Mergi la conţinut

Caută în comunitate

Se afișează rezultate pentru cuvintele cheie 'ktm'.

  • Caută După Etichete

    Scrie cuvinte cheie separate de virgulă.
  • Caută După Autor

Tip Conținut


Forumuri

  • Motociclism în România
    • Pasionati si pasionate
    • Experiente, Calatorii si Poze
    • Evenimente si Motorsport
    • Stiri si articole
    • Crema motociclismului
    • Echipamentul motociclistului
    • Dealeri, Servicii si Oportunitati
    • Comunitati Moto Regionale
    • Clubul Motoveteranilor
    • Intreaba aici, orice!
    • Despre motociclete / pareri si impresii
    • ATV-ul meu
    • Scuterul meu
    • Discutii generale
    • Accidente si Furturi
  • Alte pasiuni
    • Pasiunea pentru ciclism
    • Mașinile - frumoase sau puternice sau amandoua
  • Bursa de Motociclete, Scutere, ATV, Echipamente si Accesorii
    • Anunturi cu motociclete, echipamente, piese si accesorii
  • Clubul Motoveteranilor's Discutii
  • Adventure Club - Big bikes's Discutii

Categorii

  • Noutăți & Îmbunătățiri

Bloguri

Niciun rezultat de afișat.

Niciun rezultat de afișat.

Calendare

  • Evenimente Motociclism
  • Evenimente Ciclism
  • Zile de nastere
  • Clubul Motoveteranilor's Evenimente

Categorii

  • Cataloage de Echipamente, piese si accesorii
  • Tutoriale, Ghiduri, Articole Utile
  • Reviste de profil
  • Manuale de Service si Intretinere
  • Clubul Motoveteranilor's Fişiere

Marker Groups

  • Members
  • Biker Friendly

Categorii

  • Motociclete
  • Biciclete

Categories

  • Trasee Motocicleta

Categorii

  • Permis A / A1 / A2

520 rezultate găsite

  1. Dakar 2018: A tough and beautiful race so far As we reach the well-earned rest day of Dakar 2018, it can certainly be said that this year’s route so far has been one of the toughest. From the start in Lima, Peru to today’s rest day in La Paz, Bolivia, the competitors have passed through days of desert and will now head into the mountains, racing at an altitude of over 2,500 meters. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Laia Sanz (ESP), Sam Sunderland (GBR), Matthias Walkner (AUT), Toby Price (AUS) & Antoine Meo (FRA) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com The opening part of the 40th edition of the notorious Rally Dakar was through the dunes and desert in Peru, with off-piste riding, tough climbs, soft sand and high temperatures to battle through. A mass start on the beach on day four offered a different kind of spectacle followed by some tough navigation and difficult terrain, while Day 5 provided the second longest stage of the rally with extremely tough mountainous sand dunes during the special stage. Austrian-ace Matthias Walkner said after Stage 5: “That was such an exhausting day. They said the rally this year was going to be one of the toughest ever and it’s certainly the hardest Dakar so far for me.” Yesterday’s stage brought the riders from Arequipa, Peru to La Paz, and while last year’s winner Sam Sunderland is unfortunately out of the race, the KTM Factory Racing Team is enjoying strong and consistent results from all of its riders aboard their KTM 450 RALLY machines heading into the second half of the event. With 3,034 km covered so far, and over 5,000 km to go across eight stages, including the ultra-challenging marathon stages where no assistance can be given by the team, we take a look at some of the most beautiful images from the race so far … Luciano Benavides (ARG) & Laia Sanz (ESP) Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com Photos: PhotosDakar.com
  2. Dakar 2018: A tough and beautiful race so far

    Dakar 2018: A tough and beautiful race so far As we reach the well-earned rest day of Dakar 2018, it can certainly be said that this year’s route so far has been one of the toughest. From the start in Lima, Peru to today’s rest day in La Paz, Bolivia, the competitors have passed through days of desert and will now head into the mountains, racing at an altitude of over 2,500 meters. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Laia Sanz (ESP), Sam Sunderland (GBR), Matthias Walkner (AUT), Toby Price (AUS) & Antoine Meo (FRA) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com The opening part of the 40th edition of the notorious Rally Dakar was through the dunes and desert in Peru, with off-piste riding, tough climbs, soft sand and high temperatures to battle through. A mass start on the beach on day four offered a different kind of spectacle followed by some tough navigation and difficult terrain, while Day 5 provided the second longest stage of the rally with extremely tough mountainous sand dunes during the special stage. Austrian-ace Matthias Walkner said after Stage 5: “That was such an exhausting day. They said the rally this year was going to be one of the toughest ever and it’s certainly the hardest Dakar so far for me.” Yesterday’s stage brought the riders from Arequipa, Peru to La Paz, and while last year’s winner Sam Sunderland is unfortunately out of the race, the KTM Factory Racing Team is enjoying strong and consistent results from all of its riders aboard their KTM 450 RALLY machines heading into the second half of the event. With 3,034 km covered so far, and over 5,000 km to go across eight stages, including the ultra-challenging marathon stages where no assistance can be given by the team, we take a look at some of the most beautiful images from the race so far … Luciano Benavides (ARG) & Laia Sanz (ESP) Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com Photos: PhotosDakar.com
  3. Lyndon Poskitt: Malle Moto and the true spirit of the Dakar Posted in People, Racing The Dakar is often referred to as the world’s toughest rally, with most of the attention focused on the factory riders battling for victory. But some would say they have it easy compared to the heroes that decide to enter the Malle Moto class. The Dakar rule book simply describes the Malle Moto class as a ‘challenge created for Bike and Quad Riders without ANY KIND OF SERVICE’. What that means exactly is that competitors have to do everything themselves. They ride their bikes, service and prepare their bikes, and receive no outside assistance throughout the event. Lyndon Poskitt is one of those brave riders who has decided to take on the Dakar in its purest form. Read about the Brit’s experience of last year’s race and how he prepared for Dakar Malle Moto 2018 … Lyndon Poskitt (GBR) 2017 © Future7Media A challenge like no other “In 2016 I decided to give the Malle Moto class a go and totally underestimated how hard it would be. I thought I would be ok, I thought if I stayed focused and rode sensibly it wouldn’t be too bad, but you would not believe how much it wears you down. Even when things are going well, you get more and more tired every day. When people ask me how it went and say ‘oh, you did really well, you came second last year’ – let me tell you, it was a struggle. © Lyndon Poskitt Racing The spirit of the race is completely different in the Malle Moto category. Everybody is in the same boat, they have to do everything themselves. Of course, when something happens there is this huge camaraderie of everyone getting together, it’s like a big family helping each other out. When you see some of the guys coming in early in the morning when you are getting ready to go out, you feel so bad for them, they might get an hour’s sleep at the most before heading out again themselves. Personally, I like the phrase Malle is Rally. The class is definitely the traditional way to ride the Dakar. That’s how it was originally, but now it’s evolved into this huge commercial event. While I do have some very good sponsors – I wouldn’t be able to compete without them – I do like to keep things traditional and that’s something I try to share in the media I produce.” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing Lack of sleep and the will to keep on going “Luckily, I only had a couple of those bad nights with no sleep. There was a huge landslide last year and they had to put a detour in place. The whole day was 1150 km long, we had already raced the stage, then had to do a 600 km liaison only to arrive at a road block and be told we had to go a different way. It was already 7:30 pm and we had to ride another 350 km. Even then I thought I would be able to get in by about 10 o’ clock, but the route was all offroad and so gnarly. It was full of trucks kicking up dust and was really tough going. I managed to get back to the bivouac at 1.30 am in the morning and was the only Malle Moto bike home – everyone else was still out there. I prepped the bike really quickly, grabbed some food and was in bed by 2 am. We were due to be up again at 4.30 am but the stage ended up getting cancelled, so luckily all the other riders had plenty of time to get back. Despite only getting a couple of hours sleep, I was all set to go. I still got up and was ready and when I went outside there were only four other bikes that had made it back, five of us in total.” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing Bike maintenance, solo bike maintenance “Every day without fail, the rear tire and mousse have to be changed, the front can sometimes last for a couple of days. It’s the only thing we are allowed to have assistance with. It’s strange why that is, but the Malle Moto organization won’t let you take a mousse changer, you have to go to Michelin to have them changed. Even though they are happy to change them for you, I would prefer to be able to change them by myself. I am quite proficient at changing tires and mousses and the problem with having someone else do it is that you have to carry your wheels and the new tires and mousses anything up to 500 meters to get them changed. It’s an added stress, especially in 40-degree heat. © Lyndon Poskitt Racing The bikes themselves are so strong. All there is to do is change the oil and filters and generally I only do that every other night. The air filter gets changed every day, then there’s small jobs like tensioning and lubing the chain and a general check over of the bike. It doesn’t sound like too much but what is crazy is how time runs away with you – just a few little jobs can easily take up to two hours. If you get in at 7 pm, it’s soon 9 pm and you still have to get some food, sort your roadbook and attend the riders’ meeting before even thinking about sleep. You’re lucky if you get to bed before midnight and then you’re up again at 3 am. Last year I learnt to make the absolute most of my time – get things done, don’t talk, don’t go to see people, you haven’t got time for that. It sounds extreme but that’s how you have to be in that class. Last year, I wasn’t rushing to bed and that’s something that has to change this year. I need to get stuff done quickly and get to sleep. An hour’s extra rest each night will mean a massive boost for me.” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing What´s in the box? “For the 2018 Dakar my Malle Moto box is going to be way more organized than last year. I learnt the hard way that you need to have everything organized, again so you don’t waste any time searching around for something. This year I am properly prepared, with separate little boxes inside for various tools and everything sits in there really nicely. Tool wise, I only carry what I need. When I was building up my bike in the workshop I tried to use the smallest possible tools I could, and then put it to one side. I knew when the bike was done I had every single tool I needed to take to the Dakar. In another section of the box I have all my consumables; greases, oils, cable-ties, all the things you need throughout the day to keep you going. In the bottom of the box I have all my electrical spares, not just for the bike but for the navigation equipment too, because without that, your rally is over. © Lyndon Poskitt Racing I keep all my energy gels in there and hydration kits. I don’t take anything that I don’t really need. The box is pretty full but for this year I managed to squeeze a bike cover in too, which comes in handy overnight in the desert. One thing that is really important is a good headtorch. I have them hidden all over the place; one on my bike, one in my gear bag and a couple in my Malle Moto box because if you lose those, you’re in trouble. You are allowed to have someone carry things for you, but it costs money so a lot of people don’t do it. I have KTM Racing take some oil and filters, things like that and I replenish my box at the rest day. My tires and mousses for example cost me about 1500 Euro just to have them shipped with another team.” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing Motorcycle loneliness “It’s really important to stay strong. No matter how low you are feeling, because you are on your own. You have to keep pushing on. When I got to about four days from the end last year, I was completely broken. I was tired, exhausted and hurting. But somehow, I managed to get to the finish. You have to be really strong minded to do the Dakar, especially in Malle Moto. I fell asleep on the liaison a couple of times last year, one of the hardest things is trying to stay awake. Once you are in the stage it’s fine because your adrenalin is up, but in the morning liaison, when it’s pitch black, cold and raining, you really struggle to stay awake. If you’re lucky you might just nod off for a split second and catch yourself, but twice in 2017 I ran off the road and onto the dirt and woke up riding along with an Armco barrier right next to me. That shook me up a little and so I stopped by the side of the road for a break. I must have slept for only about five minutes maximum and was woken up when the next bike came past, but that five minutes was all I needed, I set off again and felt much better.” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing Media commitments “Most of the other Malle Moto riders wonder how I do it, but if it wasn’t for the media side of things and the exposure that gets, I wouldn’t be able to compete. I’m not a factory racer, I’m not in a position where I’m going to win the event, but what I can do is relate to people. They can see I’m just a normal guy having a go at the Dakar. To be able to share my experiences is what is helping me to actually get there, and achieve my goals as well. I think now, that feeling of being able to share my adventures is 50 % of the drive behind wanting to do it. I love the social media side of things, I love the support and interest from people all over the world and it encourages me to do more. © Lyndon Poskitt Racing What I’ll be doing this year with the daily video posts is a massive undertaking. We’ve got two people on-site and one person back in the UK receiving the data. It’s all got to be edited on the fly, which is super-technical and difficult to do. Other than the big teams with their big budgets, nobody has tried it before, so hopefully with a little luck we can pull it off and give the viewer a real taste of what the Dakar is like for a regular guy like me. One of the key things for me is that the footage has to be authentic. It won’t change who I am and I won’t try to be something I’m not. I am always conscious about getting some shots though, even if that means stopping in the middle of a stage to capture something important. It takes a little time at the beginning of the day to set up the cameras, and then starting and stopping the cameras where I feel the best content is. There are a lot of riders on social media and YouTube putting together cool little edits now, but I’m hoping my videos will be more timeless than that. They’ll tell more of a story and show the true side of the Dakar.” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing When it´s all over “Following on from the Dakar, after everything is finished, things are still tough. I took a week off at the end of last year’s event, but the effects last a lot longer than that. I was struggling to sleep properly for ages, finding myself awake for a lot of the night and I just couldn’t get back into a healthy rhythm again. Hopefully at the end of the 2018 event, everything will have gone well and I will have hours of footage to share with my followers. The Dakar really is something special, something unique and to be able to share my experiences of riding it is a real honor. I just hope everyone else enjoys sharing my journey …” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing Photos: Future7Media | Lyndon Poskitt Racing
  4. Lyndon Poskitt: Malle Moto and the true spirit of the Dakar Posted in People, Racing The Dakar is often referred to as the world’s toughest rally, with most of the attention focused on the factory riders battling for victory. But some would say they have it easy compared to the heroes that decide to enter the Malle Moto class. The Dakar rule book simply describes the Malle Moto class as a ‘challenge created for Bike and Quad Riders without ANY KIND OF SERVICE’. What that means exactly is that competitors have to do everything themselves. They ride their bikes, service and prepare their bikes, and receive no outside assistance throughout the event. Lyndon Poskitt is one of those brave riders who has decided to take on the Dakar in its purest form. Read about the Brit’s experience of last year’s race and how he prepared for Dakar Malle Moto 2018 … Lyndon Poskitt (GBR) 2017 © Future7Media A challenge like no other “In 2016 I decided to give the Malle Moto class a go and totally underestimated how hard it would be. I thought I would be ok, I thought if I stayed focused and rode sensibly it wouldn’t be too bad, but you would not believe how much it wears you down. Even when things are going well, you get more and more tired every day. When people ask me how it went and say ‘oh, you did really well, you came second last year’ – let me tell you, it was a struggle. © Lyndon Poskitt Racing The spirit of the race is completely different in the Malle Moto category. Everybody is in the same boat, they have to do everything themselves. Of course, when something happens there is this huge camaraderie of everyone getting together, it’s like a big family helping each other out. When you see some of the guys coming in early in the morning when you are getting ready to go out, you feel so bad for them, they might get an hour’s sleep at the most before heading out again themselves. Personally, I like the phrase Malle is Rally. The class is definitely the traditional way to ride the Dakar. That’s how it was originally, but now it’s evolved into this huge commercial event. While I do have some very good sponsors – I wouldn’t be able to compete without them – I do like to keep things traditional and that’s something I try to share in the media I produce.” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing Lack of sleep and the will to keep on going “Luckily, I only had a couple of those bad nights with no sleep. There was a huge landslide last year and they had to put a detour in place. The whole day was 1150 km long, we had already raced the stage, then had to do a 600 km liaison only to arrive at a road block and be told we had to go a different way. It was already 7:30 pm and we had to ride another 350 km. Even then I thought I would be able to get in by about 10 o’ clock, but the route was all offroad and so gnarly. It was full of trucks kicking up dust and was really tough going. I managed to get back to the bivouac at 1.30 am in the morning and was the only Malle Moto bike home – everyone else was still out there. I prepped the bike really quickly, grabbed some food and was in bed by 2 am. We were due to be up again at 4.30 am but the stage ended up getting cancelled, so luckily all the other riders had plenty of time to get back. Despite only getting a couple of hours sleep, I was all set to go. I still got up and was ready and when I went outside there were only four other bikes that had made it back, five of us in total.” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing Bike maintenance, solo bike maintenance “Every day without fail, the rear tire and mousse have to be changed, the front can sometimes last for a couple of days. It’s the only thing we are allowed to have assistance with. It’s strange why that is, but the Malle Moto organization won’t let you take a mousse changer, you have to go to Michelin to have them changed. Even though they are happy to change them for you, I would prefer to be able to change them by myself. I am quite proficient at changing tires and mousses and the problem with having someone else do it is that you have to carry your wheels and the new tires and mousses anything up to 500 meters to get them changed. It’s an added stress, especially in 40-degree heat. © Lyndon Poskitt Racing The bikes themselves are so strong. All there is to do is change the oil and filters and generally I only do that every other night. The air filter gets changed every day, then there’s small jobs like tensioning and lubing the chain and a general check over of the bike. It doesn’t sound like too much but what is crazy is how time runs away with you – just a few little jobs can easily take up to two hours. If you get in at 7 pm, it’s soon 9 pm and you still have to get some food, sort your roadbook and attend the riders’ meeting before even thinking about sleep. You’re lucky if you get to bed before midnight and then you’re up again at 3 am. Last year I learnt to make the absolute most of my time – get things done, don’t talk, don’t go to see people, you haven’t got time for that. It sounds extreme but that’s how you have to be in that class. Last year, I wasn’t rushing to bed and that’s something that has to change this year. I need to get stuff done quickly and get to sleep. An hour’s extra rest each night will mean a massive boost for me.” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing What´s in the box? “For the 2018 Dakar my Malle Moto box is going to be way more organized than last year. I learnt the hard way that you need to have everything organized, again so you don’t waste any time searching around for something. This year I am properly prepared, with separate little boxes inside for various tools and everything sits in there really nicely. Tool wise, I only carry what I need. When I was building up my bike in the workshop I tried to use the smallest possible tools I could, and then put it to one side. I knew when the bike was done I had every single tool I needed to take to the Dakar. In another section of the box I have all my consumables; greases, oils, cable-ties, all the things you need throughout the day to keep you going. In the bottom of the box I have all my electrical spares, not just for the bike but for the navigation equipment too, because without that, your rally is over. © Lyndon Poskitt Racing I keep all my energy gels in there and hydration kits. I don’t take anything that I don’t really need. The box is pretty full but for this year I managed to squeeze a bike cover in too, which comes in handy overnight in the desert. One thing that is really important is a good headtorch. I have them hidden all over the place; one on my bike, one in my gear bag and a couple in my Malle Moto box because if you lose those, you’re in trouble. You are allowed to have someone carry things for you, but it costs money so a lot of people don’t do it. I have KTM Racing take some oil and filters, things like that and I replenish my box at the rest day. My tires and mousses for example cost me about 1500 Euro just to have them shipped with another team.” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing Motorcycle loneliness “It’s really important to stay strong. No matter how low you are feeling, because you are on your own. You have to keep pushing on. When I got to about four days from the end last year, I was completely broken. I was tired, exhausted and hurting. But somehow, I managed to get to the finish. You have to be really strong minded to do the Dakar, especially in Malle Moto. I fell asleep on the liaison a couple of times last year, one of the hardest things is trying to stay awake. Once you are in the stage it’s fine because your adrenalin is up, but in the morning liaison, when it’s pitch black, cold and raining, you really struggle to stay awake. If you’re lucky you might just nod off for a split second and catch yourself, but twice in 2017 I ran off the road and onto the dirt and woke up riding along with an Armco barrier right next to me. That shook me up a little and so I stopped by the side of the road for a break. I must have slept for only about five minutes maximum and was woken up when the next bike came past, but that five minutes was all I needed, I set off again and felt much better.” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing Media commitments “Most of the other Malle Moto riders wonder how I do it, but if it wasn’t for the media side of things and the exposure that gets, I wouldn’t be able to compete. I’m not a factory racer, I’m not in a position where I’m going to win the event, but what I can do is relate to people. They can see I’m just a normal guy having a go at the Dakar. To be able to share my experiences is what is helping me to actually get there, and achieve my goals as well. I think now, that feeling of being able to share my adventures is 50 % of the drive behind wanting to do it. I love the social media side of things, I love the support and interest from people all over the world and it encourages me to do more. © Lyndon Poskitt Racing What I’ll be doing this year with the daily video posts is a massive undertaking. We’ve got two people on-site and one person back in the UK receiving the data. It’s all got to be edited on the fly, which is super-technical and difficult to do. Other than the big teams with their big budgets, nobody has tried it before, so hopefully with a little luck we can pull it off and give the viewer a real taste of what the Dakar is like for a regular guy like me. One of the key things for me is that the footage has to be authentic. It won’t change who I am and I won’t try to be something I’m not. I am always conscious about getting some shots though, even if that means stopping in the middle of a stage to capture something important. It takes a little time at the beginning of the day to set up the cameras, and then starting and stopping the cameras where I feel the best content is. There are a lot of riders on social media and YouTube putting together cool little edits now, but I’m hoping my videos will be more timeless than that. They’ll tell more of a story and show the true side of the Dakar.” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing When it´s all over “Following on from the Dakar, after everything is finished, things are still tough. I took a week off at the end of last year’s event, but the effects last a lot longer than that. I was struggling to sleep properly for ages, finding myself awake for a lot of the night and I just couldn’t get back into a healthy rhythm again. Hopefully at the end of the 2018 event, everything will have gone well and I will have hours of footage to share with my followers. The Dakar really is something special, something unique and to be able to share my experiences of riding it is a real honor. I just hope everyone else enjoys sharing my journey …” © Lyndon Poskitt Racing Photos: Future7Media | Lyndon Poskitt Racing
  5. ktm His last road to Dakar #3

