News 4 Jan 2016

Wills headlines revamped Raceline KTM team

Newcastle-based team transfers from Suzuki for new year.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Raceline KTM has signed Dylan Wills and Wade Kirkland for the 2016 season in a new-look development team that switches manufacturers following a long association with Suzuki.

Respected development team Raceline has joined forces with KTM Australia for season 2016 and beyond to provide a critical step in KTM’s rider development pathway.

“KTM recognised a gap in our rider development path from juniors to seniors and we’ve been working on finding the right partner and the right scenario with which to fill that void,” explained KTM Australia brand manager Tam Paul.

“I am really excited about our future direction with Raceline. Dylan Wills and Wade Kirkland will be our MX2 and MXD riders respectively. Dylan is definitely an up-and-coming young rider who already has MX2 moto wins to his credit. He has a lot of potential and we’re very excited about the future with him. He has plenty of speed and great supercross skills as well.

“Wade is our graduating KTM Factory Junior Team rider from 2015 and he finished second in his final junior nationals behind Hunter Lawrence. He’s a very strong rider whose great skill set and consistent performances ensure he is always there at the end of a championship.”

Raceline team owner John Tisdale commented: “This is the absolute truth, KTM pretty much straight out of the box has been the best racing machine since the beginning. The other brands would probably challenge that, but if you walk around the pits, that is the information you get.

“The new product is a new launch pad and a really exciting thing. We’ve joined an organisation whose DNA is a really close match with ours and I don’t think in 18 years we’ve ever had such a good fit.

“They are committed to pro development and we have made a reputation of taking really good, talented riders and maturing them for championship performances and our reputation there is second to none. That transition from top junior to competitive senior is what we do best and it’s the role they want for us. I’m really excited about it.”

Following an impressive rookie season Wills will ride MX2 for the team on board a 250 SX-F, while Kirkland transfers from KTM’s junior team to contest the MXD division also on the 250 SX-F.

“I’m really excited,” Wills said. “Chris Woods runs a great program and it’s great to see him getting backing from a brand that is already unbelievably good straight out of the box. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with. It’ll be a new stepping stone for me in my career and I just can’t wait to start testing and try to get an unbelievable bike underneath me.

“I’m 100 percent certain that Woodsy will build me a great bike so I can’t wait to go racing. My goal now is to win the championship. Now that I’m on a team and I’ve got a year under my belt, I think that if I start somewhere near the front I’ll be there at the end of the championship. I know that I can win motos and run with the top guys, so I can’t see any reason why I can’t.”

Wills finished ninth in this year’s MX Nationals MX2 title chase on a 250 SX, winning multiple motos and gaining overall podiums against the country’s top 250 class talent in his debut season.