Happy Birthday TNT: Get on the track with KTM
TNT stands for ‘Track ‘n Test’. These trackday events for rider of all brands, which include the possibility to test a variety of KTM bikes, celebrate their fifth anniversary. Günter Gahleitner, head of KTM ‘Customer Sport’ – who initiated the scheme – talks about how things got rolling
Do you remember the first TNT event?
Sure. Mugello 2009 was our first. On one of the world´s very best racetracks, as far as quality and experience are concerned. We opened the booking site on the 22nd of December, four days before I had signed the contract with the circuit. The premiere was scheduled for 17/18 March in the middle of the week. Of course I was a bit anxious about how it would go but in the end 220 people joined in, between 105 and 110 every day. That was really good. Everything turned out well and everybody seemed to be happy. Even the weather was spot-on!
What separates you from other trackday organisers?
TNT is trackday by KTM, but also open for riders of all brands. That was our approach back then and is still something special today as well as offering a testride fleet with RC8s and Superdukes etc on top. Everything was new to us und difficult to judge in advance. At the end of the event we counted seven crashes with the test bikes, which was a bit tough, but in the end it turned out great and as a project it was a good start.
Tell us about the initial thinking behind TNT…
Basically it was a way to get closer to sport riders on racetracks because you find less and less on public streets. This had to happen in a very open way to get riders with other brands to participate and – by doing this – get to know KTM better. It was not that easy to get the idea pushed through but finally we got green light for it so we just started.
What has been the highlight so far?
Every event up is a highlight in itself. Most turn out to be pretty smooth; swinging between being cool and enjoyable or tense and a bit more hectic if the TNT Cup-races are organized alongside. Something is happening all the time and I think the well known GP racetracks add a special touch like Mugello, Misano, Sachsenring or Brünn.
Anything special about the TNT events and the races?
The atmosphere. Sport and racing are in the foreground, of course. But this is never a reason for things get too uptight. Here nobody is bad guy to anybody. In some series or cups competitive thinking rules. It gets very serious and everybody is against everybody. We don´t have this kind of ambience. Lap times are not much slower than in other trackday cups or races but nobody will ride into each other.
So how do the KTM events rate pricewise compared to others?
Sometimes our prices are lower, sometimes higher. What you do not find with us is overcrowded events. We make sure everybody gets enough riding time and enough space on the track; this is a basic minimum we want to offer. At TNT events, every rider gets at least five sessions of 20 minutes riding time and a maximum of nine outings depending on the track.
Which tracks are most popular among customers?
Sachsenring, Ledenon, Anneau du Rhin, Mugello and Misano are the most favoured events. Red Bull-Ring has become very popular too. About 70 % of all events are booked out. About 25-30% of the TNT trackday participants join us again and ride with us more often than once a year.
What else do you offer?
Sport for customers at KTM has grown remarkably. Besides TNT trackdays we offer well known adventure tours and also for off-roaders our ‘race camps’. Also we have some motocross schools and meetings with selected partners as well as four Erzberg trainings just a couple of weeks before the famous rodeo.
What’s new for 2013?
For the first time we will organise an event at the Circuit Carole near Paris. And in order to celebrate our five year anniversary we will run a 3-hour-endurance race at the Lausitzring in Germany.