    His last road to Dakar #3 This will be the final time former GP racer Jurgen van den Goorbergh prepares for the toughest of all rallies; the Rally Dakar. The 48-year-old is neck deep into his preparations for his tenth go at the race. In three episodes we will be following his endeavors. Jurgen van den Goorbergh (NED) 2017 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions It’s been a few years since Jurgen van den Goorbergh celebrated New Year’s Eve with his family. A choice he made willingly, mind you. The last nine years he’s been partaking in the Rally Dakar, that sets off annually on one the first days of the year. Though this year the start date is a bit more family friendly, so he will able to raise a glass of champagne with the family, only to take to the sky the day after. He will eventually land in South America; Lima to be precise. Two weeks racing will depart from the Peruvian capital on January 6, with 14 stages planned. “This will be my last go at it, and I’ve got two reasons I’m going at it this one last time. Firstly, I want to show I can run my self-built Dakar bike – based off the KTM 450 EXC-F – reliably. Secondly, it’s the route for 2018. We start off in Peru, which is why I just had to go. The Peruvian desert has some of the most incredible sand dunes; those are just magical. I’m really looking forward to it.” After those six days, the 48-year-old Dutch rider will pass into Bolivia, with a lot more technical stages planned. “That sort of terrain should suite my bike very well. It’s light and agile, so it should be good. That’s where it should shine brightest.” During last year’s edition heavy rain ruined play in Bolivia, but van den Goorbergh isn’t expecting a rerun of that this year. “I’ve been in contact with Chavo Salvatierra (Bolivian Dakar rider) as he’s using a few parts I’ve made him, and he assured me the weather looks a lot better than it did last year. It’s by no means certain it won’t rain, but it will always be better than last time.” Jurgen van den Goorbergh (NED) KTM 450 EXC-F 2017 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Difficult game Leaving well-prepared, van den Goorbergh is really looking forward to getting this Rally Dakar on the road. Priority for the first few days is to find a rhythm he can keep up for the entire fortnight. Also an important part of the race is to get a hang of navigating at high speeds. “Obviously I’m bike fit, but that is mostly from training on an Enduro bike. The rally bike’s been tested in the roughest of terrains, but I won’t put too many miles on it. I have to save that for South America. The big boys get to train on their race bikes on a day to day basis. I would’ve done a few smaller raids if they weren’t so incredibly expensive.” Because of that, van den Goorbergh will have to get used to navigating again. “I have to regain the rhythm, because I know full well I will be messy at first. You’re used to going way faster, but now you have to look down at the roadbook from time to time. You get distracted, so focus is an absolute must; a split second of losing focus and you’re in trouble. You have to be able to look down, think, and then take the right trail. That’s what makes a rally raid so interesting. If all came down to raw speed, they’d sent Jeffrey Herlings into the desert.” Navigating itself has changed a lot since last year, partially influenced by Marc Coma as the acting sporting director for the Dakar. It has become more difficult. “Waypoints are way more hidden now. In the past you’d be able to see the waypoint half a mile out. That won’t be the case anymore, so you’ll be looking at the roadbook more. And obviously you’re going to have to rely on your navigating skills more now.” And that is hardly easy, as van den Goorbergh knows all too well. It doesn’t take much to get into trouble. “If you run wide through a corner or if you cut it, you won’t notice until a few miles down the road your mileage is off by like 300 meters of more. That makes all the difference when it comes to taking the right route down to waypoints that only validate when you pass them by 90 meters or less. So you’re constantly correcting the miles you’ve put on the clock. It’s a difficult game, navigating.” © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions No rest for the weary It’s not just navigating that could cause potential headaches for van den Goorbergh. The fact he’s running in the Malle Moto class (malle means box in French) is an extra challenge in itself. “Running in the Malle Moto is hardship. You’re not just on the bike during the day, you’re also working on it when you get to the bivouac. No-one’s allowed to help you, and that gets tough.” The days are long for van den Goorbergh and his fellow Malle Moto riders (28 in total!). “My alarm goes at around 3.30 am, because we’re usually set to depart at around 5.00 am. By the time you come back in, it’s the end of the afternoon, with little time to eat and shower. It’s simply time you don’t have as a Malle Moto contestant. You’re tired, but you are going to have to get your hands dirty, too. Otherwise the bike won’t be ready for the next day. I have a work schedule for every single day, and that’s easily an hour’s work. And that is purely maintenance, not including repairing mishaps from the stage. If you crash or run into mechanical troubles, you’ve got your work cut out for you.” In Malle Moto you can call yourself a lucky man if you make it to bed by about 11.00 pm. Most of the times you don’t even get that luxury. “That is where a lot of the big boys make the biggest gains on us, because they’ll be calling it a day at 9.00 pm. They get to rest, which in turn helps them focus the next day. Malle Moto doesn’t just get hard, it gets dangerous, because you’ve got so little time to rest.” For the bigger problems, van den Goorbergh can call in some help with KTM. “Smaller parts like footpegs and levers I’ve got in the box, but it isn’t bottomless. If I bend or brake my bars, I can walk by KTM’s service truck. I can buy parts like that off them. Then again it’s better if you never need to bother them for parts, because that usually means you’ve been in a crash. Something that is extra heavy to have to deal with for a Malle Moto rider.” © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions One up Jurgen van den Goorbergh has to finish the Dakar, living out of the box the organizers (fixed measurements of 80 x 44 x 36 cm) take to the next bivouac every day. “My box is really two boxes, with the first one lined with loose bits and pieces; bike parts. The second one houses my tools. Because this is my fourth attempt at the Malle Moto class I know exactly what to bring. When I first took the challenge in 2015, I had completely overloaded my tool box, even though I thought I was well enough informed by a duo of former contestants. At camp there’s a work bench for Malle Moto riders, which I’m glad to be able to use. First time around I had brought an axle grinder; something you’re only ever going to be using once, so you might as well borrow it when you need it.” Apart from the box, Malle Moto riders are allowed to load up a set off wheels, a tent, and a bag of clothes. The organizers take those from one bivouac to the next. For other stuff, van den Goorbergh counts on befriended teams to carry it for him. “As a Malle Moto rider everyone knows how tough you’re going to get it, so they’re never too hard on you when you ask for a favor, like carrying a bag or some parts for you on their truck. The organizer also know about the hardships a Malle Moto rider goes through, so they think with the riders. For instance by placing the Malle Moto camp centrally in the bivouac; close to the tent where we can get food and drinks, but also close to the Michelin trucks. That alone saves a lot of time carrying wheels and tires across the bivouac.” Despite all of the challenges of the Malle Moto class, the former MotoGPTM rider wouldn’t have it any other way. “The purest way of approaching it. I did my first Dakar in 2009, and everything was smooth sailing. I came in seventeenth in my debut Rally Dakar; an incredible performance. I was rookie of the year too, which made it extra special. On paper it’s my best result by miles, but it doesn’t feel like it. Becoming the 2016 Malle Moto winner felt more special. Doing it all by yourself gives you a bigger feeling of accomplishment at the end of it all.” Jurgen van den Goorbergh (NED) 2017 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Extra challenge It would be a fantastic ending to van den Goorbergh’s Dakar career if he could just take victory in the Malle Moto class in 2018. Though things have gotten a bit more interesting for the Dutchman when he heard Olivier Pain will be running in the specialist class as well. “It was quite a surprise to hear that. Pain is an elite rider, so you wouldn’t expect him to go and run in the Malle Moto class. He’s obviously a really good rider; you would have to be to take third overall like he did in 2014. And the big boys sure know how to swing a wrench, so that won’t be much of a problem either. His only downfall might be him trying to show off his speed. He’s used to doing so for years, but in Malle Moto you’re going to have employ a different strategy altogether.” Van den Goorbergh discovered firsthand how risky eagerness can be in the Dakar. “Last year I went off just a few days into the rally, partly because I was going too fast that day. I was making good time, but in the end it didn’t pay off as I crashed. That one spill caused a DNF, so you really have to be careful.” Despite finding a new rival in the fast Frenchman, the goal remains clear for the Dutchman. Finishing on his self-built Dakar bike is pretty much all that matters. “Of course I want to do a good job and finish as high up as possible. In riding Pain one-ups me, but that does not mean I can’t beat him. It isn’t just about raw speed; tactics play a big role. If I do make it to the end, I want to be on the Malle Moto rostrum. When things go to plan, that is feasible. Concerning the overall standings, I’d like to be in with the first fifty riders for the first week. If I can keep up with consistency, I can’t go wrong. In the final week riders will start to retire, allowing me to move up a few places. My goal is to make it to the top 35, and I’m going to give it my all.” Don’t want to miss out on Jurgen van den Goorbergh’s process during the Dakar Rally? Then make sure you follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Jurgen van den Goorbergh (NED) 2017 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Photos: Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
  6. His last road to Dakar #3

