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Ultimate Duke Riders 2021The digitally-led 2021 ULTIMATE DUKE RIDER campaign asked riders to show the world why they deserved the title by uploading a maximum of 4 photos or videos on social media and starting your caption or description with “I’m the #UltimateDukeRider because…”

Over 1500 DUKE-riding hopefuls uploaded their entries, showing everything from elbow-dragging track antics to telling epic video stories. But in the end, 10 DUKE riders from all walks of life made the final cut and were asked to meet in Salzburg, Austria.Ultimate Duke Riders 2021 1While many had to navigate international airports, PCR tests, and vaccine certificates in order to board flights, others simply saddled up their own motorcycles and hit the road. One finalist even delayed his engagement party to be a part of it, which perfectly illustrates the dedication shown by DUKE riders.

After jumping many hurdles, the ULTIMATE DUKE RIDERS arrived in Austria on the 9th of August and settled down for the night in preparation for an epic few days on the road that would cover over 1800 km.Ultimate Duke Riders 2021 4The morning of the 10th saw the group head to Mattighofen for a private tour of KTM Motohall, with KTM legend Jeremy McWilliams and Dakar hero Joey Evans in tow. It’s fair to say that the experience blew them away, with both McWilliams and Evans talking the finalists through the finer details of their favorite machines.

The 11th of August saw the finalists saddle up and hit the long road towards the Pannonia-Ring in Hungary. The route would see the finalists traversing some of Europe’s finest mountain passes, aboard a fleet of KTM DUKES. The next day, and under the watchful eye and guidance of DUKE maestro Jeremy McWilliams, the riders headed out on track to learn from the very best. With many finalists having never been on a track before, they quickly got up to speed and were soon pushing respectable lap times.Ultimate Duke Riders 2021 5Another 330 km led them to the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg, where the finalists had the opportunity to mingle with KTM top brass in the VIP area of the KTM Grandstand, watching the best in the world during free practice and qualifying.

Sunday saw the weather being temperamental, with a rain-soaked main race that will go down in the history of Grand Prix racing, spectacularly finished off with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder crossing the line in first place.Ultimate Duke Riders 2021 7The finalists saddled up once again for a 255 km ride back to Mattighofen the following day, bringing a close to an epic week and one that these ULTIMATE DUKE RIDERS will never forget.

For the full event video and see what our ULTIMATE DUKE RIDERS got up to, click here.end bike test


Antonio Cairoli 1// Antonio Cairoli is in the running for a 10th FIM World Championship in 2021
// #222 has won 6 out of his 9 FIM World Championships on KTM machinery
// Cairoli has amassed 93 GP victories and 177 podiums to-date
// The Italian will provide his expertise in key segments within the KTM group for the future

Antonio ‘Tony’ Cairoli announced his plans at a special press conference alongside KTM management in Rome, today. The Italian will bring down the curtain on a glittering world championship career in which he has become statistically the second most decorated rider in the history of the sport and the greatest racer from his country to have thrown a leg over a motocross machine.Antonio Cairoli 2Importantly, Tony gave KTM a first premier class crown in 2010 (his fourth and second in MXGP). He followed the achievement with a further four titles – all with the KTM 350 SX-F – before triumphing again in 2017 with the KTM 450 SX-F. Together with Claudio de Carli and his loyal technical crew, Cairoli has been a mainstay of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team, image and development program since that first 2010 season. He has won at least one Grand Prix in all his 18 terms.

Currently, Tony is still very much in the mix for a coveted 10th FIM World Championship title. Prior to this weekend’s FIM MXGP of Sardegna (ITA), Cairoli has accrued one win and five podium finishes from the nine rounds of 2021 MXGP. He is third in the standings and only 29 points from the top of the table.Antonio Cairoli 3Cairoli’s contract extension with the KTM family means that the Italian will provide his expertise in various segments and potential future endeavors within the KTM group, all with the aim to continue developing the sport of Motocross for all audiences.

