KTM Australia has announced that rising star Jesse Dobson has been signed to take the place of injured MX1 racer Luke Styke on the factory team for this weekend’s MX Nationals opener at Horsham, and for the rest of season 2016 including the Australian Supercross Championship.
The just-turned-19 Queenslander is one of the hottest rising prospects in the premier class in Australia, and when Styke’s Achilles tendon re-ruptured upon his return to riding a little over a week ago, the team moved quickly to explore options for Dobson’s release from his sponsorship arrangements.
Upon receiving the offer from KTM’s Race Teams Manager Rob Twyerould, Dobson forewent the pleasantries of a planned 19th birthday party, opting instead for a day spent in the van, hot-footing it down to Sydney to immediately begin testing of his KTM 450 SX-F.
Dobson has filled in once before for the KTM motocross team with tremendous success, when he contested the 2014 Australian Supercross championships (his first senior supercross championship) and exceeded all expectations by finishing fifth overall.
Last year riding for Husqvarna, Dobson also proved himself a regular top five finisher outdoors, running as high as sixth in a career-best effort which would ultimately end prematurely due to a knee injury.
He will now share the KTM Motocross Racing Team awning with KTM450SX-F-mounted defending MX Nationals number 1 Kirk Gibbs, and new MX2 recruit Caleb Ward (KTM250SX-F).
KTM will be well represented across all three major classes entering the first round, including by KTM Factory Support Riders Jayden Rykers (MX2) and Cooper Pozniak (MXD) and Raceline Pirelli KTM Motocross Racing Team development riders Dylan Wills (MX2) and Wade Kirkland (MXD).
Rob Twyerould, KTM Australia Race Teams Manager
“It’s devastating news for us that Luke is out – it looks like his first advice to let it heal naturally wasn’t the best advice, and it ruptured. But he’s had the operation now and his Achilles is reconnected, but it’s a minimum of six months healing. With him out, to give our sponsors exposure when we have an infrastructure that supports three riders, we needed that additional MX1 rider and my first choice was Jesse Dobson, it was just a matter of working out the politics of it all. Thankfully all of his sponsors have been very understanding and realised it’s a huge opportunity for him, and they’ve released him. I think he is a perfect fit for our team; he’s ridden a Supercross season with us before, he’s great mates with Caleb and Kirk, and he really believes in us, which makes a big difference. I think we can take him to the next level and really give him an opportunity to shine in the motocross championships. His pre-season results have been really good and he drove down to Sydney to be with us this week, missing out on a big birthday party that had been planned by his Mum and Dad, and he spent his birthday in a car driving from Queensland to New South Wales, so to me that’s a sign that he wants this bad!”
Jesse Dobson (KTM 450 SX-F)
“I’m super pumped, I can’t thank the team enough for giving me the opportunity to come back. The last time I raced for the team was in Supercross and I was only 17, and every round we progressed and we had good success. To me that feels like a lifetime ago and I feel that I’ve grown so much and matured since then as a rider. I’m in a lot better place coming in this year with these guys behind me. It’s kind of a last-minute thing, but I think we’ve got a good base setting to work off and we are in a good place. For me the job hasn’t changed, I’m still going there to win.
“It’s good because I fallen right back into the place where I was in the supercross in 2014, and last year even though I was with Husky I were still involved with the boys a little bit in testing at the tracks and I’m good friends with Kirk and with Caleb as well. It’s a bit of a last-minute rush but it was so good to get the call because it just makes it a lot easier on my behalf, I can now rock up at the rounds with only the clothes I need to wear, and just do my job. Instead of having to pack my stuff in and drive to the round of the week before, I think it’ll make a big difference. I’d like to thank Husky for making this opportunity possible. We were in a really good place with them four days ago, but this just makes it easier.”
Kyle Blunden, KTM Motocross Team Manager
“We’ve unfortunately lost Luke to injury, but we’ve just been able to negotiate a deal with Jesse to bring him on board for the 2016 season. It’s an exciting time for the team. I think Jesse is someone that is showing a huge amount of potential, and it’s definitely a great opportunity to bring him under the banner and offered him some fantastic support and it takes a lot of pressure off him and his parents, who have been doing a fantastic job up until now. I’ve known Jesse for a lot of years and I remember watching him on a KTM 65 back when I was working at a dealership that supported him. He someone that I’ve seen on KTMs pretty much as long as I’ve been in the motorcycle industry so it’s a pretty cool thing to see someone like him reach a level that he has wanted to get to since he was a little kid.
“We’ve done a lot of testing and all the boys in the workshop from Jordan to Jessie and Danny, they’ve all been working really long hours, and I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done. With my role now, I’m not able to be in the workshop is much as I would have liked, but those guys have really stepped up to the plate and worked their backsides off so they’ve been fantastic. As far as the riders are concerned, I think they’ve done everything they they can leading into round one, and obviously we’ll go there, get those nervous jitters out the way and see where we are at, and hopefully come away with some great results.”
KTM Motocross Racing Team – 2016 MX Nationals – Team Bike Shoot Images by iKapture
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.