    His last road to Dakar #3 This will be the final time former GP racer Jurgen van den Goorbergh prepares for the toughest of all rallies; the Rally Dakar. The 48-year-old is neck deep into his preparations for his tenth go at the race. In three episodes we will be following his endeavors. Jurgen van den Goorbergh (NED) 2017 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions It’s been a few years since Jurgen van den Goorbergh celebrated New Year’s Eve with his family. A choice he made willingly, mind you. The last nine years he’s been partaking in the Rally Dakar, that sets off annually on one the first days of the year. Though this year the start date is a bit more family friendly, so he will able to raise a glass of champagne with the family, only to take to the sky the day after. He will eventually land in South America; Lima to be precise. Two weeks racing will depart from the Peruvian capital on January 6, with 14 stages planned. “This will be my last go at it, and I’ve got two reasons I’m going at it this one last time. Firstly, I want to show I can run my self-built Dakar bike – based off the KTM 450 EXC-F – reliably. Secondly, it’s the route for 2018. We start off in Peru, which is why I just had to go. The Peruvian desert has some of the most incredible sand dunes; those are just magical. I’m really looking forward to it.” After those six days, the 48-year-old Dutch rider will pass into Bolivia, with a lot more technical stages planned. “That sort of terrain should suite my bike very well. It’s light and agile, so it should be good. That’s where it should shine brightest.” During last year’s edition heavy rain ruined play in Bolivia, but van den Goorbergh isn’t expecting a rerun of that this year. “I’ve been in contact with Chavo Salvatierra (Bolivian Dakar rider) as he’s using a few parts I’ve made him, and he assured me the weather looks a lot better than it did last year. It’s by no means certain it won’t rain, but it will always be better than last time.” Jurgen van den Goorbergh (NED) KTM 450 EXC-F 2017 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Difficult game Leaving well-prepared, van den Goorbergh is really looking forward to getting this Rally Dakar on the road. Priority for the first few days is to find a rhythm he can keep up for the entire fortnight. Also an important part of the race is to get a hang of navigating at high speeds. “Obviously I’m bike fit, but that is mostly from training on an Enduro bike. The rally bike’s been tested in the roughest of terrains, but I won’t put too many miles on it. I have to save that for South America. The big boys get to train on their race bikes on a day to day basis. I would’ve done a few smaller raids if they weren’t so incredibly expensive.” Because of that, van den Goorbergh will have to get used to navigating again. “I have to regain the rhythm, because I know full well I will be messy at first. You’re used to going way faster, but now you have to look down at the roadbook from time to time. You get distracted, so focus is an absolute must; a split second of losing focus and you’re in trouble. You have to be able to look down, think, and then take the right trail. That’s what makes a rally raid so interesting. If all came down to raw speed, they’d sent Jeffrey Herlings into the desert.” Navigating itself has changed a lot since last year, partially influenced by Marc Coma as the acting sporting director for the Dakar. It has become more difficult. “Waypoints are way more hidden now. In the past you’d be able to see the waypoint half a mile out. That won’t be the case anymore, so you’ll be looking at the roadbook more. And obviously you’re going to have to rely on your navigating skills more now.” And that is hardly easy, as van den Goorbergh knows all too well. It doesn’t take much to get into trouble. “If you run wide through a corner or if you cut it, you won’t notice until a few miles down the road your mileage is off by like 300 meters of more. That makes all the difference when it comes to taking the right route down to waypoints that only validate when you pass them by 90 meters or less. So you’re constantly correcting the miles you’ve put on the clock. It’s a difficult game, navigating.” © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions No rest for the weary It’s not just navigating that could cause potential headaches for van den Goorbergh. The fact he’s running in the Malle Moto class (malle means box in French) is an extra challenge in itself. “Running in the Malle Moto is hardship. You’re not just on the bike during the day, you’re also working on it when you get to the bivouac. No-one’s allowed to help you, and that gets tough.” The days are long for van den Goorbergh and his fellow Malle Moto riders (28 in total!). “My alarm goes at around 3.30 am, because we’re usually set to depart at around 5.00 am. By the time you come back in, it’s the end of the afternoon, with little time to eat and shower. It’s simply time you don’t have as a Malle Moto contestant. You’re tired, but you are going to have to get your hands dirty, too. Otherwise the bike won’t be ready for the next day. I have a work schedule for every single day, and that’s easily an hour’s work. And that is purely maintenance, not including repairing mishaps from the stage. If you crash or run into mechanical troubles, you’ve got your work cut out for you.” In Malle Moto you can call yourself a lucky man if you make it to bed by about 11.00 pm. Most of the times you don’t even get that luxury. “That is where a lot of the big boys make the biggest gains on us, because they’ll be calling it a day at 9.00 pm. They get to rest, which in turn helps them focus the next day. Malle Moto doesn’t just get hard, it gets dangerous, because you’ve got so little time to rest.” For the bigger problems, van den Goorbergh can call in some help with KTM. “Smaller parts like footpegs and levers I’ve got in the box, but it isn’t bottomless. If I bend or brake my bars, I can walk by KTM’s service truck. I can buy parts like that off them. Then again it’s better if you never need to bother them for parts, because that usually means you’ve been in a crash. Something that is extra heavy to have to deal with for a Malle Moto rider.” © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions One up Jurgen van den Goorbergh has to finish the Dakar, living out of the box the organizers (fixed measurements of 80 x 44 x 36 cm) take to the next bivouac every day. “My box is really two boxes, with the first one lined with loose bits and pieces; bike parts. The second one houses my tools. Because this is my fourth attempt at the Malle Moto class I know exactly what to bring. When I first took the challenge in 2015, I had completely overloaded my tool box, even though I thought I was well enough informed by a duo of former contestants. At camp there’s a work bench for Malle Moto riders, which I’m glad to be able to use. First time around I had brought an axle grinder; something you’re only ever going to be using once, so you might as well borrow it when you need it.” Apart from the box, Malle Moto riders are allowed to load up a set off wheels, a tent, and a bag of clothes. The organizers take those from one bivouac to the next. For other stuff, van den Goorbergh counts on befriended teams to carry it for him. “As a Malle Moto rider everyone knows how tough you’re going to get it, so they’re never too hard on you when you ask for a favor, like carrying a bag or some parts for you on their truck. The organizer also know about the hardships a Malle Moto rider goes through, so they think with the riders. For instance by placing the Malle Moto camp centrally in the bivouac; close to the tent where we can get food and drinks, but also close to the Michelin trucks. That alone saves a lot of time carrying wheels and tires across the bivouac.” Despite all of the challenges of the Malle Moto class, the former MotoGPTM rider wouldn’t have it any other way. “The purest way of approaching it. I did my first Dakar in 2009, and everything was smooth sailing. I came in seventeenth in my debut Rally Dakar; an incredible performance. I was rookie of the year too, which made it extra special. On paper it’s my best result by miles, but it doesn’t feel like it. Becoming the 2016 Malle Moto winner felt more special. Doing it all by yourself gives you a bigger feeling of accomplishment at the end of it all.” Jurgen van den Goorbergh (NED) 2017 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Extra challenge It would be a fantastic ending to van den Goorbergh’s Dakar career if he could just take victory in the Malle Moto class in 2018. Though things have gotten a bit more interesting for the Dutchman when he heard Olivier Pain will be running in the specialist class as well. “It was quite a surprise to hear that. Pain is an elite rider, so you wouldn’t expect him to go and run in the Malle Moto class. He’s obviously a really good rider; you would have to be to take third overall like he did in 2014. And the big boys sure know how to swing a wrench, so that won’t be much of a problem either. His only downfall might be him trying to show off his speed. He’s used to doing so for years, but in Malle Moto you’re going to have employ a different strategy altogether.” Van den Goorbergh discovered firsthand how risky eagerness can be in the Dakar. “Last year I went off just a few days into the rally, partly because I was going too fast that day. I was making good time, but in the end it didn’t pay off as I crashed. That one spill caused a DNF, so you really have to be careful.” Despite finding a new rival in the fast Frenchman, the goal remains clear for the Dutchman. Finishing on his self-built Dakar bike is pretty much all that matters. “Of course I want to do a good job and finish as high up as possible. In riding Pain one-ups me, but that does not mean I can’t beat him. It isn’t just about raw speed; tactics play a big role. If I do make it to the end, I want to be on the Malle Moto rostrum. When things go to plan, that is feasible. Concerning the overall standings, I’d like to be in with the first fifty riders for the first week. If I can keep up with consistency, I can’t go wrong. In the final week riders will start to retire, allowing me to move up a few places. My goal is to make it to the top 35, and I’m going to give it my all.” Don’t want to miss out on Jurgen van den Goorbergh’s process during the Dakar Rally? Then make sure you follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Jurgen van den Goorbergh (NED) 2017 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Photos: Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
  7. The KTM 450 RALLY – Unbeaten at the Dakar KTM has enjoyed no fewer than 16 consecutive Rally Dakar victories. Even since 2011, when rules changed and engine sizes were reduced to a maximum of 450cc in an effort to bring other manufacturers into the event, KTM have won every single race. With an all-new bike for 2018, KTM once again take to the start well-prepared, well-motivated and hoping to take win number 17 … KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Marcin Kin Following the move of the rally from Africa to South America in 2009, the routes and type of terrains used varied dramatically to the long, flat-out stages of the ‘original’ North African Dakar. In 2011 it was made compulsory for motorcycle engines to not exceed 450cc. This was advertised as ‘levelling the playing field’ for manufacturers in the hope of attracting different brands and with it possibly different winners. At this point KTM had already won the previous nine rallies. The other factor was safety, by reducing the capacity of the machines, overall speeds would be reduced with the bikes easier to handle during the arduous two-week event. Going into the 2011 Dakar, KTM had very little time to develop a specialized 450cc machine. Their solution was to fit a carbureted 450cc motocross engine into the chassis of their Dakar-winning 690 RALLY. Although somewhat crude, the bike was a success and took Marc Coma to his third win at the event. Marc Coma (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY 2011 © Future7Media It wasn’t until 2014 that KTM released their first purpose-built 450 RALLY. The bike was designed around a new fuel-injected 450cc engine, the result of which was a far more agile machine. The 450 took Marc Coma to another victory and year-on-year has continued to dominate the Rally Dakar, right up to Sam Sunderland’s win in 2017. Despite their ongoing success, and not wanting to rest on their laurels, KTM already had plans for a newer, slimmer and faster machine. In development for over two years, the latest incarnation of the KTM 450 RALLY is the most capable yet. At first glance you can see the bike is slimmer and more maneuverable. Underneath the updated bodywork and fuel tanks are a whole host of other changes that have come together to create a winning machine. A new frame and swingarm instantly create a narrower bike, a slimmer feeling between the legs for the riders. The bike handles the more technical sections with ease due to the improved design and lighter weight – over 10 kg less than the previous model. The center of gravity on the bike is lower and has been pitched forward, aiding both stability and handling at speed. KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Marcin Kin The swingarm now sits on its pivot inside the rear of the main chassis, this creates a stiffer rear end and makes the bike less twitchy when ridden hard over the roughest terrain. The rear subframe is fully self-supported, manufactured from carbon, and incorporates one of the fuel tanks. In total, the bike carries approximately 31 liters when fully fueled. Up front, to balance the other changes to the chassis, huge 52 mm WP forks are fitted, another big improvement over the outgoing 48 mm versions. The bike keeps it standard size wheels – 21-inch up front and 18-inch on the rear, both shod with Michelin tires and mousses. Moto-Master brakes are fitted to slow down the bikes, mounted on the rear is a 240 mm disc while the front carries a massive 300 mm rotor. These provide enough stopping power to bring the bike to a standstill from speeds of over 180 km/h. KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Marcin Kin With the bike sporting an aggressive-looking black color scheme, Matthias Walkner took the new 450 to the win at the final round of the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in Morocco. It was Matthias’ first victory of the season and the Austrian attributed the success to an improved feeling on the new bike. “The new bike is a massive improvement,” told Matthias. “It feels much safer to ride, although faster at the same time. I think with the input of the younger riders, the bike has progressed a lot and suits the riding style of today. The old bike was a product of the racing as it used to be five or six years ago. Riders like Marc Coma and Jordi Viladoms, who were used to riding the larger capacity machines, perhaps had a different style to how we ride now. A lot of the new, younger riders, coming from a motocross background, prefer the lighter, sleeker feel of the new bike.” Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Future7Media To compliment the changes to the chassis, a new 450cc single-cylinder engine has been fitted. Not only providing better peak performance but also improved response. This is achieved by an all-new throttle body and engine management system. The bike is not only faster now but easier to ride at slower speeds when the going gets really tricky and the rider needs that added control. These combined advantages will really come into their own during an event like the Dakar. With competitors covering close to 9,000 km over 14 stages the race is tough on the rider as well as the machine. The new bike, being easier to ride fast over long distances and less of a handful in the slower, technical sections, will help riders stay fresh and focused. KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Marcin Kin Laia Sanz will be contesting her eighth Dakar in 2018. The Spanish multiple world enduro and trials champion feels the new 450 may suit her even more than the rest of the team. “I’m so happy riding the new bike,” explains Laia. “It felt so good In Morocco back in October at the OiLibya Rally. It’s not only lighter and faster but it’s more stable and that makes such a difference on the stages. When you hit an unexpected hole or jump the bike always stays straight and that is such a big improvement over the last bike. For me, I know I’m not as strong as some of the other guys in the team so to have a more nimble, lighter bike is perhaps even more important.” Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Future7Media 2016 Dakar winner, Toby Price has had a tough year. The Australian injured his leg during stage four of the 2017 Dakar – pushing hard to make up lost time, Toby came off his bike in a riverbed and fractured the thighbone on his left leg. What followed was a year of recuperation and eventually, further surgery to clean up his left knee and replace the rod in his femur. Toby has had very little time on any bike during 2017 and has only managed a couple of weeks riding on the new KTM 450 RALLY in its current form. Despite the lack of testing, the former Dakar winner is confident the new 450 can deliver another top result. “The bike has come on so much over the past 12 months,” said Price. “Even from the outside looking in you can see the new improvements and how it should suit the more technical sections in the rally. Over the long stages its weight and agility should make things far less fatiguing for the riders – it’s lost maybe 10 kilos during its development and you can definitely feel that when you are riding it. My first full test won’t come until the Dakar itself now, but you only have to look at the results from Morocco to see how strong the bike is and everyone in the team seems to enjoy riding it. I’m really looking forward to seeing what it can do.” Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Future7Media The Rally Dakar starts on January 6, 2018. Close to 200 bikes will set off into the Peruvian desert on the beginning of their 9,000 km journey that will hopefully see them to the finish at the Argentinian city of Cordoba. The KTM team of Sunderland, Walkner, Price, Meo, Sanz and Benavides will all be aiming to take the new KTM 450 RALLY to its maiden win, the 17th in a row for the Austrian manufacturer. KTM 450 RALLY SPECS ENGINE: Single cylinder, 4-stroke, 449.3cc ENGINE MANAGEMENT: Keihin EMS with electronic fuel injection TRANSMISSION: 6 gears, final drive 14:48, wet multi-disc clutch COOLING: Liquid cooled CHASSIS: Chromium molybdenum trellis steel frame, self-supporting carbon subframe SUSPENSION: 52 mm WP USD forks, WP shock absorber with linkage, 300 mm travel front and rear BRAKES: Front 300 mm, rear 240 mm Moto-Master SILENCER: Akrapovič, titanium FUEL CAPACITY: Approx. 31 liters WEIGHT: Approx. 138 kg (dry) [embedded content] Photos: Marcin Kin | Future7Media Video: GSP Media/KTM
  8. The KTM 450 RALLY – Unbeaten at the Dakar

    The KTM 450 RALLY – Unbeaten at the Dakar KTM has enjoyed no fewer than 16 consecutive Rally Dakar victories. Even since 2011, when rules changed and engine sizes were reduced to a maximum of 450cc in an effort to bring other manufacturers into the event, KTM have won every single race. With an all-new bike for 2018, KTM once again take to the start well-prepared, well-motivated and hoping to take win number 17 … KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Marcin Kin Following the move of the rally from Africa to South America in 2009, the routes and type of terrains used varied dramatically to the long, flat-out stages of the ‘original’ North African Dakar. In 2011 it was made compulsory for motorcycle engines to not exceed 450cc. This was advertised as ‘levelling the playing field’ for manufacturers in the hope of attracting different brands and with it possibly different winners. At this point KTM had already won the previous nine rallies. The other factor was safety, by reducing the capacity of the machines, overall speeds would be reduced with the bikes easier to handle during the arduous two-week event. Going into the 2011 Dakar, KTM had very little time to develop a specialized 450cc machine. Their solution was to fit a carbureted 450cc motocross engine into the chassis of their Dakar-winning 690 RALLY. Although somewhat crude, the bike was a success and took Marc Coma to his third win at the event. Marc Coma (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY 2011 © Future7Media It wasn’t until 2014 that KTM released their first purpose-built 450 RALLY. The bike was designed around a new fuel-injected 450cc engine, the result of which was a far more agile machine. The 450 took Marc Coma to another victory and year-on-year has continued to dominate the Rally Dakar, right up to Sam Sunderland’s win in 2017. Despite their ongoing success, and not wanting to rest on their laurels, KTM already had plans for a newer, slimmer and faster machine. In development for over two years, the latest incarnation of the KTM 450 RALLY is the most capable yet. At first glance you can see the bike is slimmer and more maneuverable. Underneath the updated bodywork and fuel tanks are a whole host of other changes that have come together to create a winning machine. A new frame and swingarm instantly create a narrower bike, a slimmer feeling between the legs for the riders. The bike handles the more technical sections with ease due to the improved design and lighter weight – over 10 kg less than the previous model. The center of gravity on the bike is lower and has been pitched forward, aiding both stability and handling at speed. KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Marcin Kin The swingarm now sits on its pivot inside the rear of the main chassis, this creates a stiffer rear end and makes the bike less twitchy when ridden hard over the roughest terrain. The rear subframe is fully self-supported, manufactured from carbon, and incorporates one of the fuel tanks. In total, the bike carries approximately 31 liters when fully fueled. Up front, to balance the other changes to the chassis, huge 52 mm WP forks are fitted, another big improvement over the outgoing 48 mm versions. The bike keeps it standard size wheels – 21-inch up front and 18-inch on the rear, both shod with Michelin tires and mousses. Moto-Master brakes are fitted to slow down the bikes, mounted on the rear is a 240 mm disc while the front carries a massive 300 mm rotor. These provide enough stopping power to bring the bike to a standstill from speeds of over 180 km/h. KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Marcin Kin With the bike sporting an aggressive-looking black color scheme, Matthias Walkner took the new 450 to the win at the final round of the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in Morocco. It was Matthias’ first victory of the season and the Austrian attributed the success to an improved feeling on the new bike. “The new bike is a massive improvement,” told Matthias. “It feels much safer to ride, although faster at the same time. I think with the input of the younger riders, the bike has progressed a lot and suits the riding style of today. The old bike was a product of the racing as it used to be five or six years ago. Riders like Marc Coma and Jordi Viladoms, who were used to riding the larger capacity machines, perhaps had a different style to how we ride now. A lot of the new, younger riders, coming from a motocross background, prefer the lighter, sleeker feel of the new bike.” Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Future7Media To compliment the changes to the chassis, a new 450cc single-cylinder engine has been fitted. Not only providing better peak performance but also improved response. This is achieved by an all-new throttle body and engine management system. The bike is not only faster now but easier to ride at slower speeds when the going gets really tricky and the rider needs that added control. These combined advantages will really come into their own during an event like the Dakar. With competitors covering close to 9,000 km over 14 stages the race is tough on the rider as well as the machine. The new bike, being easier to ride fast over long distances and less of a handful in the slower, technical sections, will help riders stay fresh and focused. KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Marcin Kin Laia Sanz will be contesting her eighth Dakar in 2018. The Spanish multiple world enduro and trials champion feels the new 450 may suit her even more than the rest of the team. “I’m so happy riding the new bike,” explains Laia. “It felt so good In Morocco back in October at the OiLibya Rally. It’s not only lighter and faster but it’s more stable and that makes such a difference on the stages. When you hit an unexpected hole or jump the bike always stays straight and that is such a big improvement over the last bike. For me, I know I’m not as strong as some of the other guys in the team so to have a more nimble, lighter bike is perhaps even more important.” Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Future7Media 2016 Dakar winner, Toby Price has had a tough year. The Australian injured his leg during stage four of the 2017 Dakar – pushing hard to make up lost time, Toby came off his bike in a riverbed and fractured the thighbone on his left leg. What followed was a year of recuperation and eventually, further surgery to clean up his left knee and replace the rod in his femur. Toby has had very little time on any bike during 2017 and has only managed a couple of weeks riding on the new KTM 450 RALLY in its current form. Despite the lack of testing, the former Dakar winner is confident the new 450 can deliver another top result. “The bike has come on so much over the past 12 months,” said Price. “Even from the outside looking in you can see the new improvements and how it should suit the more technical sections in the rally. Over the long stages its weight and agility should make things far less fatiguing for the riders – it’s lost maybe 10 kilos during its development and you can definitely feel that when you are riding it. My first full test won’t come until the Dakar itself now, but you only have to look at the results from Morocco to see how strong the bike is and everyone in the team seems to enjoy riding it. I’m really looking forward to seeing what it can do.” Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 RALLY 2017 © Future7Media The Rally Dakar starts on January 6, 2018. Close to 200 bikes will set off into the Peruvian desert on the beginning of their 9,000 km journey that will hopefully see them to the finish at the Argentinian city of Cordoba. The KTM team of Sunderland, Walkner, Price, Meo, Sanz and Benavides will all be aiming to take the new KTM 450 RALLY to its maiden win, the 17th in a row for the Austrian manufacturer. KTM 450 RALLY SPECS ENGINE: Single cylinder, 4-stroke, 449.3cc ENGINE MANAGEMENT: Keihin EMS with electronic fuel injection TRANSMISSION: 6 gears, final drive 14:48, wet multi-disc clutch COOLING: Liquid cooled CHASSIS: Chromium molybdenum trellis steel frame, self-supporting carbon subframe SUSPENSION: 52 mm WP USD forks, WP shock absorber with linkage, 300 mm travel front and rear BRAKES: Front 300 mm, rear 240 mm Moto-Master SILENCER: Akrapovič, titanium FUEL CAPACITY: Approx. 31 liters WEIGHT: Approx. 138 kg (dry) [embedded content] Photos: Marcin Kin | Future7Media Video: GSP Media/KTM
  9. Sam Sunderland: The champion returns to Dakar

