KTM, the sports motorcycle specialist, this weekend proved once again that the company is always ‘Ready to Race’. In a historic milestone for the Austrian company, it registered its eleventh consecutive title in the mammoth Dakar Rally and also scored its first AMA Supercross victory in Round 2 in Phoenix Arizona.
The 2012 edition of the Dakar took riders on a 9000 km journey from Mar de Plata in Argentina to Lima, Peru and from the early stages it was dominated by KTM factory riders Cyril Despres and Marc Coma riding the latest KTM 450 Rally bike. Despres eventually prevailed to take the final prize, his fourth career victory in the toughest event in the annual motor sports calendar. Coma won five stages in the 2012 edition and Despres won four and right up to the penultimate stage the teammates were not only minutes apart, but also far ahead of the rest of the field. The result is a true reflection of what is one of the greatest rivalries in modern motor sports. It is not only a tribute to their riding and tactical skills and their physical and mental prowess but also to KTM engineering in producing the winning KTM 450 Rally bike and to the entire support team behind the riders.
The fact that the same weekend saw the company’s first victory in the coveted and very competitive AMA Supercross in only the second round of the 2012 season made it all that more special. Ryan Dungey from the US Red Bull KTM Factory Team led from gate drop to checkered flag in the main event in Phoenix, Arizona riding the new 2012 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition. New to the team this season, Dungey already registered his intention last weekend scoring a podium third in the opening round in Anaheim 1. To add even more shine to the weekend, Dungey’s KTM factory teammate Marvin Musquin also finished second in the AMA West SX Lites race.
Speaking from the company headquarters in Austria, Pit Beirer, KTM’s Head of Motorsports said the weekend had been nothing short of incredible.
“To see our Dakar riders on the top two steps on the podium in Lima was thrilling enough but then to have our first ever Supercross podium in the USA was simply icing on the cake”, he said. “This is a great day for all of us at KTM and it belongs not only to the riders but also to all those who make massive contributions to those race wins, both in the front lines of the competition and behind the scenes. Such an achievement can only be a collective victory for all those involved.”
Speaking of the Supercross, Beirer paid special tribute to the work and input of US factory team boss Roger DeCoster who he said had worked tirelessly to shape the factory team.
“This year we changed direction in the US and reaffirmed our intention of making a mark in the top AMA SX and MX competitions. Roger has put in a great effort to get the team into the position it is now. It is amazing for us to have a payback for all his efforts and those of the team so early in the season.”
DeCoster, universally respected and known in the sport simply as “The Man” also confirmed it had very much been a joint effort.
“It is not just our team in the US but the whole crew at the factory in Austria that have helped us get here”, DeCoster said after the SX races in Phoenix. “It is amazing to get a podium in only our second race of the season. It feels really good that we were able to deliver for the people that backed us. We have proved ourselves with a win and intend to keep progressing.”
Commenting on KTM’s historic Dakar victory, KTM’s Heinz Kinigadner was also quick to pay tribute to the efforts of the riders and the factory team to secure the company’s eleventh Dakar title.
“This battle between Cyril Despres and Marc Coma was one of the tightest and one of the most interesting in the history of the rally. They were virtually wheel on wheel in almost every stage and they both gave everything, both physically and mentally. These riders set the standard in rally raid and they both deserve to go into the Dakar record books for this great effort.”
Overall Results after final Stage 14
*Victory by Despres gives KTM its eleventh consecutive Dakar title
1. Cyril Despres, France, KTM, 43:28:11 h (15 min penalty)
**Fourth Dakar Title for Despres
2. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 53:20 min (1 h penalty)
3. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 1:11:17 h (15 min penalty)
4. Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM at 1:40:56 (15 min penalty)
5. Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM at 1:47:28
6. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM at 2:11:56 (55 min penalty)
7. Gerard Farres Guell, Spain, KTM at 2:14:22 (15 min penalty)
8. Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 2:59:04 (20 min penalty)
10. Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 3:25:56 (55 min penalty)
12. Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM at 4:13:10 (55 min penalty)
13. Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM at 4:39:09
14. Johnny Aubert, France, KTM at 4:39:39 (16 min penalty)
AMA Supercross Series 2012 – Round 2
Results Supercross Phoenix
1. Ryan Dungey (USA), KTM, 17:44.005 min (20 laps)
*** With 45 points after two rounds also leader in the point standings
2. Jake Weimer (USA), Kawasaki, +6.117 sec
3. Ryan Villopoto (USA), Kawasaki, +8.908
4. Kevin Windham (USA), Honda, +14.338
5. Chad Reed (USA), Honda, +22.866
Results Supercross Lites West Phoenix
1. Dean Wilson (USA), Kawasaki, 13:20.828 min (15 laps)
2. Marvin Musquin (F), KTM, +2.772 sec
**** Third in the point standings with only two points behind the leader
3. Tyla Rattray (USA), Kawasaki, +4.090
4. Eli Tomac (USA), Honda, +5.605
5. Cole Seely (USA), Honda, +7.030
Next Event: Los Angeles/CA – January 21, 2012