Impressive warm up for KTM Enduro Factory Team at Italian Nationals in Sardinia

March 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Selected riders from the KTM Enduro Factory Team put in two great days of racing on the Italian island of Sardinia on Saturday and Sunday delivering performance that look very promising for the coming season.

Team stalwart Johnny Aubert won the overall competition on both days indicating that he is in top form and happy with his new bike, the KTM 350 EXC. Also performing well was Cristobal Guerrero of Spain who this season joins Aubert in the E2 class.

Johnny Aubert in winning form in Sardinia

While the wet and slippery conditions were just right for the Frenchman Aubert, the young Guerrero drew particular praise from team boss Fabio Farioli. “It was a surprise and is very pleasing to see how well Cristobal rode this weekend in these difficult conditions. Coming from Spain he is used to riding on hard, dry and rocky surfaces.”

Another good performer from the factory team was Thomas Oldrati who was third overall on Saturday and won the 250 competition in Sunday. The conditions were good for the young Italian from Bergamo and it was a good weekend for track practice ahead of the world championship season when Oldrati will be joined in the E1 class by Eero Remes of Finland. Remes did not race in Italy this weekend. Young Italian Jonathan Manze of the Farioli Team also won the junior races on both days.

Unseasonal wet weather made riding conditions challenging on both days, delivering what Farioli described as “a real Enduro”. It was wet and slippery over the rocky terrain on Saturday and overnight rain added another dimension on Sunday when the course was bogged down with mud. Riders tackled only three laps on Sunday instead of the four on Saturday and organizers also made a concession to the difficult conditions and removed one of the hardest tests for the second day of competition.

“Conditions on Sunday were much more difficult than Saturday but this weekend our riders put in some solid results and we were very happy with the performance of the bikes,” Farioli said.

David Knight, the current E3 World Champion is training in Spain and the USA and did not compete in Sardinia this weekend. The Enduro Factory riders will have another opportunity to get some track practice next weekend for one race on Sunday in Turin, Italy

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KTM Enduro Factory Team looking forward to a strong competitive season

March 8, 2011 Leave a comment

The KTM Enduro Factory Team recently presented at the World Championship Indoor Enduro event in Barcelona Spain together with the latest generation of Orange Enduro models.

Now in the countdown to the start of the official calendar of events team boss Fabio Farioli reports that the pre-season preparation has been excellent and he is looking forward to a positive racing season in 2011.

David Knight looking awesome!

“We are very positive about the 2011 Enduro bikes and our riders can hardly wait to get out on the track and tackle the competition,” he said.

Following on from a successful 2010 season Farioli believes the team has entered a new era with the new generation bikes and the current lineup of riders. After completing intensive pre-season training, including a joint session in Spain at Stefan Everts’ special facility together with the MX riders of the Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing Team, the Enduro riders are looking forward to getting some competition practice under their wheels before the official start of the World Championship GP season on April 1-2, 2011.

The factory lineup shows great promise for the 2011 season and will have the first chance to test themselves on the track and against rivals during the Italian National Championships next weekend in two races on the island of Sardinia (March 12-13) and a further race in Turin, Italy on the following weekend. The only rider who will not compete in these events will be David Knight who has been training in Spain and in the USA.

Fabio Farioli: “2010 was good to us. We won one of the top titles and we had all the riders on the podium. Now this year, like every year, we start with the aim of winning all the titles. I am very hopeful about our prospects and this includes our two young riders, Thomas Oldrati and Cristobal Guerrero who both have the potential to be on the podium.”

Eero Remes of Finland and Italian Thomas Oldrati are contesting the E1 class on the 250 EXC, Johnny Aubert of France and Cristobal Guerrero of Spain will ride in the E2 class on the revolutionary new 350 EXC-F bike while David Knight will contest the E3 class on the KTM 500 cc 4-stroke. He will be joined in this class for the first three events in Spain, Portugal and France by KTM’s extreme Endurist Taddy Blazusiak of Poland who will ride the 300cc 2-stroke machine.

Taddy Blazusiak, the style master!

