life from a different perspective. In my case, it was the world of motorsport, where I’d made so many awesome memories. Over the last few months I’ve really experienced the drawbacks of the sport. But it’s this that makes my return that much sweeter. © Jakob Ritter “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” – a phrase I’ve heard a lot. It’s certainly true, though! I’d gotten way too used to packing up my stuff on a Friday afternoon and heading off to enduro training or for a race. Everything changed after my knee injury though – completely overnight – and I can still vividly remember that first weekend after the accident: there are only a few times in my life when I’ve ever felt so empty. The last few months haven’t been easy for me, but, sadly, injuries are as much a part of our sport as success. And it might sound strange, but each goes hand in hand with the other, bringing you to this whole other level as a sportsperson and human. I’ve now experienced both sides and learnt as much from my failures as I have from my success. Never before have I been so desperate to get back on my KTM 300 EXC. The feeling I got when I climbed back on it 238 days after my injury, pressed the E-starter, felt the engine and just rode – that was every bit as good as riding across the finish line at the Red Bull Romaniacs! © Jakob Ritter My physio gave me the green light for my first ride at my last session and it was a moment I’d been waiting on for what felt like an eternity. For the first time in eight months, I got to experience that familiar “I’m packing my stuff for the weekend” feeling. This time I really had to make sure I’d packed everything though: helmet, gloves, glasses, protectors … and my KTM, of course! And it wasn’t just any weekend when I went on my first enduro ride out: it was the weekend of the Erzbergrodeo! Watching the Red Bull Hare Scramble live on TV really gave me the motivation I needed. Watching my enduro racing heroes riding and battling it out gave me this rush of anticipation and energy. It was weird putting my helmet on – a mixture of joy and nerves. I mean, yeah, I’d ridden a bit on trial and motocross bikes since the injury, just to keep the feeling alive, but enduro is this whole other thing for me – it’s really the pinnacle of offroad two-wheel racing. That’s where I really feel at home and I think that’s what made me a little nervous. Could I still do it? What if I’d forgotten everything and it was like starting back at square one? How was my knee going to feel? – I’m sure I’m not the first sportsperson to battle with those kinds of thoughts when riding for the first time following an injury, but it was all new to me. © Jakob Ritter As soon as I pressed the E-starter, though, that old familiar feeling came flooding back. The comforting sound of my KTM instantly made me feel secure. My hands stopped shaking as I put it in gear and set off towards the forest. The world around me faded away and I was able to really enjoy those first magical moments – it was just me and my bike. Reunited at last! – That’s all I could think. I felt free, light, and at peace! After 238 days full of highs and lows, I finally felt like my puzzle was complete and all the pieces were in place. Obviously, you can’t just pick up where you left off after that kind of a break, though. I was more cautious, a little slower, and even kind of clumsy. But none of that mattered to me in that moment because I was just happy and grateful to be riding enduro again. © Jakob Ritter I have dialed things down a notch to prepare for new adventures. I’m maybe not quite READY TO RACE yet, but I’m back where I’m happiest and that’s given me a crazy amount of energy. Get to know more about Larissa on the KTM BLOG – Collecting Moments #7: Training after a knee injury – or check out her website! Photos: Jakob Ritter
  21. #inthisyear1978: Gennady Moiseev rides KTM to become World Champion for the third time KTM again dominated the smaller MX2 class in impressive style at the 14th World Championship race in Loket, Czech Republic. Riding his KTM 250 SX-F, Spanish ace Jorge Prado and defending champion Pauls Jonass from Latvia were top of the leaderboard with a significant lead over the third-place rider. Even 40+ years ago, the KTM quarter-liter factory bikes were the ones to beat if you wanted to steal the title at the then 250cc Motocross World Championships. All the same, back in 1978, things were not looking so good for KTM as the season got underway in the Spanish city of Sabadell. Belgian rider Harry Everts had just beaten reigning 250 World Champion Gennady Moiseev (who had broken his forearm a few weeks previously in training) into eighth place on his Spanish Bultaco. Just one year earlier, KTM had looked unbeatable in the quarter-liter class – World Championship title for Moiseev, second place for Vladimir Kavinov and with Belgian rider André Malherbe in third place. Gennady Moiseev 1977/78 © KTM Over the course of the season, the sports instructor from Leningrad had just got better and better, and succeeded in claiming pole position on his 97-kilogram 250cc 2-stroke KTM – a position he held on to right up until the final race. Kavinov landed fourth place, also a pretty respectable race result. At the MX of