News 23 Jan 2015

KTM on track for 2015 pre-season in New Zealand

Gibbs, Styke and Ward ready for Woodville GP this weekend.

Image: Craig Bourke (Freeride Images).

Image: Craig Bourke (Freeride Images).

The KTM Motocross Racing Team’s sharp new 2015 squad is about to kick its season off at one of New Zealand’s biggest motocross events, the Woodville GP.

KTM’s factory team traditionally contests the annual Woodville GP and the four-round New Zealand Motocross Championships as competitive preparation for the Australian MX Nationals, which begin on 29 March at Horsham.

The 2015 team features Australian motocross runner-up Kirk Gibbs alongside incoming teammate Luke Styke, the 2013 MX2 Champion who is stepping up to the MX1 class for the first time.

Gibbs is feeling upbeat and positive after coming out of his first off-season without injury in five years and hopes Woodville is the first step on the road to his goal of an MX Nationals title in 2015.

“As soon as I finished the two Queensland Supercross races at the end of last year, I gave the bike back and said ‘I don’t want to look at it until after Christmas’,” Gibbs said. “It was late in the first week in January when I got my bike, so I’ve only been on it for two weeks, but I feel pretty good on the bike already.

“For me, Woodville reminds me of Conondale without grass; it’s a real natural terrain track, a little bit up and down hill. Normally it’s been a tough gig for me in the last couple of years, because I’ve always been coming back from injury, and I’m sure it’s going to be tough again this year, because I believe there’s a lot of good riders coming.”

Meanwhile, Styke will continue his build-up to the Australian MX Nationals, using the pre-season in New Zealand to refine the settings of his KTM under race conditions.

“These last couple of weeks have been good with our development of the handling of the bike,” Styke said. “I’m going to take my new set-up to New Zealand and give that a good test under race conditions. I’ve also been doing a little of testing with the horsepower of the 450 and trying to get that exactly the way I want it.

“I think everything is on track, I’ve been getting all my training in, but we’re only early days. New Zealand is only preparation for the Australian series, so I don’t want to put everything on the table just yet.

“I’m really keen to get the ball rolling and spend more time with the team under race conditions and try to kick the season off with a high. Rob’s told me they are really good tracks, prepped well, with a lot of hills and that there’s a good atmosphere there.”

The team will also be joined by factory-backed MX2 racer Caleb Ward in NZ, the young North Queenslander who dominated three rounds of last year’s 250 championship. He has switched to four-stroke power this year and will contest the national championship aboard a KTM 250 SX-F.