    Sam Sunderland: The champion returns to Dakar Winner of the 2017 Rally Dakar, Sam Sunderland has had a mixed season in this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. A title contender right up to the final round in Morocco, Sunderland endured a series of minor injuries and bad luck that eventually ruled him out of the running. Despite this, his pace throughout the year has been hugely impressive, with wins at the opening two rounds in Abu Dhabi and Qatar. Sam heads into the 2018 Dakar as the man to beat. The KTM BLOG caught up with the 28-year-old Brit to discuss all things rally and the defence of his prized Dakar title … Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY © Marcin Kin Sam, you’re the reigning Dakar champion, how will your approach to this year’s event be different to last year´s? “Going into this Dakar is a lot different than last year. This year I’ve got the number one plate on my bike and last year I had never even managed to get a finish in the race. There is definitely some added pressure, but for me I’m going to approach it the same way as I normally do – take each day as it comes and try to stay safe, especially on the first week leading up to the rest day.” Who are your main competitors? “That’s such a difficult question. There is so much talent at the Dakar now, gone are the days when it was one or two guys who were fighting for the win. Having won a Dakar now I can relax a little I suppose, but I still know how hard I have to work to be competitive. At the start of the race there are so many talented guys who will be fighting for the win – multiple world champions from beach racing to enduro, to motocross. There are at least 10 guys with the capability of winning. Obviously, my teammates are going to be right up there – Toby Price is a previous Dakar winner, Antoine Meo – multiple world champion, Matthias Walkner ex MX3 and rally world champion. The Honda guys are fast and then you have to look at Pablo Quintanilla – world champion again this year but he’s never won a Dakar, he’s on form and hungrier than ever to take the win.” How do you prepare yourself for the Dakar? Do you start to feel the pressure build as the event gets closer? “On the run up to the Dakar you are under a lot of pressure, there are a lot of commitments with training, testing, media appointments. It can be hard to stay focused on the actual training and making the most of your time. This year the first week in Peru crosses the big dunes and should suit me really well, but I still like to get out training in the Dubai sand to stay sharp. Other than that, I like to go cycling, to work on my fitness and stamina, and I’ll do a little altitude training to prepare myself as best I can for that part of the rally in Bolivia. I try to get out on the motocross bike as often as possible, it’s good to train on the rally bike, but the motocross bike is slightly different and I really enjoy it. I figured if I am going to be riding rally for 10 years of my life, I have to try and enjoy it and getting out on the motocrosser is something I enjoy more than anything. It’s beneficial to my riding, but it’s also my passion. There is no better feeling than getting out into the dunes and sending it! Obviously, there won’t be any of that on the run up to the Dakar, it’s just way too risky, but when I have time there’s not much that I love more.” Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY © Marcin Kin Talking about bikes, how are you getting on with the new KTM 450 RALLY? “I’m loving the new bike. We were lucky to be able to put a lot of time on it in testing and then we had the race in Morocco. The guys did really well and the bike seems to be a massive improvement in terms of performance and handling. I’m really excited. It’s been such a huge amount of work and commitment for KTM. Even for the bosses to give the go-ahead for a project like this shows the faith they have in the team. I think that’s one of the reasons why KTM has won 16 years in a row now, they don’t just sit back and take things for granted, they are always pushing on with development and finding new ways to push performance on to the next level. A lot of hours have gone into the bike, not only by the team and riders, but by the designers, the engineers, everyone back in Austria and I’m really looking forward to taking it to the Dakar. Hopefully we will be able to reward all that hard work with a good result.” The team is certainly strong this year, but be honest, do you get along with everyone? Surely it can’t always be easy travelling and socializing with guys and girls you’re trying to beat! “I can get along with anybody, but within the team, the atmosphere is really good. There is such a deep amount of quality this year. We’ve got Toby Price who is a huge talent in offroad riding and a previous Dakar winner, Antoine Meo who is a five-time Enduro World Champion, Matthias Walkner, MX3 and rally world champion. Then there’s Luciano Benavides who is a new guy to the team, he’s young and has a lot to learn, but he’s still fast and full of motivation. Finally, there is Laia Sanz who is simply amazing, she really blows my mind. At the end of some of the long days when I’m feeling exhausted and down, I just need to look to her for inspiration because her attitude and pace are both incredible. It’s good that everyone’s treated the same, nobody is treated differently to anyone else. There is a huge amount of mutual respect for each other within the team and for what we’ve all achieved. At the start of the race, everyone is in with a chance of winning. There are no favorites within the team and I really like that.” Do you think riders somehow have it easier now, compared to when the event was run in Africa? “I don’t think the rally is any easier, certainly not the route. When the Dakar was held in Africa there were certainly less safety provisions in place – medical support wasn’t as good, hospitals, medical helicopters, etc. Now we’re in South America, the stages and the conditions are the toughest ever, especially when you factor in the weather and riding at altitude. When we’re off our bikes things are a little better now – back in the day the dudes were in tents so to be able to have campers to stay in is a huge improvement. I’m quite grateful that these days we have a nice place to sleep and you have the luxury of a shower every evening. Last year, Matthias and I shared a camper for the event and we finished first and second, so that was cool. Sometimes it is nice to have that camaraderie with your teammate and have someone close to discuss the day’s racing, it helps keep you both motivated. There are tense times too, times when one of you have been unable to get past the other, or maybe the other rider didn’t want to let you past and you had to ride in his dust for a few hundred kilometers. That can get a little weird when you are sharing a camper at the end of the day, but generally it’s all ok.” KTM 450 RALLY © Future7Media What’s the toughest thing about the Dakar? “It has to be the length of the days. There are 14 days of riding this year and the longest day last year had us riding for 18 hours. To ride a bike for that long, even if you are just on the road, is tough. When you add in the other factors – heat, cold, terrain, altitude – it becomes way harder. That is the toughest thing, the accumulation of days like that, it has a snowball effect and the stress builds on your body and mind.” Is it possible to say that you enjoy Dakar? “There’s a balance – you have to put in long, hard days whether it be training, navigation work or fitness. Then come the races – some days are tough, really tough. If you asked me at the end of a 1,300 km stage in 45-degree heat when I’m hungry and dehydrated, ‘are you having a good time?’ I would probably say, well, I think you can guess the answer to that. But you have to put in that hard work to add value to the result at the finish. It’s the same with many things in life, the harder you have to work to achieve something the greater the feeling of accomplishment when you finally get there.” Finally, what are your expectations for this year’s event? “It’s like any sport, after a win it feels like only another win will do. When you finish fifth, then the next year you want to do better, maybe get a podium. For me now, I know that I’m capable of winning so that will always be my goal, and the goal of the team. At the same time, the Dakar is like no other race, so to get to the finish in itself is a massive achievement. This year I plan to do exactly what I did last year – stay consistent, fast and take each day as it comes. Hopefully the reward will be another win for myself and the team.” Sam will return to defend his Dakar title in 2018 when the rally starts in Peru from January 6. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY © Marcin Kin Photos: Marcin Kin | Future7Media
  10. Sam Sunderland: The champion returns to Dakar Winner of the 2017 Rally Dakar, Sam Sunderland has had a mixed season in this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. A title contender right up to the final round in Morocco, Sunderland endured a series of minor injuries and bad luck that eventually ruled him out of the running. Despite this, his pace throughout the year has been hugely impressive, with wins at the opening two rounds in Abu Dhabi and Qatar. Sam heads into the 2018 Dakar as the man to beat. The KTM BLOG caught up with the 28-year-old Brit to discuss all things rally and the defence of his prized Dakar title … Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY © Marcin Kin Sam, you’re the reigning Dakar champion, how will your approach to this year’s event be different to last year´s? “Going into this Dakar is a lot different than last year. This year I’ve got the number one plate on my bike and last year I had never even managed to get a finish in the race. There is definitely some added pressure, but for me I’m going to approach it the same way as I normally do – take each day as it comes and try to stay safe, especially on the first week leading up to the rest day.” Who are your main competitors? “That’s such a difficult question. There is so much talent at the Dakar now, gone are the days when it was one or two guys who were fighting for the win. Having won a Dakar now I can relax a little I suppose, but I still know how hard I have to work to be competitive. At the start of the race there are so many talented guys who will be fighting for the win – multiple world champions from beach racing to enduro, to motocross. There are at least 10 guys with the capability of winning. Obviously, my teammates are going to be right up there – Toby Price is a previous Dakar winner, Antoine Meo – multiple world champion, Matthias Walkner ex MX3 and rally world champion. The Honda guys are fast and then you have to look at Pablo Quintanilla – world champion again this year but he’s never won a Dakar, he’s on form and hungrier than ever to take the win.” How do you prepare yourself for the Dakar? Do you start to feel the pressure build as the event gets closer? “On the run up to the Dakar you are under a lot of pressure, there are a lot of commitments with training, testing, media appointments. It can be hard to stay focused on the actual training and making the most of your time. This year the first week in Peru crosses the big dunes and should suit me really well, but I still like to get out training in the Dubai sand to stay sharp. Other than that, I like to go cycling, to work on my fitness and stamina, and I’ll do a little altitude training to prepare myself as best I can for that part of the rally in Bolivia. I try to get out on the motocross bike as often as possible, it’s good to train on the rally bike, but the motocross bike is slightly different and I really enjoy it. I figured if I am going to be riding rally for 10 years of my life, I have to try and enjoy it and getting out on the motocrosser is something I enjoy more than anything. It’s beneficial to my riding, but it’s also my passion. There is no better feeling than getting out into the dunes and sending it! Obviously, there won’t be any of that on the run up to the Dakar, it’s just way too risky, but when I have time there’s not much that I love more.” Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY © Marcin Kin Talking about bikes, how are you getting on with the new KTM 450 RALLY? “I’m loving the new bike. We were lucky to be able to put a lot of time on it in testing and then we had the race in Morocco. The guys did really well and the bike seems to be a massive improvement in terms of performance and handling. I’m really excited. It’s been such a huge amount of work and commitment for KTM. Even for the bosses to give the go-ahead for a project like this shows the faith they have in the team. I think that’s one of the reasons why KTM has won 16 years in a row now, they don’t just sit back and take things for granted, they are always pushing on with development and finding new ways to push performance on to the next level. A lot of hours have gone into the bike, not only by the team and riders, but by the designers, the engineers, everyone back in Austria and I’m really looking forward to taking it to the Dakar. Hopefully we will be able to reward all that hard work with a good result.” The team is certainly strong this year, but be honest, do you get along with everyone? Surely it can’t always be easy travelling and socializing with guys and girls you’re trying to beat! “I can get along with anybody, but within the team, the atmosphere is really good. There is such a deep amount of quality this year. We’ve got Toby Price who is a huge talent in offroad riding and a previous Dakar winner, Antoine Meo who is a five-time Enduro World Champion, Matthias Walkner, MX3 and rally world champion. Then there’s Luciano Benavides who is a new guy to the team, he’s young and has a lot to learn, but he’s still fast and full of motivation. Finally, there is Laia Sanz who is simply amazing, she really blows my mind. At the end of some of the long days when I’m feeling exhausted and down, I just need to look to her for inspiration because her attitude and pace are both incredible. It’s good that everyone’s treated the same, nobody is treated differently to anyone else. There is a huge amount of mutual respect for each other within the team and for what we’ve all achieved. At the start of the race, everyone is in with a chance of winning. There are no favorites within the team and I really like that.” Do you think riders somehow have it easier now, compared to when the event was run in Africa? “I don’t think the rally is any easier, certainly not the route. When the Dakar was held in Africa there were certainly less safety provisions in place – medical support wasn’t as good, hospitals, medical helicopters, etc. Now we’re in South America, the stages and the conditions are the toughest ever, especially when you factor in the weather and riding at altitude. When we’re off our bikes things are a little better now – back in the day the dudes were in tents so to be able to have campers to stay in is a huge improvement. I’m quite grateful that these days we have a nice place to sleep and you have the luxury of a shower every evening. Last year, Matthias and I shared a camper for the event and we finished first and second, so that was cool. Sometimes it is nice to have that camaraderie with your teammate and have someone close to discuss the day’s racing, it helps keep you both motivated. There are tense times too, times when one of you have been unable to get past the other, or maybe the other rider didn’t want to let you past and you had to ride in his dust for a few hundred kilometers. That can get a little weird when you are sharing a camper at the end of the day, but generally it’s all ok.” KTM 450 RALLY © Future7Media What’s the toughest thing about the Dakar? “It has to be the length of the days. There are 14 days of riding this year and the longest day last year had us riding for 18 hours. To ride a bike for that long, even if you are just on the road, is tough. When you add in the other factors – heat, cold, terrain, altitude – it becomes way harder. That is the toughest thing, the accumulation of days like that, it has a snowball effect and the stress builds on your body and mind.” Is it possible to say that you enjoy Dakar? “There’s a balance – you have to put in long, hard days whether it be training, navigation work or fitness. Then come the races – some days are tough, really tough. If you asked me at the end of a 1,300 km stage in 45-degree heat when I’m hungry and dehydrated, ‘are you having a good time?’ I would probably say, well, I think you can guess the answer to that. But you have to put in that hard work to add value to the result at the finish. It’s the same with many things in life, the harder you have to work to achieve something the greater the feeling of accomplishment when you finally get there.” Finally, what are your expectations for this year’s event? “It’s like any sport, after a win it feels like only another win will do. When you finish fifth, then the next year you want to do better, maybe get a podium. For me now, I know that I’m capable of winning so that will always be my goal, and the goal of the team. At the same time, the Dakar is like no other race, so to get to the finish in itself is a massive achievement. This year I plan to do exactly what I did last year – stay consistent, fast and take each day as it comes. Hopefully the reward will be another win for myself and the team.” Sam will return to defend his Dakar title in 2018 when the rally starts in Peru from January 6. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY © Marcin Kin Photos: Marcin Kin | Future7Media
  11. ktm Life with a TPI

    Life with a TPI Posted in Bikes, Riding From the model launch at the iconic Erzberg mountain to racing the Erzbergrodeo itself this KTM 250 EXC TPI has had a tough life. The journey continued through national Enduro and extreme championship races, EnduroGP support race to a grueling three hour beach race. But away from these big events, what is this revolution in 2-stroke technology been like to live with and ride? KTM 250 EXC TPI © Andrea Belluschi/Future7Media This KTM 250 EXC TPI was one of the first to roll off the production lines in 2017. It has had a tough start to life as a press launch bike and then to become one of two TPI models first in competition anywhere in the world when raced at the Erzbergrodeo. It was a baptism for both rider and bike but one we both somehow stumbled out the other side from – albeit a little battle-scarred. With a mixture of excitement and intrigue, the KTM 250 EXC TPI made its way to my garage a week later. Thousands of kilometers away from the watchful eyes of KTM it felt like I’d stolen a baby in those first weeks. I had a pretty unique bike to poke, prod or pull it apart. All I really wanted to do though was ride it. Jonathan Pearson (GBR) KTM 250 EXC TPI © Andrea Belluschi/Future7Media Determined to put the new TPI engine through a strong test that’s exactly what I’ve done to try and ride it in different terrain and conditions. Hot and cold temperatures, different altitudes and fast and slow races. It has been no half measure. Through these events, it has been down to me to maintain and prep the bike. Yes, it is a press bike but KTM hasn’t touched it since leaving Mattighofen. I’m the one changing the oil, checking the plug gap, cleaning the air filters, changing the tires and oiling the chain. Jonathan Pearson (GBR) KTM 250 EXC TPI © Andrea Belluschi/Future7Media Day-to-day living with the KTM 250 EXC TPI really has proved no different to any KTM with all components other than the TPI engine matching the 2017 250 EXC model. The only other person to touch it in that time was my local KTM dealer who installed the updated software into the control unit. No carburetor means the whole fuel system is more water-tight and less problematic and I’m enjoying not having to worry about water or dirt getting in the carb or think about jetting for different events. It is obviously easier not having to pre-mix fuel too – the oil catch tank has been robust – plus the TPI engine takes on fuel and oil like Scrooge gives out coal. It’s been fascinating learning how the TPI engine works compared to both a carbureted 2-stroke and a FI 4-stroke. I’m finding it climbs hills better than a carbureted 250. Rather than being responsive in just certain parts of the rev-range, the TPI responds consistently through the rev-range. For me that is a benefit – in any gear at any revs and at any speed the throttle does what I expect it too much like an FI 4-stroke. For sure it feels ‘leaner’ up the very top of the revs but with Erzberg as a measure that hasn’t held it or me back on a hill. I’m riding technical sections at slow speeds with less clutch and more trust in the throttle and as a result I’m stalling less often. Jonathan Pearson (GBR) KTM 250 EXC TPI © Future7Media After three hours of the impossibly tough Weston Beach Race I was expecting a list of parts to replace as long as my arm but got exactly the opposite – one utterly worn out set of rear brake pads and a new chain spring clip plus fresh oil and a filter, a top-up of the coolant and that was it. After all that hard work how did the clutch look? Fine. I might even replace the grips soon. Most recently of all I’ve had the WP Xplor fork and shock absorber serviced after 30-plus hours of racing. The results were unbelievable after all that riding the oil and seals were near perfect especially inside the forks looked fresh. Only the shock absorber oil had begun to change color slightly but after such a hard life who could blame it. Photos: Andrea Belluschi/Future7Media
  12. Life with a TPI

    Life with a TPI Posted in Bikes, Riding From the model launch at the iconic Erzberg mountain to racing the Erzbergrodeo itself this KTM 250 EXC TPI has had a tough life. The journey continued through national Enduro and extreme championship races, EnduroGP support race to a grueling three hour beach race. But away from these big events, what is this revolution in 2-stroke technology been like to live with and ride? KTM 250 EXC TPI © Andrea Belluschi/Future7Media This KTM 250 EXC TPI was one of the first to roll off the production lines in 2017. It has had a tough start to life as a press launch bike and then to become one of two TPI models first in competition anywhere in the world when raced at the Erzbergrodeo. It was a baptism for both rider and bike but one we both somehow stumbled out the other side from – albeit a little battle-scarred. With a mixture of excitement and intrigue, the KTM 250 EXC TPI made its way to my garage a week later. Thousands of kilometers away from the watchful eyes of KTM it felt like I’d stolen a baby in those first weeks. I had a pretty unique bike to poke, prod or pull it apart. All I really wanted to do though was ride it. Jonathan Pearson (GBR) KTM 250 EXC TPI © Andrea Belluschi/Future7Media Determined to put the new TPI engine through a strong test that’s exactly what I’ve done to try and ride it in different terrain and conditions. Hot and cold temperatures, different altitudes and fast and slow races. It has been no half measure. Through these events, it has been down to me to maintain and prep the bike. Yes, it is a press bike but KTM hasn’t touched it since leaving Mattighofen. I’m the one changing the oil, checking the plug gap, cleaning the air filters, changing the tires and oiling the chain. Jonathan Pearson (GBR) KTM 250 EXC TPI © Andrea Belluschi/Future7Media Day-to-day living with the KTM 250 EXC TPI really has proved no different to any KTM with all components other than the TPI engine matching the 2017 250 EXC model. The only other person to touch it in that time was my local KTM dealer who installed the updated software into the control unit. No carburetor means the whole fuel system is more water-tight and less problematic and I’m enjoying not having to worry about water or dirt getting in the carb or think about jetting for different events. It is obviously easier not having to pre-mix fuel too – the oil catch tank has been robust – plus the TPI engine takes on fuel and oil like Scrooge gives out coal. It’s been fascinating learning how the TPI engine works compared to both a carbureted 2-stroke and a FI 4-stroke. I’m finding it climbs hills better than a carbureted 250. Rather than being responsive in just certain parts of the rev-range, the TPI responds consistently through the rev-range. For me that is a benefit – in any gear at any revs and at any speed the throttle does what I expect it too much like an FI 4-stroke. For sure it feels ‘leaner’ up the very top of the revs but with Erzberg as a measure that hasn’t held it or me back on a hill. I’m riding technical sections at slow speeds with less clutch and more trust in the throttle and as a result I’m stalling less often. Jonathan Pearson (GBR) KTM 250 EXC TPI © Future7Media After three hours of the impossibly tough Weston Beach Race I was expecting a list of parts to replace as long as my arm but got exactly the opposite – one utterly worn out set of rear brake pads and a new chain spring clip plus fresh oil and a filter, a top-up of the coolant and that was it. After all that hard work how did the clutch look? Fine. I might even replace the grips soon. Most recently of all I’ve had the WP Xplor fork and shock absorber serviced after 30-plus hours of racing. The results were unbelievable after all that riding the oil and seals were near perfect especially inside the forks looked fresh. Only the shock absorber oil had begun to change color slightly but after such a hard life who could blame it. Photos: Andrea Belluschi/Future7Media
  13. ktm 2018 Dakar Route

