KTM revealed its official motocross teams for 2020 today. Once again, factory support will be provided for the in-house 450 team of Marvin Musquin and Cooper Webb, while factory hardware will be offered to the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC team of Blake Baggett and Justin Bogle. The big changes are on the Troy Lee 250 team. Most of last year’s riders are gone. Brandon Hartranft, who finished sixth overall in the 2019 250SX East Championship, officially joins the team wearing the #30. French rider Brian Moreau, will make his full-time U.S. debut with the TLD squad riding the #104 machine. Moreau is the 2017 European 125 Class Champion. Long time KTM rider Derek Drake will join the team full-time for 2020. Straight Rhythm sensation Pierce Brown has also signed on.
This is an early showing of the bikes that will be campaigned in 2020. They are called Factory Editions, but the official release of that model is still a month away. Roger DeCoster said there aren’t any big changes planned for the team bikes mechanically, so, presumably, that means the 2021 KTM 450SX-F will have few changes, as the Factory Edition is historically a preview of the following year’s production motorcycle. All the 2019 sponsors are staying with them. Roger did hint that there might be an an outside-industry sponsor joining them in coming weeks. As always, the bikes are restrained by the production rule, but the engine is very much a product of the Austrian factory. The head, in particular, is CNC’d in Austria. The cam comes from Austria as well, but the team routinely tries different profiles. The 2020 setting isn’t yet finalized.
One of the few motor parts that is sourced here in the U.S is the clutch cover, which comes from Hinson. The clutch pressure plate is usually from Hinson as well. The suspension components are, of course, from WP Factory Services, but it is a spring fork based on the XACT cone valve unit. The Brembo brakes are factory units, as well. On the in-house team, Akrapovic is the exhaust supplier, while FMF makes the pipes for both the Troy Lee team and the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC team. Kite pullies the slave cylinder for the clutch and the hubs. For more details on Cooper Webb’s factory KTM, click here.
The Red Bull KTM Troy Lee team generally has a little more stateside influence. The motors are still built by KTM. For a look at the 2019 TLD Factory race bike, click here.
I loved the retro theme of the Red Bull Straight Rhythm, and I was particularly proud that my buddy Michael Leib made it to the final round in the 125 class. His bike was a Ernesto Fonseca Triubute owned by Race So Cal owner Stephen Heighton. The look was inspired by Fonzie’s 2002 Honda, which he rode in the outdoor 125 series (or Lites, as it was called). You can look for a feature on this bike coming up in Two-Stroke Tuesday.
At the Straight Rhythm, there was much talked of how Ricky Carmichael ruined motocross for all the American riders who were living the dream in the ’90s. He was the guy who made fitness and training mandatory. Back in the ’60s, it was Torsten Hallman who ruined it for everyone. He was a four-time world champion and one of the icons of the sport. You can read about him in the latest Good Old Times Blog by Kenneth Olausson, here.
MOTOCROSS, THE GOLDEN ERA
My good friend David Dewhurst has been working on his book “Motocross, The Golden Era,” recently and has put together interviews with David Bailey among others. It should be a great book. He also sells posters at the DewhurstPhoto.com, and you should definitely give him a follow on Facebook and Instagram for all the cool old photos he posts.
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Congrats to Zach Bell for taking the first NGPC race after the summer break. Zach took the Viewfinders GP at Ridgecrest. He has won every one of the AMA Grand Prix events that he has entered this year, but only sits in third in the points. He missed two events due to schedule conflicts with the WORCS series, which is his primary focus. In that series, Bell sits third behind Taylor Robert and Dante Oliveira. Robert will try to put a wrap on that series championship this weekend.
That’s all for now,