The team also has a lineup of riders skilled on many surfaces and terrains. David Knight excels on very rough and difficult terrain, Johnny Aubert is a great specialist on grass and slippery surfaces, Eero Remes likes sandy surfaces and is incredibly fast in the MX tests. Cristobal Guerrero shines on extremely hard surfaces like those in his native Spain and Thomas Oldrati is most at home in the typical extreme tests that are characteristic of the terrain around his hometown of Bergamo in the very heartland of Enduro in Italy. And as followers of the sport already know, Taddy Blazusiak is fearless on virtually any terrain.

Both riders and team manager are also enthusiastic about the new generation of bikes. “We’ve made a real step into the future,” Farioli said. “I can say that we have already reached the next level!”

Farioli also said that the 2011 WEC World Championship calendar offered a great range of terrain. The season starts on the Iberian Peninsula with rounds in Spain and Portugal then heads south to Italy, turkey and Greece. The calendar continues for two new events in Romania and Andorra before heading for the finale in France.

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Red Bull/KTM Riders Finish in the Top Ten Two Weeks in a Row

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Red Bull/KTM riders Andrew Short and Mike Alessi put their KTM 350 SX-F race machines inside the top ten for the second week in a row this time at the 7th round of the series in San Diego, CA at Qualcomm Stadium.

Rain leading up to the race created a muddy race course for the riders as they headed to the first practice session. Short shined in the first practice turning the 4th fastest time in his session. At the end of the second session Short remained in the top ten fastest times qualifying 9th overall while Alessi qualified 17th.

Both Red Bull/KTM riders earned a gate spot in the second heat. Alessi got a great jump off the start rounding the first corner in 2nd position while Short wasn’t as fortunate and came around in 7th. Alessi made a few mistakes on the first lap and dropped to 5th. He then began to battle with his teammate for that position as Short fought his way forward. When the checkered flag flew, Short crossed the line in 5th while Alessi qualified 7th.

KTM fans everywhere were on their feet at the start of the Supercross main event as both Short and Alessi came around the first corner in 2nd and 3rd respectively. It was Reed and Short who competed for the holeshot while Alessi cut inside at the end to put two KTM’s into the top three. A few laps into the race Short was sitting 3rd while Alessi had dropped to 6th. Short worked hard to maintain his pace out front while trying to hold off both James Stewart and reigning Champion Ryan Dungey. Unfortunately, both were able to move around Short and by the fifth lap he was 5th with his teammate directly behind him.

The Red Bull/KTM riders did not separate too far away from each other after that. Short and Alessi ran 5th and 6th for the majority of the race. Around the thirteenth lap Alessi began to get heavy pressure from Davi Millsaps. Alessi fought hard to protect his lines and try to keep Millsaps at bay for a good six laps. With three laps to go Millsaps was able to move around Alessi and took over 6th place. Alessi then found himself in a battle with Ryan Villopoto and Brett Metcalfe who had both been trailing Millsaps earlier in the race. Alessi, Villopoto and Metcalfe battled the entire last lap. With three corners to go, Alessi made a mistake in a corner and allowed Villopoto to get by. As he tried to protect his line in the next corner he made another mistake and lost his rhythm losing the next spot to Metcalfe. When Alessi crossed the finish he was 9th overall, marking his best finish so far this season.

“I am bummed that I wasn’t able to hang on to my 6th place position which I maintained through most of the race, but I feel really good about my performance today. This is the first race where I kept my pace through all twenty laps and by doing so I was able to better my best finish. I’m pumped to finish inside the top ten with Short for another weekend,” remarked Alessi after the race.

Short went on to finish the night in 6th overall after a last lap battle with Millsaps. “I don’t consider myself a decent mud rider so I was a little worried about this race. This track was also pretty tricky and there were a few sections that I struggled with tonight. Overall, I am glad to be in the top ten but I really would have liked to finish in the top five,” stated Short.

Both riders will now head to Atlanta for the next round of the AMA Supercross Series next Saturday night.