    2018 Dakar Route Posted in Racing, Riding Mountainous sand dunes. Extreme altitude. Unpredictable weather. Punishing distances. The 2018 Dakar route looks set to be the toughest ever. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2017 © Marcin Kin In recent years the Rally Dakar has found its home in South America. But, as the name suggests, that’s not always been the case. The Rally Dakar was born in 1978, taking competitors from Paris, France over 10,000 km through the deserts of Africa to the finish at the famous Lac Rose near Dakar, Senegal. 182 vehicles set off from the French capital on that inaugural trip, 74 of them completed their journey. The event grew steadily through the 80s and 90s and in 2005 a record 688 competitors entered the rally. In 2008 the event was due to depart from Lisbon, as it had the previous two years. But a terrorist attack in Mauritania late in 2007, in which five French tourists were attacked, caused massive concerns for the organizers. As such the 2008 event was cancelled, creating doubts for the continuing future of the world’s toughest rally. All was not lost, obviously, with the countries of Chile and Argentina stepping forward to host the event in 2009. The Dakar name remained but the event has been held in South America ever since. KTM continued their winning streak, despite the change of venue, and as of the 2017 Dakar, their run of consecutive victories stands at 16. Matthias Walkner (AUT, #16), Sam Sunderland (GBR, #14) & Gerard Farres Guell (ESP, #8) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2017 © Rally Zone For 2018, the Dakar will cover the three countries of Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. Each country will offer competitors dramatically different terrain – from the sand dunes of Peru, over the mountains of Bolivia to the fast tracks and riverbeds in the heat of Argentina. Rally Dakar Route 2018 © www.dakar.com Peru After being included in the Rally Dakar for the first time in 2012, and then hosting the opening ceremony in 2013, Peru has been absent from the program ever since. The Peruvian government voiced their desire to be part of the rally again at the end of the 2017 event and after working closely with the organizers, ASO, they have made it happen. Peru will host the opening six stages, which throw competitors straight into the sand dunes of the Peruvian desert. It will be tough from the outset for the riders as the bikes are often first onto each stage. The difficulties of navigating the deep sand and tall dunes will only add to their fatigue. “I think a lot of the riders have missed the sand over the last couple of years, but after a week in Peru everyone will be sick of it again,” jokes Laia Sanz. Stage five, which travels from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa, will really test the competitors’ stamina and navigation skills. The total stage distance is a grueling 770 km, 264 km of which is timed special stage. The bikes and quads will take a separate route to the cars and trucks. Starting at daybreak, the stage takes in 30 km of huge, mountainous dunes. Accurate navigation and the ability to read the terrain will be vital to not only getting a good result, but safely reaching the finish. On Thursday, January 11, stage six has competitors leave Arequipa in Peru and head to the world’s highest capital city of La Paz in Bolivia. The stage is another long one, covering a total of 758 km and will leave the desert before climbing to an altitude of 2,500 m at the Bolivian Altiplano. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2017 © Marcin Kin Bolivia The biggest challenge of racing in Bolivia is the altitude. The rest day on Friday, January 12, is held in the capital, La Paz, sitting at a staggering 3,640 m above sea level. Even after having a day off to rest and acclimatize to the conditions, travelling through Bolivia is going to be tough. Part of the challenge is overcoming the extra fatigue that is caused by racing at such high altitudes – the level of oxygen is less than that at a lower level. It’s because of this that riders like to train at altitude on the run up to the Dakar, many choosing to ski and exercise in the mountains of Europe before the final trip to South America in January. “Winter training is important because every rider needs to work on slightly different things. I like to get as much time on the bike as I can but often look at different techniques during the winter such as hiking at altitude, which is really good for fitness,” comments Matthias Walkner. Stage seven of the rally leaves La Paz and heads for the city of Uyuni. The first of the all-Bolivian stages will offer a new backdrop for the teams and is the first half of the initial marathon stage. Again, good navigation will be required but also vigilance on the difficult tracks leading to Uyuni. After a total of 726 km in the saddle, riders will reach the camp where they will stay for the night. All bike maintenance must be carried out by themselves – no team assistance is allowed. The second part of the marathon stage includes the longest special stage of the rally. A timed 498 km route faces the riders, which covers sand dunes at over 3,500 m above sea level. This stage will really set apart the strongest from the rest of the field before going into the final six days’ racing. If things weren’t tough enough already, one of the additional challenges of Bolivia is the weather. At such high altitudes changes in conditions can be dramatic and happen extremely quickly, adding to the difficulty faced by the now exhausted competitors. “When you add in factors like heat, cold, terrain and altitude it all becomes way harder. That is the toughest thing, the accumulation of days like that, it has a snowball effect and the stress builds on your body and mind,” explains Sam Sunderland. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2017 © Marcin Kin Argentina The fast tracks and rivers of Argentina have become legendary since the Dakar crossed continents to South America. The treacherous terrain combined with unforgiving heat not only makes it tough for the competitors but also increases the chances of making a mistake. By this point in the rally, riders will have covered close to 5,000 km – their bodies will be tired, and so will their minds. One of the key factors in completing a successful Dakar is minimizing mistakes during the event. Faced with difficult terrain and tough navigation, those mistakes will become all too easy to make for even the most experienced of Dakar regulars. The bikes and quads will enjoy a second marathon stage in Argentina. Again, no assistance is allowed when the riders camp out after the 484 km, stage 11. Part of the skill when riding these marathon stages is not only conserving your energy but also conserving the bike. “… you have to ride a little more carefully so you don’t crash and damage the bike, because if you break something it could be the end of your race,” adds Laia Sanz. After returning from their second marathon stage, the competitors will only have the final two days left to ride. However, January’s stage 13 on Friday 19 will be one of the toughest of the event. Now completely exhausted, the riders will face a 904 km stage that includes 423 km of timed special. Covering the sand dunes of San Juan, the terrain will be incredibly energy sapping especially after nearly two weeks of riding. The leaders will be trying to make up good time here while still riding sensibly – a retirement this close to the finish would be soul-destroying. The final stage on the outskirts of Cordoba although short at 284 km will still be difficult with riders having to cross around 30 rivers on the way to the chequered flag. Competitors will have to stay focused right to the end in order to successfully complete the rally. “The Dakar is like no other race, so to get to the finish in itself is a massive achievement. This year I plan to do exactly what I did last year, stay consistent, fast and take each day as it comes. Hopefully it will reward myself and the team with another win,” offers 2017 Dakar winner Sam Sunderland. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2017 © Marcin Kin The 2018 Dakar in numbers: 3 countries 14 stages 2 marathon stages for bikes and quads 5 days at altitudes of over 3,000 m Close to 9,000 km total distance, 4,500 of which are timed specials Photos: Marcin Kin | Rally Zone | www.dakar.com
  14. 2018 Dakar Route

    2018 Dakar Route Posted in Racing, Riding Mountainous sand dunes. Extreme altitude. Unpredictable weather. Punishing distances. The 2018 Dakar route looks set to be the toughest ever. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2017 © Marcin Kin In recent years the Rally Dakar has found its home in South America. But, as the name suggests, that’s not always been the case. The Rally Dakar was born in 1978, taking competitors from Paris, France over 10,000 km through the deserts of Africa to the finish at the famous Lac Rose near Dakar, Senegal. 182 vehicles set off from the French capital on that inaugural trip, 74 of them completed their journey. The event grew steadily through the 80s and 90s and in 2005 a record 688 competitors entered the rally. In 2008 the event was due to depart from Lisbon, as it had the previous two years. But a terrorist attack in Mauritania late in 2007, in which five French tourists were attacked, caused massive concerns for the organizers. As such the 2008 event was cancelled, creating doubts for the continuing future of the world’s toughest rally. All was not lost, obviously, with the countries of Chile and Argentina stepping forward to host the event in 2009. The Dakar name remained but the event has been held in South America ever since. KTM continued their winning streak, despite the change of venue, and as of the 2017 Dakar, their run of consecutive victories stands at 16. Matthias Walkner (AUT, #16), Sam Sunderland (GBR, #14) & Gerard Farres Guell (ESP, #8) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2017 © Rally Zone For 2018, the Dakar will cover the three countries of Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. Each country will offer competitors dramatically different terrain – from the sand dunes of Peru, over the mountains of Bolivia to the fast tracks and riverbeds in the heat of Argentina. Rally Dakar Route 2018 © www.dakar.com Peru After being included in the Rally Dakar for the first time in 2012, and then hosting the opening ceremony in 2013, Peru has been absent from the program ever since. The Peruvian government voiced their desire to be part of the rally again at the end of the 2017 event and after working closely with the organizers, ASO, they have made it happen. Peru will host the opening six stages, which throw competitors straight into the sand dunes of the Peruvian desert. It will be tough from the outset for the riders as the bikes are often first onto each stage. The difficulties of navigating the deep sand and tall dunes will only add to their fatigue. “I think a lot of the riders have missed the sand over the last couple of years, but after a week in Peru everyone will be sick of it again,” jokes Laia Sanz. Stage five, which travels from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa, will really test the competitors’ stamina and navigation skills. The total stage distance is a grueling 770 km, 264 km of which is timed special stage. The bikes and quads will take a separate route to the cars and trucks. Starting at daybreak, the stage takes in 30 km of huge, mountainous dunes. Accurate navigation and the ability to read the terrain will be vital to not only getting a good result, but safely reaching the finish. On Thursday, January 11, stage six has competitors leave Arequipa in Peru and head to the world’s highest capital city of La Paz in Bolivia. The stage is another long one, covering a total of 758 km and will leave the desert before climbing to an altitude of 2,500 m at the Bolivian Altiplano. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2017 © Marcin Kin Bolivia The biggest challenge of racing in Bolivia is the altitude. The rest day on Friday, January 12, is held in the capital, La Paz, sitting at a staggering 3,640 m above sea level. Even after having a day off to rest and acclimatize to the conditions, travelling through Bolivia is going to be tough. Part of the challenge is overcoming the extra fatigue that is caused by racing at such high altitudes – the level of oxygen is less than that at a lower level. It’s because of this that riders like to train at altitude on the run up to the Dakar, many choosing to ski and exercise in the mountains of Europe before the final trip to South America in January. “Winter training is important because every rider needs to work on slightly different things. I like to get as much time on the bike as I can but often look at different techniques during the winter such as hiking at altitude, which is really good for fitness,” comments Matthias Walkner. Stage seven of the rally leaves La Paz and heads for the city of Uyuni. The first of the all-Bolivian stages will offer a new backdrop for the teams and is the first half of the initial marathon stage. Again, good navigation will be required but also vigilance on the difficult tracks leading to Uyuni. After a total of 726 km in the saddle, riders will reach the camp where they will stay for the night. All bike maintenance must be carried out by themselves – no team assistance is allowed. The second part of the marathon stage includes the longest special stage of the rally. A timed 498 km route faces the riders, which covers sand dunes at over 3,500 m above sea level. This stage will really set apart the strongest from the rest of the field before going into the final six days’ racing. If things weren’t tough enough already, one of the additional challenges of Bolivia is the weather. At such high altitudes changes in conditions can be dramatic and happen extremely quickly, adding to the difficulty faced by the now exhausted competitors. “When you add in factors like heat, cold, terrain and altitude it all becomes way harder. That is the toughest thing, the accumulation of days like that, it has a snowball effect and the stress builds on your body and mind,” explains Sam Sunderland. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2017 © Marcin Kin Argentina The fast tracks and rivers of Argentina have become legendary since the Dakar crossed continents to South America. The treacherous terrain combined with unforgiving heat not only makes it tough for the competitors but also increases the chances of making a mistake. By this point in the rally, riders will have covered close to 5,000 km – their bodies will be tired, and so will their minds. One of the key factors in completing a successful Dakar is minimizing mistakes during the event. Faced with difficult terrain and tough navigation, those mistakes will become all too easy to make for even the most experienced of Dakar regulars. The bikes and quads will enjoy a second marathon stage in Argentina. Again, no assistance is allowed when the riders camp out after the 484 km, stage 11. Part of the skill when riding these marathon stages is not only conserving your energy but also conserving the bike. “… you have to ride a little more carefully so you don’t crash and damage the bike, because if you break something it could be the end of your race,” adds Laia Sanz. After returning from their second marathon stage, the competitors will only have the final two days left to ride. However, January’s stage 13 on Friday 19 will be one of the toughest of the event. Now completely exhausted, the riders will face a 904 km stage that includes 423 km of timed special. Covering the sand dunes of San Juan, the terrain will be incredibly energy sapping especially after nearly two weeks of riding. The leaders will be trying to make up good time here while still riding sensibly – a retirement this close to the finish would be soul-destroying. The final stage on the outskirts of Cordoba although short at 284 km will still be difficult with riders having to cross around 30 rivers on the way to the chequered flag. Competitors will have to stay focused right to the end in order to successfully complete the rally. “The Dakar is like no other race, so to get to the finish in itself is a massive achievement. This year I plan to do exactly what I did last year, stay consistent, fast and take each day as it comes. Hopefully it will reward myself and the team with another win,” offers 2017 Dakar winner Sam Sunderland. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2017 © Marcin Kin The 2018 Dakar in numbers: 3 countries 14 stages 2 marathon stages for bikes and quads 5 days at altitudes of over 3,000 m Close to 9,000 km total distance, 4,500 of which are timed specials Photos: Marcin Kin | Rally Zone | www.dakar.com
  15. ktm Beach Life

    Beach Life Over 700 riders at Britain’s biggest beach race present a tough test of man and a KTM 250 EXC TPI fuel injected 2-stroke machine … © Future7Media The otherwise normal English seaside resort of Weston-Super-Mare undergoes a massive transformation each October. At other times of the year, it is like any other holiday resort town with ice cream parlors, beach huts and amusement arcades. Once a year that tranquility get swallowed by a festival of dirt bike racing, 70,000 spectators and almost 1000 riders over two days racing. The KTM 250 EXC TPI and I are among over 700 riders tackling the solo race and you never realize the enormity of racing over 700 other people until you try to run with them and find your own bike in a densely packed parc fermé. It is like a comedy film with people running in their riding kit and falling over each to find their lost machines. Jonathan Pearson (GBR) KTM 250 EXC TPI © Future7Media That’s just the beginning. Once on your bike you fight your way to the beach and when the gates are opened at 1 pm it is like an explosion. An angry scene of dirt bikes dance and fight for balance and grip, boots and handlebars interlock and roost flies as we all head for the same 180 degree turn over the first of a thousand dunes. Within seconds everyone is flat-out down the mile long straight into a blinding spray of salt and sunshine. Throttle pinned down Weston’s mile-long straight at 130 km/h is the sort of racing experience you should crave and fear in equal measure. Jonathan Pearson (GBR) KTM 250 EXC TPI © Future7Media Sitting right back on the rear fender, arms stretched to the bars helps keep the front tire skimming the surface and the back wheel in control but control feels like life on a knife-edge of crashing. Many bikes are faster still, including Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker, on a KTM 450 SX-F for this event, and four times Enduro World Champion David Knight who were topping 150 km/h. Beach race tracks famously blast down a long straight before snaking their ways back through twists, turns, dunes and endless, endless ruts. The sheer volume of traffic means the track changes constantly and queues, like crashes, are inevitable. It’s all part of the physical effort, the challenge and the fun. For three hours this madness continues but after the fury of the start the race becomes a mental and physical test. Some riders, and obviously pro-riders, are taking the race seriously but for many of us it is that classic “taking part” that matters. To finish is an achievement. The madness pauses for pit stops when fuel, fresh goggles and a protein bar are consumed as quickly as you can muster. Jonathan Pearson (GBR) KTM 250 EXC TPI © Future7Media Under pinning my race is a faultless KTM 250 EXC TPI. The thrifty TPI engine easily does an hour between stops (more easily than the rider …) and takes around seven liters of fuel during each of two pit stops proving itself efficient despite so much full-throttle riding. The salt water, footpeg-deep ruts and endless roost is why bike preparation is so important in beach racing. I’m new to it but careful pre-race preparation pays off with a perfect bike. I fit a new plug and sand guards over the radiators and air filter – mesh covers on the radiators and filter act as first defense and create a barrier. Supersprox steel tooth sprockets and a heavy-duty chain are vital too, as are fresh brake pads to cope with the axle deep, sandy ruts acting like grinding paste on these constantly battered parts. There are bikes abandoned in the deep sand swamps from lap one and they remain there all race, petrified like Pompeii corpses. Under no illusions about my experience on sand my tactic was to keep plugging away, keep taking in fluid and keep myself upright. In the end getting inside the top 100 feels like a small victory from so far down at the start of this mighty event. It’s hard not to feel happy when you see a chequered flag but after three hours of this madness it was as sweet as they come. © Future7Media Photos: Future7Media
  16. Beach Life

