News 18 Feb 2016

KTM turns pre-season focus to local races

No New Zealand motocross assault scheduled for this year.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

The KTM Motocross Racing Team will focus solely on racing domestically in lead up to the 2016 MX National season opening round on 3 April at Horsham.

In previous years the factory KTM crew has contested the New Zealand Motocross Championship as part of their pre-season warm up, but according national race teams manager Rob Twyerould that will not be the case for 2016.

Instead, team riders Kirk Gibbs, Luke Styke and Caleb Ward will contest local Queensland events including the KTM-backed Conondale Cup over the weekend of 5-6 March.

“The biggest reason is that our riders wouldn’t have been ready for the first round, because Gibbsy got hurt during supercross and Styke did as well,” Twyerould told “We were thinking that we would do the last couple of rounds, but KTM are sponsering an event at Conondale and they’d really like us to be at that one.

“So we’ll be doing some local Queensland races leading up to the first round and really let the guys heal and be in peak physical shape ready for Horsham.”

Twyerould admits the New Zealand series promotes peak racing condition for the opening rounds, but feels his riders have tapered off later in the season in previous years due to the extended schedule.

“Certainly riding the New Zealand championship puts you in a good position for the start of the MX Nationals,” said Twyerould. “As you saw last year, Gibbs and Styke were absoltuely ready to go from the first round, but then we tapered off towards the end of the series.

“So the problem with the New Zealand championship is that is makes the season very long, once you throw in the supercross you’re going from January all the way to November.”

Taking a new approach to the season is a gamble for the team, but the experienced Twyerould is confident it’s the correct choice for the 2016 season.

“We’ve done that for three years, so to sit out this year I think is going to work in our favour,” he added. “We may not be as competitive at the first round or two, but I think that the tail end of the season they’re going to be a lot fresher mentally and physically and be able to come on strong at the end of the championship.”

The KTM Motocross Racing team is set to contest select rounds of the Shell Advance Sunshine State Series in addition to the KTM Conondale Cup event.