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Haydn Franklin: Race Report-TSCEC Rd. 2

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Race Report – Haydn Franklin
Texas State Championship Enduro Circuit (TSCEC) Round 2
Enduro at Barnwell Mountain – Gilmer, Texas
February 13, 2011

With ice, snow and 15 degree temperatures earlier in the week – Saturday’s sun and 60+ degrees was so nice.  I had decided to do some maintenance on my rear shock late in the week so I had that and my computer to put on the GasGas XC300 Saturday morning. Jennifer and I headed to Gilmer around noon, got signed up, put our cards on the bikes and hung out with the SMS Racing crew before heading in to town to load up on some pasta with Travis and Alice Krist.

GasGas Barnwell Prep

The weather Sunday morning was sunny, a little cool and windy, but warming to the 60’s.  I went with the ScottUSA goggle with a blue lens to cut the glare of the sun through the trees and it worked like a charm.

Barnwell Mountain is known for its elevation changes and rocks – there were no shortage of either and I was looking forward to what was promised to be a very gnarly course!

There were six completely awesome tests for the long course riders, the shortest of which was 5.5 miles and the longest was a brutal 12.5 miler as soon as the short course riders were done for the day.  There was a lot of great, tight, single-track up and down the hills with rocks and roots to keep everyone in check or on the ground – loved it!  The tough hills were even tougher to negotiate with all the “dead bodies” everywhere.

The first test, a 7 miler, was repeated after the main gas and some 300+ bikes had been through it – well at least a mile of it up to the first big hill climb.  That hill ended the day for a lot of the more beginner riders; if not the first time through, then on the second.

I had a very consistent day of riding, felt great and the bike and I were in tune.  Test 5 on the long course was brutal – it was the longest of the day and they split the B riders off and took the A through some hill climbs so bad they even gave you a choice to go the hard way or a little bit easier way so, for some, decisions had to be made. For me, I hit the hard ways and ended up winning that test.

1. Zach Ingram (KTM); 2. Haydn Franklin (GasGas); 3. Cameron Ishmael (KAW); 4. Steve Leivan (KTM) 5. Don Hogan (GasGas)

In the series, I’ve got the GasGas XC300 sitting in 1st Place after two Rounds.

Early morning gym sessions with trainer, Matt Mueller are going well – he is kicking up the strength and cardio and working on my flexibility. Monday will be spent getting the Gasser prepped and ready for Round 3 Concho next weekend and getting the trials bikes ready for Round 1 and 2 of the Texas State Trials Championship this weekend in Austin.

Thank you all for your support!

Haydn Franklin

Sponsors: GasGas, SMS Racing, MSR, Tucker Rocky, Silkolene, Enduro Engineering and Scott USA.

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KTM’s Taddy Blazusiak Clean Sweeps Indoor Enduro at Barcelona

February 10, 2011 Leave a comment

KTM’s Taddy Blazusiak may have had to settle for third in the first round of the World Enduro Championship in Genoa in November but on Sunday night the Polish extreme Enduro maestro won three finals in Round 2 in Barcelona to surge ahead in the points and set himself up to defend his title.

On a night of action when KTM also presented the 2011 Enduro Factory Team and the new KTM 350 EXC-F Factory bike, it was extreme Enduro specialist Blazusiak and KTM’s E3 world champion David Knight who saw most of blue ribbon action. Following Taddy’s 3-way victory, David, riding the new 350 EXC-F factory bike, was the fastest qualifier and scored a 2-3-2 result for his efforts in the three finals.

Taddy in the box seat to take title

With the championship trimmed to three instead of the initial five events, leaving only one more round, Taddy is now perfectly placed to reclaim his crown from last season. After picking up a perfect score of 60 points on Sunday, he surges to the front of the overall table with 103 points, 17-points ahead of Joakim Ljunggren of Sweden.

New team member Guerrero up with top riders

On a night where many of the top riders were sidelined, KTM factory team boss Fabio Farioli said he was also satisfied with the performance of his newest recruit to the team lineup young Cristobal Guerrero who was riding in front of his home crowd. Guerrero was also onboard the new 350 bike and finished the night with a 5-7-6 result. Teammate Thomas Oldrati of Italy raced in the first two finals but had to retire from the third because he had hurt his shoulder in qualifying earlier in the day. Finland’s Mika Ahola, the winner in Genoa’s first round finished back at seventh and now has 73 points.