    Beach Life Over 700 riders at Britain’s biggest beach race present a tough test of man and a KTM 250 EXC TPI fuel injected 2-stroke machine … © Future7Media The otherwise normal English seaside resort of Weston-Super-Mare undergoes a massive transformation each October. At other times of the year, it is like any other holiday resort town with ice cream parlors, beach huts and amusement arcades. Once a year that tranquility get swallowed by a festival of dirt bike racing, 70,000 spectators and almost 1000 riders over two days racing. The KTM 250 EXC TPI and I are among over 700 riders tackling the solo race and you never realize the enormity of racing over 700 other people until you try to run with them and find your own bike in a densely packed parc fermé. It is like a comedy film with people running in their riding kit and falling over each to find their lost machines. Jonathan Pearson (GBR) KTM 250 EXC TPI © Future7Media That’s just the beginning. Once on your bike you fight your way to the beach and when the gates are opened at 1 pm it is like an explosion. An angry scene of dirt bikes dance and fight for balance and grip, boots and handlebars interlock and roost flies as we all head for the same 180 degree turn over the first of a thousand dunes. Within seconds everyone is flat-out down the mile long straight into a blinding spray of salt and sunshine. Throttle pinned down Weston’s mile-long straight at 130 km/h is the sort of racing experience you should crave and fear in equal measure. Jonathan Pearson (GBR) KTM 250 EXC TPI © Future7Media Sitting right back on the rear fender, arms stretched to the bars helps keep the front tire skimming the surface and the back wheel in control but control feels like life on a knife-edge of crashing. Many bikes are faster still, including Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker, on a KTM 450 SX-F for this event, and four times Enduro World Champion David Knight who were topping 150 km/h. Beach race tracks famously blast down a long straight before snaking their ways back through twists, turns, dunes and endless, endless ruts. The sheer volume of traffic means the track changes constantly and queues, like crashes, are inevitable. It’s all part of the physical effort, the challenge and the fun. For three hours this madness continues but after the fury of the start the race becomes a mental and physical test. Some riders, and obviously pro-riders, are taking the race seriously but for many of us it is that classic “taking part” that matters. To finish is an achievement. The madness pauses for pit stops when fuel, fresh goggles and a protein bar are consumed as quickly as you can muster. Jonathan Pearson (GBR) KTM 250 EXC TPI © Future7Media Under pinning my race is a faultless KTM 250 EXC TPI. The thrifty TPI engine easily does an hour between stops (more easily than the rider …) and takes around seven liters of fuel during each of two pit stops proving itself efficient despite so much full-throttle riding. The salt water, footpeg-deep ruts and endless roost is why bike preparation is so important in beach racing. I’m new to it but careful pre-race preparation pays off with a perfect bike. I fit a new plug and sand guards over the radiators and air filter – mesh covers on the radiators and filter act as first defense and create a barrier. Supersprox steel tooth sprockets and a heavy-duty chain are vital too, as are fresh brake pads to cope with the axle deep, sandy ruts acting like grinding paste on these constantly battered parts. There are bikes abandoned in the deep sand swamps from lap one and they remain there all race, petrified like Pompeii corpses. Under no illusions about my experience on sand my tactic was to keep plugging away, keep taking in fluid and keep myself upright. In the end getting inside the top 100 feels like a small victory from so far down at the start of this mighty event. It’s hard not to feel happy when you see a chequered flag but after three hours of this madness it was as sweet as they come. © Future7Media Photos: Future7Media
  17. Now approaching its 40th year, the 10th to be held in South America, the Rally Dakar really is one of the toughest sporting events on the planet. More than 500 competitors will race for glory over 9,000 km of varied terrain through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. One of those competitors is Laia Sanz. Multiple world champion in trials and enduro, the ‘Queen of the Desert’ will be starting her eighth Dakar on January 6. The KTM BLOG caught up with Laia as she travelled to Morocco for her final training camp before the Rally starts in just over one month’s time. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY © Future7Media After an incredibly successful trial and enduro career, you moved to rally – was that always the goal from the beginning? “Yeah it was. My dream was always to race the Dakar. I can remember as a child being so excited to watch the Dakar on television. We are lucky in Spain that the coverage of the race has always been excellent with an hour-long program every night. As a child it was magical to watch the riders race through such incredible landscapes. Despite my love and fascination for the event, I never thought I would actually get the chance to race there myself.” Obviously, the race was still held in Africa back then, do you think it has lost anything with the move to South America? “Although the move had to be made for safety reasons, I do think the race did lose some of it’s magic. The iconic finish at the Lac Rose will always be something I would like to experience. Maybe one day we will again. I have spoken to riders who have raced both locations and they say that although sometimes they miss Africa, South America is also beautiful and presents even more of a challenge. Yes, the safety is better in the South American countries, but it is also a tougher race. There are so many different kinds of terrain and we have to race at altitude too, which can be very demanding.” How do you deal with that challenge? The race is one of the toughest sporting events in the world. In this final run up to the start, how do you prepare yourself? “This year I have been riding a lot of enduro, which helps with bike fitness and speed. Luckily, I have been injury-free and I am feeling fitter and better prepared than ever before. In this final month my training routine changes a little – we work on stamina so the sessions become longer. My work in the gym changes a little too and I also try to get in some good long rides on my bicycle to improve my endurance. The stages in Bolivia climb quite high in the mountains and to prepare for that I like to go skiing whenever I can, it’s great for cardio and altitude training. I have just arrived in Morocco for our final team training session and not only will we try to get in some long rides on the bike, but we do a lot of navigation work too, which is going to be incredibly important this year I think.” Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY © Future7Media Talking about navigation, it’s one of your strong points, and looking at the first week’s stages in Peru accurate navigation is going to be vital! “My navigation is good, but not perfect. Last year I made a couple of mistakes that luckily didn’t cost me too much time – the most important thing is to learn from those mistakes and not repeat them. Even after riding seven Dakars and other rallies around the world, I’m still learning, still gaining experience. You are right, navigation this year will be difficult but I think that can be an advantage for me. I know I’m not as strong as the other riders and can’t always ride as fast, but if I ride intelligently and stay consistent it enables me to be competitive with even the top guys. The Dakar is not all about overall speed it´s about staying focused, being mentally and physically prepared and ultimately finishing the race.” How do you handle the ‘strong in the mind’ side of the Dakar – days of riding with hardly any contact with other people and the stress of physical and mental exhaustion? “It’s definitely the hardest part of the Rally Dakar for me. Even after a couple of days you start to feel drained and the lack of sleep only adds to that. You wake up feeling tired and then have to ride again all day. Unlike other races, when you finish riding you have to prepare your roadbook for the following day and then attend the rider’s meeting before you get any rest, it becomes really difficult. The loneliness can get to you, but there is a good side to riding alone too, you experience so many beautiful landscapes and I love the feeling of freedom the Dakar gives. Bad days can really cause you to start questioning why you are there though, but come the finish it’s definitely worth it.” Do you have any superstitions that you stick to when riding? “There is one thing I can’t do without and that is a pendent of Saint Anthony that my grandmother gave me for my first Dakar. Saint Anthony is the patron saint of lost things and has kept me safe, so now, I wouldn’t ride without it.” Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY © Future7Media Looking at the route this year, do you think it will suit you? “I think a lot of the riders have missed the sand over the last couple of years, but after a week in Peru everyone will be sick of it again (laughs). I’m lucky that I have had some experience riding there in 2012 and 2013 and for me it was the best part – more like the original Dakar in Africa. It’s going to be difficult and require good navigation, but I’m looking forward to it. The second week will be a lot harder for me. We have two marathon stages and it will be really hot in Argentina, that all comes after a week of hard riding so everyone will be very tired already.” How do you handle the marathon stages, do you enjoy the challenge? “I hate the marathon stages. I am not very good at the mechanical side so if something needs to be fixed on the bike, I am not so good at that. You don’t get the same quality of sleep as you do in the bivouac so they are even more tiring. The mental side is hard too because you don’t see your people at the end of the day, you don’t see your mechanic or the team and that’s tough. On the stage before, you have to ride a little more carefully so you don’t crash and damage the bike because if you break something it could be the end of the race.” What would you say your goals are? Are you aiming for another top-10 finish? “I don’t like to put too much pressure on myself. The level is so high now, there is a new generation of riders coming through that have incredible speed on the stages. There are more riders than ever with the capability of taking the win. Looking at the start list makes you think it will be very difficult to finish inside the top-30, but it’s not always like that. The Dakar requires so many different skills and it’s not just speed that takes you to the win. The last few years I have either been inside the top-15 or very close to it, so there is no reason why I can’t do it again. My expectations for this year have been boosted a little by the new bike too, it really suits me and my riding style.” Tell us about the new KTM 450 RALLY, did you have much input into its development and where are the biggest improvements? “I’m so happy riding the new bike, it felt so good In Morocco back in October at the OiLibya Rally. The team have done an amazing job because it really is better in all areas – it’s not only lighter and faster but it’s more stable and that makes such a difference on the stages. When you hit an unexpected hole or jump the bike always stays straight and that is such a big improvement. For me, I know I’m not as strong as some of the other guys in the team so to have a more nimble, lighter bike is perhaps even more important. Hopefully it can take me to the finish of another Dakar and to another good result … ” Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY © Future7Media Photos: Future7Media
  18. Interview of the Month: Laia Sanz – Dakar dreams and the challenges of the world’s toughest Rally Now approaching its 40th year, the 10th to be held in South America, the Rally Dakar really is one of the toughest sporting events on the planet. More than 500 competitors will race for glory over 9,000 km of varied terrain through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. One of those competitors is Laia Sanz. Multiple world champion in trials and enduro, the ‘Queen of the Desert’ will be starting her eighth Dakar on January 6. The KTM BLOG caught up with Laia as she travelled to Morocco for her final training camp before the Rally starts in just over one month’s time. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY © Future7Media After an incredibly successful trial and enduro career, you moved to rally – was that always the goal from the beginning? “Yeah it was. My dream was always to race the Dakar. I can remember as a child being so excited to watch the Dakar on television. We are lucky in Spain that the coverage of the race has always been excellent with an hour-long program every night. As a child it was magical to watch the riders race through such incredible landscapes. Despite my love and fascination for the event, I never thought I would actually get the chance to race there myself.” Obviously, the race was still held in Africa back then, do you think it has lost anything with the move to South America? “Although the move had to be made for safety reasons, I do think the race did lose some of it’s magic. The iconic finish at the Lac Rose will always be something I would like to experience. Maybe one day we will again. I have spoken to riders who have raced both locations and they say that although sometimes they miss Africa, South America is also beautiful and presents even more of a challenge. Yes, the safety is better in the South American countries, but it is also a tougher race. There are so many different kinds of terrain and we have to race at altitude too, which can be very demanding.” How do you deal with that challenge? The race is one of the toughest sporting events in the world. In this final run up to the start, how do you prepare yourself? “This year I have been riding a lot of enduro, which helps with bike fitness and speed. Luckily, I have been injury-free and I am feeling fitter and better prepared than ever before. In this final month my training routine changes a little – we work on stamina so the sessions become longer. My work in the gym changes a little too and I also try to get in some good long rides on my bicycle to improve my endurance. The stages in Bolivia climb quite high in the mountains and to prepare for that I like to go skiing whenever I can, it’s great for cardio and altitude training. I have just arrived in Morocco for our final team training session and not only will we try to get in some long rides on the bike, but we do a lot of navigation work too, which is going to be incredibly important this year I think.” Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY © Future7Media Talking about navigation, it’s one of your strong points, and looking at the first week’s stages in Peru accurate navigation is going to be vital! “My navigation is good, but not perfect. Last year I made a couple of mistakes that luckily didn’t cost me too much time – the most important thing is to learn from those mistakes and not repeat them. Even after riding seven Dakars and other rallies around the world, I’m still learning, still gaining experience. You are right, navigation this year will be difficult but I think that can be an advantage for me. I know I’m not as strong as the other riders and can’t always ride as fast, but if I ride intelligently and stay consistent it enables me to be competitive with even the top guys. The Dakar is not all about overall speed it´s about staying focused, being mentally and physically prepared and ultimately finishing the race.” How do you handle the ‘strong in the mind’ side of the Dakar – days of riding with hardly any contact with other people and the stress of physical and mental exhaustion? “It’s definitely the hardest part of the Rally Dakar for me. Even after a couple of days you start to feel drained and the lack of sleep only adds to that. You wake up feeling tired and then have to ride again all day. Unlike other races, when you finish riding you have to prepare your roadbook for the following day and then attend the rider’s meeting before you get any rest, it becomes really difficult. The loneliness can get to you, but there is a good side to riding alone too, you experience so many beautiful landscapes and I love the feeling of freedom the Dakar gives. Bad days can really cause you to start questioning why you are there though, but come the finish it’s definitely worth it.” Do you have any superstitions that you stick to when riding? “There is one thing I can’t do without and that is a pendent of Saint Anthony that my grandmother gave me for my first Dakar. Saint Anthony is the patron saint of lost things and has kept me safe, so now, I wouldn’t ride without it.” Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY © Future7Media Looking at the route this year, do you think it will suit you? “I think a lot of the riders have missed the sand over the last couple of years, but after a week in Peru everyone will be sick of it again (laughs). I’m lucky that I have had some experience riding there in 2012 and 2013 and for me it was the best part – more like the original Dakar in Africa. It’s going to be difficult and require good navigation, but I’m looking forward to it. The second week will be a lot harder for me. We have two marathon stages and it will be really hot in Argentina, that all comes after a week of hard riding so everyone will be very tired already.” How do you handle the marathon stages, do you enjoy the challenge? “I hate the marathon stages. I am not very good at the mechanical side so if something needs to be fixed on the bike, I am not so good at that. You don’t get the same quality of sleep as you do in the bivouac so they are even more tiring. The mental side is hard too because you don’t see your people at the end of the day, you don’t see your mechanic or the team and that’s tough. On the stage before, you have to ride a little more carefully so you don’t crash and damage the bike because if you break something it could be the end of the race.” What would you say your goals are? Are you aiming for another top-10 finish? “I don’t like to put too much pressure on myself. The level is so high now, there is a new generation of riders coming through that have incredible speed on the stages. There are more riders than ever with the capability of taking the win. Looking at the start list makes you think it will be very difficult to finish inside the top-30, but it’s not always like that. The Dakar requires so many different skills and it’s not just speed that takes you to the win. The last few years I have either been inside the top-15 or very close to it, so there is no reason why I can’t do it again. My expectations for this year have been boosted a little by the new bike too, it really suits me and my riding style.” Tell us about the new KTM 450 RALLY, did you have much input into its development and where are the biggest improvements? “I’m so happy riding the new bike, it felt so good In Morocco back in October at the OiLibya Rally. The team have done an amazing job because it really is better in all areas – it’s not only lighter and faster but it’s more stable and that makes such a difference on the stages. When you hit an unexpected hole or jump the bike always stays straight and that is such a big improvement. For me, I know I’m not as strong as some of the other guys in the team so to have a more nimble, lighter bike is perhaps even more important. Hopefully it can take me to the finish of another Dakar and to another good result … ” Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 RALLY © Future7Media Photos: Future7Media
  19. Moto2 is coming: The completion of the KTM ‘scale’ to the top of MotoGP™ Posted in Bikes, Racing Orange everywhere. The Red Bull machines were impossible to miss in Moto2 for what was another ‘debut’ term for the factory in Grand Prix. The riders spoke about the journey. While MotoGPTM routinely hit the headlines for KTM in 2017, the factory’s intermediate class efforts were going quietly understated. That axis shifted at Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia. In the last three rounds of the season, Miguel Oliveira won three consecutive times with Brad Binder joining him on the podium in the Moto2 category. The rate of evolution and results not only made the WP Performance Systems-framed machine the most successful from KTM’s assault on the asphalt this year but also one of the most vital in completing the KTM ladder. Oliveira was third in the championship with nine trophies overall. Miguel Oliveira (POR, #44) & Brad Binder (RSA, #41) Valencia (ESP) 2017 © Gold and Goose In a sense, Moto2 was an even bigger mountain for the KTM AG than their cousins in MotoGPTM: two relative rookies to the class with the Portuguese and South African and a brand new chassis and knowledge and management of Dunlop tires with the standard 600cc powerplant. It was quite a curve to negotiate. MotoGPTM was a big and entirely new concept but the team was armed with experienced riders and staff. Moto2? Take a card from the deck. Challenging the might of Kalex – the brand had the nine first riders in the final 2016 ranking – was already a hefty task but the WP technicians both for chassis and suspension setup had their ideas for maximizing traction and reducing wear. Then it was down to the riders, and both Moto3 world champ Binder (desperately trying to recover fitness and confidence from a broken left arm that required three further procedures) and Oliveira, one of the smartest riders on the grid, gathered pace quickly. Miguel Oliveira (POR) & Brad Binder (RSA) Barcelona (ESP) 2017 © Gold and Goose “To think back to where I started in Qatar – 20th and something like forty seconds from the leader – and to be on the podium for the last three races is an incredible feeling,” said a relieved Binder at Valencia. “We made great progress this year and every time I’m on the bike I am learning something new. I want to keep the structure we have and keep chipping away every weekend.” “We tested a lot throughout the season – like many teams – and got new material but we found out that the actual [base] bike is quite good,” says Miguel. “The only upgrade we really made was something to the front fairing for the hands. That was basically it! We lacked speed in the first races and we struggled to understand new tires with a lot of fuel, chatter and vibration and at the end of the race. We were going all over the bike, up-and-down-back-and-forward to understand what to do. By the end of the season – even before – I could have won a race but it never happened. I was [then] curious by the fact that when I won Brad came second or third. It was quite alarming for everyone else and for them to say ‘KTM has something we don’t … ’ but, through riding with the other guys on the track, I feel we have a competitive bike and not superior to others.” “The bike has not changed so much since the beginning of the season,” affirms Binder of a contest that enforces technical parity. “What I have noticed in the last few races is that we have played with the setup and we end up going back to our base setting. When Miguel started to win I started to get a lot better as well and it set off a few alarms [for rivals] but it is honestly pretty much the same bike.” Brad Binder (RSA) Valencia (ESP) 2017 © Gold and Goose If 2017 confirmed anything then it is KTM’s potency in every class of Grand Prix. Moto3 – by Pit Beirer’s own admission – had been a “disaster” but forces were already in place to improve the package for 2018. Nevertheless, the success of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, the proliferation of KTM machinery in Moto3 and the progress of the effort in MotoGPTM to reduce a deficit of 2.5 seconds a lap to the leaders to less than a second was startling. Moto2 filled the gap perfectly by showing that the WP specialists knew their way around a competitive frame and KTM were harboring two more special racers that will be chomping at the bit to try ‘promotion’ to MotoGPTM from 2019 onwards. “The goal of KTM is to fight for the championship in 2018 but not to finish so [far] up this year,” confessed Oliveira. “Like any new project you start it and you don’t know what to expect. You then start to understand the potential sooner or later and this season it happened very soon.” “For some reason they have found more grip and this is the advantage right now,” said 2017 World Champion Franco Morbidelli after chasing the KTMs at the tail end of the campaign. “The Kalex grips when the tire is new but then there is a drop, not as much as theirs. Miguel has been very fast since the beginning of the year but he made another step since Australia.” Miguel Oliveira (POR, #44) & Franco Morbidelli (ITA, #21) Valencia (ESP) 2017 © Gold and Goose Like they did in Moto3 in 2012, KTM have shown their hand in Moto2 and more hardware could litter the grid very soon as the class faces up to an engine spec change in a year’s time. The rungs in the ladder are in place for the manufacturer to groom special talent all the way through the system. “We have our own strategy for young riders and since we are now also involved in Moto2 and MotoGPTM the whole story makes sense for us,” says Beirer. “We have been supporting the Rookies Cup for more than ten years now and this develops [racers] for the whole paddock; sometimes we were jealous to grow these riders and not have the chance to use some of them! Now with having a big Moto3 project with fifteen bikes next season and a Moto2 where we can still have contact with our riders then hopefully we can have one of our own rookies on a MotoGPTM bike one day. That is the target of our program.” “I think like Red Bull has the junior team and top team in Formula 1 it would be a goal for them to do it in MotoGPTM [so you could] have two years of understanding how it works,” Oliveira muses. “We are linked in that direction even if there is another department in KTM taking care of the Moto2 project which is WP. Everything is basically connected. It feels ‘safe’ to be in this project because you could end up there [MotoGPTM].” “I feel lucky to have arrived in the Red Bull KTM at the time I did,” says Binder. “With doing well last year in Moto3 and opening up the team here in Moto2 it made the perfect stepping stone for me. It is awesome because you end up having the same people around you more or less. It’s a real family atmosphere and makes coming to the track an absolute pleasure and the hard days a lot easier.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) & Pit Beirer (GER) Sachsenring (GER) 2017 © Philip Platzer While Beirer again reiterated his message at Valencia that KTM’s racing department will not ease-off none of the other disciplines like Motocross, Supercross, Enduro and Rally where they have reaped victory and spoils (“not 1%” assured the German) there is little doubting the scope and skills that have made road racing bigger and stronger than ever within the halls of the workshop at Munderfing. It slightly boggles the mind where the factory can go next. [embedded content] Photos: Gold and Goose | Philip Platzer Video: Ajo Motorsport
  20. Moto2 is coming: The completion of the KTM ‘scale’ to the top of MotoGP™ Posted in Bikes, Racing Orange everywhere. The Red Bull machines were impossible to miss in Moto2 for what was another ‘debut’ term for the factory in Grand Prix. The riders spoke about the journey. While MotoGPTM routinely hit the headlines for KTM in 2017, the factory’s intermediate class efforts were going quietly understated. That axis shifted at Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia. In the last three rounds of the season, Miguel Oliveira won three consecutive times with Brad Binder joining him on the podium in the Moto2 category. The rate of evolution and results not only made the WP Performance Systems-framed machine the most successful from KTM’s assault on the asphalt this year but also one of the most vital in completing the KTM ladder. Oliveira was third in the championship with nine trophies overall. Miguel Oliveira (POR, #44) & Brad Binder (RSA, #41) Valencia (ESP) 2017 © Gold and Goose In a sense, Moto2 was an even bigger mountain for the KTM AG than their cousins in MotoGPTM: two relative rookies to the class with the Portuguese and South African and a brand new chassis and knowledge and management of Dunlop tires with the standard 600cc powerplant. It was quite a curve to negotiate. MotoGPTM was a big and entirely new concept but the team was armed with experienced riders and staff. Moto2? Take a card from the deck. Challenging the might of Kalex – the brand had the nine first riders in the final 2016 ranking – was already a hefty task but the WP technicians both for chassis and suspension setup had their ideas for maximizing traction and reducing wear. Then it was down to the riders, and both Moto3 world champ Binder (desperately trying to recover fitness and confidence from a broken left arm that required three further procedures) and Oliveira, one of the smartest riders on the grid, gathered pace quickly. Miguel Oliveira (POR) & Brad Binder (RSA) Barcelona (ESP) 2017 © Gold and Goose “To think back to where I started in Qatar – 20th and something like forty seconds from the leader – and to be on the podium for the last three races is an incredible feeling,” said a relieved Binder at Valencia. “We made great progress this year and every time I’m on the bike I am learning something new. I want to keep the structure we have and keep chipping away every weekend.” “We tested a lot throughout the season – like many teams – and got new material but we found out that the actual [base] bike is quite good,” says Miguel. “The only upgrade we really made was something to the front fairing for the hands. That was basically it! We lacked speed in the first races and we struggled to understand new tires with a lot of fuel, chatter and vibration and at the end of the race. We were going all over the bike, up-and-down-back-and-forward to understand what to do. By the end of the season – even before – I could have won a race but it never happened. I was [then] curious by the fact that when I won Brad came second or third. It was quite alarming for everyone else and for them to say ‘KTM has something we don’t … ’ but, through riding with the other guys on the track, I feel we have a competitive bike and not superior to others.” “The bike has not changed so much since the beginning of the season,” affirms Binder of a contest that enforces technical parity. “What I have noticed in the last few races is that we have played with the setup and we end up going back to our base setting. When Miguel started to win I started to get a lot better as well and it set off a few alarms [for rivals] but it is honestly pretty much the same bike.” Brad Binder (RSA) Valencia (ESP) 2017 © Gold and Goose If 2017 confirmed anything then it is KTM’s potency in every class of Grand Prix. Moto3 – by Pit Beirer’s own admission – had been a “disaster” but forces were already in place to improve the package for 2018. Nevertheless, the success of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, the proliferation of KTM machinery in Moto3 and the progress of the effort in MotoGPTM to reduce a deficit of 2.5 seconds a lap to the leaders to less than a second was startling. Moto2 filled the gap perfectly by showing that the WP specialists knew their way around a competitive frame and KTM were harboring two more special racers that will be chomping at the bit to try ‘promotion’ to MotoGPTM from 2019 onwards. “The goal of KTM is to fight for the championship in 2018 but not to finish so [far] up this year,” confessed Oliveira. “Like any new project you start it and you don’t know what to expect. You then start to understand the potential sooner or later and this season it happened very soon.” “For some reason they have found more grip and this is the advantage right now,” said 2017 World Champion Franco Morbidelli after chasing the KTMs at the tail end of the campaign. “The Kalex grips when the tire is new but then there is a drop, not as much as theirs. Miguel has been very fast since the beginning of the year but he made another step since Australia.” Miguel Oliveira (POR, #44) & Franco Morbidelli (ITA, #21) Valencia (ESP) 2017 © Gold and Goose Like they did in Moto3 in 2012, KTM have shown their hand in Moto2 and more hardware could litter the grid very soon as the class faces up to an engine spec change in a year’s time. The rungs in the ladder are in place for the manufacturer to groom special talent all the way through the system. “We have our own strategy for young riders and since we are now also involved in Moto2 and MotoGPTM the whole story makes sense for us,” says Beirer. “We have been supporting the Rookies Cup for more than ten years now and this develops [racers] for the whole paddock; sometimes we were jealous to grow these riders and not have the chance to use some of them! Now with having a big Moto3 project with fifteen bikes next season and a Moto2 where we can still have contact with our riders then hopefully we can have one of our own rookies on a MotoGPTM bike one day. That is the target of our program.” “I think like Red Bull has the junior team and top team in Formula 1 it would be a goal for them to do it in MotoGPTM [so you could] have two years of understanding how it works,” Oliveira muses. “We are linked in that direction even if there is another department in KTM taking care of the Moto2 project which is WP. Everything is basically connected. It feels ‘safe’ to be in this project because you could end up there [MotoGPTM].” “I feel lucky to have arrived in the Red Bull KTM at the time I did,” says Binder. “With doing well last year in Moto3 and opening up the team here in Moto2 it made the perfect stepping stone for me. It is awesome because you end up having the same people around you more or less. It’s a real family atmosphere and makes coming to the track an absolute pleasure and the hard days a lot easier.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) & Pit Beirer (GER) Sachsenring (GER) 2017 © Philip Platzer While Beirer again reiterated his message at Valencia that KTM’s racing department will not ease-off none of the other disciplines like Motocross, Supercross, Enduro and Rally where they have reaped victory and spoils (“not 1%” assured the German) there is little doubting the scope and skills that have made road racing bigger and stronger than ever within the halls of the workshop at Munderfing. It slightly boggles the mind where the factory can go next. [embedded content] Photos: Gold and Goose | Philip Platzer Video: Ajo Motorsport
  21. ktm His last road to Dakar #2

