News 20 Feb 2017

Breakthrough New Zealand moto win a boost for Styke

Strong weekend at Rotorua results in fourth overall.

Image: Andy McGechan (BikesportNZ).

Victory in race two at Rotorua during the second round of the 2017 New Zealand Motocross Championship on Sunday has KTM Motocross Racing Team’s Luke Styke confident he can continue to make upward progress upon return from injury to his achilles tendon.

Making vast improvements to his 450 SX-F between rounds one and two of the NZ championship, 2013 Australian MX2 champion Styke edged out a list of highly-rated MX1 challengers to claim a pivotal win in moto two.

Topping Kiwi champion Cody Cooper, reigning Motul MX Nationals MX1 champion Dean Ferris and premier class front-runner Todd Waters, the former world championship regular believes he is now on the right track ahead of his MX Nationals return.

“Last week we went and did some testing down in Sydney with the team and we came up with a new setting and it’s so much more predictable – I’ve got so much more comfort on the bike now,” Styke told “We made a big change and have gone a lot of steps forward, it defintely paid off on the weekend.

“I just felt so much more confident, even from that first moto running up front and not even winning that race, it was a big confidence-booster. Being there up-front, running the pace, and then carrying that on to the second moto, I got a good start and led from start to finish. Coops was putting pressure on me the whole race and I just rode my own race and kept it solid.”

Spending a year off the bike due to injury, the New South Welshman has now dismissed fears of being unable to return to his previous race-winning form with his most recent MX Nationals round win coming at Broadford in 2015.

“I didn’t even know if I could ever ride well again,” Styke said. “Am I going to be able to ride that fast anymore? Will I ever get that fit again? Will I be strong? That stuff plays in your mind when you sit on the couch for a year and you just don’t know those things.

“I’ve got a lot more things to work on than everyone else and I’ve got a lot more room to move in myself. I feel like I’m definitely on the right track, I’ve got so much room to move obviously, but we’re getting there slowly.”

Focusing on the task at hand and with the bulk of his testing schedule out of the way, the factory KTM racer will now return to a regular training program in a bid to put together consistently strong finishes.

“It’s only one race, so I’m not going to get my hopes up,” he added. “I’ve been doing a lot of testing trying to get comfortable with the bike, so I’ve lost a good couple of weeks in my training side of things. We’ll get some more solid training in and hopefully I can be consistently better over the motos in New Zealand – fitness is a big thing I have to work on, but you can’t rush that.”

Styke left the Rotorua round with a season-best fourth overall finish in the premier class using 3-1-7 moto scores to finish behind Cooper, Ferris and Waters. The Motul MX Nationals will get underway at Wonthaggi, Victoria, on 2 April.