A triumph for the new 350 EXC.F factory bike

The night was also a triumph for the new Enduro machine, which follows on from the 2010 release of the revolutionary 350 SX-F on which Tony Cairoli won the MX1 World Championship in its first season out. The new 350 EXC, in the experienced hands of David Knight was one of the stars of the evening in front of a huge crowd in Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi stadium in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans.

Hard work and dedication

The new 350 EXC-F factory bike represents hard work and dedication by KTM’s R&D department with direct input from leading factory riders like Knight and others. The project was led by KTM’s Joachim Sauer, who won the Enduro European Championship in 1987 on the first 350 Enduro LC4 prototype.

Presentation of the 2011 Enduro Factory Team; honoring KTM heroes

KTM used the occasion of the Barcelona event to present the official 2011 Enduro Factory Racing team, including team boss Fabio Farioli and KTM head of Motorsports Pit Beirer together with the revolutionary new machine. Also invited were 100 members of the international, KTM dealers, sponsors and partners.

Honoring the KTM Enduro heroes

The company also took advantage of the electric atmosphere of the event to pay tribute to KTM Enduro legends: Arnaldo Farioli, who has been with KTM since 1964 as the eternal KTM racer, businessman and dedicated Orange family member; Anton Marsignac, in 1982 the first ever Spanish Enduro Champion on a KTM and for more than 20 years a KTM importer who runs a successful KTM dealership; Toni Stoecklmeier, former top Enduro champion, ISDE Six Days rider and a long-term key player in the KTM Management and bridging the gap to the latest generation, KTM’s Joachim Sauer. Sauer won the Enduro European Championship in 1987 on the first 350 Enduro LC4 prototype and 24 years has been in charge of the project to produce the latest revolutionary 350cc EXC-F machine.

Results of Round 2
1. Taddy Blazusiak, Poland, KTM, 60 Points (1-1-1)
2. David Knight, UK, KTM 350, 48 (2-3-2)
3. Joakim Lundgren, Sweden, Husaberg, 41
4. Alfredo Gomez, Spain, Husaberg 35
5. Graham Jarvis, UK, Husaberg 28
6. Cristobal Guerrero, Spain, KTM 350, 26
7. Mika Ahola, Finland, 22
8. Dougie Lampkin, UK, Gas Gas, 18
11. Thomas Oldrati, Italy, KTM 13

Standings:
1. Taddy Blazusiak, Poland, KTM 103 points
2. Joakim Ljunggren, Sweden, Husaberg, 86
3. Mika Ahola, Finland Honda, 73

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Kurt Caselli Dedicates WORCS Race Win in Honor of Nathan Woods

February 2, 2011 Leave a comment

FMF/KTM rider Kurt Caselli’s goal this season is to defend his championship one race at a time. This weekend, that took a backseat to honoring his friend and fallen teammate, Nathan Woods.

The entire off-road racing community was devastated after hearing Friday’s news of Woods’ passing.  The winningest rider in WORCS history and a 2-time WORCS Champion, Woods succumbed to injuries after a crash during Friday’s practice session. Saturday’s race schedule was moved to Sunday to allow the WORCS community to participate in a parade lap in honor of their late friend. The parade lap was led by Woods’ wife Amanda and former mechanic and long-time friend, Charles Jirsa. Caselli followed behind with Nathan’s son Braxton, and behind them was a long train of friends and family who rode a lap for one of the sports’ best riders.

With a heavy heart, WORCS resumed the race schedule on Sunday and riders lined the gate to race a 1 hour plus 1 lap moto. Caselli took the holeshot and led the entire race, increasing his lead each lap. His only mistake throughout the race occurred when he washed out the front end on the first lap, but Caselli quickly recovered to still finish the lap with a 25 second lead. The FMF/KTM Team had Caselli and teammate Mike Brown pit once for gas near the end of the race to ensure the riders would have enough fuel to reach the finish.

