KTM is starting in the Baja 500 with a brand new sports prototype machine. This race is a shortened version of the legendary Baja 1000. KTM’s factory rider Cyril Despres and Chris Blais will be riding together with the Baja specialist David Pearson. The very popular Desert Races, the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000 are a new challenge for KTM and the company enters them equipped with the rich experience and success it has gathered in the Dakar rallies. The Austrian sport motorcycle manufacturer is competing for the first time in the traditional Baja race on the Baja California peninsular, right on the Mexican border.
Cyril Despres, winner of this year’s Dakar Rally and his American team-mate Chris Blais, who has finished on the podium in numerous Baja races will be riding for KTM together with the experienced American Davis Pearson. All will be riding the new experimental model from the Austrian manufacturer.
Borne out of the 690 Rally, so successful in the Dakar 2007, the 690 Baja aims combine the advantages of a very light and easily handled Enduro with the outreach and the stability of a rally machine.
The KTM Baja 690 is driven by the new LC4 engine. It celebrated its release onto the market in early 2007 in the new 690 Supermoto, which came through its baptism of fire in the Dakar 2007 in flying colours. In combination with the stable, extremely light tubular frame of the Rally 690, this engine, currently the most powerful and most modern series production single cylinder in the world, offers a good basis to fight for podium places in the very special Baja Rallies.
European rider Cyril Despres, Dakar Rally winner in 2005 and 2007, is closely associated with the project and has as his team-mates Chris Blais, third in the Dakar 2007 and the very fast American professional David Pearson.
The ‘Baja 500’ on Mexican soil, the ‘Baja Aragon’ in July and the classic ‘Las Vegas-Reno’ are planned as introductory races to get to know the particular demands on the chassis, the engine characteristics and the very special flow of logistics of these races.
Entry into other short European rallies or national cross country races, or even further Baja 690 projects will be considered if the process of development is seen to be successful