Nations, held in the West German town of Gaildorf in 1978, the Soviet KTM factory riders were on top form once again – Gennady Moiseev, Vladimir Kavinov and Valeri Korneev won the Trophée des Nations, along with Juri Khudyakov, beating Germany and Belgium. Looking back, the early 70s saw the world in the midst of the Cold War and even motorcycling was split into east and west. Victories against western manufacturers brought with them extreme prestige for countries in the eastern bloc. In Enduro racing, it was predominantly riders from Czechoslovakia and East Germany who found success on Jawa and MZ motorcycles at the European Championships and the International Six Days Enduro. In motocross, the focus was on CZ from Czechoslovakia, on which Soviet rider Victor Arbekov and East German Paul Friedrichs had found World Championship glory. The fact that a rider from the USSR won a 250cc World Championship title on a western bike in 1974, well and truly deserves its place in the pages of offroad sporting history. As far back as 1972 KTM had become aware that there were several talented riders in the Soviet 250 Team who nonetheless lacked the wherewithal to compete successfully. When the motorcycles belonging to the members of the Soviet team were stolen from the paddock the night before a race, KTM offered some of their own machines to the team leader, whose riders were now without bikes. According to protocol, the team leader should have been thrown out of the Communist Party for accepting this offer, but after securing their first victories, the Soviets came to terms with the situation; and when Gennady Moiseev became World Champion two years later, he was promoted to the position of major in the Soviet Army. With three world championship titles, Gennady Moiseev is the most successful motorcyclist of the former Soviet Union. He competed in his first motocross race in 1967, on a Czechoslovakian CZ. Over the next few years, he undoubtedly showed flashes of talent, but it was only when he climbed on to a KTM in 1972 that real success came, and by 1974 he had won his first World Championship title for the Mattighofen-based company. After a poor season that saw him plagued by injuries, he returned to his old form in 1976 and ended up losing out to Finland’s Heikki Mikkola by an extremely narrow margin of just a few world championship points. In 1977, he only had to worry about competition from his own team. KTM boss Erich Trunkenpolz presented him with a Mercedes when he won his second World Championship. Gennady Moiseev, Erika & Erich Trunkenpolz 1977/78 © KTM He then went on to win his third title precisely 40 years ago. His last major success for KTM came in 1979, when he was fourth in the world and won his last World Championship race. When the Soviet Federation decided that their rider should return to CZ in 1980, Moiseev still stayed active in the motorcycling world for a several years but without achieving any kind of noteworthy success. Following the end of his active career, he worked as a motocross trainer and sports coach, eventually being elected president of the Russian Motorcycle Federation in 2000. Gennady Moiseev died on 24 July 2017 at the age of 69 in his home town of St. Petersburg. Gennady Moiseev 1978 © KTM Photos: KTM
  22. #inthisyear1978: Gennady Moiseev rides KTM to become World Champion for the third time KTM again dominated the smaller MX2 class in impressive style at the 14th World Championship race in Loket, Czech Republic. Riding his KTM 250 SX-F, Spanish ace Jorge Prado and defending champion Pauls Jonass from Latvia were top of the leaderboard with a significant lead over the third-place rider. Even 40+ years ago, the KTM quarter-liter factory bikes were the ones to beat if you wanted to steal the title at the then 250cc Motocross World Championships. All the same, back in 1978, things were not looking so good for KTM as the season got underway in the Spanish city of Sabadell. Belgian rider Harry Everts had just beaten reigning 250 World Champion Gennady Moiseev (who had broken his forearm a few weeks previously in training) into eighth place on his Spanish Bultaco. Just one year earlier, KTM had looked unbeatable in the quarter-liter class – World Championship title for Moiseev, second place for Vladimir Kavinov and with Belgian rider André Malherbe in third place. Gennady Moiseev 1977/78 © KTM Over the course of the season, the sports instructor from Leningrad had just got better and better, and succeeded in claiming pole position on his 97-kilogram 250cc 2-stroke KTM – a position he held on to right up until the final race. Kavinov landed fourth place, also a pretty respectable race result. At the MX of Nations, held in the West German town of Gaildorf in 1978, the Soviet KTM factory riders were on top form once again – Gennady Moiseev, Vladimir Kavinov and Valeri Korneev won the Trophée des Nations, along with Juri Khudyakov, beating Germany and Belgium. Looking back, the early 70s saw the world in the midst of the Cold War and even motorcycling was split into east and west. Victories against western manufacturers brought with them extreme prestige for countries in the eastern bloc. In Enduro racing, it was predominantly riders from Czechoslovakia and East Germany who found