News 15 Dec 2016

Grabham stands down from KTM off-road team manager role

Former enduro and desert racer moving on ahead of 2017 season.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Australian off-road great Ben Grabham has ended his association with KTM Australia following eight years with the manufacturer in order to pursue a different direction in his career.

Grabham joined KTM in 2009 as its elite off-road and desert rider, where he went onto claim victories in several of the country’s toughest races. He took over as KTM’s Desert Racing Team manager in 2014 before taking control of the complete off-road squad in 2015 and 2016.

The New South Welshman has played an instrumental role in the brand’s success domestically, both as a racer and as talent-spotting and grooming team manager. Grabham exits KTM with a host of accomplishments to his name, including an impressive 15th place result on debut at the prestigious Dakar Rally in 2013.

“My KTM association has been some of the best years of my life, both racing and team managing,” Grabham explained. “Obviously things have changed a lot over time – I went there as pretty much the number one desert rider in Australia, winning everything and picking up occasional wins in AORC-style stuff. My most dominant desert wins have come with KTM and I could go on forever about my good experiences, but in general it’s been an unbelievable time that I’m very grateful to have had.

“They’ve given me great opportunities and also helped me get bolted back together when I managed to snap myself in two. I’m very grateful to have had the chance to work with Jeff [Leisk] and everyone that’s part of the KTM team, either in head office in Perth, or with guys like Toby [Price], who went from being fellow competitors, to riders for me, to friends that I will have forever.

“Unfortunately all good things come to an end at some stage or another. I started doing Australian championships as a rider when I was 11, and it’s been a long slog since then. I’ve just got the chance to head off in a slightly different direction that will allow me to spend some more time with the family, so it will be nice to be away from the race team and learn some other things. It’s great to be able to leave on such good terms and after such a fantastic season.”

KTM Australia’s general manager Jeff Leisk reflected on Grabham’s career at KTM, and praised him for his efforts throughout their time in partnership.

“Ben’s done an outstanding job and achieved an incredible number of results in the time that has been with us, both as a rider and as a team manager,” said Leisk. “We want to thank him very very much – he succeeded at both absolutely.

“Ben has always been an open book with his knowledge and information in terms of trying to develop the next riders along, and I think that was his hallmark and what helped us to build such a strong effort Toby and Daniel [Sanders] would thank Ben for some of their successes no doubt.

“He was definitely a good talent scout, he could see the potential in a rider and then do something with it, and his preparation was second to none with his racing. He put a lot of time into the riders and making sure that they were completely at home on their bikes. But at the same time, he also made sure they had enough preparation before going in to battle. We are sad to see him go, but we wish him the best.”

A replacement team manger for the KTM Off-Road Racing Team is yet to be determined, however an announcement is not expected to be made until the new year.