Tony Cairoli: “This is not an easy decision. I’ve always said that numbers and statistics did not mean that much to me. I think it was an achievement for me and my family to win one world championship so to have had a career like this is very special. I feel that it is the right time to stop. Everything around me makes it seem like the right decision, and we are still trying to win the title this year, so the motivation is high for this challenge. I want to thank all those who have helped me and supported me since I came to the world championship, and all along the way actually. There have been many faces and names and of course all the excitement and love from the fans. I have felt very much part of the KTM family from day one and we will continue our work and relationship together, but now in a different way. There is a lot more to do in life after 2021 but for now our goal is very clear.”Antonio Cairoli 4

Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “Our story started in an impressive way because when Tony came to KTM when we still hadn’t won a title in the premier class and we were also developing the KTM 350 SX-F, so it’s like there were two challenges to conquer! To then win five consecutive championships and establish the 350 concept was a big milestone for us. Over the years the relationship became closer and the friendship grew even more. A lot of our success both in the U.S. and in MXGP arrived because of those first years with Tony and the belief that he had in us and the vision for the future. It’s something we didn’t forget and we won’t forget.”end bike test


gp001The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team have travelled straight from MotorLand Aragón to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for the first of two races held at this track this season (Round 14 and Round 16). It will be a special event, as Franco Morbidelli will be reunited with former teammate Fabio Quartararo, this time in the Factory Yamaha pit box.

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is looking forward to commencing this weekend‘s Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, which the team and new recruit Franco Morbidelli consider their home race.

Fabio Quartararo is determined to put his mark on the upcoming race at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli after a disappointing end to the Aragon GP. He enjoys the San Marino track and is feeling positive about his potential here this weekend.

The Frenchman is leading the championship with a 53-point advantage over his closest rival. Whilst he doesn‘t bother about the standings too much, his goals for this weekend do include a visit to the San Marino rostrum again. He stood on the podium there once before when he scored a second place in the MotoGP class in 2019, and he also came close last year when he took a fourth place in the Emilia Romagna GP.

The San Marino race weekends are always special to Morbidelli, especially because he rode his very first Grand Prix at the Misano circuit in the Moto2 class in 2013. This time round the San Marino GP will be even more special, as he will make his highly anticipated comeback after injury as well as his Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP debut.

The Italian opted to have surgery on his knee on 25 June. Following a rehabilitation programme, he is now ready for action again. However, the recovery process did mean he missed five race weekends (the Dutch GP, Styrian GP, Austrian GP, British GP, and the Aragon GP). He is currently in 17th position in the rankings, with a total of 40 points.

The Misano circuit, constructed in 1972, was a regular scene for Italian Grands Prix throughout the 80s and early 90s. The 4.2 km track is ridden clockwise, since a radical renovation was done to meet MotoGP's safety regulations in 2007 that put the circuit back on the MotoGP calendar. The upgrade also included a new chicane, resulting in the current lay-out of six left and ten right corners, and giving the track increased race excitement.end bike test


001Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing’s Jake Gagne continues to raise the bar in the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship, securing his first title in the premier class at the penultimate round at New Jersey Motorsports Park. After sealing the deal earlier today in Race 2 of the tripleheader, the newly crowned champ pulled off an encore performance in the afternoon race to extend his impressive win streak to 16. Josh Herrin returned to the podium with a pair of third-place finishes. Toni Elias rebounded from his crash in Race 2 to finish sixth in the final race of the weekend.

Gagne got another great start from pole position in Race 2 and made the pass for the lead in Turn 2. He then worked on expanding his lead up front, picking up the pace and breaking the track record with a 1:20.076 on Lap 3. Gagne put in consistently fast times to cross the line comfortably with a 9.5-second margin of victory. His 15th-straight win of the season gave him the two points he needed to claim the crown four races early.002A few hours after the championship ceremony on the podium, Gagne was back to business as usual. He countered the holeshot with another pass in turn two and never looked back. The Colorado rider executed his trademark disappearing act with a blistering pace to take his third win of the weekend by another healthy margin. Gagne’s sweep of the weekend not only extended his record-breaking win streak to 16, but it also put him in a tie for ninth on the AMA Superbike overall win list with multi-time World Champion and MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey.