success on Jawa and MZ motorcycles at the European Championships and the International Six Days Enduro. In motocross, the focus was on CZ from Czechoslovakia, on which Soviet rider Victor Arbekov and East German Paul Friedrichs had found World Championship glory. The fact that a rider from the USSR won a 250cc World Championship title on a western bike in 1974, well and truly deserves its place in the pages of offroad sporting history. As far back as 1972 KTM had become aware that there were several talented riders in the Soviet 250 Team who nonetheless lacked the wherewithal to compete successfully. When the motorcycles belonging to the members of the Soviet team were stolen from the paddock the night before a race, KTM offered some of their own machines to the team leader, whose riders were now without bikes. According to protocol, the team leader should have been thrown out of the Communist Party for accepting this offer, but after securing their first victories, the Soviets came to terms with the situation; and when Gennady Moiseev became World Champion two years later, he was promoted to the position of major in the Soviet Army. With three world championship titles, Gennady Moiseev is the most successful motorcyclist of the former Soviet Union. He competed in his first motocross race in 1967, on a Czechoslovakian CZ. Over the next few years, he undoubtedly showed flashes of talent, but it was only when he climbed on to a KTM in 1972 that real success came, and by 1974 he had won his first World Championship title for the Mattighofen-based company. After a poor season that saw him plagued by injuries, he returned to his old form in 1976 and ended up losing out to Finland’s Heikki Mikkola by an extremely narrow margin of just a few world championship points. In 1977, he only had to worry about competition from his own team. KTM boss Erich Trunkenpolz presented him with a Mercedes when he won his second World Championship. Gennady Moiseev, Erika & Erich Trunkenpolz 1977/78 © KTM He then went on to win his third title precisely 40 years ago. His last major success for KTM came in 1979, when he was fourth in the world and won his last World Championship race. When the Soviet Federation decided that their rider should return to CZ in 1980, Moiseev still stayed active in the motorcycling world for a several years but without achieving any kind of noteworthy success. Following the end of his active career, he worked as a motocross trainer and sports coach, eventually being elected president of the Russian Motorcycle Federation in 2000. Gennady Moiseev died on 24 July 2017 at the age of 69 in his home town of St. Petersburg. Gennady Moiseev 1978 © KTM Photos: KTM
  23. The world´s toughest hard enduro rally Posted in People, Racing The Red Bull Romaniacs, now in its 15th year, is known as the toughest hard enduro rally and marking the halfway point of this year´s World Enduro Super Series. The participants faced approximately 200 km of some of the toughest tracks the Carpathian Mountains have to offer and tackled extremely difficult conditions following heavy rainfall. With an already challenging course, with terrain designed to test even the most hardened Romaniacs veterans, it became even more tricky and the race tested all riders to their maximum – to claim a finish was an achievement in itself. These are some of the best pictures of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Taddy Blazusiak, Josep Garcia, Nathan Watson and Jonny Walker, who finished third at the 2018 edition to retain his position at the top of the championship standings, closely followed by a strong Manuel Lettenbichler who crossed the finish line just shortly after the winner. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER) © Future7Media Photos: Future7Media
  24. The world´s toughest hard enduro rally

    The world´s toughest hard enduro rally Posted in People, Racing The Red Bull Romaniacs, now in its 15th year, is known as the toughest hard enduro rally and marking the halfway point of this year´s World Enduro Super Series. The participants faced approximately 200 km of some of the toughest tracks the Carpathian Mountains have to offer and tackled extremely difficult conditions following heavy rainfall. With an already challenging course, with terrain designed to test even the most hardened Romaniacs veterans, it became even more tricky and the race tested all riders to their maximum – to claim a finish was an achievement in itself. These are some of the best pictures of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Taddy Blazusiak, Josep Garcia, Nathan Watson and Jonny Walker, who finished third at the 2018 edition to retain his position at the top of the championship standings, closely followed by a strong Manuel Lettenbichler who crossed the finish line just shortly after the winner. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER) © Future7Media Photos: Future7Media