While Caselli held the lead out front, Brown bounced back and forth inside the top three, battling with Still Performance/KTM rider Kevin Rookstool. Near the end of the race Brown struggled with arm pump and dropped a few positions to eventually finish 5th. Rookstool took a spill halfway through the race and recovered to finish behind Brown in 6th.  Caselli took home the win by 1 minute and 1 second over the 2nd place ride of Kyle Summers.

“We are very happy with the results today. Caselli is exactly where we expected him to be and his new training program is paying off. Brown was also inside the top three for most of the race and we feel both of our riders will be top competitors throughout this series. As devastating as this weekend has been, it is welcoming for Caselli to win in honor of our friend Nathan Woods,” remarked Antti Kallonen, Factory FMF/KTM Team Manager.

After rearranging the race schedule on Saturday, WORCS officials decided to give each rider 24 points for Saturday, with the exception of Woods who was awarded 25 points for Saturday and 25 more for Sunday. Fittingly then, at the end of the day it is Woods who will lead the series heading to the next round, as he has done many times before.

Next Event: February 26-27, 2011 – Primm, NV

Overall Race Results

1. Kurt Caselli – KTM

2. Kyle Summers

3. Bobby Garrison

4. Taylor Roberts

5. Mike Brown – KTM

6. Kevin Rookstool – KTM

7. Bobby Bonds

8. Robbie Bell

9. Destry Abbott

10. Brendan Ritzman

Overall Points

1. Nathan Woods – 50

2. Kurt Caselli – 49

3. Kyle Summers – 46

4. Bobby Garrison – 44

5. Taylor Roberts – 42

6. Mike Brown – 40

7. Kevin Rookstool – 39

8. Bobby Bonds – 38

9. Robbie Bell – 37

10. Destry Abbott – 36

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David Knight starts 2011 in winning style

January 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Making his first competitive outing of 2011 David Knight made sure of a successful start to the new season by claiming the overall victory at the inaugural running of ‘Eddy’s Extreme Race’ – a new extreme enduro organised by former World Enduro Champion Paul Edmondson and staged near Leeds, Great Britain. Finishing ahead of Dougie Lampkin and Greg Evans come the end of the event Knight lead each of the two one-hour races from start to finish and placed comfortably ahead in both outings.

The fastest rider during the morning qualifying session Knight needed no time at all to open up a healthy lead at the front of the Pro class in race one. Despite losing some time on the second lap when he gat caught up on a large tree root he extended his lead lap on lap and come the end of the race placed ahead of Dougie Lampkin, Tom Sagar, Paul Bolton and Greg Evans.

David Knight

Race two again saw Knight rocket into an immediate lead. With the track rougher and notably tougher than in the opening hour-long race David made sure he didn’t make any mistakes during the opening laps, fending off his closest challenger Graham Jarvis. Remaining out front Knight claimed the chequered flag three minutes clear of Jarvis with Lampkin third to claim a deserved overall win.

David Knight: ‘It was a really good day for me – great training and an enjoyable way to start the year off. I knew that it was going to be pretty hard work, but apart from a few falls everything went well for me. The first race went really well. I lead from the start and could see that I was opening up a lead so I just tried to make no mistakes. On lap two I got stuck on a tree root and must have lost about 30 seconds. I pushed hard after that and everything went well. I felt good and really enjoyed it. The second race was much tougher. The holes between the rocks were deeper and the rocks themselves were much more slippery. Whenever I started to really push I started going backwards. I found a good pace and settle down once I knew I was a few minutes ahead. The track wasn’t too hard, but there wasn’t really anywhere you could take a break. The format of two one-hour races was good because it wasn’t all down to just one result – you needed to do well on both occasions, which some riders weren’t able to do. It’s been a good start to the year and a really good event.’

Results – Eddy’s Extreme Enduro 2011 Pro class
Overall top three
1. David Knight (KTM Enduro Factory Team)
2. Dougie Lampkin (Gas Gas)
3. Greg Evans (KTM)

Source: Global Motorsport Communications

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