Herrin was hungry for a podium finish after finishing just shy of a top-five finish yesterday in his first race back in action. He got another good start in fifth and quickly passed his teammate to move into fourth. It was a heated multi-rider battle on those opening laps, and Herrin took advantage of the war of attrition and advanced to third. From there, the Californian ran his own race and held off the competition to score his sixth podium of the season.003In the final race of the weekend, Herrin repeated his previous starts in fifth. It was another three-rider fight for that final podium spot, and he patiently waited for his opportunity, making the pass for fourth on Lap 7. A couple of laps after the halfway mark, he battled for third and ultimately grabbed the upper hand with four laps to go, scoring his second podium of the weekend.

Elias had a tough second day of racing in Millville, New Jersey. He didn’t get the start he was hoping for and then, unfortunately, crashed out of the race in Turn 1 while battling for third. In Race 2, the Spaniard found himself eighth after the start but quickly made his way to sixth. He tried to chase down the group ahead, but they were out of reach. Elias was shuffled to seventh at the halfway point, but he closed the gap, and then on the final lap, he reclaimed sixth.004The Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing Team heads to Barber Motorsports Park next weekend for another MotoAmerica Superbike tripleheader at the series finale in Leeds, Alabama, on September 17-19.end bike test


KTM 450 SMRRazor sharp on the asphalt and now with added aesthetic to match, the 2022 KTM 450 SMR is KTM’s definitive expression of Supermoto. Whether for hunting the checkered flag or shaving seconds away from a lap-time, this is the best choice…if you can catch it.

The 2022 KTM 450 SMR is the packed fist that delivers KTM’s swift and powerful punch in the Supermoto world. A segment benchmark for handling and power, in its updated for 2022 trim this new machine gets even closer to the KTM racing family thanks to its special orange frame, blue seat and racing graphics.

The championship-winning engine from KTM’s motocross and supercross machines has been adjusted and modified for optimum Supermoto use. The motor weighs just 27 kg but growls with torque and bites hard with 63 hp. The power curve is both explored and exploited by the Pankl Racing Systems 5-speed gearbox that benefits from a sensor which permits specific engine maps for each gear. A 44 mm Keihin throttle is key to the sensitive and confidence-inspiring way to summon the most of the KTM 450 SMR powerplant.KTM 450 SMR 1

Unrivalled handling comes through a special chromium molybdenum steel frame, fabricated by robotic laser-wielding for utmost precision and quality and the meld of perfect torsion and flex characteristics. The 16 mm offset geometry brings a natural and attackable sensation through the CNC-machined triple clamps with three-way amendable handlebar.KTM 450 SMR 3Supermoto is about living on the limits of adhesion. To make the most of this thrilling vibe, KTM has equipped the bike with a long list of premium quality parts. To that end WP Suspension XACT technology helps the 2022 KTM 450 SMR both stick and slide as the forces of physics drive through the Supermoto 16.5″ /17″ ALPINA light, spoked tubeless wheels and Bridgestone slick tires. Ultimate braking performance is achieved with premium Brembo 4-piston radial caliper and master cylinder set-up with 310 mm and 220 mm front and rear discs.

For 2022, the KTM 450 SMR introduces a frame finishing coated in racing orange to further reinforce the proximity to the race winning machines of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing stars. The updated frame aligns perfectly with the new blue seat cover and the fresh colors in the graphics to emphasize visually the close link to KTM’s Factory machinery.

2022 KTM 450 SMR - HIGHLIGHTS
// Ultra-light chromoly steel frame with new finishing coated in racing orange
// Upgraded aesthetics with racing graphics and factory blue seat
// Advanced four-stroke 450cc powerplant with 63 hp at 27 kg
// WP Suspension XACT AER 48 mm forks & XACT rear shock
// PANKL Racing Systems 5-speed gearbox & SUTER anti-hopper clutch
// Brembo 4-piston radial caliper, 310 mm floating front disc & 220mm rear
// Supermoto 16.5″/17″ ALPINA light wheels & Bridgestone slick tires

The 2022 KTM 450 SMR will be available at authorized KTM dealers from September 2021 onwards. For more information, visit ktm.com.KTM 450 SMR 2
end bike test


KTM RC 390Highly anticipated and eagerly awaited by KTM RC fans the world over, the all-new 2022 KTM RC range is ready to roll out of pit lane and line up on the starting grid.

