Former national champion leaving no stone unturned this season.
The continuity of remaining with the KTM Racing Team for a second consecutive season is an added strength for former national champion Kirk Gibbs, who looks to use familiar surroundings to help boost his 2023 Penrite ProMX title charge.
Gibbs reunited with the Austrian manufacturer last year after departing to CDR Yamaha Monster Energy in 2019, then spending a single campaign with Honda Racing in 2021.
Suffering a foot injury in the build-up to ProMX last year, Gibbs progressively improved across the first two rounds before striking at Wodonga to qualify fastest. He backed that by posting the quickest time in the Top 10 Shootout during the following round at Maitland, before severely tearing his UCL while looking set to fight for victory in the opening moto.
Despite the operation prior to Coffs Harbour, Gibbs delivered his strongest overall of the season at round six with P2, and ultimately finished fifth in the MX1 standings with his share of misfortune throughout the year. Gibbs faced a longer off-season than most, opting not to compete in the Australian Supercross Championship (AUSX) but is fired up for what lies ahead.
“A bit of an extended time-off from nationals, obviously I don’t do Supercross so a little bit longer lay off I guess for me,” Gibbs said to MotoOnline. “It was good, I only had a few weeks off and then just started getting back into it.
“I didn’t have a bike for a little while, so the off-bike stuff really took over and then the on-bike stuff has only really just started in the last month or so. I really knuckled down, and tried to not leave any stone unturned for next year.
“The last few years, obviously swapping manufacturers made it a little bit tougher, so staying with something I know and in the brand is really good, and really good for me.
“I knuckled down on some things that I really think I needed to work on, and I’m really looking forward to ’23. I feel that the new bike is good, we’ve been working on it and we are in a really good spot already. Looking to come out firing for ’23 and really want to be right up the front and battle for that number one plate.”
As Gibbs indicated, he will not only enjoy familiar surroundings for 2023 but will be equipped with the latest KTM 450 SX-F to help in his MX1 title bid, having last won the premier class title in 2015 with the brand.
“Yeah the new ’23 is awesome, I had a two-stroke there to do a fair bit of riding on it before I got a 450, so I was quite comfortable on the new shape,” Gibbs continued. “It obviously is a lot different with the new frame and stuff like that, I felt comfy and at home, and it’s just really been dialling it in to get it how I want it.”
The 2023 Penrite ProMX Championship commences at Wonthaggi on 5 March, with Gibbs to be joined by MX2 contenders Nathan Crawford and Kayden Minear in KTM Racing Team’s assault.