News 20 Sep 2017

KTM Motocross Racing Team opts out of SX1 title contention

Back injury sidelines Styke for upcoming AUS Supercross series.

Image: Alex Gobert (Foremost Media).

KTM Motocross Racing Team manager Jay Marmont has confirmed the factory outfit will go without a rider in the premier SX1 class for the approaching 2017 Australian Supercross Championship.

With Kirk Gibbs on a motocross-only deal – set to represent Australia at the Motocross of Nations (MXoN) next month – and teammate Luke Styke suffering a back injury that has forced him to the sidelines for the year, it’s left the powerhouse squad without a 450 entry.

“At this point Luke has pulled out,” Marmont revealed to “His injury has left us without a rider, it’s very unfortunate – I think it’s unfortunate for him and it’s unfortunate for the team. Obviously the injury was playing an affect on his results towards the end of motocross, he was going out there and he just wasn’t fit to ride in the end.

“I said to him that he’d do himself no justice by going out there and racing if you’re going to be racing injured, I said listen to your body and if the doctors are saying take 6-8 weeks off to get better, you need to do that. He made that call at the end of motocross that he didn’t want to race supercross, we have to stand by him, make sure his health is okay and stick by his decision.”

It was announced earlier this month that newly-crowned MX2 champion Egan Mastin signed with the team for supercross in SX2, before graduating to the premier class in the 2018 season. Multi-time champion Marmont said the youthful talent will be the team’s sole effort for the upcoming series, which is a decision that has received backing from KTM Australia general manager Jeff Leisk.

“We made the decision the race with Egan in SX2,” he continued. “We were going to put him on a 450, but I actually made the call myself to put him on a 250, just because he hasn’t raced supercross before. He’s going to have to learn the ropes of supercross and that’s only going to help us build towards next year and the years to come when he hops onto the bigger bike.

“I’ve been put in hard position, but in saying that, Jeff Leisk has reassured me he’s okay with not having a SX1 rider at the moment. So I just need to work towards next year, I’ve already got my riders in place and they’ll probably be announced at the end of supercross. Hopefully I don’t get put in this position again where I don’t have riders. It’s unfortunate for KTM and that we don’t have a bike out there at this point representing in the championship.”

It’s understood KTM evaluated a number of alternate rider options to ride the factory 450 SX-F in supercross, however none of those materialised as the series moved closer. The opening round of the Australian Supercross Championship is scheduled to commence this Saturday, 23 September, at the popular Jimboomba X Stadium in Queensland.