    His last road to Dakar #2 This will be the final time former GP racer Jurgen van den Goorbergh prepares for the toughest of all rallies; the Rally Dakar. The 47-year-old is neck deep into his preparations for his tenth go at the race. In three episodes we will be following his endeavors. © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Though he came to Experience Island to train with his Dakar bike, he’s mostly been sitting in his Mercedes Sprinter van, clearly very busy on the phone. “Sponsor related business; without them this all goes away, so …”, Jurgen explains. “It really does take up more of your preparation time than most realize. Budget to go do the Dakar doesn’t just fall out of the sky, you know.” In that respect, Van Den Goorbergh has been very lucky to have built himself a network of faithful sponsors; all the same brands that adorned his bike last year are back again on the new KTM. “When I did my first Dakar back in 2009, I had a big advantage in that people knew me as a GP rider. Most of the companies that currently back me have actually come from my performances in the Rally Dakar, not my past career in the GPs. I quite like that; they really appreciate me as a Dakar rider.” Because of his relative fame in the Netherlands, and his Dakar experience, Jurgen van den Goorbergh won’t need to be calling companies for sponsoring any time soon. He does, however, put in the hours to give back to those who support him. “Getting sponsored requires a goodwill factor. You have to really build a bond. Plus, companies want to promote themselves through you, so it all has to look the part.” And then there’s the publicity; an important factor in sponsorship. “Brands help me do the Dakar, but then they do want something in return, obviously. I can show off their products and services via my social media channels. I have amassed quite a few followers – a lot of them from my time in MotoGPTM. That helps, it really makes things easier.” Van den Goorbergh puts in a lot of effort to satisfy his sponsors. © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions No cheap adventure How critical it is to get good sponsors becomes even more clear when you hear what a Dakar entry costs. “I race in the Malle Moto class, so I have no service team with me to help me out. It’s the purest form of Dakar racing, that is why I do it. And logically not having to run and pay for an entire team really makes a difference budget wise. Still, to run in this class, you burn through about 50,000 euros. Still quite a lot of cash, but it is by far the cheapest way to race in the Rally Dakar. If you manage to buy your way into a team, you’ll be looking at a number between 75,000 to a 125,000 euros.” Those numbers cover all the costs to run the Dakar, not including preparation. Those 50,000 euros do include the bike, parts, entry fee, and everything Jurgen van den Goorbergh might need during those two weeks in South America. “It has become practically impossible for any enduro rider to go and do the Dakar. Some of these guys have been saving for years for this, and nowadays you have to have a certain skill level, that requires you to partake in a few rallies here and there to even be allowed to race in the Rally Dakar. Those rallies cost a lot as well.” Part of the budget goes to getting publicity for the sponsors. “The Rally Dakar is big in the Netherlands, but there’s only commercial channel that actively broadcasts the racing. If you want your face on the TV, you’re going to have to pay for it. A smart move on their part, because as a participant you’re going to need it. Your sponsors want to see their logo on the television.” Apart from the daily broadcasts during the rally, the TV-station organizes an annual Dakar Preprologue in the Netherlands. Jurgen van den Goorbergh attended as well. “That costs a couple bucks too, but it does get you a lot of extra publicity. And apart from the business side of things a lot of Dakar fans rock up too. So it’s good to showcase yourself there.” Well over 17,000 spectators watched the 47-year-old win the preprologue bike race with ease. “That race it’s hardly worth mentioning, but you still want to win it. Luckily I managed to do just that, as I did last year.” © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Stamps galore With all those faithful sponsors backing him, Jurgen van den Goorbergh can only look towards his tenth Rally Dakar with confidence, as the start of that first stage is coming closer every day now. His self-built KTM rally bike is on its way to South America as we speak. “When you load up your machine in Le Havre, it feels like some sort of start. You are about to embark on something you’ve been training for months, taking over your entire life.” The loading happens well over a month before the start of the rally. “I get up really early, because I have to check in at 9:15am. That’s when I get my stamp booklet, which has to be filled with all the right stamps and accompanied by the right papers.” First task at hand is mounting the navigation system the organizers hand you. “You’re in charge of mounting the GPS yourself and you have to make sure it works properly, once you’re all done you get the first stamp. The bike check is similar; if it’s okay, you get to pass to the next area on the shipyard. To where you actually hand over everything. They crate up the bike and when you’re in the Malle Moto class this is also the time to load up the box – which goes into a separate container.” Apart from loading up your bike and gear, you also have to show all the necessary documents. Things like your passport, driver’s license, visa, bike registration, racing licenses, vaccination cards, etc. “It’s quite a bit of paperwork, and it too takes a lot of time to get together. All and all the organizers will keep you busy for a good four hours before you’re set to head home. Works riders have it easy; they just send a mechanic to arrange it all. It isn’t required to show up in person.” If for some reason things aren’t entirely in order – like leaving a certain document on the kitchen table back home – you’re not in too much trouble of not making it to the start. “No need to worry, those things can all easily be handled later. The most important thing is to get your bike loaded. It has never happened that they didn’t bring your gear over. You really messed up if your bike doesn’t make it through scrutineering.” © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Not to worry It might sound a bit weird coming from a nine time entrant, but Van den Goorbergh is actually enjoying the fact this will be his final rally on South America soil. “It all gets a bit tough preparing it all. You’re not just getting physically ready, but the mental aspect gets tiring too. There’s just so much you have to arrange and make sure of, especially just before shipping up. By then I’ll be getting quite weary, trying to combine it all with the everyday hassles of work. That is not at all easy”, Van den Goorbergh admits. “That is why a DNF can really get you down. Last year I was out just four days into the race. Leaving you standing there … Sponsors have put in a lot of money and I put in so much time and energy, only to be finished so quickly. You can imagine the hardship you endure just because of that.” Though that disappointment hit home last year, Van den Goorbergh is more than ready to show once again what he’s made of. “I’ve played this game many times before now, so the box itself is checked. I just want to prove my self-made bike can make it; that it can be a great alternative for Dakar entrants. The planned route also gets me excited, since we’re going back through Peru. That is the absolute paradise for enduro riders. That alone would be reason enough to go at it again, even as that meant sacrificing another year preparing for the Dakar.” Van den Goorbergh emphasizes how important he thinks it is to have a clear schedule for December. He’ll try to keep work off his mind as much as he can, so he can take that plane to Lima on January first with too much troubles on his mind. “I try to rest as much as I can, but it isn’t easy. You’re still constantly preparing. And of course I try to get my enduro routine as often as I can, because rhythm is everything. Not riding for a month is unimaginable, because that would really cost me in the Dakar.” For most people December is all about the holidays, but not so much for Van den Goorbergh. “You’d think Christmas with the family would be extra special, because I’m going to have to miss them for a few weeks in January, but I really can’t enjoy it as I will be too busy readying for the rally. I just keep thinking and I constantly go over everything, so I’m completely at a loss what day it is. People are going to have to tell me it’s Christmas, because I would not have a clue. In those final days before departure, I’m a zombie. The pressure is immense, so I am really looking forward to Christmas in 2018. Let’s see what Christmas feels like when there’s not an enormously challenging rally on the horizon. We’ll soldier on once more, because I’ll try my hardest to say goodbye to the Rally Dakar in the best way I can.” Early in January the third and last episode of the series will be put online. Don’t want to miss out on Jurgen van den Goorbergh’s process in the meantime? Then make sure you follow him on Twitter and Facebook. © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Photos: Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
  22. His last road to Dakar #2

