Features 13 Dec 2012

The Matthes Report: 49

Pulpmx's Steve Matthes checks in from the US every single Thursday, presented by Fox.

Some say it’s hard to think back to a time where KTM had this much momentum. And to that I say it’s actually easy to think back and realize that they’ve NEVER had this much momentum. The Austrians are coming on strong over here in America and of course, this is nothing new to the followers of the GP’s as those races have had an orange crush going on for years now.

It started with signing Ryan Dungey as well as bringing over Ken Roczen to race here. Then an all-new 450SXF debuted (thankfully KTM stopped believing that a 350 was the answer-at least in America- and got busy on an a 450) which proved to be more than formidable against the mighty Japanese machines.

Dungey didn’t win the supercross title but before exiting with an injury he was only a scant few points behind the leader. And outdoors, he dominated the 450MX series in capturing KTM’s first ever 450MX win and championship. The gamble of signing Dungey paid off big-time for the Austrians and as well, the market share for KTM’s over here (they were already strong in the off-road stuff) has increased also. It’s been a total win-win for everyone.

Ryan Dungey raised the bar for KTM after clinching the Austrian manufacturer’s first-ever premier class AMA motocross title. Image: Simon Cudby.

And I like what KTM’s doing in other areas as well. Team manager Roger DeCoster has been around the sport a long time and knows that a successful program takes some help. You’ve got to get associated with programs that can drive your brand and fill up the results which is exactly what KTM is doing.

The JDR KTM team has been around a couple of years now to limited success but DeCoster has spoken about making this Aussie-owned, USA-based team a feeder system to the big team. One day they can field the 250 riders ala Pro Circuit and Factory Kawasaki.

Of course if you’re JDR you’re asking the question about why, if you’re the official 250 team of KTM, you can’t have 250 riders Roczen and Marvin Musquin but maybe Roger is talking about that happening AFTER Marvin and Kenny have moved up.

Ken Roczen one of KTM’s rising stars being groomed to take his shot at the premier class titles in the future. Image: Simon Cudby.

Regardless the foundation has been set with JDR and appears to be a positive thing moving forward. And new for 2013 is KTM partnering up with the BTOSports.com team and becoming an official 450 support team for the Red Bull factory team.

The Florida-based privateer team has been fielding an effort for almost ten years and finally, they have aligned themselves with an OEM. Michael Byrne and Matt Goerke will be on 450’s indoors and out and it’s just another check in the KTM ledger. The team will have motors and suspension done by the factory guys and be on equipment that is close to what Dungey has. It’s a big step for the team and for KTM itself.

Choosing your partners is as important as choosing your riders and in this case, KTM has with JDR and BTOSports.com two great teams with good backing and are professionally run.
Just another small step for KTM but one in a positive direction and the momentum continues.