The KTM RC range has been a staple Supersport model in the KTM lineup for a number of years, filling the Sportsbike gap in the KTM lineup. Now boasting Grand Prix-inspired design, a true race-derived chassis, and high-end electronics previously unseen in the small displacement Supersport segment, the new generation RC range charges out of pitlane with real-world, race-winning intentions.KTM RC 390 1
The most immediately obvious update across the board is the Grand Prix-inspired styling, which sees almost every panel being redesigned, boasting race-inspired lines and two new colorways which clearly define the sporty character of these motorcycles.

This redesign has also been purposely done to increase the overall size of the RC range, not only to give it a striking visual presence but also to optimize aerodynamics due to higher top speeds, thanks in part to a computational fluid dynamics design process.

This new design has also optimized wind and weather protection, with enhanced heat management by using a combination of inner and outer body panels to direct airflow away from the rider.KTM RC 390 2The rear bodywork has been reduced as much as possible for a more aggressive profile, but also to show off as much of the redesigned steel trellis subframe as possible.

As true sports bikes, special care has been taken in improving overall ergonomics. The knee area is now ergonomically developed to allow for easier, more fluid rider movement, being as narrow as possible with the largest possible contact area.

An all-new two-part cockpit and windscreen holder makes use of a cast aluminum upper area and a lower composite part that secures the headlight, while a larger fuel tank has been added for improved day-to-day riding, comfort, and fuel range.KTM RC 390 3The new bodywork is easily removable, with a reduced number of screws being used as well as a redesigned mounting system. This makes swapping out the street-legal bodywork for race-ready panels more practical. However, the most notable updates to the KTM RC range can be found underneath the new bodywork.

The 2022 KTM RC range was developed with a focus on weight saving, with extensive savings made throughout the chassis. An all-new wheel design accounts for a 3.4 kg unsprung weight saving over the previous generation, while the new ByBre braking system saves an impressive 960 grams. The frame too, has undergone the knife with a 1.5 kg saving.

The suspension has also undergone a major refresh, with adjustable open cartridge WP APEX upside-down front forks up front, which feature 30 clicks of compression adjustment on the left, and 30 clicks for rebound on the right.

The range topping KTM RC 390 is fitted with a WP APEX rear shock absorber which offers pre-load adjustment and 5 clicks rebound settings.

The KTM RC 125 features WP APEX open cartridge front fork with a completely new sportier factory setting, and a new WP APEX shock absorber with split piston functionality.KTM RC 125Every model in the KTM RC range is powered by a EURO5 state-of-the-art, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke engine with twin overhead camshafts, four valves, and electronic fuel injection. For 2022, the KTM RC range delivers more torque compared to previous models thanks to a new airbox design. The KTM RC 390 has also received a new engine mapping for increased torque and overall rideability.

From an electronic standpoint, the new generation KTM RC range sets the benchmark for the small displacement Supersport segment, with the KTM RC 390 boasting a selection of rider aids usually only available on bigger motorcycles, namely SUPERMOTO ABS, Lean angle sensitive Cornering ABS and Cornering MTC, and the optional Quickshifter+.KTM RC 125 1KTM MY RIDE can now also be added to the KTM RC 125 and KTM RC 390, thanks to new TFT color display, which allows riders to access important information at a glance, with the added flexibility of being able to tailor the display to show what they want to see. The display also automatically adapts its brightness to ambient light.

As a package, the 2022 KTM RC lineup promises to bring more READY TO RACE to the realm of Supersport with real, race-bred ability and technology to match.