    His last road to Dakar #2 This will be the final time former GP racer Jurgen van den Goorbergh prepares for the toughest of all rallies; the Rally Dakar. The 47-year-old is neck deep into his preparations for his tenth go at the race. In three episodes we will be following his endeavors. © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Though he came to Experience Island to train with his Dakar bike, he’s mostly been sitting in his Mercedes Sprinter van, clearly very busy on the phone. “Sponsor related business; without them this all goes away, so …”, Jurgen explains. “It really does take up more of your preparation time than most realize. Budget to go do the Dakar doesn’t just fall out of the sky, you know.” In that respect, Van Den Goorbergh has been very lucky to have built himself a network of faithful sponsors; all the same brands that adorned his bike last year are back again on the new KTM. “When I did my first Dakar back in 2009, I had a big advantage in that people knew me as a GP rider. Most of the companies that currently back me have actually come from my performances in the Rally Dakar, not my past career in the GPs. I quite like that; they really appreciate me as a Dakar rider.” Because of his relative fame in the Netherlands, and his Dakar experience, Jurgen van den Goorbergh won’t need to be calling companies for sponsoring any time soon. He does, however, put in the hours to give back to those who support him. “Getting sponsored requires a goodwill factor. You have to really build a bond. Plus, companies want to promote themselves through you, so it all has to look the part.” And then there’s the publicity; an important factor in sponsorship. “Brands help me do the Dakar, but then they do want something in return, obviously. I can show off their products and services via my social media channels. I have amassed quite a few followers – a lot of them from my time in MotoGPTM. That helps, it really makes things easier.” Van den Goorbergh puts in a lot of effort to satisfy his sponsors. © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions No cheap adventure How critical it is to get good sponsors becomes even more clear when you hear what a Dakar entry costs. “I race in the Malle Moto class, so I have no service team with me to help me out. It’s the purest form of Dakar racing, that is why I do it. And logically not having to run and pay for an entire team really makes a difference budget wise. Still, to run in this class, you burn through about 50,000 euros. Still quite a lot of cash, but it is by far the cheapest way to race in the Rally Dakar. If you manage to buy your way into a team, you’ll be looking at a number between 75,000 to a 125,000 euros.” Those numbers cover all the costs to run the Dakar, not including preparation. Those 50,000 euros do include the bike, parts, entry fee, and everything Jurgen van den Goorbergh might need during those two weeks in South America. “It has become practically impossible for any enduro rider to go and do the Dakar. Some of these guys have been saving for years for this, and nowadays you have to have a certain skill level, that requires you to partake in a few rallies here and there to even be allowed to race in the Rally Dakar. Those rallies cost a lot as well.” Part of the budget goes to getting publicity for the sponsors. “The Rally Dakar is big in the Netherlands, but there’s only commercial channel that actively broadcasts the racing. If you want your face on the TV, you’re going to have to pay for it. A smart move on their part, because as a participant you’re going to need it. Your sponsors want to see their logo on the television.” Apart from the daily broadcasts during the rally, the TV-station organizes an annual Dakar Preprologue in the Netherlands. Jurgen van den Goorbergh attended as well. “That costs a couple bucks too, but it does get you a lot of extra publicity. And apart from the business side of things a lot of Dakar fans rock up too. So it’s good to showcase yourself there.” Well over 17,000 spectators watched the 47-year-old win the preprologue bike race with ease. “That race it’s hardly worth mentioning, but you still want to win it. Luckily I managed to do just that, as I did last year.” © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Stamps galore With all those faithful sponsors backing him, Jurgen van den Goorbergh can only look towards his tenth Rally Dakar with confidence, as the start of that first stage is coming closer every day now. His self-built KTM rally bike is on its way to South America as we speak. “When you load up your machine in Le Havre, it feels like some sort of start. You are about to embark on something you’ve been training for months, taking over your entire life.” The loading happens well over a month before the start of the rally. “I get up really early, because I have to check in at 9:15am. That’s when I get my stamp booklet, which has to be filled with all the right stamps and accompanied by the right papers.” First task at hand is mounting the navigation system the organizers hand you. “You’re in charge of mounting the GPS yourself and you have to make sure it works properly, once you’re all done you get the first stamp. The bike check is similar; if it’s okay, you get to pass to the next area on the shipyard. To where you actually hand over everything. They crate up the bike and when you’re in the Malle Moto class this is also the time to load up the box – which goes into a separate container.” Apart from loading up your bike and gear, you also have to show all the necessary documents. Things like your passport, driver’s license, visa, bike registration, racing licenses, vaccination cards, etc. “It’s quite a bit of paperwork, and it too takes a lot of time to get together. All and all the organizers will keep you busy for a good four hours before you’re set to head home. Works riders have it easy; they just send a mechanic to arrange it all. It isn’t required to show up in person.” If for some reason things aren’t entirely in order – like leaving a certain document on the kitchen table back home – you’re not in too much trouble of not making it to the start. “No need to worry, those things can all easily be handled later. The most important thing is to get your bike loaded. It has never happened that they didn’t bring your gear over. You really messed up if your bike doesn’t make it through scrutineering.” © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Not to worry It might sound a bit weird coming from a nine time entrant, but Van den Goorbergh is actually enjoying the fact this will be his final rally on South America soil. “It all gets a bit tough preparing it all. You’re not just getting physically ready, but the mental aspect gets tiring too. There’s just so much you have to arrange and make sure of, especially just before shipping up. By then I’ll be getting quite weary, trying to combine it all with the everyday hassles of work. That is not at all easy”, Van den Goorbergh admits. “That is why a DNF can really get you down. Last year I was out just four days into the race. Leaving you standing there … Sponsors have put in a lot of money and I put in so much time and energy, only to be finished so quickly. You can imagine the hardship you endure just because of that.” Though that disappointment hit home last year, Van den Goorbergh is more than ready to show once again what he’s made of. “I’ve played this game many times before now, so the box itself is checked. I just want to prove my self-made bike can make it; that it can be a great alternative for Dakar entrants. The planned route also gets me excited, since we’re going back through Peru. That is the absolute paradise for enduro riders. That alone would be reason enough to go at it again, even as that meant sacrificing another year preparing for the Dakar.” Van den Goorbergh emphasizes how important he thinks it is to have a clear schedule for December. He’ll try to keep work off his mind as much as he can, so he can take that plane to Lima on January first with too much troubles on his mind. “I try to rest as much as I can, but it isn’t easy. You’re still constantly preparing. And of course I try to get my enduro routine as often as I can, because rhythm is everything. Not riding for a month is unimaginable, because that would really cost me in the Dakar.” For most people December is all about the holidays, but not so much for Van den Goorbergh. “You’d think Christmas with the family would be extra special, because I’m going to have to miss them for a few weeks in January, but I really can’t enjoy it as I will be too busy readying for the rally. I just keep thinking and I constantly go over everything, so I’m completely at a loss what day it is. People are going to have to tell me it’s Christmas, because I would not have a clue. In those final days before departure, I’m a zombie. The pressure is immense, so I am really looking forward to Christmas in 2018. Let’s see what Christmas feels like when there’s not an enormously challenging rally on the horizon. We’ll soldier on once more, because I’ll try my hardest to say goodbye to the Rally Dakar in the best way I can.” Early in January the third and last episode of the series will be put online. Don’t want to miss out on Jurgen van den Goorbergh’s process in the meantime? Then make sure you follow him on Twitter and Facebook. © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions Photos: Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
  23. Interview of the Month: Being Factory – Life inside KTM MotoGP™ for the stars Grand Prix wins and world championships mean that Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaró know all about the spoils of MotoGPTM but 2017 was the first year for both as factory riders. We asked them about the experience … Pol Espargaró (ESP, #44) & Bradley Smith (GBR, #38) KTM RC16 Valencia (ESP) 2017 © Gold and Goose He is used to the surroundings but it is almost possible to detect a small trace of continuing disbelief as Bradley Smith enters the stunning two-storey ‘Holzhaus’ Red Bull Energy Station in the Valencia paddock. It is the last round of 2017 MotoGPTM, the closing episode for KTM after a rapid year of experimentation and progress, the first term where Smith could boast status as a ‘factory’ rider and the Holzhaus still dwarfs the other structures after making its maiden appearance at Mugello in Italy in June. Inside, the wooden interiors scream class, comfort and luxury. Three bars and a catering area service KTM’s entire MotoGPTM race crew and their guests. The tall tables also entertain Smith and teammate Pol Espargaró and occasional wildcarder Mika Kallio for their media debriefs. Smith now has a routine chair and place around where the journalists gather. “Just look at this place,” he said in astonishment back in Mugello. Red Bull Energy Station Mugello (ITA) 2017 © KTM Of course being ‘factory’ means more than just a swish place to eat, drink and fulfil media obligations. Smith has endured a turbulent campaign on the KTM RC16 where speed and results struggled to match those of Espargaró’s and even Kallio’s. He crashed heavily in Barcelona and mangled another finger. Then there was speculation that his job could be under threat as the team worked diligently to cut a lap time 2.5 seconds down on the leaders to just 0.8 by the end of the season. Some of his trips to the Holzhaus to speak with the press of his experiences have not been particularly pleasant or easy. “I have learned a lot, and from many sides; from a racing side, team politics side and media pressure side and everything and above,” he reflects in Valencia. “It has been an interesting nine months for me as an individual. It has been a good season from a learning perspective if not necessarily in terms of performance … but that’s coming.” Access to KTM’s vast catalog of models, fame, a good contract and being surrounded by a feeling of optimism that comes with a new project that is making fast forward steps (both Smith and Espargaró have talked constantly all year of their amazement in how new and updated parts have emerged from Mattighofen) is part of being a factory athlete compared to a satellite rider. But so is handling extra expectation and a brighter spotlight. “I think for the first time I’m actually looking forward to an end-of-season holiday,” Smith half-smiles. “I feel that I need it; whether it was the extra tests or the extra strain from being a development team or in the development process as a manufacturer … it has been more mentally and physically demanding than I imagined. Fun-wise? A lot. I enjoyed the whole process and it has certainly been an eye-opener. You realize that when you are on a satellite bike you have things a lot easier. You will never have the best [equipment] but you will have an amazing package without all the stuff that comes with it, and it is ‘that stuff’ that can create the difficulties.” Bradley Smith (GBR) KTM RC16 Jerez (ESP) 2017 © Jesús Robledo In Valencia KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer reiterated his belief in Smith’s contribution and abilities. “Bradley has a contract for next year, so he was always going to have that ride but from the outside we had some pressure because his results were not so good. Of course I could I see that. But these riders also took a big risk to come into a new project with a new bike and when they signed there was a white piece of paper; not even a bike to look at. Coming from a very competitive bike to trust our project was one thing but it would also be unfair to drop them after one season. We decided to give them the time to develop. I know he is better than what he was showing and there was a reason why he was not performing.” “As the pressure was getting bigger and bigger I took the chance before the overseas to confirm that he will have his ride and take this huge load away from his back: how can you perform when the first question you get when you arrive in this paddock is ‘how many hours do you have before they kick you out?’ I wanted to underline our support. And since then he has been like a different rider and I want to state that all three of our guys have done a great job and where we are now is all done to them and the team. It was a pleasure to confirm he will stay with us.” Pit Beirer (GER), Bradley Smith (GBR) & Mike Leitner (AUT) Aragón (ESP) 2017 © Gold and Goose Smith rode to 11th in Valencia, his second-best result, after circulating in the top ten for most of the race and had notched 10th place finishes in Misano and Phillip Island. “Finding the balance between testing and racing and mentally deciding whether we are riding or racing the bike,” he says of the challenge of orientating his objectives for 2017. “It was something where I was not doing a good job. I was thinking big-picture instead of short-term but at the end of the day both were being affected. It is better [in the end] if the rider looks short-term and the team looks long. Distinguishing between the two was one of the hardest things I have done this year.” In contrast Pol Espargaró has bounded into his debriefs barely able to contain that distinctive smirk. The fact that the Catalan was third fastest in FP1 in Valencia and quicker than his effort with the satellite Yamaha bike at the Ricardo Tormo circuit twelve months earlier was typical of his evolution with the orange race bike this year. The 26 year old classified sixteenth and outside of the points in his KTM debut in Qatar in March but then scored in nine races in the second half of the term and was a regular in-and-around the top ten. An accessible and popular rider with a cheery disposition, Pol has nevertheless relished the fruits of being at the center of a competitive engineering and sport project with vast resources. “In Qatar we were talking about how many times they [the leaders] would pass us in one race; the gap was huge and it was difficult to keep the motivation pumped up,” #44 admits. “Now the closer we are the motivation is increasing. It is super-nice to jump on the bike and see that progression and that we are normally in the top ten.” Pol Espargaró (ESP) KTM RC16 Aragón (ESP) 2017 © Sebas Romero Pol is quick to offer insight into the extra weight of responsibility. Being a Red Bull KTM rider means being part of a ‘rookie’ team but Espargaró and Smith are experienced and successful racers. As part of the wider Race Department – that numbers over 400 people worldwide – both are also naturally elevated in a big pecking order. “With our staff we fire up 72 factory riders around the world,” says Beirer. “That’s a lot of teams, trucks, workshops, sprinters, tires and [everything]. It is amazing how much material and manpower you need to run those riders.” “If you see it from the outside then it is true that there is a little bit more pressure because there are many more people working with – or for – you than in the past, and behind this project is a lot of money,” Pol says. “It is huge. We – as the riders – are the guys who are handling the money and bringing the bike ‘up’. If you see it this way then it is super-pressure. As riders we need to look at it in another way. I have always given 200% and the extra pressure does not change me. You can see it as a point of pressure or of support and I see it as something good. Every time we have a problem we have a lot of support and a lot of pieces to try.” KTM RC16 Red Bull Ring (AUT) 2017 © Philip Platzer ‘Learning’ is a big word that can be used to underline KTM’s baptism in MotoGPTM in 2017. Espargaró and Smith have been key cogs in the machine for that didactic trip, but personally, Pol is also continuing his journey as a competitive part of the MotoGPTM cast list and offers an opinion on where he has ‘grown’ most in the last twelve months and couple of years in the premier class. “The lesson has been about character and attitude and this is everything,” he states. “How to react after winning or losing races and I have learned a lot how to manage it. I am still young and I have fire inside – and can be too wild – but I have learned a lot since I came into this paddock at 15. I changed a lot and want to continue changing.” “When you are young and come in this world you need to have good people around you. You are on the TV, on camera and you start to earn money and a lot of people start to say how great you are and how fast you are. It is super-easy to go to the moon and lose yourself. It happens to many young riders; they come to MotoGPTM and make amazing results in the first year and then drop a lot and I think it is because of the pressure and the handling of these riders is not correct.” Bradley and Pol have worn the visible shield of KTM’s most ambitious racing project ever and needed to have strong enough shoulders to keep it fixed. After the last race of 2017 work took place in Jerez in order to prepare for 2018. The whole effort cranks-up just a little more for the second season where the appetite for results to match flowering performance will also be whet. “We need all pre-season to reach the top five,” asserts Espargaró, almost eager to get started. “We are more or less one second from the top guys and we need to be 0.5 so we need to improve half a second and to do that we need to work on a lot of things on the bike. We will start from zero at the Tuesday test and have all winter to work. This is the start of another ‘time’ in our project: we need to be really precise. Before new pieces were coming and we were nearly improving almost all the time. Now I think a lot of them will not work! It will be hard to improve the bike but we have a lot to try. It is optimistic but I think we can be where we want to be.” Who wouldn’t want to be a factory MotoGPTM rider? Pol Espargaró (ESP) KTM RC16 Red Bull Ring (AUT) 2017 © Gold and Goose Photos: Gold and Goose | KTM | Jesús Robledo | Sebas Romero | Philip Platzer
  24. Interview of the Month: Being Factory – Life inside KTM MotoGP™ for the stars Grand Prix wins and world championships mean that Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaró know all about the spoils of MotoGPTM but 2017 was the first year for both as factory riders. We asked them about the experience … Pol Espargaró (ESP, #44) & Bradley Smith (GBR, #38) KTM RC16 Valencia (ESP) 2017 © Gold and Goose He is used to the surroundings but it is almost possible to detect a small trace of continuing disbelief as Bradley Smith enters the stunning two-storey ‘Holzhaus’ Red Bull Energy Station in the Valencia paddock. It is the last round of 2017 MotoGPTM, the closing episode for KTM after a rapid year of experimentation and progress, the first term where Smith could boast status as a ‘factory’ rider and the Holzhaus still dwarfs the other structures after making its maiden appearance at Mugello in Italy in June. Inside, the wooden interiors scream class, comfort and luxury. Three bars and a catering area service KTM’s entire MotoGPTM race crew and their guests. The tall tables also entertain Smith and teammate Pol Espargaró and occasional wildcarder Mika Kallio for their media debriefs. Smith now has a routine chair and place around where the journalists gather. “Just look at this place,” he said in astonishment back in Mugello. Red Bull Energy Station Mugello (ITA) 2017 © KTM Of course being ‘factory’ means more than just a swish place to eat, drink and fulfil media obligations. Smith has endured a turbulent campaign on the KTM RC16 where speed and results struggled to match those of Espargaró’s and even Kallio’s. He crashed heavily in Barcelona and mangled another finger. Then there was speculation that his job could be under threat as the team worked diligently to cut a lap time 2.5 seconds down on the leaders to just 0.8 by the end of the season. Some of his trips to the Holzhaus to speak with the press of his experiences have not been particularly pleasant or easy. “I have learned a lot, and from many sides; from a racing side, team politics side and media pressure side and everything and above,” he reflects in Valencia. “It has been an interesting nine months for me as an individual. It has been a good season from a learning perspective if not necessarily in terms of performance … but that’s coming.” Access to KTM’s vast catalog of models, fame, a good contract and being surrounded by a feeling of optimism that comes with a new project that is making fast forward steps (both Smith and Espargaró have talked constantly all year of their amazement in how new and updated parts have emerged from Mattighofen) is part of being a factory athlete compared to a satellite rider. But so is handling extra expectation and a brighter spotlight. “I think for the first time I’m actually looking forward to an end-of-season holiday,” Smith half-smiles. “I feel that I need it; whether it was the extra tests or the extra strain from being a development team or in the development process as a manufacturer … it has been more mentally and physically demanding than I imagined. Fun-wise? A lot. I enjoyed the whole process and it has certainly been an eye-opener. You realize that when you are on a satellite bike you have things a lot easier. You will never have the best [equipment] but you will have an amazing package without all the stuff that comes with it, and it is ‘that stuff’ that can create the difficulties.” Bradley Smith (GBR) KTM RC16 Jerez (ESP) 2017 © Jesús Robledo In Valencia KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer reiterated his belief in Smith’s contribution and abilities. “Bradley has a contract for next year, so he was always going to have that ride but from the outside we had some pressure because his results were not so good. Of course I could I see that. But these riders also took a big risk to come into a new project with a new bike and when they signed there was a white piece of paper; not even a bike to look at. Coming from a very competitive bike to trust our project was one thing but it would also be unfair to drop them after one season. We decided to give them the time to develop. I know he is better than what he was showing and there was a reason why he was not performing.” “As the pressure was getting bigger and bigger I took the chance before the overseas to confirm that he will have his ride and take this huge load away from his back: how can you perform when the first question you get when you arrive in this paddock is ‘how many hours do you have before they kick you out?’ I wanted to underline our support. And since then he has been like a different rider and I want to state that all three of our guys have done a great job and where we are now is all done to them and the team. It was a pleasure to confirm he will stay with us.” Pit Beirer (GER), Bradley Smith (GBR) & Mike Leitner (AUT) Aragón (ESP) 2017 © Gold and Goose Smith rode to 11th in Valencia, his second-best result, after circulating in the top ten for most of the race and had notched 10th place finishes in Misano and Phillip Island. “Finding the balance between testing and racing and mentally deciding whether we are riding or racing the bike,” he says of the challenge of orientating his objectives for 2017. “It was something where I was not doing a good job. I was thinking big-picture instead of short-term but at the end of the day both were being affected. It is better [in the end] if the rider looks short-term and the team looks long. Distinguishing between the two was one of the hardest things I have done this year.” In contrast Pol Espargaró has bounded into his debriefs barely able to contain that distinctive smirk. The fact that the Catalan was third fastest in FP1 in Valencia and quicker than his effort with the satellite Yamaha bike at the Ricardo Tormo circuit twelve months earlier was typical of his evolution with the orange race bike this year. The 26 year old classified sixteenth and outside of the points in his KTM debut in Qatar in March but then scored in nine races in the second half of the term and was a regular in-and-around the top ten. An accessible and popular rider with a cheery disposition, Pol has nevertheless relished the fruits of being at the center of a competitive engineering and sport project with vast resources. “In Qatar we were talking about how many times they [the leaders] would pass us in one race; the gap was huge and it was difficult to keep the motivation pumped up,” #44 admits. “Now the closer we are the motivation is increasing. It is super-nice to jump on the bike and see that progression and that we are normally in the top ten.” Pol Espargaró (ESP) KTM RC16 Aragón (ESP) 2017 © Sebas Romero Pol is quick to offer insight into the extra weight of responsibility. Being a Red Bull KTM rider means being part of a ‘rookie’ team but Espargaró and Smith are experienced and successful racers. As part of the wider Race Department – that numbers over 400 people worldwide – both are also naturally elevated in a big pecking order. “With our staff we fire up 72 factory riders around the world,” says Beirer. “That’s a lot of teams, trucks, workshops, sprinters, tires and [everything]. It is amazing how much material and manpower you need to run those riders.” “If you see it from the outside then it is true that there is a little bit more pressure because there are many more people working with – or for – you than in the past, and behind this project is a lot of money,” Pol says. “It is huge. We – as the riders – are the guys who are handling the money and bringing the bike ‘up’. If you see it this way then it is super-pressure. As riders we need to look at it in another way. I have always given 200% and the extra pressure does not change me. You can see it as a point of pressure or of support and I see it as something good. Every time we have a problem we have a lot of support and a lot of pieces to try.” KTM RC16 Red Bull Ring (AUT) 2017 © Philip Platzer ‘Learning’ is a big word that can be used to underline KTM’s baptism in MotoGPTM in 2017. Espargaró and Smith have been key cogs in the machine for that didactic trip, but personally, Pol is also continuing his journey as a competitive part of the MotoGPTM cast list and offers an opinion on where he has ‘grown’ most in the last twelve months and couple of years in the premier class. “The lesson has been about character and attitude and this is everything,” he states. “How to react after winning or losing races and I have learned a lot how to manage it. I am still young and I have fire inside – and can be too wild – but I have learned a lot since I came into this paddock at 15. I changed a lot and want to continue changing.” “When you are young and come in this world you need to have good people around you. You are on the TV, on camera and you start to earn money and a lot of people start to say how great you are and how fast you are. It is super-easy to go to the moon and lose yourself. It happens to many young riders; they come to MotoGPTM and make amazing results in the first year and then drop a lot and I think it is because of the pressure and the handling of these riders is not correct.” Bradley and Pol have worn the visible shield of KTM’s most ambitious racing project ever and needed to have strong enough shoulders to keep it fixed. After the last race of 2017 work took place in Jerez in order to prepare for 2018. The whole effort cranks-up just a little more for the second season where the appetite for results to match flowering performance will also be whet. “We need all pre-season to reach the top five,” asserts Espargaró, almost eager to get started. “We are more or less one second from the top guys and we need to be 0.5 so we need to improve half a second and to do that we need to work on a lot of things on the bike. We will start from zero at the Tuesday test and have all winter to work. This is the start of another ‘time’ in our project: we need to be really precise. Before new pieces were coming and we were nearly improving almost all the time. Now I think a lot of them will not work! It will be hard to improve the bike but we have a lot to try. It is optimistic but I think we can be where we want to be.” Who wouldn’t want to be a factory MotoGPTM rider? Pol Espargaró (ESP) KTM RC16 Red Bull Ring (AUT) 2017 © Gold and Goose Photos: Gold and Goose | KTM | Jesús Robledo | Sebas Romero | Philip Platzer
  25. Tony Cairoli: The story from Sicily to 9-time World Champion Posted in People, Racing Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tony Cairoli beat the odds to take his ninth FIM Motocross World Championship title in 2017. The 32-year-old has a very special story of determination from the rolling hills of Patti in Sicily where as a young boy he and his father had a dream to race motorcycles. With sacrifice, hard work and his incredible talent, Cairoli has gone on to become one of the greatest motocross racers of all time. In a recent video by KTM, Cairoli and his friends share an inside look into the Sicilian star’s story. [embedded content] Video: GSP Media/KTM
×