News 6 Feb 2017

Race mileage in NZ critical for Styke upon return

KTM Motocross Racing Team rider building up to MX Nationals.

Image: Simon Makker (Makkreative).

The 2017 New Zealand pre-season calendar is playing a vital role in Luke Styke’s return to racing as he prepares to rejoin the Motul MX Nationals circuit this season following a lengthy achilles injury battle.

Coming off the back of a 10th-place MX1 finish at the Woodville Grand Prix and a sixth-place finish at the opening round of the New Zealand Motocross Championship, the KTM Motocross Racing Team rider is confident the low-pressure building process will pay off.

“That’s why we’re doing it and KTM have said that there’s no pressure for me to do anything over there,” Styke told “It’s all about getting me back behind the gate and just feeling it out.

“My starts are good and there are positives to take, but we need to iron out the creases and I’m looking forward to the process. It’s going to take me a while, and realistically I haven’t raced in a year-and-a-half and I’m racing the top guys right now and they haven’t had any time off at all. They’re a fair bit in front, but I feel like I can close that gap pretty quick if I find some more comfort on the bike.”

With a break in the New Zealand series, Styke and the Jay Marmont-managed factory KTM squad will take advantage of the schedule and work on increasing his comfort level in a bid to continue moving in a positive direction.

“We’ve done a few test sessions, but we still haven’t got there 100 percent yet,” Styke explained. “But I’m looking forward to next week, we’ve got a full week of testing booked in, [Danny] Apro will be back from holidays and we’re going to nut it out and then back over there and bring some more to the table. I think my riding is good, I just need to get the bike a little bit better and obviously get a little faster then we should be good.”

The New South Wales native finished fourth overall in his last full Motul MX Nationals MX1 season in 2015 where he recorded a single round victory at the Broadford in Victoria.