  25. Moving on: What Ryan did next … A year on from his shock decision to end one of the most prolific careers in AMA SX/MX we caught up on a drastic change of life for Ryan Dungey, how he has eased off the gas and what he’s doing next. We are at the launch of the 2019 KTM SX range of bikes at Tony Cairoli’s Malagrotta circuit near Rome. Ryan Dungey sits down to talk and is friendly, engaging and the consummate professional (we wonder how much he’d earn if we gave him 5 dollars for every interview he performed in an eleven-year career and through winning seven major AMA titles). Physically he still looks like he can buckle some boots and set a new lap time around the hard-pack course, and actually after our interview he quickly suits up to go riding with journalists and athletes like Red Bull KTM’s MX2 star Jorge Prado. Ryan Dungey (USA) 2018 © Marco Campelli Dungey has hardly changed since he won his third 450 SX title in Las Vegas last summer and then held a press conference shortly afterwards to announce he was stepping away from the sport at 27. Compared to the #5 we encountered at races and through media projects when he was full-depth in the regime of being a pro Supercross and motocross racer (thirty weekends of competition a year), Ryan has the relaxed air and stress-free demeanor of a man who no longer has to devote so much energy to focus, drive and concentration. We were able to talk for a long time about the switch from athlete to able-assistant, from single-mindedness to a new form of sacrifice and about finding new ways to channel the determination and desire that helped Dungey to hold the longest consecutive podium appearance record in Supercross with 31 trophies in a row. Ryan Dungey (USA) 2018 © Marco Campelli So, after the press conference last year what did you do? There was no routine any more … “One hard part was making the decision and moving on but then I also didn’t really have a plan. I kinda knew what I wanted to do next … and I didn’t really disappear. I stayed in California because the ‘Outdoors’ was coming with the first two rounds there. I didn’t have anywhere to be so I kinda stuck around and wanted to see those races. Marvin [Musquin] and I are pretty close so I supported him. We had a bit of a vacation and nothing that was really structured.” It seemed like you ‘stopped’ but didn’t stop. You were there in KTM colors, on TV, media roles … “Yeah … for sure I wanted a break but I still enjoyed lots of parts of what I did. It was not like I hated it but it got to a point where I – I was not exhausted – but I knew ‘this was it …’ I’d had enough. Making the decision took a whole year while racing and it was hard because you are supposed to be racing with the mindset of competition. I was trying to make a decision that was tricky to leave on the shelf.” So, it wasn’t a case of ‘run to the beach´ … “I think you need to do those things and regroup and refresh but I was too young to retire from my career and certainly from life. I will always want to contribute and add to this world in some way. Something has to get you out of bed in the mornings and everybody has something that makes them tick. So, I thought about how I could give benefit to other people and thankfully I have a lot of good partners and could transition into a good role with people like KTM, Fox, Oakley and Red Bull. But I didn’t just want to go into it and be paid to do nothing. I wanted to have some influence and for KTM that might be through testing or helping the team or the riders. I wanted to add to something and do meaningful work and not just look for a paycheck. That was my outlook and also as a racer.” With the demands of the sport and the schedule you must almost have to live every day with focus and goals and compromise. To not have that any more – and for the first time in your life – was it bewildering? “As a racer your schedule is jam-packed and maybe that is the case for a lot of jobs. The big adjustment is the change of pace. I’m learning patience and not being in a rush and not getting resentful and bitter. It’s easy to suddenly think ‘I’m not satisfied’ so it is important to have a purpose. You can take time away but it’s good to have something that drives you … not having that is a bad feeling. You look for more projects. My whole schedule was planned out and now it isn’t, and that was a big shift. It has forced me to look at my life and my motives and to question it all and get more answers. When you are in the routine of racing then you just go with it and you don’t really catch things that might be ‘red flags’. You might think ‘maybe I should go racing again because I can improve the monthly bank income much more’ but that’s not right. I learned a lot about myself in this process.” Ryan Dungey (USA) 2018 © Marco Campelli Was it like having a new identity? “No, because I always knew who I was. I’m Ryan Dungey, not a dirtbike racer called Ryan Dungey. I raced dirtbikes: it is not who I am but what I did. I always knew I shouldn’t find my identity in racing. It was never an issue but I think I got spoiled in a way because in that position [of a champion] you can have a lot of influence and benefit a lot of people and I liked that feeling.” Was there also some fear about heading into the ‘unknown’? “It feels like there are a lot of options and you can go in many different directions and that can be confusing. You still want to make sure you make good choices. As a racer all the attention is on you and – not that I was ever self-absorbed – but you are kinda spoiled and then all of a sudden the attention goes onto the next rider and isn’t there anymore. I did not crave the attention and it was good for me to get out of it. I was ready for something else and that aspect never drove me.” Every racer says they are selfish and self-centered. It seems a weird way to exist … “I am still trying to understand that also. Selfishness obviously isn’t good and people say it is a selfish sport and you might have an important role but nobody is not being forced to do anything. We are all working towards a goal. For a rider to recognize the position he is in is like a guy leading a successful business. Of course, everyone wants to please him but he is also turning around and saying ‘how can I make my team or business better or find improvements?’ I think riders need to recognize the position they are in and I learned how people feed off you and how you can motivate your team. It changed for me when I stopped looking at it like ‘how can everybody help ME win a championship?’ to ‘how can I help this team to win a championship?’ then it took off in a good way. So, it is selfish … in a way. Another thing is that these riders are so young, and you do grow out of that as you get older otherwise it makes you miserable. At some point you need to look around and say ‘is everyone still onboard?’ and that means your family, your wife, your circle. I don’t think mine were over it but they were coming to races every single weekend for me for eleven years. Maybe they enjoyed it but I was ready to move on.” You obviously had a lot of success and must have enjoyed the process of reaching those goals. Do you miss that sense of achievement? “No because winning races and championships – the achievement part – they were temporary. I knew that people would forget about that sooner or later. There will be records and this-and-that but people move on. Winning a championship is a great feeling and something great to remember but the very next day it is onto the next championship. You cannot live in that moment. You work for six months and you accomplish a goal but it is short lived. I try to see past the achievement and look for more meaningful stuff. You can win a race or a championship but if you treat people like crap then how does it matter? Being a good ambassador and leader and representing the brand and being a good influence for kids: that is the stuff that is impactful and life-changing. The success on the track was good and kids can look up to that and you can have an integrity that others might want but the bigger picture was the effect on other people. Championships do help bike sales though! And other areas …” Ryan Dungey (USA) 2018 © Sebas Romero It’s been just over a year; do you feel you’ve found Ryan Dungey 2.0? “Yeah, I do. I miss the racing and I miss a lot of things … more so the memories. They pop up. But I have found the next step and how I can impact and still benefit people within the sport, the kids, the riders, the team. Representing the brand and the sponsors and what role I can have. Things are still slowly unfolding but I feel I have found my direction.” You look like you can race tomorrow, so you have obviously avoided the cookie jar. Are you still working out? “Oh yeah. I think I just told my wife Lindsay that I think it has only been three days off since I finished racing. I enjoy it because I don’t have to do it. And I can do different workout routines and not just focus on ‘what’s your lap time?!’ We’ve always lived a healthy lifestyle.” So, what do you want to do next? “I’m a big dreamer. I think about our sport quite a lot and what I can do and since the moment I started I always had the thought ‘how can we make this bigger and better?’ It is tough because there are a lot of separate groups in America and not everyone is working together. So, one of my big goals is to try to get everybody working in unity so other areas can benefit; I think there are a lot of areas of potential in the sport that hasn’t been tapped into everybody gets along … but you only get what you give and companies know that; if you don’t invest then you don’t grow and I have seen that learning curve [work]. I’ve been part of teams like that and it all comes to a stop at some point because you quit giving and investing. I think if we worked together then it would affect everybody through the whole chain. It is not something I want to have control over but maybe at least have a voice in. So that’s one area: what is that next step [for MX/SX] and I cannot do it on my own.” You also have your The Mind Champion coaching/education program. What is that about? “My first project, and it will come out here soon and we have done a lot of content, interviews and filming for it. Even with Roger [De Coster]. I think it will be good for the kids in the sport in any class. For me it has been about sharing knowledge and insight and maybe some wisdom and what helped me get to the level I was. Riders are ultimately a driving force. If they are not a good spokesperson and don’t realize the position they are in then this is not helping. A lot of people are watching and it contributes to the growth of the sport.” Ryan Dungey (USA) 2018 © Simon Cudby Photos: Marco Campelli | Sebas Romero | Simon Cudby
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