The new generation KTM RC range will be available in dealers March 2022.end bike test


cq5dam.web.2000.2000Fabio Quartararo secured his fifth victory of the season with a commanding performance at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix. His Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team-mate Cal Crutchlow rounded out the Grand Prix in 17th place with PETRONAS’ Valentino Rossi and Jake Dixon in 18th and 19th places. 

Starting from third on the grid, Fabio Quartararo settled into fourth place in the early stages of the 20-lap British Grand Prix. After topping the free practice sessions, the Frenchman knew he had good race pace and quickly made his way past Francesco Bagnaia, elevating himself into third place before setting after the leading duo. After clocking the fastest lap of the race, Quartartaro passed Aleix Espargaro for second before making an assault on the leader just a lap later. From there the 22-year-old never looked back, setting further fastest laps of the race, he extended his lead at the front to over three seconds – eventually finishing the race in first place with a 2.663s advantage.

Quartararo’s Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team-mate Cal Crutchlow enjoyed his home Grand Prix weekend with the factory team. The British rider made progress throughout the weekend and finished the race in 17th. 

Valentino Rossi finished the Grand Prix in 18th place. The Doctor had a strong start to his race, settling into sixth from his eighth-place grid slot. Holding onto a place in the top-ten at the midway stage, he ran into grip issues which saw the Italian slowly slip through the field, eventually finishing the race in 18th place ahead of rookie PETRONAS Yamaha SRT team-mate Jake Dixon. 

Dixon had a strong MotoGP debut as he deputised for the injured Francesco Morbidelli. The British rider made progress in every session and enjoyed the 20-lap race in which he finished 19th, 50 seconds adrift of first. 

Today's win extends Quartararo's lead in the championship standings to 65 points, with a 206 points total. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP stay in first place in the team standings with 301 points. Yamaha climbed up to first place again in the constructor’s championship with 234 points. 

The Yamaha MotoGP teams will be back in action in two weeks' time at the Motorland Aragón circuit for the Gran Premio de Aragón.

Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, 1st
“This win felt great! In Austria I was thinking of the championship when we were switching bikes, but here I thought of nothing. I was feeling great on the bike, and I enjoyed fighting for the victory. It was perfect. I enjoy racing like that, living in the moment. I felt great at the start and stayed calm. I only made a few mistakes, and I felt like I was really good on braking. It was better than expected, and because of that I had kind of a change in strategy during the race. When I had a 3s lead I said, ’Okay, now it‘s time to go slowly and not make any mistakes‘, and then on the last lap I was just enjoying the track, still riding slowly. I‘m so happy about this result. It‘s a really special win. When I won in Assen, I already had some fans there. I don‘t know how many fans there were here today, but it was massive, and it was great to share this moment with them. I want to thank them. For a Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider, it‘s always nice to win a Monster Energy Grand Prix, so I basically got it all, it‘s amazing! It‘s a great win for them, and also for my family and the team. I have a mechanic who couldn‘t come here, Daniele Grelli, so this one is for him. I can‘t wait to be with the crew to celebrate.”

Cal Crutchlow – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, 17th
“I did enjoy the race. Obviously, I'm disappointed about where I finished, but overall I was pleased with my performance and pleased with the lap times I was doing. We came here to do a good job, and I feel we did that. During this weekend we worked in a great way with the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team, but I just started too far back. It was as simple as that, because I felt that I had a bit of a better pace to run with the guys nearer the front. In the mid-race I was quite pleased with my pace. It was probably a little bit faster than the pace I was doing over the weekend, so I stayed consistent. We saw a lot of guys dropping with the tyres, which we knew would happen. I was in the exact same boat with the rear tyre, but I was able to manage it well, which was quite pleasing. Overall, to be racing here in Silverstone in front of the home fans, I got great support. I'm glad they got to see three great races today. We can go away from here proud about our weekend.”

