1955 – that’s sixty years ago now. Everything was well in the motorcycle world, the Second World War had ended ten years previously and the economy was picking up again. KTM founder Hans Trunkenpolz was early to see the signs of the times and presented his first motorcycle to the public in 1953.
Sweden – approximately nine million inhabitants, huge distances, and only a few paved roads. Forests as far as the eye can see. A country made for enduro riding. No wonder that a brand like Husaberg managed to establish itself here. Husaberg has belonged to KTM for 20 years now.
The KTM Team unwillingly experienced the closeness of good fortune and tragedy during the 27th edition of the Dakar Rally. Two-time Dakar winner Fabrizio Meoni lost his life the next day in a serious accident on Stage 11. Then on 16 January 2005, Cyril Despres arrived at Lac Rose in Dakar ahead of Spanish rider Marc Coma and the South African Alfie Cox, thereby securing KTM’s fifth Dakar victory in succession.
Statistically speaking, you spend 22.37 years of your life in bed. Another 16.63 years are spent at work and you’re ill for 4.29 years …. That leaves about 5.2 years for DUKE riding. All in all, not too bad an outlook. Just DUKE it! Advertising for a motorcycle may have been unusual 20 years ago, but so was the motorcycle.
On 11th November 1994, the KTM motorcycle business was rebranded KTM Sportmotorcycle AG. It was the beginning of a success story that lasts until the present day and made KTM the number one among the European manufacturers.
John Penton, founder of the eponymous American offroad brand, played a vital role in the history of KTM. In consequence of his initiative, KTM began with the series production of competitive offroad motorcycles.
Giacomo Agostini, Mike Hailwood, Geoff Duke and Angel Nieto – today, the world champions of the 1950s and 1960s are motorsport legends. One of their successors is the Australian Casey Stoner, who won the first road racing GP for KTM this weekend ten years ago.
In 1984, KTM had already established itself as a successful offroad manufacturer. At the beginnig of the 1980s, KTM started its production of radiators. First intended to cover own requirements, the Austrian brand quickly began to supply other European motorcycle and automotive manufacturers.
30 years ago, almost to the day, Heinz Kinigadner became 250cc Motocross World Champion with KTM. Even today the Tyrolese, who is involved in social initiatives, is one of the most popular Austrian sportsman. Reason enough to recall Kini´s exciting season.
In 1974, KTM won its first Motocross World Championship, but even in terms of products there were record-breaking news from Mattighofen: various novelties, among them the KTM moped Hobby III, a long runner.