Sam Sunderland talks to the KTM BLOG about finishing the Dakar Rally for the first time, and taking an incredible victory, KTM’s 16th consecutive win, at the notoriously tough event.
Tag: Matthias Walkner
KTM had been unbeaten since 2001 when more than 140 riders lined up for the start of the 39th edition of the Dakar Rally in Asunción on January 2, 2017. Orange was once again the predominant color at the start line – over half of the competitors had opted for the machine that so often wins this event, the KTM 450 RALLY.
Following his illustrious 10-year Dakar career, Jordi Viladoms hung up his racing boots at the beginning of 2016 to take on a key role within KTM’s rally team. Becoming the Sport Manager the Spaniard has been busy putting his vast experience to good use with the goal of guiding KTM’s official riders on their quest for more winning glory.
Living within an hour’s drive of KTM’s headquarters, Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing Team’s Matthias Walkner is Austria’s next big thing in international rally competition. A member of the KTM family for more than a decade, the 30-year-old rider from Salzburg enters his third Dakar Rally knowing he has what it takes to battle for the top.
It’s an unbelievable spectacle, this Snow Speed Hill Race in Pichl, in the Styria region of Austria: 170 competitors tear up the ski piste at Reiteralm on motorcycles and snowmobiles. Winter sports holidaymakers are rubbing their eyes in disbelief at this crazy carry-on as they sip their après-ski drinks. It was just a pity that this time one of the favorites was forced to be a spectator.
With the Dakar heading into its final stages we reflect on the comments made by the Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing Team Technical Manager, Stefan Huber, who gave us his inside line right before the race began. It was a busy build up, but with things in full swing and Price leading the KTM campaign at present, it’s interesting to look at his predictions coming into the race.
It’s a new era of Dakar. After 10 years of domination by former KTM-aces Marc Coma, who retired from racing earlier this year, and Cyril Despres, there’s room for a new emerging star and KTM is excited to have yet another strong team for the notoriously tough Rally.
Just like its previous 13 Dakar Rally wins, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team’s new-look KTM 450 RALLY bike is all about going for the victory. Meanwhile what has been revealed at the team’s photo shoot is, as always, very promising.