Valentino Rossi – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT, 18th
"It’s a great shame because I felt good with the bike all weekend and I was quite fast. I had a good start and good first laps; I was in a place where I could fight. However, after six laps I had problems with the rear grip, which made me slow. This sometimes happens to us and we tried a lot of things, but in the end we couldn’t fix it. I think if the temperature was a little higher than I could have used the hard tyre and we are normally better on that, but I was cold so we had to use the medium. It’s sad because I wanted to have a decent race here at Silverstone, as there is a big crowd. I want to thank them all for their support. It has been a great pleasure to ride here with so many people here all weekend and thank you everyone for your love over the years."

Jake Dixon – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT, 19th
"I felt good all weekend and felt really strong today, especially in morning Warm Up. The pace I had, I felt like I could stay with the guys in the back group. In the race I didn’t have the same feeling and the grip was different. It’s a bit frustrating. It was a great experience, although I wanted more from the race. The team did a great job and we made improvements during the weekend, but the race was out of our hands. I feel like I’ve done a good job; I was two seconds off the top guys in Qualifying after only a small number of laps. I can’t thank the British crowd enough, the cheers were fantastic every lap and it was such a nice feeling. It was so nice to see a packed out crowd at Silverstone and the atmosphere was sensational. It was an incredible feeling."end bike test


Moments from the National Cross Country Matatiele. After yet another eye-catching performance, Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Bradley Cox claimed his second consecutive victory since the return of national racing recently. Following the high of his National Enduro E1 Class win, the multi-disciplined star took top honours yet again at the National Cross Country event last weekend. 

In what started as a misty day in Matatiele, KwaZulu-Natal, Cox set off with a blistering pace to establish himself as the fastest rider of the time trial. With an unmatched sense of confidence, he carried his winning momentum into the main race. 

The rider certainly had a target on his back being tied not only for points in the OR2 Class but also overall. In what Cox describes as an “almost perfect day of racing”, he secured the class win and second overall.Moments from the National Cross Country Matatiele. 2“I was so happy to take the class win. It was almost a perfect day of racing to finish first in the time trial and in my class. I would have liked to have taken the overall win too, but there’s still a long season ahead so it wasn’t worth taking any unnecessary risks,” said Cox. 

Also representing the orange team with a solid result was Jarryd Coetzee, who finished second in the prestigious OR1 Class and fourth overall. The rider started out with an impressive time trial result, setting himself up in a prime position to contend for the title overall. Having realized the speed and fitness he needed to ultimately take the win this weekend, Coetzee explained:

“I’m really happy to have had a solid weekend of racing with a good result. With that being said, I saw this weekend that there is plenty of room for improvement. After the time trial, I was in a prime position to fight for top honours overall. When the main race started, however, I didn’t have the intensity that the riders ahead of me had. It was awesome to finish on the podium in my class, but to win overall I’m going to need to work on my pace.” 

He added, “I must compliment the event organisers on the route. There was everything from fast sections to technical trails and riverbeds. It was so well-marked and the route really raised the bar for how Cross Country races should look.” Moments from the National Cross Country Matatiele. 1

Rounding out the Brother Leader Tread KTM team was Charan Moore, who had a challenging day in the saddle. An unfortunate crash in the time trial set the rider back, but he managed get back on the bike and push to finish as one of the top ten fastest riders.

With each passing lap of the main race, Moore settled into a rhythm and was able to secure a top five finish in his class and eighth place overall. He commented, “It’s time to get back to the drawing board after two back-to-back weekends of racing. I felt like towards the end of the race I found a really good groove, which is what I ultimately want to feel from the start of the race. I know what to build on for the next one to be ‘race ready’ and I’m keen to get back to work.”end bike test


4MotoGP™ ace Miguel Oliveira will be swapping two wheels for four for a special guest appearance in the KTM X-BOX GTX cockpit at the Barcelona 24 Hours. The three-time MotoGP™ race winner will be driving for True Racing at the endurance race, which is set to go forth from 3 to 5 September at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. This will be Oliveira’s first appearance in international car racing.KTM2“I am super excited and also incredibly proud to get the chance to be a part of this race,” said Oliveira, who is otherwise found riding for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing at the pinnacle of motorcycle racing. His guest appearance with the True Racing customer team carries added importance, as Oliveira reveals: “Motorcycle racing has been part of almost my entire life, but my career began in the Portuguese karting championship, which is why I am so keen to race four wheels. There was absolutely no hesitation on my part when Mr Trunkenpolz invited me.” For Hubert Trunkenpolz, board member of KTM AG, the brand's motorsport activities are a matter close to his heart. He himself regularly competes in races with the KTM X-BOW GT2 and will take part in the 24 Hours of Barcelona with the KTM X-BOW GTX for True Racing.

