KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas launch in-house teams ahead of new year.
A broadened factory Australian motocross, supercross, enduro and desert commitment has been outlined by KTM Group for 2021, featuring unprecedented in-house programs for the KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas brands.
Each manufacturer will have single-rider line-ups in the Australian ProMX, Supercross and Off-Road championships, while KTM will also defend its Finke Desert Race title and Husqvarna is forming a desert effort.
KTM has signed highly-rated teenager and 2019 MXD champion Regan Duffy to lead its return to fielding an in-house motocross team for the first time since 2018, stepping up to MX1 on-board a KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F.
“I’m really excited to be joining KTM and riding the 450 SX-F next season,” Duffy said. “I’ve been part of the brand’s development path for a lot of my career and feel at home on the bigger bike, so it’s a really good opportunity to step up with a great team around me.”
National champion Daniel Milner’s re-signing for enduro is now official in what is downscaled AORC structure from two riders to one, reverting to 500 EXC-F machinery, while David Walsh will once again compete in the desert after winning Finke last year.
“Being able to sign for my fifth year with KTM in 2021 is really cool,” commented Milner. “I’ve been able to achieve a lot with KTM since joining them and have been really motivated this year, so we will continue that, aim to do the same again next season and deliver some more championships.”
For the first time, Husqvarna’s motocross team will be operated internally as Husqvarna Factory Racing, retaining reigning outdoor champion Todd Waters at the brand between the FC 450 and FE 450 models.
Waters will pull double-duty across ProMX and AORC following a successful enduro debut this season within his own effort, effectively filling the place of Dakar Rally-bound Daniel Sanders off-road.
“To be remaining part of the Husqvarna family into 2021 is a big deal to me, an exciting project and one that I am happy to be involved in,” according to Waters. “We haven’t been able to race nationally since winning the MX1 title in 2019, but it has been a busy year in its own ways.
“Now we are definitely looking forward to getting back on track and working hard to defend the championship. I’m also looking forward to continuing off-road, gaining experience there and hopefully being in contention throughout the season.”
In addition, Dylan Wills will take charge in AUS Supercross riding a FC 450 and marking his rookie campaign in SX1. He’ll also be a privateer riding MX2 outdoors and continues his collaboration with KTM Group. A new-look desert team will feature Callum Norton, who rode Finke with KTM last year.
GasGas Factory Racing will also arrive in Australia with an in-house squad, confirming Aaron Tanti will transition into the premier category equipped with the new MC 450F.
Tanti, who was originally slated to be heading to the US next year, will be joined by Mason Semmens, who moves across from KTM’s factory enduro team to ride a EC 250F in E1.
“I was always aiming to step up to the premier class for next year if I was staying here in Australia, so it’s worked out well to be joining GasGas in the factory team and having this opportunity,” Tanti explained. “It will be a lot of fun being part of the brand and I can’t wait to get on the new MC 450F.”
The eight-rider roster comes as a significant boost to the sport at a national level, outlining the importance of the Australian market for the KTM Group and bolstering opportunities for a selection of the country’s champions and rising talents. GASGAS now has official teams in Europe, the US and Australia.
“As we launch this exciting new brand into the market, it pairs perfectly having Aaron and Mason on board to represent us,” stated Brad Hagi, managing director of KTM Group Oceania. “GasGas is set to be competitive right out of the gates.
“There is also an authentic, grassroots element to the brand that these two young guns represent with their enthusiastic and vibrant personalities. Mason has grown up through the KTM Group ranks and both himself and Aaron are ready to step up and stamp their authority on the Australian racing scene with GasGas.”