At the second Monster Energy Cup last week KTM North America took a few moments to talk to the press about their resurrection of the KJSC (KTM Junior Supercross Challenge) that will run at five AMA Supercross events in 2013 and provide a valuable window for the industry to spot the potential stars of the future.
Over twelve years from 1997 the KTM Junior project showcased the talents of more than 3000 boys and girls (including the likes of Dungey, Osborne, Alessi brothers) and in Las Vegas the series was born again at the site where it was temporarily suspended in 2008. The scheme will be open to 7-8 year olds on KTM 50SXS bikes and will allow the kids to do practice laps at the AMA events and a three lap exhibition sprint on race night. Interested riders and families can apply through the website: www.ktmjrsx.com
“Five years is a shocking amount of time when you think about it but we have been building ourselves as a brand,” commented KTM North America President Jon-Erik Burleson. “Five years ago the economy was in a little bit of a different place and we always had this hope to bring it back and now we have the opportunity to do it in a different way.”
“We wanted our presence in Supercross to be a bit more than the mini-bike highlights,” Burleson added. “With Ryan and the team’s success this summer it seemed like the right time to bring the KJSC back as it would compliment the brand. Ryan’s success was one of the final pushes for us to get up here and knowing in the back of our minds that one of the first supercross moments for him was on a KTM 50!”
Dungey’s SX ‘debut’ was done on the 50SX as a seven year old in 1997: “I remember little bits and pieces of the race. I remember thinking now ‘how did I get around the track?!’. I ended up third that day and recall it being one of those days I’ll never forget. I wanted to be Pro and getting that opportunity was special. We sent in our resume and it ended up being a day of hanging out with the top guys and riding the supercross track which I had never done before. I had a little Polaroid camera and I still have those photos. Kevin Windham was on the 125 and going for his championship back then and we are here now racing him; it is pretty cool to look back on.”
“I remember most the sketchy moments!” he continued. “The triples then probably were not so big but I remember getting some air over one of them and landing heavily on the bottom and head-slapping the front fender! I saved it…The whoops seemed like the size of the triple jumps now. It was an amazing experience and for kids with a dream it is something incredible KTM were offering.”
The KJSC 2013 races will happen at: Anaheim 2 (Feb 2nd), Arlington (Feb 16th), Atlanta (Feb 23), Indianapolis (March 16th) and Las Vegas (May 4th).