Miguel Oliveira is used to being left to his own devices when it comes to racing in MotoGP, but in the 24H Series, he will have the support of strong teammates. The Portuguese will be joining forces with KTM works driver Reinhard Kofler as well as Peter Kox and Ferdinand Stuck. “I look forward to learning as much as I can from them,” Oliveira says. “Competition is obviously a substantial part of racing, but I think my top priority will be to find my feet and have some fun.”KTM1Besides the entry featuring the MotoGP star, three other KTM X- BOW GTXs will be on the grid for the Barcelona 24 Hours. True Racing has a second entry in the GTX class, while RTR Projects and Reiter Engineering will each be racing X-BOWs too. The car entered by Hans Reiter and his team, with its spectacular Felbermayr livery, is among the favourites for overall victory.

The Hankook 24H Barcelona will go green at 12:00 on Saturday 4 September. Before the race, teams and drivers will have the chance to prepare for the race with free practice and qualifying sessions. The event will be broadcast live on the race organiser’s website (24hseries.com), where live timing will also be made available.KTM3end bike test


MATT

BIKE MAGIn the heyday of sport bike magazines in the UK during the late 1990’s I was road test editor at Superbike magazine and I had Bill as my right hand man. Good for assorted ideas, half-reliable at picking up bikes for tests, fully reliable drug dispenser, keen drinking partner and an unmatched ability to get consistently fast numbers for our performance stats which the big bosses had (rightly) decided should be done for each and every bike we put in the magazine.

Sounds a breeze in theory, but was in fact a total pain in the arse on anything that wasn’t a balmy summer’s day (and there were only ever 2 or 3 days like that in the UK, pre-global warming). The problem was that our offices were in Croydon, south London, and the airfield where we did all the speed testing was in the Midlands, and by the time you’d had at least one fuel stop you were looking at 3 hours each way, or basically a full day’s work.

When we eventually persuaded the powers-that-be to invest in a van we could then lob four bikes at a time in that and blast up the motorway. Mostly though, because there were other more senior members of the magazine who liked to hijack the van for their own selfish (racing) needs we invariably ended up riding there.

It was a crap ride, across London was never nice and anywhere near rush hour was tantamount to a war crime, after which you had a boring slog on a very crowded M1 (highways are A LOT more closely policed in the UK so speeding excessively was always risky) until you took a turn up just past Northampton and had 10 minutes of mildly amusing back roads before you arrived at Bruntingthorpe airfield. maxresdefaultAirfields sound quite glamorous, but by their very nature they mostly aren’t – flat and boring, usually, and this one was largely unused save for a few older planes and a mass of new, unsold cars. However it did have a rather lovely runway that was, if memory serves (it probably doesn’t) knocking on 3km long. It had an access road, or more accurately a taxi-way for aircraft at one end that meant if you had the bottle you could barrel onto the main runway with it pinned in third gear. Getting top speeds was never a problem. 

Our regular freelance timing guys were booked in advance and they set up all the lights and equipment (they were moonlighting from official drag racing duties) and we would rock up, try and get a bacon butty at the greasy spoon that served the small businesses on site and then head out to the runway. BACONGiven the fact that we invariably had the place to ourselves, the bikes and tyres (and clutches) weren’t ours and the fuel was paid for by the magazine we would practise a few wheelies, take a couple of ‘sighting’ runs down the runway and then gather by the timing lights, full of bravado.

