— KTM confirm AORC plans
After a stellar year that included outright wins in AORC, Finke and Hattah races, 2012’s arguably most successful Australian off-road team, Motorex KTM Off Road Racing, is daring to aim higher.
With a proven world class lineup, KTM Australia has named an unchanged off-road squad for 2013 with Toby Price, Chris Hollis and Ben Burrell flying the Motorex KTM Off-Road team flag, while HSE Motorex KTM Desert Racing Team star and recent Dakar finisher Ben Grabham will share the awning at all events.
While the faces might be the same, the bikes, the riding gear and the parts are all brand new, and a perfect illustration of KTM Australia’s in-house strategy, which it will apply to its premier racing teams.
“The new approach,” said General Manager Jeff Leisk, “was a logical step with KTM increasing its range of products in terms of Power Wear technical and casual gear and Power Parts components. These are first rate products – top quality stuff, so it was natural for us to want our premier teams using it. We’ll see a lot more dealers committing to it and stocking it this year and that can only be good for our customers.
“Enduro is one of our most important and traditional markets and we’re very proud of the capability of our range. The KTM500EXC Toby will ride is one of our top sellers and he has proven it across a wide variety of conditions from tight and twisty enduro to wide open cross country racing and dirt track and it’s great for our customers to be able to see what our bikes are capable of through the exploits of our team.”
Six-time Australian enduro champion and Manager of the Motorex KTM Off Road Racing Team Brad Williscroft is confident he has the men and the tools to succeed at the highest levels, and it’s hard to disagree.
“Last year we had an incredible year and the four-day was the only target we missed,” says Williscroft, “but KTM puts in a lot of effort and we go to every race to win it.
Reigning Champion of Finke, Hattah and AORC, Toby Price is a man at the top of his game, a fact recognised outside Australia as his deal to return to the famous Baja races in Mexico illustrates.
“It’s going to be a pretty big year for me with the Aussie stuff and Baja,” said Price, “I’m on the 500EXC in E3 again for the AORC and four-day, and I look forward to getting on that bike and just going for it.”
Unashamedly passionate about the high speed races, Price will switch to the lighter 450 SX-F for the sands of Finke and Hattah.
“For Finke and Hattah I’ll use the 450 SX-F, which just floats a little lighter in the sand and gets up to speed a tiny bit quicker, yet has a similar top speed.
“I’ve always loved going fast. It’s hard to explain to somebody what it feels like to pin a 450 wide open in 5th gear for ten minutes straight, or sit on 180kph on a dirt bike for the best part of two hours on your way down to Finke. You’ve really got to keep the eyes peeled and the concentration sharp – it’s pretty good fun!”
The competition and camaraderie between Price and fellow multiple AORC winner Chris Hollis exists in equal amounts.
“It’s a great team,” says Hollis. “I love the feel of it as a racer; they’re good guys and it just makes me look forward to going racing each time.”
Behind the enjoyment however, is a serious driving force. “This year for me is about redemption. Last year I got injured a few times and got lost with my setup and had my worst season ever. I’ve had to work hard to get back to the level I want and we’re well on the way. Last weekend’s Enduro-X was a good starting point to test my speed and consistency.”
Three-time AORC Junior champion and 2011 British U19 champion Ben Burrell will be back on the team’s KTM250 EXC-F and looking forward to challenging for E1 supremacy.
“I’m not a big guy,” said Burrell, “so swinging off a big bike is an effort for me – I just love the 250EXC-F. I love the handling, it’s a beaut engine and as a package, it’s perfect for me.
“The goal for me this year is to go out and have some fun. I definitely lost sight of that last year, so this year I want to enjoy the racing and hopefully improve in the championship. I’m also really looking forward to this year’s A4DE in Perth as I’ve never raced there before.”
The team’s first outing will be the opening round of the 2013 Australian Off-Road Championship at Bulahdelah, NSW on March 14.
Motorex KTM Off Road Racing Team:
Team Rider – Toby Price #1
Team Rider – Chris Hollis #84
Team Rider – Ben Burrell #42
Team Manager – Brad Williscroft
Team Mechanic – Mick Carusi