Rookie sensation on the radar of KTM's factory motocross effort.
KTM Motocross Racing Team manager Rob Twerould has pinpointed standout MX2 MX Nationals rookie Caleb Ward as the future following his second overall win of the season at Conondale earlier this month.
At just 17, Ward has stunned with victories in the sand at Wanneroo as well as the hard-pack surface of Conondale aboard a privateer 250 SX, quickly capturing the attention of Twyerould and KTM management.
It’s been confirmed KTM will work on securing Ward for 2015 and the future, however the finer details of such an agreement are yet to be cemented since the factory only runs an MX1 program officially.
“I think the next big thing in Australia is Caleb Ward,” Twyerould commented. “I really like the kid; he’s like the nerd of the paddock. His style though is fantastic, he is up on the footpegs and nothing seems to phase him.
“For me and KTM, he is a young guy that we will really make a big effort for to keep him going and look to him as a star of the future.”
Injuries continue to take a toll on Ford Dale’s career, completing just one round at Swan Hill with KTM before fracturing his back in a training incident and sidelining him again for the season remainder. For Twyerould, while Dale is an option to retain, rider choice is widespread ahead of 2015.
“I really like Ford and he is a great guy and honestly if everything went right, he would be the guy to watch for sure,” he added. “It’s going to be tough for him to come back from this back injury and I’m still not sure what to do.
“We have had pretty much every rider in the paddock contact us, so they obviously see the KTM team as a great team to be involved in. We certainly have a lot of choice, and what we do with Ford is undecided at this point yet, but we are keeping our options open.”
Personality, along with potential, is key in KTM’s decision as the ultra-professional nature of the in-house factory effort welcomes a tight-knit squad.
“I have a really great bunch of guys, mechanics and technicians and it’s how their personalities would fit in with that,” he explained. “Obviously they have got to have the potential to win races as well, but for me to get the best out of the rider I feel like we really have to click and gel as a team.
“If I don’t particularly like the guy, or he’s a bit arrogant, or rude, that sort of instantly puts a block there. Over the years now we have had Todd Waters, Kirk Gibbs and Ford Dale, and they’re all very nice guys.
“I work on the positive, rather than the negative, so when they don’t go well I try to find the positive in that performance. So I like a guy that responds well to that sort of feedback, rather than someone who wants a kick up the arse when they aren’t going well.”
It’s also anticipated Gibbs will remain on board the 450 SX-F for next season, in what would be his third consecutive season in the premier class with KTM.