Let’s face it, KTM has never really taken on the Japanese manufacturers in American motocross or supercross racing head on. With very limited budgets, its past teams have lacked the talent and the machinery to do so. KTM wants to change that . . . now.
With three talented riders, perhaps more talented than any single rider ever employed by KTM in the States, KTM means business. Current World 125cc Motocross champion, Grant Langston, who battled wheel-to-wheel with Travis Pastrana at the recent Motocross des Nations, heads the list. Langston, a superb outdoor rider (as you might expect, given his World champion status), is somewhat untested at supercross, however. KTM isn’t worried there, because it has also signed Americans David Pingree and Brock Sellards, both excellent supercross riders, capable of weekly podium finishes and even victories (perhaps, even a championship).
On top of this, KTM comes to the table with one of the best 125cc machines this year. KTM has continually refined its 125cc motocrosser, and in the past two years it has generally been considered one of the fastest stock 125cc bikes (if not the fastest). The KTM 125 Langston rode to the World title this year was a rocket, according to all reports.
Why is KTM stepping up its commitment to racing in the U.S.? That’s a good question, but there are probably two primary factors, including (1) KTM’s growing presence in the U.S., and its understanding that the U.S. is a place to sell bikes in large volumes, and (2) the signing of sponsor Red Bull.
In any event, there are now five legitimate manufacturers contending for supercross and motocross glory here in the United States. While all three of KTM’s riders will contest 125cc supercross championships, some or all of them will also race selected 250cc rounds.
Outdoors, look for Langston to contest the 125 National championship and push Suzuki’s Travis Pastrana the whole way. He is that good.