Much talking of bollocks ensued, bets were made about who would get fastest times on which bike and what speeds those bikes would run. Bill then turned from an entertaining, jovial mate into an annoying tit who got waaaay too competitive and serious – something he would never do with me whenever we were at a circuit, which I learned to take as a sign of grudging respect. img0024Given his many national trophies and occasional world records on assorted homebuilt bikes down the 1/4 mile there was never any question about who would win the bets, and consequently it was always me picking up the tab at the pub that evening. That wasn’t so much of a hardship when I eventually realised that ‘entertaining’ staff members could be put through my expenses (I invariably had up to 2000 quid of expenses each month, and once topped 4000 – not bad when my post-tax wage packet barely scraped past 1000!).

WEEDGiven the number of bikes that we tested here I’m afraid many of them have simply faded from memory. Those moments that have survived the passage of time are generally notable because of some extreme emotion, whether that be laughter, tears or maybe even fear.

I remember one winter’s day when we had trudged up there in a van, the two of us joined by Cobby – another legend of the magazine who had raced everything, including BSB. We had four superbikes of some sort, their exact designations escape me, but the situation doesn’t.

The wind was properly howling, gusting violently enough to rock a loaded van and threatening to rip a door off if you even thought about opening it. There was rain, too, and plenty of it. And there was the temperature, which was low, probably around the 4 or 5 degree mark, at the most.

Factor in the wind chill factor and the inevitability of getting soaking wet and hypothermia seemed the likely result, assuming you hadn’t binned a bike during one of the gusts or because the thing had aquaplaned off the runway.

Thankfully I was the senior magazine guy there, it was my test and I delegated the job to my co-workers. Cobby took one look at me, questioned my parentage and turned up the radio. He was a stroppy bastard at the best of times, like a Gilet Jaunes protester with a bad hangover, so I advised him to fornicate with himself and did my best impression of a caring co-worker and looked at Bill with what I imagined were pleading, sympathetic eyes.

Bill, to be fair, was always desperate to get out on the runway and strut his stuff, but even he looked bleak on this occasion. 

He stood outside the van which was slowly steaming up its windows but his words never reached us, carried away on the hurricane-like winds.

We nodded encouragement and gestured in the direction of the timing equipment, and I rolled another fat one as he disappeared off on a superbike that had freezing tyres and a small screen that hadn’t been designed to deal with crosswinds straight off the plains of Siberia.

We turned the heating up in the van, ripped open a couple of chocolate bars because munchies, and settled in for the entertainment. 24pmzkWe actually missed the first run because we couldn’t hear him coming and he was hidden in a haze of water spray in the middle of a downpour and it was virtually dark even though it was actually the middle of the day. The first we knew about the run was when he tapped on the window and we both crapped ourselves because paranoia. And munchies.

Apparently he’d nearly wiped out hooking top gear through a particularly large puddle and before I could suggest we save the testing for another day Cobby questioned the size of his genitalia and told him to stop moaning and go faster.

We turned the heating up a bit more, tried to stop giggling and edged the van a bit closer and added in some full beam headlights to make sure we caught the action this time. If he was going to have a big accident we might as well be able see it.

It was terrifying. You could hear the engine note rising and falling as the bike fought for grip on the waterlogged runway and then as he crested the small rise before the timing lights it would emerge, with more lean angle against the crosswind than many road riders can manage on their favourite corner on a Sunday morning. 

Stupidity takes many forms, but this is undoubtedly one of the most ridiculously idiotic things I had ever seen. Still, we got the numbers for the magazine (published with a little asterisk denoting “wet”, which hardly told the story) and Bill went home elated, I was relieved while Cobby was mightily disappointed not to have seen at least some smashed plastics if not a few splintered bones. smiling young sexy oktoberfest girl waitress wearing traditional bavarian german dirndl serving big beer mug half length 158970880If you ever see him at the pub and fancy being bored for half an hour then ask Bill about his little tricks to make sure he always won the top speed wars. Or maybe I’ll share them in a future chat when I might also spill the beans about more on-the-job stupidity masquerading as dedicated professionalism.

Mat Durrans

All the details in this story are obviously the fictional fever dreams of a failed bike journalist and are subject to an artistic super-license. Amen.

end bike test


 

 

 

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